01 October 2005

Are Sam 7’s in destroyed IRA arsenal?

Impartial Reporter

**Via News Hound

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“Total” decommissioning does not cut much ice with the IRA’s victims in Fermanagh nor security sources concerned that dissidents still hold weapons and explosives that have a deadly capability.

There are still a number of terrorists in the county who regard the destruction of any republican guns and explosives as a betrayal and surrender.

A former senior RUC officer reckons a significant proportion of former Provisional IRA men have jumped camp and are now operating within the Continuity and Real IRA.

“They (the dissidents) would be very keen to continue the armed struggle. Certainly they have the capability,” he stated.

He pointed out that in the past 11 years the dissidents have carried out a series of attacks in Fermanagh. They were responsible for bombing the former Castle Cineworld and Mirage Nightclub Complex in Enniskillen, the Carrybridge, Killyhevlin and Mahon’s Hotels, the Customs and Excise office on the Killyhevlin Industrial Estate, Enniskillen Townhall and most recently Rosslea Police Station.

The security forces also intercepted a “barrack buster” mortar in a van at Teemore. Three men were apprehended and are currently serving lengthy prison sentences in relation to that incident.

On Monday the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning reported that the IRA’s massive arsenal of guns, explosives and ammunition had been put beyond use in an operation lasting several days.

The head of the Decommissioning body, General John de Chastelain said the amount of weapons destroyed was consistent with British and Irish security force estimates of the arms held by the IRA. It included rifles, handguns, flame throwers, rocket propelled grenades and surface to air missiles.

The decommissioning was witnessed by the Rev. Harold Good, a former president of the Methodist Church in Ireland, and the Rev. Alec Reid, a Redemptorist priest. They said the process demonstrated to them that “beyond any shadow of a doubt” the arms of the IRA had been decommissioned.

The thought that any Sam 7 missiles might still be in circulation rather than encased in concrete in some secret bunker would send a nervous shiver through security chiefs. Bought in the United States, it was the most sophisticated weapon ever to fall into the hands of the IRA. In the history of the Troubles it was used only once and that was in an attack on an army Wessex helicopter patrolling the Border near Kinawley. Had it hit its target the army would have been forced to ground its helicopters. That would have left them with a security nightmare as to how to operate in republican areas in relative safety. At the time no details of the incident were made public. It has since emerged that the pilot saw a flash and took evasive action. The heat-seeking missile missed its target but according to one source “it was damn close.” The tail fin of the weapon was recovered in a follow-up search.

Without a detailed inventory it is impossible to know if all Sam 7s have been put beyond use or if there are any others out there, possibly in the hands of dissidents.

That has left people like Alan Madill of the South East Fermanagh Foundation victims’ group sceptical about decommissioning. In an interview on the BBC he expressed his distrust in the view that the IRA had put all its weapons beyond use.

On the same programme Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams described Mr. Madill, a former member of the RUC, as a “former combatant,” and offered to meet him to discuss the issue. Mr. Madill could not be contacted this week to see if he would take up the offer.

Paisley, Adams to hold talks with Blair


01 October 2005 15:11

The DUP leader, Ian Paisley and the Sinn Féin president, Gerry Adams, are to hold separate meetings with the British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, in Downing Street next week.

The Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, and Mr Blair will meet to review developments in the peace process later this month.

Last Wednesday, DUP and Ulster Unionist groups met the clergymen who had witnessed IRA decommissioning - retired Methodist minister, Harold Good and the Redemptorist priest, Alex Reid.

It is understood that Fr Reid made a significant impression on several DUP members.

Free at last

Daily Ireland

After 94 days in prison for trying to protect their families and homes, the men who have become known as the Rossport Five are... Free at last

By Connla Young

The Rossport Five woke up this morning from a three-month nightmare after being set free from jail by the High Court in Dublin yesterday.
After 94 days behind bars, the five Co Mayo men — Willie Corduff, brothers Philip and Vincent McGrath, Mícheál Ó Seighin, and Brendan Philbin — walked unbowed and unbroken from Dublin’s Four Courts after a consortium led by the multinational oil giant Shell withdrew a High Court injunction.
The family men — four small landowners and a retired teacher — were jailed on June 29 after being found to have breached a High Court order taken out by Shell Exploration and Production Ireland — comprising Shell Oil, Statoil and Marathon.
The injunction barred the men from interfering with work on the potentially dangerous Corrib gas pipeline on their land.
Until yesterday, the men were in Dublin’s crowded Cloverhill prison after refusing to purge their contempt and give an undertaking not to interfere with future Corrib pipeline construction work in Co Mayo.
Speaking to Daily Ireland just hours after his release from jail, Vincent McGrath spoke of his relief at being reunited with his family.
“I am just about beginning to recover now.
“It’s not a time for recriminations. It’s a time for family and friends and for all the people who helped us.
“We would like to thank those people who helped us, manned the picket lines and supported us in any way.
“Eventually the pressure came to the fore and it is as much about the people who helped as it is about anybody else.
“Hopefully this situation will not arise again and that Shell and our government will look at the situation in a different way.
“But if the same circumstances prevailed again, we would have no choice but to take the same action.
“Nobody else was prepared to take responsibility for our safety and the safety of our families as Irish citizens.
“The state must now guarantee our safety,” he said.
The five men walked free from court yesterday after Joseph Finnegan, the president of the High Court, said the injunction taken out by Shell and its partner companies no longer served a “useful purpose”.
The men will appear before the High Court again on October 25 when it will be decided if they should be punished further for refusing to purge their contempt.
Andy Pyle, managing director of Shell E&P Ireland, said he hoped to forge ahead with the Corrib project.
“We fully recognise the concerns of the objectors and the very difficult situation which the men and their families have been through.
“For the past three months, we have worked to bring about the conditions under which the men could come out of prison while maintaining our lawful right to complete this authorised development.
“We have suspended all onshore and offshore works and have offered to engage in third-party independent mediation.
“We believe that new information regarding the timing around the safety review, together with the minister’s initiatives, allow us to now move towards a successful conclusion and a resumption of the project,” he said.

Hardy bailed from Spanish prison

Daily Ireland


A Belfast men arrested in Spain for his alleged involvement in an IRA attack in Germany 16 years ago was last night released on bail from a prison near Madrid.
Leonard Hardy (44) was arrested in August while on a family holiday in Torremolinos after a European arrest warrant was issued relating to an extradition request from Germany.
German authorities want to try him for the mortar bombing of Osnabruck British army base in August 1989.
Supporters of Mr Hardy argued that the extradition proceedings represented an infringement of his civil liberties and that his freedom should be protected under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement.
Mr Hardy's wife, Donna, this week hit out in Daily Ireland at the delay in her husband receiving bail.
In 1990, the Belfast man was sentenced to five years in Portlaoise prison in the Republic after being caught with explosives as he got off a ferry in Rosslare.
Since his release, he has lived openly in Co Louth with his wife and now has four children.
The family regularly took holidays in Spain.
Donna Hardy (formerly Maguire) was convicted in 1994 for the same attack in Osnabruck but was released after the court took into account time spent in custody awaiting trial.

Ireland on a boggy patch in peat row: EC imposes daily fine of £15,000

Belfast Telegraph

By Treacy Hogan
01 October 2005

IRELAND has been hit with a whopping €21,600 (£15,000) a day fine by the European Commission because of a row over peat.

The massive fine which could eventually add up to millions of euro is being imposed by the EU which feels the government has failed to honour a judgment by the European Court.

Taxpayers will be hit with a bill of €669,600 (£420,000) for every month the Government fails to implement a directive over the effect of peat extraction on the environment.

The European Court of Justice found that Ireland was in breach of a number of provisions in the Environmental Impact Assessment Directive, particularly in relation to the extraction of peat for commercial use.

In a tough judgment it ordered the country to bring in the directive. But the EU is unhappy with Ireland's response.

It has asked the court to impose a daily fine of €21,600 until it complies with the ruling and implement the directive. The State will have to hand over the cash every day until it becomes compliant.

The government has been summoned before the Court of Justice on October 11 when the EU will ask the court to impose the fine until such time as environmental impact assessments are introduced for peat extraction.

The EU began its action as far back as 1999. But it went to the European Court in July, 2003. EU sources said that the concerns related to certain peat extraction projects.

Ireland is also in the European dock over failure to introduce a raft of other directives including actions over drinking water quality, habitats and illegal waste.

In its 1999 judgment the court said: "Peat extraction has significant and irreversible environmental effects."

It also pointed out the failure of Irish legislation to take account of the significant environmental effects which afforestation projects might have in areas of active blanket bog. "Since afforestation entails ploughing, drainage, the use of fertilisers and a radical change in vegetation, it transforms the peatland ecosystem so fundamentally that it is effectively destroyed."

£285,000: That's what it cost to police the marching season

Belfast Telegraph

By Nevin Farrell
01 October 2005

THE cost of policing 193 parades in the council district with the second lowest population in Northern Ireland was a whopping £285,000, it has been revealed.

Ballymoney has a population of around 28,000 and a senior police officer, speaking at a meeting of the area's District Policing Partnership, revealed that manpower, planning and other costs from local budgets for parades for this year's marching season from February to September was £160,400.

Chief Inspector Allan Barton said that covered everything from church parades to larger 'orange' and 'green' marches and stressed the figures included the cost of all officers on duty anyway at the time of parades.

But in addition, it cost £125,920 for tactical support group units to be drafted in to the area to police 'contentious' parades.

Meanwhile, it has emerged that out of that £125,920 figure it cost £52,000 to police one contentious parade alone - that of Ballymaconnelly Sons of Conquerors Flute Band which was met with a nationalist protest in Rasharkin in August.

The costs for that parade included standard policing, overtime, meals, travelling, planning and five tactical support groups.

Mr Barton said parades had been "a way of life" in Ballymoney and Northern Ireland in general and he said he was not making any comment on the "rights or wrongs" of parades. He said in February next year they will have a new system which will be able to tally the policing costs of parades "to the penny".

Independent member of Ballymoney DPP Michael Fleming asked if the police could foresee circumstances where those who organise events requiring police attendance and traffic control like sport and "parades of any sort" will be required to contribute to the PSNI's costs.

Mr Fleming said the costs of the average parade "is a hell of a lot more money than the people who are holding them are raising for their funds".

Mr Barton replied that in England football clubs made a contribution towards policing costs at matches and said it would be a decision for the Government if any such system was to come in for events in Northern Ireland.

DPP member north Antrim DUP MLA Mervyn Storey said that many band parades provided marshalls to help with events and he said there are many smaller parades when the events can be effectively marshalled without police input.

He said he had attended parades in the past when, because of events elsewhere in the province putting pressure on resources, the police told them to look after their own events.

Mr Barton said that at contentious parades police had to prepare themselves for the worst possible scenario but he said they were fortunate in the Ballymoney area this year that there was no violence at parades.

Landmark link-up for PSNI and Garda

Belfast Telegraph

By Tom Brady and Debra Douglas
01 October 2005

GARDAÍ will be working alongside the PSNI in Northern Ireland within weeks, it has emerged.

The groundbreaking initiative has been almost finalised between the two police forces and is seen as a big boost to the prospects of the PSNI being accepted fully by the nationalist community.

And unionists have reacted calmly to the news, saying that co-operation between the forces is welcome if it leads to enhanced experience.

Members of the PSNI will also work with the Garda in the Republic, and the first swap of personnel will take place under an exchange programme that will be confined largely to non-operational posts.

A Garda superintendent will be sent north next month and will be based at the Garnerville training college in Belfast.

The senior officer will be followed by members of other ranks early in 2006. They will stay with the PSNI for up to a year.

Personnel in the exchange programme will not have policing powers and will be dressed in plain clothes. Their duties will include acting as observers, human resources and training, and community policing.

After the programme gets under way, senior officers from the two forces will then concentrate on the secondment phase, which will involve members being given full police powers and assigned to operational tasks. Officers on secondment can work with the host police force for up to three years and they will eventually be sent out on patrol on the streets of Northern Ireland and the Republic. A decision has not yet been taken on whether these officers will wear a uniform.

The changes are in line with the recommendations of the Patten Commission

DUP MLA and Policing Board member Sammy Wilson said the exchange programme was to be welcomed if it benefited the PSNI, however he warned that the motive could be met with a degree of suspicion.

"If these secondments enhance the skills or improve the efficiency of officers in the PSNI then we would be the first to welcome them," he said.

"The difficulty is that the Good Friday Agreement arises a degree of suspicion that things are being done for political reasons, rather than us learning from them and them from us.

"If the secondment of officers from the Garda brings benefits to the PSNI, we have no difficulties with it, but if there are political connotations attached, then we have absolute objection. I think it is a case of waiting to see what happens."

The PSNI said it could not confirm any date for the first secondment.

"Discussions between the PSNI and the Garda are ongoing in relation to the implementation of the exchange programme," a spokeswoman said.

"A launch date is imminent and the details of the plans will be launched shortly."

BreakingNews.ie: Man arrested over pipe bomb attack


30/09/2005 - 19:41:22

A man was arrested today in connection with a pipe bomb attack on the home of a couple and their three-year-old son.

The explosion in Carnany Drive, Ballymoney, Co Antrim, left two pieces of steel embedded in the living room.

Police said the man, who was detained following a search in the area, will face charges of attempted murder.

The family were asleep when the device detonated at around 2.30am yesterday on the window sill of their home.

Detective Inspector Nick McCaw said the crime was carried out by loyalist paramilitaries and could have proved fatal.

He confirmed two 5-inch pieces of steel entered the living room and became embedded in the ceiling and sofa.

A car in the driveway was also damaged by the bomb, which sent debris hurtling into the street.

One bolt was found 50 yards away, next to a community centre.

The family were unhurt but have been left traumatised by their ordeal.

Equality still the bitterest pill for old Unionism

Daily Ireland


Now what have yis got to complain about? That was my own first reaction to the IRA announcement that full and final decommissioning had taken place – what will the die-hard, unreconstructed, head in the sand, old-style Unionists have to complain about now?
The IRA is gone, their arms, ammunition and explosives have gone, the republican movement has committed itself in front of the world to pursue its aims and objectives in a solely peaceful and democratic way – and to top it all, they are bound by the Good Friday Agreement to accept the legitimacy of the constitutional position of the Northern Ireland state within the United Kingdom until such time as a majority in the Six Counties votes otherwise.
If Brian Faulkner had got the half of that thirty years ago he would have been claiming victory from the roof of Stormont and from every treetop leading up to it.
This week Paisley is complaining that he has no faith in the veracity of the decommissioning process, no trust in either of the governments and no pity for the two saps who were fooled into giving false witness to the shambles. No doubt as time goes on he will discover other grounds for complaint.
But what really bothers Paisley’s brand of Unionism is the plain and simple fact that nationalism, Irish nationalism, the movement towards a united and equitable Ireland has not been eradicated.
Changing conditions have led to the demise of the physical force tradition, but the ultimate aim of that tradition is still there.
In fact, there is a suspicion, indeed a fear, at the back of the mind of every old-style Unionist that with the IRA now off the scene the momentum towards constitutional change might even pick up and become, well… unstoppable.
In any event, they are near damn sure (not that they would use such strong language) that the IRA did not give up the ghost without making some kind of a secret deal with the Brits. Yes, I’m talking sellout, here.
Despite the fact that Paisley has been denouncing the British government for selling Ulster out to the republicans since 1968, I must say that I see little sign of the deal around here – but that is an article for a different day.
The end of armed republicanism has changed the political landscape, utterly. In the North you can nearly reach out and touch the change. It’s partly psychological but also involves a realignment of vision, a different way of looking at things, as if mankind has just learned to walk for the first time.
The immediate target following the completion of decommissioning is the re-establishing of the political institutions with a guarantee that the Unionists will not be allowed to crash them again at a whim.
This week the two governments confirmed publicly that they are allowing a moratorium until after the International Monitoring Commission delivers its January report, but after that – provided it contains no unexpected surprises – they expect to be on the run-in to a re-assembled Assembly.
Paisley can say no, of course, and most likely will say no. But the British government already realises that even DUP nay-sayers can be brought around by largesse, promises of this and that and – perish the thought – even a secret deal.
The biggest stick to beat the Unionists into Stormont, however, is likely to be the realisation that whatever would come about to replace the Good Friday Agreement would be worse for Unionists that what they have now.
One way or another, it is clear that we are on the road to revamping Stormont. My guess is that we will have elections to the Assembly here in March of next year. Just what we need – more elections.
The political institutions represent one strand of the Good Friday Agreement, but the underlying anchorage of the Northern peace process is the inevitable movement towards equality. And equality is the real antithesis of old-style Unionism.
Unemployment in the Six Counties is still twice as high within the Catholic community as within the Protestant community. The much-vaunted peace dividend never really materialised with the result that the poorest and most deprived areas of the North never experienced the regeneration promised in the run-up to the original IRA ceasefire of 1994.
The Irish flag, the Irish national anthem and the Irish language still have no official recognition in this part of Ireland. The ethos of the civil service, of the police service, of the fire service, of all branches of state is still completely British, or more or less completely British.
Even anti-sectarian legislation means little in the Six Counties, where thugs can come up to family cars and attack the occupants just because they are displaying the colours of their own county who had just won the All-Ireland football championship.
Tackling the rampant inequality in Northern society is one of the biggest tasks facing nationalist politicians and the British government – and we shouldn’t have to wait until a united Ireland to achieve it. Equality should be there already.
I have always believed that had the Unionist government provided total equality for the Catholic community in the Six Counties when the Northern Ireland state was set up in 1921 the troubles that followed partition would not have taken place.
Ironically, it is the inevitable surge towards equality now that will probably sound the final death knell for the Northern state.

Free at last: Rossport heroes vow to fight on

Irish Independent

AFTER 94 days in prison, five men tasted freedom yesterday after an epic David and Goliath battle with the multinational Shell oil company.

The Rossport Five will savour their triumph today when they will head a major rally in Dublin - just 24 hours after their release.

There were tears and cheers for the Co Mayo men who faced prison rather than obey a High Court order not to interfere with the construction of the Corrib gas pipeline.

The famous rotunda of the Four Courts has seldom seen such emotional scenes as those that greeted the men as they walked from court into the arms of family members and friends.

The eldest of the group, 65-year-old Micheal O Seighin, with his wife Caitlin by his side, spoke of his delight at being free.

"It was OK in jail. Not having freedom was the worst part, not having a nail file, very small things," he said.

The story of the titanic struggle that has gripped the nation took a further twist yesterday as it emerged that Shell itself may face a possible contempt of court hearing.

The company had demanded the men's imprisonment. But yesterday High Court President Mr Justice Joseph Finnegan told counsel for Shell, Patrick Hanratty, he wanted the company to address its breach of an undertaking not to do anything not permitted by the licence of Marine Minister Noel Dempsey.

Later today, the men will take their place at a rally organised to highlight what many saw as the "scandal" of their three-month sojourn in jail.

The continued defiance of brothers Philip and Vincent McGrath, Willie Corduff, Micheal O Seighin and Brendan Philbin turned them into national heroes since they were sent to prison for contempt of court on June 29. But all five will be back in the High Court on October 25 to hear whether they will have to face punishment for their initial contempt.

There were also encouraging sounds from Shell E&P Ireland (SEPIL) which had applied to have its temporary injunction against the men set aside. The company said it welcomed a Government-led mediation initiative and safety review.

SEPIL managing director Andy Pyle said the corporation fully recognised the concerns of the objectors and the very difficult situation the men and their families had been through.

"For the past three months we have worked to bring about the conditions under which the men could come out of prison while maintaining our lawful right to complete this authorised development," he said.

Onshore and offshore works had been suspended and the company had offered to engage in third party, independent mediation, he said.

The Rossport Five were mobbed by well-wishers and media as they walked triumphantly from the Four Courts.

They said they had no regrets and the fight to protect their families and their safety would continue.

Mr Philbin said it was very hard in a democracy that they had to go to jail to prove their point.

"I thank all the prison inmates and say hello to all the staff in the kitchen of Cloverhill," said Mr Philbin.

"I feel we've won a victory," said Philip McGrath.

Fergus Black

30 September 2005

Vandals attack Paisley's church


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Vandals have caused damage put at more than £1,000 to the DUP leader Ian Paisley's church in east Belfast.

Twelve windows were smashed at the Martyrs' Memorial Free Presbyterian church on Ravenhill Road. The attack was discovered by the church caretaker.

Mr Paisley said it was the latest in a series of attacks on the church and said the police had been "totally unable" to safeguard the building.

"These attacks have now become a very serious matter," said Mr Paisley.

Mr Paisley, who is the Free Presbyterian Moderator, said that a number of months ago almost £11,000 worth of damage was caused to the windows of the church.

"Continually, from that time, there have been windows shattered.

"Today we counted fourteen windows shot through. One of these was a heavy security window in my office.

"So far the police have been totally unable to safeguard the building or prevent these attacks. The press have failed to report them.

"On one of these occasions paint was thrown at the gates. Obscene lettering was placed on the pillars of the church."

Mr Paisley said he had informed the local police and the assistant chief constable for Belfast.

Rossport Five released from prison


30/09/2005 - 15:37:43

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The Rossport Five have been freed.

The men were called to the High Court this afternoon for proceedings, and Shell agreed to lift its injunction on them.

The North Mayo group have spent 94 days in jail after refusing to obey a court order not to interfere with the building of a Shell gas pipeline.

They are due back in court on 25th October on issue of contempt.

Sinn Féin to appeal fundraising ban in US

Belfast Telegraph

By Noel McAdam, Political Correspondent
30 September 2005

A BAN on Sinn Fein fundraising in the US remains in place despite the IRA's 'final' decommissioning, it emerged today.

The bar was imposed in March by the US State Department following the killing of Robert McCartney, and special envoy Mitchel Reiss is understood to have told Martin McGuinness this week that it remains in force.

Sinn Fein has made clear, however, that Mr McGuinness's visit this week was focused on dealing primarily with meetings following the IRA's actions rather than fundraising.

Now, however, Sinn Fein is expected to formally apply again for permission to raise funds ahead of a scheduled $$500-a-plate fund-raiser in New York next month organised by the Friends of Sinn Fein group.

It is unclear, however, whether the American authorities will feel minded to lift the ban before the next report of the Independent Monitoring Commission, due next month, which is expected to confirm IRA activity has ceased.

There could be a huge row if the State Department decides to wait for the second next Commission report, expected in January. The Manhattan dinner annually raises up to £400,000 for the party.

While the US remains a fundraising 'no-go' area, however, cash can still be raised in Canada. Mr McGuinness is to speak at a $$100-a-head dinner in Calgary, also organised by Friends of Sinn Fein, on Monday night. Today he was travelling to Seattle before heading on to San Francisco, San Diego and Phoenix over the weekend.

Fury over claim that IRA did not kill Mountbatten

Belfast Telegraph

By Staff Reporter
30 September 2005

A CONTROVERSIAL new book which claims that the IRA did not murder Lord Mountbatten has been dismissed as "nonsense".

The book, Terminate with Extreme Prejudice, by author Richard Belfield, claims that Lord Mountbatten, was killed by another terror group - the INLA.

The book also claims that since the early 1970s there was an agreement in place between the leadership of the IRA and the top brass of the Army in London that the Royal Family was 'off limits'.

But the book was dismissed as "nonsense" today by North Antrim Assembly member Ian Paisley jnr.

Cousin to the Queen, Lord Louis Mountbatten (79), was murdered on August 27, 1979, when a bomb exploded on his fishing boat near his holiday home at Mullaghmore, Sligo.

He was murdered on the same day that 18 soldiers were killed in a bomb attack near Warrenpoint in Co Down.

Terminate With Extreme Prejudice is published by Constable & Robinson and sets out to 'expose the assassination game, its killers and their paymasters'.

Author Richard Belfield is a London-based journalist and film maker.

He argues that throughout the Troubles there was continual dialogue between the Government and republican and loyalist paramilitaries - through back-channels and face-to-face meetings.

In the book he says: "In a round-table meeting British Army commanders warned their IRA counterparts that the Royal Family was off limits."

According to Belfield the IRA kept to this arrangement and were not responsible for the bomb which killed Mountbatten and three other people.

According to the author the Army's own internal investigation concluded that the bomb was identical in its key elements to those used by the INLA.

Belfield argues that because the attack at Warrenpoint happened on the same day that Lord Mountbatten was murdered it was unlikely that the IRA carried out both incidents.

He said the purpose of the Warrenpoint attack was to achieve a 'propaganda coup' but instead the IRA lost the 'PR war' as it was blamed on the 'cowardly assassination of a pensioner'.

He continued: "The internal British Army view was that they (the IRA) did not carry out two major operations on the same day and furthermore did not have enough skilled bombers to do both.

"However, at the time it suited their propaganda purposes to blame the IRA."

Rejecting the book's claims Mr Paisley said: "This is just an attempt to rewrite history. No student of history will buy into this nonsense."

ICCL criticises ban on Rossport Five posters


30/09/2005 - 12:41:24

The Irish Council for Civil Liberties has criticised Dublin City Council for refusing to allow the erection of street posters advertising a demonstration supporting the Rossport Five.

Earlier this week, the Shell-to-Sea group campaigning against the Corrib gas pipeline said it had been refused permission to erect posters advertising the demonstration this weekend.

The ICCL said this was not the first time the city council had refused such permission and it was planning to write to the local authority to express its concerns about the situation.

The civil liberties group said it believed the claims about the refusal of permission.

Has anything changed in Loyalism?


As we recall the carnage of the UVF of 1975, Andrea McKernon wonders why
nothing is being done about the violence and brutality which still surroundS us

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(BBC photo)

This Sunday recalls one of the darkest days of the conflict when the UVF embarked on a sectarian murder campaign in 1975 that would end in tragedy for many families.
Within 24 hours, 11 people were dead and a twelfth died later in the month.
The outrages led to the banning of the UVF, which had been legalised by the British administration – to the anger and disbelief of nationalists – a year before.
Some 30 years down the line the UVF is now engaged in a bloody battle for supremacy with the LVF for drugs and turf that has led to the murders of five men in recent months. It’s difficult to see what has changed in the intervening decades.
On October 2, 1975 years ago the UVF death squads unleashed their blood thirsty gangs killing six Catholics from North Belfast.
The bloodshed would be a precursor to the killing spree of the Butchers from the mid 1970s – the most notorious killings that day were led by UVF leader and Shankill Butcher Lenny Murphy.
British Secretary of State Peter Hain recently announced that the 11-year UVF ceasefire was defunct after members fired shots at the PSNI after the banning of the Orange Order’s Springfield Road march earlier in September. It seems nothing has changed in Loyalism.
The group is still intent on killing, dealing drugs and extortion and as one fierce opponent of the Mount Vernon UVF Raymond McCord asked recently, why are the UVF still here?
If we look back at Merlyn Rees who had legalised the paramilitary gang in 1974, the legalisation was a failed attempt to get the UVF to engage on a political path.
How uncannily familiar it all sounds now.
The UVF led a spate of bombings and shootings that day that caused carnage across the North.
Some 16 bombs went off, with 13 planted by the UVF. Four UVF men died when a bomb they were transporting exploded.
Frances Donnelly, 35, and her sister Marie McGrattan, 47, were Catholics who worked in their father’s wholesale wine and spirits business at Millfield.
Frances Donnelly lived in Strathmore Park and her sister lived at Thirlmere Gardens.
The UVF gang murdered the sisters after forcing them to kneel on the floor of the office before shooting them in the back of the head.
Two more Catholic workers were shot that day. Gerard Grogan was an 18-year-old storeman who was killed in a bottling store.
Thomas Osborne, 18, from Churchill Street died on October 23 as a result of his injuries from the October 2 attack.
The same day Ardoyne photographer Thomas Murphy was killed when the UVF entered his photographic studio on Carlisle Circus and shot him.
A bomb was also planted in the 29-year-old’s premises, which exploded.
The UVF also struck in the Co Antrim town of Aldergrove at the Catholic owned McKenna’s bar, killing 35-year-old John Stewart.
Also killed that day was a 37-year-old Protestant woman from Killyleagh in a UVF bomb blast at a Catholic owned bar in the Co Down village.
As the IRA decommissioned its weapons in the wake of its historic announcement in July to stand down all units, the UVF is still bent on killing and destruction. With the victims of one day in its bloody past remembered by heartbroken families this week, when are the UVF and other loyalist and republican groupings going to embrace the peace so desperately desired by all the people of this island?
And when is the British establishment going to get tough with the hard men of all hues of loyalism?

Journalist:: Andrea McKernon

£300m for Royal Hospitals


The Royal Hospitals yesterday announced a £300 million redevelopment plan which will see a brand new maternity hospital and children's hospital constructed on the Royal Victoria's Falls Road site.

The new state-of-the-art buildings are expected to be completed by 2017 at the latest and are part of a major investment plan which will see a staggering three quarters of a billion pounds pumped into the redevelopment of the hospital over the next 10 years.

Speaking to the Andersonstown News yesterday, the Royal Hospitals' Chief Executive, William McKee, said he was delighted with the announcement.
“We continue to strive to improve the environment in which we care for patients and these funds will ensure that we get expert advice in the design and development of this building," said Mr McKee.

“Although the completion date is 2017, we expect to have seventy-five per cent of the building open before that. This is a very congested site, we cannot build the hospital in one bite so it will take time," he added, before confirming that the current 80-year-old children's hospital and the maternity hospital will be demolished in the future. The current buildings will continue to offer their existing services whilst the new buildings are being constructed and we will be upgrading the old buildings to an acceptable standard in the meantime so services are not affected, but eventually the older buildings will be demolished."

Mr McKee is confident that the new structures will complement the existing services at the hospital and revealed that the hospital conferred with local women's groups regarding the new buildings and included their views in the broad design.
“These buildings will match the quality of care provided by our staff who are well trained and dedicated to caring for each and every patient.

“The maternity hospital, where we deliver 5,000 babies per year, will provide more choice for mothers and children as there will be single rooms for all maternity patients rather than wards, and we are aiming to make the Children's Hospital a more family-friendly place with overnight accommodation specifically for the children's families."

The hospital is now anticipating a further announcement which will give the green light to £95 million plans for a critical care unit, which will replace the current A&E block, as well as a burns unit and a heli-pad amongst other plans which will help the hospital retain its reputation as one of the leading medical centres in Europe.

The news has been warmly welcomed by local Sinn Fein councillor Tom Hartley.

“This is great news, the international reputation of the Royal will be enhanced by the new facilities and services that come out of this development, particularly the children's hospital. The existing maternity hospital is fantastic and the new one can only offer even better services than before to expectant mothers across the North. This is certainly a welcome development."

Úna Ní Mhearáin of the Falls Women’s Centre echoed Councillor Hartley's comments. “The development of the regional maternity hospital has been held up long enough and it's about time mothers and babies got the service they deserve. This news is very welcome indeed."

Journalist:: Francesca Ryan

358 – that’s the number of attacks on Nationalists living in interface areas since the start of the year


Since the start of the year, community workers in North Belfast have recorded 358 sectarian attacks on Nationalists living in interface areas.
Nationalists have suffered 72 petrol bomb attacks, 45 incidents of intimidation, 20 assaults, 42 paint bombs, six death threats and 50 attacks on vehicles according to the Interface Mentoring Network (IMN) who collected details on incidents from January to September.
As a result Sinn Féin MLA Kathy Stanton has made an urgent appeal to the British and Irish governments to deal with the social impact of such intense sectarianism.
“The time has now come for a genuine and open dialogue with all political and community stakeholders to implement a long-term strategy aimed at addressing the underlying causes of conflict and division at interfaces ranging from sectarianism, employment, education, housing and poverty related issues,” the MLA said.
The MLA spoke at a conference called to address the impact of interfaces in Stormont this week alongside interface workers Gerry O'Reilly and Rab McCallum.
North Belfast has over 25 interfaces and approximately 75 voluntary workers who are involved at the coal face.
According to the IMN, an umbrella organisation which deals with interface violence and incidents, Nationalists have suffered 358 sectarian attacks since the start of the year.
Gerry O'Reilly of the interface group said the onus was upon the government to bring forward a viable policy to address the impact of these attacks.
"Current approaches towards the resolution of conflict at interface areas in North Belfast and throughout the North of Ireland are not working or have been stalled by those within the Unionist community who fail to engage on this issue," Gerry O'Reilly said.
"This is further compounded by the shortsightedness of the British and Irish governments’ unwillingness to grasp the bull by the horns once and for all and seek a long-term viable solution."
The PSNI were able to comment only on sectarian attacks recorded on their books in North Belfast since April of this year.
According to their figures since April 1 until the end of August, 170 sectarian incidents were recorded.
Co-ordinator of North Belfast Interface Network Rab McCallum said voluntary workers in this field of work needed a lot of support.
“These voluntary workers are involved in critical interventions in times of civil strife and crisis,” he said.
“These interventions are generally fraught with tensions and confrontation. This work has become increasingly demanding and is often thankless. The faint hearted rarely throw themselves into this type of work. Yet with virtually every interface incident comes a call from all quarters for the community to do more.”
Sinn Féin MLA for North Belfast Kathy Stanton said the conference should put pressure on the British and Irish governments to begin a wide-ranging process of consultation.
"This consultation process must produce a much needed strategy and funding for this must follow for those who are working day and daily on the ground to make improvements to the lives of those living in interface communities."

Journalist:: Staff Reporter

McGuinness barred from raising funds on US trip

Irish Times

30 September 2005

Sinn Féin chief negotiator Martin McGuinness has been barred by the US State Department from fundraising in the US this week, despite the decommissioning of weapons by the IRA, writes Mark Hennessy, Political Correspondent, in Belfast.

The move has worried the party's Irish-American supporters in advance of next month's Friends of Sinn Féin fundraiser in New York, though Sinn Féin sought to downplay its significance last night.

The annual Manhattan dinner, which costs $500 a head and is usually attended by senior Sinn Féin figures such as Mr McGuinness and party leader Gerry Adams, raises up to $400,000 for the party's coffers.

Heeding a warning last March from the White House in the wake of the Belfast killing of Robert McCartney, Sinn Féin did not apply for fundraising rights when Mr Adams travelled to the US for St Patrick's Day.

Under US State Department rules, foreign politicians have to apply for permission to raise funds from US donors before each of their visits to the country.

The restriction, The Irish Times understands, was specifically mentioned by the US special envoy to Northern Ireland, Mitchell Reiss, when he met Mr McGuinness in Washington on Tuesday, though he had been told of it before he travelled.

Efforts are now expected from Irish-American supporters to get the ban lifted quickly. "There is no question but that it will be a big problem next month if it is not lifted," one informed source commented last night.

The exact reasons for the US decision are not yet clear, though it could reflect White House caution about the IRA before the Independent Monitoring Commission issues the second of its reports next January.

Mr Reiss last night refused to discuss the visa restriction on Mr McGuinness. "US officials are not allowed to talk about the visa application of any individual."

Last night, a Sinn Féin spokeswoman said: "The fundraising wasn't a big part of this trip. He is doing all the political work that he intended to do on the west coast.

"We are hopeful that on the next trip he will be able to fundraise. We don't see this as a long-term problem. This trip was put together at the last minute," she said.

Mr McGuinness will travel to Seattle today before going on to San Francisco tomorrow and San Diego on Sunday. He concludes the US leg of his visit in Phoenix on Monday.

He will travel to Calgary in Canada on Monday and speak at a $100-a-head Friends of Sinn Féin (Canada) dinner there that evening.

Ombudsman probes Derry torture claims

Belfast Telegraph

By Paddy McGuffin
29 September 2005

The Police Ombudsman's office today confirmed that it is to investigate allegations of torture against the Derry RUC dating back to 1979.

Four teenagers from Creggan were charged at that time with the murder of a young soldier. Evidence against them consisted of signed confessions to this and numerous other crimes.

Michael Toner, Gerry McGowan, Stephen Crumlish and Gerard Kelly were interrogated for three days and nights at Strand Road station without legal representation.

The four allege they were beaten and mentally and physically tortured to force them to sign false confessions.

They were charged with murder and spent seven weeks on remand in the Crumlin Road prison, being granted bail in an unprecedented move.

Gerry McGowan was even allowed to travel to England to play football.

When the four realised they were facing life behind bars they fled over the border and remained on the run, although living openly in the Republic, for the next 20 years.

In 1999 the case against them was dropped by the DPP.

Supporters argue that this, coupled with the granting of bail, indicates that the RUC always knew they were innocent.

Victims of youth crime get say in punishment

Belfast Telegraph

By Jonathan McCambridge
29 September 2005

An innovative restorative justice project for victims of youth crime has now been rolled out into border areas of Co Armagh.

Youth Conferencing has operated in greater Belfast since December 2003 and is being extended gradually in the rest of the province.

When a young person is referred by the PSNI to the Public Prosecution Service or to the Youth Court and pleads guilty to an offence in the area, the victims of those offences may now be offered an opportunity to be involved in the justice process.

The offender will have to make amends for the harm caused with the victim helping to choose the punishment.

The scheme is operated by the Youth Justice Agency, created in April 2003. It should be available in all other areas of Northern Ireland by the end of 2006.

The Youth Conference service organises a meeting or series of meetings involving the young offender, their family, the victim and the community to look at the impact of the crime on the victim.

Victims have an opportunity through this process to challenge the young person about the effect their actions have had on them and to seek reparation for the harm that has been caused.

This can happen through a face to face meeting with the offender or if the victim prefers it through a video tape, a statement or by them having a representative attend in their place to relay their views.

The victim has a chance to have specific questions answered by the offender and to have the support of family or a friend in the room if needed.

The legislation allows for the young person to undertake a range of actions with the aims of repairing the harm and reducing the risk of them re-offending.

The young person may apologise directly to the victim for the consequences of their actions and may be required to make payment for items taken or damage caused.

LVF rejects talk of dumping arms after Provo move

Belfast Telegraph

By David Gordon
30 September 2005

WELL-PLACED loyalist sources were today pouring cold water on speculation of a decommissioning move by the LVF in response to the disposal of Provo arms.

It was reported that the terror group founded by murdered terror chief Billy Wright could resurrect plans to dump arms following Monday's announcement on IRA decommissioning.

But a source close to the LVF today said he had heard nothing about such talk, and firmly rejected the report.

He also indicated that the LVF is adopting a cautious approach to recent developments.

Portadown-based Pastor Kenny McClinton, who acts as interlocutor for the LVF with the International Independent Commission on Decommissioning, said:

"If the Government had really wanted loyalists to be encouraged to decommission their arms, they wouldn't have made such a nonsense and a joke of the LVF decommissioning that occurred in 1998."

However, Mr McClinton also said: "If anything was going on at present, it would be too sensitive for me to talk about."

The LVF has been embroiled in a feud with the UVF this summer.

Four people were murdered by the UVF in July and August.

Although the situation appears significantly calmer at present, there has been no indication of any move towards a truce between the two factions.

Petrol price rises drive up cab fares

Belfast Telegraph

Passengers to pay more for evening out

By Claire Regan and Fiona McIlwaine Biggins
30 September 2005

TAXI passengers were facing a hike in fares today as cab companies across Ulster put up prices due to the soaring global price of petrol.

Belfast cab giants Fon A Cab and Value Cabs say they are being forced to increase prices this weekend because of world oil price rises.

The raise could add around £1 to the cost of a night out for many people heading in to the central Belfast from the suburbs.

A snap Belfast Telegraph survey also revealed companies in towns across the Province - including Derry, Ballymena and Lurgan - are also planning imminent rises.

The development spells further misery for travellers coming just a week after Translink announced that bus and train fares are set to rise in six months' time because of rising fuel costs.

And householders have also been hit hard with home heating oil costs at an unusually high level and Phoenix Natural Gas rates rising by 30% from tomorrow to cope with a rise in wholesale gas prices.

The most recent AA statistics show that a litre of unleaded is retailing on average in Northern Ireland at 96.1p and 98.6p for diesel.

Fon A Cab and Value Cabs, both said they have not raised prices since late 2003 when fuel was retailing for around 30% less.

William McCausland is the managing director of Fon A Cab and chairman of the Belfast Private Hire Taxi Proprietors Association. Speaking on behalf of Fon A Cab, he said fares at his firm are to rise from tomorrow onwards.

"The high fuel prices have had a massive effect on our drivers. They are paying out an extra £20-30 per week which hits them hard," he said.

"Despite that we have tried to hold off for as long as possible before raising prices. We certainly didn't want to have a knee-jerk reaction. But it has got to the stage where we now have no choice but to raise the tariff by 5p per mile.

"The pick-up price will rise from £2.50 to £2.70, adding around 40-50p on to a five mile journey."

Director of Value Cabs, Christopher McCausland, said its prices would also be rising by 5p per mile and 20p on the minimum charge.

"We haven't raised prices in two years and in that time our drivers have faced significantly increased overheads, the biggest of which has been rising fuel costs. This has put them under a lot of pressure so it got to the stage where we had no choice."

According to the Ballymena Taxi Association, taxi rates for town journeys are to rise by 50p to £3.50 from next month and out-of- town trips accordingly.

In Lurgan, Brendan Loughan of Anytime Taxis said eight firms operating in the area recently struck a general agreement to raise prices by around 50p.

"It was getting to the point where guys were just leaving the job. It wasn't worth it - they couldn't operate with those prices," he said.

Trevor Doherty, owner of Stranmillis Taxis in Belfast, said he has not had to raise prices yet but was expecting to do so in the near future.

And in Derry, Foyle Taxis said it would be raising fares within the next two weeks.

"We are on the verge of having to put prices up for the first time in 14 months," said manager Joe Devenney.

"We would be one of the bigger firms here in Derry so when we move fares, others tend to follow."

Belfast Telegraph

By Noel McAdam, Political Correspondent
30 September 2005

THE DUP has said concerns remain following its face-to-face meeting with the two clergymen who witnessed IRA decommissioning.

But Ulster Unionists said it was time to "move on" from a sole focus on the decommissioning issue after a similar meeting with the independent witnesses, the Rev Harold Good and Fr Alec Reid.

The UUP also said it had emerged that the two witnesses began their role last November, shortly before the collapse of the political negotiations between Sinn Fein and the DUP in the so-called 'Comprehensive Agreement'.

UUP deputy leader Danny Kennedy said there was a danger of unionists getting themselves into a corner.

Former UUP leader David Trimble said today it would be "foolish" to disbelieve the evidence given by the former Methodist President and Redemptorist priest and unionists should not "get stuck in a self-defeating argument" over arms.

In an article for the News Letter, Mr Trimble said it would be a good idea if the inventory of IRA weaponry taken by the International Independent Commissioning on Decommissioning (IICD) was published, saying there was no legal requirement for it to remain confidential.

Unionists should, however, focus on the issues of tomorrow such as whether paramilitary activity and racketeering has ended; if Sinn Fein is unequivocally committed to supporting policing and if the integrity of the police and criminal justice system is being maintained.

DUP MP David Simpson, who ousted Mr Trimble from his Upper Bann seat at the last General Election, said his party was not questioning the integrity of the witnesses but questions remained.

Mr Simpson, who attended the meeting at Parliament buildings, said if they had not been appointed by the Government or the Decommissioning body, they must have been appointed by the IRA - a claim the two clerics have explicitly rejected.

Mr Kennedy said the UUP was amazed the witnesses were in place ahead of the failed deal of 2004.

"It questions the political influence of those who were negotiating fair deals and comprehensive agreements. Are we to believe that Dr Paisley and the political leadership of the DUP were so far out of the loop that they were unaware of the choreography of these events?" he asked.

Dempsey intervenes in Corrib pipeline dispute


29 September 2005 22:49

The Minister for the Marine, Noel Dempsey, has proposed mediation in the Corrib Gas pipeline dispute.

Five men from Rossport, Co Mayo have been in prison for 93 days for contempt of court arising from their opposition to the pipeline.

In a statement, Mr Dempsey said he had been in contact with both sides and that the Government is prepared to appoint a mediator if those involved are willing to take part.

Shell Ireland has said it will consider the statement with a view to enabling a mediation process to proceed.

A spokesperson for the five men, Mark Garvan, said mediation will only take place if the men are freed.

29 September 2005

British government must deal with collusion

Sinn Féin

Published: 29 September, 2005

Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney has said that British Secretary of State Peter Hain cannot effectively address the issue of Unionist paramilitary violence without addressing the issue of collusion.

Mr McCartney said:

"The call by Peter Hain for Unionist paramilitaries to follow the lead by the IRA to put their weapons beyond use and declare an end to their campaign cannot be done in isolation from the issue of collusion.

"The fact that the British Government through a deliberate policy armed, trained and organised the unionist paramilitary gangs also needs to be addressed. The British Government cannot portray itself as an honest broker as though they played no part in the development of Unionist death squads.

"The Brian Nelson affair exposed the British Government the policy of collusion with the importation of thousand of South African arms and the murders of many hundreds of Nationalists including solicitors Pat Finucane and Rosemary Nelson.

"The British Government must come clean about collusion if we are to have any faith that this policy has finished to enable us to move forward confident that the British government are living up to the commitments of achieving political change in a completely peaceful and democratic way." ENDS


Indymedia Ireland

by John Carmody - Animal Rights Action Network (ARAN)
Thursday, Sep 29 2005, 5:38pm
address: ARAN Po Box 722 Kildare phone: 087-6275579

For Immediate Release:
October 7, 2005

Dublin, Ireland — Nude PETA members—with the Australian flag painted across their bloody bodies—will hold a lively protest at the Australian embassy against the wool industry’s refusal to embrace a landmark agreement between PETA and a prominent group of wool producers that would have resulted in an immediate reduction of lamb mutilations and an end to PETA’s international boycott campaign. Flanked by giant posters of bloody sheep and signs reading, “Australia: Stop Mutilating Lambs,” the naked PETA posse will officially re-launch the Australian wool boycott:

Date: Friday, October 7
Time: 12.00 noon sharp
Place: Australian Embassy, Fitzwilton House, Wilton Terrace, Dublin 2. (The Embassy is situated between Leeson Street and Baggot St Bridge, on the town side of the canal.)

This action in Dublin is one of multiple protests taking place around the world this week to mark the resumption of PETA’s international boycott of Australian wool after a moratorium was announced in August. The boycott resumes after two major wool industry groups, Australian Wool Innovation (AWI) and Wool Producers, flatly rejected a landmark agreement between PETA and the Australian Wool Growers Association (AWGA) that would have resulted in live export reforms and an immediate and industry-wide reduction in lamb mutilations.

The agreement between PETA and AWGA provided a timetable for phasing out mulesing mutilations (in which skin and flesh are sliced from lambs’ backsides with gardening shears) and would have ended exports of live sheep to countries failing to meet Australian animal welfare standards. AWI and others refused to do anything other than criticize the plan during the 45-day moratorium, despite the urging of major retailers—including Benetton, Gap Inc., Liz Claiborne, Lands’ End, L.L. Bean, Eddie Bauer, Jones Apparel Group, Nordstrom, and Ann Taylor—which have all expressed support for the PETA/AWGA agreement and interest in the new, more humane brand of wool created by the agreement. The new brand will provide retailers worldwide with wool from farmers who are part of the structured plan to end mulesing and live exports to countries that do not meet Australian domestic animal welfare standards.

“The wool industry has had 45 days to agree to consider the compromise agreement, but has done little more than lip service to their claims to care about animal welfare,”says PETA Europe’s managing director, President Ingrid E. Newkirk. “It’s only a matter of time before AWI and Wool Producers realize that they won’t be able to give their wool away until they agree to stop torturing lambs and sheep.”

For more information, please visit SaveTheSheep.com.


Book review: The Squad and the Intelligence Operations of Michael Collins

An Phoblacht

The Squad and the Intelligence Operations of Michael Collins
By T Ryle Dwyer, Mercier Press, Price €12.95

Book Review by MATT TREACY

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Parts of this book read like a fictional thriller. IRA men and British agents stalking one another on the streets of Dublin, with the occasional brief encounter in strange places like 'Kidds Back' off Wicklow Street and the Cairo Café in Grafton Street.

It was a war of subterfuge and stealth. British agents, for the most part Irishmen, attempted to identify and track down members of IRA GHQ, the Dublin Brigade and Volunteers like Seán Treacy and Dan Breen who had come to the city. In response the IRA set up what became known as 'The Squad', formally established at a meeting in 46 Parnell Square on 19 September 1919.

Officially the unit remained a part of the Dublin Brigade under Dick McKee from Finglas, but they were separate from the Battalion structure and directly under the command of Collins, McKee and Mulcahy. It was an effective arrangement. One that made it, by and large, secure from enemy infiltration and surveillance and thereby more effective.

Dependent on a vast network of sympathisers who ranged from Dublin Castle detectives to women working in lodging houses, the Squad was able to identify enemy agents and assassinate them. No less than any other killings the details of these, as recounted in Ryle Dwyer's book, are gruesome.

The author must be congratulated on his use of the accounts of participants that starkly convey the manner in which enemies of the Republic were dispatched. Particularly gripping are the accounts of 21 November or Bloody Sunday, when the Dublin IRA, with the Squad at the forefront, went out to execute 35 British operatives. Around 50 were shot and 12 killed. But while not completely successful it dealt a massive blow to the British system of terror and espionage.

Ryle Dwyer also cites statistics which prove that far from being a spent force by the time of the Truce, the IRA was inflicting increasingly higher numbers of casualties. In the second half of 1920 174 Crown personnel were killed and 310 wounded. In the first six months of 1921 the corresponding figures were 317 and 638.

The book, as previously referred to, is mainly based on statements made by republican activists to the Bureau of Military History in the 1950s. These are now available to researchers in the National Archives in Dublin and can provide material for further original research on the period. Ryle Dwyer, meanwhile, must be commended for writing a gripping and valuable book.

Sectarian campaign continues

An Phoblacht

Caral Ní Chuilin

As recently disclosed figures emanating from the PSNI reveal that sectarian attacks have doubled in the past year the relentless campaign of unionist violence continued across the North.

Among the targets picked by the unionists were a Catholic chapel in North Belfast which was paint bombed last week while homes in Belfast, Ballymena and Newtownabbey were targeted.

In Derry City three nationalist teenagers were beaten up.


At around 2am on Sunday 25 September a unionist gang terrorised residents in the nationalist Carrick Hill area of North Belfast after they broke a number of windows, destroyed gardens and broke into another house in the latest in a long line of sectarian attacks on the estate.

Windows and garden ornaments were smashed and it is understood the sectarian gang tried to throw a garden bench through the front window of a house.

The men escaped in a dark people carrier. Maria Flynn, whose Stanhope Drive home was damaged, said unionists returned on Sunday and told her they would "finish it off".

"We are tortured here, really crucified. They throw paint bombs, bottles and stones from the hill but these men driving into your estate, that would really scare you."

Sinn Féin Councillor Carál Ni Chuilín said local residents were terrified at the latest sinister development.

"We have these men coming into Carrick Hill with ease and trying to get into people's homes. This latest attack leads on from an incident a few weeks ago when loyalists broke open a fence between Carrick Hill and the loyalist Lower Shankill Road so that they could attack nationalist homes with golf balls and bricks."

Also St Gerard's Catholic Church, on the Antrim Road, was attacked in a paint-bomb attack in the early hours on Friday 23 September. White paint was thrown over the front doors of the church in a sectarian attack. It is the third time the church, which is not far from the unionist White City Estate, has been targeted.


The son of a nationalist woman said his mother was lucky not to be hurt during a sectarian paint-bomb attack on her Ballymena home on Friday 23 September.

Three paint bombs were thrown through the front windows on the Dunclug Estate.


On Wednesday 21 September, a Catholic mother of four had to use a garden hose to extinguish a petrol bomb thrown at her Newtownabbey home at around 6.30pm.

Anna Delaney was in the kitchen of her Longlands Road home when she saw flames at the back of her home. "I ran out and had a look to see if anyone was about and used the hose to put the fire out. I was shaking like a leaf and worried about the kids".

Ms Delaney said she believes unionists were responsible.

Speaking to An Phoblacht Newtownabbey Sinn Féin Councillor Briege Meehan said the attack was an attempt to kill those in the house and she hopes this is not the start of an orchestrated campaign against the nationalist community.

"We have been trying to curb sectarian tensions in the area in fact only last week Fr Dan White postponed Cemetery Sunday at Carnmoney Cemetery because he did not want to bring a large number of people into the area at a time when unionists gangs are intent on causing trouble."

Derry City

Three teenage boys were attacked by up to eight unionists as they walked along Prehen Park on the outskirts of Derry on Wednesday 21 September. One teenager was knocked to the ground and kicked about the body before the gang was disturbed and ran off towards Victoria Road.


A Catholic care worker had white paint poured on her car as she tended to a pensioner in Ballyheather Road near Ballymagorry between Derry and Strabane on Wednesday 21 September in a sectarian attack. A note containing sectarian comments was found on the windscreen.

They haven’t gone away, you know

Daily Ireland

Connla Young
28 September 2005

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Lorraine Murphy
Just days after the IRA decommissioned its weapons, evidence has emerged that points to an ongoing intelligence war by British forces in the North.
As the world's media descended on Belfast to report on the IRA's historic move, residents in a Co Tyrone town were caught up in the murky world of the British army's intelligence-gathering web.
In a dramatic series of events last week, the family home of Kevin and Lorraine Murphy in Coalisland became the centrepiece of a controversy that appears to lift the lid on the British government's continued use of covert operations in the North.
The couple, who got married earlier this month, returned to their home last Friday to discover that neighbours had disturbed what they suspect to be an undercover British army unit trying to install a monitoring device in the couple’s home.
During the incident, the area where the couple live was swamped by PSNI men. The officers arrived to rescue two balaclava-clad men who had pointed a gun at a local man who tried to challenge them after the pair were detected moving through the couple's empty home.
Locals say several PSNI members entered the couple's home and escorted two men carrying holdalls from the premises to a Land Rover parked in the house’s front garden.
A PSNI spokesperson last night said the force was “aware of an incident" at the couple's home last week but refused to elaborate further.
A spokesperson for the Police Ombudsman's Office confirmed that the office was investigating an “alleged incident" at the couple's unoccupied house.
In June last year, Kevin Murphy was acquitted along with three other men of conspiracy to murder and having a rocket launcher in Coalisland in February 2002.
During his trial, it emerged that Co Armagh man Gareth O'Connor was suspected of luring Mr Murphy to the scene and had been in contact with the PSNI by a mobile phone supplied by the force.
Speaking to Daily Ireland last night, Lorraine Murphy, who lived in the house with her two children until her marriage earlier this month, said she believes the British Army was behind the incident.
“I have no doubt it was them," she said.
“Nothing was taken by these men and there was evidence of work being done. There are pieces of felt missing from the roof and dust located around a skirting board, as if it had been removed and put on again. It is my belief they knew Kevin was moving in here and they were trying to bug the house. I have lived here for 11 years and I am speaking out as the householder.
“There is no acceptable reason for somebody to be in this house. They had no reason to be there. I am disgusted by this. It just doesn't seem like my own house any more. I don't know whether these people planted this bug before they were disturbed and now I feel as if I'm living in the Big Brother House."
She said her car had also been tampered with in recent weeks. The couple's solicitor Peter Corrigan last night said he was very concerned about the development. “This incident requires a complete investigation. It was a terrifying experience for the man who had a gun pointed at him. I have been in touch with the PSNI and they have confirmed there was an incident but they will not give any more details even though I am the householder's solicitor. There may also have been a breach of Article 8 of the human rights convention which protects people's privacy."
A spokesman for the British Army last night responded angrily to the bugging claim.
“You are asking me to respond to allegations of an occurrence of which there is no corroboration. Why has she [Mrs Murphy] leapt to the conclusion that it's the British Army if indeed the event took place?"

Taoiseach challenged on Rossport Five

Indymedia Ireland

by Dáil watcher Thursday, Sep 29 2005, 10:30am

Dáil Éireann, Leaders’ Questions, 28th September 2005

"The keys to the jail cells of the Rossport five are in the Taoiseach's hands. All he has to do is pick up the phone and make Shell lift the injunction, thus letting the five decent men home to their families."

Joe Higgins (Socialist Party): It is a national outrage that five Rossport men have been in jail for 91 days. Does the Taoiseach feign innocence as if he were Prime Minister of the outer Hebrides, not the Republic of Ireland which happens to include County Mayo? It is true that it was Shell Oil that got the High Court to do its dirty work but the Taoiseach and his Government carry full responsibility. The Government gave this multinational corporation the power to trample brutally on the safety of a small rural community. When it resisted, the Government allowed five representatives to be put into what I can only call indefinite preventive detention.
In 1989, the Taoiseach's crooked colleague, the former Deputy and Minister, Ray Burke, gave the oil corporations a fabulous resource of gas for not a penny in royalties to the Irish people. In 1992, the Taoiseach, as Minister for Finance, gave them fabulous tax breaks. In early 2001, the Government gave the multinationals the power to expropriate the land of smallholders in Erris without consultation, any planning process or any proper environmental statement. Therefore, the Government has put the smallholders of Erris, including the area's boglands and estuaries, at the mercy of a multinational corporation which has shown itself to be merciless in how it deals with such communities in other countries in its greed for profits which amounted to an incredible €18,000 million last year alone.
When people look back on the history of rural Ireland in 2005, they will not remember the Taoiseach's flashy display of green wellies on the ploughing fields of east Cork, but the abject betrayal of a small rural community in County Mayo. The Taoiseach feigns innocence, however, as if he had been asleep since 1989, as soundly perhaps as his hapless Minister of State, Deputy Conor Lenihan, on a recent Tuesday morning. At least he was not pretending to be asleep like the Taoiseach.

An Ceann Comhairle: The Deputy's two minutes have concluded.

J. Higgins: The keys to the jail cells of the Rossport five are in the Taoiseach's hands. All he has to do is pick up the phone and make Shell lift the injunction, thus letting the five decent men home to their families. He should make Shell process the gas where it will not destroy the communities and the environment. While he is at it, the Taoiseach should tear up the contracts which have sold out this fabulous resource to the major corporations. Let us begin a process of developing this resource for the benefit of the people, not the bloated profits of Shell and others.

The Taoiseach: As usual, Deputy Joe Higgins knows that what he says is not true.

J. Higgins: What is not true? Tell me.

Noel Dempsey (Fianna Fáil): All of it.

Taoiseach: Most of what the Deputy said. They got the consents under the Foreshore Acts, Gas Acts, Continental Shelf Acts-----

Trevor Sargent (Green Party): It is nine kilometres inland.

An Ceann Comhairle: Please Deputy Sargent, it is Deputy Joe Higgins's question.

The Taoiseach: -----Energy (Miscellaneous) Acts, Mayo County Council and An Bord Pleanála.

J. Higgins: It is nine kilometres inland.

The Taoiseach: All of those permissions were given by Acts that were passed by this House of which the Deputy is a Member. He is making a poor show of playing to the Gallery in trying to say that Shell moved without regard to these Acts.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin (Sinn Féin): The Taoiseach should answer the question.

The Taoiseach: I am answering the question. As regards the second issue raised by the Deputy, the five people concerned are in jail because of a High Court decision. There is a separation of powers in this State between the Executive and the Judiciary and despite the Deputy's attitude, I would not do anything to breach a decision of the courts. As regards helping through mediation, I have already answered a constructive question from Deputy Kenny on that point.
As regards previous decisions, in 1992 the Government revised the licensing terms in order to stimulate exploration with the objective of increasing the State's petroleum supply from indigenous resources. These have been accepted by all Governments in the interim. Petroleum leases enjoy a special tax regime and are not subject to royalties or production related levies in this country. Despite the allegations that the terms are overly generous, there has been a severely low level of take up here compared to other countries. Therefore, the view that these great terms were given and then used and abused is just not true. This has been covered over a period of 13 or 14 years.
We will do anything we can to help constructively. What the Deputy has said is entirely misleading and untrue. He should have thought of a better case over the summer than to come to the House and purport all these things happened outside the terms of the law to these unfortunate people who are arguing a case.
The application to the Department was for an onshore terminal and the assessment was carried out on that basis. All the environmental and safety studies, up to the current ones, are based on that, as the Deputy knows.

J. Higgins: It was the Taoiseach's Government that provided every instrument by which the Shell Corporation is now acting. The Government gave them the power and therefore the Taoiseach carries a responsibility. Let us have done with the red herring of interfering with the courts. If, tomorrow, Shell so asks the President of the High Court, who incidentally threatened to imprison every landholder in Mayo if they did not carry out the court's writ, the injunction could then be withdrawn. It is as simple as that. Why does the Taoiseach not pick up the phone after this debate and ask the chief executive of Shell to do just that? The men could then return home and discussions on the situation could begin. At a later stage, discussions could be held with Shell as to how the company could process its gas where it would not threaten communities.
Independent Deputies visited the men in jail last week. Deputy Cowley has worked tirelessly for the people of Erris. I visited Erris and Rossport last week and I can tell the House that, although they are suffering, the determination of the community, including the families of the men in jail, is unbreakable. They will not allow their communities to be put upon in a way that threatens their environment and, potentially in certain circumstances, their lives.

An Ceann Comhairle: The Deputy's time has concluded.

J. Higgins: In this Dáil session, we will not let up in placing responsibility where it belongs, which is with the Taoiseach. Next Saturday, even if the Taoiseach is not listening, I hope people will come in their thousands to the protest rally in Dublin in support of the Rossport five and the issues they have raised.

An Ceann Comhairle: I call on the Taoiseach to reply. The Deputy's time has long since concluded.

J. Higgins: As soon as this debate has finished, will the Taoiseach ring Shell?

The Taoiseach: Because the Minister believes the men had a point on the safety issue, he ordered a comprehensive safety review of the onshore, upstream gas pipeline to be carried out by Advantica, independent, internationally recognised experts.

Dr. Jerry Cowley (Independent): That is only a whitewash.

The Taoiseach: The safety review will examine critically all the relevant documentation relating to design and construction.

Dr. Cowley: That is a complete whitewash.

An Ceann Comhairle: I ask Deputy Cowley to resume his seat. There is no provision for any other Member, except Deputy Joe Higgins, to contribute on this question.


Dr. Cowley: But Ceann Comhairle, these people are in jail-----

An Ceann Comhairle: I ask the Deputy to resume his seat while the Chair is on its feet. Deputy Joe Higgins submitted a question and he is entitled to hear an answer.

Dr. Cowley: These people have been in jail for over 90 days.

An Ceann Comhairle: It appears to the Chair that the Deputy wishes to leave the House. He is being totally disorderly. I ask the Deputy to resume his seat.

Dr. Cowley: It is a scandal.

An Ceann Comhairle: It appears to the Chair the Deputy wants to make an issue of this by being put out of the House. If he wants to leave the House the Chair will facilitate him. It is his choice. I call on Deputy Cowley to leave the House for being disorderly.

Dr. Cowley: It is a disgrace and the Taoiseach should deal with it. He should not wring his hands and say he can do nothing. He is not doing enough.

Deputy Cowley withdrew from the Chamber.

Noel Dempsey: Now he will not be able to talk for them in here. It will be no good outside.

The Taoiseach: The safety review will examine critically all the relevant documentation relating to the design, construction and operation of the pipeline and the associated facilities, which was the point that Deputy Joe Higgins made.

J. Higgins: Will the Taoiseach pick up the phone to Shell?

The Taoiseach: Advantica has been asked to identify any deficiencies concerning safety and to make any recommendations on how to deal with these if they can be identified and remedied. The Minister has brought forward the review due to all the issues of concern that people had. A particular issue of concern to the local residents has been the proximity of the pipeline to inhabited dwellings. This will also be addressed in that report. The residents and, I hope, other Deputies who wish to go to the hearing and put their points as they did here yesterday during a three-hour debate at the committee will be able to do so. The two-day hearing will take place next week.

J. Higgins: Will the Taoiseach phone Shell?

An Ceann Comhairle: The Deputy should allow the Taoiseach to continue.

The Taoiseach: If anything can be done constructively on a mediator, we will certainly do that. However, it cannot be done by people being released first. If we can help, we will.

Protesters urge audit of prison site

Irish Examiner

By John Breslin
29 September 2005

CAMPAIGNERS yesterday urged Government backbenchers to show courage and vote for an audit of the €30 million purchase of farmland as a site for a new super-prison or face “years of tribunals”.
Campaigners fighting against the plan to build the prison and a new Central Mental Hospital on 150 acres in north Co Dublin warned that if it goes ahead, “investigations and tribunals” will follow.

“We know something very wrong has happened,” said Teresa McDonnell, who lives close to Thornton Hall, where it is proposed to build the 1,000-inmate replacement for Mountjoy.

Protestors were joined by opposition leaders, Fine Gael’s Enda Kenny, Labour’s Pat Rabbitte and Socialist Joe Higgins, at a rally yesterday outside Leinster House. Dozens of people, mostly residents, gathered in the rain with one message: “Stop it now.”

Deputies debated last night a motion calling on the Comptroller and Auditor General to investigate the land purchase.

A vote is due to take place today. While protestors expect the Government benches to vote against the motion, Ms McDonnell said the residents are attempting to save the State close to €24m, the purchase price minus the e6m actual value of the land.

The Government is believed to have paid a deposit but the deal has not been closed.

“If they hear what we have to say, and based on that information, we feel they would have no option but to wait for the auditor to report,” Ms McDonnell said.

Those living in the area around the townlands of Rolestown and St Margaret’s have questioned how those making the decision “could get it so wrong” in recommending farmland in the centre of a close-knit rural community.

Access to the land is down a narrow country road, there is no public lighting, no footpaths or mains sewerage, while the closest public transport is over a kilometre away.

A Mountjoy Replacement Site Committee was set up to find land for the prison and received 31 submissions. The seven-person committee first met in July and by late November had picked a site at Coolquay in north Co Dublin, between the N2 and M50, for a price of €31.25m.

At the next and last meeting, attended by just five of the seven committee members, adviser Ronan Webster revealed the vendor had pulled out but had since been in contact to say he was still interested in selling.

It was only at that point Thornton Hall emerged as a candidate.

The terse committee minutes reveal that, after a short discussion, it was decided to recommend buying the site at just under €200,000 an acre.

Home attack treated as loyalist murder bid


A car parked in the drive was also damaged

A pipe bomb attack on a family in Ballymoney is being treated as attempted murder, police have said.

No motive has yet been found for the attack on the house, but loyalist paramilitaries are being blamed.

A pipe bomb was placed on the window sill of the property in Carnany estate where a couple and a three-year-old child were asleep upstairs.

It exploded at about 0230 BST, embedding a 12 inch long piece of shrapnel into a chair. No-one was hurt.

Shrapnel was also found in the ceiling of the living room and a heavy metal bolt was blown 50 yards down the road by the blast, where it hit the Carnany community centre.

Detective Inspector Nick McCaw said it was lucky no-one was seriously injured.

This piece of shrapnel was embedded in a chair

"When we catch the people responsible they will be charged with attempted murder," he said.

He said that if someone had been in the living room "they would have been seriously injured or killed".

Police have appealed for information and the house has been cordoned off for an examination by forensic scientists.

Condemning the pipe bombing, DUP MLA Mervyn Storey said local people are disgusted at the attack "on a family who have lived in the estate for many years".

SDLP assemblyman Sean Farren said that whatever the motive, there was no place in society for people who would leave such devices.

"There is only one way to remove this danger and that is to have these people arrested, charged and jailed, " he said.

Church targeted in paint attack


A church in the Whitewell area of north Belfast has been the target of a paint attack.

The Methodist church in Greencastle had paint thrown at it overnight. Rev Peter Mercer said that it was the second attack in two days.

He said while there had been problems in other areas of Whitewell community relations in the vicinity of the church had been good.

"It's annoying and saddening more than anything else," he said.

He said that two other churches in the area had been attacked with paint - one in Whitehouse and another on the Antrim Road - but that he did not know whether the attacks were linked.

He added that locals helped clean the mess, and that local Catholics had stopped him to express their sympathy for the congregation and condemn the attack.

"I was hardly out of the car when the Catholic woman across the road came to express her condolences," he said.

Belfast's SDLP Deputy Mayor Pat Convery said the upsurge of attacks on churches was "an alarming business".

"Places of worship were once protected by all, but now they are targets for sectarian abuse and attack," he said.

Sinn Fein assembly member for North Belfast Gerry Kelly, said the attack could not be justified.

"Political and community leaders need to make it clear that this sort of sectarian behaviour is completely and totally unacceptable," he said.

Police have appealed for witnesses to come forward.

Harney attacked over McDowell criticism of RTÉ


29/09/2005 - 11:54:36

The Tánaiste Mary Harney has come under attack in the Dáil over the Minister for Justice's criticism of RTÉ last night.

Michael McDowell accused the national broadcaster of airing a deliberately biased and misleading documentary this week about the Government's purchase of a site for a new 'super-prison' in Dublin.

RTÉ has rejected the accusation and has pointed out that the minister declined an invitation to speak on the programme.

The documentary claimed the Department of Justice paid €30m for the site in north Co Dublin when a nearby location was available at a lower cost.

Speaking in the Dáil this morning, Labour Party leader Pat Rabbitte attempted to ask Ms Harney if she regarded RTÉ as an arm of the Government, but his efforts were blocked by the Ceann Comhairle.

"€30m for a farm worth €6m and what we get is a series of threats against RTE," he said.

Fianna Fáil TD Sean Ardagh later defended the purchase of the site at Thornton Hall and accused the opposition of criticising everything without putting forward any alternatives.

DUP in new attack over IRA arsenal

Belfast Telegraph

By Noel McAdam
29 September 2005

The DUP has rounded on the Government for refusing to make public intelligence service estimates of the IRA's terrorist arsenal.

The party also maintained its criticism of the two Church leader witnesses to the disarmament process: no-one doubted they had reported what they saw, the DUP asked: had they seen it all?

Secretary of State Peter Hain was adamant he would not contemplate compromising intelligence sources by revealing the estimates which were given to the International Decommissioning Commission.

But DUP party secretary Nigel Dodds said it was "startling" that the Government had missed another opportunity to boost unionist confidence.

"If the Secretary of State believes all weapons have been put beyond use and that the IRA is no longer a threat, then there is no excuse for the continued secrecy, unless of course there is something to hide," the North Belfast MP said.

While the DUP and Ulster Unionists remained united over the demand for an official inventory of IRA weaponry, differences over independent witnesses Fr Alec Reid and the Rev Harold Good sharpened.

North Down Ulster Unionist MP Lady Sylvia Hermon said she had known former Methodist President Mr Good for 20 years and his word was good enough for her.

She said her husband, former RUC chief constable Sir Jack Hermon, had also worked closely with Mr Good and held him in the very highest regard.

DUP Upper Bann MP David Simpson, accusing the UUP of misrepresenting his party's position, said no-one was impugning the integrity of the Church witnesses.

"No-one is disputing that the two men are faithfully reporting what they saw," he said.

"The question is - did they see it all?

"General (John) de Chastelain has indicated the observers were not in possession of security estimates."



Daily Ireland, 28 SEPT 05

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I received a letter on Monday from a reader, John, in Ballina, County Mayo. He was talking about Sinn Fein’s response to the DUP last July when the IRA announced an end to its armed struggle. He said: “The DUP’s reaction to it was predictable – it will take them a long time to adjust to the new realities. But Sinn Fein should not be taunting them, by highlighting its (the DUP’s) inadequacy to deal with the new situation. If Sinn Fein is truly republican it will try and entice everyone along to share in the new and better society it hopes to create for everyone. In the first instance it will have to do this in cooperation with unionists in government in the North.”

Actually, Sinn Fein didn’t taunt the DUP – though I have, on many occasions, and on several occasions most recently, because of a visceral disrespect I have for that party’s leader, Ian Paisley, which spans forty years. The feeling is no doubt mutual. To me he is false, a bluffer, a hypocrite, a sectarian, a coward and an opportunist. However, if he ever apologises for his wrongs, demonstrates contriteness and makes good, in a verifiable fashion in front of international and independent witnesses (there’s no need for a photograph), I am sure that over a period of time I might be able to forgive him. But he really needs to begin soon. Because I might move on without him.

But seriously, I also have to remember that Ian Paisley is the chosen leader of the unionist people in the North – and although that also provokes some despair it has to invoke some respect, and I and many have to set aside our feelings if we nationalists and unionists are to realise a deal, share power and govern together. God bless Sinn Fein in their dealings with the Reverend. They will need an ocean of patience and a ton of cotton wool.

On the nationalist and republican side there is willingness to reconciliation, ultimately demonstrated by the unprecedented move of the IRA to put all its weapons beyond use, witnessed by General John de Chastelain’s commission and two independents. The extent of this move was succinctly described by former IRA prisoner Tommy McKearney in this paper yesterday as “an incredibly significant demonstration of republican hope over experience.”

That experience involved sectarian attacks on the nationalist community throughout the existence of the Northern Ireland state. The existence of an armed IRA, particularly after 1969, and because of 1969, was a comfort blanket to nationalists in interface areas and acted as a check on loyalist paramilitaries. The demobilisation of the IRA has, undoubtedly, unnerved many, many republicans. But times have changed. Despite the likeness, the PSNI is not the RUC and will not be leading any charge into the Falls, the way the RUC did in 1969. Increased scrutiny of the PSNI can only make it more accountable.

Leaders within both unionism and republicanism will be required to gamble: unionists taking the IRA at its word, republicans the public pledges of the British government, guaranteed by the Irish government, in lieu of or in combination with unionist pledges to work the institutions. Deceit on either side would blow up in all our faces and lead to distrust on an unimaginable scale.

The great irony now is that Ian Paisley, the man who destabilised any predecessor who dared to depart an inch from unionist fundamentalism, is himself now in the position of having to make a choice between pragmatism and dogmatism, which would only further impoverish his own community.

So what about the willingness of the DUP to deal? How are we to read its press conference last Monday?

There are many theories. Some are of the view that Ian Paisley would like to retire having become First Minister. However, the cost for him personally might be too great – having as his Deputy First Minister, Gerry Adams or Martin McGuinness, both of whom he has described as ‘Sinn Fein/IRA’ and pledged throughout his career to smash. There could be no greater demonstration of his failure than for him to have to share power with them. Nor does the ongoing invective of the DUP suggest a party that is preparing its base for a return to power-sharing government. Indeed, Paisley came out of his meeting with John de Chastelain yesterday stating that the whole act of the IRA putting all of its weapons beyond use was a ‘cover-up’!

Another theory has it that Peter Robinson would like to do a deal, and thought that he might be First Minister, but was thwarted by Ian Og who talked his father out of a deal. That conversation wouldn’t have taken long. Last week Ian Og said that unionists preferred direct rule than to sharing power with Sinn Fein, except his language was more colourful.

It would be patronising to feel sorry for the unionists, the debacle of the recent rioting, for their PR deficiencies and for a leadership which lacks courage and substitutes ranting for rational discussion. The majority voted for Paisley but there must be scores of thousands of unionists who despair at where he is leading them.

But we have lives to live and to get on with. We need good government and we need representative government. If the DUP regrettably opts out of this process it does so as an act of free will not as an act of persecution or discrimination. And so we’ll need a different type of government or a rearrangement in the current system of government – one which takes on the views of elected representatives not opposed to reconciliation. That certainly requires greater involvement from Dublin to add its weight to ensuring that the British address the many outstanding issues, from inequality to policing, and get on with implementing change and tackling the institutionalised sectarianism within northern society.

What historic times we live in! Those who justified repression and repressive laws, and the state of the state, or who refused to negotiate on the pretext that there was an IRA armed campaign no longer have an excuse.

With all due apologies to John from Ballina, County Mayo, the party which really has to bite the IRA bullet is the DUP.

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