22 October 2005

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Finucane probe delayed by lack of inquiry judge

Belfast Telegraph

Drive forces legal experts to snub hearing

By Chris Thornton, Political Correspondent
cthornton@belfasttelegraph.co.uk
22 October 2005

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Pat Finucane, murdered by State-sponsored terrorism

A CAMPAIGN to discourage judges from taking charge of the inquiry into Pat Finucane's murder appears to have handcuffed the Government's plans for setting up the probe.

Two years after the inquiry was recommended by retired Canadian Supreme Court Justice Peter Cory, the Government has been unable to appoint a judge to oversee the case.

Sources close to the case say numerous judges have been approached about conducting the inquiry - looking at collusion in the solicitor's 1989 murder - but so far all have declined to take part.

The judges' reluctance appears to be the result of an international campaign by the family of the murdered solicitor and Amnesty International, who said the inquiry would be "a sham".

The campaign to discourage judges from taking the case was launched in response to the Inquiries Act, the special legislation passed six months ago for holding the Finucane probe.

The family and human rights groups objected to the legislation, saying it increased the Government's ability to control the information that went before the inquiry.

Bloody Sunday Inquiry chief Lord Saville is among the senior legal figures who have objected to the Act and Justice Cory said it would make a proper examination of the Finucane case "impossible".

Preparations for the inquiry are continuing. The investigation team under former Metropolitan Police Commissioner Lord Stevens - the detective who uncovered collusion in the case - is currently indexing all the material they found during the years spent investigating the Finucane murder and other collusion cases.

But finding a judge to chair the inquiry appears to remain a stumbling block.

However, Ministers insist they will not be going back to the drawing board.

A spokesman for the Northern Ireland Office said: "We are currently taking forward arrangements for the establishment of the inquiry.

"The Secretary of State hopes to make an announcement on its terms of reference and membership in due course."

Two years have passed since Justice Cory recommended an inquiry into the case.

The Government held on to his report for six months before publishing it.

Then in September 2004 the then Secretary of State, Paul Murphy, announced plans for the Inquiries Act, which he said would allow the Finucane case to be conducted "speedily and effectively".

The legislation was pushed through Parliament in April, days before Westminster broke up for the general election. Around the time it was passed, a senior British official told the UN Human Rights Commission that a "large proportion" of the inquiry would have to be held in secret.

Howard moved to an English prison


Belfast Telegraph


Killer cleared of Arlene murder is transferred

By Jonathan McCambridge, Crime Correspondent
jmccambridge@belfasttelegraph.co.uk
22 October 2005

KILLER Robert Howard was last night transferred from Northern Ireland to a high security prison in England.

The 61-year-old paedophile, who had been held in Maghaberry, was handed over to HM Prison Service and transferred to Frankland Prison in Durham.

Howard was tried earlier this year for the murder of Castlederg teenager Arlene Arkinson. He was acquitted on June 27.

Originally from Wolfhill in Co Laois, Howard was sentenced to life in 2003 for the murder of 15-year-old Kent schoolgirl Hannah Williams, whose body was discovered at a cement works in Northfleet in March 2002.

There was outrage last month after Howard's 40-year catalogue of sex crimes was revealed when reporting restrictions imposed in court were lifted.

He had committed a catalogue of offences in the Republic, Northern Ireland and England stretching back to 1964, when he attempted to rape a six-year-old girl in London.

The killer's case has drawn huge criticism of the legal system and of police in Ulster.

Howard was on bail when Arlene Arkinson went missing in 1994, and was serving a suspended sentence when he murdered Hannah Williams in 2002.

It is understood that police in the Republic have applied for permission to interview Howard about a number of missing person cases.

Detectives want to quiz him about his movements over the last 25 years when he moved around Ireland and had at least 12 addresses.

It is believed Garda have reopened the case of Jo Jo Dullard (21) who disappeared in November 1995 while hitching to her home in Co Kilkenny. They are also investigating the disappearance of American Annie McCarrick (26), who lived in Dublin and vanished while walking in Co Wicklow in March 1993.

A Talk With Danny D

Bobby Sands Trust

Article posted by Rob Holmes 16/01/03

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The muralists: Danny D (right) and Marty Lyons - BBC photo

Ever since the Hunger Strike of ten Republican prisoners in 1981, political murals have been a significant feature of communities in Belfast, Derry and other cities across Northern Ireland, dotting the landscape in both Protestant and Catholic neighborhoods.

Danny Devenney, one of the most prominent muralists in the North, and I make our way to his studio, which is tucked away at the end of a dark corridor on the second floor of Conway Mill, a rather imposing structure that used to house an old flax mill. My eyes roam the walls of his workplace like searchlights. The studio consists of two rooms -- space where Danny and his partner Martin paint much of their work and an office that adjoins the studio through an old door propped open by a chair. It would be a rather drab place if not for the many photographs, newspaper articles and other memorabilia that decorate the large wall above the two tables that serve as a desk. The carpeting is old and frayed and flecked with dried paint. The only window in the office looks out on a listless gray landscape of buildings that all bleed together.

Danny lights a cigarette. I am at the mercy of where Danny's thoughts take him. He tells me of not getting into Arts College in Belfast, of how Catholics did not gain admission to such university positions in the late 1960s. As he flicks the ash of his cigarette, Danny casually exclaims, "in 1970 I ended up in jail -- Longkesh. "We tried to rob a bank." Danny re-enacts the failed attempt to take a hostage in the bank; his eyes flashing with unsettling intensity. Danny could not pull the trigger. The British security forces did not have the same problem and shot him four times. Two other IRA volunteers, Danny's companions, were shot dead.

"So you started painting and drawing in the Kesh?" I ask.

"While I was in hospital my mother brought me paints and brushes. With little else to do, I started sketching things in bed. The nurses would ask me to draw things for them. Even the British soldiers would ask me to draw for them." "What would they ask you to draw?" "A typical IRA man," Danny replies with a laugh. Just before Christmas in 1976, after spending six years in prison, Danny was released. His artistic talent, which he had used to design IRA pamphlets and leaflets (that were smuggled out) in prison, would now find a home at the An Phoblacht (the Republican News).

By 1981, with the Hunger Strike under way, murals began to appear across the North. Danny quickly took to the new medium, which blended artistic vision with political and social issues. "Murals are a part of the voice of the community . . . reflecting things within the community," Danny explains. Rain pours down outside. Danny lights another cigarette.

"Do you have anything in common with the Protestant muralists of Belfast?" I ask.

"Our medium is the only similarity. Their message is about triumphalism and promoting sectarianism. Yes, there has always been sectarianism." Danny's cell phone rings. A chilling mural from Derry's Waterside neighborhood of a Loyalist emerging from the ruins of the Bogside, while a slain Catholic lies slumped over a rock "What's the craic?" fires Danny. Another muralist has called seeking advice about a project. "Stick to the lark," Danny replies when asked about the use of a symbol to represent Bobby Sands, the most famous of the Hunger Strikers.

Sitting in a grayness of smoke and rain, I was warmed by the words and images crafted by Danny Devenney for nearly two hours. For all the acclaim Danny has received for his work, it has not changed him -- save to add a few strands of gray to his dark brown shoulder-length hair. Together with Marty Lyons, he has painted murals for Hollywood movies (The Devil's Own) and Broadway shows -- and yet he still lives in the Short Strand, the neighborhood of his youth, and always has time for people.

Later at a pub I asked Martin if he would ever leave West Belfast. "Oh, no. Even if I hit the lotto, I would buy the biggest house in West Belfast." I left Conway Mill and made my way onto the Falls Road, walking past a mural that Danny and Martin had recently painted. One thought flooded my mind -- beauty emerging from the void of violence and bigotry.

Old firm flap over banner

Belfast Telegraph

By Robert Watt
newsdesk@belfasttelegraph.co.uk
22 October 2005

BELFAST artist Danny Devenney is at the centre of a 'Bannergate' storm in Scotland.

The former IRA prisoner was recently commissioned by an officially backed Celtic fans group, the Jungle Bhoys, to produce a banner marking the 20th anniversary of the death of legendary Parkhead manager Jock Stein.

But Rangers fans claim their club has been the victim of a media witch-hunt over even the slightest of contentious issues.

Now they are angry that Celtic's links with a convicted republican have been allowed to go unreported.

"There are double standards at work here, perhaps even something more sinister," declared Mark Dingwall, editor of the Rangers fanzine, Follow Follow, and a board member of the Rangers Supporters Trust.

"It seems to be open season on Rangers but nobody dares to say anything which asks questions of Celtic. A few weeks ago a Sunday newspaper carried a story about the grass on the Ibrox pitch being cut and rolled in a pattern which resembled an Orange collarette. I'm afraid that one passed over my head, seeing as the pitch remained green.

"It was a non-story, yet it commanded a prominent page in the paper.

"There was even the suggestion that Celtic would be entitled to demand that the match they lost on August 28 be replayed."

More recently, he continued, a few Rangers fans sang Derry's Walls at the Inter Milan v Rangers game and, because the match was played behind closed doors, the singing was heard on TV.

"So many media men were in such a hurry to get up on their soap box and criticise Rangers for the singing of a 'sectarian' song.

"Yet for reasons best known to themselves, they remain silent about Celtic effectively hiring the services of this convicted IRA terrorist."

Celtic's stance is that Devenney was commissioned by the fans, not the club, but when asked if they would prefer the Jungle Bhoys to have found an alternative artist, they adopted a strict 'no comment' line.

Man charged over UVF membership

BBC

A Liverpool man has been charged under the Terrorism Act with membership of the banned loyalist group the Ulster Volunteer Force.

John Irwin, 43, of Scarsdale Road, Norris Green, was appearing in court in Manchester on Saturday.

He is also charged with possessing items for "a terrorist purpose" and possessing an illegal firearm.

Mr Irwin was arrested by Greater Manchester Police's anti-terrorist unit on Thursday in Liverpool.

Loyalists 'must follow' IRA move

BBC

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Loyalists are being urged to follow the IRA move on arms

Ulster Unionist leader Sir Reg Empey has urged loyalist paramilitaries to re-engage with the body overseeing the decommissioning process.

Sir Reg said loyalists should respond to the IRA's latest disarmament move.

He also said mainstream unionists could not be absolved of responsibility for some people being drawn into the ranks of loyalist paramilitaries.

Sir Reg was speaking to the BBC as the party holds its first annual conference since he became leader.

He told the BBC's Inside Politics programme on Saturday: "Loyalists should engage with the decommissioning body.

"I think a lot of them now recognise that things have moved on - times have changed.

"It's not possible to sustain their current position and they did say over the years that in the circumstances where the IRA were clearly moving off the field, they would respond to that positively.

"I think the time has come to make that response."

Last month, General de Chastelain, the head of the arms decommissioning body, said the IRA had now put all its arms beyond use.

The general said he was satisfied the IRA had given up all its weapons, and said he hoped loyalists would as well.

Loyalists are said to have an "on-off" relationship with the general.

The two major loyalist paramilitary groups are the Ulster Volunteer Force and Ulster Defence Association.

A number of guns belonging to the Loyalist Volunteer Force were destroyed in 1998 in a token gesture of decommissioning, but no further arms have been handed over from any of the loyalist groups.

Meanwhile, at the party conference on Saturday there will be a contest for the post of party president.

It will be fought between Martin Smyth, who had challenged the leadership of David Trimble and Lord Rogan who was one of his strongest allies.

There are 16 candidates vying for six new officer posts, including Johnny Andrews whose grandfather and namesake was Northern Ireland's second prime minister.

The former Royal Irish Regiment leader, Colonel Tim Collins, will also speak at the conference about the disbandment of the regiment's home battalions.


BreakingNews.ie: Young people unite to discuss peaceful Ireland

BreakingNews.ie

22/10/2005 - 08:39:32

The youth wings of Labour and SDLP meet in Belfast today to discuss a new Ireland free of sectarian division.

Both parties have been forging strong links in recent months to promote a social democratic political agenda.

Labour Youth recently held a recruitment campaign in Northern Ireland and attracted members from different backgrounds and communities.

Labour Youth chairman Donal O’Liathain said: “It is important, we feel, that people can express themselves in politics in a peaceful fashion and look forward to a new Ireland where people are united, free from sectarian division.

“Young people North and South have been scarred by the Troubles but we have the power to make the future a happier one for all,” he said.

Guest speakers at the event at Stormont include SDLP MLA Patsy McGlone, Belfast deputy mayor Pat Convery and Ulster Unionist Party member and former Irish rugby international Trevor Ringland.

'Paedo' Curtin to mount Supreme Court challenge this week

Irish Independent

**He should be mounting the steps to a prison cell

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CIRCUIT Court Judge Brian Curtin is to mount a Supreme Court challenge to the procedures that were put in place by the Oireachtas to investigate and decide upon his suitability as a judge.

Seven judges will on Monday begin hearing Judge Curtin's appeal against the High Court's rejection of his challenge to the mechanism adopted by the Oireachtas to investigate his alleged misbehaviour.

This is the first time the Supreme Court has been asked to rule on the powers of the Oireachtas to investigate a judge for 'stated misbehaviour.'

If Judge Curtin loses the appeal he will face legal bills amounting to €600,000.

LEGAL BILLS

Judge Curtin will be represented by three senior counsel in the appeal which has been listed for three days.

The State will be represented by two senior counsel and the Oireachtas Committee by one senior counsel.

The Judge suffered a legal defeat last May when the High Court dismissed his application to prevent an All Party Oireachtas Committee from accessing his computer.

In April 2004 Judge Curtin he was acquitted of possessing child pornography, when it emerged that a warrant under which his computer was seized was out of date.

Last May Mr Justice Thomas Smyth in the High Court found the Oireachtas was within its powers in ordering an investigation and the procedures put in place were fair and within the law.

The Circuit Court Judge's appeal will centre on the construction of Article 35 of the Constitution which deals with the appointment and removal of judges from office.

This will be the first time that the Supreme Court will be asked to decide on the precise meaning of Article 35 and whether the procedures set up by the Oireachtas in relation to Judge Curtin conform with it for the purposes of removal of a judge.

The State will contend the establishment by the Oireachtas of a Joint Committee to investigate the alleged misbehaviour respects Judge Curtin's rights and allows him to put his case. Those claims will be disputed by Judge Curtin's lawyers.

Ann O'Loughlin


Fianna Fail to reclaim 1916 with Easter military pomp

Irish Independent

FIANNA Fail is to re-claim the legacy of 1916 by bringing back military parades in front of the GPO from next Easter.

Taoiseach Bertie Ahern announced the Easter Rising commemoration plans in what's being seen as a bid to counter the threat posed by Sinn Fein before the next general election.

Over 3,000 delegates at the Ard Fheis delivered a rapturous response when he announced that the Defence Forces will march past the GPO in Dublin on the 90th anniversary of the rising, to show they are the true successors of the volunteers.

CELEBRATION

And the Taoiseach confirmed the Government will establish a 1916 Centenary Committee to plan for a major celebration in 2016.

Even though he said this was a Government decision, Mr Ahern made it clear that Fianna Fail is laying primary claim to the Rising.

"Next Easter Sunday, we are reintroducing a parade to commemorate 1916. Our Defence Forces - the only legitimate army of the Irish people - will parade to commemorate this historic event and their proud contribution in the service of the State," he told cheering delegates.

Mr Ahern said the State will "recognise and praise the vision of the volunteers of 1916 and indeed the War of Independence. . . . The Irish people need to reclaim the spirit of 1916, which is not the property of those who have abused and debased the title of republicanism."

And he told party members: "I want next Easter to be an expression of our pride as a nation. This is our State's inheritance."

The last major military parade to commemorate 1916 was for the 50th anniversary in 1966. The annual parades were abandoned after the Troubles in the North exploded and the IRA launched its 30-year campaign of violence.

The last official commemoration was in 1991, the 75th anniversary, when there was a token military presence outside the GPO.

With Fianna Fail morale suffering a battering in recent weeks Mr Ahern used the opening address of the Ard Fheis in Killarney to signal the government party is gearing up for a fightback against Sinn Fein.

Although he did not name Sinn Fein, the Taoiseach said the Government wanted to demonstrate that 1916 was not the property "of those who abused and debased the title of republicanism."

Indicating that his party was preparing for a big political fight-back to recover from months of setbacks, he warned delegatesthat the key to winning the next election was their commitment to the campaign.

"We have a strong case to make to the Irish people. As candidates are nominated, as campaigns begin, it is vital that all of us . . . go door to door and make the case for Fianna Fail," he urged.

'BOUNCE'

He also signalled that the Government is expecting a popularity "bounce" when the €15bn of SSIA savings start coming on stream.

And the onslaught against the opposition leaders is to continue today with an attack on the Labour Party leader, Pat Rabbitte.

Defence Minister Willie O'Dea will claim that not only did Labour lose the 2002 election badly, "they ended up with an aging windbag as leader . . . though, compared to the rest of his parliamentary party, he's a mere gasún".

O'Dea is also expected to round on the former links between Rabbitte and Sean Garland, who was arrested in Belfast recently on charges related to alleged forgery of US dollars.

The opposition parties, he will tell delegates, are only just starting to muster themselves into a credible alternative government.

Brian Dowling
Political Correspondent



Today in history: Bomb blast in London club

BBC ON THIS DAY

22 October 1974


Damage to the interior of the club was extensive

A bomb has exploded in Brooks Club, London, injuring three members of staff.

One of the first on the scene was Conservative Party leader Edward Heath who was dining nearby.

"I don't think it was meant for me. I didn't decide to have dinner out until a quarter of an hour before," he said.

Describing the scene, Mr Heath said: "There is a lot of damage, the ceiling is down in one room and it is a shambles."

None of the waiters is believed to be seriously injured and they are being treated in hospital for cuts and shock.

They had been relaxing in the restaurant area after all the diners had left when the bomb went off.

Wine Steward Michael Plank described what happened: "I was sitting on a chair in the serving area behind a screen eating a meal and the two boys were washing up. We heard something smashing like crockery."

As they went to investigate the bomb exploded.

There was a function taking place on the floor above in a room just off the main dining area, but there were no reports of injuries.

Police are now trying to establish how and where the 5lb (2.27kg) bomb was planted.

"It may well have been placed from the inside rather than the outside by someone who may have had access. There is always a possibility it could have been thrown," said Commander Robert Hardy of Scotland Yard.

The bombing is the latest in a series of attacks on clubs with military connections.

Although Brooks Club has no serving officers as members it does attract retired officers.

Bomb squad detectives said they thought it had been an "establishment target".

In Context

Investigations by Scotland Yard's bomb squad concluded the bomb had been left inside the restaurant.

It is thought the Provisional IRA was behind the spate of bomb attacks in London in 1974.

The attacks came in a year of IRA violence after an attempt at power sharing between the different factions in Northern Ireland broke down.

Later that year, Edward Heath was a direct target of the IRA when a bomb exploded at his London home on 22 December.

It was the third time in a year he had been involved in a bomb attack. No-one was injured.

21 October 2005

Tutu flies in to 'township challenge' in Dublin

BreakingNews.ie

21/10/2005 - 17:40:51

Nobel Prize-winner Archbishop Desmond Tutu made a flying visit to Dublin today to back an housebuilding scheme which aims to transform lives in a township in South Africa.

The third Niall Mellon Township Challenge will see 700 Irish volunteers heading out to Cape Town from next week to build at least 100 brick houses for shack dwellers in Imizamo Yethu.

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Archbishop Tutu said the generosity of the Irish people involved in the charity who have each raised €4,000 to take part in the two-week project left him breathless.

“This is a fantastic initiative which will make a real difference to the lives of thousands of ordinary South Africans in Cape Town,” he said.

“I am so proud of the Irish volunteers who are giving their time and money to help my people.”

Property developer Niall Mellon, who founded the project, thanked Archbishop Tutu for his continuing support of the township challenge.

“The speech which Archbishop Tutu made at our gala dinner last year to mark the end of the township challenge was extremely moving,” he said.

“It played a major role in motivating many of our volunteers into signing up again for this year’s challenge.

“In the last 10 years, more than one-and-a-half million homes have been built by the South African government.

“I see the Township Challenge as lending a hand in admiration of the great effort and struggle that South Africa faces in housing almost 10 million shack dwellers.

“I am confident they will do it,” Mr Mellon added.

The first township challenge in 2003 saw 150 builders travel to Imizamo Yethu to build 25 houses.

In 2004, 350 volunteers built 50 homes, and the response this year was so large the trip had to be staggered over two weeks.

While most of the volunteers have a background in the building industry, around 20% of them has never laid a brick before.

The first group of 200 builders leaves Dublin on Friday, October 28 followed by a second team of 450 leaving on November 4, with around 50 who will be working for the entire fortnight.

They have set themselves the daunting task of constructing between 100 and 120 homes over the two weeks, but Mr Mellon said he was confident they could pull it off.

“Our volunteers will be working flat out for the two weeks that they are in Cape Town,” he said.

“It won’t be a holiday for them, but if they achieve their target they will have changed the lives of 1,000 residents of the township for the better forever.”

Sister moves house after killing

BBC


Paula McCartney is moving out of the area

A sister of murdered Belfast man Robert McCartney is moving out of her home in disgust at the way her family has been treated since the killing.

Paula McCartney, who has lived in the nationalist Short Strand for 40 years, said she felt "disillusioned, disgusted and betrayed" since the murder.

Mr McCartney, 33, was stabbed to death outside a Belfast bar in January. Two men have been charged over his murder.

Paula is the last of Mr McCartney's four sisters to leave the area.

She has spent the last few days with her husband, Jim and their five children, preparing to leave an area where their family ties date back 100 years.

"We've had very happy times in this house but now it's just all been soiled," she told BBC Radio Ulster.

"The urge to not be here is getting stronger by the hour. The fact that there's still people allegedly involved in Robert's murder walking around, getting on with their lives here in the Short Strand, and we don't believe that we can.

"We have suffered an injustice by having our brother brutally taken from us, that's only a further injustice."

The Short Strand area has been home to five generations of the McCartney family.

However, their high-profile campaign for justice for their brother's murder brought them into conflict with the IRA and Sinn Fein in the past nine months.

Some republicans saw the campaign as treachery.

The family claimed there was an IRA campaign of intimidation against them and said republicans were trying to drive them out.

However, Paula said that even though they were moving out of the area, they were as determined as ever to continue with their justice campaign.

"We're still having to fight as strong as we fought a month after Robert died," she said.


Robert McCartney was stabbed outside a Belfast bar on 30 January

"The fact I am moving out of the Short Strand may indicate to some people defeat, it certainly isn't.

"Those people who played a part in any way in Robert's murder should be under no illusion that they will be held to account at some stage."

In September, a crowd picketed the home where Mr McCartney's partner Bridgeen Hagans and her children live.

Sinn Fein called for an end to all intimidation of the family and the party insisted no members of the IRA were involved.

Both the IRA and Sinn Fein have said they support the family's calls for justice.

In the course of the past nine months, the McCartney sisters and his partner have met senior politicians.

Their campaign has taken them from east Belfast to the White House - meeting US President George Bush in Washington in March and the Irish Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern.

But despite their heartache since January, it was not an easy decision for Paula to leave the Short Strand.

"I am going to be leaving good friends and neighbours which saddens me," she said.

"I will always be proud to say that I come from the Short Strand."





Hain under fire for 'pro-nationalist stance'

BreakingNews.ie

21/10/2005 - 18:04:15

Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain was tonight accused of being overtly pro-nationalist.

In a hard-hitting attack on the minister, Democratic Unionist MEP Jim Allister claimed Mr Hain found it impossible to wean himself off a nationalist agenda.

And as nationalist SDLP deputy leader Dr Alastair McDonnell challenged the DUP to publish their 64-page dossier of demands to Downing Street, Mr Allister accused the British government of embarking on a strategy to demoralise unionists.

The MEP told party colleagues in Newtownstewart, West Tyrone: “Peter Hain among unionists is fast becoming as distrusted and despised as Mo Mowlam, who was the last Secretary of State so overtly pro-nationalist.

“In the end unionists could not and would not work with her.

“Hain looks like he may be heading the same way.”

Mr Allister said the Northern Ireland Secretary had a lamentably blank scorecard in his efforts to win the confidence of unionists.

“Indeed, all the signs are that he finds it impossible to wean himself away from a nationalist agenda,” the DUP MEP claimed.

Mr Allister cited the release of Shankill bomber Sean Kelly from prison on the eve of the IRA’s statement declaring an end to its armed struggle in July as one example of the minister’s move to appease nationalists.

He also condemned the tearing down of British army watchtowers in the wake of the IRA statement, further plans to scale down the military presence including the scrapping of three Northern Ireland-based battalions of the Royal Irish Regiment, the appointment of former Women’s Coalition Assembly member Monica McWilliams as Chief Human Rights Commissioner and moves to ensure that if Sinn Féin turns down Policing Board seats next April that they will remain in nationalist hands.

The MEP continued: “I see at work at least two government purposes.

“First, they hope that by heaping upon us increasingly unacceptable manifestations of Direct Rule they will soften us up to the point where we will meekly accept the failed Belfast Agreement structures as being better than Green Direct Rule.

“We must not fall for that ploy.

“Second, making unionist politicians appear impotent in the face of unpalatable concessions spreads disillusionment, diminishes the unionist vote and thereby serves the government’s purpose of facilitating the nationalist solution.

“Remember this government is pledged to legislate for a unified Ireland if only the majority would acquiesce.

“Demoralising unionism is a key factor in their strategy. It behoves us all to redouble our determination not to play their game.”

Mr Allister and his colleagues were tonight challenged to publish their list of demands to the government as efforts continue to persuade the Reverend Ian Paisley’s party to revive power sharing with nationalists following the completion three weeks ago of IRA disarmament.

South Belfast MP Dr Alastair McDonnell said: “The SDLP has always urged the two governments to engage with all parties, rather than going the way of side deals which just encourage the parties to seek concessions against each other.

“We can now see where the flawed policy of side deals leads – to the DUP presenting a 64-page list of demands to the British government.

“I challenge the DUP to publish their list so that we can see just who they are negotiating for. Is it just for themselves or for the whole unionist community?

“Is it perhaps for the Orange Order? Might there be a single demand on the list which actually represents the interests of all the people of the North?

“These are things we need to know if we are to build confidence in the DUP’s political intentions.”


'PSNI Tried To Recruit Me' - Claims 'Terrified' Derry Man

Derry Journal

Friday 21st October 2005

A Derry man who is heavily involved in doing charity work for various groups around the city has claimed that the PSNI subjected him to 'a terrifying ordeal' in an attempt to get him to act as an informer. David Houston said that his ordeal took place on a lonely country road outside Claudy on Wednesday night and said he is still in a state of shock after what happened.

He told the 'Journal' what occurred: "I go to Jordanstown every week as part of the course I am doing and I take it in turns with a fellah from Claudy to share cars. This week I left my car in Claudy and we went up in his so later I collected my car from Claudy and began my journey home at around 8.30 or so. "Just outside Claudy there was a PSNI checkpoint and I was flagged down and pulled into a side road. They asked me for my documents and while I had no licence with me I had insurance details which they said was fine. Then while one of them was at my window talking another one got into the car and sat in the passenger seat and said they wanted a word with me. "As you can imagine this was very frightening for me as there were six of them and only me on this road with not another car in sight. Then they asked me about a fellah (a well known dissident republican) and I said I didn't know him and they asked me had I fallen out with the 'boys'.

"I told them I did not know what they were on about. Then they started talking about the various charity work I had done and saying things like 'we saw you in the paper' and the like. They even went so far as to pull out a pile of notes and offer them to me for my charity work." Mr. Houston added: "I told them that I wanted nothing to do with them or their money and they said that they just wanted me to give them a wee hand. They referred to me collecting for republican prisoners which I have done on some occasions and they said they were interested in who attended the meetings about the prisoners.

"I again told them I wanted nothing to do with them but they kept repeating that they only wanted 10 minutes of my time. They then mentioned three republicans by name and said they were interested in finding out about them and would I keep an eye on them." Mr. Houston went on: "At this stage I was terrified because I was thinking that I was alone on a dark road with six cops and not another being around. The policemen then said that they wanted to have a chat with me at Jordanstown the next week and they asked had I a mobile. I said no but one of them said I did and they took it off me and took down the number. One of them then said that I would receive a call on Tuesday night from 'John' and they would arrange to meet me on Wednesday. "I am still in shock over what happened and I am terrified they could be waiting for me next week when I go to Jordanstown again." Michael Gallagher of the Irish Republican Prisoners Welfare Association hit out at the actions of the PSNI and said that everyone who called for support for the PSNI had to take some responsibility for what had happened to Mr. Houston.

He said: "Those advocating support for the PSNI/RUC cannot escape responsibility for incidents like this when a man going about his business was subjected to a terrifying ordeal at the hands of these armed thugs. "If you support the PSNI then inevitably you support this sort of activity where people are being forced to become informers. It was pressure like this that probably resulted in Gareth O'Connor becoming an informer and eventually he was found at the bottom of Newry canal.

"I would call on everyone who comes under this sort of pressure to go public immediately as not everyone is as strong as David Houston in resisting this sort of pressure." Repeated attempts to contact the PSNI press office yesterday proved unsuccessful.


Report Says Protestants Not Missing Out

Derry Journal

Friday 21st October 2005

An Independent report into the allocation of an EU peace grants in the North has discredited DUP claims that Protestant community groups are more likely to be refused money than Catholic groups. The DUP demanded a review of the uptake of Peace II funding - designed to boost local community projects and infrastructure - after insisting groups in Protestant areas were being disenfranchised.

Now an independent report compiled by PriceWaterHouseCoopers on behalf of the Special European Programmes Body (SEUPB) - obtained by the 'Journal' - appears to show this is not the case. The report, published in January 2005, has found that funding applications from Protestant groups were more likely to be approved that those from groups in predominately Catholic areas in the last round of Peace II handouts. Large and small grants given to Protestant groups amounted to £2,930, 490 - more than half a million pounds more than what Catholic community groups received.

The report also found Catholic projects, which received £236,7002, were cross community while Protestant projects tended to be single identity. It concluded that 57 per cent of the value of all grants went to beneficiaries located in Protestant areas.

Despite the report, the DUP continues to claim that Protestant groups are missing out on Peace II money which has just been extended. The party also refuses to recognise that areas in Northern Ireland which suffer community infrastructure deficit are more likely to be home to the North's Catholics population. One representative linked to the Peace II Programme said yesterday: "This is the report the DUP did not want people to see. "They demanded a review after insisting Protestant groups were getting less EU money than Catholic projects. "But the independent report proves this is not the case. The distribution of EU funding is far from the cold house for Protestants that the DUP would have people believe." The DUP's Foyle MLA, Willie Hay yesterday challenged the report which, he said, does not mirror the findings of the EU's own investigation into the issue.

He said there was no doubt that Protestant areas in Northern Ireland were losing out. "I accept Protestant groups in this city have not done too badly out of Peace II because their community leaders have a proactive working relationship with the local strategy partnership which distributes Peace II funding.

"But that is not reflected across the whole of Northern Ireland. The problem is that some Protestant community groups have found it difficult to apply for the money in the first place. "They have found it difficult to draw the money and manage it because they do not have the same expertise as those in the nationalist community. "I will challenge this report until I see its terms of reference and explore how it arrived at its conclusions."


Judge lifts no-resuscitation order

Guardian

Fresh hope for Charlotte Wyatt's parents

Staff and agencies
Friday October 21, 2005

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Charlotte Wyatt with her mother Debbie at St Mary's hospital in Portsmouth earlier this year. Photograph: Solent News and Photos

A high court judge today ruled that profoundly disabled girl Charlotte Wyatt can be resuscitated if she suffers an emergency health problem.

Mr Justice Hedley previously said doctors could be allowed not to revive the girl, a decision which angered Charlotte's parents.

Darren and Debbie Wyatt said they were "very happy that the order which has been hanging over Charlotte for over a year now has been lifted".

Both the doctors and the parents now agree that Charlotte should not be resuscitated if she suffers major heart failure, but will be revived if she suffers something less serious.

Charlotte, who is two today, has been very ill since she was born with heart and lung problems, needing a constant supply of oxygen. She has never left St Mary's hospital in Portsmouth where she has been treated.

The judge formally lifted the existing declarations, but he stressed that the doctors could not be compelled to act against their conscience.

David Wolfe, counsel for the couple, told the judge: "The parents are most grateful for the opportunity to restore the normal parent-doctor relationship in this case.

"I am formally instructed to say on behalf of Charlotte 'thank you', remembering that it is Charlotte's second birthday today."

The judge replied: "Indeed, I am aware that people are heading off to the birthday party and I was going to ask them to convey whatever they can to say other people are thinking of her."

Afterwards, a statement issued on the couple's behalf, said they "are so happy that they can now get on with their lives and look forward to the future and look forward to Charlotte's homecoming and the birth of their other child".

It continued: "They would like to thank all the public for all their support and prayers and would like to thank the judge for lifting the order, especially on her birthday as they believe this is the best present that Charlotte could have.

"Now she can continue to get on with her life and progress and come home."

Reading out a detailed ruling in the case, the judge said he had come to the view that "at least at present no further declaratory relief is required".

"I hope that the trust and confidence of which both Dr K (Charlotte's consultant, who cannot be named for legal reasons) and the parents spoke can now develop with a view to securing the best for Charlotte, whether in life or death.

"It is said that cases like this have no winners, but here there is a chance that Charlotte may be the winner if her parents seize this opportunity constructively to build upon their trust and confidence in Dr K and the staff who have committed themselves in such exemplary fashion to her case," the judge said.

McCartneys prepare to leave east Belfast

RTE

21 October 2005 18:21



Paula McCartney, the sister of the murdered Belfast man Robert McCartney, is this weekend preparing to leave her home in the Short Strand with her husband and son.

Paula is the last of the McCartneys to leave east Belfast following the murder of her brother by IRA members outside Maginnis's Bar in the city last January.

The family will leave the area where they have lived for 40 years over the course of the weekend.

She has said leaving the area should not be seen as a sign of defeat and the family's campaign for justice regarding their brother's death will continue.

They Put The Flag a-Flyin' The Roscommon Volunteers 1916-1923

Posted by Mike Costello via Lew Thorne:

It's Here!

They Put The Flag a-Flyin' The Roscommon Volunteers 1916-1923

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After twelve years in the making, the book by Kathleen Hegarty Thorne about the Roscommon Volunteers has finally been born.

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Vital Statistics: 540 pages long, on an 8 1/2 by 11" format, 342 pictures, quality paper throughout, graced by an original watercolour of the Shankill Monument on its cover. The book begins with a 200 page story of the War for Independence and Civil War in and around County Roscommon, followed by a 30 page Chronology of the week-by-week, sometimes day-by-day happenings of the time period. The next and largest section of the book includes an alphabetical listing of Volunteers in Roscommon. The entries include the war activities of the various individuals, information which was derived from the North and South Roscommon commanders' papers, as well as from intelligence papers in the Military Archives in Dublin. Several hundred Volunteers' photos are also included. The next section of the book, the Surrounding Volunteers, lists the command structure of the Irish Republican Army in the neighbouring counties of Galway, Mayo, Longford, Leitrim, Sligo, and Westmeath. In order to facilitate the reader in locating specific people and places, the book concludes with a 36 page index (triple column) which includes all Volunteers' names in Roscommon and many in surrounding counties, place names, and themes addressed in the story section of the book.

Where to Get it: The initial launch in Ireland will take place on Sunday, 30 October, 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Abbey Hotel ballroom in Roscommon town. Very few speeches will be given, but music, food, and friendship will abound. The afternoon's entertainment will include tunes by local musicians, and an on-going slide show of the people who helped put this book together. After the initial launch, satellite launches are planned for Boyle, Castlerea, and perhaps Athlone in the first weeks of November.

Cost: The book will retail for 45 Euro, with discounts available for multiple purchases. The cost in the US will be $49.95 plus $6 shipping in the continental United States. The book can be shipped Air Post internationally, but the book weighs 4.5 lbs and Air Post shipping costs from the USA for one book to the Republic of Ireland is US$ 24.00 and to all other International destinations the cost is US$32.00. More information regarding shipping costs can be obtained by clicking on the "Order Button" on the generationpublishing web site that corresponds to the shipping destination.

Where to buy the book after November 1: They Put the Flag a Flyin' The Roscommon Volunteers 1916-1923 will be distributed by Easons in Ireland and available in local bookstores. In the United States the book will be available after September 15, 2005 on the Internet. Simply type in www.generationpublishing.com and specifics about the book will be presented. Generation Publishing will accept credit cards, and shipping will take place within days of the order.


More loyalist threats: 'We'll Bring Ulster To A Total Standstill'

News Letter

Gemma Murray, Security Correspondent
Thursday 20th October 2005

Loyalist women have threatened to bring Northern Ireland to a standstill on November 4 if they do not get the face-to-face meetings they are demanding with the Secretary of State. Women Raising Unionist Concerns (WRUC), who formed last month in the aftermath of the Whiterock parade and subsequent rioting, said they are not going away and claimed it is time for Prime Minister Tony Blair to "wake up and smell the coffee".
Chairwoman of the group Jean Barnes, from east Belfast, said their movement had "nothing to do with paramilitaries and everything to do with saving our culture, schools, traditions and Ulster". She said Ulster's men had their chance, and now it is time for them to "get out of the way". "It is our turn to sort the problems out a different way - through peaceful protest and dialogue," she said.

Earlier this week, the WRUC delivered a letter outlining their concerns to representatives at Stormont. They gave the letter to UUP, PUP and SDLP politicians.
"We then hand-delivered the letter to the offices of Sinn Fein, the DUP and Alliance," said Jean. "The Secretary of State, Peter Hain, told us his door would always be open to hear our concerns but that has not been the case. "We want the Government to know that we are aware of what they are doing - how they are trying to erode the unionist people by conquering and dividing them and then driving them into the ground. "The Government are always one step ahead - but we want everyone to know what they are trying to do." Last month, loyalist women blocked main roads throughout Belfast for more than six consecutive days in protest at police brutality towards Protestants.

"The strength of emotion coming from women in Protestant areas really hit home last month after Whiterock," said Ms Barnes. "We got together for a couple of meetings in the Spectrum Centre in the Shankill and WRUC got off the ground. "Peter Hain and Tony Blair had better sit up and take notice because we proved a couple of weeks ago that we could bring Ulster to a standstill through road protests.
"And if we have not heard back from the politicians by November 4 we will take to the streets again. "We will bring Ulster to a standstill. We will go where we have to go and do what we have to do. "On November 4, if we have nothing, every road in Belfast will be closed at 3pm. "We do not just want a letter back from the parties, we want face-to-face meetings and accountability."

g.murray@newsletter.co.uk


SDLP attempting to stop further Policing change

Sinn Féin

Published: 21 October, 2005

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Policing issues Gerry Kelly has accused the SDLP of "being part of a new policing establishment opposing necessary progressive changes to the current arrangements". Mr Kelly's remarks come after the SDLP and Policing Board launched another attack on Community Restorative Justice Programmes.

Mr Kelly said:

"Community Restorative Justice does not pretend to be an alternative to an acceptable and accountable policing service. Such projects are additional to a policing service and are now common place across the world. Indeed the Oversight Commissioner has praised the work of the schemes currently operating here.

"The SDLP's opposition to Community Restorative Justice has nothing at all to do with these schemes or the way they operate. It is built upon a need to prevent further necessary policing changes to justify their flawed decision to jump too early onto policing. The SDLP have in effect become part of a new policing establishment determined to prevent the sort of changes necessary to deliver Patten and deliver an accountable policing service.

"When the SDLP joined the Policing Board they claimed that they would work for further changes from within. In effect they are doing exactly the opposite. They are on one hand trying to prevent further change while on the other supporting the sort of political policing which sees the PSNI deem the anti Catholic campaign in North Antrim as neighbourly disputes or fails to act when former Special Branchman Eric Anderson admits on television to the theft of files in order to frustrate the work of the Police Ombudsman's office.

"If the SDLP want to have a genuine debate on Community Restorative Justice then lets have it. But they should stop attacking what is regarded as a progressive and valued community facility in an attempt to justify their own flawed position on policing." ENDS

DUP accused of failing to protect schools services

Sinn Féin

Published: 21 October, 2005

Sinn Féin's Education spokesperson Michael Ferguson has said that the decision by the DUP to defer the Motion to reinstate the School Transport for thousand of children in rural areas for two weeks is unacceptable.

The DUP are seeking the deferment to allow the Board Accountant to bring forward proposals to cut other services, which is equally unacceptable.

Commenting on the Proposal Michael Ferguson,

"The DUP have deferred the Motion to reinstate the School Bus Service rather that support a Cross Community lobby which is not only opposed to cuts to the Bus Service but to all cuts.

"The DUP decision is immoral and could result in cuts to other school services. Sinn Fein has made its position clear and like those campaigning for a return of the School Bus Service will not police a bad budget.

"All political parties should join with us not only in opposing any further cuts but demand the British Government provide a real budget to support Education and Learning.

"If we are to manage change then there must be flexibility in spending. Quite often, as with other boards, this has resulted in additional spend.

"I am calling upon the DUP to join us in a new Assembly and take responsibility for the budget with us so that locally accountable Ministers can deliver the educational entitlement our children deserve." ENDS

Prisoner found dead in Portlaoise Prison

RTE

21 October 2005 15:14



Gardaí are investigating the circumstances surrounding the death of a 35-year-old inmate in Portlaoise Prison.

The man, who was a member of the Continuity IRA, was found in a wardrobe in his cell just after 10.30am this morning.

He was serving five years for possession of firearms and was due out in 2008. He was found dead by another prisoner.

The body was found in a metal wardrobe in his single cell, which is in the E4 Wing of the prison, which houses dissident republicans.

His cell had been unlocked by officers this morning and he appeared to be still asleep. But subversive inmates at Portlaoise have a certain freedom of movement and control of their own affairs so the man would not have been ordered out of bed.

Gardaí have sealed off the landing and forensic teams are carrying out an investigation at the scene.

The man was arrested at a Continuity IRA camp where firearms, ammunition, balaclavas and a makeshift firing range were found.

The Prison Service has said the Governor will carry out an inquiry into the circumstances of the man's death.

Relatives to meet over ‘link’ between bombings

Irelandclick.com

Relatives of those killed in the McGurk’s bombing are planning to meet families of those killed in the Dublin and Monaghan explosions after it was revealed there could be a link.

The news came after a meeting between the McGurk’s bombing victim support group and an Irish Department of Foreign Affairs official.
It is believed that the same UVF team may be linked to both atrocities – a link that was discovered after the McGurk’s relatives handed over names of suspects to the Foreign affairs official.
On seeing the names, the official advised the Belfast relatives to get in touch with the Relatives of the Forgotten group in Dublin, which is made up of relatives of those killed in the Dublin and Monaghan bombings.
Cars used in the no-warning Dublin and Monaghan bombings came from North Belfast – including Torrens as well as a Agnes Street and a third coming from the Docks.
Like McGurk’s there has been long-standing allegations of security force collusion over the bombings.
The North Belfast News can reveal that a meeting between some of the families with the relatives of the Dublin and Monaghan outrages is scheduled to take place before Christmas.
Alex McLoughlin, whose father Thomas was murdered in the McGurk’s bombing and who will be part of a delegation to meet the Relatives of the Forgotten, said the truth had to be told about the killings.
Officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs are to meet with the Police Ombudsman in November.
Pat Irvine, who was a teenager when her mother Kathleen was killed in the McGurk’s attack, said she was encouraged by this week’s meeting with the representative from the Irish government and looked forward to meeting with the Relatives of the Forgotten group in Dublin.
“I have met with many types of officials and could tell they were not interested, but I would say I was struck by her genuine interest in our great concerns over the bombing,” she said.
A spokeswoman for the Department of Foreign Affairs said the official was pleased to meet members of the McGurk's bombing victim support group earlier this week.
“She described the meeting as good and productive,” the spokeswoman said.
Margaret Urwin of the Dublin group Relatives of the Forgotten said names of some suspects in the McGurk’s atrocity could possibly be linked with identities of those who are believed to have carried out the Dublin and particularly the Monaghan outrages.
“I look forward to meeting with the relatives of McGurk’s,” she said.
info@irelandclick.com

Journalist:: Staff Reporter

Judicial review - second court case over Holy Cross blockade

Irelandclick.com

The Holy Cross blockade was discussed in court this week when a second judicial review took place, brought by a parent whose child was caught up in the violence.
The original proceedings were brought by a child’s mother at the height of the blockade. In an affidavit said she said the then Chief Constable and Secretary of State had “Failed to identify, arrest or prosecute those protestors breaking the law in full public view”.
The original hearing found in favour of the Chief Constable and Secretary of State, rejecting the proceedings and finding that the state had done “everything possible” to maintain the safety of the children.
This decision was appealed and a second judicial review began on Monday.
Speaking after the second day in court, Father Aidan Troy, who attended proceedings, said it was important that this issue was resolved.
“The original action failed and it took a lot of effort to achieve this judicial review. It is important we do not revive memories of the incident but we must make sure that this can never happen again.
“It is important we learn from what happened – the police, the government, the school – all of us, and try to bring closure to what went on.
“The judicial review is an important part of dealing with what happened four years ago and finding out what went wrong and we all hope it will ensure we never have to experience something like that again.”

Journalist:: Evan Short

Aldergrove watchtower faces chop

Belfast Telegraph

By Eddie McIlwaine
21 October 2005

The main watchtower overlooking RAF Aldergrove is to be demolished.

The observation post at the camp's checkpoint will come down this weekend.

And the task of removing the unsightly look-out block will begin 16 years, almost to the day, since it was built.

This is the latest development in the plan to demilitarise the province in the wake of the IRA decommissioning of arms.

The tower at Killead Road, Aldergrove, was erected on October 27, 1989, just as the Berlin Wall was being knocked down.

Station Commander Baz North has been negotiating for weeks the removal of all look-out towers around the base.

He has held a meeting with local residents to make them aware of what is going on at the camp, which accommodates more than 4,000.

A local farmer said today: "It is good news that this ugly tower is being removed. I don't think it has been occupied for the past three or four years."

Along with the tower, other barriers at the checkpoint will go, including a huge grid, erected to protect the tower from rocket launchers.

And look-out posts around the camp's perimeter will also come down in due course.

Killead Road leading to the base will be closed this weekend to facilitate the work and homes in the area will be without electricity on Saturday.

Loyalists 'avoiding prison in gun cases'

Belfast Telegraph

By Chris Thornton
21 October 2005

The Government's chief law officers have received a formal complaint about loyalists avoiding jail in cases where they were arrested with illegal guns.

SDLP Assembly member John Dallat complained to the Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith, and Lord Chief Justice Sir Brian Kerr, and sent them dossiers of cases where "shockingly light sentences" were applied.

The Northern Ireland Office and the Irish government also received the party's dossier arguing that loyalists are routinely "getting away with it".

The complaint came after three men who confronted police with a deactivated AK-47 escaped jail at Belfast Crown Court last week.

The trio - brothers John and Gary McDonald and a friend, Stephen Maternaghan, all with addresses in Innishrush Road, Portglenone - had tried to stop a van before they approached police with the gun, which is incapable of firing but looks like a working weapon.

Judge Kevin Finnegan gave the men suspended sentences.

Mr Dallat said his party believes the case fits a pattern where loyalists have received light sentences.

"The SDLP is deeply concerned that far too often, loyalists are avoiding prison even though they have been convicted of the most serious crimes," he said.

"We are not alone in this concern. Hugh Orde has publicly stated that he believes that paramilitaries too often are getting too light sentences.

"That undermines the rule of law. There's no point bringing loyalists to court if they are going to just get away with it."

The dossier presented to the legal chiefs also cites the case of a loyalist who received a conditional discharge for having another deactivated weapon, even though he had recently been freed from jail for a punishment attack and had other convictions.

Company reveals police phone tapping concerns

Belfast Telegraph

By David Gordon
21 October 2005

The company that forced an internal PSNI corruption probe today said it feared its phones had been tapped.

The shock claim came as the police service signalled that its investigations into past contracts could be widened.
Northern Ireland Sheet Metal Works last week received a £400,000 settlement from PSNI after a four-year legal battle over a cancelled contract.

Jim Kirkpatrick, head of the firm, today said: "We have very strongly-held suspicions that our telephones were tapped over a long period.

"There was a regular clicking noise when we were on the phone, particularly when we said certain words."

A PSNI spokeswoman said the force did not comment on intelligence matters as a matter of policy.

But security sources said police could not have been involved in any tapping.

"The approval of the Secretary of State is needed for telephone intercepts," one source said.

"There is no way that would happen in a case like this."

Another source said clicking would not be involved in the phone tapping technology used by police.

Mr Kirkpatrick today welcomed a pledge by chief constable Sir Hugh Orde on the extent of the PSNI corruption investigation.

But he challenged the police boss to live up to his words by ordering suspensions of staff members.

"I cannot understand why no one has been suspended," Mr Kirkpatrick said.

Northern Ireland Sheet Metal Works went to the High Court after being stripped of a 2001 order to supply armour plating for police vehicles.

Speaking after the settlement, the judge in the case called for a criminal investigation.

He also said there was evidence that person or persons within the PSNI has deliberately undermined the company through "flimsy" criticism of its provision of the contract.

Sir Hugh yesterday said something had clearly gone wrong with the contract.

Ferns priests named in litany of shame

Irish Independent

TWENTY priests are indicted and two bishops castigated in the explosive Ferns report on child sex abuse.

The report, by Judge Frank Murphy, details hundreds of child sex claims made against the 20 priests from the diocese.

It also contains stinging criticisms of two bishops, the late Donal Herlihy and Brendan Comiskey.

Ten of the priests cited have died, six have retired, three have been defrocked and one is described as old and infirm.

The gardai are also slated for their handling of the Fr Jim Grennan case in Monageer. He abused ten girls over a number of years. But otherwise the force comes out of the inquiry relatively unscathed.

The other priests named include Fr Sean Fortune, probably the most notorious of the abusers, Fr Donal Collins and Fr James Doyle, who were both defrocked last year.

The South Eastern Health Board is also condemned for its failure to act properly on reports of abuse.

Dr Herlihy, bishop from 1963 to 1983 when many of the worst abuses were taking place, is singled out for for his responses.

The report acknowledges that Bishop Comiskey did take some action. But this mainly involved moving the abusers from one parish to another.

He resigned in 2002 after the BBC documentary, Suing The Pope, which led to the Ferns inquiry. The Murphy report, which went to the Government on Monday, is being vetted by the Attorney General.

It will be presented to the Cabinet by Junior Health Minister Brian Lenihan on Tuesday.

That afternoon the five Wexford TDs - John Browne, Brendan Howlin, Paul Kehoe, Liam Twomey and Tony Dempsey - will be briefed by the minister.

Wexford senator Jim Walsh and MEP Avril Doyle have also been invited.

It is understood Mr Lenihan has assured TDs that Judge Murphy's recommendations will be implemented in full.

It is expected the report will be published next week.

Ferns diocese is preparing its response.

At a meeting earlier this week at Ballyvalloo Retreat Centre, Blackwater, Co Wexford, around 60 priests were told how the Church would respond to victims, clergy and parishioners.

Priests were addressed by clinical sports psychologist Tom Moriarty.

He helped prepare them for likely fallout from the report. Mr Moriarty worked with the 1995 All-Ireland winning Dublin football team.

David Quinn
Religious Affairs Correspondent



SDLP lodges complaint on loyalist sentencing

BreakingNews.ie

21/10/2005 - 08:38:16

The SDLP has made a formal complaint to the North's Chief Justice about alleged over-lenient sentencing of loyalists.

The party lists a series of incidents in which loyalists were found guilty of serious offences but received suspended or short jail terms.

For example, they cited a case where a man claimed that a gun hidden under his bed was put there by his dog, and he was sentenced with a community service order.

The political party also said that notorious loyalists with criminal records often avoid going to prison.

20 October 2005

Today in history: Sinn Féin triumph in elections

ON THIS DAY

21 October 1982


Sinn Fein's success has provoked a media furore

Sinn Fein, the political wing of the Provisional IRA, has won its first seats in the elections to the new Ulster Assembly.

Gerry Adams, vice president of Sinn Fein, took the Belfast West seat. It is the first time his party has stood for election since the Troubles began.

Mr Adams, 34, made clear that being elected would not stop the IRA's campaign of violence.

"The IRA have said that while the British army is in Ireland they will be there fighting" he said.

As he emerged from City Hall in Belfast, where the votes were counted, he was met by chants of 'murderer' and 'scum' from members of the Democratic Unionist Party.

Former IRA 'brigade' commander Martin McGuinness was elected to a seat in Londonderry.

The seats gained by Sinn Fein are at the expense of the Social Democratic and Labour party (SDLP), traditionally a voice for Roman Catholics in Ulster.

'Dead as a Dodo'

Referring to the creation of the Ulster Assembly the leader of the SDLP John Hume said: "It's dead. It's dead as a dodo. There is no possibility of cross-community partnership; there is no possibility of devolution of power".

The elections were called to introduce a power sharing executive to Northern Ireland.

The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, James Prior, said it would be a while before the full implications of the results were apparent.

"We shall have to wait and see how it gets on. We are not going to change the situation in Northern Ireland quickly and I think we shall have to persevere. Every solution put forward in recent years has had great difficulties" he said.

The date of the first meeting of the 78-seat Ulster Assembly is yet to be announced.

In Context

When counting in the first Ulster assembly poll finished it was revealed that Sinn Fein had won 10.1% of the votes.

Neither Sinn Fein nor the SDLP took up their seats on the Assembly when it opened in November 1982. In 1986, following the withdrawal of several other parties the Assembly was dissolved.

In April 1998 the Good Friday Agreement was signed by the British and Irish governments. In June of the same year the Northern Ireland Assembly was resurrected with the SDLP taking most of the seats.

This power-sharing executive has been suspended four times. Lack of weapon decommissioning by the IRA and accusations of IRA intelligence gathering in the Northern Ireland office were put forth as the main excuses.

Abducted Guardian journalist is freed

Guardian

Ewen MacAskill and Angelique Chrisafis
Friday October 21, 2005
The Guardian

Rory Carroll, the Guardian journalist kidnapped in Baghdad on Wednesday, was freed last night. Carroll phoned the Guardian to confirm that he had been released from an underground cell.

The end came when one of his captors received a mobile phone call and unbolted the door to the cell, telling him he was free to go. "He put me in the boot of his car and drove me alone and dropped me in the middle of Baghdad," Carroll said.

Last night he was under the protection of the Iraqi government in the heavily fortified Green Zone.

Carroll, 33, who has been in Iraq for nine months, had been in Sadr City, a Shia-dominated district of Baghdad on Wednesday, interviewing a victim of Saddam Hussein. He was snatched by gunmen as he was leaving the home of the interviewee.

"They took me in a car and after 20 minutes switched me to the boot of another one. They stripped me of all my own clothes and dressed me in old clothes."

He said he had been handcuffed and held in a darkened room beneath a family home in Baghdad for 36 hours. He did not know who was responsible, but suspected it had been an opportunistic, criminal gang. "It was a darkened room, a concrete passageway beneath the ground floor. I only had a rug and pillow. They allowed me out twice for food."

Speaking about his release last night, he said: "I heard a captor in the corridor answer his mobile. He laughed and sounded relieved and opened the bolted door and said, 'I am going to let you go'."

Alan Rusbridger, the editor of the Guardian, said: "We're overjoyed that Rory has been released safe and sound. We'd like to thank all those in London, Dublin and Iraq who played a role in freeing him. Both the British and Irish governments have been extremely helpful - as have many journalistic colleagues around the world and sympathetic groups and individuals in Baghdad."

Lara Marlowe, the Irish Times correspondent in Baghdad, told the Irish state broadcaster RTE that a few of Rory's friends had gathered in his office in his hotel, waiting for a phone call from him. She said he was at the office of a senior government minister having a beer. "It is a huge relief, everyone here is happy and celebrating his freedom."

The news brought enormous relief to the Carroll family in Dublin 24 hours after the sickening realisation of their son's kidnapping.

"Last night we were in the depths of despondency, we can't believe 24 hours later we're getting news Rory is being released," said Joe Carroll, Rory's father.

Mr Carroll said the family, who live in Blackrock, south Dublin, had been helped by tremendous support from friends and the Irish people. He added that it was his wife Kathy's birthday today. "It's the most wonderful birthday she's ever had," he said.

Mrs Carroll said she hoped her son would come home soon. "We were very, very impressed by the government initiative that they were going to send a team out, it was incredible. We're very grateful," she said.

Carroll's release came after intense diplomatic pressure and he attributed his freedom to the intervention of the Iraqi government.

A campaign had been building up in support of Carroll, an Irish citizen. Muslims, Catholic and Protestant clerics, as well as the Irish and British governments had called for and worked for his freedom.

Last night, Irish foreign minister Dermot Ahern, said: "I am utterly delighted for Rory Carroll and his family." Ireland had been planning to send a five-person delegation to Iraq to try to locate him.

The Iranian government had also issued a rare plea on his behalf, calling for his immediate release. The government, whose relations with the US and Britain have been more strained than usual during the past few months, had offered its prayers for his safe release.

But the press section of the Iranian embassy in London had issued a statement deploring the abduction. "Iran has always condemned such acts of violence, which is detrimental to the stability of neighbouring

Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, a prominent cleric based in Qatar, said the Union of Islamic Scholars, which he presides over, "has always denounced these kidnappings, especially those carried out against journalists". He said he had "always maintained that such acts are rejected in Islam" and that "they inflict enormous harm on Iraq's just cause".

He added: "The Guardian newspaper is well-known for its professional reporting and its fair coverage of the rights of oppressed peoples and just causes around the world."

Inayat Bunglawala, a representative of the Muslim Council of Britain, had joined the calls. "All leading Islamic authorities have made it clear that kidnapping journalists is unhelpful and harmful to the Iraqi people," he said.

"The Guardian is deeply respected within the British Muslim community for its balanced coverage of the Middle East and for providing a platform for a range of voices."

Dr Azzam Tamimi, a representative of the Muslim Association of Britain, had called for Carroll's release on al-Jazeera, the Arab satellite network based in Qatar.

"The Guardian is specifically known for its fair and professional coverage of war and just causes around the world and its deep and serious criticism of invasion of Iraq," he said.

In Baghdad, meanwhile, Iraqi journalists held an impromptu memorial service yesterday for Muhammad Haroon, 37, the editor of al-Hakeka newspaper, who was killed by unknown gunmen on Monday.

Haroon's paper had been critical of the Iraqi government and the US-led coalition's presence in Iraq.


No explosives found in car of RIRA accused, court hears

BreakingNews.ie

20/10/2005 - 17:05:55

A Garda ballistics expert has told the Special Criminal Court that he found no evidence of any explosive substances in a car that had been stopped at gunpoint on the N4 near Mullingar.

Detective Garda John Higgins also said that eight timing devices found in the boot of the red Peugeot estate car could not, in his opinion, be classified under law as an explosive substance.

He was giving evidence in the trial of three alleged Real IRA members, arrested after a major garda surveillance operation against the dissident terrorist organisation.

Adrian Kirwan (aged 25), a native of Ballymun in Dublin, with an address at Ardilaun Green, Ballymahon Road, Mullingar, Co Westmeath and Colum Wiggins (aged 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 5 last year.

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

Det Gda Higgins told Ms Una Ni Raifeartaigh BL (with Mr Tom O’Connell SC) prosecuting that he did not believe the timers had previously been used to make an explosive device but that they had the capacity to be used in such a device.

He agreed with Mr Diarmaid McGuinness SC, for Colum Wiggins that there was no evidence that the timers had been modified in “any shape or form".

Earlier Mr Justice Paul Butler, presiding at the three-judge court, dismissed an application by counsel for Mr Kirwan and Mr Wiggans, claiming that their clients’ constitutional rights had been breached during their arrest on December 5, 2004.

The case is due to continue tomorrow.

Kidnapped reporter freed in Iraq

BBC


Guardian reporter Rory Carroll has been in Iraq for nine months

An Irish reporter kidnapped in Baghdad on Wednesday has been freed unharmed, the Guardian newspaper has said.

Rory Carroll, 33, was "safe and well" and was in the Iraqi capital's Green Zone, the Guardian's foreign desk said.

It said Mr Carroll was in good spirits and had spoken to his family and told the paper his captors had treated him well. Their identity is unclear.

Mr Carroll's father Joe said: "He sounded in terrific form, and he told me that he had a beer in his hand."

"And he assured me that he had all his limbs, and that he was, you know, really well. And he sounded great," he said.

Mr Carroll said his son's captors had come to "his cell" on Thursday and told him he could go.

The Dublin-born journalist was then driven off in the boot of a car.

Saddam victim

The Guardian said Mr Carroll had been in Baghdad with two drivers and an interpreter to interview a victim of Saddam Hussein's regime when he was kidnapped.

As he left the house where the interview had taken place, he was confronted by gunmen and he and one of the drivers were bundled into a car. The driver was released about 20 minutes later.

It is unclear whether three men arrested at the Baghdad house where Mr Carroll was snatched were involved in his release.

Alan Rusbridger, editor of the Guardian, said: "We're overjoyed that Rory has been released safe and sound. We'd like to thank all those in London, Dublin and Iraq who played a role in freeing him.

"Both British and Irish governments have been extremely helpful - as have many journalistic colleagues around the world and sympathetic groups and individuals in Baghdad."

A relative of the interviewee earlier told BBC News they had had nothing to do with the kidnapping.

Mr Carroll has been based in Iraq for the last nine months.

A graduate of Dublin's Trinity College, he started his career as a reporter for the Irish News in Belfast.


RUC Branchman kept murder files

An Phoblacht

BY LAURA FRIEL

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A former RUC Special Branch detective has dramatically revealed that material central to a murder inquiry is still in his possession.

The scandal emerged after retired Special Branch officer Eric Anderson told a TV documentary team that he had documented evidence relating to a murder investigation in a bid to secure payment for his co-operation with the film-makers. And he has further admitted to personally keeping Special Branch files to thwart any adverse investigation by Police Ombudsman Nuala O'Loan.

The files in question relate the Arlene Arkinson murder case. Arkinson, then aged 15, disappeared in 1994. In what many believe was a travesty of justice, a known, violent sex offender was acquitted of her murder earlier this year.

In the wake of the revelations, Sinn Féin's Pat Doherty has called on the Ombudsman to investigate more RUC and PSNI cases where evidence has been unavailable or missing. The West Tyrone MP led a Sinn Féin delegation in a meeting with Nuala O'Loan and called for an audit to ascertain how many Special Branch files were missing and an inquiry into the conduct of the investigating officers involved in the Arkinson case.

Doherty said the meeting with O'Loan had been a "serious engagement". Sinn Féin raised three broad issues. First, the question of the files Anderson has admitted taking, in his own words because 'O'Loan was mad keen to discredit us'. "We asked did Anderson's comment refer to other Special Branch officers. Did they all keep files?" Doherty said.

The delegation called for an audit of Special Branch files as a means to determine how many might be missing. "We also asked about other cases in which Anderson had been involved and, in relation to the Arkinson murder inquiry, whether the case had been pursued properly or had the family been abandoned and abused because investigating officers were pursuing another political agenda.

"Investigation into this may well go far beyond the remit of the Police Ombudsman's office. This has ramifications for the wider justice system. We will be seeking a meeting with British Security Minister Shaun Woodward to discuss the wider implications."

Provos warned they must let exiles go home

Irish Independent

THE Provisional IRA was warned yesterday it must allow those it had 'exiled' from the North to go back home if it wanted to pass the criminality exam set by the two governments.

The International Monitoring Commissioning (IMC) said exiling was one of the tests to determine if a group had given up illegality.

And it underlined its failure so far to find evidence that any paramilitary group was generally allowing the return of those it had exiled or was considering doing so.

In its seventh report, published yesterday by the two governments, the IMC noted that the IRA statement last July had made no specific reference to exiling.

Although there was evidence of continued exiling, it [PIRA], had also decided to allow some it had previously exiled to return to the Short Strand in Belfast, possibly because of reaction to the murder of Robert McCartney.

The IMC said that as the IRA statement ending its terror campaign came after five months of the six under review, it was too early to draw firm conclusions about possible overall changes in behaviour, although there were some moves in IRA structures.

"Clearly, we are looking for cumulative indications of changes in behaviour over a more sustained period, building on the IRA statement of July 28 and the decommissioning of weapons reported on September 26," the IMC said.

But it gave a more positive assessment for August and said the IRA had been responsible for only one attack that month when the victim was a Provisional. There had been incidents of people suspected of anti-social behaviour in nationalist communities being intimidated, extortion of businesses, and intimidation designed to limit the activities of dissident republicans.

"It is not possible at this stage to say whether these activities were authorised by the leadership," the IMC said.

The report blamed the Real IRA for the violent attack on the deputy chairman of the Policing Board, Denis Bradley.

Meanwhile, the two governments are withholding final judgment on whether the IRA has ended all its activities until the next IMC report is issued in January.

The latest report was considered encouraging enough for Mr Hain to lift the financial penalties that had been imposed on Sinn Fein.

These were withdrawn after the Northern Bank raid in December.

Tom Brady and
Gene McKenna

McDowell dismisses Rossiter family

Irish Examiner

By Caroline O’Doherty
20 October 2005

JUSTICE Minister Michael McDowell has dismissed claims by the family of a schoolboy who died after a night in garda custody that they will not have a barrister of their choice at the inquiry into his death.
Mr McDowell denied that limiting the fees available to barristers working on the inquiry would restrict the family’s choice of legal expert to represent them in the proceedings.

The family of 14-year-old Brian Rossiter who died in unclear circumstances after a night in Clonmel Garda Station in 2002, have claimed they cannot get an experienced senior counsel to work for the State-paid daily rate of €1,008 laid down by new legislation governing statutory inquiries. Brian’s father, Pat Rossiter, said the family would not be able to co-operate with the inquiry if the ceiling on fees was not lifted as they could not afford to fund a legal team themselves.

Mr McDowell said there was no need for the family to boycott the hearings. “I don’t believe there are no senior counsel that will work for €1,008,” he told RTÉ Radio. “This is the rate the Government has set for all inquiries. There is not a system whereby everybody can retain any lawyer they like at whatever rate the lawyer wants. I am not going to be pressurised into breaking a firm Government decision on this matter by somebody saying that they cannot get a senior counsel to represent them.”

The minister added that the family would get their personal expenses if they participated in the inquiry. He acknowledged that the Garda Representative Association was in a position to provide funds to gardaí appearing at the inquiry to boost their budget for barristers, but he said he understood this would not happen in this case.

Mr McDowell said the family should contact the barristers’ professional body, the Bar Council, who would find a senior counsel to work at the set rate. A Bar Council spokeswoman said they would try to help if approached but could not oblige a barrister to work for a rate they felt insufficient.

Dempsey and Shell in talks on pipeline

RTE

20 October 2005 17:03

The Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources held a meeting this morning with senior executives of Shell Ireland in relation to the dismantling of a section of the controversial Corrib gas pipeline in Co Mayo.

Noel Dempsey ordered Shell to dismantle the 1.8km section of high pressure carbon steel pipeline because it had been welded together without the necessary consent during June and July.

A team of Irish and Italian engineers began cutting up the pipe on Monday morning. The work is expected to take between four and five weeks.
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A local development group, known as the Pro Erris Gas Group, asked that the work be halted pending the completion of a new safety review of the pipeline which is due to be finalised in December.

It described the cutting up of the pipeline in advance of this review as a potential waste of money and suggested that Shell contribute €250,000 to community projects in the area as an alternative.

It asked the minister to agree to a temporary suspension of the work.

Historic first at Casement Park

Irelandclick.com

Firefighters from New York clash with their Belfast colleagues at famous Antrim venue

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The Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service played the New York Fire Department in an historic Gaelic football match at Casement Park on Sunday. It was the first official sporting event between the two emergency services and a major fundraiser for the local charity, Children After Burns, which is attached to the Burns Unit at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children.

Forty New York firefighters arrived in West Belfast to play in the landmark football match and also to join up their fundraising efforts with the firefighters from the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service for the charity.

Divisional Officer Aidan Magennis, Chairman of the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service’s Gaelic team, said, “We are delighted to welcome our friends and colleagues from the New York Fire Department to Northern Ireland. There has always been great camaraderie and friendship between our two emergency services and it is a relationship that has been further strengthened by this match – which is the first official sporting event between the two services.

“We recently launched our new Gaelic football kit, to reflect our name change from Fire Brigade to Fire and Rescue Service and this is the first sporting event where the new kit has been worn.

“A fundraising evening reception for the Burns Unit at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children took place after the match where the joint amount raised for the charity was presented. The Fire and Rescue Service’s newly formed concert band also performed their musical debut at this fundraising event.”

Eddie Boles, New York Fire Department, added: “This is a terrific opportunity to solidify the solidarity and friendship that exists among fire services the world over. Our Gaelic football team also particularly relishes the opportunity to raise funds for the Burns Unit at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Belfast. This is an extremely worthy cause and it’s a winning combination – playing football and raising money for children.

“We are delighted to be part of this contribution to the Northern Ireland community.”

Journalist:: Staff Reporter

Sellafield to close in five years

BreakingNews.ie

20/10/2005 - 12:02:47

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© Greenpeace

Minister for the Environment Dick Roche has announced that the Thorp nuclear reprocessing plant at Sellafield is to close.

Mr Roche said he was assured by his British counterpart Alan Johnson at a meeting yesterday that the controversial facility will be shut down in 2010.

The safety of the facility, which opened in 1994, has been called into question following a series of leaks there.

Govt plans overseas prisoners study

BreakingNews.ie

20/10/2005 - 14:20:05

The Government is to carry out the first major study of Irish prisoners overseas, it was confirmed today.

Junior foreign affairs minister Noel Treacy said former Fianna Fáil TD Chris Flood will lead the survey.

There are believed to be up to 1,200 prisoners in foreign jails, including 900 in the UK.

Mr Treacy said the study will establish the number of prisoners abroad, the countries where they are held, what offences they committed and the duration of sentences.

It will also identify the special health and social needs of particular inmates, including members of the Traveller community, in the UK.

Mr Treacy today told the Oireachtas Sub-Committee on Human Rights that such a research project had been promised in the current programme for government.

The study will also review the services provided by the Irish Government and other social agencies and recommend how they can be improved.

“It represents a significant step in advancing the needs of prisoners abroad,” he said. “The needs of the families of overseas prisoners will also be considered.”

The Foreign Affairs Department had increased funding for the Irish diaspora by 63% this year compared with 2004.

Mr Flood previously has been the Government’s special envoy in tsunami-hit regions during this year.

Mr Treacy said the study will also focus on the conditions of prisons and how their human rights of Irish prisoners are being respected.

Welcoming the survey, Labour Party TD Michael D Higgins said: “I have always been outraged at the manner in which prisoners have been neglected.”

He added that Mr Flood must also investigate the social supports in the communities into which prisoners are released.

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