30 July 2005

Man is shot dead in 'feud' attack


A man has been shot dead and a second man injured in a gun attack in north Belfast.

It is understood the shooting happened at Wheatfield Crescent off the Crumlin Road at about 1740 BST.

A loyalist source has told the BBC that the shooting is part of the continuing loyalist paramilitary feud.

The BBC has also been told that the victim was linked to the Loyalist Volunteer Force. The police said their investigation was at an early stage.

Loyalists to hold internal meetings

Belfast Telegraph

UDA may try to buy concessions

By Brian Hutton
30 July 2005

UVF mural on the Newtownards Road in east Belfast - BBC

THE IRA statement that it is to end its 36-year campaign of violence is being treated as a "watching brief" by the two main loyalist paramilitary groups - the UDA and the UVF.

Both organisations will hold internal meetings in the coming days to discuss strategy in light of the development.

The UVF has already begun discussions on its future - similar to the internal IRA talks prior to its standing down - but these are on hold because of its deepening feud with the LVF.

A source close to the UVF told the Belfast Telegraph that "a high-level round of consultations" between the leadership and grass-roots members began 12 months ago.

The source said: "The UVF couldn't make a comprehensive decision on its future due to the activities of the LVF.

"I'd say in a few months time that the LVF won't be there anymore and once this problem has been dealt with the consultations will begin again."

He added: "It was decided that if [the IRA] were going to go away the UVF were going to deal with some people before they went away too."

Some elements within the UVF are trying to nurture community development and politics at a grass roots level.

Although discussions have yet to be concluded it is believed that in the event of "active service units" standing down the leadership would favour retaining some sort of civilian organisation.

One thing that seems certain from the talks to date is that verifiable decommissioning is a non-starter.

"It's immaterial to what the IRA do because there is still a threat from other militant republicans.

"The arms would be put in the ground and would be left there in the same way the Official IRA did."

The UDA is understood to be less steadfast on weapons but movement would be unlikely in the absence of UVF commitments. It may try to use decommissioning to 'buy' concessions, as it believes the IRA has done.

"If there's a price to be had for those guns then it's time for the government to take onboard loyalism's concerns," said Davy Nicholl, of the Ulster Political Research Group.

A senior loyalist, close to the LVF, said the group would come together to evaluate and analyse the IRA statement. "If there is no IRA then there is no need for loyalist paramilitaries," he said. "But the problem is that people are in the paramilitary world today because it is their living."

Meanwhile, Secretary of State Peter Hain has warned: "Loyalism will be left behind if it doesn't step back from the self-destruct mode that it is currently engaged in."

Watchtowers coming down

Daily Ireland

Zoe Tunney & Áine McEntee

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click to view - Fort, Newtonhamilton, South Armagh by Jonathan Olley

The British government is intending to publish an updated schedule for further acts of demilitarisation following the IRA’s unprecdented statement to end the armed struggle.
The Northern Ireland Office (NIO) has refused to state when a formal announcement will be made but well placed sources have indicated it could be as early as Monday of next week.
The British army yesterday started dismantling some of its most notorious outposts in south Armagh less than 24 hours after the IRA announced an end to its armed campaign.
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) confirmed it was closing and vacating its base in Forkhill, removing one of its observation towers at Sugarloaf Hill near Camlough and removing the ‘super-sangar’ from the PSNI station in Newtownhamilton.
Locals said work on all three sites began yesterday at 9.30am.
For decades, residents living under the scrutiny of the British army surveillance installations have campaigned to have them removed.
Residents have argued the British Army has abused its position and the surveillance equipment to spy on local people.
Campaigners also say they can link the increase in the incidence of cancers in the south Armagh area because of the radio and microwave equipment used by the British Army.
There are eight observation towers on six hilltop sites in south Armagh alone.
The MoD said the decision to remove the bases was part of the normalisation process for the North.
Lieutenant General Reddy Watt, the General Officer Commanding in Northern Ireland, said the demilitarisation was taking place at this time because of the IRA’s committment to peace.
He said: “In light of yesterday’s developments, the chief constable and I have decided that a further reduction in security profile is possible.”
An MoD spokesperson would not, however, be pushed on whether the British Army planned future de-militarisation on the back of the IRA statement but confirmed no more military installations had been ear-marked for closure.
“The military situation in Northern Ireland and our role in supporting the PSNI in their security operations is constantly under review,” he said.
He also confirmed the British Army had no plans to pull out of the North completely.
“Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom and there is no doubt so long as that is the case there will always be a British Army presence here.
“There will be a peacetime garrison just like every other part of the UK,” the spokesperson said.
There are currently 10,500 military personnel serving in 42 military sites across the north and the MoD said all three bases being pulled down in south Armagh were manned full-time.
Sinn Féin MP for the area, Conor Murphy said: “We’ve been here a couple of times before. The British government have to live up to their side of the bargain.
“This has been 11 years coming, since the IRA’s ceasefire. The landsape has been blighted by the British government for the past 30 years and local people are very keen to see these intallations go."
Mr Murphy said it was imperative that the demilitarisation process was carried out fully and quickly.
He said: “This should have been done in 1998 at the time of the Good Friday Agreement. And it needs to be as front loaded as possible.
“For example we don’t want them to start taking down bits and pieces all over the place, they should be able to move on as many fronts as possible.”

Spytower on walls to come down

Daily Ireland

Eamonn Houston

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A British Army spytower perched on Derry’s historic walls is to be dismantled in response to the IRA’s statement, it emerged last night.
The watchtower has presided over the city’s Bogside for many years and was known as a base for British Army snipers scanning the area.
Speaking to Daily Ireland last night, Sinn Féin party chairman, Mitchel McLaughlin welcomed the move, but also demanded the removal of the largely unmanned PSNI base in the Rosemount area of the city.
“I welcome the fact that the British government has moved quickly to implement the process of demilitarisation so quickly after the historic announcement of the IRA,’ he said.
“Demilitarisation is a major part of the Good Friday Agreement and the British government must fulfill their commitments as soon as possible.
“The news that Masonic British Army barracks is to be removed is welcome indeed and this will get rid of the last British Army installation from the west bank.
“This post overlooking the Bogside is notorious, especially the part on the bastion that was known as ‘murderer’s corner’.
“It was from this post that several people were shot dead by British army snipers, the majority of them civilians.”
A British Army spokesman declined to speculate on the claims last night, but said that everything was being kept under review in tandem with the PSNI.

Primary school fire 'deliberate'


A fire at a County Down school is thought to have been started deliberately.

The blaze erupted at St Colman's Primary School in Kilkeel at 0730 BST, and two classrooms were damaged.

Graham Crossitt from the Fire and Rescue service said a number of tables had been set alight in the corridor.

"Two classrooms were smoke logged," he said. "We believe the fire was started deliberately but this is being investigated by police."

Local Sinn Fein councillor Martin Connolly condemned those responsible for the arson attack.

"The people responsible for this despicable attack on St Colman's Primary School have deprived the people of Kilkeel of a vital amenity," he said.

"Effectively school children who would be entering their final year of primary school in September will be the ones who must suffer."

Miami Showband murders 30th anniversary marked with prayer


30/07/2005 - 12:24:34

A prayer service for the three men murdered in the Miami Showband massacre 30 years ago is being held in Dublin city centre today.

Fran O'Toole, Brian McCoy and Tony Geraghty were killed by a UVF gang after a performance at a dance in Banbridge this day 30 years ago.

A number of showbiz celebrities are expected to attend today's inter-denominational service in the Pro-Cathedral.

A concert to commemorate the anniversary of the tragedy will take place at Vicar Street on August 1.

Man is remanded on rioting charge


A west Belfast man has appeared at the city's magistrate's court charged with rioting in north Belfast on 12 July.

Michael Cole, 20, of Glenside Road, was charged with riotous assembly at Ardoyne.

About 100 police officers were injured as trouble erupted after the return leg of an Orange Order parade. Seven members of the public were also hurt.

Mr Cole is the fourth person to appear in court on charges related to the riot. He was remanded in custody.

During the trouble, petrol and blast bombs were thrown and the police fired plastic bullets for the first time in three years.

Detectives have been studying more than 20 hours of video footage of the disturbance, taken from security force cameras.

Stone's sick gun gimmick

Belfast Telegraph

30 July 2005

MILLTOWN murderer Michael Stone was at the centre of a gun-toting controversy today after posing for a series of chilling photographs.

These exclusive pictures show the loyalist killer-turned artist standing in a back yard holding a replica armalite.

In another photograph he is pictured with a SA 80 rifle.

One of the photographs shows him aiming the armalite as if he is about to fire.

In a bizarre publicity stunt, Stone sent the photographs, taken in 2004, to the Belfast Telegraph to "highlight the plight of loyalist prisoners being pressurised to turn informer".

He also claimed the pictures were part of an arts project entitled "Presumed Guilty" and said he had been willing to be arrested and interrogated by the PSNI to draw attention to the alleged attempts to recruit loyalist informers.

Stone, who claims to have turned his back on paramilitary activity, was convicted of six murders, including the three at Milltown Cemetery on March 16, 1988.

But in July 2000 he was released on licence, 12 years into his 800-year sentence.

The disturbing new photographs - the latest twist in the Stone saga - have prompted calls from politicians and angry relatives of his victims to review his licence.

Mark Thompson, spokesman for Relatives for Justice, branded the photographs "distasteful and upsetting" and accused Stone of "brazenness".

"Stone is drawn to publicity like a moth to the lightbulb but each time something like this happens, it has terrible consequences on the relatives of the people he killed and those he tried to kill," he said. "These pictures are distasteful and upsetting and will be very traumatic for the families of those affected by his deeds.

"We are engaged in legal proceedings at the moment to stop him from making profits from his book None Shall Divide Us. He's never shown any remorse for what he did, he's just tried to make money from his actions.

"While the photos of him posing like this are not surprising, they are very upsetting."

Alex Attwood, the SDLP's Policing and Justice spokesman, described the pictures as "shocking".

"If these pictures are genuine, and I must stress the word if, then there needs to be an investigation and review of his licence," he said.

"Anyone out on licence posing with a firearm, either real or imitation, has serious questions to answer. Any individual out on licence must be seen to be fully complying with the law and to be on their best behaviour.

"These pictures, if genuine, are shocking and should be passed onto the police and prison authorities."

Defending his actions Stone said he regretted upsetting the relatives of victims but that his loyalties lay with the former loyalist prisoners.

He admitted the pictures were shocking but said he felt their publication was necessary to make a point.

"If I'd sent in pictures of me painting what attention would that have got?" he said. "I wanted to highlight the fact that former loyalist prisoners are being put under pressure to become informers and are being told their licences will be revoked if they don't.

"I would have been willing to be lifted and brought to Antrim to be interrogated if it meant highlighting what's going on."

Stone said that following the release of Shankill bomber Sean Kelly, he did not believe he would be arrested.

29 July 2005

Statement tripped up by technology

Belfast Telegraph

**Actually, according to my records, the statement was posted on DI shortly before 12.30pm

By Senan Molony
29 July 2005

'P. O'Neill', that mystery man, has gone upmarket. The production of an IRA statement on video is the first filmed IRA press initiative since leaders appeared at a secret press conference to signal that internment in 1972 had failed.

Long-time IRA prisoner Seanna Walsh read out the IRA statement on a DVD distributed to broadcast media.

A former prisonmate of Bobby Sands, he was carefully chosen to appeal to the heartland of volunteers, having spent a total of 21 years in prison.

First arrested as a 16-year-old in 1973 while robbing a bank, he was sentenced to five years imprisonment. Released in May 1976, he was free for only three months when he was charged with possession of a rifle.

Sentenced to ten years, Mr Walsh joined the blanket protest when he arrived in the H-Blocks, where he remained for seven years and seven months.

He was then caught making explosives and mortar bombs and was sentenced to 22 years. He was released under the Good Friday Agreement, aged 42, having spent over half his life in jail. A former Officer Commanding IRA prisoners, Mr Walsh was dressed in a plain white shirt, with no paramilitary trappings anywhere visible.

However, the IRA's surprising use of a DVD was overshadowed by the manner in which the statement leaked out.

The momentous declaration was intended to be released at 2pm. Copies were distributed to select media from 10am, with an emphasis on the strict embargo to the afternoon.

But in fact the statement leaked out through the same technology the IRA has sought to harness. Shortly after 12.30pm, the embargoed statement was posted in error on the website of the Republican newspaper, 'Daily Ireland'. Within minutes Sinn Fein sources telephoned the newspaper asking for the material to be removed.

The story was pulled - but in the meantime it had been seen by journalists hungrily scanning all news media. The news that the IRA's war was over was now in the public domain.

At 12.49pm, RTE radio broke into the John Creedon programme to bring a newsflash from the newsroom.

Peace dividend promises electoral bounty for SF

Irish Examiner

By Shaun Connolly
29 July 2005

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DISMISSED until now as the political wing of the Irish Mafia, Sinn Féin are positioning themselves to become Ireland’s political wave of the future.

The peace dividend promises a rich electoral bounty for the party and threatens to dramatically alter the Republic's balance of power forever.

If the shadow of the armalite is finally lifted from the ballot box, the resulting Sinn Féin surge could see it emerging as Dáil king-maker after the next general election.

A sobering thought for any democrat and a defining moment in the history of the State.

If that tipping point is reached and Sinn Féin is accepted as a legitimate mainstream party there will be no going back.

A ruthlessly efficient electoral machine, its lightning-strike success in the North has proved that once it enters the democratic process it grows and grows, like an alien feeding on a host body.

In the early 1980s, Sinn Féin began a twin strategy of cosying up to the then dominant SDLP and eating away at its nationalist bedrock.

The SDLP was marginalised, overtaken and left for dead. A few hundred votes many of them loyalist were all that saved it from a near wipeout at the May Westminster elections.

If the war in the North really is over, then new battle fronts are opening right across the South.

With five deputies in the current Dáil, Sinn Féin looks set to end up doubling that figure next time out with a possible high water mark of 13 seats.

The party has been extremely effective at targeting those left behind and bewildered by all the talk of a booming economy and soaring living standards.

As a result of that sharp focus, a concentration on grassroots community issues and a highly disciplined and energised presence on the streets, the capital is poised to give Sinn Féin gains in its central, north-eastern and north-west constituencies.

Donegal South-West is another prize in the party's sights.

And with a strong wind in its sails, there is everything to play for in Cork's two central divisions, as well as Meath West, Wexford and Dublin Mid-West and North Central.

The consequences of such an impressive surge would be far-reaching and would throw Bertie Ahern's delicate manoeuvrings with the Sinn Féin leadership into a starkly pragmatic context.

Second-guessing an election that may still be two years away is a risky business, but Fianna Fáil will easily remain the largest party when the votes are counted, but seem likely to fall back from the 81 TD tally achieved in 2002.

With perhaps half of the Progressive Democrats' eight TDs seen to be living on borrowed time, the way is open for Sinn Féin to decide whether Mr Ahern musters the 84 Dáil votes needed to achieve his cherished third term or not.

For it is clear the PDs are not ready to stomach backing a Government that relies on the indulgence of Sinn Féin and may well be too enfeebled electorally to prop up Mr Ahern on their own.

The balance of power was already beginning to shift last night as Mr Ahern made it clear the Irish political landscape suddenly had a whole new topography.

"If all this comes to pass they will have to be treated like any other party," he said, referring to Sinn Féin's new legitimacy in light of the IRA statement.

And in a telling aside, Gerry Adams said the question now was not whether Fianna Fáil would be prepared to go into coalition with Sinn Féin, but whether Sinn Féin would consider forming a government with Fianna Fáil.

Peace will unleash many possibilities one of which is a Sinn Féin wave smashing through the next Oireachtas.

The plight of a small Catholic community


Pakistani priest visits West Belfast and makes plea

Appealing to the renowned generosity of the people of West Belfast, a Pakistani priest is in town for three weeks making it his mission to raise awareness of the plight of the very small Catholic community in Pakistan.
Speaking to the Andersonstown News, Fr James Shamaun detailed the plight of the tiny Christian population in the country.

“The Christian population of Pakistan is approximately one per cent of the total population. They are a tiny minority and are treated very much as second-class citizens. The vast majority of people are employed in low-paid jobs, mainly sweeping,” he said.

“The parish which I serve is known as St Joseph’s Cathedral Parish, it is situated near the Pakistani capital of Islamabad. There are 15,000 Catholics in my parish who live in slums in sub-human conditions.”

Describing his parishioners as “very, very poor”, Fr Shamaun said the people earn a mere $1 per day and in some cases even less.

“It really is a miracle that these people are surviving on nothing but their dependence on God. The poverty is so intense that people are dying every day due to a lack of basic necessities including medication.

“Education is also a priority, 80 per cent of the people are illiterate yet the only government schools are staffed by Muslims and the syllabus is heavily biased and Islamic. Any Catholic children who attend these schools are subject to an apartheid of sorts. For example, they are not allowed to drink water from the same tap as the other children.”

Having met Father John Murray of St Luke's parish in the Czech Republic some years back, this is the second time that Fr Shamaun has taken him up on the invitation to visit Belfast.

“Fr Murray invited me to his parish when we met in the Czech Republic. I came three years ago and celebrated Mass there and on Sunday past I celebrated Mass at Our Lady Queen of Peace. I told the congregation about my own parish, I wanted to make them aware of what is going on and perhaps they can help make some change. We cannot change everything but we can make some difference, through sharing we can experience real joy."

Fr Shamaun went on to compare the situation in his own parish to the plight of Catholics living in the North.

“This is the first generation of Christians living in a 98 per cent Muslim country. They are treated as second-class citizens in the same manner as Catholics were here in the North of Ireland, it's exactly the same type of situation with jobs and housing where Muslims are given priority over Pakistani Catholics."

The priest is trying to establish his parish in Rawalpindi Cantt outside Islamabad but is up against great obstacles including an extremely stubborn military government. He and his parishioners urgently require the help of their fellow-Catholics not only in West Belfast but across the world.

“I need your prayers and financial support to build the faith of our people and complete the church which is currently under construction. The help of the people of West Belfast would be highly appreciated in Rawalpindi Cantt,” he added.

• Anyone wishing to donate to Fr Shamaun's parish can contact Reggie Donnelly on 90 300980.

Journalist:: Francesca Ryan

200,000 set for Féile fun


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Féile an Phobail website

Féile fever is sweeping West Belfast as the city prepares for the 18th annual community festival.

Final preparations are being made ahead of the ten-day event which will see thousands descend on the West to take part in the festivities which kick off tomorrow (Friday).

Speaking to the Andersonstown News yesterday, Féile Marketing Officer Kelly Loughran said that over the ten days more than 200,000 people are expected to attend the breathtaking array of events during the festival.

“This month alone, the Féile website has received 197,626 hits from countries all over the world. Morocco, Romania and Poland are just a few of the far-flung countries which feature on the list. A staggering 76,500 Americans have logged on this month alone which is the greatest number, followed closely by France, Australia, the Netherlands and, of course, Ireland.

“There is no doubt that the popularity of the festival is growing and we are striving to increase these figures every year," she added.

Sinn Féin's Paul Maskey, who works as a Tourism Development Coordinator with the West Belfast tourist office Fáilte Féirste Thiar (FFT), said the office has been inundated with queries about to the festival.

“We provide information and services about West Belfast to the growing number of tourists who flock to the area every year, but this year has been crazy," he said.

“The festival is definitely becoming more internationalised, we've had groups of Palestinians and Basques in asking about the festival. There are also a number of journalists from Dublin inquiring and looking for Féile programmes. It is actually quite frightening, this year has to be the busiest to date."

Marnie O'Doherty, who runs O'Doherty's Bed & Breakfast on the Andersonstown Road, told the Andersonstown News that she is fully booked over the festival period.

“At the minute I have four Norwegians and one German staying at the B&B. Next week I have bookings for Welsh and English people, they are all here for the festival and there is an air of excitement in the house as we wait for the festival to kick off," she said.

“Only last week, there were two Dutch people staying.

“I had left the Féile programme in all the rooms and this couple were completely enthralled by Féile and have promised to return next year for the event," added Marnie who has been turning away up to four people per night of late.

Journalist:: Francesca Ryan



City rocks during people's festival

The streets of west Belfast will be rocking during the course of the next week as the annual festival gets into full swing.

The Féile an Phobail (The People's Festival) began 18 years ago during the Troubles and was seen as an opportunity to portray Belfast in a more positive light.

As usual it features a mixture of local and international music acts, political tours, walks and talks, as well as hundreds of locally organised events.

The festivities begin on Friday night with the first music at the giants foot gathering, in Beechmount Leisure Centre, where Irish rockers Hothouse Flowers will entertain a packed house.

Over the weekend, dozens of events, plays and concerts will culminate in the lively carnival parade, which leaves Conway Street at 1300 BST on Sunday, finishing at MacRory Park on the Whiterock Road.

Major acts over the week include Scottish rockers The Proclaimers, Dublin balladeer Damien Dempsey and the Afro-Celts Sound System.

Sean Paul O'Hare, director of Feile an Phobail, said the festival started in 1988 when there was a lot of trouble on the streets of Belfast.

"Belfast at that time had a very negative image. Every year on the anniversary of internment we had a lot of trouble on our streets, conflict between the British Army and our young people," he said.

"It was felt by Gerry Adams and our community leaders that we needed to change the image of west Belfast and we needed a clear role for our young people and what we created then was the west Belfast festival, Feile an Phobail.

"Féile an Phobail is about getting people together, to come in and enjoy the talent."

In light of the recent IRA statement announcing an end to its armed campaign, Mr O'Hare said there would also be events at the festival where recent political developments would be discussed.

One of the most popular events during the week is West Belfast Talks Back, when a panel of unionist and nationalist politicians get a chance to discuss their views with an always lively audience.

This year's panel for the discussion, which is taking place on 3 August, will be DUP Assembly member Arlene Foster, Ulster Unionist leader Sir Reg Empey, Sinn Fein MP Conor Murphy and SDLP Assembly member Dolores Kelly.

The festival begins on 29 July and runs until 7 August.

Rossport Five maintaining demands after Greens visit


29/07/2005 - 17:02:50

Members of the Green Party visited the Rossport Five at Clover Hill Prison today. The Mayo men are entering their fifth week in jail.

The men are demanding Shell change their plans for the Corrib gas pipeline.

Speaking outside the prison TD John Gormley said the men would remain there for as long as it takes.

"The message they want us to communicate is this that they are there on a point of principle. That it is about safety and they cannot leave this prison until the safety issues have been dealt with," said Deputy Gormley.

Tolerance is way forward

Daily Ireland

by Ciaran O’Neill

A unique project to encourage young children to respect physical, racial and cultural differences was launched yesterday at the Odyssey Arena in Belfast.
The Media Initiative for Children is aimed at children between the ages of three and five on both sides of the Border.
The initial pilot, carried out with 95 local children in 2004, was hailed a huge success.
Organisers hope that every child within the early years sector in the North and the Republic will have an opportunity to access the programme by 2008.
The programme, a joint effort between NIPPA - the Early Years Organisation and Peace Initiatives Institute (Pii), involves children watching a series of short television cartoons called Together in the Park which feature animated characters who act out different situations of exclusion and
The impact and effects of the programme have been evaluated by Dr Paul Connolly of Queen’s University, Belfast: “The research results are compelling and illustrate the potential that this initiative can have in encouraging young children to embrace diversity and to be inclusive of others.
“After just three weeks the evidence from the pilot study showed that the children who took the programme were: more aware of children being excluded because of their differences; became more empathetic to those being excluded; and were more willing to play with and be inclusive of others, including those different to themselves. If this can happen in just three weeks, just imagine what could be achieved long term.”
In considering the wider implications of this initiative, Dr Connolly said: “We know that children from the age of three can and do develop prejudices against those who are different, whether in terms of physical or racial differences. Previous research I have conducted in Northern Ireland shows that children at this age are already beginning to have their attitudes and beliefs shaped by the ongoing community divisions. It is therefore essential that we begin to work with young children, parents and local communities to begin to address all of this and to give all our children a much better start in life. The evidence from the pilot study shows that programmes such as this present initiative can be extremely effective in doing this and need to be encouraged.”
Siobhan Fitzpatrick, chief executive of NIPPA, said: “We are delighted with the initial research results which indicate a significant change in the behaviour and attitudes of young children over a relatively short period of time. Between the ages of three and five children acquire the core values that drive actions in later life; the Media Initiative for Children is about helping to build a culture of respect from the bottom up through young children and out to their families and communities.”
Paul Harris, Executive Director of Pii, said: “It is critical to us that the Media Initiative for Children has been developed at a grassroots level involving people at many levels throughout the community and also to eventually involve all children in nursery and pre-school communities. We are confident that this programme will help more young children within Northern Ireland to understand what it feels like to be excluded and to be more willing to include others who are different from themselves”.

Growing up with the IRA means it’s good enough for me

Daily Ireland

Robin Livingstone

Soldiers coming under Provisional fire in Lenadoon

I grew up with the IRA. Not in the IRA – never had the nerve – but with the IRA. I remember as an 11-year-old visiting my brother in Dundalk in my St Mary’s uniform when he was on the run.
He was ten years older than me, but at that time it seemed much more. These days you wouldn’t think there were two years between us, never mind ten.
As he sat speaking to our mother in an upstairs lounge, he leaned forward and his jacket moved to the side to reveal a handgun in the waistband of his trousers. As I sat there eating crisps and drinking Coca-Cola I thought it was the coolest thing I’d ever seen.
Occasionally my brother would venture home for a visit and he’d give me and my brothers 50p each to stand at strategic corners near our home in Lenadoon looking out for foot patrols. Which was nice.
Not so nice were the late-night visits by British soldiers with their faces blackened who ordered us out of bed.
As we left our bedrooms, soldiers would take up position at the windows in the hope that my brother would make a home visit in the wee small hours.
Downstairs we were marched – 14 of us in all – and herded into the front room where we sat through the night in total silence – over-15s on the chairs, everybody else on the floor – with a soldier on guard duty at the door.
I remember that in the dark, and with my mother and father staring powerless at the floor, I would run private films in my head to pass the time.
The movies involved me downing the guard with a Bruce Lee leg-throw and incapacitating him with a James Bond karate chop to the neck.
I’d relieve the stricken soldier of his weapon and, switching quickly to full automatic, cut a swathe through his colleagues, downstairs and up, before they knew what hit them.
When Lenadoon was a no-go area, young guys would walk the streets in snorkel anoraks carrying armalites with women’s stockings hanging from them (something about a twist grip, I think).
They used to crouch in the gardens of houses in Carrigart Avenue near the Suffolk Road in order to keep an eye on the commandeered Woodbourne Hotel, where at the windows of upstairs rooms British army snipers and UDA men rubbed shoulders.
As we played handball in the evenings against the big gable wall of Blessed Oliver Plunkett school, IRA men would drill in the ‘echoing hall’ – the enclosed courtyard where pupils would gather in the morning to be let into school.
As we thudded the tennis ball off the bricks, the stamp of marching feet and the call of “clé, deas, clé” drifted across the school yard.
Later, as a young journalist, I sat across the table from IRA men that I knew as friends and neighbours and spoke to them about war, about politics, about death and about dying and it struck me, as it does up to today, how the IRA was able to attract the brightest and the best from my estate and from many others.
These were no mumbling, jewel-encrusted louts, but intelligent and earnest men on a deadly serious mission.
Twenty years of growing up with the IRA, of seeing and knowing the men with the guns but never having them pointed at me, has had its effect.
I recall watching news of the Loughgall ambush in 1987 at home on TV and feeling sick to the pit of my stomach.
Next day it occurred to me that three years earlier, I had sat in a bar on the Lisburn Road as news of the mortar attack on Newry barracks came through and when customers started shouting anti-IRA remarks at the television, I felt more angry at the men shouting at the TV than I did at the men who had fired the mortars.
Though I was struck powerfully by the sense that this was wrong, more powerful was the sense that there was nothing I could do about it, that some inchoate notion of comradeship or shared experience picked up as a schoolboy on the streets of Lenadoon was stronger than my adult intellectualising that all violence was wrong.
So it was a relief for me, as the statement emerged yesterday and the prospect of the IRA going out of business loomed, to feel... nothing.
No vague, guilty pangs of regret or sorrow, no sense of being left abandoned or unprotected. Rather, it seemed to me that this was how it should be – should have been for quite a few years, in fact.
I’m just sorry now that it’s all over that I never told lies about the IRA the way so many journalists did because maybe today I’d be the toast of Fleet Street.
I was notorious as having the worst republican contacts of any journalist in Ireland because the makey-uppy ‘republican sources’ route was never open to me – I just couldn’t do it, for one thing because I had to look them in the eye in the supermarket aisle or down the pub; and for another thing because none of them ever told lies to me.
Which is why when I asked them yesterday if it was really over and they said yes, it was good enough for me.

Read Robin Livingstone’s 'Here’s The Thing' in tomorrow’s Daily Ireland.

Volunteer’s youth taken by involvement in war

Daily Ireland

Eamonn houston
To comment: e.houston@dailyireland.com

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click to view this recent photo of the Bogside from this site

Gerry Doherty was born on Rossville Street in Derry’s Bogside. At 18 years of age, he lay injured close to IRA volunteer John Starrs as the 19-year-old’s life ebbed away after a gun battle on William Street.
Doherty had been “skinny” and was wearing an oversized coat as British SLR bullets had rained on the active service unit on May 13, 1972. Eight bullets struck Doherty’s frame. One tumbled through his arm, and the other seven harmlessly passed through the coat.
Doherty had joined the IRA at the age of 16.
In 1969, a 15-year-old Gerry Doherty would get irked at the fact that he and his friends had to take a two-mile (3.2-kilometre) detour to play a game of snooker in his home town. In normal circumstances, it would have taken less than ten minutes.
A year later, the shooting of 19-year-old Daniel O’Hagan during a riot in the New Lodge Road area of north Belfast brought home to Doherty that the situation in the North at the time demanded a military response.
“At 15 years of age, I had been throwing stones at the British army. The effect of the killing of Daniel O’Hagan had the effect on us ‘these bastards are killing us’. We had a realisation then that we couldn’t beat these people with stones.”
By 1971, Doherty was a fully fledged IRA volunteer. He had joined up and was signed in just ahead of the introduction of internment.
Bloody Sunday would crystalise Doherty’s commitment to what he describes as “the struggle”.
“Before Bloody Sunday, we were ill-equipped but we had been trained in the use of arms and explosives. Free Derry was in existence then but the British made plenty of incursions.”
The deadly extent of the Bloody Sunday massacre, when it began to emerge, further steeled Doherty’s resolve to react through physical force.
“I was at the march on that day but it was not until much later that night that the number of people killed became clear. But we weren’t surprised in the end, given the amount of gunfire from the Paras that day.
“Our motivation had nothing to do with any kind of political ideology. It was instinctive. We knew after that day that physical force was our only route to force change. It was like a gut feeling telling you. We had that gut, instinctive feeling that what we were doing was right.
“As time went on, I would see friends dying beside me. At the beginning, there was all of the allure of the secrecy and mysticism surrounding the IRA. But when friends and comrades started getting killed, it dispelled all of that.
“The romanticism disappeared and we realised that we were involved in a war. The British and the RUC were the enemy and that was that. We saw ourselves purely as soldiers – soldiers involved in a war.”
In November 1973, Doherty, known locally as “Mad Dog”, was sent to prison for the June 1972 bombing of Derry’s Guildhall, which he describes as a bastion of unionist rule.
On his return to the Guildhall to give evidence to the Bloody Sunday inquiry, Doherty took the stand and referred to himself as “a soldier in the IRA” on Bloody Sunday. He revealed that he was one of up to 50 members of the Provisional IRA locally.
“To me, the Guildhall was a symbol of miscontrol in a city where everything was wrong. Everything that was wrong was epitomised by that building,” he says.
For Doherty, the honing and maturing of the republican movement would occur in prison. Sentenced to 15 years in Long Kesh, Doherty served seven-and-a-half years. The day he was released is one of his most abiding memories. It burns deep. As Doherty made his way to the prison exit in 1981, one fellow Derry man had died on hungerstrike. Patsy O’Hara died at 11.29pm on Thursday, May 21 – on the same day as Raymond McCreesh, with whom O’Hara had embarked on the hungerstrike 61 days earlier.
Doherty describes the day as one of the most depressing days of his life.
“The day that I got out should have been one of the happiest days of my life. As I walked out, I was aware only of what was happening in a cell 100 yards away from me. It was a real downer, a surreal and terrible day. That’s what stuck out most for me on my release,” he says.
Doherty would remain active in the IRA.
“I quickly realised when I was released that we had all emerged much stronger and much more politicised. It was a different movement from my experience of it ten years before.
“I also realised that the enemy had moved on too. Their technology and surveillance techniques, their bugging equipment and use of informants brought home to me that we were in a very different phase of the struggle,” he says.
Doherty was again imprisoned, under the evidence of Derry IRA informant Raymond Gilmore. He says he became politically aware through reading and studying in prison.
“I think the 1994 IRA ceasefire came at the right time. We used to say that, if every volunteer in the IRA had spent two years in prison, the movement would have become even stronger.
“As in all struggles, people have to sue for peace. Sometimes that is a bigger statement than planting a bomb. It has a much bigger effect, like the Vietnamese travelling to London for peace talks. We were always aware through the military struggle that this was going to happen.
“Many people ask: ‘What was it all for? Was it worth it?’ The enemy will move the goalposts again, some say. All of these feelings are legitimate and it is important that the republican movement addresses all of these concerns.
“People gave a lot. The greatest battles are ahead. At least the movement has an ethos of healthy debate instead of blind faith. When all of the concerns are addressed, it can only help and enhance the movement as a bigger political force.”
For Doherty, joining the IRA was a matter of personal choice. However, he says that his childhood and youth were taken. He grew up within the framework of the armed struggle. It had a huge personal impact on his life.
“We didn’t have what the kids have now. We were born into the struggle.”
As for regrets, Doherty says that IRA “mistakes”, including the La Mon and Enniskillen bombings had a profound effect on volunteers in prison.
“We all knew that these weren’t deliberate acts. That had a profound effect. They were huge setbacks for us personally,” he says.
Gerry Doherty is now an accomplished actor, ironically playing the roles of RUC men and prison officers on stage and screen.
He now lives just yards from where he was shot during that ill-fated gun battle of 1972.

'Solidarity' over church attacks


**This is a great story :)

The Church of Our Lady in Harryville has been attacked several times

There has been a gesture of solidarity by members of a Ballymena Presbyterian church following loyalist attacks on two Catholic churches in the town.

On Friday, people from High Kirk church handed out roses to Massgoers at All Saints church which was smeared with paint earlier this week.

They also scrubbed sectarian graffiti off the door and walls of the Church of Our Lady in Harryville on Thursday.

The church has suffered graffiti and paint attacks in recent weeks.

It was also the target of a loyalist picket between September 1996 and May 1998, linked to nationalist objections to a march by the Orange Order through nearby Dunloy.

"It was a very gracious gesture and I felt it was a very much a mirror of God's love."
Fr Paul Symonds

All Saints priest, Fr Paul Symonds, said the High Kirk members' actions were "their way of saying 'we are sorry for what has happened and the way you have been targeted by these paint bomb attacks' and they were disassociating themselves from that.

"It was an absolutely lovely gesture, one of sheer love. It was a very gracious gesture and I felt it was a very much a mirror of God's love."

The priest was present at the Harryville church when High Kirk members used paint thinner and brushes to remove the graffiti.

"The graffiti was obviously done as an attack, as an expression of evil, and this cleanup is very much the opposite," Fr Symonds said.

Jeremy Gardiner, youth pastor at High Kirk, said his church is in the middle of a community service week where they carry out "random acts of kindness".

"Because of the attacks on the Catholic churches we wanted to show our kindness to the Catholic community. This is a show of solidarity," Mr Gardiner said.

Fugitives on the run can return to Ulster

Belfast Telegraph

By Chris Thornton
29 July 2005

The Government has confirmed that IRA fugitives it has officially hunted for decades will be allowed back into Northern Ireland under the deal around yesterday's IRA statement.

Rita O'Hare, the Sinn Fein official who went to America with Martin McGuinness for yesterday's announcement, is among around three dozen IRA suspects known as "on the runs" who will be allowed back across the border without fear of arrest.

Secretary of State Peter Hain confirmed last night that in the autumn he will push through a plan, first unveiled in October 2003, to allow the return of fugitives like Ms O'Hare. She jumped bail years ago while awaiting trial for the attempted murder of soldiers.

The plan was issued over unionist objections but the Government said it would not be implemented until there was a complete end to IRA activity.

Under the 2003 plans, fugitives will undergo a trial to determine if their wanted status will be dropped. Even if they are found guilty of any offences, they will not serve a sentence.

Last October, Michael Rogan, one of the OTRs, was arrested in Tenerife and extradited to Northern Ireland, where he remains in custody. He skipped bail over an IRA attack on Army headquarters in Lisburn in which a soldier was killed.

'Wait and see' attitude in south Armagh

Belfast Telegraph

By Patsy McArdle
29 July 2005

"The soldiers are still walking our streets, they're stopping traffic in the roads and they've these spy posts on the hills ... it's now up to the Brits to call it a day."

That was the view yesterday evening of a woman in one of the busiest stores in Crossmaglen, the south Armagh hot-bed of the IRA campaign since 1969.

Patrons in the town's pubs were glued to television screens and one regular mused: "It's funny, but this was the only day we didn't have the police on the streets in a good while".

Republicans in south Armagh are known to have been among those in the last echelon of the IRA campaign to support the call by Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness to give diplomacy a chance.

And there were real fears a fortnight ago of a serious change of heart by some hardliners after an 8-man British army patrol strayed across the border into the Republic - at Rassan in Co Louth.

On that occasion, a number of locals gathered hastily and engaged in a brief stone-throwing episode before the troops, accompanied by two PSNI officers, moved quickly back into Northern Ireland.

Yesterday, one prominent republican activist in Crossmaglen, who asked not to be named, said: "We just hope it will work ? but we will honour the republican code and abide by everything in the IRA statement".

"The ball is now with the Brits; they will have to move out and demolish these hilltop spy posts."

Locals have strongly objected over the years to three observation posts, which still remain some two miles apart, along the Louth and Monaghan border.

In Crossmaglen some residents said last night the focus by the security will remain on the role of dissident republicans.

One said: "The Real IRA and Continuity IRA may be insignificant at the moment but what happens next will depend on how this settlement goes."

Army begins dismantling its posts


The army has begun dismantling posts in south Armagh

The Army has begun dismantling a number of security posts and bases in south Armagh following the IRA's statement saying it had ended its armed campaign.

A base at Forkhill will close, while a watchtower at Sugarloaf Mountain and an observation post at Newtownhamilton police station will also be removed.

The British and Irish governments are considering the next steps to restore power-sharing in Northern Ireland.

An updated programme of "security normalisation" will be published soon.

Commenting on the posts' closure, the Army's general officer commanding, Lieutenant General Sir Reddy Watt, said: ''In light of yesterday's developments, the chief constable and I have decided that a further reduction in security profile is possible.''

Sinn Fein has welcomed the move.

"The start made today must be built upon in the days and weeks ahead, not just in south Armagh but across the six counties," Newry and Armagh MP Conor Murphy said.

"The demilitarisation of communities is an important element in consolidating the progress already made and ensuring that we build a new future free from conflict and division."

However, unionists have reacted angrily to the news.

The DUP's Arlene Foster said it was "criminally irresponsible".

"It's startling that when the IRA give a statement saying they will stop what they should never have been doing, that the government acts so soon," she said.

The UUP's Danny Kennedy said it was outrageous that the government had "foolishly decided to act on IRA words alone".


The DUP is also demanding that pictures are taken of IRA weapons being destroyed as proof.

However, Taoiseach Bertie Ahern said he believed photographic evidence of IRA decommissioning was not necessary.

Mr Ahern said it was "significant" that "witnesses from both traditions will be involved".

"The carrying out of these IRA commitments will have to be objectively verified by the appropriate bodies," he added.

The British government also intends to introduce legislation in the autumn to allow paramilitary fugitives to return home.

In a statement released on Wednesday, the IRA said it would pursue exclusively peaceful means.

Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain has indicated he is ready to push forward with a number of measures which were put on ice after the failure to achieve a breakthrough leading to the restoration of devolution in 2003.

BBC Northern Ireland political editor Mark Devenport said government ministers would now expect to see some major acts of disarmament.

"On the political front, there may be a brief lull during August, but discussions are expected to get under way in earnest in September.

"The DUP remains openly sceptical," he said.

"But the government hopes that if the IRA is as good as its word, positive reports from the four-strong commission which monitors paramilitary activity will encourage unionists to seriously engage with republicans sometime early next year."

The IRA statement, released on Thursday, said: "All volunteers have been instructed to assist the development of purely political and democratic programmes through exclusively peaceful means."

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams said the move was a "courageous and confident initiative" and that the moment must be seized.

Prime Minister Tony Blair said the statement, ending 30 years of violence, was a "step of unparalleled magnitude".

Mr Hain said a return to devolved government at Stormont would not happen soon.

But - eventually - he would like to see the leader of the Democratic Unionists, the Reverend Ian Paisley, as the first minister.

Republicans had been under intense pressure to end IRA activity after the £26.5m Northern Bank raid in December and the murder of Belfast man Robert McCartney in January.

Political talks last year failed to restore devolution, which stalled amid claims of IRA intelligence gathering at Parliament Buildings, Stormont, in 2002.

The Provisional IRA's campaign of violence was aimed at forcing an end to the British presence in Northern Ireland, leading to a united Ireland.

The day the Provos gave up the gun

Irish Independent

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THE IRA is expected to take the first step on a new path of peace within days by decommissioning its huge arsenal.

The Provisional movement, once described as one of the most efficient terrorist armies in the world, yesterday instructed its members to give up violence and embrace peace.

It called a halt to all paramilitary and criminal activity and promised to put its weapons verifiably beyond use.

All its units were ordered to dump their arms and become involved in the development of a democratic political process.

Following more than three decades of bloodshed which resulted in the deaths of over 3,000 people, the IRA took what could turn out to be an historic decision after three months of internal debate across the island.

The ground-breaking statement was widely welcomed in Dublin, London and Washington with reactions mixed in Belfast.

The IRA's new code came into force at 4pm and there were indications last night that it was moving quickly on decommissioning with its appointed representative in contact with General John de Chastelain who has been on stand-by for the past week. Preparations for decommissioning have been almost finalised since before the collapse of the peace talks in Belfast last December and the IRA is now expected to go ahead. Two clergymen, from the Protestant and Catholic churches, will act as independent witnesses to provide verification.

In return for the historic statement, Sinn Fein has gained some of its outstanding demands. The British government, which released IRA bomber Sean Kelly from prison on Wednesday night, will introduce legislation in the autumn to arrange an amnesty for up to 40 OTRs (on the run suspects) who are wanted for crimes committed prior to the Good Friday Agreement.

But sources in Dublin confirmed for the first time that the group will not include two IRA men wanted by the Garda for the murder of Detective Garda Jerry McCabe in 1996.

Earlier, Justice Minister Michael McDowell had ruled out an early release for the four killers of Garda McCabe and said this had been accepted by Sinn Fein.

The Government will press ahead in September with plans to reform the Seanad to include a guarantee that some politicians from the Northern Assembly would automatically become members of the Seanad.

Despite the IRA statement, the Government is to beef up the Criminal Assets Bureau in a fresh drive to seize the millions of euro built up in the coffers of the Provisionals over the three decades.

Extra accountants are being hand-picked for the CAB while personnel are being sent to the United States for special training with the FBI on how to recover IRA assets.

The IRA statement came in the form of a DVD which had an ex-prisoner Seanna Walsh reading out the organisation's declaration. It leaked into the public domain two hours before the IRA intended.

While unionists were sceptical about the IRA commitment, the Bush administration joined in the international welcome for the statement, describing it as "important and potentially historic."

But it also urged republicans to "sever all ties to international terrorist organisations."

Taoiseach Bertie Ahern said he believed the statement meant that the organisation had finally called an end to all actions.

"The war is over, the IRA's armed campaign is over, paramilitarism is over and I believe that we can look to the future of peace and prosperity based on mutual trust and reconciliation and a final end to violence," he said.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair described the IRA statement as "a step of unparalleled magnitude" while Northern Secretary Peter Hain said the process of scaling back British military presence in Northern Ireland could be expected to begin within days.

But it was clear last night that the North's biggest party, the DUP, remains to be convinced of the IRA's bona fides and will take many months before engaging in talks on the restoration of power-sharing institutions, now almost three years in suspension.

DUP leader Ian Paisley said the IRA would be judged over the next months and years, based on its behaviour and activity.

Gerry Adams said the IRA statement was clear evidence of the commitment of republicans to the peace process and claimed it removed unionists' excuses for not engaging with republicans.

Catherine McCartney, a sister of murder victim Robert McCartney, said the statement did not go far enough. "The IRA has not spelled out where it stands on those within its ranks who indulge in criminal activity," she said.

"It tells them they have to stop it. But it does not say what happens if they don't," she added.

Gene McKenna
and Tom Brady

Army set to dismantle watch-tower


**Several live links on site

The Army is set to begin dismantling one of its watch-towers

The Army is due to begin dismantling one of its watch-towers in south Armagh in response to the IRA's decision to end its armed campaign.

In an historic statement released on Wednesday, the IRA said it would pursue exclusively peaceful means.

The government has also said it intends to publish an updated programme of security normalisation shortly.

It also intends to introduce legislation in the Autumn to allow paramilitary fugitives to return home.


Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain has indicated he is ready to push forward with a number of measures which were put on ice after the failure to achieve a breakthrough leading to the restoration of devolution in 2003.

BBC Northern Ireland political editor Mark Devenport said government ministers would now expect to see "some major acts of disarmament".

"On the political front, there may be a brief lull during August, but discussions are expected to get under way in earnest in September.

"The DUP remains openly sceptical," he said.

"But the government hopes that if the IRA is as good as its word, positive reports from the four-strong commission which monitors paramilitary activity will encourage unionists to seriously engage with republicans sometime early next year."

The IRA statement, released on Thursday, said: "All Volunteers have been instructed to assist the development of purely political and democratic programmes through exclusively peaceful means".

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams said the move was a "courageous and confident initiative" and that the moment must be seized.

Prime Minister Tony Blair said the statement, ending 30 years of violence, was a "step of unparalleled magnitude".

The Irish Prime Minister, Bertie Ahern, also welcomed the statement and said much hard work was needed.

Mr Hain said a return to devolved government at Stormont would not happen soon.

But - eventually - he would like to see the leader of the Democratic Unionists, the Reverend Ian Paisley, as the first minister.

Mr Paisley himself greeted the IRA statement with scepticism, saying it had "reverted to type" after previous "historic" statements.

"We will judge the IRA's bona fides over the next months and years based on its behaviour and activity," he said.

Ulster Unionist Party Sir Reg Empey, told the BBC's World at One it would take time to convince the people of Northern Ireland that this was more than just rhetoric.

Republicans had been under intense pressure to end IRA activity after the £26.5m Northern Bank raid in December and the murder of Belfast man Robert McCartney in January.

Political talks last year failed to restore devolution, which stalled amid claims of IRA intelligence gathering at Parliament Buildings, Stormont, in 2002.

The Provisional IRA's campaign of violence was aimed at forcing an end to the British presence in Northern Ireland, leading to a united Ireland.

Get on board the 'Peace Process Special'


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click to view

Welcome to Sinn Féin's Peace Process Special website. We have put this site together to give you all the latest statements and responses to the IRA's historic statement (also view the video) as well as a chronology of the Peace Process. We have also provided biographies of many of Sinn Féin's elected representatives.

Click on the links below to view:

**I got re-directed when I clicked on my usual SF link, so I had to share :)

Feud estate operation continuing


The police and Army have set up checkpoints in White City

Police and soldiers have been operating checkpoints in a County Down housing estate for a second day amid continuing concerns about the loyalist feud.

The situation at the Loughview estate in Holywood remained quiet on Thursday.

Police said the operation, which started on Wednesday, was to prevent a repeat of scenes when the UVF forced LVF members out of a Belfast estate.

The cost of policing the feud over the last six weeks has been more than £1m.

Police have appealed for help from the public to bring it to an end.

During that time, 63 searches have been carried out, with 11 people arrested and seven charged.

As the feud continues in Holywood, police said they were in the area - known locally as the White City - to "disrupt the activities of those intent on increasing fear and intimidation".

On Monday a crowd of up to 100 UVF and UDA men gathered in the Garnerville area of east Belfast to prevent LVF members, who had been forced out, from moving back.

A Brush with The Law

Indymedia Ireland

**The first part of this is a tale of Sean's brush with the law during a protest near Tara. What I am re-printing is a very funny comment giving some handy instructions to those of us who might also experience such a brush.

A word of Fatherly Advice for Sean & Others

by BP - Tuesday, Jul 26 2005, 1:35pm

I’m sure many readers have been similarly molested by a nosey 'Vanguard' sticking his snout where it don’t belong while you’re simply trying to get from A to B.

What they rely on in large part for this little sport is intimidation, psychotricks and the ordinary person’s complete ignorance on the law (which is not accidental). These home-grown tips will help you 'level-the-playing-field' next time:

1. If you see a cop about to stop you in your car, first get all the doors locked.

2. If cop taps on the window, just lower it about 3mm, forcing him to speak through the slit and really listen very carefully if you say something.

3. But never say nothing, just move your lips a bit.

4. If the wooden-neck knows for sure he is not deaf, this will piss him right off.

5. Use a Dictaphone up to the slit to record his amusing reaction.

6. If he asks you anything, just reply “ID first, questions later”

7. Make him pass the warrant card in through the slit.

8. Chew on the photo to check it’s not forged, then pass it through the ‘scanner’, i.e. the cheeks of your arse, before handing it back with the caution “Mind that!”

9. If he asks your name, find out “Who wants to know, are you going to squeal on me to the CIA?” He will reflexively lie – “No!” but you will have to pull him up on this, very badly. Cops are congenital liars, he needs to hear that.

10. Cop may ask to look in your boot – take off a shoe and hold it up to the slit.

11. While he is checking that you may want to call your solicitor and tell him to start moving his arse towards the cop-shop.

12. Where you’re going to is always “up the road”, coming from “down the road”.

13. What you were/are going to do – “Mind my own business!”

14. Who you know - “Not even my own mother, mate!”

15. Will you step out of the car please sir? – “Will you suck my toes first?”

16. The only thing you are obliged to do under law is name any cop-shop where you’ll show licence, insurance etc within 10 days. Tell him Ballycastle, Co. Cork - no Garda will know the difference until you’re long gone.

17. Bid a long farewell to this idiot.

This system works for me, with the usual result that I am either arrested and/or my car smashed + sabotaged by An Garda Shítonyá. However, this is no problemo, as they have nothing on you unless they want to pull another ‘McBrearty Special’. Just remember to swap the Dictaphone tape for a blank one (hiding the good one) before they get their paws on you, otherwise the b*****ds will erase the tape ASAP. Happy days in court kicking their asses.

If you want an example of how that’s done, see this story from Thursday past at Ennis court, cops getting their lying asses soundly whipped in the case of Conor Cregan, arrested for ‘Breach of the Peace’ while holding a Dictaphone:
click here

Shalom, BP

28 July 2005

DUP: IRA arms pledge a 'hollow gesture'


Thursday, July 28, 2005; Posted: 3:56 p.m. EDT (19:56 GMT)

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Ian Paisley: "We don't want words. We want actions." **Actually, he would like republican blood.

BELFAST, Northern Ireland (CNN) -- The leading Protestant unionist party in Northern Ireland has dismissed the Irish Republican Army's move to resume disarmament as a "hollow gesture."

The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) poured cold water on the statement issued by the IRA on Thursday ordering its members to halt its armed campaign to end British rule.

"All units have been ordered to dump arms," said an IRA statement, which said the move was effective 1500 GMT on Thursday.

"All volunteers have been instructed to assist the development of purely political and democratic programs through exclusively peaceful means. Volunteers must not engage in any other activities whatsoever."

But the leader of the hard-line DUP, 78-year-old preacher Ian Paisley, all but dismissed the IRA's statement.

"Do they think that the people of Northern Ireland are fools?" the firebrand Paisley said, noting that unionists are particularly incensed that convicted IRA bomber Sean Kelly was let out of prison Wednesday, apparently a precursor to the statement.

"There is great anger," Paisley said. "... here is a government which is meant to be fighting terrorists doing deals with terrorists."

The IRA's statement, he added, "is a hollow gesture, because we don't want words. We want actions."

Gerry Adams, president of the IRA's political ally Sinn Fein, said he respected the mandate Paisley had from his party.

"This is not a day for the hard word," Adams said. "This is a day for trying to absorb what has happened, giving Ian Paisley the space to absorb it also and put it to the two governments. They have to create the place where engagement takes place."

But Adams had strong words for Paisley as well.

"If Ian Paisley does not engage," he said, "then the rest of us cannot sit waiting, hanging about until the DUP come to terms with the need for equality."

In the historic statement, the IRA said it had authorized a representative to complete the process of decommissioning arms -- the process that halted progress on the Good Friday peace accords in 2003 when the outlawed group refused to allow photographic proof of the decommissioning.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair called the IRA's action "a step of unparalleled magnitude in the recent history of Northern Ireland."

"This may be the day when finally, after all the false dawns and dashed hopes, peace replaced war, politics replaces terror, on the island of Ireland," he said. "I welcome the statement of the IRA that ends its campaign. I welcome its clarity. I welcome the recognition that the only route to political change lies in exclusively peaceful and democratic means."

The fight between Protestant unionists and Catholic republicans -- a war that has become known simple as "The Troubles" -- has left nearly 4,000 people dead. The IRA finally called a cease-fire in 1994, and, after a brief resumption of violence, the parties finally came together for a peace accord in 1998.

The 1998 accord's power-sharing government collapsed in 2002 over the inability of Sinn Fein to affect the IRA's full cooperation with the accord.

But Adams called the IRA's announcement a tremendous opportunity for both sides in the long conflict to finally end it.

"All of us ... are all now in a new era of struggle," he said. "And there's a role for everyone in this situation. Nation-building is too important to be left entirely to the politicians, so I want to appeal to citizens across this island to come together for this new dispensation.

"There's a time to resist, to stand up and to confront the enemy with arms if necessary," he said. "There's also a time to reach out to put war behind us. This is a time for peace."

The unionists have said they will not participate again in talks until the IRA -- which ultimately supports reuniting the Protestant majority in Northern Ireland with the Catholic majority in the Republic of Ireland in the south -- ceases its illegal and violent activities.

The group has observed a cease-fire since 1997, but authorities blamed it for a bank robbery late last year, and it was involved in a bar killing early this year that brought the ire of Britain, Ireland and the United States.

Adams said demands from the unionists for the group to specifically renounce its criminal activities would come to nothing because the IRA does not consider its activities criminal.

"When it says that it will commit its volunteers to democracy and peaceful means but forbid them to engage in any other activity whatsoever, what part of 'any other activity' do the (Unionist) leaders not understand?" he said

In its statement, IRA said it views its armed campaign as "entirely legitimate," if no longer necessary.

"There is now an unprecedented opportunity to utilize the considerable energy and goodwill which there is for the peace process," the statement said. "This comprehensive series of unparalleled initiatives is our contribution to this and to the continued endeavors to bring about independence and unity for the people of Ireland."

After consulting with its leadership, the IRA found "very strong support among IRA volunteers for the Sinn Fein peace strategy."

"The overwhelming majority of people in Ireland fully support this process," the statement said. "They and friends of Irish unity through the world want to see the full implementation of the Good Friday Agreement."

Statement By Ruairi O Bradaigh, President of Republican Sinn Fein

Irish Republican Bulletin Board

**Posted by 'terv'

‘Provisional IRA Should Disband Completely’

Today’s (July 28 ) statement from the Provisionals is the logical outcome of the change of direction they made in 1986 when they deserted the revolutionary road and started out on the constitutional path through the partitionist institutions north and south.

It has been clear for many years that the Provisionals have abandoned the armed struggle against British occupation forces. They will now destroy the remainder of their arms, they say.
As an army alleged to be without arms, the Provisional IRA should now disband completely.

But a rump will remain at local level to continue the harassment of faithful Republicans who fundraise for the prisoner’s dependents, distribute Easter lilies, sell the SAOIRSE newspaper or picket for political status for Republican prisoners.

This harassment can be expected to increase into persecution when the Provos finally don the enemy uniform and join the ranks of the British police force in Ireland. This will be a far cry from the heroic strip-strike by the blanket men in the H-Blocks of Long Kesh.

The Provisional slogans of ‘No Unionist Veto’, ‘No Return to Stormont’ and ‘Not a Bullet not an Ounce’, ring very hollowly now. How on earth can British rule in Ireland be ended, as the Provos claim, by accepting and implementing that rule through Stormont and other partitionist institutions?

As Republican Sinn Fein has forecast they are being slowly and steadily absorbed into the English system in Ireland. Today’s statement may improve their chances of taking part in a coalition administration in Leinster House but will hardly help them towards a Stormont Executive.

Dr Paisley’s DUP will demand very humiliating conditions from the Provos before allowing them to participate. Eventually they will be unrecognisable.

The Provisionals should discard the trappings of the Republicanism they once served. Like Cumann na nGaedheal\Fine Gael, Fianna Fail and the Workers Party they have betrayed it. They are no longer Republicans.


Cynicism and suspicion in loyalist heartland


28/07/2005 - 19:38:45

Loyalists today greeted the IRA’s statement with suspicion and expressed concern over the motives behind the historic announcement.

UDA brigadier Jackie McDonald digested it for the first time in his office in a prisoners’ drop-in centre at the heart of the Protestant Sandy Row in south Belfast.

He said: “How can they say to wee Paddy, on the border with his AK47, who has spent 27 years shooting at soldiers and peelers (police): ’Give us your AK47. You don’t need it any more’?

“How do they say to the real hardliners ’We are getting what we set out to get’? The Green Book (the IRA constitution) said they would never give up an ounce of Semtex or a bullet until we achieve a United Ireland.”

McDonald, who served half of a 10-year sentence for extortion, said there must be a hidden motive for today’s ground-breaking declaration.

Reading the full statement for the first time, he forecast the loyalist community would be troubled by the hidden diplomacy which preceded it.

He said: “They (republicans) must believe we are within touching distance of a united Ireland. You can’t blame the unionist and loyalist community. They have to treat this with great suspicion.”

McDonald predicated moves towards a united Ireland would have the potential to plunge the North into a new era of violence.

He said: “If there was any plan in the next number of years for it to happen, to bring about a united Ireland, loyalism and unionism would rebel against it. We would become what the IRA were. We would have to fight against it any way we could.”

Despite the statement, McDonald does not believe the IRA will abandon its arms.

“As a loyalist, what the IRA does with weapons decommissioning does not bother me because I know that they will still have enough manpower left to deal with any situation that arises.

“The hawks (in the IRA) would not have it any other way. The most important thing is that the weapons are not being used.”

The former prisoner said some weapons would have to be detained in order for the IRA to defend their communities from drug gangs.

McDonald said the DUP is facing a major challenge convincing its electorate that, just months after the £26.5m (€38m) Northern Bank robbery, the IRA can be trusted.

He also predicted party leader the Rev Ian Paisley would seize upon the fact that the statement does not include the phrase: “The war is over“.

But he called for the statement to be viewed as a starting point.

“We can’t go on the way we are going,” he said. “We have to improve things for our young people so they don’t fall into the same traps as we fell into. We need to give them some sort of future.”

IT tutor Jim Watt also works at the Prisoners Enterprise Project, which is sandwiched between Just William’s Café and the Ulster Society.

Mr Watt said the local community has been left incensed this week by Tony Blair’s comments comparing al-Qaida to the IRA and the release of Shankill bomber Sean Kelly.

The 53-year-old said: “Tony Blair said the IRA never killed 3,000 people but if they got 1,000 police officers in the one place they would have killed them.”

On the statement, he said: “The unionist and Protestant people are being truly betrayed. In one sense it would be great to see disarmament but at what price? I imagine most people will treat it with contempt.

"They are not doing this out of some sense of altruism. They have not been slaughtering Protestants for 30 years just to say: ’We will give up and go’.

Mr Watt also questioned the decision to release Sean Kelly, who planted the 1993 IRA bomb which killed nine civilians.

He said: “If they provided evidence that he was involved in terrorism at the time the IRA were on ceasefire, who was he involved in terrorism with? Was it dissidents and will dissidents decommission their weapons as well?”

Rain lashed down from grey skies wich hung over the Sandy Row as the historic IRA statement was released to the world.

The weather summed up the mood of some locals who felt today’s announcment would make little difference to the North after three decades of bloodshed.

William Hewitt, 35, was painting red lettering on to a white drum as he absorbed the significance of the statement.

The Drum Sounds shop sells instruments and memorabilia ranging from flags and badges, to CDs and DVDs.

A dark blue Ulster Defence Association t-shirt hung over the counter as Mr Hewitt carried out his work on a wooden stool.

He said: “It is disgraceful Sean Kelly was released before the statement was put out. Everyone is disillusioned by the whole peace process as it is just a series of concessions to republicans. I have no faith in the whole peace process and I have no faith in the British government to deliver peace.”

Across the road – which is lined with red, white and blue painted kerbstones - from the prisoners’ drop-in centre, the owner of the Carpet Centre has more reasons than most to despise the IRA.

The IRA killed two of Robert Smith’s cousins and claimed the lives of six of his friends.

On the motives behind today’s statement, Mr Smith, 44, said: “They have seen what has happened in London and New York and they can’t be seen as terrorists any more. They want to be seen as a law-abiding organisation but they are a terrorist organisation.

Of the losses he has suffered, Mr Hewitt said: “The IRA killed two members of my family and six of my friends, who were all members of the security forces.

“It is a bitter pill to swallow that they have put down the gun without even an apology for what they have done. It is a statement 30 years too late.”

Warning over rail line syringes


Syringes may have been thrown from train

Police have warned people living near the railway line between Ballymena and Coleraine to beware of syringes which may have been thrown from a train.

It follows an incident on Wednesday during which police seized four knives.

Police recovered them after reports that youths had been annoying other passengers. The youths were said to have knives, syringes and drugs.

The knives were seized at Ballymena, but no syringes were found and may have thrown from out of the train.

The train stayed in Ballymena, and the passengers were taken on by bus to Belfast while officers searched it.

Police had first spoken to the youths while the train was in Coleraine.

"This morning police carried out a detailed search of the train, but so far the syringes reported by passengers have not been found, nor were any drugs recovered," a police spokesman said.

"As a precaution, in case the syringes were thrown from the moving train, we are asking people living or working along the line to be wary and to report to us any suspicious objects they come across."

He appealed for anyone who was on the train to contact police to tell them exactly what happened.

Resentment and fear from working class republicans

::: u.tv :::

THURSDAY 28/07/2005 16:24:00
By:Press Association

Harry McClafferty grimaced as the newsreader announced the IRA was abandoning its armed campaign for good.

All around him a stunned hush fell over Danny Molly`s bar in the republican stronghold of Ardoyne, north Belfast.

Turning from the giant TV screen, Mr McClafferty, 51,
struggled to control his fury and resentment at the Provisionals` statement.

The former hotel maintenance manager declared: "It`s a
bunch of c**p.

"A lot of good men who died would be turning in their graves, just like my stomach is turning over listening to this."

All through the district people who look to the IRA to protect them from loyalist terrorists were gripped by anxiety.

Young mothers and hardened workmen who lived through three decades of sectarian murders all feared they will be left exposed.

"I wouldn`t have given up a single empty shell because this neighbourhood is going to be defenceless," claimed Terry McLarnon, a retired merchant seaman.

The 63-year-old and his pal Tommy Jones had met for a regular pint in Ardoyne`s Gaelic Football Club, situated behind rows of terraced houses from where the IRA recruited hundreds of volunteers.

Inside a sign warned that all Northern Bank notes would be refused due to a flood of forgeries in the area.

The fakes are believed to have been printed on top of cash stolen in the IRA`s £26.5 million heist at the bank`s Belfast HQ in December.

"About £360 was passed at the weekend," a staff member said.

One punter who refused to give his name claimed the Provisionals were attempting to dump the counterfeit cash just like the weapons.

"They are conning their own people," he said.

After arguing to get his money accepted, Mr Jones, an affable and immaculately dressed 65-year-old, spoke of his disillusionment with the entire peace process.

"I`ll be in a box and this will still be going on," he predicted.

Before the Troubles erupted in the late 1960s, he would go out with Protestant workmates straight after finishing their shifts as trolley bus drivers.

Now, however, he won`t even venture into the city centre and gave this verdict of the IRA`s decision: "It`s a bad, bad mistake."

Many refused to openly criticise Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness, pinning their faith on the Sinn Fein leaders` strategy.

But they were puzzled and frustrated by the decision to get rid of all the guns when loyalists remain fully armed.
Widower Jimmy McAley, 50, urged republicans to store their huge arsenal rather than destroy them.

"Give all the weapons up and the swines on the other side will come in and wipe us out like they did in `69," he claimed.

Mr McAley, admitted the conflict had left him a bitter and committed republican.

Grinning enigmatically, he added: "But they never got me for membership."

Beside him a 38-year-old woman who only gave her name as Pat was prepared to put more trust in the IRA.

"This will have been done for the people," she said.
Her friend was less convinced, however, as she dreaded a return to the old days of feeling vulnerable.

"I used to put a plank up at my door because I was afraid," the 35-year-old woman said.

"Then the ceasefires happened and everybody got a wee bit more at ease.

"But I`m afraid again because the protection might not be there now."

As the Provisionals went out of business, many suspected the dissident republican terrorists opposed to the peace process would recruit heavily.

A labourer taking in the news during his lunchbreak was outraged by the IRA disarmament but refused to give his name, claiming he would be shot.

"It`s a total disgrace," he insisted.

"We are handing over the whole show and that shite across the road (loyalists) still have theirs.

"The dissidents came after the ceasefire and this will make them even stronger.

"I never thought I`d see this day."

In a portacabin used as a working man`s club one man split from the others and whispered his views in an empty corner.

Revealing arms heavily tattooed with intricate republican designs, he claimed: "This is the Provisionals surrendering."

32 CSM: PIRA statement not surprising nor historic

32csm's Message Board

Posted on 28/7/2005 at 15:31:52 by The Sovereign Nation

Press Release: 32 County Sovereignty Movement.
28 July 2005.
Contact: Andy Martin Director of Publicity.
Phone 07742439449 or e-mail sovereign_nation@hotmail.com

PIRA statement ‘neither surprising nor historic’

The 32 County Sovereignty Movement do not view today’s statement by the Provisional Movement as surprising nor do we believe that it is in anyway historic. This statement is merely the logical conclusion in a process signed up to by the Provisionals in April 1998. In negotiation that led to the Good Friday Agreement all issues such as Decommissioning and the issue of PIRA’s future were dealt with otherwise an agreement would not have been reached in the first place.
Having accepted that Britain had a right to claim sovereignty in the 6 counties and having accepted that the political views of Unionism had the right to veto political change in Ireland, the Provisional movement are now acting in accordance with what it was they initially signed up to. If Provisional Sinn Fein and the Provisional IRA, who supported them at every turn, truly accepted the terms of the GFA, then today’s statement cannot be viewed by republicans as surrender but rather as the final act of a surrender that started many years ago.
The reality of the situation for the Provisionals is that having been constituted to defend the sovereignty of the Irish nation, they have usurped that sovereignty and in the signing of the GFA and releasing statements such as today’s while Britain still claims sovereignty in Ireland and has thousands of armed troops in support of that claim, they have abdicated the national position. In acting in the manner that they have the Provisionals have admitted that the GFA has the ability to settle the constitutional issue of the north, which quite clearly it has not.

The 32 County Sovereignty Movement believe that Irish sovereignty and the national position will be defended regardless of what the Provisional movement does in the future and we urge all republicans to embrace republican principles by upholding and defending the sovereignty of the Irish nation.


Historic statement read by Séanna Walsh

An Phoblacht

VIDEO link

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Click to view photo: Séanna Walsh reading out IRA statement

The historic IRA statement was visually recorded and read by Séanna Walsh at the request of the leadership of Óglaigh na hÉireann.

Séanna served over 21 years as a Republican Prisoner of War in both the Cages and the H-Blocks of Long Kesh. He was among the first republicans 'on the blanket' after his arrest in 1976, the year the British Labour Government began its policy of attempting to criminalise IRA prisoners. Séanna was a friend and cellmate of Bobby Sands, the Officer Commanding in the H-Blocks and the first of the Hunger Strikers who died in 1981.

Since his release Séanna Breatnach has played a key role working with Sinn Féin's negotiating team and advancing the republican peace strategy.

IRA leads the way - IRA STATEMENT

An Phoblacht

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The following historic statement was issued by Óglaigh na hÉireann, the Irish Republican Army, today, Thursday 28 July 2005.

The leadership of Óglaigh na hÉireann has formally ordered an end to the armed campaign. This will take effect from 4pm this afternoon.

All IRA units have been ordered to dump arms.

All Volunteers have been instructed to assist the development of purely political and democratic programmes through exclusively peaceful means. Volunteers must not engage in any other activities whatsoever.

The IRA leadership has also authorised our representative to engage with the IICD to complete the process to verifiably put its arms beyond use in a way which will further enhance public confidence and to conclude this as quickly as possible. We have invited two independent witnesses, from the Protestant and Catholic churches, to testify to this.

The Army Council took these decisions following an unprecedented internal discussion and consultation process with IRA units and Volunteers.

We appreciate the honest and forthright way in which the consultation process was carried out and the depth and content of the submissions. We are proud of the comradely way in which this truly historic discussion was conducted.

The outcome of our consultations show very strong support among IRA Volunteers for the Sinn Féin peace strategy. There is also widespread concern about the failure of the two governments and the unionists to fully engage in the peace process. This has created real difficulties. The overwhelming majority of people in Ireland fully support this process. They and friends of Irish unity throughout the world want to see the full implementation of the Good Friday Agreement.

Notwithstanding these difficulties our decisions have been taken to advance our republican and democratic objectives, including our goal of a united Ireland. We believe there is now an alternative way to achieve this and to end British rule in our country.

It is the responsibility of all Volunteers to show leadership, determination and courage. We are very mindful of the sacrifices of our patriot dead, those who went to jail, Volunteers, their families and the wider republican base. We reiterate our view that the armed struggle was entirely legitimate.

We are conscious that many people suffered in the conflict. There is a compelling imperative on all sides to build a just and lasting peace.

The issue of the defence of nationalist and republican communities has been raised with us. There is a responsibility on society to ensure that there is no re-occurrence of the pogroms of 1969 and the early 1970s. There is also a universal responsibility to tackle sectarianism in all its forms.

The IRA is fully committed to the goals of Irish unity and independence and to building the Republic outlined in the 1916 Proclamation.

We call for maximum unity and effort by Irish republicans everywhere. We are confident that by working together Irish republicans can achieve our objectives. Every Volunteer is aware of the import of the decisions we have taken and all Óglaigh are compelled to fully comply with these orders.

There is now an unprecedented opportunity to utilise the considerable energy and goodwill which there is for the peace process. This comprehensive series of unparalleled initiatives is our contribution to this and to the continued endeavours to bring about independence and unity for the people of Ireland.

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