05 November 2005

Government 'must aid loyalists'

BBC


Martin McGuinness said loyalists must be encouraged towards peace

The government should be doing more to "encourage loyalists along a peaceful path", Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness has said.

Mr McGuinness said there "were progressive elements within the UVF and UDA", but they needed more support.

The Mid-Ulster MP also said the Independent Monitoring Commission "was wrong" to say the IRA was involved in a recent assault.

He said he had "put questions to the secretary of state on the matter".

Mr McGuinness, who was speaking on the BBC's Inside Politics programme, said it was clear that others, "even within the UDA, were seeking a role as we move forward politically".

"That is a good thing and they should be encouraged. It is not just the responsibility of the taoiseach or people in Dublin to encourage them," he said.

"As an observer of all of that, I would have to be very concerned that the British government are not really playing their part and engaging with progressive figures within loyalism who wish to play a constructive role as we move forward."

Two still held over £26m robbery

BBC

Two men are still being questioned by detectives investigating the ?26.5m Northern Bank robbery in Belfast.

The robbery took place at the bank's Northern Ireland headquarters at Donegall Square West in the city on 20 December last year.

On Friday, Dominic McEvoy, 23, of Mullandra Park, Kilcoo, County Down, was remanded in custody accused of involvement in the robbery.

A 40-year-old man arrested on Thursday was released unconditionally on Friday.

Some money seized in County Cork last February was linked to the robbery, but virtually all of the missing millions remain unrecovered.

Man arrested over double murder

BBC


No-one has been convicted of the murders

A man has been arrested in connection with the murders of two teenagers in County Armagh five years ago.

Andrew Robb, 19, and 18-year-old David McIlwaine, both of whom were from Portadown, were stabbed to death on 18 February 2000.

Their bodies were found on the Druminure Road outside Tandragee, a few hours after they had left a disco.

Police said a 54-year-old man was arrested in Craigavon on Saturday and is being held under the Terrorism Act.

No-one has been convicted of the murders which were carried out during a loyalist paramilitary feud in the Portadown area.

However, police and both families said neither of the young men had any connection with a paramilitary organisation.

Petrol bomb attack

David McIlwaine had been a graphic design student.

In the past, a number of people were arrested and one man charged in connection with the murders, but the charges were later withdrawn in court.

In September, Andrew Robb's mother Ann blamed loyalist paramilitaries for a petrol bomb attack on her home in Portadown.

She said her family had been subjected to UVF harassment since Andrew was killed.

Lawyer: Client Innocent of Record Heist

Guardian

By CHRIS THORNTON
Associated Press Writer
Friday November 4, 2005 7:31 PM

BELFAST, Northern Ireland (AP) - A construction worker charged with taking part in a $47 million bank robbery that authorities have blamed on the Irish Republican Army is ``entirely innocent,'' his lawyer said Friday before a brief court appearance.

Dominic McEvoy, 23, has been charged with possession of a gun or imitation firearm and the false imprisonment of a bank official and his wife as part of the December robbery, one of Europe's largest ever.

McEvoy has not entered a plea. Police continued to question three other suspects Friday, but a fourth was released without charge.

Authorities have blamed the Northern Bank robbery in downtown Belfast on the IRA, which has repeatedly denied any link. The IRA-linked Sinn Fein political party has protested the arrests, claiming some of the men were targeted because they've supported the IRA's cause.

Police said the bank official's family was held hostage while he and a colleague were ordered to go to the bank, where thieves looted the vaults. Police said McEvoy's DNA was found on a hat left at the home.

Detective Inspector Sean Wright told the court that McEvoy had been interviewed seven times after his arrest Tuesday. The officer said McEvoy told police he had no involvement in the robbery or the kidnapping.

McEvoy also said he believed police had DNA evidence that could link the hat to another person.

When asked by McEvoy's lawyer, Peter Corrigan, why a lineup was not held after McEvoy's arrest, Wright said the prosecution's case is based on circumstantial and forensic evidence, not on witnesses' identification.

Kevin Winters, another lawyer representing McEvoy, said before the hearing that McEvoy was ``entirely innocent'' and that his family was bewildered by the charges.

``The family are still in a state of shock as a result firstly of the arrest and the manner in which it was carried out, and secondly because of the charges being brought,'' Winters said before the court appearance.

Officials have recovered about $16 million. Although one of Europe's largest, it was smaller than a $65 million theft from a London safe deposit center in 1987, a $70 million robbery in Brazil this year, and a $900 million-plus heist from the Iraq Central Bank in 2003.

Gunpowder Plot still grips Britons

Japan Today

Saturday, November 5, 2005 at 07:49 JST

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Guy Fawkes

LONDON ? Even by the standards of today's global terrorism, it was a bold and brazen act: sneaking 36 barrels of gunpowder under the Houses of Parliament and blowing England's power elite to smithereens.

On Saturday the night sky across Britain will be alive with bonfires and pyrotechnics for the 400th anniversary of the Gunpowder Plot ? an unofficial holiday better known as Bonfire Night or Guy Fawkes Day.

Comparisons with the July 7 attacks in London, in which 52 subway and bus commuters were killed by four apparent Islamist suicide bombers in the deadliest act of terrorism ever on British soil, may perhaps be inevitable.

Enduring, however, will be the popular fascination with Fawkes and his co-conspirators, drawn from a then-repressed Catholic minority who apparently felt that the nation, by embracing Protestantism, was treading the wrong path.

More than 50,000 people have already visited a Gunpowder Plot exhibition since it opened in July in the Gothic parliament buildings on the banks of the River Thames ? ground zero for the blast that might have been.

"Obviously there is a resonance to contemporary terrorism, but we'd rather like people to come to their own conclusions," said the exhibition's project manager David Prior.

Other commemorations are underway at the Tower of London, the National Portrait Gallery, the National Archives (where Fawkes' signed confession is on display) and the Shakespearean Globe theatre.

In a turn unthinkable for the likes of Osama bin Laden or the Irish Republican Army (IRA), the Museum of London is holding a day-long study day Saturday titled: "Understanding Guy Fawkes."

In southeast England, meanwhile, huge crowds are once again expected in the sleepy town of Lewes, East Sussex for Britain's biggest November 5 gathering, a night of bonfires, fireworks, effigies and residual anti-Papist motifs.

Exactly how the Gunpowder Plot was cooked up is a fact lost in the haze of time, according to a fact sheet helpfully provided by the House of Commons information office on its website (www.parliament.gov.uk).

"Generations of historians accepted it as a genuine last desperate attempt to re-establish the Catholic religion," although another theory is that the plotters were actually agents provocateur aiming to discredit Catholics and reinforce Protestantism, it said.

One way or another, Fawkes and his original gang of four co-conspirators ? the numbers grew in time, making it harder to keep secrecy ? decided in 1604 to blow up parliament on Nov 5, 1605, the day of its state opening.

The king would be there, along with his heir apparent, and every member of the House of Commons and the House of Lords.

The 36 barrels of gunpowder, big and small, were smuggled into a coal room beneath the parliament leased by one of the conspirators, and the plan was for army veteran Fawkes to light the fuses and then skedaddle to mainland Europe.

The official version is that a Catholic peer got a timely tip off, prompting a midnight search in which Fawkes was cornered in the basement with his deadly pile of barrels hidden under black coal.

While all the conspirators were rounded up, Londoners rejoiced on the streets at the plot's failure.

The scene turned gruesome in subsequent months as Fawkes and his cohorts, in the fashion of the day, were tried, tortured, disemboweled alive, then hanged and quartered for treason. (Wire reports)

Three parties engage in rhetorical bluff

Examiner

05/11/05

THE recent advocacy of republican ideals by Fine Gael, Labour and the PDs has been shown to be a rhetorical sham by their rejection of the Taoiseach?s proposal to allow limited speaking rights in the D?il to MPs from the North.

In recent months these political parties have felt it necessary to promote themselves as championing the cause of Irish unity at every opportunity.

Note Enda Kenny's insistence on recalling the 'United Ireland' tag once attached to the Fine Gael name; Michael McDowell's reminiscing on his grandfather's republican exploits, and Labour's claim to be the true inheritors of James Connolly.

Yet when a concrete proposal which would advance the cause of Irish unity comes before them, they shrink from supporting it.

Looking forward to an all-Ireland republic, supporting building blocks to unity such as the speaking rights proposal and adopting a political programme to end partition will advance the cause of reunification.

Searching in the history books to justify republican credentials will not.

Connolly said: "Such an attitude of fierce excitement over monuments to dead heroes is the attitude peculiar to all political parties when they have reached the stage of intellectual bankruptcy."

Fine Gael, Labour and the PDs, through their rejection of the D?il speaking rights proposal, have proved that when it comes to supporting Irish unity, they are intellectually bankrupt.

Chris ? R?laigh
St Anne's Road
Drumcondra
Dublin 9

Hundreds remember Lisa

BBC


Hundred attended the service to remember Lisa Dorrian

Hundreds of people have attended a remembrance service for murdered Bangor woman Lisa Dorrian.

Lisa, 25, was last seen at a party on a County Down caravan site in February. Her body has never been found.

Police believe members of the Loyalist Volunteer Force may have been involved in her killing.

The Church of the Holy Redeemer in Ballyholme was filled to capacity for Friday night's service, which family members said was to celebrate her life.

Her mother, Patricia, said they wanted to mark the nine months since Lisa's disappearance and that someone must know something and must help them find her body.

"We just want Lisa back and I hope that with all the coverage we have had today and from this service tonight, it will prick somebody's conscience to lift the phone," she said.

It is assumed she was murdered by members of the LVF, which stood down on Saturday.


Lisa's mother, Patricia, called for help to find her body

Despite extensive searches her body has not been recovered and detectives believe it could have been hidden under water.

On Wednesday, it was confirmed that a forensic scientist looking at the cases of the Disappeared will also be able to work on Lisa's case.

The forensic scientist is being funded by the British and Irish governments to help locate the remains of five people abducted, murdered and secretly buried by the IRA during the Troubles.

Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain said the police would be able to use the scientist to undertake other work on an independent consultancy basis.

Republican to lodge complaint with police watchdog

BreakingNews.ie

04/11/2005 - 18:43:10

A top republican questioned about the Northern Bank robbery is to lodge an official complaint with the Police Ombudsman?s Office after being released without charge, it emerged tonight.

Ex-IRA prisoner Brian Arthurs, 40, from Dungannon, CoTyrone, one of five men detained by detectives, was the second to be freed.

One man was charged today with the robbery and another two are still being held.

Arthurs, whose brother Declan, 21, was among a group of IRA men shot dead by the SAS in Northern Ireland 18 years ago, said he plans to lodge his complaint with the Ombudsman, Nuala O?Loan.

Under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement he was released in 2000 from the Maze Prison where he had been serving a 25-year jail sentence on explosives charges.

He said tonight: ?This has been terrible ordeal for my family. I deny any involvement in the Northern Bank raid.

?Over the last six months, my name has begun appearing in various newspapers, claiming I am a senior IRA man, even a member of the army council and the link man with General de Chastelain on decommissioning. All nonsense.

?I regard this as a process of police victimisation through the media.?

He added: ?On the morning of my arrest, (yesterday) the police arrived at 7 (am) and within two hours reporters were outside the door. I believe they were tipped off by the police.

?The beat on the door, they terrified my children (aged 8, 14 and 17) and handcuffed me in front of my family.

?The police stayed in the house for five hours. They took away 39 bags of our property, every scrap of paper in the house, every phone, every bank statement and document relating to my two businesses.

?They even took my daughter?s GCSE coursework.

?They were very aggressive, they threatened my son Declan, aged eight, telling him at one stage to ?Get back inside the f.....g house? or they would kill him ?like we killed your uncle?.

?Seven jeeps arrived at my parents house, they are aged 65 and 70 ? and were there for four hours. My children are now not sleeping at night.

?I am taking a case to the Police Ombudsman.

?When I was being interrogated, they asked me briefly about the Northern Bank robbery, accusing me of being involved in preparing the job and of being a leading IRA man.

?They then began to ask me about the IRA?s structures, how many members it has and how they feel about the ceasefire, it was a fishing expedition.

?When my lawyer asked what evidence they had to justify holding me, the police could only say unspecified intelligence information. They had nothing at all.?

04 November 2005

Abigail gets to go home!

Times Online

By Times Online and PA News
4 November 2005

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Abigail Witchalls - click to view

A pregnant mother has left hospital six months after she was left paralysed after being stabbed in the neck in an apparently random attack.

Abigail Witchalls, 26, was pushing her toddler son Joseph in a buggy along a country lane in Little Bookham, Surrey, on April 20 when she was knifed in the neck.

At first doctors feared for her life. She has spent the last five months in the Spinal Cord Injury Centre at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital in Stanmore, north London.

Today the hospital said in a statement that she had made "good progress" in rehabilitation. It said: "Abigail is delighted to be returning home after so long.

"She is now able to breathe and speak freely, and has some movement in her right arm so that she is beginning to feed herself.

"Abigail has tetraplegia, which means she is severely disabled and will continue to need ongoing therapy and nursing care. It is expected that her initial stay at home will be temporary as she will soon need to be admitted to a maternity hospital as her pregnancy comes to term."

The statement said Mrs Witchalls’ home has been specially adapted for her and the NHS will provide carers 24 hours a day to support her.

"While her family will all be close at hand to help, her husband Ben and her mother and father are each continuing with their careers," it said.

She has not yet received any criminal injury compensation, the hospital said, and her family has set up a trust fund for additional long-term care expenses, to which donations were welcome.

Mrs Witchalls and her family gave their thanks to hospital staff. She said: "Thank you for your enthusiasm and care.

"Your expertise and competence have encouraged me and given me the confidence to continue to expect improvements."

Mrs Witchalls, a Catholic, has told police she turned to see her attacker holding a knife to her son’s throat as she tried in vain to open a high gate in front of her. With the boy at risk, she walked towards her would-be killer before being stabbed in the neck and left with a 3-inch wound.

Neighbours who heard her screams came running from nearby houses to find her slumped in the mud with Joseph out of his buggy and next to his mother. Her injuries were so serious that the last rites were administered in hospital.

Surrey Police have passed a file containing details of their investigation to the Crown Prosecution Service.

Richard Cazaly, 23, has been treated as a suspect in the case since his apparent suicide from an overdose in Scotland just days after the attack.

Cazaly, from Fleet, Hampshire, had been living in a house on Water Lane, Little Bookham, close to where the attack took place, and had similarities to the description given by the victim.

Although Mrs Witchalls failed to pick him out in a photo identity parade from her hospital bed, Surrey Police believe they have evidence linking Cazaly to the attack.

A hospital spokeswoman said she was discharged last night.

A spokeswoman for Surrey Police said: "Everyone at Surrey Police is delighted to hear that Abigail has now been able to return home.

"She has shown great courage and determination over the past seven months and we all wish her the very best for the future."

Family calls for charges over teen murders

Daily Ireland

Ciarán Barnes

The family of a loyalist murder victim have called on the head of the Public Prosecution Service to ‘examine his conscience’ and bring charges against the paramilitaries responsible for their loved one’s death.
Relatives of David McIlwaine made their impassioned plea after a BBC Crimewatch reconstruction of the killing of the teenager and his acquaintance Andrew Robb.
An Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) gang murdered the boys in the Co Armagh village on Tangradee in February 2000. It's alleged that the RUC Special Branch knew of UVF plans to murder two LVF drug-dealers in Tangradee in retaliation for the LVF killing of Portadown UVF boss Richard Jamison in January 2000.
Unable to locate the LVF drug-dealers, the UVF murder gang singled out David McIlwaine and Andrew Robb instead.
According to the McIlwaine family the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) has a ‘huge body of evidence’ linking a number of Co Armagh loyalists to the murders.
They believe that no one has been brought to trial because the Special Branch wants to protect its UVF informant who warned detectives a double murder was being planned on the night the teenagers were killed.
The PSNI’s refusal to let the McIlwaine family have access to Special Branch files on the murder only adds to their suspicions.
Human rights organisation Relatives For Justice, which is probing the McIlwaine murder, stressed that the family’s co-operation with the PSNI on the Crimewatch programme was not an endorsement of the official investigation.
Spokesman Mark Thompson said: “The family has a responsiblity to do everything possible to unearth new evidence and bring witnesses forward. They are appealing to the conscious of the head of the PPS, Sir Alasdair Fraser, to charge those responsible for the murders.”
A spokeswoman for the PSNI said detectives received more than 20 calls in relation to the Crimewatch reconstruction.
“Key information was provided on a main suspect,” said the spokeswoman.

Heist suspect talks of arrest ordeal

Daily Ireland

Connla Young

A man named as being a suspect in the Northern Bank robbery has spoken of his terrifying ordeal while in PSNI custody.
Peter Morgan hit out after spending almost 48 hours under PSNI interrogation in connection with last year’s £26.5 million (€39 million) robbery.
His comments came after a man was charged in connection with the heist last night.
The 23-year-old Co Down man will appear at Laganside Magistrates Court in Belfast this morning charged with the false imprisonment of Karen and Kevin McMullan, possession of a firearm or imitation firearm with intend to commit an indictable offence and the robbery of £26.5 million (€39 million) in December 2004.
Peter Morgan was arrested in the same series of raids in Kilcoo, Co Down, in the early hours of Wednesday as the man charged last night.
Speaking to Daily Ireland last night Mr Morgan said the entire experience has been shattering.
“I am devastated that my liberty has been taken from me for the past two days for something I had absolutely nothing to do with.
“I’m in shock that in this day and age I can be taken away from my life and work for absolutely nothing.
“I was terrified by the aggressive and heavy handedness shown by the PSNI during my arrest.
“There is not one bit of evidence against me from a legal point of view and there was no evidence produced during my arrest and detention.
“I’m just relieved to be out and going back home.”
Mr Morgan’s solicitor Niall Murphy, of Kevin Winters and Company, said he was concerned by the nature of his clients arrest.
“I would be greatly concerned about the fact that my client’s Article Two human rights were grossly infringed.
“I am also concerned that some media outlets named my client and the approach adopted by them. I am suspicious of the choreographed media coverage in this matter.
“I will be advising Mr Morgan of his rights with in relation to a civil prosecution regarding his unlawful detention.
“I will also be advising him in relation to his rights with regard to the Police Ombudsman and the Press Complaints Commission.”
The man due to appear in court this morning was one of five detained in the North this week.
Two were arrested in County Down, one in Belfast and two in County Tyrone when the PSNI raided homes in Dungannon and Coalisland on Thursday.
The Northern Bank heist made international headlines last year when the families of two bank officials, Kevin McMullan and Chris Ward, were held captive while the pair were forced to carry £26.5 million to a van parked close to the Northern Bank’s cash centre HQ at Donegall Square West in Belfast City Centre.

Man remanded over McCartney murder

RTE

04 November 2005 16:56

A man accused of murdering Belfast father-of-two Robert McCartney outside a bar in the city has been remanded on bail.

Terence Davidson, 49, from Stanfield Place, in the Markets area, was ordered to appear again in Belfast Magistrates Court on 2 December.

He was joined in the dock by James McCormick, who is accused of the attempted murder of Mr McCartney's friend, Brendan Devine, who was with him on the night he died.
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Mr McCormick, 36, originally from Belfast but with an address in Birmingham will also appear again on the same date.

In September, Mr Davidson was released on bail but ordered to have no contact with Mr McCartney's family.

Mr McCartney, a 33-year-old forklift driver, was beaten and stabbed outside Magennis's Bar on 30 January.

Since then his five sisters, and fiancée, Bridgeen Hagans, have been involved in a high profile campaign for justice which has taken them to Washington, Brussels, London and Dublin.

Town centre disrupted by alerts

BBC

A number of business premises in Strabane town centre have been evacuated following telephoned bomb warnings.

The Rock Road and the Woodend Road have been closed. Motorists are advised to use the by-pass and avoid the town centre.

It is believed the warnings involve four stores and a hotel.

In Belfast, Women for the Restoration of Unionist Culture held protests on the Crumlin and the Springfield Roads.


Dissident link to conference scare

Belfast Telegraph

By Lisa Smyth
04 November 2005

Police were last night investigating the possibility that dissident republican paramilitaries were responsible for a security alert at the Waterfront Hall.

Thousands of delegates were evacuated as a result of the security alert, which was later declared to be a hoax.

The British Council of Shopping Centres (BCSC) event was forced to relocate to nearby St George's Market after a telephone warning was received at about 11.15am.

The three-day event was then moved to the Ulster Hall where Senator George Mitchell presented the final keynote address.

In an anonymous telephone call made to the Belfast Telegraph several hours after the original telephone warning, a caller claiming to represent the Continuity IRA said: "The Continuity IRA claims responsiblity for the evacuation of 2,000 delegates from the Waterfront Hall. The event has seen Belfast being sold as a normalised zone which is good for British investment. We remain of the belief that Britain has not control over Irish affairs and holding events of the BSCC in Belfast does not gloss up a failed agreement."

Collusion further exposed

An Phoblacht

BY LAURA FRIEL

State violence - Ombudsman report to highlight role of Special Branch

British state collusion in the murder of nationalists was never a case of a 'few bad apples' or the informal sharing of intelligence between locally recruited official and unofficial state forces. Nor was it a matter of turning a blind eye or hiding the truth after the event.

It was also never just a case of 'taking the war to the IRA'. Once the mechanisms of state murder were up and running, no one was safe. IRA Volunteers were targeted and killed and so were family members, including children, of republicans. Political activists, elected representatives and election strategists and workers were also murdered.

Defence lawyers were targeted to shore up the government's criminalisation policy. Civilians were murdered to obscure the strategy and cover agents' tracks. British soldiers and RUC members were allowed to be killed as were unionist paramilitaries who knew too much. The British Government has yet to disclose, disavow and dismantle the mechanisms of collusion.

It is in light of all this that republicans have read news of the forthcoming police Ombudsman's report into a unionist death squad commanded by Mark Haddock, who was also a Special Branch agent. The UVF unit under scrutiny is believed to have carried out at least 24 murders and the bombing of Sinn Féin offices in Monaghan Town in 1997.

It is believed that Haddock worked for Special Branch since he was 16-years-old in 1985. Reports say he began as a low-grade informer but in 1991 Special Branch took control of his activities and he joined the UVF.

The report is due to be released in December but it is already clear that it will corroborate an earlier human rights report which concluded that dozens of loyalist murders in the 1990s were carried out with the knowledge of RUC Special Branch.

A recent report by British-Irish Human Rights Watch concluded that a network of UVF figures were Special Branch agents and it is believed the Ombudsman's report will corroborate this.

Media reports say it will raise questions for Special Branch in relation to virtually every unionist paramilitary murder in Belfast between 1990 and 1995.

The report was initially established to investigate allegations that the killers of a 22-year-old Protestant, Raymond McCord in November 1997, were Special Branch agents. According to the victim's father, investigations into the murder were blocked because two UVF members involved were agents.

The investigation has been compelled to expand its line of inquiry beyond the initial remit to establish the extent of collusion.

The murder of a 27-year-old nationalist woman is one of a number of other killings currently being investigated. Sharon McKenna was shot dead by the UVF in North Belfast in 1993. Haddock was the gunman.

According to reports, Haddock discussed the killing with his Special Branch handlers afterwards and was given money for drink rather than being arrested. Haddock allegedly murdered McKenna, a taxi driver, to cover his tracks as an agent within the UVF.

Haddock is currently charged with the attempted murder of a nightclub worker Trevor Gowdy in December 2002. Haddock fled the North after the attack and was subsequently arrested in Wales. He has been imprisoned awaiting trial since August 2003 but is expected to be released following the hearing of a bail application this week.

Other murders being investigated by Nuala O'Loan's office include those of Armagh builders Gary Convie and Eamon Fox, shot dead while working in North Belfast in May 1994.

Presbyterian Minister Rev David Templeton survived an earlier attack and identified Haddock as one of his attackers. He was shot dead six weeks later.

Haddock has also been implicated in the shooting of Tommy Sheppard, himself a member of the UVF and Special Branch agent, Billy Harbinson in 1997, Tommy English in 2000 and David Greer, also in 2000.

An interim file has already been sent by the Ombudsman to the Director of Public Prosecutions and its understood that a number of Special Branch and CID officers who served in the RUC in the 1990s have been questioned. According to the Newsletter senior Special Branch officers under investigation have refused to be interviewed. They have dismissed the Ombudsman's probe as "politically motivated with an agenda to demonise Special Branch".

Former senior RUC detective, Johnston Brown who worked in Belfast at that time has said that he has no doubt that the allegations are true. Special Branch agents were "allowed to get away with murder for years", said Brown.

"I know for a fact that some of the names put forward in this investigation were informers who carried out murders during that time," said Brown.

Brown, who retired in 2001, came into conflict with Special Branch after he was ordered to suppress evidence about the murder of Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane. He secretly taped a conversation with unionist gunman Ken Barrett during which Barrett confessed to the killing and revealed details that placed him at the scene of the shooting. Special Branch taped a second conversation with Barrett and substituted the confession tape. The switch was uncovered during the Stevens Inquiry into collusion.

The Ombudsmans report should shed more light on aspects of collusion but by its nature it will not deliver the kind of comprehensive exposure of collusion required. The Ombudsman can only investigate aspects of collusion involving the RUC, PSNI and Special Branch. It has no remit to investigate key British Army units such as the FRU, the role of MI5 or the British military chain of command within.

Meanwhile, an investigation into allegations of collusion in the 1993 killing of Gerard and Rory Cairns is to be published by the Ombudsman's office in the New Year. The two young brothers from County Armagh were shot dead by the UVF in their home village of Bleary in October 1993.

Involved in the killings were two high level agents Robin 'the Jackal' Jackson and Billy 'King Rat' Wright. The guns used were part of a 1988 South African shipment of illegal weaponry used to re-arm unionist paramilitaries and organised by British agents, Brian Nelson and Charles Simpson.

Shortly before these killings the RUC set up roadblocks near their isolated home. As with other cases of collusion the killers were allowed to pass through. The case was brought to the attention of the Ombudsman by the victim support group Relatives for Justice and An Fhirinne, a group which campaigns around collusion.

The Ombudsman is also investigating the 1971 McGurk's pub bombing. Carried out by unionist paramilitaries it was initially passed off as an IRA 'own goal'. Fifteen people were killed including two children and many more were injured.

Relatives of those killed, who were contacted by the Ombudsman earlier this week, have said the attack has been linked to collusion between state forces and the perpetrators of the Dublin and Monaghan bombings.

Hit-and-run victim (14) on the mend

Belfast Telegraph

Joy as brave Nicole speaks at last

By Brian Hutton
04 November 2005

The Belfast schoolgirl left fighting for her life by a hit-and-run driver has regained consciousness, her mother said today.

But talented dancer Nicole Grieve (14) still can't walk unaided since she was struck by a van on the Stewartstown Road in the west of the city a month ago.

The St Genevieve's High School pupil's mother Sharon said today she is making progress but still had a fight ahead of her.

She added: "Nicole has only begun talking again. She was writing things down before that. That was her way of communicating.

"The physiotherapists are in with her every morning and trying to get her walking again. But she is still very wobbly.

"She is still having problems with her short-term memory, although her long-term memory is fine.

"She sat on the edge of the bed the other day and retraced all her dancing steps on the floor.

"She got back into bed and said, 'Mummy, I remember all my steps'. Then she started naming them all. It's a miracle."

Nicole had been practising nightly for last week's Ulster Dancing Championships before she was left struggling for survival in intensive care.

"Her teacher came in to hospital to give her the two medals her team won," said Sharon.

"Nicole asked why she was getting them. Her teacher said the team were devastated and went into the competition very downhearted.

"But they went in doing it for Nicole and came out with three champions and two medals in the team events that she was supposed to be in.

"She said Nicole was with them throughout."

The teenager has been moved from the intensive care unit of Royal Victoria Hospital to a normal ward.

The plight of the young dancer has drawn support from well-wishers across the globe on Irish dancing discussion forums on the internet.

A message on one website reads: "God bless you Nicole, Sharon and the whole family.

"Take some comfort from knowing the Irish dancing community throughout the whole of the world are thinking and praying for you after reading about this tragedy."

The moderator of the website contacted the Belfast Telegraph desperate for an update on Nicole's progress.

"Please would it be possible for you to pass on our prayers and let the family know that the world of Irish dancing - as far away as the USA and Australia are thinking about them, and if possible could we have an update on how she is doing," she said.

Nicole's father Michael said the family have been overwhelmed by the prayers and support.

Detectives still question leading Tyrone republican

Belfast Telegraph

39 bags of property taken away

By Jonathan McCambridge and Michael McHugh
04 November 2005

Police were last night still questioning a leading Tyrone republican - one of four suspects still in custody over the Northern Bank robbery.

Police raided the Dungannon home of Brian Arthurs (40), a Sinn Fein member, early yesterday morning. A 43-year-old suspect was also detained in Coalisland.

Brian Arthurs was previously named in court as a former commanding officer of the East Tyrone Brigade of the IRA. He was also an IRA commander in the Maze prison.

His brother Declan was shot dead by soldiers along with other seven other IRA men as they prepared to bomb Loughgall police station in 1987.

Officers seized a car and dozens of bags containing cash, cheque books, clothes and computer equipment from his house.

His wife Paula told the Belfast Telegraph: "They took 39 bags of stuff, documents and every scrap of paper in the house, including receipts as well as clothes, the computer and a car.

"I can't understand why they can't leave us alone. My children deserve a better life, it has to stop.

"Republicans have given everything and still we get this kind of abuse."

Sinn Fein representatives immediately complained about "heavy-handed" and "political" policing over the latest arrests, mirroring a storm over raids yesterday in Kilcoo, Co Down.

MP Michelle Gildernew said: "They have been heavy-handed. This is not the behaviour of an accountable police force. It is disgraceful."

After a 10-month probe into the Northern Bank robbery, police made made a series of arrests in a 36-hour operation.

Police believe up to 30 men planned the robbery just before Christmas, which involved taking two bank employees' families hostage.

Cash seized in Co Cork last February was linked to the raid, but virtually all of the missing millions has not been recovered.

A month later the Northern was forced to replace all its £10, £20, £50 and £100 notes with new notes carrying a different logo.

Although the Provisionals have always denied carrying out the raid, detectives believe senior IRA men were involved.

More trouble in Kilcoo after police raids

Belfast Telegraph

By Lisa Smyth
04 November 2005

Trouble broke out for a second night in Kilcoo, scene of this week's Northern Bank police raids.

For the past two nights, the village's Dublin Road has been closed after reports that youths were stoning cars and last night, one vehicle was set alight.

South Down MLA Jim Wells said the trouble was caused by republican youths protesting against the arrests over the Northern Bank robbery.

"I thought we had seen the last of the republican no go areas but it is quite clear that they can still go in and take over an area with complete impunity," he said.

"The police have the manpower to go in and return the area to normal but for the past two nights, this hasn't happened.

"I have been contacted by a number of local residents who are intimidated by this trouble and they are also annoyed, particularly members of the Protestant community, that they can't go about their ordinary business."

Sinn Fein and the SDLP have said that the raids were heavy-handed and unpopular in the nationalist village.

Man denies £26m bank raid charges

BBC

A man has been remanded in custody charged over last December's £26.5m Northern Bank robbery in Belfast.

Dominic McEvoy, 23, of Mullandra Park, Kilcoo, is accused of robbery, falsely imprisoning a bank worker and his wife and having a gun or imitation firearm.

Mr McEvoy read out a statement to the court in Belfast denying involvement in the robbery and also denying that he was a member of the Provisional IRA.

A detective said the case was based on circumstantial and forensic evidence.

Mr McEvoy, who was arrested in Kilcoo in County Down late on Tuesday, is the first person to be charged over the Northern robbery.

Detective Inspector Sean Wright said when Mr McEvoy was charged on Thursday he replied: "I had no involvement in the Northern Bank robbery or the kidnapping."

The police officer told the court it was alleged Mr McEvoy's DNA was found on a hat at bank official Kevin McMullan's home in Loughinisland.

As the defendant was being taken down to the cells a large group of men in the public gallery started to applaud and shouted out encouragement.

Arrests

Three other men are still being questioned about the robbery in Belfast. A 25-year-old man was released without charge by police on Thursday.

He was also detained during searches in Kilcoo.

In County Tyrone on Thursday, a 40-year-old man was arrested in Dungannon and a 43-year-old man was arrested in Coalisland.

A 30-year-old man arrested in Belfast on Wednesday is also being questioned.

The robbery happened at the bank's Northern Ireland headquarters at Donegall Square West in Belfast on Monday 20 December.

Some money seized in County Cork last February was linked to the robbery, but virtually all of the missing millions remain unrecovered.

Family seeks apology over Ludlow death probe

BreakingNews.ie

04/11/2005 - 09:35:04

The family of Seamus Ludlow today demanded an apology from the Gardaí over the investigation into their brother’s death in 1976.

Justice Henry Barron found in his report that the Dundalk forestry worker was the victim of a random sectarian killing by loyalist extremists.

But his brother, Kevin Ludlow, said the family would be seeking an apology from the Gardaí, who gave them the impression that their brother had been killed by the IRA.

“We were treated as dirt by the guards. I know that the ordinary guards on the street had to take orders from higher up and only did what they were told but the first inquest was a shambles anyway.”

He said the family still wanted an independent public inquiry.

“There’s still a lot of questions to be answered. The big question is why was so much covered up? Why were we told lies for 30 years?”

Seamus Ludlow was abducted in Dundalk in May 1976 while returning home from a pub and was found later dumped in a ditch near his home with three gunshot wounds to the chest.

The Barron report, released under full parliamentary privilege, praised the Gardaí for carrying out a diligent and competent investigation in the face of unreliable intelligence information.

But Justice Barron asked why details of the four suspects, provided by the RUC in 1979, were never pursued.

He said the investigating officer, Det Supt Dan Murphy, may have abandoned plans to interview the suspects because they were outside the jurisdiction.

At the second inquest earlier this year into Mr Ludlow’s murder, senior gardaí gave evidence that they knew who the killers were but were stopped by Garda Headquarters from pursuing them.

Mr Ludlow told RTE radio that he believed the family would never get justice.

“They (the men responsible) could have been brought to justice 18 months after the murder and they'd have done their time and it’d be all over.”

He said the garda investigation had caused division in his family.

“The Gardaí did try to split up the family, and in a certain extent, they did do that. Thank God, everything is all right now. There’s no split in the family and we’re all coming together.”

The Barron report states that Mr Ludlow was picked up in a car in May 1976 by four men: James Fitzsimmons, Richard Long, Samuel Carroll and Paul Hosking.

It said: “Information obtained by the RUC from Hosking suggested that it was Carroll who shot Seamus Ludlow. The inquiry has not been in a position to test the veracity of this allegation.”

The Garda Commissioner, Noel Conroy, is currently examining the Barron report.

In a statement, he said the Gardaí acknowledged that there were issues in the original investigation carried out some 30 years ago.

“In recent years, An Garda Síochana has taken whatever actions were available to right the situation and in this regard co-operated fully with the Barron and other enquiries and will continue to do so.”

In his report, Judge Barron said it was most probable the decision not to pursue the suspects was made by then Deputy Commissioner Laurence Wren, after consulting other senior gardaí and possibly senior Justice Department officials.

But Mr Wren, who headed the force from 1983 to 1987, said he rejected this finding.

“I don’t accept it at all, and I have told him (Judge Barron) that in my memo.”

He said he had no recollection of ever being told the names of the four suspects when he was in charge of the counter-terrorism division, C3.

“The responsibility for the investigation was the officers in the division concerned, it wasn’t our responsibility in C3,” he told RTE radio.

In his memo to Judge Barron, Mr Wren said he would be compelled to take corrective action to clear his name in the matter.

Call for inquiry into 1976 murder

BBC

The family of a County Louth man killed in 1976 have called for a independent, public inquiry into his murder.

Four loyalists suspected of killing Seamus Ludlow have been named in a Dublin judicial report.

The report's author, Mr Justice Barron, criticised the Garda investigation into the murder near Dundalk in May 1976.

He said gardai failed to question four NI suspects named in the report because the RUC might have demanded reciprocal rights in the Irish Republic.

Seamus Ludlow's family have claimed collusion on both sides of the border.

They have maintained there was a cover-up following the murder.

"It basically copperfastens what the family have been saying for years," Mr Ludlow's nephew Jimmy Sharkey said.

"The Garda knew all along who the killers of Seamus were and didn't do anything about it."

Mr Sharkey said gardai had started a sort of "smear campaign" against the family, claiming Seamus Ludlow had been an IRA informer and that the IRA had been involved in his murder.

"They actually went as far as telling Seamus' brother Kevin that it was a member of the family who had him killed," he said.

Mr Sharkey said the family now wanted an inquiry into the murder.

"The bottom line for us is an independent, public inquiry."

Arrests

Last month, an inquest into the 47-year-old forestry worker's killing was told that in 1998, the RUC arrested and questioned four men.

Two of them independently gave evidence of how and where the murder was committed.

However, the Director of Public Prosecutions in Northern Ireland decided not to press charges.

The inquest was also told that in 1979, Irish police had the names and addresses of the same four men but Garda Headquarters did not allow the investigating officers to proceed.

Mr Justice Barron, a retired judge, said it was important to view these matters in the context that the period between 1976-1980 was "one of huge turmoil".

"Deep divisions and distrust existed, not only between the nationalist and unionist communities in Northern Ireland, but also between the governments of the United Kingdom and this (Irish) state," he said.


Service to remember Lisa

BBC


Lisa Dorrian's body has never been found

A remembrance service is to be held later for Bangor woman Lisa Dorrian, believed murdered.

Lisa, 25, was last seen at a party on a County Down caravan site in February. Her body has never been found.

Police believe members of the Loyalist Volunteer Force, which said on Sunday that it was standing down, may have been involved in her killing.

The service is to be held in the Church of the Holy Redeemer in Ballyholme, Bangor, on Friday evening.

On Wednesday, it was confirmed that a forensic scientist looking at the cases of the Disappeared will also be able to work on Lisa's case.

The forensic scientist is being funded by the British and Irish governments to help locate the remains of five people abducted, murdered and secretly buried by the IRA during the Troubles.

Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain said the police would be able to use the scientist to undertake other work on an independent consultancy basis.


Seamus Ludlow - 29 years of waiting for justice

Relatives for Justice

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Click to view - Seamus Ludlow

Seamus Ludlow was abducted and murdered by armed Loyalists and British soldiers outside the town of Dundalk on the night of 1st. and 2nd May 1976. He was last seen thumbing a lift home from the pub at around midnight before he disappeared.

Despite false claims that were encouraged by the Irish Gardai that Seamus Ludlow had been murdered by the IRA because he was an informer, it is now known that both the Gardai and the RUC in the North of Ireland were aware at least in 1979, if not even earlier, that the killers were in fact Loyalists. They knew that they included at least two locally recruited members of the British Army.

The killers all came from the Comber and Newtownbards areas of north Down. Information which would have identified these killers was suppressed for more than 20 years, allowing these men to remain free and at liberty to kill again.

Four Loyalists were arrested by the RUC in February 1998. They were all released without charge, pending an investigation report being sent to the Northern Ireland Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP). On 15 October 1999, the DPP ruled that none of the suspects would be charged with any offence, even though two of them have signed incriminating statements while in RUC custody. The others are described as two former members of the illegal Red Hand Commando death squad as well as members of the British Army's Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR), one of whom was a captain in that discredited force, which is now known as the Royal Irish Regiment (RIR). The third man, known as Mambo, is also described as a Red Hand Commando figure who may also have been an agent for some branch of the British forces.

The Ludlow family has demanded public inquiries on both sides of the border to uncover exactly why Seamus Ludlow's murder was never properly investigated. They want to know why Seamus Ludlow's name was smeared by the authorities and why his killers were never brought to justice by the Gardai or by the RUC, who had identified them many years ago. They demand full truth and justice for an innocent victim who never received either from the authorities in the past.

The Ludlow family wants to know who gave the orders for the cover-up of the evidence and the smearing of the victim. Who was being protected, and why? Why was the Ludlow family excluded from their loved-one's inquest on 19th August 1976. Will those individuals responsible for the abuses of authority in this case ever be brought to account for their actions?

The Ludlow family is supported in their demands by several distinguished human rights groups: British Irish Rights Watch (BIRW), the Irish Council for Civil Liberties and by the Pat Finucane Centre and a large number of local and national politicians on both sides of the border and in Britain. BIRW have compiled an independent Report on the murder of Seamus Ludlow, in which they support the Ludlow family's demands for truth and justice. The BIRW report has been circulated to the Irish and British authorities. Jane Winter, Director, BIRW, launched her independent report at the Ludlow family's press conference on 18 February 1999.

Michael Donegan - Nephew of Seamus Ludlow


03 November 2005

Murder suspects named in report

BBC


Mr Justice Barron criticised the 1976 murder investigation

Four loyalists suspected of killing a County Louth forestry worker almost 30 years ago have been named in a Dublin judicial report about his murder.

The report's author, Mr Justice Barron, criticised the Garda investigation into the murder near Dundalk in May 1976.

He said Gardai failed to question four suspects named in the report because the RUC might have demanded reciprocal rights in the Irish Republic.

Mr Ludlow's family have always claimed collusion on both sides of the border.

They have maintained there was a cover-up following the murder.

Last month's inquest into the 47-year-old's killing was told that in 1998, the RUC arrested and questioned four men.

Two of them independently gave evidence of how and where the murder was committed.

However, the Director of Public Prosecutions in Northern Ireland decided not to press charges.

The inquest was also told that in 1979, Irish police had the names and addresses of the same four men but Garda Headquarters did not allow the investigating officers to proceed.

Mr Justice Barron, a retired judge, said it was important to view these matters in the context that the period between 1976-1980 was "one of huge turmoil".

"Deep divisions and distrust existed, not only between the nationalist and unionist communities in Northern Ireland, but also between the governments of the United Kingdom and this (Irish) state," he said.

McCartney sisters refuse accolade because of Thatcher

BBC


Two of the sisters refused to collect the award in London

The sisters of a murdered Belfast man have refused to share a platform with Margaret Thatcher claiming she had "inflicted injuries" on Ireland.

Robert McCartney's sisters had been expected to collect an award at the Women of the Year Awards in London.

However, Claire and Catherine McCartney declined to pick up the accolade due to Baroness Thatcher's presence.

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

Baroness Thatcher, a former UK prime minister, was at the ceremony to also collect an award.

Mr McCartney's family have campaigned for justice for their murdered brother and claim they have been intimidated by the IRA.

A statement from the sisters said: "Our campaign is one of justice and as an Irish republican family, we feel that we cannot share the same platform as a former prime minister who inflicted injuries on our country."

The award organisers said the McCartney sisters declined the Women of the Year's Outstanding Achievement Award "due to circumstances they only became aware of this morning".

"However, Women of the Year would like to reiterate that they are proud to recognise their remarkable achievements and to offer them all our continued support."

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

Man charged over Northern Bank robbery

BreakingNews.ie

03/11/2005 - 18:08:23

A man was tonight charged with the £26.5m (€39.2m) Northern Bank robbery in Belfast.

The 23-year-old man was also accused of taking a husband and wife hostage and possession of a gun or imitation firearm during the heist last December.

He was one of men arrested by police in Northern Ireland as part of their probe into the biggest cash robbery in British history.

The man is due to appear at Belfast Magistrates Court tomorrow morning.

The man charged is building contractor Dominic McEvoy, of Kilcoo, Co Down.

Police held him at his Mullandra Park home on Tuesday as part of a planned operation that has led to five arrests so far.

He is accused of the false imprisonment of Kevin McMullan, a supervisor at the Northern, and his wife Karen.

Gang members took over their hom at Loughinisland, Co Down during the robbery just before Christmas.

While Mr McMullan and a colleague, Chris Ward, were ordered to go into work, both their families were held hostage.

Mrs McMullan was taken from her house and later released near Drumkeeragh Forest Park, between Castlewellan and Ballynahinch, Co Down.

A Police Service of Northern Ireland spokeswoman said tonight: “A 23-year-old man has been charged with the false imprisonment of Karen McMullan and the false imprisonment of Kevin McMullan.

“He has also been charged with possession of a firearm or imitation firearm with intent to commit an indictable offence, and the robbery of £26.5m from the Northern Bank in Belfast on December 20, 2004.”

Earlier today a top republican was held during another series of raids on homes in Co Tyrone.

Brian Arthurs, 40, was arrested in Dungannon while a 43-year-old suspect was detained in Coalisland.

Arthurs, whose brother Declan was among an eight-man IRA unit wiped out in an SAS ambush 18 years ago, is understood to be a member of Sinn Fein.

Officers seized a car and dozens of bags containing cash, cheque books, clothes and computer equipment from his house.

Police on both sides of the Irish border have blamed the IRA for clearing the vaults at the Northern’s Belfast city centre HQ last December.

After a 10-month probe into the robbery, all five arrests came in a 36-hour operation.

Along with McEvoy, another suspect, aged 24 was brought in from Kilcoo on Tuesday night while a 30-year-old man was held in Belfast yesterday.

Republicans and Arthurs’ wife Paula were incensed that the father-of-three was suspected of involvement.

“This is all a political exercise, this is to humiliate republicans again,” Mrs Arthurs said.

But Northern Ireland Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde insisted the arrests were a deeply significant part of the investigation and expressed his hope that more would follow.

“This is not over yet,” he said. “Just because people have been arrested today does not mean the investigation is closing down.

“We will continue to deliver as best we can in what is a very complicated major crime investigation

“The action we have taken is proportionate and has been the right thing to do.

“I have absolute confidence my detectives are looking in the right direction.”

Police believe up to 30 men planned the robbery just before Christmas, which involved taking two bank employees’ families hostage.

Cash seized in Co Cork last February was linked to the raid, but virtually all of the missing millions is unrecovered.

A month later the Northern was forced to replace all its £10, £20, £50 and £100 notes with new notes carrying a different logo.

Although the Provisionals have always denied carrying out the raid, detectives believe senior IRA men in Belfast were involved.

Only a lack of evidence has thwarted their attempts to charge them.

But Mrs Arthurs hit out at the police decision to arrest her husband, telling BBC Radio Ulster: “The Northern Bank robbery is the biggest joke.

“Maybe if they looked a bit closer to themselves they might find out who did it.”

Arthurs’ brother was gunned down by soldiers along with other IRA men as they prepared to bomb Loughgall police station in 1987.

The Sinn Féin MP for Fermanagh and South Tyrone, Michelle Gidernew, claimed support for the reformed police service would evaporate because of the arrests.

“These are not the actions of an accountable and acceptable policing service,” she said.

“The operation in Tyrone will further undermine the confidence of the nationalist community in the ability of the PSNI to deliver impartial, accountable policing.”

Bomb hoax 'could scupper investment'

Belfast Telegraph

By Claire Regan
03 November 2005

A hoax bomb alert which forced thousands of delegates to evacuate one of the biggest conferences ever held in Belfast could endanger new investment, the Secretary of State warned last night.

Peter Hain spoke of his concerns after the British Council of Shopping Centres (BCSC) event was forced to abandon the Waterfront Hall when the telephoned alert was made at about 11.15am yesterday. Around 2,000 delegates were evacuated to the nearby St George's Market.

"I told the conference on Tuesday Belfast is the best place in Europe in which to invest," Mr Hain said.

"We have the potential to benefit from multi-million pound investment and those who threaten investment are trying to kill jobs and are enemies of everyone working for a better future."

The three day event, the largest private sector conference ever held in Belfast, relocated to the Ulster Hall where Senator George Mitchell presented the final keynote address.

The alert was cleared by 4pm. A police spokeswoman confirmed nothing was found.

BCSC conference chairman, Martyn Chase, said: "We carried on as normal. We have had a wonderful welcome and a great conference."

Despite these assurances, deputy SDLP leader, Dr Alasdair McDonnell, said he also fears the alert will have a lasting impact.

"All the positive potential that this conference held for Belfast and its future economic and tourism development has been put at risk as, once again, our old problems came back to haunt us," he said.

"To see delegates herded out of the Waterfront and onto the streets because of a bomb scare was disheartening to say the least. This is not the image of Belfast, and indeed of Northern Ireland, that we wanted delegates to take away with them.

"But the stark reality is that this is exactly what will happen. The one memory that will stand out in the mind of those 2,000 people is their conference being interrupted by a bomb scare."

Memories still raw at Poyntzpass

Belfast Telegraph

By Michael McHugh in Poyntzpass
03 November 2005

Memories are still raw in the Co Armagh village of Poyntzpass seven years after two LVF gunmen burst into the Railway Bar and shot dead life-long friends Damien Trainor and Philip Allen.

Ballymoney DUP member Gary Blair has called for the killers, Stephen McClean and Noel McCready, to be released following the LVF's announcement to stand down at the weekend.

Mr Blair is a former prisoner who was released under the Good Friday Agreement after being jailed over the loyalist murder of a Sinn Fein election candidate.

His suggestion has been met with horror and opposition in Poyntzpass and beyond.

Bernadette Cavanagh, the owner of the Railway Bar, was working the night the shooting happened, said she had vivid memories of the carnage.

"You try to let it die but it is just something which you don't forget about. I would be opposed to them getting out of prison, I could never forgive them for what they did for no reason to two neighbours," Ms Canavan added.

The victims were Catholic and Protestant friends.

A cousin of Mr Allen, who was in the village at the time of the shooting, said: "Those two, McCready and McClean, got out of prison under the Agreement and got their chance and I think they should now serve their time."

US 'should not curb SF fundraising'

BreakingNews.ie

03/11/2005 - 09:22:30

President George Bush’s officials would be making a mistake if they place any restrictions on Gerry Adams’ ability to speak at fundraising events in the US, Washington was warned today.

Sinn Fein chief negotiator Martin McGuinness expressed concern at newspaper reports quoting US State Department sources as saying there could be a visa restriction on the Sinn Féin leader, who is due to visit New York later this month for an annual fundraising dinner.

The Mid Ulster MP said Mr Adams would pull out of the visit if restrictions were placed on him addressing the events.

And he also warned that Irish republicans would resist any attempt by the Bush administration to link the visa conditions with Sinn Féin’s refusal to endorse the North’s system of policing.

Mr McGuinness said: “These fundraising events allow supporters of Irish unity to contribute to Sinn Féin’s political programme to achieve this through peaceful and democratic activity.

“Such support is entirely legitimate and indeed necessary in demonstrating that politics works.

“The US has played a pivotal role in the creation and evolution of the peace process.

“An even-handed approach has been the hallmark of success in this. All parties have been treated equally.

“However, any heavy-handed attempt by the State Department to try and dictate Sinn Féin policy on policing is misguided and will do nothing to help in the resolution of this key issue.”

Sinn Fein is the only one of the four largest parties in the North to refuse its seats on boards designed to hold the Police Service of Northern Ireland accountable.

Despite Government, rival nationalist SDLP and Catholic bishops’ support for policing, the party has insisted police reforms in the North do not go far enough.

They want policing and justice powers to be transferred out of British government hands to a new devolved ministry at Stormont.

Mr McGuinness said: “Sinn Féin knows what we have to do on policing. Our position is very clear.

“The British government also knows what it has to do on policing. It has given a series of commitments on this.

“The upcoming period will provide ample opportunities to establish whether these commitments have been honoured.

“President Bush’s special envoy Mitchell Reiss knows this and he and the State Department have been fully briefed on our party’s position.

“If Gerry Adams has restrictions imposed on his visa, this means you would have the ludicrous and unsustainable situation where he is allowed to travel to the US, but he would be banned from attending the fundraising event, which will go ahead in any event.

“If Gerry Adams is banned from addressing US citizens at fundraising events next week, he will not travel to the United States. Of course, he and others in the Sinn Féin leadership will continue to engage with US opinion and he will travel there as part of that engagement in the time ahead.”

Mr McGuinness said that if the US Government adopted the policy, it would play into the hands of anti-Good Friday Agreement unionists and also cause deep anger among Irish-American supporters of the peace process.

It would also be out of step with the British government’s approach to Sinn Féin, he argued.

“There is no ban on Gerry Adams attending fundraising events in Britain,” the Mid Ulster MP said.

“Inevitably, such a wholly negative approach by the US would have serious political repercussions and would be used by anti-Agreement unionists, including the DUP, to undermine the progress that has been made this year and damage the hopes for progress in the months ahead.

“It is important that this matter is resolved as speedily as possible.”


Five now held over £26m robbery

BBC


Millions were taken from the vaults of the Northern Bank last December

Two more men have been arrested by police investigating last year's £26.5m Northern Bank robbery in Belfast.

A 40-year-old man was arrested in Dungannon and a 43-year-old in Coalisland, both in County Tyrone.

Police are also carrying out more searches in Kilcoo, County Down, in connection with the robbery.

Two men in their 20s arrested in the village on Tuesday are still being questioned, as is a 30-year-old man arrested in Belfast on Wednesday.

The road between Castlewellan and Newry at Kilcoo is blocked by burnt out cars after protests on Wednesday night.

A number of protesters blocked the road.

Kilcoo is a strongly republican village close to Castlewellan.

The stepfather of one of the men arrested on Tuesday said police arrived just as his stepson came home from work at about 2310 GMT.


Police have been carrying out a series of searches

He said his stepson laughed when police told him he was being arrested in connection with the Northern Bank robbery.

The house was searched and it is understood documents, mobile phones, a passport and computer equipment were taken away.

Sinn Fein assembly member for South Down Willie Clarke said the two men arrested are locals and were not members of his party.

Mr Clarke also accused the police of being heavy-handed during the operation.

Police on both sides of the Irish border have blamed the IRA for the robbery. The IRA has denied this.

The robbery happened at the bank's headquarters in Donegall Square West in the city centre in December 2004.

Nobody has been charged with the raid.

Some money seized in County Cork last February was linked to the robbery, but virtually all of the missing millions is still unrecovered.

Last March, the Northern Bank replaced all its £10, £20, £50 and £100 notes with new notes carrying a different logo.

Roof caves in on Irish-SA charity project as gale-force winds topple new homes -

Irish Independent

**See >>this article about the project

A GROUP of Irish builders on a charity project in South Africa faced a cruel setback yesterday when gales damaged more than half the houses they built.

Over 70pc of the work carried out by the builders - as part of the Niall Mellon Project - was damaged or destroyed by the massive winds.

As the volunteer builders arrived on site they were faced with scenes of complete destruction.

"It was terrible arriving today and seeing all the damage. Some of the houses are half knocked, some are completely ruined," said one worker.

Since beginning work on the houses on Saturday morning almost 60 houses had been built. But now with more than half of their work damaged the teams must begin again and hope that they will be able to catch up.

"It takes a team of ten, two days to build and roof a house. This is definitely a huge setback," the worker stated.

The volunteers were told of the destruction early yesterday morning by Niall Mellon as they were being bussed out to the work site.

The gales in the area are renowned for blowing up with little warning. Despite having secured the buildings the strength of the gales makes it almost impossible to ensure the half-finished houses can withstand them.

The team of 200 men arrived in Cape Town on Friday and began work on Saturday morning.

A further 500 men were due to take over in a week's time to insert electricity, plumbing and plaster the homes.

Now the entire project has been hit by the damage which will affect the number of houses ready for the second team to finish.

The charity organisation, dedicated to building houses for poverty stricken people living in South Africa had volunteer builders, electricians, plumbers and plasterers working to house some of the 12,000 people currently working in hut dwellings.

Caroline Crawford


02 November 2005

McDowell planning sex abuse audit of all dioceses

BreakingNews.ie

02/11/2005 - 07:21:58

Justice Minister Michael McDowell is reportedly planning to order an independent examination of every diocese in the Republic to establish if any serving priests pose a threat to children.

Reports this morning said the examination would run in parallel with the proposed statutory inquiry into the Church's response to allegations of sexual abuse against more than 70 priests in the Dublin archdiocese.

The audit would then recommend whether or not other dioceses should also be the subject of statutory inquiries.

Meanwhile, this morning's reports also said Circuit Court Judge Yvonne Murphy had been asked to chair the inquiry into the Dublin allegations.

Rabbitte leads Labour away from politics of James Connolly

Sinn Féin

Published: 2 November, 2005

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Martin Ferris

Sinn Féin TD Martin Ferris has said failure to pursue Irish unity “will condemn the north eastern counties of this country to another prolonged period of crisis.” Speaking on the Sinn Féin Private Members Motion in the Dáil this evening he said, “Republicans do not believe that political normality can ever be achieved while the British claim and exercise jurisdiction over that part of Ireland.”

Speaking on the Sinn Féin Private Members motion on Irish Unity in the Dáil Deputy Ferris said, “There is a clear and pressing need for the case for Irish unity to be actively promoted. Not to do so will condemn the north eastern counties of this country to another prolonged period of crisis. There are those like Deputy Rabbitte who argue the opposite. In his speech here on September 28, Deputy Rabbitte spoke about the six counties as though it was some exotic country the other side of the world, and its inhabitants a strange band of beings whose actions and motivations are a constant puzzle to all of us ‘down here’.

“Deputy Rabbitte and others contend that the solution to their problems is to engineer a permanent settlement in which the six counties remain forever under British sovereignty. Republicans who argue to the contrary are accused of going beyond the terms of the Good Friday Agreement, and of deepening divisions.

“Republicans do not believe that political normality can ever be achieved while the British claim and exercise jurisdiction over that part of Ireland. Far from that jurisdiction being “bedded down” as hoped for by Deputy Rabbitte and others, the period since 1998 has proven that it is the ultimate and ongoing cause of tension and instability. Therefore, the logical solution to that is to bring about a situation in which all of the people of Ireland can create a state in which all cultural identities and interests are accommodated. It is our belief that that can be best achieved in an All Ireland republic.

“Deputy Rabbitte also accused republicans of failing to recognise or to address what he terms inter-communal divisions. That is patronising nonsense. How could republicans in the six counties fail to recognise differences that govern every aspect of life there.

“As for failing to do anything to address those divisions, I can assure Deputy Rabbitte that my party has far closer and more genuine links with members of the unionist community than either himself or anyone else “down here”. Those links are extensive and ongoing and sometimes, in the light of sensitivities, of necessity low-key. They are something we take very seriously and not as something to be used as occasional publicity stunts.

“Over the course of our dialogue with unionism we have come to recognise deeply held beliefs and fears, and have sought in various ways to address them. We have no wish to oppress or to dominate those with different belief systems and cultures, but we are none the less convinced that the best way in which to protect all differences is through the creation of a genuinely republican society as envisaged by the founders of Irish republicans and by the framers of the 1916 Proclamation and the Democratic Programme.” ENDS

Full text of speech follows:

As this motion states, there is a clear and pressing need for the case for Irish unity to be actively promoted. Not to do so will condemn the north eastern counties of this country to another prolonged period of crisis.

There are those like Deputy Rabbitte who argue the opposite. In his speech here on September 28, Deputy Rabbitte spoke about the six counties as though it was some exotic country the other side of the world, and its inhabitants a strange band of beings whose actions and motivations are a constant puzzle to all of us “down here”.

I wonder, however, to what extent the leader of the Labour Party speaks for all of his members when he adopts this attitude. The vast majority of Labour members and supporters that I know see themselves in the tradition of James Connolly and strongly support the aspiration for a united Ireland. But then perhaps Deputy Rabbitte is speaking more from the perspective of the anti-republican ideology that dominated Democratic Left.

Deputy Rabbitte and others contend that the solution to their problems is to engineer a permanent settlement in which the six counties remain forever under British sovereignty. Republicans who argue to the contrary are accused of going beyond the terms of the Good Friday Agreement, and of deepening divisions.

Republicans have never made any secret of the fact that we do not regard a devolved administration as the final settlement. What we have done, and along with others who do not include Deputy Rabbitte, is bring about a situation in which advocates of Irish unity and defenders of the union can argue their respective positions in something approaching a normal political environment.

However, we do not believe that political normality can ever be achieved while the British claim and exercise jurisdiction over that part of Ireland. Far from that jurisdiction being “bedded down” as hoped for by Deputy Rabbitte and others, the period since 1998 has proven that it is the ultimate and ongoing cause of tension and instability. Therefore, the logical solution to that is to bring about a situation in which all of the people of Ireland can create a state in which all cultural identities and interests are accommodated. It is our belief that that can be best achieved in an All Ireland republic.

Deputy Rabbitte also accused republicans of failing to recognise or to address what he terms inter-communal divisions. That is patronising nonsense. How could republicans in the six counties fail to recognise differences that govern every aspect of life there.

As for failing to do anything to address those divisions, I can assure Deputy Rabbitte that my party has far closer and more genuine links with members of the unionist community than either himself or anyone else “down here”. Those links are extensive and ongoing and sometimes, in the light of sensitivities, of necessity low-key. They are something we take very seriously and not as something to be used as occasional publicity stunts.

Over the course of our dialogue with unionism we have come to recognise deeply held beliefs and fears, and have sought in various ways to address them. We have no wish to oppress or to dominate those with different belief systems and cultures, but we are none the less convinced that the best way in which to protect all differences is through the creation of a genuinely republican society as envisaged by the founders of Irish republicans and by the framers of the 1916 Proclamation and the Democratic Programme.

It was not Irish republicans who allowed this state to be turned into a narrow clerical dominated society in which the sort of horrors we read about in the Ferns Report were allowed take place. A society of mass poverty and emigration. The people responsible for that were successive Fianna Fáil governments and coalitions that included Fine Gael and the Labour Party. Republicans did not create that society and we have no wish to recreate it and foist it on our fellow Irish men and women in the Six Counties.

I must also refer to the positive role that has been played in attempting to bring about a settlement by the IRA. The IRA helped to initiate the peace process and the ceasefires declared by the organisation were crucial steps on the way to the Good Friday Agreement.

Unfortunately the goodwill displayed by the IRA and the risks taken by that organisation, have not always been reciprocated. Nonetheless the IRA has continued to take bold initiatives. In September it took an unprecedented step in relation to its structures and arms. That was done despite considerable unease among republicans conscious of the dangers inherent in a situation where unionism retains the physical means to attack nationalists.

Again, while I know that there has been a generally positive reaction from members of the unionist community, there is little leadership among its political representatives who appear either unwilling or afraid to reciprocate in a way that would lead to a re-establishment of the political institutions.

It is of course also the responsibility of the two governments, and particularly of the British Government, to ensure that this does take place and as soon as possible. Once that is done there can be some semblance of normal democratic politics. Unionists will be free to argue their positions and Sinn Féin will certainly not be found wanting in promoting the need for an all island settlement.

Adams hits out at lack of support for unity motion

BreakingNews.ie

02/11/2005 - 16:58:18

Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams tonight attacked the political establishment for failing to support his party’s motion in support of a united Ireland.

The motion calls on the Irish Government to draw up a Green Paper to prepare for the political, social, economic and cultural unification of the island and to engage in dialogue with unionists.

Outside the gates of the Dáil, Mr Adams said he could not understand the lack of support from the Government and opposition parties.

“For the life of me, why these parties which have as stated policy positions the objective of Irish unity, cannot support this motion, it’s beyond me,” he said.

The five Sinn Féin TDs have secured private members’ time to debate the motion in the Dáil tonight, but the lack of support from other political parties means that it is unlikely to pass.

Sinn Féin TD Caoimhghin Ó Caoláin defended the motion by saying that it was imperative for all parties to work towards a United Ireland.

“We’re asking them to join with us to change it from an aspiration into a proactive achievement. Working together we believe that we can indeed hasten that day,” he said.

Mr Ó Caoláin said he believed that re-unification could have benefits for all communities.

“As republicans, we’re absolutely committed to working towards a United Ireland not only in the interests of Irish republicans and nationalists, but we believe in the interests of all those who share this island,” he said.

“We believe it’s a process of convincing, it’s a process of persuasion and we are up to the dialogue and the engagement.”

Three questioned over £26m raid

BBC

A third man has been arrested by police investigating the £26.5m Northern Bank robbery in Belfast last December.


>>Read it

Murals come down as 'rear guard' stays to protect guns

Newshound

(Barry McCaffrey, Irish News)

LVF murals are to be removed from loyalist estates across the north in coming days, The Irish News has learned.

The move is seen as bringing an end to all visible signs of the paramilitary group which announced it was standing down on Sunday.

An LVF mural in the Ballysillan area of north Belfast is understood to have already been removed.

Loyalist sources say the LVF will continue an internal debate over future decommissioning.

While the LVF's arsenal is thought to be limited, it is known to have imported a consignment of assault rifles from eastern Europe in 2002.

Loyalist sources claimed that the majority of the LVF's weapons were now under 'central control'.

One senior loyalist said the LVF would adopt a 'wait and see' approach over future UVF actions before it agreed to complete decommissioning.

It is understood the UVF and LVF have both given assurances that neither side will seek reprisals on named individuals.

"The LVF says it is going away and that individuals will not be allowed to use its name as cover," the source said.

"It will have to be seen if individuals can accept that, but there will be no more LVF. The only LVF people remaining are the rear guard protecting the guns."

It is understood the LVF disbandment will allow both the UVF and UDA to complete internal discussions aimed at standing down.

"There are separate talks going on within the UVF and UDA. I don't see anything happening in the immediate future but there are efforts to move things forward.

"They will want to see the response from the wider Protestant community and the government before they take any final decisions," the source said.

The DUP's Nigel Dodds praised those who had helped to bring the feud to an end.

Ulster Unionist leader Reg Empey described the LVF move as a 'positive' development.

Sinn Féin's Gerry Kelly welcomed the LVF move but said that nationalists remained to be convinced.

The SDLP's Dolores Kelly said it was a "useful first step but there are many more steps to take."

Alliance leader David Ford said that the LVF/UVF feud had only served to destroy the Protestant community.

Methodist leader the Rev Desmond Bain said the community now expected other paramilitary groups to follow suit.

Ministers welcome move

The LVF's decision to stand down was welcomed as a "step forward", by Secretary of State Peter Hain yesterday (Monday). The loyalist paramilitary group took the step in response to the IRA's decision to decommission its weapons and the ending of the loyalist feud.

"I welcome any move which brings such murderous violence to an end," Mr Hain said.

He also called for a complete and permanent end to all paramilitary activity. Irish minister for foreign affairs, Dermot Ahern, said it was an important step towards bringing about complete paramilitary decommissioning.

November 2, 2005
________________

This article appeared first in the November 1, 2005 edition of the Irish News.

Editorial - Last Thing We Need

Derry Journal

Tuesday 1st November 2005

There are aspects of Irish culture that must be confronted and, perhaps, the most worrying of these is binge drinking.Given the extent and growth of binge drinking in Ireland - and our poor record of enforcement - it would be absolute madness to introduce 24-hour licensing here.

And, yet, the North's Department of Social Development is initiating a public consultation on the issue of extended opening hours. It is intended any changes will come into effect in 2007.As one addiction expert warned recently, the Irish psyche is not equipped to handle the 24-hour availability of alcohol. We are not a Mediterranean people, and have not been socialised into the respect for alcohol those cultures have.As this expert rightly pointed out: 24-hour availability of alcohol in Northern Ireland will mean the introduction of 24-hour bingeing, not a new age of temperance and moderation.It is as if we are almost breeding young people to drink heavily from the word go.Ireland is among a number of countries with a centuries-old culture of drinking heavily in a short space of time.

In other countries, like France and Italy, drinking alcohol is spaced throughout the week and often accompanied by a meal. This means young people learn to drink in a more civilised way.It may take a generation before we can successfully change the psyche, to readjust people's thinking to appreciate that alcohol is not to be gorged: it's not for bingeing.

Indeed, given the prevailing drinking culture, extending licensing hours here are more likely to transform our town centres into something akin to Faliraki as opposed to Florence.In theory, the aims of extended opening hours are worthy - reducing crime and disorder and tackling the binge-drinking culture.In practice, however, changes may well increase crime and disorder rather than curb it - putting more pressure on police and struggling emergency services.Indeed, evidence from the US, Australia and Europe suggests longer licensing hours mean increased alcohol-related problems.A new report analysing the drinking behaviour of young people between the ages of 11 and 16 in Northern Ireland has revealed worrying trends. Drinking behaviour among young people in Northern Ireland shows that young people here start drinking as young as 11 and that many young people are drinking to dangerous levels.The report, produced by the Health Promotion Agency (HPA) in association with the Irish Temperance League (ITL), also reveals that young people are more vulnerable than adults to suffering physical, emotional and social harm from their own and other people's drinking.There are also strong links between high risk drinking and unsafe sexual behaviour, unintended pregnancy, traffic and other accidents, failure at school and mental health problems.

Responsibility for reducing underage drinking lies with parents, schools, the government, the drinks industry and our communities and requires a 'joined-up' approach.Family relationships, in particular, cannot be underestimated as a key factor in young people's drinking behaviour and parents need to take responsibility for communicating with their children and setting an example.

We should never overlook the startling fact that, each year in Northern Ireland, around 150 people die from diseases directly linked to alcohol misuse and a further 650 die because of diseases or injuries related to alcohol.The social cost of alcohol misuse in Northern Ireland is estimated to be £700 million and now there is recognition that the increasing phenomenon of binge drinking is a major contributor to these human and financial costs.Research has also revealed that 48% of all men and 16% of women in Ireland binge drink at least once a week. Ireland is the highest of all European countries in terms of binge drinking. In Britain, the percentage of men who binge drink is 40%, while in France it is 9%.Northern Ireland has already seen a marked increase in binge drinking - with all its associated problems - in the past few years and longer opening hours is the last thing we need.

Family fury over police search

Belfast Telegraph

By Ben Lowry
02 November 2005

The mother of one of the men arrested over the Northern Bank robbery said she and her son came from a republican family, but they were involved in nothing political or illegal.

Irene Carlin, whose 23-year-old son Dominic McEvoy was arrested last night, spoke of the overnight police operation, in which every room of the family home in Co Down was examined in detail.

Mrs Carlin lives in Mullandra Park, Kilcoo, with her husband Seamus Carlin, Dominic (Seamus's stepson) and the couple's two daughters.

The other man arrested, Peter Morgan, lives with his family nearby in Kirk Lane.

Mrs Carlin, who is a care worker, said: "I came in from work at 11.15pm and the police had just come in."

Seamus Carlin, who was in the house when the police arrived, said: "They rapped the door severely and shouted: 'Police, we've got a warrant.'"

The couple said that there were around half a dozen police officers in the house, and a number of vehicles outside. Dominic, a building contractor currently working on a shopping centre in Dundalk, had only returned from work.

He was taken away for questioning in handcuffs, but no force was used, the Carlins said.

"We are a republican family, but we are not involved in anything at all. We like a quiet life."

Dominic's main interests were gaelic football and work, the Carlins said.

The police searched the house throughout the night, with several teams of officers working at the same time.

"Every CD was opened, every book was opened," Mr Carlin said.

"It is horrible, a gross invasion of your privacy."

The police left with a number of mobile phones, a couple of computers, bank account details and credit cards. Mrs Carlin said she could not believe what had happened.

"You hear the jokes, texts, about the bank robbery. It happened at Christmas, I was more worried about Santa. It was all in the news, and to lift two young fellas."

At 12.30pm today, more police Land Rovers arrived at the property and officers wearing masks gathered outside the Carlins' house.

At the Morgan address in Kirk Lane, the Belfast Telegraph was prevented from going down the driveway by a man in a white van, who emerged to ask what we were doing.


Row over aid to loyalist areas

Belfast Telegraph

By Noel McAdam
02 November 2005

Sinn Fein and the DUP have clashed over Government plans to tackle deprivation in loyalist and unionist areas.

As a team headed by civil service chief Nigel Hamilton prepares to implement a special taskforce team report targeted on Protestant areas, the DUP accused Sinn Fein of attempting to thwart the programme.

It came after Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams sounded alarm bells over working-class unionists blaming nationalists for their communal problems.

Mr Adams said deprivation and poverty had risen in unionist areas over the years because they had been "abandoned" by unionist politicians.

And he warned the approach being taken by the Government in the Shankill area is unlikely to result in any boost to local socio-economic conditions.

After a meeting with Direct Rule Minister David Hanson, Mr Adams said: "I am concerned a potentially dangerous situation is developing where working class unionists blame working class nationalists for their difficulties and that the British government might feed into this through the decisions it takes in the allocation of resources."

DUP Assembly member Diane Dodds hit back however: "The very fact that Adams is running to the Minister in response to the representations being made by the political representatives of loyalist areas demonstrates how outlandish his claims are in relation to unionist areas being abandoned by their political representatives.

"The only abandonment has been on the part of Sinn Fein who never represent the needs of their areas in Parliament."

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