03 September 2005


Posted to Seven Stars Republican Socialist News by Peter Urban

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Dear friends, supporters, and allies of Leonard Peltier,

Monday, September 12th, 2005 will be Leonard's 61st birthday. Please send him a card, drop him a note, to wish him a good birthday.

His new address is:
Leonard Peltier # 89637-132
P.O. BOX 1000

He has told us that he has enough money in his inmate account to buy the necessary items at the commissary and for his art supplies. However he wishes that if you still want to give him a gift, that you do so by sending a donation to the LPDC (c/o Toni Zeidan, 2626 N. Mesa #132, El Paso, Texas) as he wants his office re-established close to where he is as soon as possible.

In the Spirit of Crazy Horse and Leonard Peltier!

Paula Ostrovsky

Sinn Féin calls for the establishment of a single Garda Ombudsman

Sinn Féin

Published: 3 September, 2005

Sinn Féin Vice President Pat Doherty speaking in Donegal this afternoon called for widespread Garda reform. He said "The fact remains that the Morris Tribunal will not bring us the whole truth. Many questions about serious Garda misconduct in all parts of the state remain unanswered. What we need to do now, is to take the leap as a society to admit that this is not just a Donegal problem. This is a systemic problem we have to confront. It is long past the time for the establishment of the fully independent complaints procedure under a single Garda Ombudsman."

Mr. Doherty was speaking in Raphoe at an event organised by the McBrearty family and others who have had a similar experience at the hands of the Garda Síochána.

Mr. Doherty said:

"Reform and greater accountability of the Gardaí are urgently needed . The onus for change is on the Minister and the key to this is reform that introduces effective oversight of the Garda Síochána and real accountability to communities.

"The Gardaí are a legitimate police service, and I recognise the good work done by many Gardaí in our communities over the years. However, their history is not unblemished. And it is not just a case of a few bad apples in the Heavy Gang, or a bushel of them in Donegal. Misconduct has been much more widespread. The Special Branch has also been used as a political police force against republicans. The power of the Gardaí has been abused and those guilty have generally gotten off scot-free.

"The Morris Tribunal reports, detailing as they do the prejudiced investigations, the lies, the destruction and falsification of records, reports and other evidence. shows that there is an urgent need for "root and branch reform" of the Gardaí, the way the force is managed and how complaints against them are dealt with.

"This report explodes the myth of a few rogue cops in Donegal. We need only look at who was found to be corrupt, obstructive, or at the very least incompetent and negligent in Donegal: a Chief Superintendent, four Superintendents, and members of every other Garda grade.

"It points to a whole managerial system that allowed such activity to happen unhindered and unpunished. Indeed the comments of Garda Commissioner Noel Conroy in the aftermath of the Morris report, in offering a defence of the actions of the Gardaí involved in the investigation into the death of Richie Barron and the subsequent efforts to frame Frank McBrearty and Mark McConnell, shows that the mindset that was involved in the original investigation goes right to the top of the force.

"We also have the case of the deeply flawed investigation into the murder of Donegal Councillor Eddie Fullerton There was no proper examination of the scene, crucial forensic evidence was never examined and key witnesses were not interviewed. Three of the Gardaí, roundly discredited by the Morris Tribunal, were centrally involved in the flawed investigation into Eddie Fullerton's murder.

"Many questions about serious Garda misconduct in all parts of the state remain unanswered. What we need to do now, is to take the leap as a society to admit that this is not just a Donegal problem. This is a systemic problem we have to confront aggressively and decisively if we are to solve it, and move on.

"The Irish people deserve to know the full truth about all these matters, and the real truth about policing and justice in this state. The era of impunity and cover-ups must come to an end.

"Clearly it is long past the time for the establishment of the fully independent complaints procedure under a single Garda Ombudsman. Indeed, the Good Friday Agreement commitment to equivalence in human rights protections north and south requires the establishment of a single Garda Ombudsman.

"Sinn Féin wants to see an all-island police service established. In the interim, we want policing services North and South that can attract widespread support from, and that are seen as an integral part of, the community as a whole. We want effective policing with local democratic accountability, shaped as a community service and imbued with that human rights ethos. We have an opportunity now to shape the policing of the future for the people of Ireland. It is critical that we get it right."ENDS

MP in new call to retain at least one RIR battalion

Belfast Telegraph

By Claire Regan
03 September 2005

THE DUP today urged the Government to retain at least one of the three home service Royal Irish Regiment battalions which are to be axed in less than two years.

Lagan Valley MP Jeffrey Donaldson called on Defence Secretary John Reid to consider keeping one of the threatened Northern Ireland-based battalions along with the RIR's foreign service battalion which is to continue.

Speaking to the BBC's Inside Politics programme, the DUP man said: "It is our view that the Government should retain a second battalion based here as part of the garrison of 5,000 soldiers in Northern Ireland."

The DUP was outraged when the Army announced last month that the RIR's three home battalions are to be disbanded as "there will be no military requirement" for them if the IRA sticks to its pledge of standing down.

The decision will see some 3,000 members of the battalions, who provide military support in Northern Ireland alone, paid off over the next two years. It came as part of a number of security cutbacks, including the dismantling of security posts, set out in response to the IRA declaration.

'DUP's mask slips' over condemning all violence

Belfast Telegraph

By Debra Douglas
03 September 2005

A DUP councillor was lambasted today for "failing to criticise" loyalists engaged in criminality in the same terms as republicans.

Ulster Unionist MLA Esmond Birnie hit out at Belfast councillor Ruth Patterson for condemning Sinn Fein's response to a number of incidents in Belfast - including the rape of a teenage girl which was not carried out by paramilitaries - during a television interview but failing to criticise the PUP and loyalists.

He said: "Is Councillor Patterson implying that it is somehow less wrong for the UVF, etc to be killing people than for the IRA to be doing that?

"For several years, various figures in the DUP have tried to steer that party towards a more 'centre ground'. Now and again, however, the mask slips."

But defending her comments, Ms Patterson said: "In the interview, I was specifically discussing the rape of an innocent 15-year-old girl. It could be clearly seen that this terrible story was having an emotional impact on me.

"I was then asked a purely political question and needed a few seconds to gather my thoughts, then applied the same terminology to both parties. No distinction was drawn."

Ex-Lord Mayor, Alliance's Tom Ekin, said Ms Patterson's comments were "incredible". "In the chamber, the DUP were making clear their opposition to all violence, but outside afterwards they were fumbling."

Security alert disrupts festival


The centre of Hillsborough, County Down, has been evacuated due to a security alert.

It is understood Army technical officers have found two devices in the village which is hosting its 13th annual oyster festival.

Police were warned that a number of devices had been left in the village just after 1330 BST.

The festival has been postponed, but organisers say they intend to resume the event later in the day.

The Hillsborough Oyster Festival raises funds for cystic fibrosis.

1,000 forced from their homes

Daily Ireland

by Ciarán Barnes

Almost 1,000 people living in the North have been forced to flee their homes in the past year as a result of intimidation.
During the period from April 2004 to April this year, 959 householders contacted the Housing Executive seeking alternative accommodation because of threats, the vast majority from loyalist paramilitary gangs.
Families living in Belfast were on the receiving end of 471 threats — half the total. The Housing Executive has recorded cases throughout the North.
Cases of intimidation last year accounted for five per cent of the North’s 17,500 homeless cases. This statistic is likely to increase this year following the increase in sectarian attacks during the summer.
Homes occupied by Catholics have been targeted on north Belfast’s interfaces and in loyalist towns in north Antrim. Catholics have flooded the Housing Executive with requests to be rehoused because of paramilitary intimidation.
In recent weeks, 12 Protestant families from Belfast have also approached the Housing Executive after being intimidated out of their homes by feuding loyalist paramilitaries.
One Catholic family forced to flee their home are the McCalls from the Whitewell area of north Belfast.
At the beginning of the summer, their home on Old Throne Gardens was attacked by loyalist arsonists. Since then they have been homeless. However, the PSNI’s refusal to confirm they have been intimidated from their home means the Housing Executive is under no obligation to buy it from them.
Under a scheme known as Special Purchase of Evicted Dwellings (SPED), the Housing Executive has a responsibility to buy homes from owners who have been the victim of paramilitary intimidation.
Speaking to Daily Ireland yesterday, Peter McCall said it was disgraceful how his family has been treated,
The grandfather was asleep in the house with his wife, four children and grandchild when loyalists attempted to burn his home.
He said: “My house was under regular attack for three years. I had the windows broken and my daughter was stoned while she played in the garden.
“You could not go outside without running the risk of being hit with a brick.
“The house is a mess now; it was completely gutted by the fire.
“If it wasn’t for our insurance company paying the rent in our new house, I don’t know what we would do.”
Mr McCall had harsh words for the PSNI and Housing Executive which he believes are turning a blind eye to his situation.
“The house next door to mine was also burned by loyalists yet the Housing Executive bought that on a SPED after the PSNI confirmed the family staying there were being intimidated. What is so different about my case?
“The Housing Executive did try and find me alternative accommodation but that was in an empty house in south Belfast whose previous owner had been forced out by loyalist paramilitaries. I couldn’t possibly have moved there.
“It doesn’t surprise me that so many people have been forced from their homes by paramilitaries. I know there are hundreds of people in my situation around the country.”
The Old Throne area was again targeted by loyalists at the beginning of this week.
A spokeswoman for the Housing Executive claimed it was making every attempt to rehouse the McCalls.
She said that because the PSNI had not confirmed the family were the victim of paramilitary intimidation the Housing Executive had no obligation to buy their home from them.
A spokesperson for the PSNI said it did not comment on individual cases.

Fitt cried libel to distort the truth and shake down those who told it


By Ryle Dwyer

WHEN Gerry Fitt died last week, he was celebrated as a democrat who eschewed the gun in politics.

But many people knew of a different story that he managed to distort over the years by exploiting our crazy libel laws.

On February 25, 1967, Fitt warned a London conference that northern nationalists had had enough: “If reforms are not forthcoming, who could blame them for taking whatever action they see fit in the circumstances. I, for one,” he said, “would certainly not blame them.”

The then prime minister of Northern Ireland, Terence O’Neill wasn’t impressed.

“Mr Fitt is like that remarkable animal, the chameleon, which changes its colours to suit its background,” he told a meeting in Strabane in May 1968.

Fitt addressed a gathering in Derry in July of the same year. “The day for action has arrived,” he said.

“If constitutional methods do not bring social justice, if they do not bring democracy to Northern Ireland, then I am quite prepared to go outside constitutional methods.”

He blamed the Dublin government for their inaction. “I wonder sometimes if the Southern government is prepared to accept the responsibility for the reunification of Ireland,” he told the United Ireland Association in Manchester later that week.

“They could be much more forceful in demanding their right to the six county territory.”

In January 1969, Fitt reportedly told the Labour Party conference in Dublin: “The young people who had thrown stones and burned police tenders in Newry were justified in doing so because they had been walked on and oppressed for many years of frustration.”

On September 13, 1969 he met with Captain James J Kelly, an Irish intelligence officer who was in Belfast to assess the situation for Military Intelligence.

John Kelly, a Belfast republican, and his brother, Billy, also attended the meeting, which took place in Fitt’s home.

Fitt pleaded with Captain Kelly to persuade the Dublin government to provide Northern nationalists with weapons for defensive purposes.

“Fitt made clear the urgency of the situation and that it was of paramount importance to get in arms immediately,” Captain Kelly reported next day. “I suggest that there might now be a short period of calm in which to organise.”

“No, you have it all wrong,” Fitt replied. “It could happen any time. It could happen this minute.”

A number of deputations went to Dublin pleading for weapons.

“The deputations consisted of people who would be looked upon as responsible members of the community - members of parliament, surely all opposition members must have come at some time and to my own knowledge each of the SDLP members came.”

In his 1974 book We Won’t Stand (Idly) By, Kevin Boland wrote: “They asked for the means to protect themselves, their families and their homes. They wanted respirators to protect themselves from CS gas and guns to repel their enemies - these and the money to buy them.”

Although Boland did not name the members of the deputations in his 1974 book, he did name them three years later in a further book, Up Dev!

“Even people like Gerry Fitt,” Boland wrote, “went along with the tide and came to Dublin lobbying the minister for arms and respirators for the Citizen Defence Committees.”

According to Eamonn McCann in his book, War and an Irish Town, Fitt told a crowd at the corner of Victoria Street in Derry on the morning of January 5, 1970, that “it’s time to get the guns out.”

FITT never tried to take any legal action over any of those reports. But in January 1993 the northern edition of the Sunday Press accused him of being “involved in the creation of the Provisional IRA,” because his request for arms had “set the scenario from which the Provisional IRA emerged”.

The authors of the article suggested that Fitt had asked Captain Kelly for guns for the IRA, but the captain’s report only stated “Fitt asked me to convey a request to the Dublin government for guns for the defence of nationalists”.

The Sunday Press might have been able to defend those assertions but the article had some glaring errors.

The authors said that Fitt’s party colleague, Paddy Kennedy, was at the meeting between Fitt and Captain Kelly and would support the captain’s version of events. But Kennedy was not there.

The authors also mistakenly stated that a BBC programme on the troubles a few days earlier had raised the issue of Fitt’s efforts to procure arms.

Fitt initiated legal action against the Sunday Press and it promptly capitulated.

Two weeks to the day after the offending article appeared, the newspaper published an apology and agreed to pay Fitt a reported £50,000 in damages.

Both the article and the subsequent apology were published only in northern editions of the Sunday Press.

In May of that year, 1993, on RTÉ’s Sunday Show, Conor Cruise O’Brien challenged me to explain how Charles Haughey could justify providing money for arms. “What about the money voted for relief of distress and applied to other purposes?” he asked. “That’s where the smoking gun is!”

I replied: “You had people like Gerry Fitt coming down here looking for arms to protect themselves against armed unionist thugs.

“Gerry Fitt demonstrated the benefit of having a legally held weapon by facing down a republican rabble who broke into his home.”

I added the whole thing had nothing to do with the Provisional IRA, because it had not yet been set up.

“You have to look at it without the Provos in the background,” I emphasised.

Fitt had apparently got a taste for easy money as a result of what happened with the Sunday Press. He threatened to sue RTÉ over my remarks.

RTÉ asked for my sources and I outlined the foregoing information. If I could get a copy of Captain Kelly’s report, that would nail the case, I was told. Captain Kelly produced the report and was prepared to testify to its veracity, as were John Kelly and his brother Billy. Eamonn McCann was also prepared to testify about what Fitt said in Derry.

RTÉ, which was known as a soft touch at the time, agreed to pay Fitt some £20,000.

I had already written on similar lines for the Sunday Tribune and that article had been repeated in Scotland on Sunday. The latter paid Fitt around £15,000, but he tried to screw £50,000 out of the Sunday Tribune. He settled virtually on the steps of the courthouse for £4,000. In each case, the papers believed that even if they won the case, they would lose money, because Fitt would be unable to pay their costs. By settling they actually cut their inevitable losses.

In 1999 Captain Kelly published the details in his book Thimble Riggers, and Gill & Macmillan decided to fight Fitt, if necessary when they published similar details in Justin O’Brien’s book, The Arms Crisis.

Fitt’s past has caught up with him, but not before he had successfully used our crazy libel laws not only to distort the details of a crucial part of our history but also as a personal means of legalised extortion.

Ryle Dwyer will be talking and answering questions on his book, The Squad and the Intelligence Operations of Michael Collins at Cork City Library, Grand Parade on Monday (September 5) at 7.30pm.



Hungry, thirsty and scared - hurricane victims blame Bush


A BELEAGUERED George Bush flew to the devastated Gulf Coast and met weeping survivors of Hurricane Katrina yesterday, as criticism of his handling of the disaster threatened to plunge his presidency into crisis.

The president has been accused of failing to grasp the seriousness of the situation facing the tens of thousands of people who have lost everything in the worst disaster to hit the United States since the San Francisco earthquake of 1906.

Four days after the hurricane made landfall, with law and order breaking down, looters and armed gangs roaming the streets and reports of people dying while they waited for help, Mr Bush admitted: "Now we are in the darkest days."

The results were not acceptable, he said, but he vowed to get on top of the situation. Shortly after arriving in Mobile, Alabama, to be briefed on the relief efforts, he added: "We have a responsibility to help clear up this mess."

He urged Americans to do their bit to help. "Now is the time to love a neighbour like you would like to be loved yourself," he said.

In Biloxi, Mississippi, he met sobbing victims who told him they had lost everything. With his arms around them, he promised: "I will help you. Hang in there."

With her sister Kim, 21, by her side, Bronwynne Bassier, 23, told the president her house was in ruins, as she clutched a black plastic bag she hoped to use to collect some items from what was left of her home. "Sorry you're going through this," Mr Bush said, hugging both women.

But critics of the relief effort pulled no punches. Ray Nagin, the mayor of New Orleans, raged: "I need reinforcements. I need troops, man. I need 500 buses, man. Now get off your asses and fix this. Let's do something and let's fix the biggest goddamn crisis in the history of this country."

Estimates suggest that a million people are homeless, and one Louisiana senator, David Vitter, said the death toll in that state alone could be as high as 10,000.

Much of the criticism has been directed at the Federal Emergency Management Agency, but its director, Michael Brown, said staff were working "under conditions of urban warfare".

The father of one young Briton trapped with thousands of other refugees in the Superdome echoed that description. "It's like a scene from Mad Max in there," said John Graydon, whose son, Mark, had sought refuge with his girlfriend, Gretchen Heiserman. Instead of safety, said Mr Graydon, his son was in fear of his life. "He told me he was very concerned about his life and his girlfriend's. He said, 'Dad you have to get us out of here'. That is the first time he has said that. He has been pretty brave until now. "They are being abused and threatened. His girlfriend has been threatened with rape."

Perhaps conscious of the level of anger among the survivors, Mr Bush had no plans to enter the devastated city, preferring instead to fly over it in a helicopter before staging a walk-about through the hard-hit suburbs of Biloxi.

Inside the city limits, New Orleans teetered on the brink of anarchy. Rescuers, law officers and helicopters were shot at by storm victims, while fights and fires broke out inside the Superdome as thousands of people waited in misery to board buses for the comparative luxury of the Houston Astrodome.

Corpses lay out in the open as the looting continued.

Kathleen Blanco, the governor of Louisiana, called the looters "hoodlums" and warned that she was sending in hundreds of National Guard troops to restore order.

"They have M-16s and they're locked and loaded," she said. "These troops know how to shoot and kill, and I expect they will."

But even the National Guardsmen were helpless in the face of a furious mob. At the Superdome, a group of refugees broke through a line of heavily armed troops in a scramble to get on to the buses.

Eddie Compass, the police chief, said officers who went in to check out reports of assaults were forced back.

"We have individuals who are getting raped, we have individuals who are getting beaten," Mr Compass said.

A military helicopter tried to land at the convention centre several times to drop off food and water, but the rushing crowd forced it to back off.

Troopers then tossed supplies to the crowd and flew away.

Mr Bush warned that there should be "zero tolerance" of looters, but the chief of the Louisiana state police said he had heard of numerous instances of New Orleans police officers - many from flooded areas - turning in their badges rather than take on the armed gangs. Colonel Henry Whitehorn said: "They indicated they had lost everything and didn't feel that it was worth them going back to take fire from looters and losing their lives."

To add to what some described as an "apocalyptic" atmosphere, an explosion at a chemical depot rocked the city yesterday morning, starting a fire which burned throughout the day. And a huge oil spill was spotted near storage tanks on the Mississippi River downstream from New Orleans.

The United Nations offered to support the relief effort "in any way possible" and Asia-Pacific nations - including Sri Lanka, battered by the tsunami - promised to send money and disaster-relief experts.

John Howard, the Australian prime minister, said: "There should not be an assumption that because America is the wealthiest and most powerful country in the world, this isn't a major crisis."

Australia promised A$10 million (£4.1 million) to the American Red Cross, Japan offered $200,000 and the Toyota Motor Corporation pledged $5 million. Sri Lanka pledged $25,000.

• Americans have donated an estimated $219 million (£119 million) to the relief effort.

In the first ten days after the 11 September, 2001 terrorist attacks, $239 million (£130 million) was raised - a figure certain to be surpassed in half the time by the current appeal.

Scots on holiday 'forced to join looters to find food'

THE daughter of a Scots holidaymaker caught up in the devastation of Hurricane Katrina told last night how her mother had been forced to join in the looting to find food.

Teresa Cherrie, 42, a nurse, and her partner, John Drysdale, 41, a lorry driver, from Renfrew, are marooned in New Orleans. The couple are desperately awaiting rescue on the roof of an apartment block with ten American refugees in the French quarter of Baton Rouge, while hiding from armed gangs.

Her daughter, Nicola Cherrie, 21, a dental nurse, said: "She phoned this morning at half past two just to let us know they were okay. She was awfully upset and she just said she'd never been so starving in her whole life, she'd never seen so many guns, she'd never been so scared.

"She said they had a tin of ravioli and a packet of biscuits for their dinner tonight. They've had to loot supermarkets for food and scavenge what they can.

"It was meant to be a dream holiday but it's turned into a nightmare," she said.

Council to rule on bishop's plans for cathedral changes -

Irish Independent

AN eight-year battle that has pitted conservationists and Church traditionalists against the Bishop of Cloyne's plans to alter the inside of historic St Colman's Cathedral in Cobh, could be resolved next week when local planning authorities give a decision.

Bishop John Magee wants to make internal changes to conform better to the requirements of the modern Mass. Traditionalists want the interior to remain almost as it has been since it was built more than 100 years ago - and conservationists consider it an architectural masterpiece. Since the diocese formally applied for permission to make changes six weeks ago, Cobh Town Council has received more than 200 objections. This is in addition to 24,000 protest signatures against the plan six years ago.

One of those leading the opposition is independent councillor, Sean O'Connor. Objections have also been received from An Taisce, the Irish Georgian Society and the Pugin Society.

Augustus Pugin is regarded as one of the foremost architects of the 19th century and he helped design the cathedral in the 1860s.

The changes proposed by Bishop Magee, which are likely to cost several million euro, include removing a large section of the altar rails, extending the sanctuary area which will cover 85 feet of mosaic floor, and replacing the present altar, installed in the 1960s.

Traditionalists object particularly strongly to the removal of a section of the altar rails

The bishop says the interior of the cathedral must be "re-ordered" to suit the requirements of the New Mass, one element of which is people receiving Communion standing before the priest.

It is likely that however next Friday's decision goes, it will be appealed.

David Quinn,
Religious and Social Affairs Correspondent

Movie based on Collins' life to premiere at festival

Irish Independent

'BELOVED Enemy', the 1936 feature film based on the life of Michael Collins and recently restored by the Irish Film Archive, is to be premiered at the 50th Cork Film Festival in October.

Made by legendary Hollywood producer Samuel Goldwyn, the 86-minute feature stars Merle Oberon as the daughter of a British diplomat in Ireland in 1921, Brian Ahearne as a fictionalised version of Collins and David Niven as a British army officer.

"In the year that Cork City, birthplace of Michael Collins, holds the mantle of European Capital of Culture, it is fitting that local audiences will have the first opportunity to see the restored version of this rare film," Kasandra O' Connell, head of the Irish Film Archive, said.

The film is a love story which romanticises the events that led up to to the signing of the treaty with the British.

Although other copies of the film exist, this is the only known surviving copy to feature the unhappy ending where the hero dies. In the 1930s the film was considered too downbeat for Hollywood audiences and went on general release with a more uplifting ending.

This rare print was originally discovered at the Limerick Film Archive and its restoration by the Irish Film Archive was funded by the Heritage Council's Museum and Archive fund.

Following its Cork showing, 'Beloved Enemy' will be screened at the Irish Film Institute on November 16.

Philip Molloy

Gardai flying out to probe Colombia Three file

Irish Independent

TWO gardai will travel to Colombia on Wednesday to widen the force's inquiries into the case of the Colombia Three, convicted there of training Farc terrorists. Agreement on the matter between the Garda and Colombian police was reached yesterday and the two officers have been selected. The two forces made contact right after Jim Monaghan, Martin McCauley and Niall Connolly turned up here unexpectedly last month.

A senior garda confirmed to the Irish Independent last night that the two officers would continue inquiries already under way in relation to possible criminal offences in this jurisdiction.

A senior member of the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation and an officer from the crime and security section at Garda HQ are heading to Bogota. One is fluent in Spanish. Their visit will focus on the men's use of false passports while in Colombia.

Monaghan and McCauley travelled on bogus British documentation, which is not an offence here, but Connolly used a false Irish passport and gardai hope to delve deeply into that aspect of the case.

Connolly's passport had been issued in Dublin in the name of David Bracken, an infant, who died. The former Sinn Fein representative in Cuba gave his name as David Bracken when he was stopped by police at Bogota airport and later when he was under investigation there.

Connolly may have committed an offence by his use of the passport even though he might have been in Cuba while it was being issued.

Gardai are also anxious to establish the whereabouts of the three men after they fled Colombia following their conviction, and to pinpoint how and when they came back here. The three refused to divulge any such information when quizzed by gardai last month.

Inquiries will be made into the behaviour of the three while in Colombia. All information will form a vital part of a file to be submitted to the DPP here. The Colombian government has so far not sought extradition of the three to serve their jail sentences.

There is no extradition treaty between the countries but Justice Minister Michael McDowell has said he is not opposed to one if it is sought. Another option he outlined at Wednesday's Cabinet meeting was whether the three could serve sentences handed down in Colombia here.

Tom Brady
Security Editor

IRA ready to scrap weapons 'in days'


Angelique Chrisafis, Ireland correspondent
Saturday September 3, 2005
The Guardian

The IRA is to begin dismantling its weapons arsenal within days and decommissioning should be completed in weeks, sources close to the British and Irish governments said yesterday.

The disarmament chief, retired Canadian general John de Chastelain, arrived in Ireland on Wednesday after a Finnish brigadier, Tauno Nieminen, was appointed to his three-man team in anticipation of the heavy workload over the next few weeks.

The British and Irish governments have been anxious for disarmament to begin since the IRA's statement in July that its armed struggle with Britain was over and all weapons would be "put beyond use ... as quickly as possible".

When decommissioning showed no sign of starting last month, unionists grew irate over the government's disbandment of the home-based battalions of the Royal Irish Regiment, and what they saw as the audacious return of republican fugitives, the Colombia Three, to Ireland.

When decommissioning begins, weapons will be neutralised in a series of separate decommissioning acts. Once these are complete and all weapons have been put beyond use, General de Chastelain will report to the governments. A source close to the British government said the general's report was expected "as soon as physically possible".

He is also expected to give the governments an inventory of arms that have been neutralised, but it is not clear when that could be published.

The IRA's arms cache is thought to include M60 machine guns, Armalite rifles, AK-47s, handguns, explosives and timer devices stored at various locations.

In its three previous acts of decommissioning, the IRA has demanded confidentiality. All sides are keen to avoid a repeat of the debacle of two years ago when General de Chastelain emerged from witnessing the secret act of decommissioning and, restricted by confidentiality, was unable to provide enough detail to satisfy the Ulster Unionists.

David Trimble then pulled the plug on the process which was to lead to the restoration of a power-sharing Stormont assembly.

This time two clergymen, one Protestant and one Catholic, will be invited to witness the final disarmament process and afterwards state to the public they were there.

But Ian Paisley's hardline Democratic Unionist party will not get the photographic evidence of decommissioning that it demanded.

The Irish justice minister, Michael McDowell, said this week that he did not expect decommissioning would happen by "one single press of a button or by one single act of decommissioning, at one single place." Disarmament would involve a series of acts which would happen "in one sequence of events" and "in fairly rapid order", he said.

The next test for Northern Ireland's political process is a report next month by the ceasefire watchdog, the International Monitoring Commission, examining whether the IRA has stuck to its word not to engage in criminal activities or recruitment since it announced the war was over.

But the government is under pressure to address the outstanding issue of whether loyalist paramilitaries, currently involved in a bloody feud, will also decommission their weapons. The Northern Ireland secretary, Peter Hain, has been urged to declare the that the Ulster Volunteer Force, which is attempting to wipe out the smaller splinter group, the Loyalist Volunteer Force, has broken its ceasefire.

The SDLP leader, Mark Durkan, said he was concerned that the Northern Ireland Office was content to let the UVF get on with its "cleaning-up operation" in the hope it was a "prelude to something more positive."

02 September 2005

Prisons watchdog to probe deaths


The deaths of prisoners will be investigated by an independent prison ombudsman, prisons minister Shaun Woodward has announced.

Mr Woodward said the new system would give "greater transparency and ensure that the human rights of prisoners are protected".

The new arrangements will apply to all deaths in Northern Ireland prisons from 1 September.

Prisoner Ombudsman Brian Coulter took up office in May.

City parade re-routing criticised


Previous Whiterock parade some years back

The decision to route a postponed Orange Order parade through a disused factory site has been criticised.

The Whiterock parade was delayed by the Order in June, in protest at putting it through the former Mackies site instead of allowing it through Workman Avenue.

North Belfast DUP MP Nigel Dodds said the Parades Commission's decision to re-route it caused him "anguish".

Nationalist Springfield Road residents had opposed the parade, due to take place next Saturday.

In its determination on the parade the commission cites a possible adverse effect on community relations if the march was allowed on the Order's preferred route.

"The commission has cause to believe that should the parade process the entirety of its notified route, there will be an adverse effect on community relations and a potential for public disorder," it said.

Mr Dodds said the decision "rewarded intransigence and the threat of violence".

"Over the summer the Orange Order and others have displayed absolutely no violence or provocation," he said.

"The Order and its followers have been subjected to intense violent attacks but have not even responded in time."

He said the effort to achieve this was being "cast aside by the Parades Commission through this disgraceful decision".

The Orange Order has said that it will not comment on the ruling until after it has met to discuss it.

Unionist response to sectarian violence 'a disgrace'

Sinn Féin

Published: 2 September, 2005

Sinn Féin North Belfast MLA Gerry Kelly has described the response of the leaders of the UUP and DUP to the campaign of attacks against Catholics being orchestrated by unionist paramilitaries as 'a disgrace' and urged Reg Empey and Ian Paisley Snr to use their considerable influence with paramilitaries to end the sectarian violence.

Mr Kelly said:

"The response of both the leaders to campaign of attacks against Catholics being orchestrated by unionist paramilitaries is a disgrace. On a daily basis Catholics homes, schools, businesses and places of worship are being attacked.

"As leader of the UUP Reg Empey met the IMC not about the 100+ attacks or the five murders carried out by unionist paramilitaries but about the IRA. As leader of the DUP Ian Paisley threatens to break off contact with the Irish government and is not acting to resolve sectarian violence in his own constituency.

"Reg Empey and Ian Paisley need to take their heads out of the sand and use their considerable influence to bring an end to these sectarian attacks.

"It is time that both began to show leadership on the issue of sectarianism. There is a political vacuum that is being filled, as it always is, by unionist sectarian violence. The failure to engage in the dialogue required to get the political process back on track is a failure of leadership.

"Sinn Féin are ready and willing to engage in getting the political process up and running. Continued delay by unionist leaders only creates the space and political cover for unionist paramilitaries to continue their sectarian campaign." ENDS

More sectarian attacks


Smash attack on home - Catholic family’s home attacked

A Catholic family who live in the Whitewell area had their front window smashed by a loyalist gang on Tuesday night.

The attack on the house follows a sharp increase in attacks on the community in the past month.
A PSNI spokeswoman said detectives have yet to establish a motive for the attack.
Earlier in the week the home of a nationalist family at Old Throne Park, which is also in the Whitewell area, was attacked with paint bombs.
North Belfast Sinn Féin assemblyman Gerry Kelly has requested a meeting with Irish Foreign Minister, Dermot Ahern, to discuss the situation.
“Over the past number of weeks the sectarian campaign being waged against Catholics and nationalists has intensified,” the MLA said.
“It has not met with a robust response from the PSNI. In fact the contrary would appear to be the position.
“Instead of confronting those organisations responsible, too often the PSNI has publicly failed to even acknowledge that the motivation behind this campaign is sectarian.
“In doing so they are providing cover for those behind the nightly attacks and sending out a message that there is a toleration of loyalist violence and an acceptance that these attacks will continue without hindrance.”
Gerry Kelly said the fact no one has appeared in court in relation to recent attacks on nationalists is proof the PSNI is not doing its best to address the situation.
SDLP Deputy Mayor of Belfast Pat Convery has condemned the attack along with the weekend petrol and paint bomb attacks at Greymount Park and Old Throne Park.
“There is no sense or justification for anyone to throw petrol bombs. In the past we’ve seen the death and destruction they can cause, and it really is shameful that there are still some people in Belfast intent on raising tensions and causing serious damage and suffering,” he said.
“These wicked attacks must stop and they must stop now.
“I appeal to the local community to fully co-operate with police investigating these attacks.”

Bleach Green family attacked again

Sectarian thugs have revisited the McKay family home in Bleach Green Avenue in Newtownabbey.
Marie McKay who lives with her daughter Charlotte was also the subject of an attack in July when they had their van, an essential part of a painting and decorating business, set on fire.
A boat and a jeep belonging to the family were also destroyed in a previous incendiary attack.
The Catholic family, who have lived in the predominantly Protestant estate for nearly 30 years, have now been subjected to a paint bomb attack.
Twenty-year-old Charlotte had been at the kitchen sink when the attackers struck.
“I was just washing a few cups before I went to bed and was startled by what sounded like a scuffle in our back.
“The next thing I heard was the smashing of the paint bombs against the wall and window.
“I was directly in front of the window. It was really frightening.”
Mrs McKay is bewildered as to why her home and family are being singled out.
“We have lived here since the estate was built. I have never had any problems with my neighbours. They were the first to come after these attacks. You could not ask for better people to live with.
“I reared my seven children in this house. They are all married now except for Charlotte who still lives with me.
“Some of my children are married to protestants and we have always employed protestants in the family business.
“Why are we being picked on?”
SDLP Councillor Noreen McClelland has expressed her concern that there has been another sectarian attack and stated: “Obviously our thoughts are with this family having been attacked once again.
“These attacks are totally despicable and the upset and distress caused to the families is simply immeasurable.
“Those who carried out this attack in Bleach Green have no respect for the family or their property and I totally condemn this vicious, unprovoked, sectarian attack.”

Call for more security after latest Old Throne attacks

Families who live in the Old Throne housing estate, which backs onto Hazelwood Integrated Primary School, have called for tighter security and want a buffer zone created between the school and their homes.

Residents of the estate, which is just off the Whitewell Road, say that youths from White City are breaking into the primary school and using its grounds as a base to launch attacks.
The latest attacks on the homes came in the early hours of Monday morning when two houses were attacked.
John Meredith was up late watching a film on TV and immediately after he switched off his living room lights the attack was launched, he said.
“It was a total shock. I had just switched the light of and I heard two very loud bangs. At first I thought it was a blast bomb or something like that. The attackers are obviously very determined. They lay in wait until the lights went out.
“It was a stinking night outside, it was blowing a gale and the rain was bouncing. Why anybody would even be out on a night like that, never mind lying in a field awaiting their chance to attack us is beyond me.”
Mr Meredith’s wife Kellie and two children Megan (9) and Darragh (3) were asleep at the time.
The paint bombs hit the patio window smashing the double glazing and causing substantial damage to the house.
John Meredith called for more protection.
“The attacks come from the school grounds and have been ongoing for months now. Something needs to be done about the security arrangements.
“There is a notice saying that there is 24-hour guarding, that is joke I have never seen any security guards patrolling in all the time I have lived here.’’
A simultaneous attack was carried out on his next-door neighbours with the paint hitting an upstairs bedroom window just feet away from Ann Marie Brown’s children’s bunk beds.
“I really fear for my family’s lives if these had have been petrol bombs or anything more lethal someone would have been killed,” said Mrs Brown.
SF Councillor Tierna Cunningham said the attacks were part of a continuing sectarian campaign and has slammed both the attacks in Old Throne and Graymount.
“The Whitewell has seen a long list of attacks against nationalists since before Christmas.
“Clearly a pattern has emerged here and it is one that has to be brought to an end.
“I have appealed before, and I am appealing yet again, for those with influence in the loyalist community to do whatever is in their power to bring attacks in the Whitewell to an end.
“These attacks are wrong from whatever section of the community they come from and need to be brought to an end immediately.
“Sunday night saw three homes being attacked in Old Throne and Graymount. Those who are carrying out the attacks need to desist now before somebody is seriously injure or killed.
"Some residents have raised concerns about attacks like this being launched from Hazelwood's grounds, but my understanding is that Hazelwood has 24-hour security and it should be examined in order to help stop these attacks.
"However this should not deflect from where these attacks are coming from, or who is behind them.
“Ultimately it is up to loyalist and unionist political representatives responsible, to do what they can to help stop attacks being launched from the school grounds.
“Sinn Féin has been vociferous in its opposition to such attacks and have been working actively to bring them to an end.
“What we need to see now is Unionist political leaders taking the same action not just in North Belfast but right across the North of Ireland.
“They sit with loyalist paramilitaries on forums and need to be using these platforms to put whatever pressure they have to influence loyalist paramilitaries and help end sectarian attacks.”

No other way says mum

Young mother Caitriona Savage says there is “no other way but to go” after her home was the target of a paint-bomb attack at around 7pm last Saturday night.

Ms Savage had just finished feeding her 10-month-old daughter Aimee in the kitchen and made her way into her living room when she heard a large bang at the rear of her rented house.
Aimee’s toy car and clothes on the washing line were destroyed in the attack although no-one was hurt.
Ms Savage says that she saw up to 12 men, aged between 18 to their early 20s from the upstairs window of her home.
She added: “five or six paint bombs were thrown” but only two hit.
The young mother has lived at the property for a year and a half and says this is the fourth attack on her home.
She has begun packing up her belongings and is insistent on leaving saying: “I haven’t eaten since it happened, I don’t know who else to turn to.”

Brick attack on home

A mother of four has said she is going to leave her home after it was attacked this week.
A brick was thrown through the hall window of her house at Deerpark Road on Monday night at 10.30pm.
The Catholic woman who lives in the house with her four children has said she now intends to move out.
The woman, who did not want to be identified, has lived in the house for the past year.
She said her house had been attacked twice before and she believes both incidents were sectarian.
The PSNI said it is treating the incident as criminal damage, and that enquiries are continuing.
Councillor for the area Danny Lavery said he condemned the attack.
“I would call on unionist politicians to control unionist paramilitaries. It seems like its almost ethnic cleansing that’s going on here, and the British Government and Secretary of State seem to have their heads in the sand.”

Journalist:: Staff Reporter

McCartney accused freed on bail


The 33-year-old father-of-two was stabbed near the city centre

A man accused of murdering Robert McCartney outside a Belfast bar in January has been released on bail.

Terence Davison, 49, from Stanfield Place in the Markets area, was ordered not to have contact with Mr McCartney's family.

Mr Justice Morgan made the ruling after a Crown lawyer said they had been subjected to threats.

Mr Davison was also ordered not to contact the family of Brendan Devine who was injured in the same incident.

A Crown lawyer said it would be difficult to oppose the application in view of the fact that Mr Davison's co-accused, James McCormick, was freed on bail last week.

Mr McCormick was charged with attempting to murder Mr Devine.

The judge fixed personal bail at £2,500 with two cash sureties of £2,500 and directed that Mr Davison must live at an address handed into court, report to police daily and surrender his passport.

Mr McCartney's sisters and partner have held a number of meetings with high profile politicians in their campaign for justice over the killing.

In March, they met US President George Bush at the White House in Washington.

They have also held separate meetings with US special envoy to Northern Ireland, Mitchell Reiss and the Irish Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern.

Omagh suspect is to stand trial


A court artist's drawing of Sean Gerard Hoey

Omagh bomb suspect Sean Hoey has been committed for trial for the murders of the 29 people killed in the 1998 Real IRA atrocity.

Mr Hoey, 36, of Molly Road, Jonesborough, denies the charges and others connected to more Real IRA attacks including one in 2001.

Belfast magistrate Desmond Perry said the south Armagh man had a case to answer on 58 charges.

He dismissed three others. A date for the trial has not yet been set.

The charges which were dismissed were connected to an attack in west Belfast.

"The Crown invited me to look at the cumulative effect of the huge quantity of evidence that the defendant was the man who manufactured these 14 devices, the most devastating of which decimated the centre of Omagh and resulted in the tragic deaths of 29 innocent people," the magistrate said.

"I am satisfied there is a case to answer."

Mr Hoey stood expressionless in the dock and shook his head mouthing the word "no" when asked if he had anything to say.

Kenny move rejected by Shell


02 September 2005 10:13

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A move by Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny to find a legal compromise to help bring about the release of the five Mayo men jailed for contempt of court over their opposition to the Corrib Gas pipeline has been rejected by Shell Ireland.

Following a visit to the men at Cloverhill Prison, Mr Kenny said a legal precedent dating back to the 1970s might offer hope of a compromise.

However, a spokesman for Shell said the case in question varied in many ways from the current one.

The five men have now been in jail for two months. So far, they have refused to purge their contempt and Shell has refused to lift an injunction it has taken against them.

The Fine Gael leader asked Shell to examine a legal precedent based on a 1977 High Court case which he said might offer the possibility of a compromise between the company and the men.

He said that case had drawn a distinction between criminal and civil contempt.

He suggested to Shell that, as work on the project had been temporarily halted, it should consent to the men's release while leaving open the possibility of seeking the same order if the need arose in the future.

Reacting to the suggestion, a spokesman for Shell said the 1977 case being cited by Mr Kenny varied in many ways from the current one and the company believed a legal impediment to removing the injunction remained.

Efforts to bring about the release of the five men are to continue but, despite several initiatives in recent weeks, there appears to be no sign of an early breakthrough in the controversy.

Party concerned by 'on the runs'


The Alliance Party wants the government to make changes to the scheme for dealing with so-called "on the runs".

Legislation is due to be enacted this autumn on people suspected of terrorism who have not been brought to court and those who have fled prison.

However, Alliance leader David Ford has said it contains anomalies.

"There was nothing in the IRA statement in July about those who they have exiled from Northern Ireland," Mr Ford said.

"We believe that the first thing that should happen is the secretary of state should have to certify that any threat against exiles has been lifted before an organisation's on the runs should be allowed home."

Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain announced the government would bring forward legislation on the issue after the IRA said it was ending its armed campaign in July.

Mr Ford said that another major weakness in what the government is proposing is that on the runs would not have to appear in court.

"An appearance in court would give some limited recognition of the offences committed, and may give some victims a limited sense of justice," Mr Ford said.

PUP criticised over murder vote


The aunt of a north Belfast man killed during a loyalist feud has criticised the PUP leader for not supporting a council motion condemning his murder.

David Ervine left Belfast City Council chamber before the vote on a motion condemning the killing of Craig McCausland.

Cathy McIlvenny said Sinn Fein members supported her campaign for justice.

Mr McCausland, 20, was murdered on 11 July by three men who burst into his home at Dhu Varren Park.

Sinn Fein councillors remained in the chamber during the debate but abstained from voting.

Ms McIlvenny, who was in the public gallery during the debate, said: "What would concern me... was the fact that David Ervine decided to leave the chamber and didn't take a vote on the motion that was put forward.

Meeting agreed

"I'd like David Ervine to condemn Craig's murder. If he can't do it through his political grouping, then as a person, just to condemn it as a murder."

Afterwards, Mr Ervine agreed to a meeting with the McCausland family.

Asked if he condemned the murder, Mr Ervine said he could "condemn anything you want me to condemn".

"In real terms, you would have to worry about whether I meant it or not," he said.

"I condemn all of it, it's tragic, it's shameful and I can tell you, eleven years after ceasefire, no one is more wounded and gutted than me and people in the Progress Unionist Party who, I think, have risked life and tried really hard."

Mr McCausland's family had written to city councillors asking for their help in bringing his killers to justice.

His death was linked to loyalist feuding, however his family and the police said he was not a member of any paramilitary organisation.

The 20-year-old's partner and her two children, aged nine and six, were in the house when the was murdered.

Although there have been arrests, no-one has been charged over the murder.

Five devices thrown at car park


Loyalists are believed to have been responsible for a petrol bomb attack close to Donegall Pass police station in south Belfast.

Five devices were thrown at a car park where officers leave their cars. No-one was injured.

Earlier loyalist and nationalist youths clashed in the Cromac Street area.

They threw stones, bottles, paint and other missiles. Police and community workers spent most of the evening trying to keep the two sides apart.

About 100 people gathered in lower Donegall Pass area and a second group assembled in the lower Ormeau Road area.

Motorists were asked to avoid the area during the trouble.

Car set alight in petrol bombing


There has been a petrol bomb attack in east Belfast.

Shortly after midnight a Vauxhall Vectra car was set alight outside a house in Glen Lea Park in the Garnerville area.

The car was destoyed and damage was caused to the front door and the window of the house. A woman and children who were in the house escaped unhurt.

Police have appealed for anyone who witnessed the incident to get in contact with them.

Ulster Unionist councillor Jim Rodgers said he hoped it was not the start of more violence in the area.

"This family clearly had a fortunate escape and and those responsible must be hunted down," he said.


Thu 1 Sep 2005

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Photo by Mark Wilson

• New Orleans mayor estimates death toll in the thousands as city abandoned
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>>>Read it

The historical significance of 16 Moore Street

An Phoblacht

1 September, 2005

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Photo: The historical significance of 16 Moore Street hasn't been forgotten

At eight o clock on Friday evening 28 April 1916, with the GPO engulfed in flames, the Provisional Government of the Irish Republic and IRA men and women retreated from the building and endeavoured to make there way to the Four Courts' Garrison. They left the GPO by the side entrance in Henry Street and made there way under constant sniper fire to Moore Lane.

When they reached Moore Street they entered number five, Dunne's Butchers, and immediately began tunnelling from one house to another. The next morning, Saturday, they quickly realised that the wounded James Connolly, who had been placed on a panel door as a makeshift stretcher would not fit through the openings they had made. The men then placed Connolly in blankets and bundled him in great agony from house to house. When they reached number 16, Plunkets, a poultry shop, they placed him upstairs in the back room.

This small room, in a small house, in a small market street, in the heart of the capital city was to be the last place where the members of Provisional Irish Government held their council of war. Pádraig Mac Piarais, Joseph Plunkett, Tom Clarke and Seán Mac Diarmada all took their places around James Connolly and discussed what to do, while Elizabeth O'Farrell, Winifred Carney and Julie Grenan tended the wounded. At the meeting a plan was put forward to rush the British barricade on Parnell Street but when Tom Clarke made his way down to the last house occupied by the IRA on Moore Street he simply shook his head and said that they would never succeed.

Tom Clarke returned to the council of war and reported what he had found and the meeting continued in hushed tones. Pádraig Mac Piarais who, through a shattered window had seen three men carrying white flags shot down, decided that they must surrender. Connolly agreed that the imminent risk of sacrificing further lives must not be tolerated. The leaders argued, wrangled and pleaded to convince themselves that the fight could be continued. But bitter reality just could not be ignored. The frail, grey-haired 58-year-old Fenian, Tom Clarke, openly wept at the final decision.

Conveying the message to the enemy was entrusted to the dauntless Elizabeth O'Farrell. With Captain O'Reillys handkerchief tied to a piece of stick, she passed through the doorway of Number 15, bravely walking down the street of the dead. The British military assisted her over the barricade and conveyed her to Tom Clarke's little shop in Parnell Street. There, General Lowe demanded that within a half an hour she must return with Pádraig Mac Piarais to the Moore Street barricade, insisting that the only terms acceptable to him was unconditional surrender. It was 2.30 when Pearse shook each Volunteer's hand in final farewell.

In his heavy military overcoat and Boer shaped hat he marched down towards the barricade, Elizabeth O'Farrell by his side. Here he was received by General Lowe, to whom he handed his sword, pistol and ammunition, also his tin canteen which contained two large onions. On the footpath, outside of Byrne's shop at the corner of Moore Street an old wooden bench was brought out from the shop, here Pearse stooped and signed the document of surrender which had been placed upon it.

Elizabeth O'Farrell agreed to their joint request to deliver the documents of surrender to the various Dublin outposts. Without speaking and with a smile he grasped her hand for the last time.


At Moore Street headquarters the Volunteers were stunned on learning the terms of the surrender. Most of them insisted on fighting to the death. But Connolly was adamant; his boys must not be burned to death.

Volunteer Séamus Devoy, nephew of the Fenian John Devoy, returned to number 16 informing them that he had made the necessary arrangements to have the Parnell Street barricade opened to receive Connolly. The rest of the men began to gather in the street. Filing up and forming ranks, with sloped arms, the first group marched off under Captain O'Reilly picking up any stragglers on the way. Next, Willie Pearse headed the main body waving his white flag. Close behind him walked Tom Clarke and towards the rear walked Seán Mac Diarmada and Joseph Plunkett, supported by his brave comrades Julia Grenan and Winifred Carney.

Leaving 16 Moore Street, the temporary headquarters of the Provisional Government, marched these weary warriors, to a prison cell or grave. They were the spark which lit the fuse that will continue to burn until Ireland is united and free.

Today Moore Street caters for a new Ireland, an Ireland where citizens of the world come to for a better way of life. Connolly, the internationalist would be proud. But in the middle of this new Ireland, an Ireland created by the vision of the men and women who held their council there, number 16 is slowly falling into ruin. Developers want to reduce it to rubble and build a shopping centre in its place. We must save 16 Moore Street.

Youths clash in city disturbances


Rival crowds gathered in south Belfast

There have been disturbances just outside Belfast city centre, police have said.

Rival gangs of loyalist and nationalist youths clashed in the vicinity of Cromac Street, near the Markets area.

They threw stones, bottles and paint at each other. Police and community workers worked to keep the sides apart.

Police were also targeted but the area was later described as being quiet. Five petrol bombs were thrown into Donegall Pass police station.

About 100 people gathered in lower Donegall Pass area and a second group assembled in the lower Ormeau Road area.

Motorists were asked to avoid the area during the trouble.

01 September 2005

Milltown's new shame



By Damian McCarney

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A HEARTBROKEN father of the first child killed in the Troubles says the state of Milltown Cemetery has become so bad that during a visit to his son’s grave this week he had to strim 25 yards of high grass to reach the grave.

Neilly Rooney’s son, Patrick Rooney (9), was the first child shot dead during the Troubles when in August 1969 he was hit by a bullet fired by the RUC as he lay in his bed in his family’s Divis Tower home. After the killing the Rooney family moved to England but they returned soon after because they wanted to be near Patrick’s grave.

“The state of this graveyard is disrespectful to the people buried here and the families coming to grieve. Some of the plots aren’t even recognisable as graves, they are so overgrown. It is ridiculous. I’d like to see the grass cut as a priority.

“I’ll not be around for too many years longer so what is on my mind, and on my wife’s mind, is who is going to look after my son’s grave when we are gone. It is not just us, there are many others in the same position as us, and there are many people buried in the cemetery who already have no one to tend to their graves.”

In order to approach Patrick’s graveside Neilly first has to strim a path from an access road some 25 yards away. He says that on some occasions the gravestone was not visible from a distance. Neilly also finds it difficult to resist tending to a number of other nearby graves buried beneath the weeds. He cuts back the grass at Patrick’s grave every two or three weeks, particularly in the good weather when it grows faster. However, he believes that Citywide Cemetery Regeneration (CCR), who look after the upkeep of the cemetery, could be doing more.

“With a strimmer you have problems cutting through some of the weeds, you would need a machete. I am registered disabled as I have hardened arteries and arthritis. It takes me from 9.30am until about 6.00pm to strim this area as I have to stop for rests. They [CCR] have the manpower to do all this but are not making the effort.”

Brian Muldoon, manager of Citywide Cemetery Regeneration, says that upkeep of the graves does not come under their remit. “It is up to the leaseholders themselves to maintain their own graves. All that we are contracted to do is to clear some pathways and remove rubbish. If someone cannot get access into an area we would try to assist them if they call to our office.

“With regards to the weeds, there are many chemicals that we cannot spray for environmental reasons.

“Any youth groups or voluntary groups who wish to assist in the upkeep of the cemetery can contact us through our Milltown office.”

Journalist:: Danny Browne

Councillor speaks out after friend is targeted

Belfast Telegraph

DUP urges halt to sectarian attacks

By Lisa Smyth
01 September 2005

A DUP councillor last night correct called for an end to attacks on Catholic homes after a life-long friend became the latest victim of the sectarian intimidation campaign.

Councillor Jackie Mann's friend - a widow in her 50s - was targeted late on Tuesday night when three paint bombs were thrown at her Bleach Green Avenue home in Newtownabbey.

According to Cllr Mann, the woman, who does not want to be identified, has been left extremely distraught by the incident.

Mr Mann said: "My friend is very upset by what happened.

"Her daughter was standing at the kitchen window when it was hit by a paint bomb and if the glass had broken you would hate to think what might have happened.

"The people who did this have achieved nothing - her house is for sale after she lost her husband very suddenly.

"They could see the for sale sign outside the house, so it is not even as though they would be chasing her out of her house.

"We grew up together; she is a Catholic and I am a Protestant but that never mattered.

"This happened because she is a Catholic and I would just like it to stop and I know I speak on behalf of everyone in the DUP when I say it is time for these attacks to end."

Numerous Catholic-owned homes have been targeted in recent weeks and last week a 13-week-old baby was injured by broken glass and splashed with paint following an attack on his north Belfast home by a gang of hooded thugs.

The incident received widespread condemnation and prompted police to call upon community leaders and politicians to use their influence to bring the attacks to an end.

And in Ahoghill, a number of Catholic families have been forced to flee their homes after a spate of paint and petrol bomb attacks.

Meeting on policing cancelled over protest

Belfast Telegraph

By Nevin Farrell
01 September 2005

A scheduled meeting of Ballymena District Policing Partnership in a Co Antrim village was cancelled over fears of a loyalist protest, it emerged last night.

The policing meeting was due to be held in Ahoghill last Thursday, but did not proceed because of simmering tensions surrounding a loyalist revolt against the SDLP chairman of the body.

A previous meeting of Ballymena DPP was abandoned in June in the nearby village of Clough after around 60 loyalists clapped their hands and shouted down the chairman, Councillor Declan O'Loan, every time he tried to speak.

Mr O'Loan eventually had to get a hasty police escort though the loyalist crowd amidst sectarian abuse.

Loyalists were angry at Mr O'Loan's remarks in his capacity as an SDLP councillor when he said he was opposed to a "mini-Twelfth" loyal order parade going along Market Road in Ballymena in June this year.

Prominent Ballymena loyalist Billy McCaughey, a convicted murderer, was part of the protest at Clough and he said loyalists felt that Mr O'Loan should not be allowed into unionist areas if he didn't want loyalists in parts of Ballymena.

Mr McCaughey said a protest would have been held in Ahoghill if the meeting had gone ahead.

"It would have been the same result and the meeting would not have been possible," he added, saying the issue is still ongoing.

Meanwhile, the Policing Board meets at the Galgorm Manor Hotel near Ballymena area today, the first time it has travelled to the district.

Mr McCaughey, a former police officer who was given life for his involvement in a murder during the Troubles, said he has been invited to attend the meeting at which Chief Constable Hugh Orde is expected to be in attendance.

Northern Ireland men have lowest average wage in UK

Belfast Telegraph

By Lisa Smyth
01 September 2005

A senior trade unionist today called for immediate action to address the discrepancy between average salaries in Ulster compared to the rest of the UK.

Tom Gillen, a senior official of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, said people living and working in Northern Ireland "have drawn the short straw" in relation to their annual wage compared to the cost of living.

His comments come after a survey by the website Payfinder.com revealed that the average salary of a man working in Northern Ireland is less than in any other region in the UK.

The website found that the average male salary in Northern Ireland is £25,998, a difference of almost £200 compared to the second lowest region in the UK - the north east of England where the average salary is £26,174.

It also revealed that men in Northern Ireland earn almost £1,000 less than most of their UK counterparts, including Scotland, where the annual male salary is £27,931.

Mr Gillen said: "There is no doubt that people living and working in Northern Ireland suffer greatly.

"We are facing brutal increases in natural gas prices, we have a high level of fuel poverty, we are facing additional water charges and we pay high domestic rates.

"People in Northern Ireland on average pay more for their groceries and we also pay more for petrol and diesel than the rest of the UK, so considering the fact that the average salary in Northern Ireland is so much less, people here have drawn the short straw.

"There are a number of issues that need to be addressed, which would go some way to solve the problem, such as the fuel poverty, high living costs and not least, the massive funding cuts in the education sector.

"Instead, we should be addressing issues of numeracy and literacy which can be a very debilitating factor in people not achieving their earning potential."

Ironically, the survey showed that women in Northern Ireland are ranked third in the UK when it comes to the highest average annual salary, earning £22,581, which Mr Gillen put down to the number of private sector jobs held by women in the province.

Govt considers powers to dissolve tribunals


01 September 2005 12:09

The Government could soon have the power to dissolve a tribunal of inquiry under new measures discussed at yesterday's cabinet meeting.

The sitting Mahon and Moriarty Tribunals are now in their eighth year and have already cost hundreds of millions of euro.

Last year, one of the Government's finance watchdogs heard that tribunals and other public inquiries have cost the State more than €400 million.

There are fears that figure could rise to more than €1 billion if they hear evidence for several more years.

Already there are measures in place to reduce the fees for barristers at the tribunals, altering it from a very lucrative daily rate to an annual salary.

Legislation was also published last year to allow for the ultimate winding down of the long-running planning inquiry, the Mahon Tribunal.

However, the Government is considering bringing in measures that will give it new powers to dissolve a tribunal, if it has the approval of the Oireachtas.

The Labour Party says it is worried about the proposal and fears the possibility of a Government alone having the power to end a tribunal.

BreakingNews.ie: Ex-UDA chief in court


01/09/2005 - 11:17:46

Former Ulster Defence Association Brigadier Johnny “Mad Dog” Adair appeared in court today charged with harassment.

The 41-year-old denies harassing Stephen McQuaid and Kerry Thompson outside a laundrette in Bolton, Greater Manchester, last month.

He appeared at Bolton Magistrates Court today for a pre-trial review with a second man, William Woods, 37, who denies two counts of harassment and assault in relation to the same incident.

The pair were remanded into custody to appear at Bolton Magistrates Court on September 26 for trial.

Adair, who moved to Bolton from Northern Ireland in February 2003, spoke only to confirm his name.

DUP demands generous compensation for RIR soldiers


01/09/2005 - 10:42:35

DUP leader Ian Paisley is due to meet British Defence Secretary John Reid in London today to discuss the disbandment of the British army's Royal Irish Regiment.

The British government is planning to complete the move by 2007 following the IRA's declaration of an end to its armed campaign.

Unionists are bitterly opposed to the move and the DUP has said it will be using today's talks to demand generous compensation for the 3,000 people who will be affected.

It also wants the retention of an army unit for soldiers who wish to remain in service or the permanent attachment of those soldiers to a regiment on a tour of duty in the North.

Westminster funeral for Lord Fitt


31 August 2005

Pallbearers carry the coffin of Lord Fitt in Westminster Cathedral

Leading politicians have attended the funeral of former SDLP leader Lord Gerry Fitt.

Lord Fitt, 79, who suffered from a heart condition, died at a relative's home in England on Friday after several months of declining health.

His funeral, at Westminster Cathedral in London, was followed by a private family burial.

Among those present were joint Nobel Peace Prize winners, Ulster Unionist David Trimble and the SDLP's John Hume.

Earlier, a special Mass was held in Crossgar, County Down, where Lord Fitt was married in the 1940s.

Lord Fitt had lived in England for many years. His wife, Anne, died in 1996 after contracting MRSA in a London hospital.

In his heyday, he was the dominant voice of nationalism, but his outspoken criticism of republican violence lost him votes and his Westminster seat.

Lord Fitt died at a relative's home in England

He was one of the co-founders of the SDLP in 1970, by which time he had won seats in Westminster, the Stormont assembly and the old Belfast corporation.

Among those who attended the funeral were representatives of the British and Irish governments, MPs, including Northern Ireland-born Kate Hoey, and celebrities, including the television presenter Henry Kelly and comedian Frank Carson.

Readings included a passage from the Book of Wisdom, read by his daughter Eileen, which included the line: "The souls of the virtuous are in the hands of God and no torment will ever touch them."

There was also a reading of The Lake Isle of Innisfree by WB Yeats and a violin performance of Danny Boy.

Journalist Chris Ryder, a close friend of Lord Fitt, told mourners of an incident on a flight from London to Belfast when Fitt managed to persuade the crew to let him take the last available seat - the jump seat in the cockpit.

"When he emerged through the door in mid-flight to visit the lavatory, there in the front row was an astonished Reverend Ian Paisley," he said.

"`Don't worry, I've left it on automatic pilot,' he told his great political rival as he pushed past."

Mr Ryder told the congregation Lord Fitt's great passion had been the cause of social justice and peace in Ireland, but that he also had a lighter side.

Fellow SDLP founder Austin Currie also spoke of the humour of his political friend.

"Human behaviour was Gerry's speciality, he was wonderful company, a born raconteur with an endless supply of jokes and funny stories, most of them un-parliamentary and most of them unsuitable for telling in the august surroundings we are in today," he said.

Lord Fitt came to world attention on 5 October 1968 when, as an elected official, he was among the civil rights marchers beaten by police.

Images of Fitt, his forehead and shirt blood-stained, went around the globe.

He went on to forge a power-sharing compromise following the Sunningdale agreement.

He quit the leadership of the SDLP in 1979.

Life of Davitt is recalled at informative Ballina forum

Western People

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

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Photo from 'Sinn Féin History of Republicanism' at CAIN

The extraordinary life of Michael Davitt was recalled in Ballina last week when the General Humbert-Michael Davitt Summer School played host to an interesting debate on the Mayo-born patriot. The participants in the debate were James Laffey, Editor, Western People; Bernard O’Hara, Mayo-born historian and registrar at GMIT in Galway and Nancy Smyth, founder of the Davitt Museum in Straide. The session was chaired by Mayo County Manager, Mr Des Mahon.
During the course of the debate, Davitt’s contribution to Irish and international politics was analysed by the three speakers, all of whom offered differing perspectives on Davitt’s life. A question and answer session followed the debate with members of the audience offering their opinions on Davitt’s legacy.
Opening the debate, Mr James Laffey said one had to appreciate the extreme poverty that prevailed in Mayo at the time of the Land League before any examination of Davitt’s legacy could be undertaken. The county was amongst the poorest in Ireland and it was no surprise that it became the epicentre of the Land League movement.
“If there was anywhere in Ireland in 1879 that was going to become a hotbed of nationalist politics and land agitation it was going to be Mayo. The unrest in Irishtown had been simmering since 1857 when a new landlord, Walter Burke, had doubled the rent on his existing tenants. 22 years later, Burke was succeeded on his death by his brother, Canon Geoffrey Burke, the Parish Priest of Irishtown. He immediately threatened to evict the tenants of his new holding if they did not pay all arrears owing to him. Burke, a man of the cloth, was an unlikely target for the dispossessed tenants of South Mayo. Indeed, it is one of the ironies of Irish history that the Land League movement was precipitated by public disquiet at the actions of an Irish Catholic priest rather than the archetype cold-hearted British landlord.”
Mr Laffey said Davitt’s greatest achievement was to give the Mayo Land League a national and international dimension.
“But it was Davitt – the former evictee from the village of Straide – who gave the Land League its national and international gravitas. Without Davitt, the unrest that occurred in Mayo in 1879 might have become nothing more than another episode of agrarian unrest in an already volatile region. Davitt ensured that the events in Mayo were brought to the widest possible audience - in Ireland, England and perhaps, most tellingly, the United States. Davitt was among the first leaders of Irish nationalism to recognise the potential of the United States as a place where Ireland’s ills could be given the sort of worldwide recognition that was always going to be denied by our Imperial rulers. His speaking tours in America ensured that the Land League of County Mayo – and later of All-Ireland – became a truly global event at a time when communications were exceptionally limited and news traveled at a slower rate than the proverbial ass.”
Mr Laffey also discussed Davitt’s influence on the local media in Mayo, including the Western People and the Mayo News, which were both founded in the years after the Land League.
“The role of James Daly, the editor of the Connaught Telgraph, during the years of the Land League has been well documented in Irish history. The Castlebar-based Telegraph, which is among the oldest newspapers in Ireland, was centrally involved in the Land League movement. But it is also worth noting that Mayo’s two other regional newspapers – the Western People and the Mayo News – were also founded in the aftermath of the extraordinary events of 1879 and 1880.
“The Western People was founded in 1883 and, although the editions of its early years were inexplicably not retained by the British Library, it is widely accepted that the newspaper had a nationalist outlook from the very beginning. The same can also be said of the Mayo News, which was founded in Westport in 1892, and immediately adopted a pro-Davitt and pro-Land League stance.
“Modern-day readers of the three Mayo newspapers are, perhaps, unaware of the historic early years of these publications and the immense role that they played in the promotion of the ideals espoused by Michael Davitt. The centenary of Davitt’s death offers each of the three newspapers an opportunity to reclaim the astounding legacy that this great man bestowed on his county.”
Mr Bernard O’Hara, in a fascinating address, said Michael Davitt’s Land League had brought about “one of the greatest social changes ever witnessed in this country”.
“Michael Davitt’s Land League broke the spirit of servility, and paved the way for the emergence of a modern democracy. His sympathy and concern ranged from tenant farmers to agricultural labourers, the British working class, prison conditions, social reform, the Boers in South Africa and the Jews in Russia.”
Mr O’Hara recalled the impact of the Famine on the parish of Straide, where Michael Davitt was born in 1846. The events of those years were to have a lasting effect on Davitt.
“The population of the parish of Straide fell by 44%, from 4,251 in 1841 to 2,387 in 1851...It can be safely said that almost 100,000 died in Mayo from the famine epidemic and that close to a similar number emigrated. Almost 47,000 families were evicted during this period, among them the family of Martin and Catherine Davitt in Straide.”
Mr O’Hara gave a very graphic and moving description of the eviction process, quoting from Davitt’s autobiography, ‘The Fall of Feudalism in Ireland’. He went on to trace the events of the subsequent years as the Davitt family settled in England where Michael joined the Irish Republican Brotherhood.
Referring to Davitt’s second period of imprisonment – at the height of the Land League – Mr O’Hara said the Mayo-born patriot had been hugely influenced by a book he read during at that time, ‘Progress and Poverty’ by Henry George.
“It influenced him to think of land nationalisation as the solution of the Irish land problem. On his release he recommended land nationalisation but the tenant farmers would not accept it. Michael Davitt, always a realist and pragmatist, succumbed to their wishes and accepted tenant proprietorship as the only attainable solution at the time, even though he did not agree with it.”
Mr O’Hara described Davitt as a public representative par excellence and said he had set extremely high standards while in office.
“Michael Davitt was a strong personality, fiercely independent, his own man in every respect, with a passion for social justice for all humankind. A person of considerable courage, moral and physical, transparent integrity, he attacked the social system of his time, but not the people in that system and throughout his life remained independent of power, honour, or bribe. He was scrupulous in his use of public funds, and never used such funds for his own benefit despite the poor state of his own finances for most of his life. He believed in patriotic public service and is thus an ideal role model for modern Ireland.”
Mr O’Hara said Davitt advocated social justice and political justice for all people and, as a leader of public opinion, he was ahead of his time.
“Michael Davitt worked for an independent, democratic, egalitarian Ireland, pluralist in nature, progressive, tolerant and outward looking, but he was no narrow nationalist. He was an internationalist who regarded all humanity as one family, and who believed that the dignity and equality of all people should be the ideal goal for all nations. He had a great love for poor working class people everywhere, as well as farmers and especially agricultural labourers who gained little or nothing from the land campaign.”
In a wide-ranging and hugely informative address, Ms Nancy Smyth said education had been a central part of Davitt’s life. He had received his education in England at an inter-denominational school and this was to be hugely influential on his later political ideology.
Ms Smyth said Davitt had fought for civil and human rights for a whole range of minorities, both in Ireland and across the world. His speaking tours of America had also been very influential in terms of internationalising the Land League and other Irish issues.
Ms Smyth also outlined some of the plans that were being put in place at the Davitt Museum in Straide to mark the centenary of the patriot’s death. She said the museum had a whole series of events planned for 2006 and it would be publicising these in the coming months. It was hoped to commission a stamp in Davitt’s memory and an application had already been submitted to An Post. There were also plans for a major commemorative event in Straide on the anniversary of the death of Davitt.
“We are looking forward to involving all the communities in Mayo in our ceremonies. 2006 will be a very special year for the Davitt Museum and we are determined to make it as memorable as possible. We intend to ensure that the year will be a fitting tribute to the great Michael Davitt.”
Mr Des Mahon said the County Council was working hand in hand with the Davitt Museum in advance of the centenary year. He also hoped to become involved with the Western People in the publication of an information pack on Davitt, which would be distributed to all schools in the county. The idea had been suggested by James Laffey during his speech.
Mr Mahon said he was pleased to say that Mayo had progressed a great deal since the years of the Land League. The terrible years of the Famine were only four generations ago but, thankfully, the poverty and hardship of former years had been all but removed.
“We have made great progress and I am determined to ensure that this progress continues. There is a lot we can learn from the life of Michael Davitt but it is important to keep looking to the future. That is the key to progressing our county in the years ahead.”

Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | McCartney murder pub up for sale


Angelique Chrisafis
Thursday September 1, 2005
The Guardian

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Magennis's Whiskey Cafe - the Belfast pub which gained worldwide notoriety after Robert McCartney was stabbed to death there - has been put up for sale.

The city-centre gastropub once aspired to tempt barristers from the nearby courts with pan-fried scallops and fresh Irish salmon.

But after McCartney, a Catholic father of two, was beaten and stabbed to death at the bar in January, customers have dwindled.

The McCartney sisters started a campaign alleging a cover-up in which they claimed republicans had cleaned evidence from the bar, interfered with CCTV footage, threatened customers to stay silent and failed to call an ambulance.

The owner, Belfast businessman Martin O'Neill who had reportedly paid more than £1m for the pub last year, has not commented on the reasons for the sale.

McCartney's sister Catherine said that the sale would not affect the campaign, adding that they were frustrated at the slow pace of the investigation into the murder.



Teach Dáithí Ó Conaill, 223 Parnell Street, Dublin 1, Ireland
Phone: +353-1-872 9747; FAX: +353-1-872 9757; e-mail: saoirse@iol.ie
Date: 31 Lúnasa/August 2005
Internet resources maintained by SAOIRSE-Irish Freedom

THE 24th annual hunger strike commemoration took place in Bundoran, Co Donegal on Saturday, August 27.

Led by a National Colour Party and the Dr Arthurs Accordion Band from the Glens of Antrim the parade marched through the town. Other bands taking taking place were the Kevin Lynch Memorial Band from Dungiven, Co Derry and the RSM band from Strabane, Co Tyrone. Many relatives of the hunger strikers took part in the parade.

The parade stopped at the Republican Garden of Remembrance where a wreath was laid by Ruair? Br?igh, President, Republican Sinn F? on behalf of the Bundoran Hunger Strike Committee. The parade then marched to the bridge at the bottom of the town where a rally was held.

Proceedings were chaired by Joe O'Neill, Bundoran, who welcomed all present, especially members of the hunger strike families who took part in the ceremonies. Richard Walsh, Ard Chomhairle member from Dublin, was the first speaker.

He said he was not born until nearly three months after the conclusion of the 1981 H-Block Hunger Strike. "However hearing of the courageous actions taken by these fine men who were willing to endure so much hardship and suffer such terrible deaths has inspired future generations."

He went on to describe the Irish tradition of hunger striking and the story of the 1981 hunger strike and then spoke of the appalling conditions that Republican prisoners were today being held in at Maghabery prison, Co Antrim.

In conclusion he said he would like quote a few words from Vol Bobby Sands:

"We know that we ... can and will achieve the victory that will envelope the future generations with peace and justice, happiness and prosperity and not oppression.

"Indeed we must ensure that we see our present fight right through to the very end and the successful conclusion of the establishment of an Irish Socialist Republic, or indeed "things" most definitely will always remain the same.

"Always the same! if we allow it."

The main speaker was Ruairí Ó Brádaigh, President, Republican Sinn Féin who said in the course of his address that Bobby Sands and his comrades as well as two more in England died agonisingly on hunger strike rather than don a British convict uniform.

He went on: "Others may destroy their arms at the behest of the English enemy. They may even take part in the Stormont Administration and join the enemy's armed forces to oppress Irish people, but we who gather here in the name of our dead hunger strikers year after year, have not and will surrender any part of Ireland to British government rule."

Joe O'Neill concluded by calling on all Irish people to resist British rule and continue the struggle for a 32-County Ireland.

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