23 July 2005



Jon Dennis
Saturday July 23, 2005

The scene outside Stockwell tube station in London after a man was shot dead by police. Photograph: Yui Mok/PA

The man shot dead in Stockwell tube station yesterday was not connected to the attempted bombings of London on July 21, police said tonight.

Police said the shooting was a "tragedy" and they expressed "regret".

In a statement, the Metropolitan police said: "We believe we now know the identity of the man shot at Stockwell underground station by police on Friday July 22 2005, although he is still subject to formal identification.

"We are now satisfied that he was not connected with the incidents of Thursday July 21 2005.

"For somebody to lose their life in such circumstances is a tragedy and one that the Metropolitan Police Service regrets.

"The man emerged from a block of flats in the Stockwell area that were under police surveillance as part of the investigation into the incidents on Thursday July 21.

"He was then followed by surveillance officers to the underground station. His clothing and behaviour added to their suspicions."

Scotland Yard said the circumstances of the man's death were being investigated by the Met's directorate of professional standards, and will be referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

The fatal shooting at Stockwell happened at 10am yesterday when armed plain clothes police officers shot a man as he tried to board a train at the underground station.

The Asian man then bolted down an escalator and tried to get on a train before he was, according to witnesses, shot five times in the head by an officer with an automatic pistol.

Train passenger Mark Whitby said: "As the man got on the train I looked at his face. He looked from left to right, but he basically looked like a cornered rabbit, like a cornered fox. He looked absolutely petrified.

"He sort of tripped but they were hotly pursuing him and couldn't have been more than two or three feet behind him at this time.

"They unloaded five shots into him. I saw it. He's dead, five shots, he's dead."

The Metropolitan police commissioner, Sir Ian Blair, claimed yesterday that the shooting was "directly linked" to anti-terror operations.

'No one should rush to judgment'

The Muslim Council of Britain tonight "expressed its deepest condolences to the family of the innocent man".

"While we accept that the police are under tremendous pressure to apprehend the criminals who are attempting to cause carnage on the streets of London, it is absolutely vital that utmost care is taken to ensure that innocent people are not killed due to over-zealousness," said Sir Iqbal Sacranie, the council's secretary-general.

The council said it had "received numerous calls from distressed British Muslims" since yesterday's shooting.

The human rights organisation Liberty said no one should "rush to judgment"

Liberty's director Shami Chakrabarti said: "Our hearts go out to the family of the dead man and to the officers involved in this tragic incident ... These are knife-edge split second decisions made in moments of grave danger. We have a massive shared interest in the protection of innocent lives."

Glen Smyth, chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation, which represents rank-and-file officers in the capital, said: "It would be unwise to speculate on all the circumstances until we know what happened. Police officers in these circumstances are expected to make split second decisions that have lifelong consequences."

Downing Street confirmed that Tony Blair had been informed of the latest development but made no further comment.

"The prime minister is kept updated with every development in relation to this investigation," a No 10 spokeswoman said.

The Home Office did not want to comment on the shooting. "It's an operational matter for the police," said a spokeswoman.

Second man arrested in hunt for bombers

Meanwhile two men were tonight being questioned by police investigating Thursday's attempted bomb attacks on London's transport network.

Both men were arrested in raids on addresses in Stockwell, south London, near the tube station where the man was shot dead by police yesterday.

The first was arrested at about 4.30pm yesterday and the other at around midnight.

Both men are being held at London's high-security Paddington Green police station.

Public response to CCTV images

The arrests came after police released closed-circuit TV pictures of four men suspected of trying to detonate the London bombs.

Police were today sifting through fresh information gathered from phone calls and emails they have received since police released CCTV images of the four bomb suspects. Almost 500 calls have been made to the anti-terrorist hotline and more than 80 emails have been received via the Met's website.

Assistant commissioner Andy Hayman said today: "The responsible attitude shown the public in providing us with information, and the volume of calls we have received and the quality of information, is extremely encouraging."

But he added: "We are still keen to hear from as many people as possible who have information about these suspects. Do you know them? Do you recognise them? Have you seen them anywhere, either on the day of the attacks, or before or since?

"I would remind everyone that these men should not be approached - if you see them, please call 999. Any other information can be given to the anti-terrorist hotline on 0800-789 321.

"Tell us what you know, and let us take responsibility for deciding if it is relevant. I would urge the public to store this number in their mobile phones and if you see or hear anything you think is suspicious, please use it."

The first man was arrested after armed police stormed on to a Stockwell housing estate at about 4.30pm yesterday.

Police refused to comment on reports that he was one of the men captured in the CCTV pictures.

The man was thought to be the son-in-law of a woman living at the address raided by police. Neighbours said the family were Muslims, originally from Ethiopia.

The arrested man's wife and young son were also led away by police, according to residents living in the same block of flats.

The arrest was part of a fast-moving day in the bid to trace the four men, who police believe were responsible for rucksack bombs found on underground trains at Oval, Warren Street and Shepherd's Bush stations and on a No 26 bus in Shoreditch on Thursday.

The capital was on a state of alert and parts of the transport system were brought to a halt by security scares throughout the day.

Armed police also raided an address in Portnall Road, West Kilburn, west London, which they believe may have been connected to one of the bombers.

Witnesses reported seeing a robot sent into the garden before officers fired six shots into the windows and basement of the house from a building across the street and used CS gas.

Inter Milan cancel tour of England

Italian football giants Inter Milan today cancelled a planned tour of England, citing safety fears. The Serie A team were due to visit Leicester on Monday night before three further friendlies against Crystal Palace, Norwich and Portsmouth within the next week.

A statement on Inter's official website said: "Football has taken a step back because of increasing serious events which touch the sensitivity of everyone. For this reason, and given the situation, the club has decided to cancel the team's tour of England." [More on Inter Milan's decision]

Bomb alert closes Portadown to Newry line


23 July 2005 15:10

Following a bomb alert, the Portadown to Newry Line has been closed and trains cancelled.

Enterprise services from Portadown to Dundalk have been cancelled and there are now bus transfers in operation for passengers. On arrival in to Dundalk trains will operate as normal to Dublin.

Extra Translink services for the matches at Croke Park have been completely cancelled. Affected passengers will be refunded on Monday.

AA Roadwatch has warned of heavy volumes on the roads south as a result of the cancellations.

Traffic is extremely heavy on the Dundalk inner relief road onto the M1 and on the M1 southbound from the N32 slip road back to the Airport Roundabout.

Shell accused of breaching terms of Corrib construction


23/07/2005 - 13:30:16

Noel Dempsey, the Natural Resources Minister, has accused the company behind the controversial gas pipeline in Co Mayo of breaching the consents given to it to carry out work at the site in Ballinaboy.

A letter sent to the chairman of Shell Ireland today, on behalf of Noel Dempsey, says that works, including the welding of parts of the pipeline, represent what he calls "a departure from the terms'"issued to the company.

Shell has been preparing to build a €300m gas terminal at Ballinaboy.

The letter follows a visit to the site by officials from the Department this week.

Mr Dempsey says the breaches are “very serious” and has called on Shell to respond immediately.

Parents voice anger against education cuts

Daily Ireland

By Ciarán Barnes

Parents of children whose schools have been affected by education cuts held a protest outside the offices of the Belfast and Education Library Board (BELB) yesterday.
The demonstration came after further criticism was levelled at the board for axing 28 youth worker jobs across the city.
The debt-ridden education and library board, which overspent by £5.7 million (€8.1 million) last year, has closed libraries and made many teachers, patrol crossing staff and classroom assistants redundant.
As part of a contingency plan to cope with its overspend the BELB announced in March that its budget for the forthcoming year would be slashed by £7 million (€10 million).
Around 50 people took part in the protest which coincided with the first meeting of the BELB’s new board.
Theresa Calvert, the mother of a pupil at St Mary’s Star of the Sea school, explained how the cuts affected her child’s school.
She said: “We are losing three teachers and as a consequence the special needs teacher is now being moved to fill one of the gaps.
“So now there will be no cover for the kids with special needs.”
Patricia Reid, the parent of a pupil at Vere Foster primary school, also took part in the demonstration.
She said: “Our school is losing three teachers, a supervisor and the school canteen is being closed.
“On top of this, classes are to be amalgamated.
“None of this is good for our children’s education and I am protesting to ensure a good education for my child”.
Sinn Féin education spokesman Michael Ferguson joined the parents on their protest.
His party refused to take their seats on the new BELB board following notification of the education cutbacks.
Mr Ferguson said: “Sinn Féin’s Board members will not be policing an inadequate budget set by the British government which is having an adverse impact on education services.
“We are calling upon the other elected and non-elected members of the board not to support the scheduled cuts and to oppose any attempt to introduce further cuts.
“The government needs to get real and provide a real budget that supports education and learning.”
Suicide prevention groups have also warned that the education cutbacks, particularly involving teachers and youth workers, could put children’s lives in danger.

Loyalists planning massive march around city centre

Daily Ireland

By Ciarán Barnes

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click to view - UVF mural from CAIN

Loyalists and supporters of the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) are to hold a massive march around Belfast city centre at the end of the month.
Details of the demonstration involving 3,000 loyalists and 60 bands emerged on the same day that the UVF was blamed for carrying out a Wednesday evening gun attack on the lower Newtownards Road in east Belfast.
A man in his 30s escaped injury when bullets came through the bathroom window of his house.
Next week’s loyalist parade, on July 30, will be the second major UVF-linked march in the city this month.
The day after the last similar sized parade along the Shankill Road on July 10, the UVF murdered 20-year-old Craig McCausland.
Loyalists have expressed fears that there could be more violence between the UVF and LVF after the upcoming march.
In a bid to prevent any further killings Ulster Unionist Party leader Reg Empey has pleaded for intermediaries to come forward to bring an end to the feud.
The Chairman of the Loyalist Commission, Rev Mervyn Gibson, who brokered an end to previous loyalist feuds, has already met with representatives of both the UVF and LVF.
He said at this stage a compromise between the organisations cannot be reached.
“I’ve spoke to both organisations and asked them to show restraint and to work to achieve a compromise,” said Rev Gibson.
“At this stage I think this is a long way off.”
The latest feud between the UVF and LVF was sparked by the July 1 UVF murder of LVF associate Jameson Lockhart.
The UVF murdered west Belfast father of one Craig McCausland ten days later on the same night the LVF shot and seriously injured 21-year-old David Hanley in north Belfast. Neither man had paramilitary connections.
Last Monday the UVF fired shots into a house on the Victoria Road in east Belfast’s Sydenham area.
Following the recent UVF violence secretary of state Peter Hain suspended the Assembly allowances of its political wing, the Progressive Unionist Party (PUP).
The move led PUP leader David Ervine to accuse the British government of attempting to push his party out of politics.

In name of the feather, give us our Joey back...

Belfast Telegraph

Pet shop's plea to thieves over stolen cockatoo

By Lisa Smyth
23 July 2005

THE heartbroken owner of a £1,000 cockatoo stolen from a Limavady pet shop last night appealed for the thieves to return the "larger-than-life" bird.

All that remains of Joey is a feather left behind when he was stolen - along with two rockpebblers worth £120 each - during a burglary at The Pet Shop on Thursday night.

Proprietor Val Greenwood said she's been distraught since her beloved pet was taken and has appealed for his safe return.

The talkative cockatoo has been a firm favourite in the shop since he arrived 13 years ago.

Assistant manageress Laura Smith explained: "Joey could say all sorts - he would ask you how you were doing and he would even say 'give us a kiss'.

"Adults and children love him - people would even come in just to see him when they didn't have anything to buy.

"We are all distraught - we have had him so long and we are really worried about what sort of condition he is in.

"It looks as though the thieves tried to put him in a cage but he wouldn't fit. There is a big black bin we keep cat food in and it has been taken, so I assume they just shoved him in there.

"He is bound to be really upset. I doubt very much he will talk as he is so upset. He'd a collar on to stop him picking at his feathers. If the thieves remove that he could hurt himself.

"And we are worried in case they hurt him as the only person he wouldn't bite the fingers off is Val - I feed him and clean his cage every morning and he even snaps at me, so we are terrified they might get angry with him."

She added Joey was a "larger-than-life" character and everyone was desperate to have him returned, or at the very least know that he is safe and being looked after.

The shop has appealed to other pet shops across the province to remain vigilant and contact police if they are approached in relation to buying either a cockatoo or rockpebblers.

If you can help police with their inquiries, telephone 028 77 766797.

McGuinness, Adams and Ferris quit IRA council

Irish Independent

23 July 2005

THREE senior Sinn Fein figures, including party president Gerry Adams, have stepped down from their posts on the IRA's ruling army council.

The ground-breaking decision means that all links between the leadership of the political and military wings of the Provisional movement have been severed.

And it paves the way for major changes in the Provisional structures to be announced in an IRA statement, now expected to be delivered in the second half of next week.

It is believed that the internal IRA debate about its future, which has been going on for over three months, has now effectively ended and that the final details of the statement are being worked on.

It was learned last night that Mr Adams, Sinn Fein's chief peace negotiator Martin McGuinness and Dail deputy and convicted gun-runner Martin Ferris have all resigned from the seven-man IRA army council.

Their posts have been filled by two men from Belfast and one from Tyrone, all of whom are closely aligned to the Adams-McGuinness group pushing the movement onto a purely political path.

The changes in personnel are also seen as part of the "sanitisation" process within Sinn Fein as the party prepares to present itself as a democratic body that is ready to play a full part in political developments north and south of the Border.

None of the new appointees is a member of Sinn Fein but all are regarded within the Provisionals as militarists with proven records.

One of them is a hunger striker from Belfast and he has been on the IRA's headquarters staff with responsibility for the "engineering" department.

The second is also from Belfast and had criminal convictions in the past for possession of explosives, while the third is regarded as the IRA commander in the Tyrone region.

The make-up of the rest of the army council remains unchanged and South Armagh hardliner Tom "Slab" Murphy continues as the organisation's chief of staff, a post he has held since an IRA executive meeting in Falcarragh, Co Donegal, in October 1997 - a summit which resulted in the resignation of Michael McKevitt and the subsequent formation of the dissident Real IRA.

Speculation about radical personnel moves within the IRA have been rife since Mr Adams started a series of internal discussions at all levels of the Provisional movement with his suggestion that it should abandon all paramilitarism and concentrate exclusively on the political path forward.

Intelligence sources last night confirmed that the changes had taken place and described them as the biggest shake-up at the top in the past eight years.

With no overlapping at leadership level, Sinn Fein figures can now argue that the two wings of the movement cannot be accused of being "joined at the hip", although the new army council members are regarded as totally loyal to Adams-McGuinness - where the real Provisional power base remains.

The appointments also mean that seven militarists will be seen as approving the change of direction to be announced in the imminent statement from the IRA rather than coming from a council dominated by Sinn Fein figures.

In the wake of the London bombings, and with an increasingly hostile climate both here and in Britain towards terrorist violence, the Provisional movement is understood to have decided that this is the right time to move into a new mode.

Since Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and Foreign Affairs Minister Dermot Ahern had an hour-long meeting in Drumcondra eight days ago with Mr Adams, things have moved quickly.

It is known that contacts between the Government and Sinn Fein have been continuing in the background on a daily basis as hopes have again arisen of a positive statement.

Final acts of decommissioning by the movement would be a key part of the expected statement, which has been delayed partly because of difficulties around the Twelfth of July Orange parades and by the return to jail by Northern Secretary Peter Hain of Shankill bomber Sean Kelly.

It is understood most of the IRA stockpile of weaponry is now located at a couple of arms dumps and could be disposed of quickly.

Former Canadian General, John de Chastelain, who heads the International Independent Commission on Decommissioning, is known to be in Ireland at the moment.

His word would be necessary for the independent verification of arms disposal, as with earlier acts of decommissioning by the IRA.

An IRA statement declaring an end to paramilitarism and criminality could also help pave the way for the restoration of the Northern institutions, although the DUP would be unlikely to engage in talks with Sinn Fein until early next year at the earliest.

Dr Ian Paisley and other senior Unionists have expressed scepticism about whether the IRA statement would go so far as to call a final halt to all paramilitary operations.

And it would wait for assurances from the International Monitoring Commission over a period of several months that all IRA paramilitary activity, recruitment and surveillance had completely stopped before going into talks.

Tom Brady and Gene McKenna

'Rossport Five' supporters to protest in Dublin today


23/07/2005 - 09:52:43

Supporters of the jailed Mayo men known as the “Rossport Five” are taking their campaign to the streets of the capital today.

The five were jailed for contempt-of-court after refusing to back-down in their protest action against oil-giant Shell's construction of a high pressure gas pipeline through their lands.

All five are now entering their fourth week behind bars at Cloverhill Prison where they are likely to remain for the foreseeable future unless they purge their contempt

Protest organiser Eoin O’Broin said that their supporters remain as determined as ever: “There is a growing momentum behind this campaign to get the five men released and also to have the whole refining process moved out to sea in shallow water, where it really should have been in the first place.”

Attack on city church 'sectarian'


A petrol bomb attack on a Catholic church in north Belfast is being treated as sectarian, police have said.

Two devices were thrown at Holy Cross Church and monastery at about 0200 BST on Saturday. One caused damage to the roof at the back of the building.

A third petrol bomb was thrown when the police and fire crews arrived. Stones were also thrown at the police.

Parish priest Father Aidan Troy said he was thankful that no-one was injured in the petrol bombings.

"The damage was at the rear and there wasn't a huge amount of damage done," he said.

"Obviously there was a certain amount of water damage because of the need to extinguish a little fire that had started, but thank goodness the damage is of a limited nature.

"We'll have it assessed in more professional detail later today."

22 July 2005

The Claudia

An Phoblacht

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click to view - Joe Cahill with his republican comrades

On the first anniversary of the death of leading Irish republican Joe Cahill, An Phoblacht looks back at one of the episodes with which Joe was always associated in the public imagination — The Claudia affair.

In 1972, 29-year-old Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi made contact with leading Irish republican Joe Cahill through the Breton artist and sculptor Yann Goulet. The purpose of the approach was an offer of material assistance to the IRA whose struggle against British occupation of the Six Counties was reaching a new intensity.

Yann Goulet was an interesting figure in his own right. A leading member of the Separatist Movement in Brittany during the Second World War, he had many narrow escapes in the struggle against the German forces occupying France. Goulet was eventually imprisoned and went on hunger strike. On his release, his political activities again led him to be hunted by both Germans and French. Condemned to death in his absence, Goulet fled France for Ireland.

In relation to his dealings with Ireland and Irish republicans, Muammar Gaddafi insisted on dealing only with Joe Cahill, whom he respected and believed he could trust. Joe's nerve in appearing at a Belfast press conference while on the run, and his high international media profile following his deportation from the United states, had drawn the attention of the Libyan leader.

Of the initial meeting with a Libyan representative Joe Cahill said: "Jack McCabe, the IRA's Quartermaster General, and I eventually met him and we talked through an interpreter. The emissary told us that Gaddafi was very interested in the Irish question, would like to help and would like to meet me and whoever else came with me."

Not a lot came of the initial contact as the IRA leadership appeared to have other irons in the fire in relation to the acquisition of arms. However, contact with the Libyans was eventually re-established through Yann Goulet and arrangements put in place for Joe Cahill to go to Triploi, the Libyan capital.

The IRA put two teams into place, one making arrangements for a four-man group to travel incognito to Libya; another setting about providing passports.

Cahill flew out of County Cork to France in a small four-seater private plane.

At another small airport in France he was picked up and taken by car to Paris. With three others Joe Cahill then set off for Rome. From Rome the group flew to Tripoli where they were met by Libyan officials.

After a five or six-day wait for Gaddafi who was away from the capital, the group were eventually taken to a military barracks for a meeting with him. Cahill was impressed by Gaddafi's grasp of Irish affairs and the situation in the Six Counties. Although he had good English he refused to speak it and spoke through an interpreter instead. He said he did not understand why the IRA delegation spoke in English, the language of the state they were fighting. He agreed with the cause of a United Ireland and offered to help the IRA. Cahill made it very clear that there could be no question of having any strings attached to the help being offered. However, no such probe arose and Gaddafi was genuine in his offer of assistance. Cahill then gave a detailed list of what the IRA was seeking in terms of weaponry it felt would make an impact on British forces in the Six Counties.

A man known merely as 'the German' organised the leasing of the Cyprus-registered boat called The Claudia. Initially, its cargo was to contain 40-tonnes but the Claudia headed out to sea with only a small quantity of five tonnes. The reason for the reduced shipload was that the Libyans were concerned about the ship and its reputation and had done some investigating into its history. They discovered that The Claudia had a notorious international reputation and had been involved in other smuggling operations

It was decided that Joe Cahill and two of his colleagues would make the journey back to Ireland on board the vessel, as this would be their safest route home. The captain was a man by the name of Hans Ludwig Fleugel, and his brother was the first mate.

Of this aspect of the operation Joe Cahill said: "I have no idea what the finer details were that lay behind the acquiring of the ship. What I do know is that we left it entirely up to the German. Our people had met the Libyans before I went out, and it was decided that a boat should be moored outside Libyan territorial waters and the stuff could be transported at sea. After I had met Gaddafi, we arranged that a radio signal from The Claudia, by this time just outside the limits, would let us know when to give the Libyans the go-ahead to head out to sea with the arms.

"When the people on board the Claudia could not make contact, they headed into Tripoli, which they should never have done. It was never intended that the boat would go into Triploi. That was to be the safeguard for the Libyans, but the ship arrived in the harbour and there was a bit of a panic. The Libyans were fair enough. They said they would load the ship where it was. However, for reasons which I did not discover until years later, they did not supply all they said they were going to supply."

The boat reached the Waterford coast but the republicans were frustrated when they were forced to stay at sea for another 24 hours due to adverse weather conditions. Equally frustrated were the awaiting groups at Helvick Head, watching out for The Claudia. The group on land had trouble of their own, as they were unable to establish radio contact with the vessel due to the same technological difficulties the boat experienced in Libya.

A launch boat had to make numerous trips in and out to sea, watching for sight of The Claudia so that they could safely escort her into the harbour. To explain the trips in and out, the "fishermen" said that they were having engine trouble and were trying to fix the problem. Unfortunately, one local was over helpful and wanted to help fix the engine. The men asked the friendly local man to go and source a new lead for them to keep him out of harm's way.

The land operation had its headquarters in a house overlooking Helvick Harbour. An Abbeyside man was Officer in Command and there was also an active service unit to escort the arms to dumps. In all, there was a 50-person plus team involved in the onshore operation.

On 28 March the watchers in the harbour spotted The Claudia and the launch was dispatched to meet her. The objective was to bring Clareman Denis McInerney to shore so that he could lead up the land operation by ensuring that the arms were brought to safety, and to bring walkie-talkies on board to establish contact between all parties as radio contact was impossible.

The arms were to be brought in with the help of a trawler and some specially made rope nets, which local Volunteers, who were staying in the house overlooking Helvick Harbour, had put together. These nets were designed to carry the weight of the arms shipment.

The people on board the launch informed the crew that all was clear on shore and there was not even a sign of a customs man around. While McInerney headed back to shore, one of the members of the launch, Gerry Murphy, stayed on board The Claudia.

Seán Garvey from Kerry, Joe Cahill and Gerry Murphy from Waterford were talking about the success of the operation when they noticed three ships from the Irish Naval Service — two minesweepers, Gráinne and Fola, and the fishery protection vessel, Deirdre. These boats had been following the gun smuggling operation. Earlier fears on the part of the republicans about a possible sighting of a submarine in the Mediterranean had been correct, as a submarine was spotted off the Island in Helvick.

With the help of newly-acquired radios The Claudia crew warned the people on the launch of the impending danger. So sudden and unexpected was the appearance of the Navy that the republicans had no chance to carry out a pre-arranged plan to scuttle the ship if there was a danger of the weapons being captured. Enough explosives had been provided to rip open The Claudia's hull, but they were not in a state of preparedness when the 26-County Navy struck.

The launch quickly tried to get ashore to warn the people waiting there. A package was thrown over the side as it tried to reach land. They were able to contact those on shore through the walkie-talkies that they had brought on board. The Navy vessels opened fire on the launch and numerous tracer bullets were rained down on them. The launch halted only when a rubber dinghy from one of the minesweepers pulled up alongside it and fired two shots at close range.

The people waiting onshore had to abort the operation and set about helping the active service unit to get away. They were escorted through fields to a safe house, where they laid low until things had quietened down a few days later.

The OC waited until a number of people gathered on the pier and headed down, along with a local fisherman, pretending to be an onlooker unaware of what all the fuss was about. The other members of the operation then slipped in the back way to Murray's pub where a party was taking taking place, as the owners had returned from honeymoon.

The Gardaí and Navy were all around the area. An armoured tank was placed opposite Murray's pub, with its gun pointing out to sea.

Two trucks were on their way to Helvick to collect the arms when they were stopped outside of Dungarvan by an armed Garda/military checkpoint. The drivers said that they were on their way to Waterford Co-op to collect powdered milk and the Gardaí let them pass through.

At the same time in Stradbally, a local man out doing a spot of salmon fishing was surrounded by armed Gardaí as he came ashore. He thought they were the bailiffs, while they thought he was involved in the Helvick operation. Once the Gardaí realised the mistake, the sergeant, a man with a thick Cork/Kerry accent, bought one of the fresh fish.

Back in Helvick on the night in question, one of the sharp-eyed Irish sailors had spotted the object being thrown over the side of the launch. A Navy diver was sent down in the following days but came up with nothing.

Local salmon fishermen spotted the mystery object and marked it with a buoy. A trawler then used a grappling hook while passing it and brought it on board. The object, two suitcases tied together with rope, contained a black box, which had great deal of money, £40-£50,000, in it, as well as a list of contact names and addresses throughout Europe. Also inside the box were the false passports, which had been used to go to Libya.

The money would have been a big loss to the IRA if it had fallen into the wrong hands, as it proved very important in organising future operations.

Also inside the cases were three copper plates, which had a man on camelback on them, a statue of the Arc De Triomphe, and a dagger, which Gaddafi had given to Joe Cahill.

These objects never found their way back to Joe Cahill's possession and can be found in and around the Ring area. Some items of clothing belonging to Joe Cahill were among the contents of the cases. His suit and a pair of shoes were cleaned and brought up to him for his appearance in the Special Court some time later.

The black box containing the money, passports and contact names, was carried up the pier by a crew member of the salmon trawler, known as having no republican connections and straight past the 24-hour guard that had been in place since The Claudia had been caught. This money, the passports and the list of contact details were handed back to the IRA, three weeks after The Claudia incident, in Fraher Field, Dungarvan.

The first journalist on the scene of The Claudia's capture was John A Murphy, then working for the Cork Examiner, accompanied by photographer Rory Wyley from Dungarvan.

The Claudia was arrested in Helvick and brought to Cobh, where it was searched and unloaded. Much to everyone's surprise, it was released. Joe Cahill, Seán Garvey and Gerry Murphy were all arrested in Cobh. The crew members of the launch, Ger Walsh and Donal Whelan, along with Denis McInerney, were brought into Helvick Pier and arrested there.

On 21 May 1973, Joe Cahill was sentenced to three years penal servitude. Denis McInerney from County Clare and Seán Garvey from Kerry each received a two-year sentence. Donal 'Duck' Whelan and Gerry Murphy, both from County Waterford, received suspended sentences of two years. Ger Walsh was acquitted in the case.

Both Gerry Murphy and Donal Whelan were suspended from their jobs. Gerry Murphy worked for the County Council while 'Duck' Whelan was a headmaster in Kilmacthomas Vocational School. He was suspended for seven years. Although his job was continually advertised no one ever applied to fill the position. When the seven years were up, there was one application from 'Duck' himself and he was reinstated.

During the trial, the court heard that the Claudia's cargo hold and lifeboats contained 250 rifles, 246 bayonets, 850 rifle magazines, 243 pistols, more than 20,000 rounds of ammunition, ten anti-tank mines, 500 high-explosive grenades, gelignite, TNT explosives primers, Carter fuses, electric fuses, and material for making booby traps.

In a speech from the dock of the court Joe Cahill said: "All my life I have believed passionately in the freedom of my country. I believe it is the God-given right of the people of Ireland to determine their own destinies without foreign interference and, in pursuit of these aims and ideals, it is my proud privilege as a soldier of the Irish Republican Army, just as I believe it is the duty of every Irish person, to serve or assist the IRA in driving the British occupation forces from our shores.

"If I am guilty of any crime, it is that I did not succeed in getting the contents of The Claudia into the hands of the freedom fighters in this country. And I believe that national treachery was committed off Helvick when the Free State forces conspired with our British enemies to deprive our freedom fighters of the weapons of war."

Remembering the Past - The Asgard

An Phoblacht


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Painting of Howth Harbour by Norman J. McCaig from here

On 24 April 1914 the unionist paramilitary Ulster Volunteers successfully imported into Ireland 10,000 Manlicher rifles, 9,100 Mauser rifles and 2,000,000 rounds of ammunition all purchased in Hamburg, Germany. The purpose of the importation was to oppose by violence any introduction of Home Rule for Ireland.

In London Eoin MacNeill met with some Anglo-Irish Protestants including Roger Casement, Alice Stopford Green, and Maura Comerford, and provoked by the success of the unionists they decided to respond in kind.

Three months later, on 3 July, the Asgard began a voyage that would see her sail into the pages of Irish history. On board Erskine Childers, Molly Childers, Mary Spring Rice and Gordon Shephard sailed the rifle-laden yacht for 21 days which took them right through the entire British Naval Fleet, then under review by the King of England at Spithead and weathering at least one severe storm

In Dublin, about 20 members of the IRB under the command of Cathal Brugha were sent to Howth early on the morning of Sunday 26 July with instructions to hire boats and generally look as much like tourists as possible. Their business was to receive the yacht, moor her and, in the event of any police interference, to deal with it. The Irish Volunteers met on Sunday morning at Father Matthew Park in Fairview, totalling 800 in all. They were told they were about to go on a route march to North Dublin.

Just 48 hours before Austria served an ultimatum on Serbia, the Asgard, with Molly at the helm, sailed into Howth. On the pier the Irish Volunteers, who had been kept in ignorance of their purpose there until the last moment broke ranks in their excitement. As the Volunteers began to unload the rifles a coastguard cutter was seen approaching and rifles were instantly raised by the IRB, and the cutter's crew, conceding that caution was the better part of valour, restricted themselves to firing rockets to alert a far too distant HMS Porpoise. Within half an hour the unloading was complete and the newly-armed Volunteers formed up to cheer the yacht out of the harbour. Two days later the Asgard and its occupants were in North Wales reading in an alarmed British Press about the landing of guns in Dublin.

Sadly, the gun running was not without further incident. On their way back to Dublin the Volunteers were accosted at Clontarf by police and a battalion of the Kings Own Scottish Borderers. Ordered to surrender their arms, the leaders, Thomas MacDonagh and Darrell Figgis cleverly argued while their men melted away one by one into the fields with their weapons, saving all but 19 of the rifles. The Scottish Battalion withdrew towards their barracks in Dublin followed by a growing, jeering crowd. At Batchelor's Walk on the Liffey Quays the soldiers came to attention and fired randomly into the crowd of civilians, killing three and wounding 38.

Of the 1,500 guns purchased by Darrell Figgis in Antwerp, Childers brought 900 to Howth. The other 600 and a portion of the ammunition were placed on Conor O'Briens yacht which sailed into Kilcoole on the 1 August 1914. Two years later in the streets of Dublin, the Howth rifles could be heard announcing Ireland's cry for freedom.

On Sunday 26 July 1914, 91 years ago, the Asgard sailed into Howth Harbour.

Heath will be remembered for Bloody Sunday role - McLaughlin

An Phoblacht

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Sinn Féin General Secretary, Mitchel McLaughlin has said that Ted Heath will always be remembered as the British Prime Minister who oversaw the events that led to the massacre of innocent civilians on the streets of Derry.

McLaughlin said: "It is ironic that Ted Heath should die on the same weekend as the last of the Mothers of the Bloody Sunday victims. Nancy McKinney, the mother of Willie McKinney, passed away yesterday and I extend my condolences and those of my party to the McKinney family.

"Whilst Mrs McKinney will be remembered by all with pride for the dignity with which she and all the other mothers and families displayed over the years since Bloody Sunday, Ted Heath will be remembered by the people of Ireland for the contempt with which he treated the families of the Bloody Sunday massacre and the people of Derry.

"It was Ted Heath who set the parameters for the Widgery Tribunal when he instructed the British Chief Justice when he appointed him to carry out an Inquiry to remember that they were fighting a 'propaganda war' as well as a military one. There never was any intention on the part of the Heath government to disclose the truth of what happened on Bloody Sunday.

"Right up until the end Heath showed nothing but contempt for the search for the truth. Even his appearances at the Saville Inquiry were contemptuous. Unfortunately, Heath's contempt denied all of the mothers of the victims the dignity of knowing the truth had finally been told before their deaths."

Recycling service 'very popular'


Council says fewer people sending waste to landfill sites

Belfast City Council has said that its enhanced recycling service is proving very popular with householders in the city.

Recycling bins were provided for 11,000 homes in south Belfast in June. They are collected on alternate weeks with the regular black bins.

The council has said that 60% of those people are now recycling waste rather than having it sent to landfill sites.

It is hoped that by next year everyone in the city will have the facility.

Tim Walker, head of waste management at the council, said people now have to adjust to new habits on the issue.

The blue recycling bins take paper, cardboard, plastic bottles, tins and cans.

The council also hopes 55,000 households will have brown bins for garden waste by next year.

Under EU regulations councils face large fines if recycling targets are not met.

Protests target Shell and Statoil

Daily Ireland

By LARRY LEVIN Dublin Correspondent

As five Mayo men enter the fourth week of imprisonment over their opposition to the Shell Corrib gas pipeline and with no end in sight to the controversy, their families and friends are calling for renewed nationwide protests in support of the men.
In Dublin today, supporters will be picketing 20 Statoil service stations throughout the city during the evening rush hour. Statoil is the Norwegian state oil company that has a large stake in the gas field off the Mayo coast, where the pipeline would originate before it comes onshore.
Also, Sinn Féin is calling for a day of action today and organising its own protests at Shell and Statoil stations throughout the country.
Tomorrow, a national demonstration is planned for Dublin. The Shell to Sea campaign, the lead organisation fighting the construction of the pipeline, is calling on supporters to gather at the Garden of Remembrance in Parnell Square at 2pm. The event will begin with a march down O’Connell Street to Trinity College and back to the GPO, where a rally will be held.
The campaign is now taking on a higher political profile in Dublin. For the first time, Labour party leader Pat Rabbitte will participate in a demonstration, joining tomorrow’s march and addressing the rally. He met with the men at Cloverhill prison on Wednesday and said he was “seriously disturbed about the way in which the orders against these five defendants were obtained”. Shell E&P Ireland brought the original court action against the imprisoned men.
Mr Rabbitte, a Mayo-born TD, questioned the legality of Shell’s actions.
“Neither construction nor installation of the pipeline by Shell were permissible. Yet the company somehow managed to get a court order restraining others from interfering with what would in fact have been unlawful acts on its part,” he said.
Meanwhile, Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny, a Mayo TD, is coming under increasing criticism. Maura Herrington, a spokeswoman for the Shell to Sea campaign, called Mr Kenny “increasingly irrelevant because he has shown no capacity to engage” with his constituents on the issue.
She says that campaign supporters have had little contact with him and that “in so far as we think of him at all, we wonder if he actually exists.
“Does he fully support Shell in their plans or does he support the citizens of his own constituency who want Shell to stay offshore? He should be able to state that,” she said.
The political stakes in the conflict also appear to be rising. Campaigners are no longer directing their anger solely at Shell and its partners in the project. Many are now laying the blame for the stalemate directly at the doorstep of Taoiseach Bertie Ahern.
“It’s not just Shell we’re fighting – it’s the government, up to and including the Taoiseach,” said Ms Harrington.
“The state, quite literally, is willing to throw its own citizens in a sparsely populated part of the country to the corporate dogs.
“The state considers the health, safety and welfare of its own citizens expendable to corporate wishes.”
Another Mayo TD, Independent Jerry Cowley, said the government was “colluding with Shell to allow Shell to do what it wants without any local planning permission.” He called it “a mockery of the whole system.”
Sinn Féin MP Pat Doherty is calling on Tyrone and Armagh GAA fans who will be travelling to Dublin for their match at Croke Park on Saturday to come early to support the march and join the rally.

Castlereagh: no charges

Daily Ireland

By Jarlath Kearney

The PSNI has failed to charge anyone after a highly sensitive security dossier “disappeared” from east Belfast’s Castlereagh barracks in July 2004, it can be revealed.
Daily Ireland has also learned that – barring three initial searches and one arrest – the PSNI has failed to order any follow-up searches or arrests in the explosive investigation for exactly 12 months.
It’s believed that 28 Royal Irish Regiment (RIR) soldiers ranging from major to private were removed from sensitive intelligence duties after the disappearance of the document from the Military Intelligence offices at the PSNI base was discovered.
Speaking to Daily Ireland yesterday, a British army spokesperson declined to elaborate on the current assignments of the 28 RIR soldiers claiming “it would be unfair to speculate”.
Nationalist politicians were incensed about the apparent theft of the intelligence document. British government officials telephoned members of the media throughout Belfast to advise that the apparent theft was a “non-story”.
The incident followed a previous burglary of intelligence documents at Castlereagh PSNI Special Branch office in March 2002.
On that occasion, the PSNI initially blamed an ‘inside job’ theory before attempting to throw suspicion onto republicans.
Over 30 high-profile raids and nine arrests took place in the days after the 2002 Castlereagh burglary, with extensive PSNI media briefings blaming the IRA for the incident. No one was charged.
By contrast, on Sunday, July 11, 2004, the PSNI issued a brief statement indicating that detectives “had been called to investigate” an alleged internal breach of security at Castlereagh barracks. A later British government statement confirmed that “there is an ongoing investigation into the disappearance of a document from a room in the Castlereagh Complex”.
At that time, just three premises were searched. Only one person was arrested before being released without charge. This individual was believed to be a serving RIR soldier.
It emerged that a highly-classified intelligence dossier containing the personal details of hundreds of citizens had gone missing from Castlereagh barracks.
A PSNI spokesperson confirmed to Daily Ireland yesterday that no subsequent searches or arrests have been ordered in the past 12 months.
“To date, one person has been arrested and subsequently released without charge. Three searches were carried out. Investigations into this incident are continuing,” the PSNI spokesperson said.
A British army spokesperson told Daily Ireland last night that “no soldiers were suspended from duty” over the affair.
“A number of personnel were assigned to other duties while the police investigation went on,” the spokesperson said.
Describing the reassignments as “quite normal”, the spokesperson continued: “We just gave them other jobs. I don’t know what they’re doing now. It would be unfair for me to speculate on what they’re doing now.”
The spokesperson said that the British army would “look at it [the case] when the police finish their investigation”.

115 homes evacuated due to fire


Firefighters were called to "a very severe" blaze

Residents of 115 homes in east Belfast have been moved and roads have been closed due to a major fire.

Fire crews were initially called to a blaze at a garage on the Avoniel Road shortly after 1430 BST.

At the height of the fire gas cylinders exploded threatening dozens of houses.

Fire Service area commander Chris Kerr said the fact houses close to the garage are still standing was a tribute to the courage of his firefighters.

He said when crews arrived they found a "very severe" fire in a garage which was threatening to spread rapidly to other garages.

"The houses adjacent to those garages were threatened by fire, the flames were literally bouncing off the roofs," Mr Kerr said.

He said it would be at least Saturday afternoon before the safety of residents of Avoniel Parade, Avoniel Drive and Avoniel Road, could be guaranteed in their homes.

Mr Kerr said firefighters, who had worked in very hot and punishing conditions, would remain in the area for some time.

The fire had been contained and firefighters would be moving in for their final attack on it, he added.

Monster bridge is halfway there

Irish Examiner

By Sean O’Riordan
22 July 2005

WHEN finished it will weigh an astonishing 29,000 tonnes and at 450 metres will be the longest bridge of its type ever built in Ireland.

Work is well underway on the crossing, left, of the Blackwater Valley as part of the €200 million construction of the Fermoy bypass, in north Cork.

Austrian company Straubag is nearly halfway through building the monster bridge which will be 8.1 metres above the river.

Sections of concrete are being cast on the southern side of the river.

“They are jacked up bit-by-bit and then launched across. There are two separate bridges. Each will be dual carriageway with an emergency lane,” said Christopher James, who is general manager of the main contractors, Direct Route.

The bridge, which will cost over €20 million, is by far the largest of 18 which are being built along the 17.5km road.

It will join the Watergrasshill bypass in the south with the existing N8, two miles north of Fermoy near Moorepark.

“In total the bridge will weigh approximately 29,000 tonnes and will have steel reinforcements of 2,000 tonnes,” Mr James said.

The contract signed between the National Roads Authority and Direct route is for the whole bypass to be completed by the summer of 2007.

However, Mr James said yesterday it was possible this date will be brought forward.

It will be the first toll road in Co Cork.

Parties clash over Kelly release


The SDLP refused to back a call for Sean Kelly's release

Nationalist and republican councillors in Derry have clashed over a call for the release of Shankill bomber Sean Kelly.

SDLP councillors refused to back a Sinn Fein motion at Thursday's council meeting calling for the north Belfast man to be freed from prison.

The party said Kelly should only be freed if "there was no evidence against him".

Sinn Fein has launched a campaign calling for his release.

Derry SDLP councillor Pat Ramsey said the Northern Ireland secretary had "very good reason to make a full disclosure to the public" about Kelly's arrest.

"Let us all be made aware of the circumstances that led to the revoking of his licence and imprisonment at the present time," he said.


Sinn Fein councillor Paul Fleming criticised Kelly's re-arrest because "his role at sectarian interfaces was nothing but positive".

"He has been arrested at the behest of the rantings of anti-agreement unionists facilitated by securocrats," he added.

DUP MP Gregory Campbell said Kelly should not have been given early release under the Good Friday Agreement.

"The issue isn't one of Sean Kelly helping old ladies across the road or being a social worker. This man is a mass killer. He never should have been released from jail in the first place," he said.

Sean Kelly was one of two men who left a bomb in a shop which killed nine civilians and his IRA accomplice.

His early licence was revoked last month and he was returned to prison by Secretary of State Peter Hain on the basis of a security dossier.

SHOOT TO KILL: Man shot dead at tube station


Staff and agencies
Friday July 22, 2005

The scene outside Stockwell tube station in London after a man was shot dead by police. Photograph: Yui Mok/PA

Police today shot a man dead at Stockwell tube station in south London.

Scotland Yard said: "We can confirm that just after 10am armed officers entered Stockwell tube station. A man was challenged by officers and subsequently shot. London ambulance service attended the scene. He was pronounced dead at the scene."

A witness described the man being "shot dead" in front of him as an officer "unloaded five shots" from a pistol. Another witness said he heard were three shots.

Passenger Mark Whitby said he was sat on a Northern Line train when three plainclothes officers ran on in "hot pursuit" of an Asian man.

He told BBC News: "I heard lots of shouts of 'get down, get down'. I looked to my right and I saw an Asian man run on the train. As he ran on he half tripped."

He said the man was being pursued by three plainclothes officers who ran on just a few feet behind him.

The witness said one officer brought out a pistol in his left hand and "unloaded five shots into him". He said the shooting happened "five yards" away from him.

Asked what condition the man was in, Mr Whitby said: "He's dead ... I've just seen a man shot dead, I was distraught."

There was speculation the man may have been a would-be suicide bomber who had been followed by police. Mr Whitby said he did not see a bag, but the man had worn a bulky winter-style coat, and there may have been "something underneath it".

He said he then left the train where he saw 10 to 15 police officers armed with handguns and sub machine guns on the platform.

He said: "One of the police officers was holding a black automatic pistol in his left hand. They held it down to him and unloaded five shots into him. I saw it. He's dead, five shots, he's dead."

Journalist Chris Martin said he was waiting on the northbound Northern line platform at Stockwell station and a train had pulled in when several men burst on to the platform about 20 yards from him.

"There was a lot of shouting, I thought it was football fans or something," he said.

"There was obviously some sort of altercation going on, and then they came flying on to the platform and these guys just threw this man into the open doors of the train.

"Then I heard shots, I thought it was three but someone else said five. It sounded like a silencer gun going off, and then there was blind panic, with people shouting and screaming and just running away.

"I didn't actually see the gun, but I heard this 'bang, bang, bang'.

Another witness, Christopher Scaglione, 35, a fashion designer, was on a Victoria Line tube train shortly before the shooting.

He said: "The train didn't stop at Vauxhall and so I got out at Stockwell. I was just on my way out when I heard at first a little bang, not like a bomb more like a gun, and then people were shouting. People then started to run and I heard two or three more bangs like people shooting."

Another witness, Chris Wells, 28, said: "There were at least 20 of them [officers] and they were carrying big black guns ... The next thing I saw was this guy jump over the barriers and the police officers were chasing after him and everyone was just shouting 'get out, get out!"'

Today a large area around Stockwell tube station, which is an interchange for the Northern and Victoria lines, was cordoned off and traffic approaching the area ground to a halt.

An ambulance and several police cars were also at the scene and sirens were heard blaring in every direction.

Tube services on the Victoria and Northern lines were suspended following a request by the police, London Underground said.

The shooting comes as police are seeking four would-be suicide bombers who yesterday failed in an attempt to reproduce the carnage in the capital caused on July 7 when four suicide bombers murdered 52 people.

So far, there has been no official linking of today's shooting to the investigation into the terror attacks of yesterday or July 7.

South Belfast tops the poll for Invest NI hand-outs


By Joe Nawaz

South Belfast has come out tops in business investment hand-outs, it’s been revealed in a new report on funding distribution by Invest Northern Ireland (Invest NI).

The Invest NI corporate plan shows that for the year 2003 – 2004, Invest NI made 268 offers of financial assistance to businesses in the South of the city, amounting to nearly £26 million.

This figure outstrips every other region in the North and means that South Belfast received a massive 21.9 per cent of the total of £117 million inwardly invested by Invest NI that year.

And it looks like the money will keep on coming, with planned future Invest NI investment for South Belfast tabled at 22.8 percent of total expenditure.
In contrast, the second highest beneficiary, East Belfast, received £15,781,520 and third-placed West Belfast just over £8 million.

Sinn Féin MLA for South Belfast, Alex Maskey, said that the large figure was deceptive and did not represent the true amount invested in local regeneration.

“What we are seeing here is a large figure being quoted by Invest NI, but what amount of it is going towards social development?

“South Belfast has large areas of need as the recent government task force on the Village demonstrated. Places like the Markets, Donegall Pass and the lower Ormeau are badly in need of investment.”

He continued: “Part of the Invest NI remit is to address social need, but such a very small part of their budget goes towards that. If you look at other regions, which are getting even less than South Belfast, it means in whole that very little of the money will go where it is needed”

And the disparity with other regions is also worrying, added the former Lord Mayor. “There should be a ‘lift all boats’ policy of investment,” he said.

Meanwhile, Alliance Party representative for South Belfast, Allan Leonard, welcomed Invest NI's revised Corporate Plan, and countered complaints by the SDLP and Sinn Féin that Invest NI were targeting too much money into South Belfast.

“Invest NI’s report is a recognition of what Northern Ireland plc needs to be for the 21st century: a globally competitive economy with the right types of exportable goods and services,” he said.

“The geography of the Lagan River, with rail links at Central Station, regeneration of the Gas Works, and continual development around the Waterfront area, is a natural attraction for new and expanding business.”

He added: “Invest NI funds individual projects by its merits, and the assets of South Belfast contribute to success. As residents, we should be encouraged by the confidence in our area.

“Meanwhile, this attraction is all the more reason to ensure good community relations by being good citizens to each other and respecting and valuing the diversity of our neighbourhoods.”

Glyn Roberts, spokesperson for the Federation of Small Businesses, welcomed investment in South Belfast, but criticised the “disparity” of investment in other regions.

“We have nothing against investment in South Belfast, but the extent of the imbalance with other regions is alarming,” he said.

“I thought that the aim was to make a uniform economic improvement across the North, and these figures just don’t suggest that.”

A spokesperson for Invest NI attributed disproportionately large investment in South Belfast to the sums of money that the government agency had offered to high-profile, established businesses in the area.

Journalist:: Joe Nawaz

Sale of house hasn't a ghost of a chance

Belfast Telegraph

By Alan Erwin
22 July 2005

THE SALE of a house said to be haunted has been abandoned after protests by anxious neighbours, it has been revealed.

Housing Executive chiefs in Northern Ireland are facing demands to flatten the property which has been derelict since a terrified woman fled eight years ago.

Strange, unexplained noises have been heard in the house which, according to legend, was built on the site of an old horses' graveyard.

Signs of the occult were also spotted inside and attempts to block out trespassers failed when cement refused to set, according to a nervous homeowner living opposite.

Truck driver Brian Marshall (51) said: "There's some forces in there that won't allow it to be lived in. Whatever it is people round here believe it's causing bad harmony in the estate."

The house was in a block of four vacant properties put on the market on the Rockview Park estate in Moneymore, Co Derry. Residents claim new tenants refused to move in because they feared what lurked within.

The estate's reputation plummeted further after a man was killed last year outside a nearby property and two alleged paedophiles were hounded out.

But it is the unease that surrounds No 55 which dominated demands for a complete demolition.

A single mother-of-two who said she saw strange figures on the stairs and heard noises in the dead of night was met with sniggers until a neighbour came to stay with her, Mr Marshall claimed.

"They heard it too and she forced the Executive to rehouse her. It was never occupied again," he said.

"Young ones went in to mess once but didn't stay long because they said there was something strange about it.

"I laughed at them but went to see for myself and saw a small circle of stones about two feet in diameter and a Ouija board."

Mr Marshall and his wife Gemma were part of a residents' group that lobbied against Housing Executive bosses selling it to a private developer because they suspected anti-social tenants would be moved in without any checks.

At a meeting with chief executive Paddy McIntyre earlier this year he was urged to get rid of all four addresses.

Despite suspecting a secret deal has been done to sell the lot for £250,000, the authority insisted no agreement had been reached.

And a Housing Executive spokeswoman disclosed: "Following representations from the local community, the properties have been withdrawn from the market."

She added: "I cannot confirm information or knowledge of the property at 55 Rockview Park being haunted."

But political representatives insisted it should be removed immediately to soothe frayed nerves.

Mid Ulster SDLP Assembly member Patsy McGlone said: "This is a vacant, derelict block and the only thing put to it should be a JCB digger.

"It's an eyesore and there's concern among residents that it will go into the private sector without any control over who comes into it."

Hunger strike at Guantanamo Bay


22 July 2005 11:11

US military officials have confirmed that 52 prisoners being held at the Guantanamo Bay camp in Cuba have gone on hunger strike.

According to human rights campaigners the protest is against inhumane conditions, indefinite detention and the lack of legal representation at the detention facility.

The authorities say that, so far, the men had refused nine meals over three days and were being monitored by medical professionals.

The Centre for Constitutional Rights, a US human rights group based in New York, issued a statement this week that said hunger strikes have been going on at the US prison camp in Guantanamo Bay since late last month.

The news coincides with the release, this week, of eight detainees from the base on Wednesday.

The Associated Press in the US has quoted two of the released as saying that some 180 men are on hunger strike at the camp.

The International Committee of the Red Cross is scheduled to send a delegation to the camp next week.

510 men are being held in Guantanamo Bay. Some have been held for over three years without trial.

21 July 2005

Board cuts youth jobs

Daily Ireland

by Ciarán Barnes

Twenty-eight youth workers in Belfast are to lose their jobs as part of cost-cutting introduced by the debt-ridden Belfast Education and Library Board.
The decision to axe the posts will halve the number of youth workers employed by the board. It came on the same day that the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children announced that a quarter of all suicides in Ireland involved children.
The job losses are to begin taking effect at the end of August. Most of the jobs being lost are in north and west Belfast, the areas with the highest rate of suicide among young people.
Phil McTaggart of the group Public Initiative for the Prevention of Suicide and Self-Harm said: “Axing youth worker jobs when suicide and self-harm rates among young people are so high is madness.
“Youth workers are often the first people kids with problems turn to. They are an essential service and we need more of them, not less.”
West Belfast youth worker Stephen Hughes said: “This will have a massive impact on the most deprived areas in the city. It is these communities where youth workers are needed most, keeping kids away from drugs and crime.
“To come in and suddenly tell 28 people, who have been doing a great job that they are not needed any longer is scandalous.”
Sinn Féin education spokesman Michael Ferguson has been meeting youth worker representatives for the last two days.
“At the end of August, half of the entire workforce from both the statutory and voluntary youth sectors in Belfast will be gone. The British government needs to get real about educational provision and provide a real budget that supports learning from the nursery and school to the youth club,” he said.
An education board spokesperson said: “The board has been in discussion with the Department of Education for some time regarding ways of continuing to fund this work, and a deputation met with the Department of Education in June to discuss this matter. These positive discussions are continuing.
“The Department of Education has made money available and the board is hopeful that further funding can be found to continue with this important work.”

Mental hell of sectarian attacks

Daily Ireland

By Jarlath Kearney

Young nationalists in east Belfast are encountering high levels of physical stress and mental health problems as a result of sectarian attacks, a Short Strand interface worker said yesterday.
Paul Brennan was speaking to Daily Ireland ahead of a conference being organised by the anti-collusion lobby group An Fhírinne, due to be held on August 4.
The Youth for Truth conference is billed as the first stage in a new all-Ireland strategy highlighting the negative impact of state agencies on young people from nationalist backgrounds.
Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams will be one of those addressing the conference. Speakers at the event will also include Deirdre McAliskey, who witnessed a loyalist assassination attack on her parents Bernadette and Michael at their Tyrone home in 1980.
A representative of the 1974 Dublin and Monaghan bombing victims is scheduled to attend.
Paul Brennan will address the event about the ongoing difficulties around interface areas.
He told Daily Ireland yesterday that the importance of the conference “should not be underestimated”.
“For eight continuous months in 2002, homes and houses in Short Strand were constantly attacked, day and daily.
“Because of its locality and size, the threat to the area has always been there, but the intensive and relentless nature of the siege had a profound effect on young people,” Mr Brennan said.
In May 2002, the Short Strand area was “subjected to a physical and psychological siege by loyalists from across east Belfast, aided by state forces”, he said.
During the first days of the incident, Sinn Féin Belfast chairman Paud Devenny had his skull fractured in two places after being attacked by PSNI riot squads that had invaded the area.
Throughout the following eight months, residents were prevented from freely accessing medical, social and even educational facilities outside the immediate area. On one occasion, Short Strand residents were physically assaulted and ousted from a clinical surgery on Bryson Street by loyalists.
The main area of sustained conflict in the Short Strand was at the loyalist Cluan Place and nationalist Clandeboye Gardens interface. As the interface violence escalated, more than 100 pipe and petrol bombs were thrown into the Short Strand. Both republicans and loyalists fired weapons across the interface.
Mr Brennan said this catalogue of events must be seen in the context of British government assurances in the 1998 Good Friday Agreement that every citizen should be allowed to live free from sectarian harassment.
“While there is a focus on the direct impact of collusion and state killing on young people through the experience of older family members, the indirect impact of loyalist activities, which frequently have the support of the state, at interface areas also needs to be heard,” Mr Brennan said.
“In 1994 when the ceasefire was called, many of today’s teenagers were only toddlers and so have had a totally different sense of politicisation from that which young people in the 1980s and early 1990s experienced.
“Today’s teenagers growing up in interface areas are seeing sectarianism with their own eyes, particularly in incidents like the siege of Short Strand.
“However, because of the localised and low-intensity role of the state, there is not necessarily the same opportunity for public discussion that may have existed for young people previously.
“For state agencies like the PSNI to acquiesce over recent years as young nationalists and their families were prevented from accessing essential services like doctors or shops leaves an ongoing and deep-seated legacy.”
Mr Brennan said significant work was being conducted through interface networks, cross-community activity and single-identity projects.
“Despite that positive community work, the reality is that many young people in Short Strand are now suffering from depression, anxiety, fear, insomnia and even an inability to sleep in their own homes as a direct result of the siege.
The media also have significant questions to answer about their attempts to portray interface violence as merely tit-for-tat, Mr Brennan added.
The Youth for Truth conference is one of the key events in this year’s Féile an Phobail and takes place at St Mary’s University College on west Belfast’s Falls Road on August 4.

‘IRA will not split’

Daily Ireland

By Conor McMorrow

A leading Queen’s University academic and author of books on the IRA maintains that members of the Provisional movement will not defect to dissident groupings after the forthcoming IRA statement.
Professor Richard English said a positive statement would be truly historic and rank alongside Eamon de Valera’s moves in the 1920s.
In recent weeks, particularly around the Twelfth, there has been a marked increase in dissident republican activity across the North.
Daily Ireland revealed last week that the Continuity IRA was responsible for throwing blast bombs during the riots at Ardoyne shops in north Belfast on July 12.
However, Professor English, author of Armed Struggle: The History of the IRA, said: “When mainstream Irish republican organisations end their violence, there is always a danger that some of their former members will carry on violence in other groups, but the Provisional movement has been very successful at keeping republicans on side with its peace process initiatives, and I think the same will happen here,” he said.
“Some volunteers may defect but there will not be sufficient numbers or sufficient support to make dissident groups able to act at the kind of level at which the Provos used to operate militarily.”
Professor English added: “Any statement which genuinely signifies the end of the Provisional IRA violence will be truly historic. It will rank alongside the significance of the kind of move made by de Valera in the 1920s or the ceasefire declaration of 1994.
“What happens next has tended to fall just below what unionists want, and I suspect that — in the short term at least — that might happen again now. In other words, even a significant IRA statement might still leave us in political stalemate for the present.”
Professor English, who also wrote Ernie O’Malley: IRA Intellectual, said a positive statement from the IRA in the coming weeks would see republicanism move in a new direction.
“There’s no doubt that republicans have been able to achieve things after the ceasefires which they would not have achieved if the armed struggle was still ongoing. In this sense, republicanism has already gained much from the shift towards more conventional politics,” he said.
“For example, in terms of the kind of votes Sinn Féin now win, there have been great gains. A final ending of the IRA’s violence will allow for the further broadening of this support base, since there are many nationalists who would not vote for the political wing of a movement still killing 50 people a year who might well vote for a post-IRA Sinn Féin.”
The academic concluded: “International conditions are also worth considering. Just as the attacks of 9/11 hastened the IRA’s first decommissioning gesture, so the context after the recent London bombs tends to point serious political movements away from violence.”

Consumer bodies see red over Celia's new job

Irish Independent

Isn't this special???

Ms Larkin has insisted she has the necessary skills and experience - **Yes, I bet she has...

THE controversy over Celia Larkin's nomination by Taoiseach Bertie Ahern to a State board brought fresh calls yesterday for the setting up of an independent body to make such appointments.

And the Consumers' Association of Ireland (CAI) stepped up its criticism of the appointment of the Taoiseach's former partner to the interim board of the National Consumer Agency, saying this was done at the expense of one of its representatives.

It said its work on behalf of consumers should have entitled it to a place on the board. The Government said on Tuesday that at least five of the 12 board members are closely linked to consumer groups. Green Party leader Trevor Sargent led the campaign for the setting up of an independent Public Appointments Commission "to, at minimum, assess appointments to State boards".

"In the past, successive governments have used the practice to reward party supporters, many of whom have little or no expertise. It is equally unfair to leave a competent person open to a charge of political cronyism by appointing a person in this manner," he said.

"We believe it is time to end the practice and hand the job over to an independent body. There are many able leaders, not only in the private sector but also at non-governmental organisation and civil society level who would make excellent contributions to State boards but who are denied because of the present unfair system."

Mr Sargent said he was extremely disappointed that the CAI, "which has represented consumer interests in Ireland for nearly 40 years", had no representative on the new National Consumer Agency.

"Effectively, this has now left a political cuckoo in the new NCA nest. The system is old-fashioned, archaic and rightly open to charges of political cronyism. . . . the Green Party want to ensure appointments are open, transparent and independent of political interference."

Mr Sargent said that before the cabinet reshuffle in late September last year there were reports that six ministers rewarded supporters with nearly 60 State posts before they were moved or left Cabinet jobs.

The original 12-member interim board was named by Enterprise, Trade and Employment Minister Micheal Martin on June 6.

But it was only a fortnight ago that Mr Ahern made the nomination from the Taoiseach's Department.

Ms Larkin has insisted she has the necessary skills and experience.

Gene McKenna
Political Editor

Thugs face two years' jail for attacking firefighters


21/07/2005 - 14:29:59

Thugs who attack firefighters in the North face up to two years in jail under tough new plans, it was warned today.

Public safety minister Shaun Woodward announced a zero-tolerance approach to gangs ambushing crew members on a near daily basis.

He pledged: “I am not prepared to tolerate such attacks and intend to punish those people who think it is acceptable to endanger the lives of firefighters.

“Those who continue to carry out these mindless attacks will now face the threat of going to court and a possible prison sentence.”

The government revealed last month there had been more than 2,500 attacks on the emergency services over the past 12 months, including 301 on Fire Service members.

Under the Draft Fire and Rescue Services legislation it will be an offence to assault crews as they carry out duties.

The draft plans, which will go out to consultation, also requires the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service to provide assistance at road crash scenes.

But it was the heavy punishments for vandals that drew the greatest response.

The most serious offenders could be jailed for up to two years and face unlimited fines, while penalties for the less severe would be six months imprisonment and/or a £5,000 (€7,200) fine.

“Firefighters work to protect us. I want to ensure that they are also given every protection while they work,” added Mr Woodward.

His announcement was praised by Jim Barbour of the Fire Brigades Union.

Mr Barbour, who met the minister to express concern at the attacks, said: “This is a daily problem.

“Only last night we had another attack on firefighters in north Belfast, and at the weekend in the sleepy village of Killyleagh there were three separate attacks.

“The FBU raised this issue with the Minister at Stormont and we are pleased to see he has listened to us.

“It’s a step forward and seems robust, but legislation was already long overdue.”

London blasts cause chaos on Tube


The Tube has been plunged into chaos and several stations evacuated after minor blasts on three trains and a bus.


Murder attempt 'may have been part of loyalist feud'


21/07/2005 - 08:41:38

Police in Belfast were today investigating the possibility that an overnight murder attempt at a house in the city may have been part of a bitter loyalist paramilitary feud.

A number of shots were fired through a bathroom window at the rear of the house in Avonorr Drive in east Belfast shortly after midnight.

A man in his 30s was on his own in the house at the time of the attack.

A dark-coloured Rover car was found burnt out in nearby Bendigo Street one hour later.

Detectives were investigating a possible link between it and the shooting.

While police said they were keeping an open mind on the motive for the attack, they were looking at the possibility that the shooting was part of a feud between the Ulster Volunteer Force and the rival Loyalist Volunteer Force, which has already claimed two lives in the city.

Last week Craig McCausland, 20, was shot dead at the house he shared with his partner and two children in north Belfast.

His family has denied he had any link to the LVF or any other terror group.

It was the second tragedy to hit the family. Mr McCausland’s mother, Lorraine, was believed to have been beaten to death by members of the loyalist Ulster Defence Association in March 1987 near a drinking club.

Earlier this month 25-year-old Jameson Lockhart was gunned down as part of the feud as he worked on a building site in east Belfast.

The attack was also blamed on the UVF.

There have been a number of other incidents, including the shooting several times of a man walking two dogs on the Crumlin Road in north Belfast on the same night Mr McCausland was murdered.

The UVF was also blamed for a gun attack on a house in east Belfast on Monday.

The feud has once again put the links between the Progressive Unionist Party, which has one Assembly member, and the UVF and Red Hand Commando, under the spotlight.

Northern Secretary Peter Hain said yesterday he was considering withholding the party’s Assembly allowance for another year following a report in May which indicated the UVF and Red Hand Commando remain involved in organised crime, violent and active.

Mr Hain gave the PUP a week to make a case to him for the allowances to be given to them.

PUP leader David Ervine described the fine as unjust and challenged the British government to have him arrested if it believed his party had a say over what the UVF and Red Hand Commando did.

The East Belfast Assembly member said no member of the PUP’s leadership had ever been accused of being on the governing authority of the UVF or Red Hand Commando.

“That allegation has never been put in our direction,” he said. “So why should we punished?”

The PUP leader said he wanted to hear directly from Mr Hain why exactly the British government was thinking about taking further action against the party.

He was also dismissive of the four-member Independent Monitoring Commission which monitors paramilitary activity and which is made up of former Northern Ireland Assembly Speaker Lord Alderdice, retired Irish civil servant Joe Brosnan, ex-Metropolitan Police anti-terrorist squad chief John Grieve and ex-CIA deputy director Richard Kerr.

“I want to hear what are his (Peter Hain’s) intelligence services telling the IMC?

“The IMC is an annoyance, a trial by four horsemen riding Shetland ponies.”

McBrearty family demands apology


21/07/2005 - 10:35:38

The McBrearty family demanded a public apology today from Minister for Justice Michael McDowell after he accused them of trying to blackmail and bully him.

The family was involved in a heated debate with Mr McDowell at the Magill Summer School in Glenties, Co Donegal.

Frank McBrearty Jr said Mr McDowell was now using the same tactics as the corrupt Garda officers who attempted to frame him for the murder of cattle dealer Richie Barron in October 1996.

“I would ask him to withdraw the allegations that we blackmailed and bullied him because we didn’t blackmail anybody. My family will not stand back and let Mr McDowell bully us,” he said.

He added that his family had been bullied by the State for nine years.

The Morris Tribunal is to investigate the campaign of harassment conducted against the McBrearty family during the Richie Barron investigation, which included defamatory posters and graffiti in their home town of Raphoe in Co Donegal, inspections by gardaí of their pub night after night and bomb scares.

Mr McBrearty and his father Frank Senior became involved in an argument with Mr McDowell at the Magill summer school yesterday, when they asked him why he had not guaranteed his legal costs at the Morris Tribunal.

Mr McDowell said: “I have to stand up for the authority of that tribunal.”

Mr McBrearty Jr: “You have to stand up for the people of Ireland who you represent.”

Mr McDowell: “Yes exactly, and when it came to Superintendent Kevin Lennon (who was sacked from the Garda last year) and others, they went to the High Court demanding I pay their fees in advance.”

Mr McBrearty Jr: “We’re no Supt Lennon. We’re innocent people.”

Mr McDowell: “Just listen to me. They went to the High Court demanding that I write out cheques to their lawyers in advance.”

Frank McBrearty Sr: “They should have been jailed, the people who broke the law.”

Mr McDowell denied claims from the McBreartys that he was lying to them and added: “I will not be blackmailed out of that position. I will not be bullied by you in these circumstances.”

The McBrearty family has vowed not to return to the Morris Tribunal, which still has to investigate the circumstances of their arrests by gardaí, until their legal costs are guaranteed.

Human Rights Commission to probe CIA agreement


21/07/2005 - 09:48:17

The Irish Human Rights Commission is to examine an agreement which will allow CIA agents to secretly question Irish citizens on Irish soil, it emerged today.

The bilateral instruments, signed by Minister for Justice Michael McDowell and the US Ambassador to Ireland James C Kenny last week, provide for sweeping powers to be given to the US authorities on request, including the right to seize documents, check bank accounts and carry out searches of property.

The Irish Human Rights Commission (IHRC) said it would be examining the agreement, which was drawn up to assist the US “war on terror” in the wake of September 11.

“When we establish the facts, we will be looking to see if there are any implications for breaches of human rights,” said president Dr Maurice Manning.

He said that one of the IHRC’s functions was to examine any proposed legislation for breaches of human rights.

Mr McDowell has said that legislation will be required to give effect to some elements of the bilateral instruments on “Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters”.

The instruments, which were published on the Department of Justice’s website last week, clearly state that the requested party (Ireland) shall allow American representatives (such as CIA agents) to sit in on interviews of suspects arrested on Irish soil and ask questions.

Unionists condemn planned republican internment march


21/07/2005 - 10:19:24

Unionists in Ballymena have condemned republican plans to stage a march to commemorate the 34th anniversary of internment in the Co Antrim town.

The organisers have submitted an application to the Parades Commission for a march on August 9.

Sinn Féin has insisted that the nationalist community just wants a peaceful parade, but the DUP has claimed it will lead to trouble if allowed to go ahead.

Party spokesman Ian Paisley Jr said: "This will turn into a pro-IRA march which cause only resentment.

"That's just being stupid and it will cause problems and turmoil."

DUP criticises approval of three Irish-language schools


21/07/2005 - 07:48:55

The Democratic Unionist Party has criticised a decision by the British government to approve three new Irish-language schools in the North.

Party spokesman Sammy Wilson said there was no need to create new primary schools when there were already 45,000 surplus school places.

He said the problem was part of the legacy of the Ulster Unionist Party's time in government with Sinn Féin.

Sinn Féin and the SDLP have both accused him of using the Irish language as a political football and have insisted that parents should have the right to choose the type of education they want for their children.

Ceasefire watchdog to probe feud


The UVF has been linked to a number of attacks

The feud between the UVF and LVF is to be examined by the body that oversees the ceasefires of Northern Ireland's paramilitary groupings.

The Independent Monitoring Commission has told the two governments the murders resulting from the feud will be a particular focus of inquiry for it.

It comes as loyalist sources link the UVF to a gun attack in east Belfast.

Shots were fired into a house at Avonorr Drive in the lower Newtownards Road area.

A man, who is in his 30s, escaped injury when bullets came through the bathroom window of his house.

Police said they are treating the shooting as attempted murder.

A car was found burnt out nearby in Bendigo Street about an hour later.

East Belfast assembly member Robin Newton said paramilitaries "who pretend to represent the people," should be listening to what they are saying.

"They are saying, they don't want violence on their streets.

"They are concerned about the welfare of the children, they are concerned about the welfare of the elderly," he said.

A police spokesperson said they were keeping an open mind about the motive for the attack, but it is understood one line of inquiry is that it is linked to the loyalist feud.


The incident comes two days after shots were fired at a house in the Sydenham area of east Belfast, in an attack also linked to a row between the Ulster Volunteer Force and Loyalist Volunteer Force.

Escalating tensions between the loyalist paramilitary groupings has already claimed the lives of two men.

Craig McCausland, 20, was shot by the UVF at his girlfriend's house in north Belfast last week - he later died in hospital.

The UVF believed he was a member of the rival LVF, but his family have strongly denied he had links to any paramilitary group.

Earlier this month, Jameson Lockhart, also from north Belfast, was shot as he sat in a lorry in east Belfast.

The UVF was also linked to that killing.

The Independent Monitoring Commission was set up by the British and Irish Governments in 2004.

Its role is to report on activity by paramilitary groups; the normalisation of security measures and on claims by assembly parties that other parties, or ministers in a devolved executive, are not living up to the standards required of them.

It can recommend that the government impose sanctions on those it feels are not fulfilling their role.

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