08 October 2005

IRA investigators follow money to Eastern Europe

Times Online

By Sean O’Neill and David Sharrock

THE property empire built up by the Provisional IRA’s chief of staff extends from Britain and Ireland into the economies of Eastern Europe, financial investigators believe.

An international inquiry is under way to trace assets linked to Thomas “Slab” Murphy and other IRA figures in the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Slovenia and Romania.

Attempts are being made to examine bank accounts in Switzerland, Liechtenstein and offshore investment havens.

Mr Murphy, 56, who has amassed a personal fortune estimated at £40 million mainly from cross-border smuggling, is alleged to have begun laundering his money by investing in property and legitimate businesses only three years ago.

The IRA chief’s name is kept out of the transactions and it is possible that legal businesses will be unaware of the origins of new injections of funds.

After years of surveillance and covert inquiries into Mr Murphy, the Assets Recovery Agency (ARA) raided homes and offices in Manchester and Cheshire this week. The target was a portfolio of 250 properties rented to private tenants and valued at £30 million.

Investigators searched the home and offices of Dermot Craven, a Manchester businessman who owns a network of property development and management companies.

The Irish Criminal Assets Bureau searched offices of accountants and solicitors in the border town of Dundalk, Co Louth. Mr Murphy, who lives near Dundalk in a farm on the Irish border, is reported to have invested a large sum of money in a local development.

A spokesman for the Garda, the Irish police, said: “Searches were conducted at professional offices. A quantity of documentary material was seized and is being examined. No arrests were made and the operation is ongoing.”

The Irish and British inquiry teams are understood to have joined forces six months ago in an investigation into Mr Murphy codenamed Operation Front Line. The Garda spokesman added: “We have been working with the ARA for a number of months in respect of this and other investigations.”

The inquiry into Mr Murphy became public ten days after the announcement that the IRA had decommissioned its arsenal. Until then efforts to tackle the IRA’s criminal activities were hampered by fears that the organisation might retaliate with a terrorist attack.

Further raids are likely to follow as investigators examine money-laundering schemes by other senior IRA figures.

IRA plc, as the organisation has been labelled since it moved into organised crime, is believed to have several divisions modelled loosely on its brigade structure. In addition to the South Armagh unit, run by Mr Murphy, there are thought to be crime syndicates making and laundering money in East Tyrone, Belfast and Derry in Northern Ireland, and two units in the Republic of Ireland.

Following the IRA’s money trail has led investigators to Sofia, the Bulgarian capital, where the organisation has established links with criminal gangs. There are also suspicions that tranches of the IRA’s wealth were invested in Spanish property in the 1990s.

More recently the focus has switched to Eastern Europe, where overseas investments have been subjected to less scrutiny. There have been investments in Prague, the Czech capital, and the property and nightlife sector in emerging holiday destinations such as Slovenia.

IRSP: Struggle not over until Irish working class has economic and political freedom

Daily Ireland

Letters to the Editor

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In response to speculation in the media about the intentions of the republican socialist movement following the oration at the annual Séamus Costello commemoration in Bray, a few points need to be made.
The position outlined in Sunday’s oration has been held by the IRSP since 1998. We refer to the opening paragraph of the INLA’s ceasefire statement issued on August 22, 1998: “We have accepted the advice and analysis of the Irish Republican Socialist Party that the conditions for armed struggle do not exist.
“The Irish National Liberation Army has now shifted from the position of defence and retaliation to the position of complete ceasefire. We have instructed all our units to desist from offensive action from noon today.”
The ardchomhairle of the IRSP stated on the same day; “In the present changed political climate in Ireland, the INLA has also shown that it possesses both the leadership and vision necessary to provide the momentum required to continue the pursuance of that aim by peaceful methods.”
On the position of armed struggle, we have also been quite clear for many years, At the Séamus Costello commemoration in 2003, the IRSP asserted: “Today the IRSP has to face into the struggle for a socialist republic based on democratic principles, equipped with the integrity of republican socialist politics.
“This, alongside our determination to achieve Irish freedom, full social equality for all, and self-government, are the arms required for today's struggle. The political conditions not only in Ireland but also internationally in 2003 demand that our response is measured and tailored to achieve victory, not wallowing in a self-righteous indignation, engaged in a fruitless armed campaign that our enemies long ago learned how to minimise and negate.”
It needs to be restated that the decision on whether or not the INLA decommissions lies solely with that movement, and that decision should only be taken with reference to the actual position on the ground for working-class communities who presently find themselves living under threat of violence and forced evictions.
It will not be taken on a request from the nationalist, pro-Good Friday Agreement republicans.
The republican socialist movement is clear on its position in relation to the GFA. That agreement represented a defeat for the Irish republican struggle. But as we said at the recent anti-internment demonstration in Ballymena: “The republican socialist movement accepts the need for changed tactics in a rapidly changing world.
“But changed tactics don't mean changed principles. We stand by the republic of James Connolly and Liam Mellows.”
Only when the Irish working class achieves full economic and political freedom will we say that the struggle is over.

Eddie McGarrigle
IRSP National Executive

INLA won’t dump arms

Daily Ireland

By Connla Young

BBC photo

The Irish National Liberation Army has no plans to put its arms beyond use, it was confirmed last night.
The group's position on the issue came when Eddie McGarrigle, a senior member of the group's political wing, the Irish Republican Socialist Party, said there was no appetite for such a move within the Republican Socialist Movement.
Speculation has mounted over what direction the INLA would take after the IRA put its weapons beyond use last week. Confirmation that the INLA will not decommission comes just days after Mr McGarrigle called on anti-Agreement republicans to bring their armed campaigns to a close.
In a letter published in Daily Ireland today Mr McGarrigle, who is based in Strabane, Co Tyrone, said a decision on decommissioning "will not be taken on a request from the nationalist, pro-Good Friday Agreement republicans".
Speaking to Daily Ireland last night Mr McGarrigle said decommissioning was a non-issue within the Republican Socialist Movement as long as unionist paramilitaries continued to pose a threat to nationalist communities.
“Anti-Good Friday Agreement republicans will not engage in decommissioning; it's not an issue at this time. Republicans have a duty to defend their communities against loyalists.
“While there is no appetite for armed conflict there remains an onus on republicans to defend their communities. This is especially the case given the history of the state and the fact that unionists are not engaging in the process of conflict transformation and there is a strong element of distrust in nationalist communities. At grassroots level this issue is not on the agenda at this time.
“Paisley's stance hardens attitudes. The attitude of unionist politicians to loyalist violence and weapons does little to fill people with confidence either. Republicans who have been outside the political process see no merit in it at all. All the signatories to the Good Friday Agreement said they would try to encourage decommissioning. But none of the signatories have ever approached the INLA or republican socialists and asked their opinion on the matter. The whole thing has been a red herring and directed at IRA weaponry. It was never raised as an issue with us, even in meetings with the governments."
The IRSP man also renewed his call for anti-Agreement republicans not on ceasefire to call off their campaigns.
“I would again call on them to end their campaigns and to talk to other anti-Agreement republicans. The time for armed struggle is not at the moment. There is also an onus on provisional republicans to persuade other republicans that the conflict can be resolved through the stepping stone strategy they use."
The INLA has remained relatively inactive since they called a ceasefire in 1998. While the INLA's arsenal may not match that of the IRA's, it is understood they have several hundred small arms and automatic weapons as well as access to explosives.

Police release suspect in Jim Gray murder probe


08/10/2005 - 16:33:15

A fourth person questioned by police about the murder of former Ulster Defence Association chief Jim Gray was tonight released without charge.

Three other people detained about last week’s killing were also released earlier today.

Mr Gray, 47, who was the former brigadier of the UDA in east Belfast, was shot dead by two men on his Knockwood Park doorstep on Tuesday night.

He was recently released from prison after being arrested on alleged money laundering charges.

Police allegedly found a bank draft for €10,000 and nearly £3,000 in cash in his car when he was stopped outside Banbridge, Co Down in April.

He was believed to have been heading for the Irish border.

Gray survived a previous attempt on his life in 2002 when he was shot in the face during a deadly feud within the UDA.

Man charged over city car crash


The girl was hit near a bar on Stewartsown Road

A man has been charged with motoring offences following an incident that has left a 14-year-old girl critically ill in hospital.

The girl was struck by a white van near the Hunting Lodge bar on Stewartstown Road at about 2030 BST on Friday.

Another girl was also injured in the incident, but not seriously.

One man is to appear at Belfast Magistrates Cout on Monday charged with dangerous driving and driving while under the influence.

Provo quizzed over murder returned to jail

Belfast Telegraph

08 October 2005

An IRA man questioned by gardai over the murder of Joseph Rafferty in Dublin has been returned to prison without charge.

The man is allegedly the friend of an IRA member suspected of gunning down the 29-year-old father of one outside his Ongar apartment on April 12 last year over a jealous grudge.

The Provisional, currently serving a prison sentence, was quizzed by detectives for two hours in connection with the Rafferty case.

He is an associate of the man gardai believe murdered the courier, who was originally from Fenian Street in Dublin.

The IRA man was approached by Mr Rafferty's family before the murder, pleading in vain that a death threat against their brother be lifted.

The Rafferty family also approached Sinn Féin councillor Daithi Doolan on three separate occasions prior to the shooting.

Sources indicate that the gunman, in his mid 30s, is a close friend of one of Doolan's election workers and claim the Sinn Fein man knows exactly who he is.

The courier was murdered over a dispute that stemmed from a row in a south inner city hotel bar last October.

After the row, Joseph Rafferty was told he was "going to get it from the 'RA".

Detectives investigating the case believe the killer watched Joseph Rafferty for two weeks before he dressed as a construction worker, drew a sawn-off shotgun and shot him outside his home.

An eyewitness is said to have identified the killer as he walked away from the scene.

Sources say the gunman is a well-known figure in the Grand Canal Street area of the city and is well known as an IRA member.

Associates of the man have mounted a campaign of intimidation against the Rafferty family in the wake of the killing.

The family has recently warned Councillor Daithi Doolan that they will seek a court injunction against him if he continues to use references to the murder in his campaign literature. The family claim that Doolan has been constantly "plaguing" them by calling to their home, which has led them to consider the legal action.

The family dismissed an invitation to meet Gerry Adams as a PR stunt. The case has been compared to that of murdered Belfast man Robert McCartney. Both families met in Belfast last month.

Return of Adair

Belfast Telegraph

He will be back, says ex-RUC man

By David Gordon
08 October 2005

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Photo from Pacemaker

Johnny "Mad Dog" Adair is plotting a dramatic return to Northern Ireland, the retired cop who put him behind bars has warned.

Former RUC detective Johnston Brown also described Adair as more "street wise" than Jim Gray, the deposed UDA chief who was shot dead in east Belfast earlier this week.

Three people being questioned by police about the murder of Gray were today released without charge. One other person is still being questioned.

Mr Brown said: "Don't write Adair off. He's planning a return to Northern Ireland as we speak."

Adair is currently awaiting sentencing for assaulting his wife Gina in Bolton last week.

The former Shankill godfather was arrested for domestic violence hours after a court case over his harassment of a fellow loyalist exile.

Mr Brown said Adair's recent behaviour did not mean he was self-destructing in Bolton.

"That's the way he lived here. Did he punch Gina before? Absolutely. Did she complain before? Not a chance.

"The police would do nothing about it. Now, he will be prosecuted for throwing a bit of paper onto the street.

"He's not going to be allowed the same leeway he would have here," he said.

The retired detective added: "Adair's plotting a way back.

"He's nobody over there. He and people like him will never be able to settle down into obscurity."

Mr Brown provided the key evidence in 1995 that put Adair in prison for directing terrorism.

Adair and murder victim Jim "Doris Day" Gray were once fellow "brigadiers" in the UDA leadership.

They became enemies in a feud that led to Adair's faction being forced out of Northern Ireland. Gray later fell foul of the UDA.

Republican bailed on riot charges


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A leading Belfast republican, who was alleged in court to be the instigator of a riot, has been granted bail.

The High Court heard Bobby Storey, from South Link in Andersonstown, verbally encouraged a crowd of 40 rioters.

The court also heard he had allegedly prevented arrests being made during the disturbance on 4 September.

His solicitor told the court he had been summoned to quell the riot. He denies charges of riotous assembly, and assaulting and obstructing an officer.

The court also imposed a curfew on him from eight o'clock in the evening until seven o'clock in the morning.

Workers Party president released on bail


08/10/2005 - 14:21:09

The president of the Irish Workers Party has been released on bail pending his potential extradition to the United States on counterfeiting charges.

Sean Garland, a 71-year-old from Navan in Co Meath, appeared at Belfast County Court today after he was arrested last night.

The US government alleges that he and others bought, moved and either passed as genuine, or re-sold high quality counterfeit $100 notes.

A defence lawyer claimed that Mr Garland "strongly protested" his innocence.

Remembering the Past: Protestant and Catholic workers united

An Phoblacht


In 1932 the workers of Belfast when put out of jobs quickly exhausted entitlement to the 'bureau' (dole), and were forced to turn to the Poor Law. The Belfast Board of Guardians applied the old workhouse test with rigor. Nothing was given until savings had been exhausted and relief was in the form of groceries obtained by 'chits' from named shops and successful applicants were humiliated by having their names posted on gable walls. Those in receipt of 'outdoor relief' had to work to receive benefit. Some unemployed married men were given work on corporation schemes such as repairing roads to get their dole.

By 1932 about 2,000 men were on this scheme, earning from 8 to 24 shillings a week for those with four or more children.

During 1932 an organisation called the Revolutionary Workers' Groups, composed of elements from all political groups and communities, carried on a broad agitation among the relief workers and were able to organise the Outdoor Relief Workers' Committee. It was composed of elected delegates from the various relief works and trade union branches. On 30 September at a mass meeting of 2,000 relief workers the decision to strike was endorsed and the following demands adopted:

o Abolition of task work.

o Increase in scale of relief to following rates: Man 15s 3d per week, wife 8s per week, each child 2s per head.

o No payment in kind — all relief to be paid in cash.

o Street improvement work under the Exceptional Distress Relief scheme, or schemes of like character, to be done at trade union rate of wages and adequate outdoor allowances to all single men and women who are unemployed and not in receipt of unemployment benefit.

The date set for the strike was 3 October 1932, and on that day 20,000 workers demonstrated in support of the strikers. The mayor and the board of guardians invited representatives of the Relief Workers' Committee to meet for a discussion. Several small concessions were offered and rejected by the workers.

On 8 October, the Relief Workers' Committee organised a house-to-house collection of money and food to establish a food depot to supply the strikers. They collected over £300 and food for the strikers.

On 9 October, mass meetings were held which resulted in the decision by the working women of the textile mills to demonstrate on 11 October. The government prohibited the meeting on 10 October and drafted in an extra 800 police from other districts to bolster numbers to 4,000 armed policed.

In spite of these elaborate preparations to smash the pickets, the unemployed came onto the streets on the morning of 11 October. However the government came up with a strategy to beat the strikers. Instead of firing indiscriminately at both Catholics and Protestants, the RUC were told to only shoot at Catholic areas. The Orange card was being played. The strikers were told that 'the IRA were using the ODR strike as a cover to overthrow Protestant rights'. The police attacked with batons, and in areas where they could not disperse the demonstrators, they opened fire. Two workers were killed and over 100 were seriously injured. The two workers killed were John Geegan of Millfield and Samuel Baxter of Regent Street,

Throughout the day Protestant and Catholic workers fought side by side and ran from district to district helping and encouraging one another. This was the feature of the events that most worried the Belfast Telegraph: "It was significant that for once the religious question did not enter into the trouble. Youths from Protestant areas were to be found in Catholic districts and vice versa."

The unity of workers and unemployed, men and women, Protestant and Catholic was sealed with blood. As well as two men killed, about 100 workers were wounded by rifle fire. The workers had only stones to defend themselves, yet it took the police all day to combat the resistance. Seventy workers were arrested, and others were made repair the street damage at gun point.

An Phoblacht, edited by Frank Ryan at the time welcomed the unity of Catholic and Protestant in the face of a common enemy:

"Belfast in revolt. Workers shot down by police. As we go to press there is a fierce conflict in progress. Already there has been one striker killed and many wounded by gunfire. All the signs of revolution are there: barricades, trenches, and at last organisation." — An Phoblacht, 15 October 1932.

By 6am the next morning, a police cordon was thrown around the city and no one was allowed to leave or enter Belfast. But the unbreakable solidarity of the workers, and especially the heroic struggle against the armed police, forced the Board of Guardians to announce a new scale of relief.

The concessions won by a united front of the working class were:

o A man and wife were entitled to 2.5 days of work at 20 shillings per week.

o A man and wife with three or four children were entitled to 3.5 days and 28 shillings per week.

o A man and wife with over four children were entitled to four days work per week at 32 shillings per week.

The Relief Workers' Committee accepted the terms. The General Secretary of the RWC Gehan announced: "What we have achieved gives the direct lie and contradictions to those who said the workers of Belfast could not be united and would not fight. They had seen Protestants and Catholics marching together on, and on Tuesday, fighting together."

The funeral of victims of police brutality was attended by over 10,000 workers, and another 100,000 were reported to have lined the streets. The policed again mobilised for the occasion and accompanied the funeral procession with armoured cars, but no violence erupted.

The Belfast events of October 1932 showed that it is possible for workers of both communities to stand shoulder to shoulder against the injustices of the ruling classes.


The Politics of the Peace Process

Irish Democrat

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Owen Bennett reviews the Irish peace process and gives some thought to future developments

THE IRISH peace process developed within the wider historical context of Irish politics. Indeed it wasn't so much of a peace process as more like a continuation of the national struggle by different means. It was primarily a product of the evolution of the republican movement, which in the 1980s, began to develop a mass political base in the north. Before this, republicans were mostly isolated individuals and tended to have a narrow vision of things, and saw the northern problem simply as a military contest between the IRA and the British army.


Armagh Real IRA and CIRA in merger plan

Daily Ireland

**Via News Hound

Ciarán Barnes

RSF denies crisis in its organisation after split

Continuity IRA (CIRA) units in Co Limerick are planning to merge with the Real IRA in south Armagh, Daily Ireland has learned.
In recent weeks leading CIRA members in Limerick have visited Real IRA leader Liam Campbell in Portlaoise prison with a view to linking up with his south Armagh unit.
The move comes in the wake of the CIRA split following the decision by its nine prisoners in Portlaoise to quit the organisation. The inmates left after a dispute with the CIRA in Limerick.
The prisoners accused the Limerick unit of withholding support funds from their families, while those in Limerick claimed the inmates were taking drugs and associating with criminals.
The mass resignation has left the CIRA and its political wing Republican Sinn Féin (RSF) in disarray, with two camps emerging – one in support of the prisoners and the other supporting the Limerick unit and RSF.
In a bid to strengthen their position, CIRA members in Limerick have been in negotiations with the Real IRA about a merger.
One former CIRA member told Daily Ireland the organisation was “hopelessly fractured”.
He said: “The Belfast brigade was stood down two months ago. They were useless, they kept on losing weapons. A couple of weeks ago the officer commanding in Dublin was stood down because he supported the prisoners in Portlaoise. He was ‘arrested’ by CIRA members in Bundoran, Co Donegal, and relieved of his rank.
“The Continuity IRA is in turmoil. There are volunteers in the North who want to carry on the war, but the organisation is controlled by armchair generals in Limerick and Fermanagh. They don’t have a clue.”
The dissident republican source said the planned merger between the Limerick CIRA and the south Armagh Real IRA was a bid by the Limerick units to retain control of the organisation.
He added: “They have been frightened by the walk-outs and resignations.
“Publicly they are saying everything is fine but privately they will admit things are very bad and that’s why they want to merge with the Real IRA.”
In a statement to Daily Ireland earlier in the week Republican Sinn Féin admitted a number of members had resgined, but denied there was a crisis in the organisation.
A spokesman said a campaign of spreading unfounded rumours about RSF was taking place.

DUP seeks Policing Board changes


Peter Robinson wants increased DUP representation on Policing Board

DUP deputy leader Peter Robinson has expressed hope that the government will make big changes to the Policing Board in the near future.

The DUP has called for the board to be reconstituted to reflect the party's success in the 2003 assembly elections.

In August the government said it was asking the current 19 members of the board to continue into 2006.

Speaking on Radio Ulster's Inside Politics, Mr Robinson said his party would not let the demand drop.

"Clearly we've been pressing the government to make changes that they should have made and we were entitled to have back in 2003," Mr Robinson said.

"I hope that they will do that and I hope they'll do it soon.

"I don't think they can resist the strength of the argument nor have I seen any other political party being able to resist the strength of the argument either."

The terms of office of all Policing Board members were due to expire this month.

The board is comprised of nine independent members and 10 drawn from the political parties.

The Northern Ireland Policing Board was established in November 2001 following recommendations in the Patten Report.

Three released in Gray murder probe


08/10/2005 - 09:23:54

Three people being questioned by police about the murder of former loyalist paramilitary leader Jim Gray were today released without charge.

One other person is still being questioned.

Jim Gray, who was the so-called brigadier of the UDA in east Belfast, was shot dead on his doorstep last week.

He had been facing a number of criminal charges.

07 October 2005

Girl critical after hit-and-run


A young girl is critically ill in hospital after a hit-and-run incident in west Belfast.

The girl was struck by a white vehicle - possibly a van - close to the Hunting Lodge bar on the Stewartstown Road at about 2030 BST.

The road has been closed at its junction with Hillhead and Stewartstown avenues.

Police are appealing for anyone who witnessed the incident or has any information about it to contact them.

BBC NEWS | Northern Ireland | Crowd throws missiles at officers


Police came under petrol bomb attack

Police officers have come under attack from a crowd in west Belfast.

A police spokeswoman said that between 70 and 100 people have been involved in the disturbances in the Ballygomartin Road area.

Petrol bombs and stones have been thrown, but it is not known if there have been any injuries.

It is understood that at least one person has been arrested.

Sinn Fein urged to back policing


Irish Foreign Minister Dermot Ahern is addressing conference

Irish Foreign Minister Dermot Ahern has put pressure on Sinn Fein to endorse policing in Northern Ireland.

It came as he paid tribute to the vice-chairman of the Policing Board who was violently attacked last month.

Mr Ahern said Denis Bradley's story was one of "courage and heroism" and he said it was "no time for any party to shirk its responsibility".

He was speaking at a conference in Derry, organised by the SDLP, on north-south co-operation.

Mr Ahern later met Mr Bradley, who was beaten with a baseball bat in a Derry bar, later on Friday.

"I have forcefully condemned the attack on Denis. His story is one of courage and heroism," he told the conference.

"He has paid a high price for his commitment to a fresh start in policing.

"The right thing now is for all sections of the community to follow Denis' example and participate in the task of forging a new policing service."

Mr Bradley, a former Catholic priest, was attacked as he watched a football match on television with his son. He was taken to hospital with a head injury.

The assault was blamed on dissident republicans who have threatened his life and attacked his home on previous occasions.

Mr Ahern also paid tribute to the SDLP, saying its support for policing had been brave.

"I have met with many of those involved, including District Policing Partnership members here in Derry and I applaud their contribution in opening up a new era for policing in Northern Ireland," he said.

Sinn Fein has resisted giving the PSNI, the Policing Board and other institutions its support, insisting more legislation is needed before they can sign up.

Meanwhile, Mr Ahern has also reaffirmed the commitment of the Irish and British governments to the full implementation of the Good Friday Agreement and their desire to see the devolved institutions revived.

While he claimed the "completion" of IRA decommissioning had the potential to unlock the political stalemate, he also called on loyalist paramilitaries to follow suit.

The minister said cross-border co-operation had a vital role to play in the delivery of a competitive all-Ireland economy which could generate jobs, provide better public services and bring lasting prosperity.

The SDLP, for its part, argued that the suspension of the assembly should not be allowed to block progress in terms of north-south co-operation.

It pointed to the need for all-Ireland co-operation in assets recovery from criminals, a sex offenders register, and environmental protection.

The SDLP also argued that investment in infrastructure of about 100 billion euros over the next 10 years needs to be planned in a coherent way.

Republican faces rioting charge


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A leading republican has appeared in court charged with public order offences.

Bobby Storey, 49, of South Link, Andersonstown, is accused of assaulting and attempting to obstruct a police officer, and riotous assembly.

The offences relate to a disturbance at a west Belfast social club on the Andersonstown Road on 4 September.

He was remanded in custody, but an application for bail is due to be lodged in the High Court.

During the brief hearing at Belfast Magistrates Court on Friday, the defendant spoke only to confirm that he understood the charges.

A policeman said he believed he could connect Mr Storey to the charges.

It is understood a bail hearing will be heard on Saturday.

Parents fight loss of lollipop man

Belfast Telegraph

By Kathryn Torney
07 October 2005

Parents of pupils at a Belfast primary school have launched a hard-hitting campaign aimed at shaming education board bosses into reversing a decision to axe their school lollipop man.

Mums and dads took action after the principal of Brooklands Primary in Dundonald was told yesterday that the South Eastern Education and Library Board has decided not to replace crossing patrol man George McBride when he retires today.

The board said that the school does not meet criteria relating to the number of unaccompanied children crossing the road and the volume of traffic.

However, parents, who have accused the Board of making an easy cutback in a bid to save money, have started a petition and plan to hold peaceful protests outside the school in a bid to have the decision overturned. They also plan to man the crossing themselves from Monday.

Over 600 children attend the primary, nursery unit and library.

Principal David McCartney said: "What I can't understand is why there was a need for a crossing patrol yesterday but no need now.

"The bottom line is that every child crossing the road into school from Monday will be in danger.

"It may take someone to have an accident for something to happen but by then it will be too late. I am very angry about this decision."

Mum of two, Joanne Patton, said: "Who is going to answer to some parent when their child is lying lifeless on the road? It is just an accident waiting to happen."

The board's assistant senior education officer, Nicky McBride, said they have agreed to carry out another survey as a result of the school's concerns.

"If the school does not meet the criteria, we have agreed to work with them to find an alternative solution, which could involve 'walking buses' or a safe drop-off point for cars."

Guantanamo Bay hunger strike 'serious'


October 7, 2005 - 9:15PM

Detainees in the US naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, are on hunger strike in what the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) says is a serious situation.

But spokeswoman Antonella Notari declined to comment on a statement by a defence lawyer that the action involved 200 of 500 prisoners and that 21 were being force-fed.

The humanitarian agency, which last visited the base in late September, was in contact with US authorities about the situation, ICRC chief spokeswoman Antonella Notari said.

"There is a hunger strike, the situation is serious, and we are following it with concern," Notari said.

"During our recent 10-day visit we were able to visit the infirmary, see the detainees and speak with them as well as the American authorities," she added.

The ICRC backs a 1975 Tokyo declaration by the World Medical Association stating that doctors should not participate in force-feeding, but keep prisoners informed of the sometimes irreversible consequences of their hunger strike, she added.

Amnesty International and human rights lawyer Clive Stafford Smith, a lawyer representing some 40 detainees, said on Thursday that US authorities were keeping 21 alive by forcing food into their stomachs through tubes pushed up their noses.

The prisoners are shackled to their beds 24 hours a day to stop them removing the tubes, he said.

"This is the 56th day of the hunger strike," said Stafford Smith before making a comparison with the Irish republican campaign of 1981, when 10 prisoners starved themselves to death in protest at British policy in Northern Ireland.

US authorities opened the base as a prison camp in January 2002, following the September 11 attacks in the United States, to hold "enemy combatants" seized in Afghanistan.

Only four, including Australian Taliban fighter David Hicks, have been charged and many have been held more than three years. Some former prisoners claimed they were tortured.

Force-feeding is not banned under international law, but the World Medical Association declaration, endorsed by the American Medical Association, sets guidelines for doctors involved in hunger strikes and says they should not participate in force-feeding.

BBC NEWS | Northern Ireland | Farmer's 'criminal links unfair'


A County Louth farmer, widely thought to be the head of the IRA, is being unfairly linked to criminal activity, according to Sinn Fein.

Newry and Armagh MP Conor Murphy said there was no evidence to suggest 250 properties being probed in Manchester belonged to Thomas "Slab" Murphy.

The investigation is being led by the Assets Recovery Agency.

Mr Murphy said elements within the agency had given "selective briefings" in an attempt to "point the finger".

He said: "I read the statement from the Assets Recovery Agency which was quite vague and bland and doesn't refer even to any republican at all, much less Mr Murphy.

"What we have is the Assets Recovery Agency issuing a statement about what they are doing.

"But then elements or individuals within the Assets Recovery Agency, who have a Special Branch background, have been giving selective and private briefings to some journalists to try to point the finger at different people."

Documents were seized in the Manchester searches, which took place 10 days after the IRA put its weapons beyond use and on the day Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams met Prime Minister Tony Blair in Downing Street.

Meanwhile, separate searches took place in the Republic of Ireland connected to the probe into illegally held IRA funds.

Seven offices in County Louth were searched by officers from the Criminal Assets Bureau.

A quantity of documents were seized during the raids but no arrests were made.

Border farm

In a statement, Irish police said that they were "familiar" with the operations currently being conducted in the United Kingdom by the Assets Recovery Agency.

It added: "An Garda Siochana, through the Criminal Assets Bureau, have been working with the ARA for a number of months in respect of this and other investigations."

The gardai said that the operation in the Republic of Ireland, which began on Thursday, is continuing.

Murphy lost a libel case against The Sunday Times in 1998, after the newspaper described him as a prominent IRA member.

The authorities on both sides of the border have been investigating him for years.

Murphy describes himself as a County Louth farmer. The family property is in an area straddling the border with the Irish Republic at Hackballscross.

Two released in probe into Gray murder


07 October 2005 11:17

Two women being questioned about the murder of the former UDA east Belfast commander, Jim Gray, were released without charge last night.

Four men arrested in connection with the investigation are still being detained.

Gray, who was 47, was shot dead on Tuesday night outside his father's house on the Clarawood estate.

Police say the involvement of the UDA in the killing is a major line of inquiry.

Gray was expelled from the loyalist paramilitary group last March.

BreakingNews.ie: EU ruling means Irish prisoners must be allowed to vote


07/10/2005 - 07:37:01

Irish prisoners will reportedly be voting in future elections following a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights.

Reports this morning said the court ruled yesterday that a British prisoner convicted of killing a woman with an axe had his rights breached when he was banned from voting.

In its judgement, the court said voting was a right, not a privilege.

Although Irish prisoners are not formally banned from voting, there is currently no procedure to allow them to do so.

Yesterday's ruling means Ireland and 14 other EU countries will have to introduce changes to facilitate prisoners who want to vote.

BBC NEWS | Northern Ireland | Orange halls get rates exemption


Orange halls are going to be among the community buildings in Northern Ireland exempt from paying rates, the government has announced.

The plans to change the way rates are calculated will come into effect in April 2007.

The halls will be eligible for the exemption as long as they are not bases for registered clubs and do not have a liquor license.

NIO Minister Jeff Rooker said it is for places without a regular income.

"It isn't just Orange halls, it's community halls, which includes Orange halls," Lord Rooker said.

"It is conditional on them being available for use by the wider community, that they don't have a liquor license and are not being occupied by a registered club.

"If they are doing any of these things they will have a regular stream of income and can afford to pay their rates."

The plans were announced as part of a 12-week consultation period on the review of the rating system in Northern Ireland which was launched on Friday

Lord Rooker said plans to make the system fairer "by basing rate bills on the capital value of your home from April 2007" are well under way.

"It is essential ratepayers have as much information as early as possible, given the fundamental changes we are making," he said.

Capital values of all Northern Ireland homes will be published in April 2006.

'Fairer system'

"The draft order represents a key milestone on the path to making the rating system fairer, a process started by the former Northern Ireland Executive in 2000," he said.

The reforms include the new rate relief scheme for those on low incomes, transitional arrangements over a three-year period and a new independent valuation tribunal.

"They will be given effect through a second order in council, to be brought forward next year."

Stressing the need for change, he said: "Reform is vital to bring the domestic rating system into the 21st century. We need to make it fairer and easier for ratepayers to understand.

"The new capital values will achieve this. It is almost 30 years since domestic property in Northern Ireland was last re-valued. Delay is therefore not an option."

On Thursday, DUP leader Ian Paisley said he received assurances about the plans to exempt Orange halls from rates during his talks in Downing Street.

Sinn Fein assembly member John O'Dowd has said any moves on the introduction of rate exemptions for non-profit making organisations should be applied across the board.

06 October 2005

You can be arrested for visiting a book shop!

Indymedia Ireland

Irish facism in action

by Seamus O Raghallaigh
Thursday, Oct 6 2005, 5:09pm

A personal encounter with the Irish version of the Stasi- the special branch of an Garda Siochana.

Last Wednesday (5th Oct.) I decided to go into the Sinn Fein Phoblachta book shop at 223 Parnell Square (just down from the UCI cinema at the junction with Capel Street).
It was unplanned and spur of the moment. I look in the shop window and though it would be interesting to see what they had for sale. As I am also very interested in 1798 books and memorabilia I though this could be a good place to find more obscure publications that are hard to find in main stream book shops (Easons etc).

Anyway, I went in and browsed for a while and discovered a 1798 old song book which I was delighted to find. I had a chat with a nice lady there, Josephine, and discussed Wolfe Tone and the 1798 rebellion.

I then left with my books and had walked about 200m towards the cinema when an middle aged white/grey haired man in what I would describe as a flashers trench coat, approached me at a slight run. Stop he said and flashed out his gold garda badge. Here we go I though, should have know this would happen. He then asked me in an aggressive tone what my name was and where I lived. I was stunned frankly and replied that I wanted to know why he was requesting this from me. This wasn’t what he expected I think, as his tone suddenly got more menacing. He said that I was seen coming out of the Sinn Fein office and wanted to know what I was doing there. I said I went in to buy some books that’s all. Let me see he demanded. Hang on I said this is intimidation; I have a right to visit any book shop I want without this kind of abuse. Its not intimidation, he replied, and said that “they” are terrorists in that shop. Oh? I was under the impression that Sinn Fein Phoblachta was a legal political party I replied. No, he said, they aren’t legal.

This made me realize this guy was talking rubbish, which irritated me no end. I felt like asking him why the shop was open and allowed if they were illegal, surely the shop would have been closed long ago. I then said that my wife and child were waiting to collect me and that I need to go. He then threatened me by saying that they would be waiting 24hrs as he was going to arrest me under the “offences against the state” act that he and could hold me for 24hrs if I didn’t show him what I bought and give my name and address. Now I wasn’t sure if this was true or not, but I didn’t relish being arrested for a day for simply going into a book shop. I gave him my details and he then let me on my way. Does anyone know if this act allows citizens to be detained for 24hrs for not giving their details? Is this the type of fascist state we now live in Eire? If you go to the “wrong” book shop you will be stopped by the secretthought police aka the special branch. I though this ended with the fall of soviet style communism. I naively thought I had political freedom to visit the premises of any political party without fear of intimidation. Sad sad sad.


Assets swoop on 250 'IRA houses'


The inquiry is thought to involve Dermot Craven and Thomas Murphy

Searches of 250 properties in Greater Manchester worth an estimated £30m and thought to be linked to the IRA are continuing after a series of raids.

The investigation is being led by the Assets Recovery Agency (ARA).

The action is thought to be linked to a probe into the affairs of Thomas "Slab" Murphy, widely considered to be head of the IRA, and businessman Dermot Craven.

Irish justice minister Michael McDowell vowed to track down those who "had control of the proceeds of crime".

Documents were seized in the searches, which took place 10 days after the IRA put its weapons beyond use and on the day Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams met Prime Minister Tony Blair in Downing Street.

But Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain said the timing of the raids was coincidental and insisted the ARA acted independently from the government.

Mr Adams said he did not believe the raids would affect the political process.

Mr McDowell said police from both sides of the border in Ireland were cooperating with the Criminal Assets Bureau and the ARA.

He added: "It's not simply what happens in this island [Ireland]. It's people who transfer assets abroad to be outside the reach of the long arm of the law."

Mr McDowell, an outspoken critic of the IRA, insisted London and Dublin were working together to track down illegal assets.

He said political developments would not "airbrush" questions of the "proceeds of criminality" and the "massive portfolio of assets" allegedly held by many people involved with paramilitaries.

One of the premises raided was in Sale, Greater Manchester

DUP leader Ian Paisley welcomed the raids but said they were "a bit late in the day".

He told BBC News: "I trust that soon these people will be brought to the courts, have British justice applied to them - and removed from our society, which they've cursed far too long," he added.

Among the premises searched were Craven Properties in Britannia Road, Sale - part of Mr Craven's Craven Group - his home, Craven House, in South Downs Road, Bowdon, and a block of flats in Sale.

The operation is understood to have originated in Northern Ireland and then extended to the Republic and the rest of the UK.

An ARA statement said: "The agency has so far identified approximately 250 properties held by both persons and a number of property management companies.

Documents have been seized from business and domestic premises

"The equity in the properties appears to be in the region of £9m."

An ARA spokeswoman said it was an investigation against assets, not individuals or companies.

Murphy lost a libel case against The Sunday Times in 1998, after the newspaper described him as a prominent IRA member.

The authorities on both sides of the border have been investigating him for years.

Murphy describes himself as a County Louth farmer. The family property is in an area straddling the border with the Irish Republic at Hackballscross.

Gray tricked into dropping his guard

Irish Examiner

06 October 2005
By Alan Erwin

MURDERED ex-loyalist terror boss Jim Gray was shot five times in the back after being tricked into dropping his guard, it emerged last night.
He was assassinated as he shifted weightlifting gear from the boot of a car outside his father’s home in East Belfast.

A former business associate is among four men being questioned. Two women were also held after police found gun parts in a car stopped later, security sources said.

It is believed men trusted by Gray, 47, had agreed to meet him at the house where he was ordered to live while out on bail, accused of money laundering offences.

Details emerged as the security forces prepared for the deposed Ulster Defence Association commander’s funeral in the city later this week. Police have carried out tests on five bullets fired into Gray as he stopped to remove dumb-bells.

The 6ft 3in gangster, nicknamed Doris Day because of his flamboyant love of designer clothes, bleach blonde hair and heavy tan, was a fitness fanatic. During his terror reign, he had amassed plenty of enemies, and with police probing his financial affairs, former loyalist allies were desperate to silence him.

As police chiefs blamed the UDA for murdering Gray, loyalists claimed he provoked his own death by returning to East Belfast after being freed on bail.

One said: “He was sticking two fingers up at the organisation and there’s nobody bigger than the organisation.

“Once he got out and flaunted himself, coming back to live in a community where he wreaked havoc for years, his fate was sealed.”

Even though detectives had warned him he was under threat several times since he was thrown out of the UDA in March, Chief Constable Hugh Orde stressed no protection was given to him. But police who had charged him with money laundering did fear he would be killed after he was allowed out of jail.

Adams criticises DUP's refusal to share power


06/10/2005 - 16:11:03

Republican and Unionist leaders today travelled to Downing Street in London to meet with the British Prime Minister.

DUP leader Ian Paisley presented Tony Blair with 64 pages of fresh demands ahead of the restoration of devolved government to the North.

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams described the talks as crucially important. Emerging from Number Ten, he contrasted the DUP's refusal to share power with the blind eye being turned to loyalist criminals.

“The DUP has no problem sitting on commissions and other bodies with the representatives of Unionist paramilitaries which are currently engaged in campaigns of violence and yet appears to be casting about for excuses not to be part of the institutions which they are mandated to serve in,” he said.

Robert Holohan murder trial delayed until next month


06/10/2005 - 12:11:12

Robert Holohan

The 20-year-old man accused of murdering Co Cork schoolboy Robert Holohan has succeeded in having his trial delayed until next month.

Wayne O'Donoghue, from Ballyedmond in Middleton, is accused of murdering his 11-year-old neighbour close to both their homes in January of this year.

The youngster's body was found near Inch Strand on January 12th, eight days after he disappeared while out riding his bicycle.

Mr O'Donoghue was due to go on trial later this month, but his legal team sought more time today to prepare their case.

The presiding judge approved the application and set November 29th as the new start date for the trial.

Three appear in court charged with RIRA membership


06/10/2005 - 14:01:10

Three alleged Real IRA members were arrested after a major garda surveillance organisation against the dissident terrorist organisation, the Special Criminal Court was told today.

The court heard that members of the Special Detective Unit and the Crime and Security Branch were involved in the four day surveillance operation on the alleged Real IRA members.

Prosecuting counsel Mr Tom O’ Connell SC told the court that detectives found eight timer devices which could have ``both a legitimate and sinister purpose’’ in a bag in the boot of a car they stopped outside Edgeworthstown in Co Longford.

It was the opening day of the trial of three men who have denied membership of an illegal organisation.

Adrian Kirwan,25, a native of Ballymun in Dublin, with an address at Ardilaun Green, Ballymahon Road, Mullingar, Co Westmeath and Colum Wiggins,24, of Annagry, Letterkenny, Co Donegal each pleaded not guilty to membership of an illegal organisation styling itself the Irish Republican Army, otherwise Oglaigh na hEireann, otherwise the IRA on December 5th last year.

Sean Connolly,26, of Bernard Curtis House, Bluebell, Dublin denied membership of an illegal organisation on December 14th.

Mr O’ Connell said that the membership charges referred to the dates that the men were arrested. He said the main prosecution evidence against the men would be the opinion evidence of Detective Chief Superintendent Philip Kelly that Kirwan and Connolly were members and the opinion evidence of Chief Superintendent Noel B. White that Wiggins was a member on the dates in question.

Mr O’ Connell said that the men were alleged to be members of the faction of the IRA known as the Real IRA.

He said that the Special Detective Unit and the Crime and Security Branch monitored Wiggins arriving in Dublin from Letterkenny by bus on December 2nd and meeting the accused Kirwan. Wiggins was observed staying at Kirwan’s house in Mullingar for a number of nights and also meeting Connolly in a laneway in Inchicore.

When detectives stopped Kirwan’s car on outside Edgeworthstown on December 5th they arrested Kirwan and Wiggins and found eight timers in a bag in the car boot.

Mr O’ Connell said Detective Garda John Higgins of the Ballistics Section would give evidence that the timers could be used for both legitimate and sinister purposes.

The court would also hear evidence that the timers were purchased by the accused Connolly at a shop in Rialto. When gardaí searched Kirwan’s home they found a number of firearms manuals, including a US Army sniper training manual and on a computer they found a file containing information in relation to the assembly and operation of an AK 47 rifle.

The trial is continuing.

SQUINTER: We’re lovin’ it


The Love Ulster campaign says it’s going to hold a parade and rally at the City Hall on Saturday, October 29. Squinter is pleased to pass on a leaked programme of events that arrived on his desk in a brown envelope this morning. Squinter can exclusively reveal that the BBC have confirmed that the rally will be broadcast live and, at the request of their union, cameramen will be provided with helmets and flak jackets with ‘TV’ written on the front in white tape.
11am Open air prayer service outside Norman’s Bargain Beers & Wines on lower Shankill
11.30am Blessing of the petrol bombs and swords by Rev Major Simpson Gibson, patron of the Keep Ulster Lit society
Noon: Proceed to City Hall via Whiterock Road, Suffolk, Ardoyne shops and Short Strand (In keeping with the Love Ulster pledge to keep the parade orderly and responsible, stewards, quartermasters, medics and stretcher-bearers will have easily identifiable armbands)
2pm: Assemble City Hall for speeches...
i) Grand Lodge Vizier Hamilton Turkington McClurg on ‘How I suddenly turned from a plain-speaking, proud and honest Ulsterman into a pathetic, whingeing, clueless, headless chicken’
ii) Thompson Wilson, Democratic Official Unionist Party, MP, MEP, LLB, FTP on ‘I’m not delighted that Jim Gray had his brains blown out in front of his old dad, but I can certainly see why some people might be’
iii) Davy McIlbelcher, Progressive Unionist Party (Upper Shankill Lenny Murphy memorial branch), on ‘Protestants have finally learned that violence pays’
iv) Sammy Macoinring of the Ulster Political Research Group on ‘Catholics have got everything while we’ve got nothing’ (Copies of this keynote address can be had by writing to Sammy at The Gables, 4 Sandy Lane, the Cayman Islands, West Caribbean, or on his website at www.investmentsolutions.com)
6pm: Programme of cultural events
i) Scottish sword dancing display (PSNI members attend at own risk)
ii) Pipes and drums (Parents should note we mean pipe bombs and oil drums)
iii) The Protestant Unionist Loyalist Young Boys True Blue Dolly’s Brae Prod Ulster Defenders will play a medley of tunes including ‘No More Room for Writing on My Grandad’s Ulster Drum’.
iv) The Ulster Scots poet and former UDA brigadier Tommy ‘Knuckles’ Normanson will read extracts from his latest collection (which is believed to have been £200 quid from the Chinese, £50 from the wee sweetie shop and £1,000 from the building site). His acclaimed poem, Ulster, Mah Ulster, recently won the prestigious Timberland poetry prize. Here’s a short extract...
Shaved heids, muscles, cashmere, earrings, jewellery, the Titanic,
Hoots mon, it’s just hit me, the UDA’s in a homosexual panic.
v) DJ Stewarty presents techno-trance mix (drugs strictly forbidden, except from franchised outlets)

Man’s home raided and wrong-name warrant produced


The PSNI this week stormed the house of a Clonard man, kicking in his door and searching his house – with a warrant for someone else.

Gerard Austin, son of veteran republican Joe Austin and Lower Falls Sinn Féin Councillor Janice Austin, was angered when the PSNI aggressively conducted a search of his Lower Clonard Street house and removed a photograph picturing two of his friends and himself.

PSNI officers arrived at Mr Austin’s house in four Land Rovers and two cars, dressed in blue boiler suits, on Sunday morning at 10.50am.

“I had opened the inside door of the porch and was about to open the front door. The cop saw me through the glass but still kicked the door in, breaking the lock and the door panel,” said Mr Austin.

A PSNI officer produced a search warrant claiming that it provided the authority required to search the premises, however it named a person other than Mr Austin.

He informed them that the person named on the warrant did not live there, and that the person was unknown to him.

At this stage a PSNI officer informed Mr Austin that the correct address on the warrant was enough to support a legal search and that they did not need the correct name.

The officers would not tell him if the search was conducted in connection with either a criminal or paramilitary-related incident. The officers proceeded to search his house, as he protested.

Before the PSNI left the house they asked Mr Austin to sign a statement outlining, amongst other things, that they had not searched his house. He refused to sign the statement.

A sinister development to the incident came after the officers had left the house. Mr Austin realised that two photographs that he had left in his living room that morning had been removed. The photographs were of Mr Austin and two friends from County Tyrone, one of whom is very anxious about this development.

Mr Austin believes that the security forces have been involved in collusion in the past and is suspicious of the PSNI’s motives for taking the photographs.

“I have concerns over the removal of the photographs because I don’t know whose hands they are going to fall into.

“I have been a victim in the past of loyalist attacks. In 1992 I was in my parents’ house when the UDA carried out a bomb attack, and that was only weeks after an RUC raid,” said Mr Austin.

“Nothing has changed since then except for the name. It is the same force.”

A PSNI spokesperson said, “A number of searches were carried out in relation to the passing of counterfeit notes in a shop in Dundonald on October 1. On information received, police went to an address at Lower Clonard Street to carry out a search on Sunday morning, however the search was not completed.”

Journalist:: Damien McCarney

Mother of rape victim (15) speaks


Girl too traumatised to tell her mum. She typed ordeal, ‘handed me the sheet and ran upstairs.’

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us
(photofit of rapist

The mother of a 15-year-old girl who was raped on the Glen Road has spoken to the Andersonstown News about her family’s determination to bring to justice the man who “tried to destroy” her child.

The distraught West Belfast woman, who’s not being named in order to protect the identity of her daughter, made a heartfelt plea for help from the local community.

“What’s happened can’t be changed,” she said. “All I can do now is beg local people to go to the police with whatever information they might have.

“No matter how insignificant they think it might be, no matter what their loyalties are, I’m pleading with local people – try and understand how devastating this is for our family and help us bring this man to justice. I’m absolutely convinced this man will strike again in the future if we don’t catch him.”

The teenager was attacked on the Glen Road at about 9pm on September 23 – a Friday night.

The teenager had visited shops opposite St Teresa’s Church and had crossed the Glen Road when a man in his thirties shouted at her from behind.

Ignoring his shouts, she pretended to be on the phone as she walked past the church, but the man grabbed her from behind and close to railings at St Teresa’s Primary School. A struggle ensued before he dragged her into bushes in the grounds of the nearby Glenmonagh Resource Centre (formerly St Patrick’s Training School) and raped her.

Described as being in his late 30s, of chubby build and with dark hair, the girl also said his breath smelt of alcohol and he was wearing Joop aftershave.

Police said he had a distinctive short, bushy moustache, bushy eyebrows and two dents on either side of his nose suggesting he may wear glasses.
His right ear was pierced and he spoke with a local accent.

Following the attack, the traumatised girl eventually confided in a close friend, but refused to tell her family or go to the police.

“I could tell something was wrong,” said her mother. “She wouldn’t go to school on the Monday, she wouldn’t eat, she didn’t seem to be sleeping – she looked absolutely exhausted. She’d gone from being a bubbly, talkative, confident wee girl to this quiet person that I hardly recognised. I kept asking her what was wrong, but she just said she was sick.

“Her daddy said he passed her room on the Friday night and she was just sitting on her bed in the dark staring into space. He asked her what was wrong but she wouldn’t say. She told me later that she was sitting there wanting to die – wishing she was dead.

“Her wee friend told her last Wednesday that if she didn’t tell me, he would.
“But she couldn’t speak the words to me. She went into school last Thursday and typed out on a computer what happened to her and printed it out. When she came home, she handed me the sheet and ran up the stairs.”

Unable to describe the pain of reading the details of her daughter’s attack, the mother said simply: “I can’t forgive myself. I feel like I let her down, and the only way I can stop feeling like this is to put every last drop of energy I have into bringing this animal to justice.

“Her father’s taken it really bad too. He blames himself for not being there, her older brother blames himself for being out that night. We’re all blaming ourselves, but we’ll get through this for her sake. We’ll see this man put behind bars for her sake.”

Her mother described the local schoolgirl before the attack as being “a brilliant wee girl who got all A’s and B’s in her exams and had no interest in boys yet – she had never even had a boyfriend.”

The girl has been offered counselling, but declined. “I think she’s not ready for it,” says her mother. “She’s been through too much – having to go through intimate examinations at that age, to be tested for STDs. It’s horrific.”

The girl was brought to County Meath by her father yesterday in an effort to take her mind off the events of the last fortnight.

Her mother says the family would consider moving to Meath if the teenager was willing.

“I don’t want to stay around here any more,” she said. “I have three more girls to rear and I want to protect them. This place is a disgrace – there’s no law and order any more, and there won’t be until this community comes together to stamp out this sort of thing. No mother should have to go through what I have. No 15-year-old should have to go through what my daughter has. When is it going to stop?”

The mother said she plans to join a rally on Friday night in protest at the rise in anti-social behaviour and sexual attacks in the area.

The ‘Reclaim the Streets’ rally is supported by the Falls Community Council, the Safer Neighbourhood Project, Community Restorative Justice and the Andersonstown Community Network. Anyone wishing to attend can join the protest at the Falls Community Council at 5.30pm.

The Andersonstown News can also reveal that the PSNI have taken CCTV footage from local shops as part of their investigation into the rape.

Journalist:: Laura McDaid

Pressure mounts against 'amnesty' plan for OTRs

Belfast Telegraph

By Chris Thornton
06 October 2005

Pressure was increasing on the Government today to toughen up its proposals for dealing with IRA fugitives.

With the Conservatives already lining up opposition in the Lords, Alliance Party criticism has signalled that the Liberal Democrats could also stand against the proposals.

Legislation dealing with the fugitives - known as 'on the runs' or OTRs - is due to be introduced at Westminster later this month.

Under proposals published two years ago, the fugitives - including various Maze escapers, former MP Owen Carron and Sinn Fein's US representative Rita O'Hare - would be allowed back into Northern Ireland if they apply to a quasi-judicial process.

The crimes they are wanted for would be reviewed at a hearing, but they would not be required to appear.

Opponents say that it amounts to an amnesty.

Earlier this week, shadow Secretary of State David Lidington told a Tory party conference meeting that the Conservatives will oppose the measure as it stands.

While the Government still has a commanding majority in the House of Commons, the legislation could run into difficulty in the Lords.

Conservative and Liberal Democrat peers could combine with cross benchers to make passage of the legislation difficult.

Alliance leader David Ford told Secretary of State Peter Hain that his party opposes the current proposals during a meeting at Hillsborough Castle on Tuesday night.

"Our concern is that OTRs will be dealt with in a way that is not a general amnesty," said Mr Ford.

"But my impression is that what has been promised is an amnesty."

He said his party wants the Government to treat the OTRs the same as early release prisoners - making their freedom dependent on good behaviour.

"When you consider the pain that early release caused, allowing OTRs anything less than that is unacceptable.

He said Mr Hain has offered his party a meeting with Criminal Justice Minister David Hanson before the legislation is published.

Gray was a tout, says killer Stone

Belfast Telegraph

'Arrogant ex-UDA boss signed his own death warrant'

By Jonathan McCambridge
06 October 2005

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Milltown murderer Michael Stone today claimed slain loyalist Jim Gray "signed his own death warrant" by becoming a supergrass prepared to betray his former UDA friends.

In an interview with the Belfast Telegraph, killer Stone - once a close associate of Gray - said the former UDA leader's arrogance and refusal to stay in prison led to him being gunned down in east Belfast this week.

Detectives are still holding six people over the murder of the flamboyant former brigadier known as 'Doris Day', who was shot five times in the back on Tuesday night.

Michael Stone, convicted of six murders, including three at Milltown Cemetery, recalled one occasion when Gray told him he "was a businessman rather than a loyalist".

Gray was at the killer's side at a loyalist rally at the UIster Hall in 1998 when Stone was on temporary release from the Maze.

When Stone was later released under the Good Friday Agreement in 2000, Gray was at the prison to greet him.

But their relationship later soured and Stone was forced to leave east Belfast as he believed Gray wanted him dead.

He said: "I knew Gray since he was young. His father is a gentleman but there was always something strange about Jim - wearing slacks and shoes with no socks, even in winter.

"I would be a hypocrite if I said I was surprised he is dead - what goes around comes around.

"He never pulled a trigger in his life but he got where he was by bullying people and ordering them around. He didn't do anything but he knew a lot.

"I know for sure he was a supergrass and that signed his death warrant. He thought by talking and giving evidence he would be allowed to hold on to some of his cash abroad.

"He once told me he was a businessman, not a loyalist. He said loyalism doesn't pay the bills.

"There will be so many suspects because Gray double-crossed just about everybody he came into contact with. Police will be looking at a long list of people. You could look at it as a bit of internal house-keeping."

Gray was stood down as UDA east Belfast commander earlier this year. Shortly afterwards he was arrested by police and charged with money laundering offences.

Stone said: "The cops lifted him for his own protection. He knew that by going on remand he would be staying alive.

"He knew it was coming but his arrogance meant he kept going for bail and when he came out he was going to bars and Chinese restaurants on the Newtownards Road right up to the end as if he owned the place.

"He got where he was by bullying and bluffing. He was never a loyalist."

New player enters Republic's jockeying game


(Brian Feeney, Irish News)

Weapons decommissioning and the end of all IRA activity have certainly caused a right old stir.

Not here, where the reaction has been all too predictable with the DUP running round like headless chickens isolated from the real world in their own wee hen run.

No, the IRA going out of business caused a lot of fluttering in another chicken coop. All last week southern politicians were falling over themselves to predict what the outcome of the next election in the Republic will be.

Sinn Féin's Dublin 'Make Partition History' rally certainly put the wind up some Fianna Fail people.

Seamus Brennan, bearer of the peculiar title of minister for social affairs, was even moved to remind FF members that the party should "not feel guilty" about saying it stands for a united Ireland.

Hardly a ringing endorsement of the policy from the self-proclaimed 'republican party'.

He added that FF has "hidden or played down this aspiration because the taoiseach wanted to make progress in the north". Hmm. Does that mean they kept the policy secret from the DUP?

Maybe he thinks the DUP didn't know? Or worse, did FF pretend it didn't have that policy any more?

Brennan then went and gave away the real motive for his speech by pointing out that it was also a 'message to Sinn Féin'.

Brennan of course was taking his cue from the taoiseach who told the party faithful in Cavan that unity was "the basis of Fianna Fail's being and our guiding star".

You don't suppose this would have something to do with the recent polls which show first, that the Republic's electorate is just beginning to edge towards preferring a change of government and secondly, that SF's support is steady around eight to10 per cent, more than twice as much as Fianna Fail's coalition partner, the PDs? Just a coincidence?

Several commentators and election pundits believe that with decommissioning and the end of IRA activity SF would be likely to double its Dail representation in the next general election.

That poses the central question, would FF then go into coalition with SF to stave off Fine Gael and Labour?

No, said Bertie, because SF's economic policy was incompatible with Fianna Fail's and besides, it was ambivalent about the EU which is stupid because of the vast sums of cash Ireland receives from Brussels. A coalition couldn't last five days he said, let alone the five-year life of a government.

Take all that with a large pinch of salt. As always Bertie spoke very carefully, though he seems not to. He knows very well that Sinn Féin's economic policy in 2007 will be very different from what people say it is now. In fact Dessie Ellis of Sinn Féin told RTE last week that SF is in the process of "developing" its policy. Watch them steal FF's clothes.

Secondly, while SF opposed the Nice treaty and rejects the doomed Euro constitution, along, it may be said with the voters of France, Denmark and Britain, they do not oppose the existence of the EU or Ireland's membership.

Notice also that Bertie said nothing about accepting support from Sinn Féin in a minority government without entering a formal coalition. There is also a range of other permutations involving the Independents. All of which really means you're looking at the opening gambits of all the Republic's parties in the jockeying before the next general elections and included as a player on the national stage for the first time since 1922 is Sinn Féin.

It has to be so because if, as predicted, SF win nine or 10 seats, that number of TDs can't be ignored in a Dail of 166. When you need 83 votes to be taoiseach any 10 will make a massive difference.

The Dail assembled after the summer break last Wednesday and the race is on.

Fianna Fail faces difficult choices. Do they try to out-republican Sinn Féin?

An impossible task and a foolish policy.

Do they try to repudiate the awful PDs and blame them for all the uncaring failures of the government in health and education?

Or do they try to make friends with SF because they know they won't be able to form a government on their own?

If all that doesn't give the DUP food for thought, nothing will.

October 6, 2005

This article appeared first in the October 5, 2005 edition of the Irish News.

Ulster strongman's death fit a familiar pattern

The Boston Globe

Ex-UDA leader slain in street by gunmen

By Kevin Cullen, Globe Staff
October 6, 2005

Even as peace is breaking out in Northern Ireland, there are a handful of men for whom the question is not if they will be killed, but when.

By many accounts, 47-year-old Jim Gray was one of those men.

As commander of the East Belfast brigade of the Ulster Defense Association, a loyalist paramilitary group, Gray struck fear in Catholics, who were surrounded by hostile Protestants in a neighborhood whose lost privilege is symbolized by the cranes of the formerly bustling shipyards that still dominate the horizon. Since its creation in 1971, the UDA has killed about 400 people, most of them Catholics chosen at random.

Gray, whose nickname, ''Doris Day," drew on his loud clothing, garishly dyed blond hair and year-round tan that made him stand out in a city of sartorial conservatism and pasty complexions, was also an alleged drug dealer and racketeer. Such activity historically has been tolerated in loyalist circles until there was a falling out with the powers that be.

Since he was expelled from the UDA last spring, Gray's days were numbered. His survival was chalked up mostly to his having been in jail from April until a few weeks ago, when he was freed on bail to await trial on charges of laundering drug money.

So it was far from shocking for many in East Belfast who looked out their windows Tuesday night and saw Gray's body lying beneath a blood-stained white sheet. He may have known the two men with guns who witnesses said approached him outside his house. They certainly knew him.

The police officer leading the investigation into the slaying, Superintendent George Hamilton, said Gray may have been killed by erstwhile comrades-in-arms. There is a long tradition within the UDA, especially in East Belfast, of internecine warfare.

Gray's path to power was paved by the assassination of the UDA commander in whose image he seemed to be created: Jim Craig. Like Gray, Craig was constantly tanned from frequent visits to locales far sunnier than Belfast, and invariably involved in some criminal enterprise that had nothing to do with keeping Northern Ireland part of the United Kingdom.

In 1988, after his friends concluded that Craig had been helping their enemies in the Irish Republican Army to kill off loyalist rivals, the UDA lured Craig to an East Belfast pub with the promise of fencing a large consignment of stolen jewelry. Craig had a pint of beer in his hand when his assassins opened fire.

After Craig's killing, William ''Billy" Elliott became UDA brigadier in East Belfast. But after his arrest, Elliott feared he would be branded an informer and bumped off like Craig. Upon his release from jail, Elliott simply up and left Belfast.

Craig's sudden demise and Elliott's equally sudden departure made Gray's rise in the UDA leadership especially meteoric. In their book, ''UDA: Inside The Heart of Loyalist Terror," Jim Cusack and Henry McDonald note that Gray ''looked more like an aging New Romantic than the leader of a terrorist group."

Yesterday, Cusack recalled that Gray was an accomplished golfer whose grasp of the game did not extend to its emphasis on sportsmanship: Gray was banned from the Ormeau Golf Club in Belfast after he beat up someone who had bested him on the course.

While some loyalist leaders tried to emulate the IRA by calling cease-fires and promoting a political approach to ending the conflict, Cusack said, Gray was an old-fashioned sectarian racketeer who used the cover of ''the cause" to fund a comfortable lifestyle amid a growing sea of poverty in East Belfast, where the guaranteed jobs in the shipyards and factories disappeared.

''He was forever going off to Spain," Cusack said in a telephone interview. ''He had property in Spain."

He had enemies in Belfast. Geordie Legge, a UDA member, had openly complained about the way Gray and the East Belfast brigade were making money and living large. One night in 2001, Legge was abducted from the same East Belfast pub where Craig was killed. When police found Legge's disfigured body in a field the next day, it showed signs of torture.

Johnny ''Mad Dog" Adair, leader of the UDA's feared ''C" company of West Belfast, held Gray responsible for Legge's murder, and there are some who believe it was that grudge that led to an assassination attempt on Gray the following year. Adair himself was driven out of Belfast last year by UDA feuding.

Cusack said many loyalists suspected Gray was a police informer. That suspicion intensified after Gray was thrown out of the UDA.

Yesterday, police arrested six people for questioning in Gray's killing. Cusack said police also want to question an East Belfast man who some believe could have been behind Gray's slaying. It is the same man who was suspected of but never charged with being one of the assassins who gunned down Craig in the Bunch of Grapes pub in East Belfast 17 years ago.

Asset raids on 'IRA properties'


Thomas Murphy is widely considered to be head of the IRA

Properties worth £30m and thought to be linked to the IRA are being targeted by an asset recovery team in Manchester.

Searches have identified about 250 properties linked to two businessmen, which are being investigated by the Assets Recovery Agency (ASA).

It is thought to follow an inquiry into the business and financial affairs of Thomas "Slab" Murphy, who is widely considered to be the head of the IRA.

Police were also raiding at least two businesses in Greater Manchester.

Property groups

Greater Manchester Police confirmed they were raiding a property in Britannia Road, Sale, in connection with the ARA investigation.

The business property raided was Craven Properties and Craven Group with the name Dermot Craven on the door.

Police were also raiding a second business premises, Craven House on South Downs Road in Bowden, Greater Manchester.

The ARA searches were carried out on business and domestic premises and documents seized.

An ARA statement said: "The agency has so far identified approximately 250 properties held by both persons and a number of property management companies.

"The equity in the properties appears to be in the region of £9m."

Libel defeat

The raids followed a High Court application for search and seizure warrants.

Murphy lost a libel case against The Sunday Times in 1998, after the newspaper described him as a prominent IRA member.

The authorities on both sides of the border have been investigating him for years.

Murphy describes himself as a County Louth farmer. The family property is in an area straddling the border with the Irish Republic at Hackballscross.

Police blame former UDA comrades for death of 'Doris Day'


Angelique Chrisafis, Ireland correspondent
Thursday October 6, 2005
The Guardian

Police investigating the assassination of Northern Ireland's most flamboyant loyalist godfather believe he was killed by his former comrades in the Ulster Defence Association. Jim Gray, whose year-round Florida tan and bouffant blond hair inspired his nickname, Doris Day, was shot dead on Tuesday night outside his father's home in east Belfast. Less than three weeks earlier he had been released from prison on bail while awaiting trial on money laundering charges.

Four men and two women were being questioned by police last night after searches in Belfast.

Gray, 47, a former east Belfast UDA brigadier and drug dealer, symbolised the brazen gangsterism of paramilitary commanders. A star on the loyalist golfing circuit who loved to pull out wads of £50 notes from the pocket of his Hawaiian shirts, he was a cocaine user who allegedly played a part in planning the murders of two prominent loyalist rivals. He thought nothing of battering people who got in his way, once beating up a man at an outdoor Rod Stewart concert. Dripping in gold jewellery, the "Brigadier of Bling" had property in Spain, where he would travel on a monthly basis to oversee smuggling rackets. He took Caribbean cruises and holidayed in Thailand - his 19-year-old son, JJ, was found dead from a suspected drugs overdose during one such trip with him.

In March the UDA expelled Gray, deciding his brazen criminality had become a liability and amounted to "treason".

Police continued to gather evidence on the east Belfast council estate where he was shot at point-blank range by two gunmen at his father's home, where he had been ordered to stay while on bail.

The Alliance party had written to the lord chief justice demanding justification for what it said was the "crazy decision" to release Gray on bail when he was clearly under a death threat.

Police said they had given him several warnings of death threats but he was not under 24-hour police protection.

It was unclear yesterday whether the murder was sanctioned by the UDA leadership as an act of internal "housekeeping", or whether it was a personal hit. Many of his old associates feared he was about to turn supergrass. If the killing is found to have been ordered by the UDA leadership it will put the Northern Ireland secretary, Peter Hain, under pressure to review the group's ceasefire.

The killing is not expected to reignite a bloody UDA feud. Gray was isolated and his few remaining cronies have been warned against turning up at his funeral.


RSF news - Republican Sinn Fein - http://rsf.ie

Teach Dáithí Ó Conaill, 223 Parnell Street, Dublin 1, Ireland
Phone: +353-1-872 9747; FAX: +353-1-872 9757;
e-mail: saoirse@iol.ie
Date: 5 October\Deireadh Fomhair 2005

Internet resources maintained by SAOIRSE-Irish Freedom

Irish Republican Information Service

THE body styling itself 'Limerick Republican Information Service' is not connected
with the Irish Republican Information Service (IRIS), 223 Parnell Street, Dublin
1, email saoirse@iol.ie and has not been authorised either by IRIS or by the
body that sponsors IRIS, Republican Sinn Féin. Therefore it is totally unauthorised
and should be regarded as such.

In this issue:

1. Top Loyalist latest victim of feud
2. Man arrested over pipe bomb attack
3. Use of sniffer dogs in Six County prisons extended
4. GAA Victim Too Afraid To Display Colours Again
5. LVF rejects talk of dumping arms after Provo move
6. RSF stands alone
7. Catholics forced to endure gauntlet of abuse
8. Dispute at Irish Ferries
9. Collusion probe barriers
10. Add for British police is 'collaboration'
11. Belfast Council's £100k for 'sectarian' bonfires
12. RSF welcome release of Rossport 5

1. Top Loyalist latest victim of feud

THE UDA's former leader in east Belfast was shot dead on October 4. Jim Gray
was fatally wounded in a shooting incident in the Knockwood Park area of Belfast.
One early and unconfirmed report is that he was shot after answering a knock
to his door. In April Gray was stood down as UDA "commander" in the east of
the city. He was facing charges connected to the possession and concealment
of criminal property and money laundering. His assets had been frozen following
a Six County court order in April. Gray was shot and wounded in September 2002
in another incident, which the British Colonial police described as "loosely
linked" to the shooting dead of LVF member Stephen Warnock in Newtownards, Co

2. Man arrested over pipe bomb attack

A MAN was arrested on September 30 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. The RUC\PSNI said the man, who was detained following
a search in the area, would face charges of attempted murder. The family were
asleep when the device detonated at around 2.30am on September 29 on the windowsill
of their home.

RUC\PSNI 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.

3. Use of sniffer dogs in Six County prisons extended

THE USE of sniffer dog in Six County prisons has been extended. Sniffer dogs
are checking inmates returning to Maghaberry and Magilligan prisons. The dogs
were initially used to check on visitors. The Irish Republican Prisoner Action
Group has highlighted the use of the dogs to deny visits to Republican prisoners.
In many cases the dogs have been manipulated by prison warders to sit beside
visitors indicating they are carrying drugs and thereby cancelling the visit.

4. GAA Victim Too Afraid To Display Colours Again

A TYRONE GAA fan whose wife's car was attacked in Newbuildings said she is too
frightened to display her county's colours again. Margaret Brown and her one-year-old
son were lucky to escape without serious injury after their car was pelted with
rocks as it drove through the predominately Loyalist village on September 25.
The mother and baby were among six motorists who have been targeted by sectarian
thugs in the village since Tyrone's All Ireland win.

Margaret Brown's husband, Sean, said that his London-born wife and his son were
left deeply traumatised by their ordeal. He revealed that she is no longer happy
to display any Tyrone colours in the car The car was singled out simply because
of a little miniature Tyrone jersey hanging from the rear-view mirror," he said.

"Margaret saw a couple of young fellas standing around as she drove into the
village and then the stones hit. She drove to safety before stopping the car
and contacting the police.

"My wife is English and has no experience of the Troubles or of being attacked
in this way. She is simply a Tyrone fan.

"She has since taken down the miniature jersey and does not want it to go back
up again. She is too concerned More than £1300 worth of damage was caused to
the door, bonnet, roof and window of the vehicle in the attack.Sean Brown, from
the Glebe, was in Croke Park for the match when his wife phonedjust before
throw-in to tell of their ordeal.for our family's safety." He hitout at the response
of the DUP's Foyle MLA, Willie Hay, who said displayingTyrone flags and emblems
in cars provoked people in Newbuildings.Sean Brown said: "I think that is a ridiculous statement. The GAA is a non sectarianorganisation. People can display Liverpool and United stickers in their carsand not get attacked so why are innocent GAA supporters singled out? It's timefor people to move on and for politicians to stop making the GAA out to be sectarianwhen it is not. "I think the comments from the DUP are ridiculous," he added.

Sean Brown also accused the British Colonial police of ignoring his wife's plea
for help. He claimed she has still not been contacted by them six days after
reporting the attack.

Meanwhile the GAA responded on September 29 after the DUP said that a spate
of attacks on GAA fans was partly due to the organisation being perceived as
"sectarian". Derry County GAA chairman, Seamus McCloy, denied the claims by
the DUP's William Hay, made after a series of attacks on drivers with Tyrone
emblems inside their cars passing through the unionist Newbuildings estate en
route to Strabane.

Police now say that six cars have been attacked in the village since the Tyrone
football side's victory over Kerry at the All Ireland final on September 25.On
September 25 Margaret Brown and her one-year-old son were pelted with stones
as they sat at traffic lights in the village. In an earlier incident just days
before another woman's car displaying the Tyrone flag was singled out for attack
in the same spot.

Seamus McCloy hit back at the DUP: "We are a non-political and non-sectarian
organisation. GAA is the biggest sport in Ireland. Sport is sport is sport,and all
people are welcome. People should be allowed to display whatever emblems
they want."

5. LVF rejects talk of dumping arms after Provo move

WELL-PLACED Loyalist sources on September 30 poured cold water on speculation
of a decommissioning move by British-backed Loyalist death squad the LVF in
response to the disposal of Provo arms.

It was reported that the death squad founded by assassinated Loyalist chief
Billy Wright could resurrect plans to dump arms following the announcement on
Provo decommissioning on September 26.But a source close to the LVF Portadown-based
Pastor Kenny McClinton, 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.The LVF has been embroiled in a feud with the UVF this summer. Four people were murdered by the UVF in July and August.

6. RSF stands alone

RESPONDING to claims made by Nell McCafferty in the Derry News, Richard Walsh,
Derry, Assistant PRO, stated "Nell McCafferty claimed in her column (Derry News
3/10/05, p.9: 'An open invitation') that 'there is often dual, triple and cross
membership between the IRPWA, the 32 County lot, and the (sic) RSF.' These claims
are entirely without foundation.

"Republican Sinn Féin states categorically that nobody within our organisation
is also a member of the IRPWA or 32-County Sovereignty Committee, nor are members
of these organisations eligible for membership of Republican Sinn Féin - RSF
stands alone.

"This has always been our position, and indeed an Ard-Chomhairle resolution
put to last year's 100th Ard-Fheis of Sinn Féin stated 'That this Ard-Fheis
reiterate our opposition to political broad fronts which serve to dilute the
national objective as expressed in the 1916 Proclamation.' The resolution was

7. Catholics forced to endure gauntlet of abuse

CATHOLIC WORSHIPPERS were forced to run a vicious gauntlet of sectarian abuse
as they attended a blessing-of-the-graves ceremony in Co Antrim on October 2.

Dozens of loyalist protesters gathered close to Carnmoney Cemetery in Newtownabbey
on the outskirts of north Belfast as hundreds of Catholics gathered to hold
their annual Cemetery Sunday service at the multi-faith graveyard.

A group of loyalists held a demonstration earlier in the day and this passed
off peacefully. However, loyalists returned in the evening to hold a second
protest. Dozens of grieving relatives were forced to miss the start of the service as
loyalists threw a blockade across the O'Neill Road, which leads to the final
resting place of hundreds of people from every denomination.

Fr Dan Whyte, parish priest at St Bernard's Church on the Antrim Road in Belfast,
led the annual prayer service. He confirmed that Catholics attending the cemetery
had been abused as they prayed for their dead relatives.

In September 2003, Fr Whyte was the victim of a loyalist death threat after
he slammed a loyalist campaign of intimidation against a Catholic church.
"I am disappointed by this. It's a big cemetery and I was at the other end of
it so I didn't know this had happened until people came up to me at the end,"
he said.

"I thought everything had gone peacefully and with dignity, and that would have
made it two years running without incident. A number of people were not able
to get to the cemetery in time for the beginning of the service because they
had to take a detour," he said. "People praying at the O'Neill Road end had
to endure a sectarian verbal assault, which is bad enough in ordinary circumstances.
But when you are trying to say your prayers, it's unacceptable and beyond anybody's
pale. I don't think there were any loyalist paramilitaries or responsible community
leaders involved in this. It's the cannon fodder we saw on the streets a couple
of weeks ago - youths and women who have nothing better to do, people who have
lost their way." Fr Dan Whyte added.

A similar blockade of the cemetery in 2003 resulted in serious rioting between
loyalists and the RUC\PSNI.During that incident, several vehicles were hijacked
and set on fire. Unionists had earlier blown whistles and jeered as Catholics
prayed over the graves of their loved ones.

Fr Whyte postponed the Cemetery Sunday service in September after loyalists
rioted following the Orange Order parade of September 10. The parade had been
rerouted from a predominantly nationalist area of west Belfast's Springfield

"I was fairly relaxed in the run-up to this and, as a gesture; I postponed our
celebration on the weekend of September 18. I didn't want to be calling out
large numbers of people and, in my innocence, I thought that sort of gesture
would be returned," he said.

8. Dispute at Irish Ferries

Irish Ferries on October 3 agreed to go back into talks with the trade union
SIPTU which will be mediated by the 26 County Labour Court on the issue of their
proposed enforced redundancy of workers within the company in order to make
way for migrant workers, on rates of pay, well below the statutory minimum wage.
These workers would be expected to work 12-hour shifts, seven days a week.
Many of the employees that had signed up to the redundancy package have now
withdrawn their signatures saying they signed under 'duress'. A meeting of SIPTU
members in Irish ferries voted unanimously on October 2 to reject the company's
plans and called on management to negotiate with the union.

Irish Ferries had given the workers until Monday October 3, to reach a decision
on accepting their 'voluntary redundancy scheme' or face cuts in pay of up to
50% in some cases and the removal of their legal entitlements to annual leave
or even days off including weekends. The Company offered the workers six weeks
pay for every year they worked but if they did not accept that by Oct 2 the
company would withdraw that offer leaving the workers with just the two weeks
statutory redundancy.

Until strike action was threatened by SIPTU the company had refused to negotiate
or allow any third party intervention. It also refused to consider a recommendation
that the option of a 5% salary cut for Irish Ferries directors and senior managers
be examined.

9. Collusion probe barriers

JUDGE PETER CORY has said that a British state agency had withheld documents
from his inquiry team investigating allegations of British state collusion with
Loyalist death squads. The Canadian judge was giving a rare public address at the annual meeting of the Irish American Unity Conference in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on October 1.

"When I thought the report was ready, I wrote to all the security agencies again
and asked: 'Have you given me everything?' As a result, I got a whole bunch
more [documents] and had to add an addendum," he said.

Judge Cory said he had had to observe stringent security measures while examining
documents held at New Scotland Yard relating to the 1989 murder of human-rights
solicitor Pat Finucane. "Documents led to other documents. Some places were
extremely difficult. Some would even deny they exist. One lady from an agency
left her purse behind when delivering documents and, when I called her number
to tell her, the first question was: 'How did you get this number?' Then they
said: 'We don't exist and anyhow, we don't know her.'

"MI5 were more difficult. If I made notes, they had to see them and ensure they
accompanied me until they were put in the safe," he said. "I never went anywhere
on their premises alone. Even if I went to the john, they came with me - the first time that had happened since kindergarten."

Judge Cory said his report on the Pat Finucane killing, the first report to
be finished, had been taken out of Britain by the Canadian High Commissioner
in a diplomatic pouch and given to the Canadian secret service for safekeeping.
The Cory reports recommended public inquiries into the killings of Robert Hamill,
Rosemary Nelson, Pat Finucane, Billy Wright and RUC superintendents Harry Breen
and Bob Buchanan.

Judge Peter Cory has condemned British efforts to limit the scope of the Pat
Finucane inquiry as "intolerable" and said he could not imagine "any self-respecting
Canadian judge accepting an appointment to any inquiry constituted under the
new proposed act".

Judge Cory said the inquiries legislation proposed by the British government
was much weaker than the 1921 Public Inquiry Act. He said it would create an
"intolerable Alice in Wonderland situation" where those being investigated could
veto the inquiry.

10. Add for British police is 'collaboration'

IN A STATEMENT on October 2 the PRO of the Willie Stewart/Joe Conway Cumann,
Republican Sinn Féin, Dundalk said:

"An edition of the 'Argos' newspaper (Dundalk) on or around September 13, 2005
carried an advertisement encouraging readers to apply for positions in the RUC/PSNI.

"Republican Sinn Féin in Dundalk are disgusted that the editor of the Argos
felt it appropriate to attempt to legitimise an unacceptable police force that
continues to be the face of British occupation on the ground in the Occupied
Six Counties.

"The PSNI, like the RUC before them, continue to harass nationalists and Republicans
in the Six Counties and any attempt to legitimise them should be seen for what
it is - collaboration with a colonial police force!"

11. Belfast Council's £100k for 'sectarian' bonfires

Unionist councillors have voted to give £100,000 in funding to loyalist bonfires,
despite the burning of posters of nationalist politicians and an effigy mocking
nationalist suicides. Earlier this year Belfast City Council choose eight loyalist
areas to take part in a pilot project to encourage better management of July
11 bonfires.

The scheme followed concerns about an increase in the number of bonfires in
2004. Further concerns were raised over the health impact of thousands of tyres
being burned and the presence of Loyalist gunmen at the events.
A council report into bonfires at the eight funded sites has found:

· UVF gunmen took part in a 'show of strength' at Pitt Park in east Belfast

· An effigy mocked suicides of nationalist men in Ardoyne on the Westland bonfire
in north Belfast

· election posters of nationalist candidates and SDLP deputy leader Alasdair
McDonnell were burned at Annadale, south Belfast

· there were multiple burnings of Irish tricolours and erections of loyalist
paramilitary flags

· There was also a UDA show of strength at a non-funded bonfire at Ballysillan
in north Belfast.

The cost of the scheme included council funding of £48,000 and £60,000 in repair
costs. But despite receiving nearly double the number of bonfire complaints
compared to 2004, unionists have voted to go ahead with funding for even more
loyalist bonfires next year.

12. RSF welcome release of Rossport 5

In a statement welcoming the release of the Rossport 5 on September 30 RSF Vice
President Des Dalton said: "Republican Sinn Fein welcomes the release of the
Rossport 5 on September 30 and salutes the moral courage and leadership they
displayed during their 94 days of imprisonment. The very fact that they served
one day in prison is an indictment of a state, which is willing to jail its
own citizens at the behest of multi-national oil companies, whilst it places
the safety and welfare of its citizens solely in the hands of these same companies.

"The release of the men does not mark the end of the campaign as they themselves
have always pointed out; it merely marks a new phase in it. Firstly the gas
extracted from the Corrib gas field must be refined off shore. Secondly, the
Irish people must get a return economically from any exploitation of Ireland's
natural resources. Under the present arrangement with Shell and Statoil no royalties
will be paid and only 10 per cent tax, the norm is at least 25 per cent. This
arrangement must be renegotiated on terms that will have real benefit for the
Irish people. It is thanks to the Rossport 5 and their community that what amounts
to the theft of Ireland's natural resources by successive 26 County administrations
has been put centre stage". RSF also took part in a national rally in Dublin
on October 1 attended by up to 3000 people to support the demands of the Rossport
community; the rally was addressed by the released men. (Full report October


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