24 September 2005

Adams calls on govts to deal with all arms

RTE News

24 September 2005 22:03

The Sinn Féin president, Gerry Adams, has called on the two governments to deal with the outstanding parts of the Good Friday Agreement that still have to be implemented.

He made the comments at a rally for Irish Unity outside the GPO in the centre of Dublin, a day after saying that IRA decommissioning was imminent. Up to 4,000 people attended the rally.

Dublin - Up to 4,000 took part in march

Mr Adams said he hoped the two governments and others would give as much attention to removing all of the guns out of Irish politics, including those of loyalist paramilitaries and the British army, as they did to IRA guns.

He said Irish Republicanism stands on the threshold of the possibility of achieving a united Ireland.

Meanwhile, traffic diversions were in place in Dublin as a result of the march and rally.

The march, which took place ahead of the rally, travelled down O'Connell Street and D'Olier Street, headed anti-clockwise around Trinity College before heading over O'Connell Bridge and back onto O'Connell Street.

IRA arms statement 'within days'


I personally find it a bit comical that every five minutes there is a story somewhere about the imminent decommissioning, such that we hear the statement on decommissioning is due within weeks, no, days--no, wait! It is due even sooner. Wait! It could occur momentarily; however, it might not happen this week--maybe by Christmas. No, no, we are all sure it is happening even as we speak because there are all these 'signs' that it IS happening, so it must be happening... It's like 'Waiting for Godot'.

The process of IRA decommissioning is in the spotlight

An announcement on IRA decommissioning is believed to be just days away and could come at the beginning of next week, the BBC has learned.

Statements are expected from the body overseeing decommissioning, two church witnesses, the IRA, as well as Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams.

Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness has said the expected announcement will be "more significant" than the 1994 ceasefire.

He is to brief Irish-American politicians on developments next week.

IRA disarmament is being overseen by an independent commission headed by Canadian General John de Chastelain.

BBC Northern Ireland security editor Brian Rowan said a meeting between the general and the IRA in July had started this latest process of decommissioning.

"The story of the end of IRA decommissioning is now only days away from being told," he said.

"Since the beginning of this month, all three decommissioning men - General de Chastelain, Andrew Sens and Tauno Nieminen - have been in Ireland to complete the job of putting the IRA's arms beyond use.

Martin McGuinness expects a significant announcement--**and it's not like he wouldn't know"

"This will not be the photographed decommissioning demanded by the DUP last year, nor is there anything to suggest that the DUP nominated church witness - the Reverend David MCGaughey - will be involved.

"But, when he emerges to speak in the next few days, de Chastelain will have to be definitive. He will have to say that all IRA arms have been decommissioned."

In July, the IRA said it had formally ordered an end to its armed campaign and said it would pursue exclusively peaceful means.

The republican organisation said it would follow a democratic path ending more than 30 years of violence.

Martin McGuinness told the BBC's Inside Politics programme on Saturday that he believed the IRA would fulfil that commitment to complete disarmament.

"General de Chastelain, when he deliberates on all of this and explains to the world whatever work he is engaged in with the IRA, will then make an announcement which, I think, is even greater and maybe of much more significance, than the events of the summer of 1994 or even the July 28th statement," he said.

His comments came as Sinn Fein supporters gathered to mark 100 years of the party at a Rally for Irish Unity in Dublin.

Mr Adams told the rally that republicans must reach out to unionists.

"There is a huge onus on Irish republicans to find an accommodation with unionism," he said.

'On the Cusp'

On Friday, Irish Foreign Minister Dermot Ahern said Sinn Fein had made it clear to the Irish government that decommissioning would happen soon.

He was speaking after Taoiseach Bertie Ahern held his first formal meeting with Sinn Fein since the Northern Bank robbery last December.

Party leader Gerry Adams said: "We believe we are all on the cusp of a future... to see democratic and peaceful structures in place."

Mr Ahern said a verifiable act of decommissioning would put it up to unionism that they must work in partnership with nationalists.

DUP leader Ian Paisley has claimed the government had made a "secret deal" with the IRA to exclude the need for an arms witness acceptable to unionists.

'Latest GAA Move is A Betrayal'

RSF news - Republican Sinn Fein - http://rsf.ie
Press Release/Preas Ráiteas

Republican Sinn Féin
Teach Dáithí Ó Conaill,
223 Parnell Street
Dublin 1, Ireland

Sinn Féin Poblachtach
Teach Dáithí Ó Conaill,
223 Sráid Pharnell, BÁC 1, Éire

For further information contact:
Des Dalton:
Vice-President: 086-329 1809
Ruairí Óg Ó Brádaigh
Publicity Officer: Dublin 872 9747,
087-648 2061

Phone: +353-1-872 9747
Fax: +353-1-872 9757
e-mail: saoirse@iol.ie


For release
24 September\Fomhair Mean 2005

'Latest GAA Move is A Betrayal'
Statement by RSF Vice President Des Dalton

Speaking at Republican Sinn Fein's annual Eve of All-Ireland rally at the GPO in Dublin on September 24 RSF Vice President Des Dalton, himself a member of the GAA, speaking about the decision of the GAA to invite RUC\PSNI teams to participate in the Sigerson Cup colleges competion said: "The an-nouncement by GAA President Sean Kelly that the GAA intends to invite the British Colonial police to take part in the Sigerson cup colleges competition, is part and parcel of the ongoing campaign to normalise the British occupation of Ireland. British rule in Ireland will never be normal or acceptable, it is immoral and a crime against the Irish people.

On the weekend of the All-Ireland Football finals, a celebration of the historic Irish nation, when people from Tyrone and Down, can stand with people from Kerry and Mayo as equal members of that nation, this decision of the GAA leadership betrays the fundamental ethos and ideals of the association. We call on members of the GAA to make their voice heard; we call on GAA clubs and teams to refuse
to play against British forces teams. We  must step up the campaign against this latest attempt to turn the GAA into a recruiting sergeant for the British Crown forces in Ireland."


Sinn Féin celebrates 100 years


24/09/2005 - 11:46:43

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Thousands of Sinn Féin supporters will gather in Dublin today to mark 100 years of the party as speculation mounts that the republican movement is ready to dump its arms.

Amid growing belief that the IRA is on the verge of living up to its commitments to end its war with Britain, party President Gerry Adams will address supporters at the major rally in the capital.

Mr Adams fuelled speculation that an unprecedented act of decommissioning was on the cards after he declared that Northern Ireland was close to a final accommodation between unionists and nationalists.

“We believe that we are all on the cusp of a future which allows those of us who want to, to see democratic and peaceful structures in place,” Mr Adams said after yesterday’s meeting with Taoiseach Bertie Ahern.

“Those of us who want to see equality right across the island and those of us who want to see an accommodation between unionists and the rest of us, we are on the cusp of that happening in the wake of the IRA putting its arms beyond use.”

The "Rally for Irish Unity" is the latest in a series of events which have strengthened belief that the Provos are ready to live up to their July 28 pledge to ended armed struggle and dump its massive arsenal.

Mr Adams told Sinn Féin supporters in south Armagh on Thursday that republicans could be handed an unparalleled opportunity for major political advances.

On Friday a party delegation which included chief negotiator Martin McGuinness met with Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, and two of his most senior ministers.

And in a further development it has emerged Mr McGuinness is due to travel to Washington next Tuesday further intensifying speculation that IRA disarmament is imminent.

The Mid-Ulster MP last travelled to the United States days ahead of the IRA’s historic statement which declared an end to the armed struggle.

Retired Canadian General John de Chastelain is charged with the task of scrutinising IRA disarmament, but the Democratic Unionist Party has remained sceptical about any move.

Ian Paisley, DUP leader, has insisted it is unacceptable for an independent Unionist observer to witness the decommissioning to be approved by the republicans.

He challenged the British government: “Will Unionist demands for open, verifiable, photographed and witnessed decommissioning be adhered to or not? Furthermore is that what the British government has requested of the IRA and have they made it clear to the IRA that nothing else is satisfactory?

“We have a right to ask that question and to receive the straight answer, yes or no. Unionists are not going to be pushed over by the duplicity of either the IRA or the two governments. We have a right to know the truth. The day for deception is over, the day for the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth has come.”

Row over nominee continues

The Irish News Online

By Barry McCaffrey

A row over DUP decommissioning nominee Rev David McGaughey will not be allowed to overshadow the IRA’s largest act of decommissioning, senior republicans last night insisted.

On Thursday, DUP leader Ian Paisley accused the British government of brokering a secret deal with republicans to exclude the presence of an acceptable Protestant churchman to witness the IRA’s expected fourth act of decommissioning.

Mr Paisley claimed that while the IRA had agreed to allow Protestant and Catholic churchmen to testify that weapons had been destroyed, they would not witness the actual destruction of weapons.

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams said the DUP should have talked to his party if it wanted to nominate its own witness to decommissioning.

“It’s a bit rich when unionist paramilitaries are using heavy-calibre shoulder weapons to shoot at British troops and PSNI officers, and profess to be loyalists, that the DUP would be concerned about IRA weapons which are silenced and, which we all hope and pray, are going to be put beyond use in the period ahead,” he said.

Republicans accuse unionists of attempting to move the ‘goal posts’ from actual decommissioning to public humiliation of the IRA.

When General John De Chastelain was appointed to verify decommissioning in 1998 it was thought by the British and Irish governments that his credentials would satisfy unionist concerns.

However, under decommissioning guidelines, General De Chastelain can be obliged to keep details private until all weapons, loyalist and republican, have been destroyed.

Unionists reacted angrily in October 2003 when the general was not allowed to give details of what IRA weapons had been decommissioned.

Privately republicans believe that the DUP is attempting to increase pressure on Sinn Fein in the event of an expected call from the British and Irish governments for political talks following IRA decommissioning.

“The DUP were offered an input into the decommissioning issue but for their own reasons they chose not to take it,” said a republican source.

“They know De Chastelain’s terms of reference and the verification procedures that have been agreed.

“They are trying to stretch republicans for their own political means.

“The danger for them is that decommissioning will go ahead without them and be accepted by all the other main players, namely the British, Irish and American governments.

“The question for the DUP is whether they want to see decommissioning or are more interested in trying to humiliate the IRA.”

However, it is still unclear whether the DUP’s decommissioning nominee, former Presbyterian Moderator David McGaughey, will be acceptable to the IRA.

The former RUC reservist, who is a strong anti-agreement unionist, is considered to be on the right wing of Presbyterianism when it comes to both politics and theology. In 1994 he was criticised after refusing to take part in ecumenical services.

He had previously complained when the SDLP’s Seamus Mallon had invited then Irish government minister John Wilson to visit his Newry and Mourne constituency.

“Is it right that our government should always be looking over its shoulder to see whether policies please states that should have no part in the running of our affairs?” he said.

Murder victim’s father makes plea for peace

The Irish News Online

By Sharon O’Neill

THE father of Catholic murder victim Michael McGoldrick last night issued an impassioned plea for an end to ongoing violence. Michael McGoldrick Snr, below right, was speaking ahead of a special reconciliation service on Monday at St Anne’s Cathedral in Belfast.

His comments came as sectarian attacks continue, and after the Independent Monitoring Commission (IMC) published its dossier on loyalist activity linked to the feud between the UVF and LVF, which since July has claimed four lives.

Mr McGoldrick’s son, also Michael (31), was shot dead by renegade UVF members at the height of the Drumcree march crisis in 1996.

The part-time taxi driver, a father-of-two, was last seen picking up a fare on July 8.

His body, slumped over the wheel of his car on a remote country lane near Aghalee, was found by a man out hunting.

The trial of prominent loyalist Clifford McKeown, who was convicted of the murder in 2003, heard that the killing was carried out as a birthday present to the now dead loyalist Billy Wright.

He formed the LVF after splitting with the UVF in the wake of Mr McGoldrick’s murder.

On Monday, the victim’s father will attend a special inter-denominational event at St Anne’s with former UVF prisoner Jim Tate.

Mr Tate, who was convicted of arms offences in the early 1970s, turned his back on violence after being released from jail.

After meeting Mr Goldrick at his Co Armagh home, the pair have struck up a close friendship.

“For him to offer the hand of friendship had a great impact on my life,” recalled Mr Tate.

“We talked about our situations. It was a great time of forgiveness and asking for forgiveness, especially from me being an ex-loyalist prisoner.

“Monday is about healing the hurts of the past. It is a time of testimony, reconciliation and prayer.”

Mr Tate is dismayed by the continuing violence and that linked to the UVF.

He appealed:“Stop, there is no call for it”.

“I think it is atrocious, I totally disagree with it. I had respect for people like David Ervine (PUP leader), people within the Catholic community were gaining respect for him.

“Unfortunately the militants appear to have got the upper hand.”

For Mr McGoldrick the key is forgiveness: “After what happened to myself and my wife, as a Christian you are obligated to forgive...

“Through a healing process, life is better. People have to realise, if you get hatred and sectarianism out of your heart, you feel better within yourself.

“In my humble Christian opinion God does not want them (the paramilitaries) to hurt their fellow man.

“I would appeal to everybody to put out the hand of friendship. We have to do that to make this world a better place for everyone..”

Monday’s service commences at 8pm.

Target woman ‘lucky not to have been hurt’

The Irish News Online

By Staff Reporter

THE son of a Catholic woman whose home in Ballymena was targeted in a paint-bomb attack has said she was lucky not to have been hurt.

The man, who didn’t wish either himself or his 54-year-old mother to be named, said police told them three paint bombs were thrown at the house at around midnight yesterday.

“My mum was in the house on her own at the time and she had just gone to bed two minutes before one of the bottles came through the window, showering the room with glass,” he said.

“If she had been sitting in the chair a bit longer she could have been hit – she was very lucky. She was up all night after it and was shocked.

“We are Catholics and this was sectarian.

“Probably what saved more damage from being done was the leaded windows,” he said.

“The curtains were covered and the paint was all over the floor.”

The man said the part of the town where they live is mainly Catholic, although they have a number of Protestant neighbours.

Retirement of ‘top securocrat’

The Irish News Online

By William Graham

Sir Joseph Pilling, who was once labelled by Sinn Fein as being the “top securocrat” at the Northern Ireland Office, has retired.

Sinn Fein’s Martin McGuinness had earlier this year criticised Mr Pilling but the NIO Permanent Secretary was defended by the then Secretary of State Paul Murphy who emphasised his support for the Good Friday agreement.

According to Sinn Fein the Permanent Secretary had once told a private meeting in the United States that the worst case scenario would be that SF would become the largest party in the north.

It was announced yesterday that Jonathan Phillips (53) has been appointed Permanent Secretary at the Northern Ireland Office and succeeds Sir Joe Pilling.

Mr Phillips takes up his new position at the beginning of December.

Church attacked by vandals

The Irish News Online

By Staff Reporter

PARISHIONERS at a north Belfast church yesterday arrived at Mass to find it had been vandalised in an early morning attack.

Paint had been thrown at the front doors of St Gerard’s church on the Antrim Road.

SDLP councillor Pat Convery said the attack had sectarian overtones.

“There can be absolutely no excuse, no explanation for any act of vandalism or violence against a place of worship of any kind,” he said.

“Everyone needs to condemn acts like these in the plainest and most direct language and everyone needs to support efforts by the police to apprehend those responsible.”

It is understood that the vandals struck at some time between 5am and 9am.

It is the third time the church, which is not far from the Whitewell interface, has been targeted in this way.

Artistic view of the past on mural

The Irish News Online

By Staff Reporter

A mural depicting the history of the Whiterock Road area of west Belfast was unveiled yesterday.

The painting, which has been mounted on a wall at Daisyhill Court in Westrock Gardens, shows how the area looked in bygone years when a Victorian brickworks was located there.

A famous hill of daisies which was a landmark in the area, surrounded by countryside, is captured in the mural.

The mural was painted by artist Eithne O’Kane as part of an Upper Springfield Development Trust Public Art in the Community project.

Speaking as the mural was formally unveiled, Ms O’Kane said working on the project had been “very nice”.

“A lot of the things in the painting are in the memories of residents,” she said.

“It was community-driven, which is important for these projects.”

Gun fired as pupils visit station


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Police are conducting an internal investigation after a gun was fired during a visit by schoolchildren to a PSNI station in County Down.

One shot was accidently fired by a civilian PSNI worker after the gun was shown to them at Newcastle barracks.

A police spokesman said the incident which happened in the past few days was being examined by the PSNI internal investigation branch.

Police also confirmed the person who fired the gun had not been suspended.

The spokeman said the weapon was "currently in safe-keeping".

No-one was injured during the incident.

Woodward 'put lives at risk'

Belfast Telegraph

By Alan Erwin
24 September 2005

NORTHERN Ireland Security Minister Shaun Woodward has put lives at risk by sending police a confidential dossier on an alleged Special Branch plot with loyalist paramilitary killers, it was claimed last night.

The authors of the report into ex-RAF man Raymond McCord's murder are incensed by the decision to give Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde a copy.

Alleged rogue police officers and UVF agents who, it is claimed, ordered the brutal killing in 1997, are named in files prepared by the British Irish Rights Watch (BIRW).

Mr McCord's father Raymond Sr believes Special Branch blocked the investigation and demanded the report be withheld from the Police Service of Northern Ireland.

BIRW director Jane Winter, who sent copies to the United Nations and the United States Congress as well as the Government, said she was stunned by Mr Woodward's decision.

"If anybody in a position of responsibility read our report they would have seen why we did not send it to the police," she said. "There's a real danger that it will end up in the hands of the UVF, if the collusion and protection of informers we allege is still going on.

"That's why it was so irresponsible of Shaun Woodward."

Rabbitte accuses Sinn Fein of fuelling hostility in North

Irish Independent

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Pat Rabbitte

LABOUR Party leader Pat Rabbitte launched a scathing attack on Sinn Fein last night, accusing its leaders of promoting inter-communal hostility in the North.

He said the party had no real interest in implementing the Good Friday Agreement but was more interested in generating instability and divisions between the two communities.

Mr Rabbitte singled out the Sinn Fein campaign 'Make Partition History', arguing that this was being launched against deepening sectarian divisions and aimless loyalist street violence.

"It is bizarre that the movement that has done most in this country's history to copper-fasten partition should consider itself in any way suited to set about the task of uniting this country," the Labour leader added.

He asked how Sinn Fein, of all people could now remove the bitter and enduring consequences of the IRA's campaign of violence, destruction and division.

Mr Rabbitte questioned why Sinn Fein could not see that the real problems on this island do not derive from the partition between North and South but from the endemic partitions within the North itself.

The Labour leader said Sinn Fein had done nothing to persuade the people of the South that the best solution to Northern Ireland as "a failed political entity" would be to collapse that failed, dysfunctional and still violent entity into the jurisdiction of the Republic.

"If the communities that go to make up the North cannot function together, why in God's name should anyone believe they would function better by attempting to smother them within a largely uninterested Southern embrace?" he asked.

It should be a precondition of any consideration of Irish unity that Northern Ireland should first be a functioning entity.

Sinn Fein, he argued, has shown that it was never all that much concerned about devolved institutions within the North, or about their restoration.

"When the institutions collapsed, it was first to call on both governments to produce their Plan B, the plan being a Sinn Fein-dictated way of running Northern Ireland on a joint authority basis," said the Labour leader.

Mr Rabbitte said the "Plan B campaign" and the campaign to 'Make Partition History' were both calculated to increase the trend towards inter-communal hostility which makes power-sharing within Northern Ireland difficult if not impossible.

Those campaigns, he said, showed that Sinn Fein's real interest was never in bedding down the Good Friday Agreement and working its institutions in good faith.

Instead, Mr Rabbitte claimed that Sinn Fein wanted to create "a persistent atmosphere of crisis, in which normal politics is impossible and extremism thrives".

Brian Dowling
Political Correspondent

23 September 2005

It’s later than the unionists think

The Irish News Online

The Thursday Column
By Jim Gibney

Just over a week from the orgy of unionist violence across Belfast what can be said about it all?

The first thing is no-one should be surprised, shocked or influenced by what happened.

This is all shades of unionism doing what it does best when faced with a crisis which is proving too big for them to crack.

The crisis which brought all shades of unionism violently onto the streets is their inability to cope with the onward march of change – the cutting edge of the peace process.

The peace process is carving up the institutions of unionist power like a hot knife through butter and unionists are flailing about desperately trying to halt its forward movement.

We have been at this juncture many times since the IRA’s first ceasefire in 1994. There is no need to panic nor to be deflected from the course set by the peace process and the Good Friday Agreement.

The British and Irish governments in particular need to ensure their jittery systems do not bounce them off course. We are not dealing with a showdown, a line in the sand or any of Paisley’s biblical warnings of Armageddon. Last week’s violence was a carefully staged piece of violent street theatre.

The unionist riots tell us a lot about unionist leaders.

They do nothing to end the pogrom against Catholics in north Antrim or the deadly loyalist feud but get very excitable over a rerouted Orange march. All shades of unionism have their fingerprints on the unrest because, for different reasons, they need the violence.

The party most in need is the DUP. Elected as the saviours of unionism; to stop in its words ‘a concession a day to the IRA’ they are seriously embarrassed by the British government’s response to the IRA’s decision to call off its armed struggle, in particular disbanding the last unionist militia, the RIR.

The DUP is the masters of the veiled threat, so a bit of loyalist muscle would not go amiss in advance of the negotiations.

Next in line for a whiff of the heady mixture of loyalist pipe and petrol bombs is the UUP.

Its electoral base is shrinking as fast as the DUP’s is expanding.

A flirtation even with a weakened Paisley will not harm its electoral ambitions. The Orange Order’s political compass is as wonky as its Belfast county leader’s grasp of the English language.

Dawson Bailie’s combustible friends might encourage him to spend a bit more time with a dictionary working out the difference between ‘condone’ and ‘condemn’ and less time on the streets marching.

Last but by no means least the UDA and the UVF.

Beset as they are with feuding, drug dealing and criminality, a spell in the arms of the DUP, the UUP and the Orange Order will rekindle old associations and give them a much-needed comfort blanket.

Am I being too flippant?

Are we really facing a serious threat, witnessing the beginning of another pan-unionist front similar to 1913 when Carson, Craig and the UVF landed guns at Larne and lined up with some very powerful forces in the British military and political establishment?

I do not think so. Few in the British establishment care about the unionists.

And the home-grown ‘powerful’ forces – the ‘B’ Specials, the RUC, the UDR are gone and soon the RIR will follow.

The Orange Order is still here but only as an insipid reflection from its heyday.

So can a pan-unionist front made up of the DUP, the UUP, the Orange Order, the UVF and UDA save unionism from the engine of change hurtling down the tracks at them?

What would their demands be?

A new RUC, Specials, UDR?

Perhaps a new two-county state?

Who would pay for it all? Who really wants such a scenario?

The British, Irish and US governments do not. Nationalists across Ireland do not. And for that matter neither do unionists.

When the DUP comes down from its self-inflated exalted position as leaders of unionism the rest of us will still be here waiting on it to deal.

Of course by then political conditions may well be even less favourable towards unionists than they are now.

The DUP had best get talking soon – it’s later than they think.

BreakingNews.ie: Judge refuses to acknowledge name 'Londonderry'


23/09/2005 - 15:39:51

The DUP reacted furiously this afternoon to a Monaghan judge who refused to acknowledge the name 'Londonderry'.

The party's Fermanagh and South Tyrone assembly member, Arlene Foster, criticised the comments, made by Judge Sean McBride during a motoring case.

The judge said that 'Londonderry' didn’t exist, but Ms Foster said he was ill-informed and completely inaccurate.

It showed, she said, the contempt felt for anything British by the southern judicial authorities.

Painting a picture of Belfast’s history

The Irish News Online

**Shhhhhh!! For some reason today, the Irish News is letting you read everything w/o having subscribed. I was recently looking at their Scappaticci archives, and now I am on to murals and Bobby Sands. I thought I would reprint this old article and photo and whatever else interesting I find. ;-)

By Jenny Lee

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Click to view - note the photo is before the mural was restored

Jenny Lee speaks to sociologist Bill Rolston, whose long-awaited third volume of photographs of political wall murals looks at the period 1996 to 2003...

While murals are seen by some as a backdrop to the Troubles or a tourist attraction, murals still very much continue to play a dynamic part in Northern Ireland’s on-going political process.

This is a fact that University of Ulster Professor, Bill Rolston is very much aware off. His third book on this topical subject, Drawing Support 3, reflects the period leading up to the Good Friday – Agreement and what he calls “the frustrating politics of transition”.

Every mural has a story to tell about a particular moment in history, or an important shift in power between the two sides, or about developing tensions within the divided communities of Northern Ireland.

In his photographs, Rolston keeps a comprehensive archive of this changes. Drawing Support 3 covers both loyalist and republican murals – 114 in all, reproduced in full colour, including a number of unique photographs of murals from inside the H-Blocks taken shortly before the closure of the prison.

The tradition of mural painting in the north of Ireland is almost a century old.

It began around 1908 with loyalist artisans who began to paint large outdoor murals each July, part of the annual celebrations of the Battle of the Boyne.

The republican mural tradition was born as a result of reaction to the hunger strike of 1981. After the ten of the striking prisoners died, nationalists and republicans took to the streets in support of the them and young nationalists began “drawing support” for the hunger strikers on the walls – hence the name of Rolston’s books.

With the end of the hunger strike, republican mural artists had a new-found confidence in this form of expression and found other themes such as the electoral strategy of Sinn Fein, international comparisons and media censorship. This variation in republican murals continued post-ceasefire to include themes such as sectarian harassment, memorials around the 20th anniversary of the 1981 hunger strikes, the RUC/PSNI and British Army, plastic bullets and international solidarity.

The variation of murals in loyalist areas were much more narrow and the primary reason why Rolston delayed publishing this third book.

“I kept putting the book off until the loyalists done something different. I kept lying in hope that their murals would change a bit,” he said.

Unlike republican murals, loyalist murals after their ceasefire of October 1994 made few references to topical political events and developments.

“Before the ceasefire, 90 per cent of their murals were paramilitary. With the increase in trouble, the quantity and graphic and brutal nature of them actually increased. Up until two years ago it was rare to find a mural without a hooded man and guns and even then you could count them on one hand,” said Rolston.

In short, loyalists murals were militaristic and overwhelmingly about territory, with many directly commissioned by paramilitary groups and some showing live loyalist heroes, such as UDA man Michael Stone or Johnny Adair.

Surprisingly, given the conflict over Orange marches, few murals referred to the subject – there were also no murals demanding decommissioning by the IRA or criticising David Trimble for doing too much or too little.

A significant factor in the decline of loyalist mural activity was the feuding between rival loyalist paramilitary groups. Rolston notes that in one area of Belfast, the Lower Shankill, there were, until recently, 14 murals, mostly containing paramilitary images. Seven of those have now been painted over, partly as a result of changes following the recent loyalist feud in the area and partly in response to pressure on loyalists to clean up their act.

Beyond the explicit and often threatening representations of armed men and mythological warriors recruited to the loyalist cause, there were memorials to dead colleagues and royalty.

However, the official recognition – and funding – of the Ulster-Scots movement in the aftermath of the Good Friday Agreement has provided a new source of commissioning, and hence a boost to the emergence of murals on historical themes.

“There is greater colour and vibrancy in republican murals who rose imaginatively to the post-agreement task,” said an enthusiastic Rolston, who doesn’t claim to be an artist. “I’m just an enthusiast who wanted to keep an archive of these murals which are so historic and could easily have been lost forever.”

In contrast to the loyalist murals, after 1996, the only guns or references to armed struggle contained in republican murals were now mainly confined to memorial murals commemorating dead comrades and celebrations of the role played by women in the struggle of the previous three decades.

In the same spirit of commemoration, murals appeared periodically referring to the 1981 hunger strike. This reached a climax in 2001 when for the 20th anniversary a large number of murals appeared reprising the themes and images of two decades earlier, with support for the hunger strike and Bobby Sands, as depicted on the cover of Drawing Support 3.

As before the ceasefire, mythology and history, including Cuchulainee, proved rich seams for republican muralists to mime, while reference was made to contemporary events such as the Holy Cross stand-off in Ardoyne. One mural, copied form a cartoon in the Irish News, depicted the plight of the nationalist Short Strand in east Belfast.

As for Rolston views on the future and whether the changing political environment will lead to the demand for a Drawing Support 4 being published, Rolston diplomatically says “the jury is out”.

‘Irish government is committed to securing peace and stability in north’

The Irish News Online

By Barry McCaffrey

Foreign Affairs Minister Dermot Ahern met with nationalists in Belfast and Antrim yesterday to assure them that the Irish government is committed to tackling sectarianism.

Mr Ahern visited a number of community groups in Belfast and Antrim who were most directly affected by sectarian attacks and street violence.

During his visit, he met with residents on the Springfield Road in west Belfast and the Parkside estate in north Belfast.

He also met some of the families affected by sectarian attacks in north Antrim.

“This was an important opportunity to hear directly from the communities and individuals who have been directly affected by recent events,” he said.

“It is vital for those of us involved in the ongoing political process to hear at first hand the concerns and experiences of the people and communities who suffer fear and intimidation.

“The government is determined to be proactive in challenging sectarianism at every opportunity.

“Today was an important occasion for me to speak to the people working hard at the coal face, to see how best we can achieve this.

“I assured all those I met of the government's commitment to work for the peaceful and stable future that the people of Northern Ireland deserve.”

Later, Mr Ahern visited the Corrymeela Reconciliation Centre where he paid tribute to its ongoing work in combating sectarianism.

Bradley out of hospital as PSNI hunts for thug

The Irish News Online

By Seamus McKinney

Policing Board vice-chairman Denis Bradley was released yesterday from Derry’s Altnagelvin Hospital, two days after being attacked in a bar in the town.

Mr Bradley suffered serious injuries to his head and face when he was beaten with a wooden bat while watching Derry City’s League Cup win at Mailey’s Bar in the city’s Brandywell area.

Police believe dissident republicans were responsible for the attack.

Witnesses said a man, whose face was covered with a scarf, walked into the bar and struck Mr Bradley twice on the head with the bat while he watched the game with his 17-year-old son.

The attack provoked outrage, with politicians from across the political divide joining Church figures in condemning those responsible.

On a visit to Derry yesterday, PSNI Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde said he would take a personal interest in the search for Mr Bradley’s attacker.

“Denis has made a huge contribution to policing and the police agenda and getting a very effective police service for the whole communities across Northern Ireland through his work on the Policing Board,” he said.

“The sad bit is these people still exist who are determined to wreck everything that Denis has achieved, communities have achieved, police have achieved. They’re going to get nowhere.

“They run in – they’re brave people wearing hoods, covered up – armed with a large bat, hit a 61-year-old man and run away and hide. That sums up exactly what I think of them. I think they are beneath contempt.”

Sir Huge said people were now engaging with police and the world had left those responsible for the attack behind.

While in Derry, Sir Hugh also toured interface areas and met residents of the city’s Protestant Fountain estate, as well as a delegation from the SDLP.

A spokeswoman for the Policing Board said Mr Bradley was released from Altnagelvin Hospital yesterday afternoon.

She said his family had requested privacy to allow him to recover from his injuries.

Sectarian incidents double in past year

The Irish News Online

By Sharon O’Neill Chief Reporter

THE number of sectarian crimes has more than doubled in the last year. Latest police statistics point to a deteriorating situation, synonymous with the Troubles, is getting worse.

Earlier this year The Irish News revealed that sectarian attacks were continuing to take place on a shockingly high level in the first official record of incidents compiled by police.

New statistics now show that the situation is getting worse.

From April 1 to August 31 this year, 726 sectarian incidents were reported – almost five a day.

The disturbing figure is more than double that for the previous six months, which stood at 339 – an average of two per day.

Police classification of ‘sectarian incidents’ ranges from verbal abuse to bomb attacks and attempted murders.

A sectarian motive is a “significant line of inquiry” in the killing in August of north Belfast Catholic teenager Thomas Devlin.

The summer, which was marred by serious violence during the marching season, saw an intense increase in sectarianism which has spilled outside Belfast to Co Antrim and Co Derry.

Out of 42 incidents in the Ballymena district more than half were against the Catholic community.

A number of families were forced to flee their homes following attacks in Ahoghill.

Although the figures for across the north are not broken down

by community, it is generally accepted the majority of attacks were carried out by loyalists.

However, the Protestant community has not escaped sectarianism with some attacks coming from the Catholic community in north Belfast, the greater Ballymena area and Derry.

A clearer picture of paramilitary involvement will be revealed by the Independent Monitoring Commission next month.

Its report yesterday, which detailed violence linked to the UVF/LVF feud, noted that it had not dealt with the “dreadful sectarian attacks over this time nor with the wider loyalist picture”.

Already this month there have been a number of sectarian attacks. Loyalists were yesterday blamed for a petrol-bomb attack on the home of a Catholic mother on the outskirts of north Belfast.

Police are also treating as sectarian two separate attacks in the north west on Wednesday night when a care worker had paint poured over her car while tending to a Co Tyrone pensioner and an assault on three Catholic boys.

The extent of the problem was highlighted by a judge while sentencing a Co Antrim loyalist for the attempted murder of a Catholic.

Accusing politicians of “cynically exploiting” sectarianism Mr Justice Coghlin said: “As the tide of terrorism abates, sectarianism re-emerged, oozing forth again to corrupt another generation.”

Revamping city history is up our alley

The Irish News Online

By Keith Bourke

Some of Belfast’s oldest thoroughfares – the narrow entries that criss-cross the city centre – are enjoying a well-deserved facelift.

NIO minister with responsibility for social development David Hanson announced the end of the first phase yesterday of the revamp scheme.

Winecellar Entry, Pottinger’s Entry and Castle Arcade have been rejuvenated at a cost of £400,000, with £500,000 of work on Crown, Wilson’s and Joy’s Entry due to begin in April.

During the 18th century the High Street area and its laneways were at the centre of the city’s life.

Political historian Dr Eamon Phoenix said Belfast was then a place of cultural renaissance and radical politics.

“In the 1700s Belfast was known as the ‘Athens of the North’,” he said.

“This was an exciting time in Belfast’s past. Peggy Barclay’s Tavern in the Crown Entry was the venue for the foundation of the United Irishmen by Wolfe Tone in October 1771. The taverns of Belfast’s laneways were hotbeds of political radicalism.

“Radicals who wanted Parlia-mentary reform would meet here and when that failed, a radical revolution like that which had occurred in France was planned.”

Joy’s entry is directly associated with one of Belfast’s most famous historical figures, Henry Joy McCracken.

Born on High Street in August 1767, of a prominent Presbyterian family, he commanded the United Irishmen forces in Antrim in 1798.

They were defeated by government troops, and after a month on the run McCracken was captured and hanged for treason in Cornmarket, near his birthplace

Henry’s favourite sister, Mary Ann McCracken, was also famous in her own right as a philanthropist. Like Henry, she was heavily involved in reviving the ancient poetry and music of Ireland.

Pottinger’s Entry is named after a prominent landed estate family of the time. During the 18th century it was also home to a debtors’ prison.

Going back to the 1600s, the High Street area was the impressive grounds of Lord Donegall’s castle, and the entries home to its orchards and gardens.

Castle Arcade itself is named after Donegall Castle, which famously burned down in a fire in 1780 in which two of Lord Donegall’s sisters perished.

Dr Phoenix also said Crown’s Entry has links with The Irish News: “It was down this lane that the Read brothers from Co Antrim set up the printing press which launched the Belfast Morning News, which was later to become The Irish News.”

In the 1860s the focus of city life shifted away from High Street to-wards City Hall, a transformation completed in the 20th century.

Now, in 2005, some of Belfast’s famous heritage is being brought back to life.

Mum used hose on petrol bomb

The Irish News Online

By Marie Louise McCrory

A Catholic mother-of-four last night told how she used a garden hose to extinguish flames caused by a petrol bomb attack on her Newtownabbey home.

Anna Delaney has appealed to those behind the attack to leave her and her family alone.

Ms Delaney was in the kitchen of her Longlands Road home at around 6.30pm on Wednesday when she saw flames at the back of her home.

Three of her children – a 17-year-old girl, who is four months pregnant, and two boys aged 13 and eight – were at home at the time of the attack.

“I ran out and had a look to see if there was anyone about,” she said.

“I used the hose to put the fire out. I was shaking like a leaf. I was worried for all the kids.”

Ms Delaney said her daughter was “a bit shaken” by the attack.

“I tried to keep them [the children] calm. The police came out,” she said.

“I am just relieved that everyone is ok.”

Ms Delaney said she believed loyalists were responsible for the attack.

“I am scared of them doing it again,” she said.

“I just want them to leave us alone. I have never done anybody any harm.”

Councillor Billy Webb, of the Newtownabbey Ratepayers Association, and chair of the Newtownabbey District Policing Partnership, condemned the attack.

“I call on those carrying out such attacks to cease before someone is killed,” he said.

Sinn Fein councillor Briege Meehan described the attack as “completely unacceptable”.

SDLP councillor Noreen McClelland described the attack as “attempted murder”.

“It needs to be said loudly and clearly that a petrol bomb can kill, especially where children are involved,” she said.

“I appeal to anyone who saw this incident or can throw any light on it to contact the police before there is another attack with a more serious outcome.”

DUP MP Nigel Dodds branded such attacks “deplorable”.

Adams invites murder victim's family to meet him

The Irish News Online


The Sinn Féin President today invited relatives of murder victim Joseph Rafferty to meet him.

The 29-year-old was shot dead outside his home in Ongar, northwest Dublin earlier this year.

His family believe the IRA carried out the killing, but Gerry Adams said he was satisfied no Republican had anything to do with it.

The Taoiseach is due to meet with the Rafferty family next week.

Decommissioning due 'very soon'


Gerry Adams has urged republican unity

Sinn Fein has made it clear to the Irish government that decommissioning will happen soon, Irish foreign minister Dermot Ahern has said.

He was speaking after Taoiseach Bertie Ahern held his first formal meeting with Sinn Fein since the Northern Bank robbery last December.

Gerry Adams said everyone must work together to restore devolution.

"We believe we are all on the cusp of a future... to see democratic and peaceful structures in place," he said.

"Those of us who want to see equality right across the island and those of us who want to see an accommodation between unionists and the rest of us, we are on the cusp of that happening in the wake of the IRA putting its arms beyond use."

As speculation mounts that the IRA is preparing to disarm, Mr Adams said it was time to look at the next step.

"And I think we all have to wait for that of course, and our focus at the meeting was to look beyond that even though we all have to wait until that happens," he said.

Mr Adams said his party had raised a number of issues during the discussions with the Irish government in Dublin.

He said these included the murder of Donegal Sinn Fein councillor Eddie Fullerton in 1991, northern representation on southern institutions and the peace process.

Speaking after the meeting, Irish foreign minister Dermot Ahern said a verifiable act of decommissioning would put it up to unionism that they must work in partnership with nationalists.

"I think the Sinn Fein delegation made it very clear that they expect it to happen in the near future, and that they expected that it would be extremely significant and they wanted to emphasise to us that they saw it as significant," Mr Ahern said.


Irish justice minister Michael McDowell said that an end to all criminality was the foundation on which to build a new future.

"I'm confident that the Provisional movement in its entirety knows that as far as the government is concerned that we regard it as absolutely a cornerstone of any further progress in Northern Ireland that there should be no further criminality," he said.

"In that context I think that is clearly understood and the consequences of any breaches of it will be categorical."

Mr McDowell said he had seen nothing which showed the IRA was not living up to its 28 July statement that the military campaign was over.

On Thursday, DUP leader Ian Paisley claimed the government had made a secret deal with the IRA to exclude the need for an arms witness acceptable to unionists.

Mr Paisley said the decommissioning process was a mess, that the IRA made the rules, appointed the referee and was doing as it wanted.

Mr Adams said if the DUP wanted to nominate a witness it should have talked to his party.

Teenager hurt in sectarian attack


An attack on a 15-year-old boy in Derry is being treated as sectarian, police have said.

He was with two friends at Prehen Park in the Waterside area of the city on Wednesday night when they were confronted by a gang.

Up to eight youths wearing Rangers shirts attacked the teenager. He was knocked down and kicked.

His attackers then ran off in the direction of Victoria Road.

Adams criticises Hain

Daily Ireland

Zoe Tunney

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams has criticised remarks made by the British Secretary of State Peter Hain about the economic and social future of the North.
In a keynote address in Belfast yesterday, Mr Hain said: “Violence and rioting must be left behind if we are to create a strong and prosperous Northern Ireland”.
Referring to claims by unionists that most of the recent loyalist violence was due to social and economic deprivation in loyalist areas, Mr Hain said he accepted unionist frustrations.
He also said loyalists and nationalists in deprived areas of Belfast had the right to ask the question, “where is our Laganside development?”
Afterwards, Gerry Adams spoke at a conference given by the Employment Services Board in west Belfast.
“I listened to Mr Hain’s comments very closely today and not once did I hear the words regeneration, or development,” he said. He pointed out that 16 projects in west Belfast and the greater Shankill are “still waiting on funds promised to them by the British government”.
“These are very difficult times for the people in west Belfast and the greater Shankill,” he said. “I think it is crucial that we are not mealy-mouthed. We must fight for funding for our projects.
“This is our Laganside right here. It is in this project and yet we have only secured funding until 2006. The British and Irish governments must realise that there has to be funding and investment in the future. They must implement policies of investment.”
Based in the greater Shankill and west Belfast, the Employment Services Board aims to improve access to jobs for people in the area.
“Mr Hain talks about the links between conflict, social deprivation and violence... You cannot combat deprivation by comparing with the other community, by trying to prove who is more deprived. What you have to do is build partnerships and establish equality. Not equality for nationalists or equality for the greater Shankill but, equality for everybody,” Mr Adams said.
“We need joined-up thinking. We must get people to work together.”

Violence pays: Group linked to Orange Order to get £250K

Daily Ireland

Jarlath Kearney

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Daily Ireland can reveal that, in June 2005, the International Fund for Ireland approved a major grant of £250,000 for an organisation closely associated with the Orange Order.
Crucially, the money will be confined to funding various organisations which use Orange halls across the North – including loyalist bands. The IFI claimed last night that the grant is “designed to foster community reconciliation”.
The organisation which received grant approval is called the Orange Community Network. OCN is a not-for-profit limited company that includes loyal order members acting in personal capacities. OCN claims to have no formal linkage with the Orange Order.
Democratic Unionist Party councillor William Humphrey is vice-chairperson of OCN. Contacted by Daily Ireland last night, the North Belfast representative confirmed that he is also chairperson of the West Belfast Orange Hall. Councillor Humphrey has served as a member of the DUP’s ruling executive and as chairperson of the party in north Belfast.
Councillor Humphrey said that OCN has still not “worked out” criteria for the dispersal of the grant funding which has been approved. Councillor Humphrey added: “It will be used to promote community organisation, empowerment and capacity building… about groups that work from or are connected to Orange halls, and will include bands connected with Orange halls but also other organisations.”
A spokesperson for the IFI told Daily Ireland: “I can confirm that at it’s meeting in June 2005, the Board of the International Fund for Ireland approved financial assistance of up to a maximum of £250,000 to the Orange Community Network towards a three year community capacity building project, the objectives of which include promoting and developing embryonic community groups, the engagement of young people in constructive activities, the fostering of co-operation and interaction with the wider community, and support for the creation of a number of new community groups over the next three years.”
News of the IFI’s major grant funding emerged as secretary of state Peter Hain announced measures to specifically address the “particular needs of loyalist communities”. Mr Hain’s intervention yesterday following sustained sectarian violence by sections of the unionist community in recent weeks.
“I am conscious of the criticism that our own efforts as a government could be better co-ordinated, and services more closely connected to disadvantaged communities, and I do acknowledge the particular needs of loyalist communities.
“To tackle this I want to embark upon a process of intensive engagement with elected representatives and civil leaders from the Protestant community,” Mr Hain said.
However despite Mr Hain’s announcement yesterday, Daily Ireland can reveal that an organisation called the Loyalism Working Group – including senior civil servants – has already been meeting regularly since at least April 2005.
All of the North’s senior civil servants and departmental permanent secretaries have been formally appraised of the Loyalism Working Group’s activities.
Yesterday Daily Ireland revealed that the Department of Finance and Personnel played a central role in recent moves to ensure the Orange Order receives special European Peace II funding.
DFP approved a memo by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB) that consideration of funding applications by the Orange Order, should not take into account “who has made the application”.
The Orange Order formally excludes Catholics and bars women from full membership of the organisation.
Following sustained political pressure by the DUP, the memo was issued to various funding implementation bodies on September 7 – just days ahead of the vicious sectarian onslaught by sections of the unionist community in tandem with the Orange Order’s re-routed Whiterock march on September 10.
Sinn Fein yesterday announced that the party shall be writing to the DFP and the SEUPB to voice concern about the development.
In a joint statement Councillors Billy Leonard and Angela Nelson said: “The implications of this intervention by civil servants are immense. This has compromised the integrity of the SEUPB.
“Transparency, openness and the basic principles behind the partnership model have been compromised.
“We will seek explanations from both organisations and demand they clarify their position publicly.

Father of man murdered by UVF hits out as IMC fails to mention UVF drug dealing


Report is joke says McCord

BBC photo

The father of a man murdered by the UVF has branded today’s Independent Monitoring Commission (IMC) report “a joke” after it failed to mention UVF drug dealing.
Referring to the “LVF’s involvement in drugs” in detail, the IMC had no mention of any UVF drug dealing, although later in the report it cited PSNI “successes” against both groups, including drug running.
Raymond McCord, whose son Raymond was murdered by the UVF in 1997, said he was astonished that there was no mention of UVF drug dealing by the IMC.
“The UVF is heavily involved in drug dealing, extortion and racketeering. They have murdered four innocent men in their feud. I don’t know why there is no mention of UVF drug dealing (along) with the LVF when everyone knows there was £1m worth of drugs delivered to the UVF in Mount Vernon a couple of years ago. The UVF moved in on the LVF in Garnerville to take over their drugs in East Belfast in July.
“If they were saying they were moving in on the LVF for drug dealing then why didn’t they move in on the UDA in East Belfast before that? Why is there any need for the UVF other than drugs.”
David Ervine of the UVF-linked PUP today said he had “nothing to say” about the report. The IMC also said it believed the murder of Somerton schoolboy Thomas Devlin was not carried out on behalf of a paramilitary organisation.
In its sixth report exclusively on the recent loyalist feud the IMC admitted it was only dealing with the UVF/LVF bloodletting and not ongoing sectarian attacks.
It said it would produce a report on these in October when it would also report on the aftermath of the IRA statement on July 28 that told all units to stand down.
It said the UVF had carried out five murders, four since July 1. There had also been 17 attempted murders by the UVF and two committed by the LVF. There were six incidents of shooting both at people and buildings, 18 bombings, and three other incidents.
It said there had been 45 arrests by the PSNI and 13 charges, although it failed to say if any were in connection with feud murders.
“The PSNI continue to have successes against organised crime involving both the UVF and LVF, for example in relation to drugs, robber and extortion,” the report said.
“This feud has erupted in bloodthirsty thuggery between paramilitary groups, the history of rivalry and hatred, personal animosity, the LVF’s involvement in drugs. Allegations and counter allegations about treachery, criminal competition, greed and power.”
On the widely publicised scenes of “the forced departure of families in Garnerville in July 2005,” (while the PSNI looked on) the report said it was just one of a number of incidents including attacks on North Belfast taxi companies.

Journalist:: Andrea McKernon

'Delay' in UVF censure slammed

Belfast Telegraph

By Noel McAdam
23 September 2005

Questions over the timing of the Government decision to pull the plug on the UVF ceasefire were being asked last night after the latest Independent Monitoring Commission report.

And the Commission was accused of ignoring the relationship between unionist politicians and loyalist paramilitaries on bodies such as the North and West Belfast Parades Forum.

After withdrawing formal recognition of its ceasefire - 'specification' - and stopping financial grants to the UVF-linked Progressive Unionist Party, Stormont Minister David Hanson signalled that further action could be taken.

As he began intensive talks with loyalist leaders following the recent wave of violence and confrontation, Mr Hanson said the Government would be listening to representations.

But SDLP Assembly member Alban McGuinness said the main question raised by the report was why Secretary of State Peter Hain had to be dragged "inch by inch" towards specification.

"Why did he delay the decision to specify for so long, while the UVF was flexing its muscles, parading its strength in Garnerville and carrying out no less than five street executions? "

The criticism was echoed by Alliance Party leader David Ford who said:

"Questions remain as to why the Government did not specify the UVF ceasefire on the basis of the feud alone."

Sinn Fein Assembly member Alex Maskey said the IMC had "predictably" ignored the relationships between the various unionist paramilitary gangs and the UUP and DUP through the North and West Parades Forum and the Loyalist Commission.

The IMC said while the recent feud may have escalated because of "local animosities" it believed the UVF had decided the time was right to "finish off" the LVF.

LVF violence, while fuelled by rivalry, had been "more by way of response" - the main aim being survival.

Others owed their lives to prompt, pre-emptive action by the Police Service of Northern Ireland - although the "spur of the moment" nature of the attacks had meant often police had missed out on any advance warning.

The report also said the PUP had failed to exert its opposition to the UVF and warned that while the Commission was aware the PUP is not strong enough to influence the UVF, the party could not "have it both ways."

PUP boss David Ervine had said no-one in a leadership position in the party was in the leadership of the UVF and it was contrary to natural justice to punish people who had not broken the law.

But the IMC said the PUP had to decide whether to disassociate itself from the paramilitary organisation or accept the consequences of the link. East Belfast Assembly member Mr Ervine had no further comment last night.

The report said the feud lead to the murders in July and August of Jameson Lockhart, Craig McCausland, Stephen Paul and Michael Green among a total of 49 incidents including:

seven attempted murders,

shootings and the use of petrol bombs or explosives,

forced departure of families from Garnerville and arson and other attacks on taxi in Crumlin Road, and

criminal damage including the ramming of a vehicle

But it said neither the UVF or the LVF could be named in relation to the killings of 25-year-old Lisa Dorrian.

DUP and SF clash over arms witness

Belfast Telegraph

By Claire Regan
23 September 2005

A bitter row erupted between the DUP and Sinn Fein last night after Ian Paisley accused the Government of making a secret deal with the IRA to exclude the need for an arms witness acceptable to unionists.

Speaking after a meeting with Political Development minister David Hanson, the DUP leader claimed that the IRA made the rules, appointed the referee and was doing as it wanted.

"I believe that they (the Government) have entered into a secret deal with the IRA," he said.

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams hit back saying that if the DUP wanted to nominate a witness it should have talked to his party.

"It's a bit rich when unionist paramilitaries are using heavy calibre shoulder weapons to shoot at British troops and PSNI officers, and profess to be loyalists, that the DUP would be concerned about IRA weapons which are silenced and, which we all hope and pray, are going to be put beyond use in the period ahead," he said.

Mr Paisley said the DUP had sought the meeting with Mr Hanson now so they could not be accused of raising their concerns too late.

The DUP meeting with Mr Hanson came as the minister said that the IRA was beginning to make moves related to decommissioning.

Britain to sell off most civil service buildings in North


23/09/2005 - 11:26:07

The British government has announced plans to sell off almost all of its civil service buildings in the North and then lease them back from their new owners.

The move is an effort by the British to avoid paying the estimated £200m cost of refurbishing the buildings, many of which need extensive modernisation.

Stormont Castle, Stormont House and Parliament Buildings will not be sold off as part of the move, but Castle Buildings, where the Good Friday Agreement was signed in 1998, is earmarked for inclusion.

Adams to make new bid for McCabe killers' release


23/09/2005 - 07:24:07

Gerry Adams will today renew his bid to have the killers of det. Garda Jerry McCabe freed from jail.

Amid a growing belief that the IRA is on the brink of finally completing its weapons destruction, the Sinn Féin President is holding talks with Taoiseach Bertie Ahern in Dublin.

The meeting comes ahead of a major rally in the city centre tomorrow which has fuelled speculation that the IRA could be just days away from honouring their July 28 pledge to dump all arms after declaring their campaign was over.

During the talks Mr Adams is expected to raise the controversial case surrounding Garda McCabe's killers. He was killed during a botched IRA robbery in Co Limerick in 1996.

Four men – Kevin Walsh, Pearse McAuley, Jeremiah Sheehy and Michael O’Neill - were later convicted of his manslaughter.

Their claim to qualify for freedom under the Good Friday Agreement early-release scheme has been one of the most sensitive issues in the peace negotiations.

Although senior members of Mr Ahern’s administration warned Sinn Féin any new request for the prisoners’ early release would fail, Mr Adams has pledged to continue the fight.

He said: “I’m mindful of the trauma for the McCabe family but the Supreme Court upheld the fact they were qualifying prisoners (under the Good Friday Agreement) and we will continue to campaign for their release.”

Today’s talks in Dublin come after Mr Adams urged republicans to stay united in the aftermath of imminent IRA disarmament.

He accepted some at grass roots level may still oppose the decommissioning strategy.

But as a row over witnesses to the process intensified, Mr Adams called for supporters to stand firm.

He said: “I would simply appeal for unity and for people to continue to show the type of discipline and commitment they have shown thus far.

“We believe, and I think its part of what we have been able to achieve as a leadership, in validating dissent.

“Republicanism has to be tolerant. Some people have fundamental disagreement with the way we are pursuing this strategy, and I think that’s ok.

“We are not leading sheep, we are leading proud activists who have been through an awful lot over the last 30 years or so.”

Politics off the agenda as minister opens new Freemasons centre

Irish Examiner

23 September 2005
By Jimmy Woulfe, Mid-West Correspondent

POLITICS will be a taboo topic when Defence Minister Willie O’Dea officially opens a building in Limerick today.
The Freemasons, regarded as the most secret organisation in the country, will open the doors of their new €750,000 centre in Castle Street.

The minister has been asked to do the honours but politics and religion are not allowed in discussion when freemasons meet.

The North Munster Masonic Centre caters for 250 freemasons in Limerick, Clare, Tipperary and North Kerry. The five lodges in Limerick city have 130 members and one of the lodges, Antient Union, dates back to 1732.

Paul Deegan, spokesman for the North Munster masons, said that while they are changing from being ultra-secret to being more open, certain symbolism remains secret. These include their secret handshake and the elaborate induction ceremonies for new members.

Mr Deegan denied that freemasons try and help each other to get jobs or job promotion.

“This kind of thing is very much prohibited, to use membership for personal gain or profit,” he said.

Mr Deegan said the new Masonic centre was open to local groups for meetings.

“And we do not put down conditions or look for anything in return.”

Orange hall damaged by arsonists


An Orange Order hall in County Armagh has been extensively damaged in an arson attack, police have said.

The damage to Mullintur Orange Hall on the Maydown Road occurred between Wednesday night and Thursday morning.

The attackers are believed to have entered a loft area of the hall near Armagh city through the roof where they smashed a number of old and new drums.

The lodge's banner was taken outside where it was set alight. Police have appealed for witnesses.

22 September 2005

Adams calls for a united front


22/09/2005 - 19:33:31

Gerry Adams tonight urged republicans to stay united in the aftermath of imminent IRA disarmament.

With the destruction of all remaining Provo weapons dumps set to be confirmed, possibly within days, the Sinn Féin President accepted that some at grass roots level may still oppose the decommissioning strategy.

But as a row over witnesses to the process intensified, Mr Adams called for supporters to stand firm.

He said: “I would simply appeal for unity and for people to continue to show the type of discipline and commitment they have shown thus far.

“We believe, and I think its part of what we have been able to achieve as a leadership, in validating dissent.

“Republicanism has to be tolerant. Some people have fundamental disagreement with the way we are pursuing this strategy, and I think that’s okay.

“We are not leading sheep, we are leading proud activists who have been through an awful lot over the last 30 years or so.”

The Sinn Féin chief tonight addressed supporters in south Armagh ahead of a rally in the centre of Dublin on Saturday.

In between, Mr Adams will meet Taoiseach Bertie Ahern in Dublin tomorrow, heightening the growing belief that the IRA is on the verge of delivering on its July 28 pledge to dump all arms after declaring an end to its campaign.

At tonight’s gathering in Mullaghbawn, he told around 70 party members that republicans and nationalists will have an unparalleled opportunity for major political advances once the IRA delivers on its peace pledges.

But Ian Paisley, leader of the Democratic Unionists, has accused the government of striking a clandestine deal to exclude his party’s demand for an independent Protestant clergyman to verify any disarmament.

Unconvinced by John de Chastelain, the retired Canadian general who will scrutinise decommissioning, Mr Paisley claimed the process was in disarray with the IRA making the rules.

After meeting new Political Development Minister David Hanson, he declared: “I believe they have entered into their secret agreement with the IRA.

“We warned the minister, don’t come afterwards and say: ‘Why is Ian Paisley raising this?’ We’re raising it now.”

Mr Adams hit back at the DUP complaints, claiming they never raised concerns earlier.

“It would be very, very difficult at any time to get the IRA to take on board DUP nominees,” he said.

“But we would do our best in all of that if the DUP were saying well if the IRA does this we’ll do something in return.”

He added: “Let’s have a bit of confidence in the de Chastelain Commission and whoever the witnesses are.

“I have every confidence in the IRA delivering on their commitments and let’s see how we can move all of this forward.

“It’s a bit rich when unionist paramilitaries are using heavy calibre shoulder weapons to shoot at British troops and PSNI officers – and profess to be loyalists – that the DUP should be concerned about IRA weapons which are silenced and which are going to be, we all hope and pray, put beyond use in the period ahead.”

During tomorrow’s talks in Dublin Mr Adams is due to renew his demands for the IRA killers of Garda Jerry McCabe to be freed.

Four republicans are serving jail sentences for the officer’s manslaughter during a robbery in Co Limerick in 1996.

Mr Adams said: “I’m mindful of the trauma for the McCabe family but the Supreme Court upheld the fact they were qualifying prisoners (under the Good Friday Agreement) and we will continue to campaign for their release.”

Residents to voice concerns over controversial gas pipeline


22/09/2005 - 18:03:21

A two-day public hearing will be held in Mayo for local residents and communities to voice their views on the controversial onshore pipeline and refinery planned for the Corrib Gas Field, the Government announced today.

The hearing, which is set to take place in late October, will be chaired by senior counsel John Gallagher, an eminent Mayo-born lawyer who sits on the Mediation Council of Ireland.

The Corrib Technical Advisory Group is also implementing a scheme to allow people to put written submissions to Advantica, the company which is carrying out the safety review of the pipeline.

Consultants from Advantica are today visiting the Corrib pipeline site as part of their safety review, which was commissioned on the back of protests about the project’s construction.

The Rossport Five were imprisoned more than 12 weeks ago for refusing to obey a High Court order stopping them protesting against the pipeline, which was being laid though their lands.

The Department for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources said Minister Noel Dempsey was conscious that people who had views on the pipeline should have the opportunity to express them.

The department is calling for residents, local communities and any interested parties to make submissions to the group as early as possible.

But Shell to Sea, the protest group which wants the onshore pipeline and refinery abandoned in favour of an offshore processing plant, said it would not be participating in the safety review process.

Spokesman Mark Garavan said: “We see it as looking at very narrowly defined questions.

“A hearing into a narrow technical set of questions is not going to advance the situation.”

Submissions can be made to the Corrib Technical Advisory Group Office of the Chief Technical Advisor, Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources, 29-31 Adelaide Road, Dublin 2, fax: 01 678 2659, e-mail: Corrib.TAG@dcmnr.gov.ie, by 5.30pm on Friday, October 28, 2005.

All written submissions will be published on the department’s website.

Any submissions already made since the advisory group was established on August 10 are being considered so resubmission is not necessary.

Two held over boy's killing freed


Two men arrested by detectives investigating the murder of Belfast schoolboy Thomas Devlin have been released without charge.

Both men had been arrested in north Belfast, one on Tuesday night and the other on Wednesday.

Thomas, 15, was stabbed five times as he and two friends walked along Somerton Road on 10 August.

The police have confirmed the prime suspects in the investigation are two young men with a black and white dog.

Remembering the Past: The First Hunger Striker

An Phoblacht

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Photo: The funeral of Thomas Ashe


Born in 1885 in the small village of Lispole, near Dingle, County Kerry, Thomas Ashe was educated locally. He qualified as a teacher in the De La Salle Teacher Training College in Waterford City, later taking up the position of Principal at Corduff National School in Lusk, County Dublin.

Ashe had great interest and involvement in the nationalist movement and was a member of the Irish Volunteers and Conradh na Gaeilge. Through his links with these organisations, Ashe was recruited into the Irish Republican Brotherhood. Evidence of the respect in which he was held was witnessed by the fact that he was chosen to visit America on a fundraising trip. It was during this time that he met the likes of John Devoy, Joe McGarrity and Roger Casement. The years leading to the 1916 Rising saw Ashe take up a more prominent role and by Easter Sunday 1916 he was the Commanding Officer of the Dublin 5th Battalion of the Volunteers.

During the Rising Ashe and his battalion of just 48 men led many successful attacks and ambushes on military barracks around the North Dublin area. This group successfully demolished the Great Northern Railway Bridge, thus, disrupting access to the capital. In addition, they captured the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) barracks at Ashbourne, County Meath. The fight to gain control lasted six hours during which time eleven RIC men were killed and over 20 were wounded. By comparison, the Fingal Battalion lost only two men and five were wounded. Ashe and his men captured three other police barracks with large quantities of arms and ammunition which kept their highly successful guerrilla war going. When news of the surrender reached Thomas Ashe he laid down his arms and was arrested, court martialed and sentenced to death. The sentence was later commuted to life imprisonment.

He was released as part of the General Amnesty in June 1917. On his release, Ashe immediately became involved once more in the independence movement. Thomas Ashe was elected President of the Irish Republican Brotherhood, taking the place of the executed Pádraig Mac Piarais. He travelled the country campaigning for Sinn Féin, making speeches, which the authorities deemed were "calculated to cause disaffection".

Thomas Ashe was re-arrested for sedition and incitement of the population on 15 July 1917 and sent to Mountjoy Jail. He demanded that he be given Prisoner of War status including the right to wear his own clothes and associate with his fellow inmates. When the authorities refused his demand, Ashe and six of his fellow prisoners went on hunger strike. Ashe was put in a straitjacket and force fed by the authorities. All requests to Ashe to end the hunger strike were refused. He was adamant in his conviction saying: "They have branded me a Criminal. Even though if I die, I die in a good cause."

Administered by a trainee doctor, the process of feeding was often quite brutal. On the third day, Ashe collapsed shortly after the brutal procedure. It was later discovered that the tube had pierced his lung among other complications. He was released immediately from the prison and be taken to the nearby Mater Hospital. Two days later, he died of heart and lung failure.

After lying in state at City Hall, Ashe's cortege made it's way through Dublin to Glasnevin Cemetery on 30 September 1917. It is estimated that 30,000 people lined the streets, some having travelled great distances and overcoming such obstacles as limited transport to attend.

At the graveside, three Volleys fired a volley and then Michael Collins stepped forward and made a short and revealing speech in English and Irish. His English words were: "Nothing additional remains to be said. That volley which we have just heard is the only speech which it is proper to make above the grave of a dead Fenian." Leaving the Irish population in no doubt what was needed to gain independence.

The death of Thomas Ashe had a striking affect on the attitude of the Irish people. The Rising of 1916 now became the focal point of passion by reason of the sacrifices of the signatories of the Proclamation. The brutal manner of the death of Ashe, superimposed upon the summary executions of the 1916 leaders and other atrocities committed by the crown forces, galvanised the nation. Committees sprang up all over the country to pay tribute to the memory of this brave man, and indirectly fuel the fire of Irish independence.

On 25 September 1917, 88 years ago, Thomas Ashe died as a result of force feeding.

'Bloodthirsty' UVF censured

Belfast Telegraph

150 lives still under threat in loyalist feud

By Noel McAdam
22 September 2005

Almost 150 people have been warned by police their lives may be under threat as a result of the ongoing UVF-LVF feud, Northern Ireland's paramilitary watchdog revealed today.

The Independent Monitoring Commission (IMC) firmly pinned the blame for the ongoing loyalist internecine warfare - which has cost four lives - on the UVF.

It said while the "bloodthirsty thuggery" may have escalated because of local animosities it believed the UVF had decided the time was right to "finish off" the LVF.

The feud had festered since the murder of LVF member Brian Stewart last year, but LVF violence had been "more by way of response".

Some owed their lives to prompt, pre-emptive action by the PSNI, although the "spur of the moment" nature of the attacks had meant police often had missed out on any advance warning.

The Commission's latest report - its sixth - also said the UVF-linked Progressive Unionist Party had failed to emphasise its opposition to the UVF violence in particular.

While it was aware of the view that the PUP is not strong enough to influence the UVF, which tended to take the lead, the IMC said the party could not "have it both ways".

PUP leader David Ervine had said no-one in the party leadership was in the leadership of the UVF, and it was contrary to natural justice to punish people who had not broken the law.

But the IMC said the PUP had to decide whether to dissociate itself from the paramilitary organisation or accept the consequences of the link - and the feud made that "all the more important".

East Belfast Assembly member Mr Ervine said today he had no further comment to make.

The report, sent to the Government weeks ago, led to Secretary of State Peter Hain withdrawing Government recognition of the UVF ceasefire and renewing financial penalties against the PUP.

The IMC said the feud had led to the murders in July and August of Jameson Lockhart, Craig McCausland, Stephen Paul and Michael Green among a total of 49 incidents, which included:

--17 attempted murders

--shootings and the use of petrol bombs or explosives;

--forced departure of families from Garnerville, and arson and other attacks on taxis on the Crumlin Road;

--criminal damage including a vehicle ramming.

But neither organisation was named in relation to the killings of 25-year-old Lisa Dorrian, who vanished after a caravan site party in Ballyhalbert in February, and schoolboy Thomas Devlin (15), stabbed to death near his north Belfast home in August.

Recognising they were expected to refer to both, the IMC said: "We have no reason to believe that either murder was carried out on behalf of a paramilitary organisation."

Ahead of its next full report next month, the IMC said: "Paramilitaries must stop putting their own interests . . . above those for whom they deceitfully claim to speak."

Sinn Féin 'slighted dissident prisoners'


(Irish News)

Sinn Féin has been accused of snubbing dissident republican prisoners during a visit to Maghaberry jail yesterday (Tuesday).

North Belfast assembly member Gerry Kelly and South Down assembly member Catriona Ruane were understood to have briefed prisoners on recent developments and raised concerns with the prison governor.

However, independent republican Dolours Price claimed last night that the Sinn Féin delegation had refused to meet non-Provisional republican prisoners.

"They were slighted in a way that they should not have been," she said.

"To be ignored in that manner was not hurtful, in that they do not subscribe to Gerry Kelly's republicanism, but it was wrong."

However, a Sinn Féin spokesman has denied the claims.

"Any prisoners who requested a meeting with Gerry Kelly and Catriona Ruane met with them," he said.

Gerry Kelly said: "Sinn Féin raised with the governor and senior staff a number of concerns we have particularly involving the regime used in the segregated section of the prison."

September 22, 2005

This article appeared first in the September 21, 2005 edition of the Irish News.

Nationalists do not need the IMC to point out reality of Unionist violence

Sinn Féin

Published: 22 September, 2005

Commenting on the publication today by the IMC of a report into ongoing UVF/LVF feuding, Sinn Féin Assembly member for South Belfast Alex Maskey said that the nationalist population in the six counties do not need the IMC to tell them of the reality of unionist paramilitary violence on the ground. Mr Maskey also accused the IMC of ignoring the relationships between unionist paramilitaries and the main unionist political parties.

Mr Maskey said:

" The reality of the last number of months for nationalists in areas like North Antrim and interfaces in Belfast has been one of a sustained campaign of violence and intimidation from unionist paramilitaries and a tolerance of this by unionist politicians, the PSNI and the British state apparatus.

" It was inevitable that this latest round of internecine unionist paramilitary feuding would result in a sustained campaign against vulnerable nationalist targets, be they homes, businesses or churches. This unfortunately is what unfolded throughout the summer months.

" Nationalists living in the eye of this sectarian storm do not need the IMC to point out to them the reality of the past four months, they have been living through it.

" Predictably however the IMC has of course ignored the relationships between the various unionist paramilitary gangs and the UUP and DUP through the North and West Parades Forum and the Loyalist Commission and the well documented relationship between these gangs and the PSNI and British forces through the numerous British agents working within these organisations." ENDS

Bombs found in Derry


22/09/2005 - 15:30:05

Five mortar bombs have been found on the outskirts of Derry, it was revealed today.

The bombs and component parts – minus any explosives – were discovered during a security operation on the Letterkenny Road after being discovered by a passer-by.

Superintendent Richard Russell described the find as “significant”.

He said the mortars were of a type “commonly known as barrack-busters”.

The barrack-buster was a favoured weapon of the IRA often used with devastating effect in attacks on police and army bases.

However, the superintendent said it was too early to say what their origin was.

Equally he said it had yet to be established how old the mortars were or how long they had been where they were discovered.

“We found five mortars. There were no explosives present or electronics, so they were not capable of functioning. Though, with those additional parts, they would have been capable of functioning,” he said.

Paisley warns of IRA witness deal


The government has made a secret deal with the IRA to exclude the need for an arms witness acceptable to unionists, DUP leader Ian Paisley has claimed.

He was speaking after meeting Political Development Minister David Hanson about DUP concerns over IRA decommissioning.

Mr Paisley said the process was a mess, that the IRA made the rules, appointed the referee and was doing as it wanted.

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams said if the DUP wanted to nominate a witness it should have talked to his party.

"It's a bit rich when unionist paramilitaries are using heavy calibre shoulder weapons to shoot at British troops and PSNI officers, and profess to be loyalists, that the DUP would be concerned about IRA weapons which are silenced and, which we all hope and pray, are going to be put beyond use in the period ahead," he said.


Mr Adams also said that whilst the IRA killers of Garda Jerry McCabe had taken themselves out of any political deal, Sinn Fein still regarded them as prisoners who should qualify for early release.

Mr Paisley said the DUP had sought the meeting with Mr Hanson now so they could not be accused of raising their concerns too late.

"We warned the minister, don't come afterwards and say, 'Why is Ian Paisley raising this?' We're raising it now," he said.

The DUP meeting with Mr Hanson came as the minister told the BBC's Hearts and Minds programme that the IRA was beginning to make moves related to decommissioning.

The minister said it would be up to unionists to take up the challenge if the IRA's actions were verified.

"I think the IRA are beginning, following the statement, to make those moves," said Mr Hanson.

David Hanson

"We have obviously to have that verified. We have to look at the decommissioning.

"A range of individuals have to look at it - the monitoring commission and a whole range of people.

"If we come back to the situation whereby early in the new year we verify that, we monitor it, we see that the deeds they have said are actually monitored and undertaken with actions on the ground, then I think the challenge is there for the unionist community to say whether they trust that process."

"That means the destruction of weapons is under way or some sort of preparatory move - the movement of weapons towards dumps where they will be destroyed."
Mark Devenport
BBC NI political editor

Mr Hanson's new role was announced by Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain on Wednesday.

He is to take charge of a new plan to co-ordinate efforts in loyalist areas, involving intensive talks with elected representatives and civil leaders from the Protestant community.

Mr Hanson said he would tackle deprivation in loyalist working class areas without rewarding recent violence.

His other portfolios cover political affairs and social development.

In his television interview, Mr Hanson confirmed that the government was considering holding another economic conference to address the need for investment in Northern Ireland.

He also discussed the "opportunity" created by the IRA initiative in late July, when it formally ordered an end to its armed campaign.

'Personal commitment'

BBC NI political editor Mark Devenport said: "Government ministers have been trying to sidestep this and just saying they hope this will happen.

"Peter Hain's terminology was 'sooner rather than later'. At the same time there have been lots of rumours that John de Chastelain's decommissioning body is at its work, even though it has not been giving a running commentary.

"That means the destruction of weapons is under way or some sort of preparatory move - the movement of weapons towards dumps where they will be destroyed.

"The whole political process is contingent on this happening."

Before becoming a NIO minister, Mr Hanson was Tony Blair's Parliamentary Private Secretary, effectively the prime minister's link man with Commons backbenchers.

He insisted that Mr Blair's "personal commitment" to sorting out the deadlock remained "undimmed" despite the latest difficulties.

Several days of rioting erupted in Belfast after the Orange Order was prevented from marching down a nationalist section of the Springfield Road.

Police were attacked with petrol bombs, blast bombs and other missiles during the violence. Dozens of vehicles were also hijacked and set on fire.

Last week, loyalists blocked roads in Belfast causing severe traffic disruption during rush hour.

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