19 November 2005

Enya dedicates album to BBC producer


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Click to view - Enya's new album Amarantine is to be released next week

Enya has dedicated her latest album Amarantine to the BBC Northern Ireland producer who introduced her individual ethereal singing style to a worldwide audience.

Tony McAuley, who died at his home in the Glens of Antrim in June 2003, gave the Irish singer her television break when she recorded the music for The Celts series.

Enya subsequently released the soundtrack from the series as her debut album, The Celts, in 1987.

The singer, who is Ireland's best selling solo musician, said McAuley had played an integral role in bringing her music into the public domain.

"He was very important... a great, great friend who got us involved in the first project which was The Celts," she said.

"We had a wonderful time at the BBC, because firstly we were asked to write the music for one episode, but when we had put forward a few pieces, the director, David Richardson, said he wanted us to write the music for the six episodes, which was a great compliment."

Tony McAuley was a central figure in developing Irish music

McAuley also played an instrumental role in the careers of Paul Brady, the Chieftans and Van Morrison.

In the past, Enya has performed her songs in English, Gaelic, Welsh, Spanish and even Elvish (for the Lord of the Rings soundtrack).

However, her latest album, to be released on 21 November, has stretched her linguistic singing repertoire to the fictional language of Loxian.

After trying to sing the track Water Shows The Hidden Heart in English, Gaelic and Latin, her co-writer Roma Ryan suggested she tried it in Loxian.

"(When) we worked on Lord of the Rings, Roma was working on writing the lyrics in Elvish because of Tolkien's fictional language," she said.

"So when we went to work on the album she suggested, because we were working on this one song and we had great difficulty deciding on what the language was going to be, she suggested creating a fictional language called Loxian, which was absolutely so exciting."

According to the Sunday Times Rich List, Enya is the joint 78th richest person in Ireland with an estimated fortune of 100m euros (£70m).

She was also the world's biggest selling artist in 2001.

However, despite her fame and success the Donegal singer says she still gets excited about creating original music.

She said: "I have a great love of music always had, and to put together this album and kind of lose yourself in the music is really interesting, to be creative and not think of the commercial side of the music, to focus on what you want to say in a song, so the extra bonus is the success."

Hain Says Loyalists Need New Agenda

Irish Abroad

**Via Newshound

By Sean O’Driscoll

Loyalist leaders have not offered any sign of developing a future political agenda, Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain said in New York on Tuesday.

Hain said that he gets a “barrage of complaints” when he speaks to Loyalists but they appear unable to follow Republicans into democratic politics. He also said that loyalism needs to ask if it has any purpose outside of gangsterism.

Hain was speaking during a three-day tour of New York and Washington.

“When I get Loyalists speaking to me, I get a barrage of complaints but I don’t get a future political strategy which, like it or not, Republicans have always had. That’s why Republicans are quite successful and I think the sooner Loyalists have a forward agenda, the more success they will have,” Hain said.

Hain said he had made his comments to individual Loyalist community leaders in Belfast, Lisburn and Ballymena but wanted the Loyalist leadership to consider his words.

He was speaking after the Ulster Defense Association announced that it wanted to discuss its future with the Northern Ireland Office and may consider disbanding.

Hain also called on the Orange Order to stop boycotting the Parades Commission, which is soon to have a new chairman and members.

“To keep boycotting the parades commission, especially a reconstituted parades commission, to put a road block up against dialogue, is not a forward agenda. There are too many people trapped in Northern Ireland’s past,” he said.

Hain said that his deputy, David Hanson, would be meeting with Loyalist leaders next week to discuss the UDA announcement.

Asked if there is any prospect of a political settlement when the largest Unionist party, the Democratic Unionists, have refusing to take part, Hain said that he was assured by DUP representative Jeffrey Donaldson, that the party was not completely ignoring the political system.

Hain said that it was time from the DUP to “come in from the cold.”

“It’s been out in the cold for most of its history. It’s now right at the center of Irish politics and with that come responsibilities. It’s a different, different role. They need to work that through and in time, I think they will,” he said.

80,000 children excluded from the Sure Start Programme

Sinn Féin

Published: 19 November, 2005

Sinn Fein Education Spokesperson Michael Ferguson met with NIPPA Chief Executive Siobhan Fitzpatrick to discuss the need to secure the universal availability of Early Years provision throughout the island of Ireland. Meeting at NIPPA’s Belfast Offices the meeting discussed the recent budget allocation by Peter Hain and the need to promote an all Ireland strategy of provision that is underpinned by addressing the inequalities of deprivation and poverty.

Commenting upon the meeting Michael Ferguson said,

“ It is of the first importance that we promote Early Year’s provision, a point that I reinforced when addressing the ‘Re-Imagining Apprenticeship’ GMB Conference at Belfast City Hall this week. It was clear to all of us when discussing the skills deficit that early intervention and provision was crucial to increase educational attainment levels.

It is clear to educationalists and experts in early year’s provision that educational underachievement is a direct cause of deprivation and poverty and that it is simply not an educational problem but rather a health and social care issue as well.

We need an integrated delivery of health and social service provision into early years centers. In England a budget of £918 million has been set aside to promote Children’s Centres and the £50 allocated over the next two years to the Six Counties will not deliver the 40 Centres that we require. Indeed our Sure Start Programmes exclude 80,000 children from services because of under funding.

I assured NIPPA that we would continue to support the Community and Voluntary sector provision of Early Years support and in particular the intervention in rural areas and communities characterized by multiple deprivation.”

Calls for honest account of 1980s history

Daily Ireland

By Jarlath Kearney

Relatives of people killed by state-sponsored violence in the North have called for an “honest” appraisal of the Anglo-Irish Agreement’s position in modern history.
This week marked 20 years since the Irish and British governments signed the agreement.
Mark Thompson of the Belfast-based group Relatives for Justice said any analysis of the 1985 agreement must include an examination of the way that British government agencies had managed loyalist
He pointed out that, in 1985, just five people were killed by loyalists. Most of the victims were members of the unionist community.
However, within months of the agreement being signed, British government intelligence agencies began the process of reorganising and rearming loyalist paramilitaries through the work of Ulster Defence Association agent Brian Nelson.
“It was never any coincidence that, whenever there was a political initiative designed to alienate mainstream republican opinion, loyalist violence was in a sharp decline,” Mr Thompson said.
“In 1985, Thatcher and FitzGerald were looking at how to address the increasing force of republican
politics after the hunger strikes.
“The agreement was clearly designed to separate the nationalist community and break it up, elevating one political philosophy linked with the SDLP above another linked with Sinn Féin.
“But for that to work politically, then the conditions had to be right and what happened was that loyalist violence was effectively switched off for the entire year of 1985. There were just a small number of loyalist killings,” Mr Thompson said.
Recalling the aggressive and sustained nature of unionist protests at the time, Mr Thompson said the natural outcome ought to have been “a high body count of nationalists” caused by increased loyalist paramilitary attacks.
“In fact, quite the opposite happened. Taken together with the post-Anglo-Irish Agreement period during which Brian Nelson was recruited, this demonstrates that the British government controlled the project of switching loyalist activity on and off in tandem with specific political objectives.
“In 1987, when it became clear that the political project of trying to isolate republicans and stop the rise of Sinn Féin had failed, Brian Nelson was brought back in by the Force Research Unit, and then the major arms shipment came in from South Africa to rearm the death squads.
“There is a direct correlation
between the political and military tactics. Hundreds of nationalists died as a result of that, including the provision of information from Special Branch and the clearance of assassination routes through heavily militarised nationalist communities,” Mr Thompson said.
Describing the upsurge in collusion around the mid-1980s as “the real, untold story”, Mr Thompson called for an “honest” account of the period’s history.
“This week has seen some sterile, academic historical reflections on the Anglo-Irish Agreement. But we would call on academics, the media and the wider community to reflect on the obvious ability of the British government to switch on and off loyalist violence. It is notable that this element of history has been disregarded,” Mr Thompson said.

Campaign launched to stop animal acts

Daily Ireland

Animal-rights activists have launched a campaign to stop circuses using animals.
Members of the groups Animal Defenders International and the Animal Rights Action Network carried out undercover research between 2000 and 2003.
Campaigners claim to have uncovered a litany of animal rights violations, such as animals being kicked and beaten by circus handlers.
Activists also say they have gathered evidence that elephants and other animals have suffered psychologically as a result of being crammed into small spaces for long periods of time.
Kildare-based John Carmody of the Animal Rights Action Network said: “This investigation has revealed animal suffering in Irish circuses on a large scale, which the circus industry has been desperate to hide.
“If children only knew how these poor animals are treated, they would be totally shocked.
“Local councils need to know this and we will be lobbying them to ban the use of animal-act circuses.”
It is estimated that 150 live animals are used in circus acts throughout Ireland.

Paisley hits out at Dail speaking rights plan

Belfast Telegraph

By Senan Hogan
19 November 2005

Proposed speaking rights for Northern Ireland MPs in the Irish Parliament would be an act of aggression against unionists and jeopardise any future relationship, the DUP has claimed.

The party said the planned concessions were short-sighted and would represent a quasi-constitutional claim on Northern Ireland, which had frustrated political progress for decades.

Speaking after a 90-minute meeting with Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern in Dublin, DUP leader the Rev Ian Paisley said: "The Irish Government should not jeopardise the prospect for a proper constructive relationship between our two countries.

"Disturbing the present constitutional balance would be short-sighted with far-reaching, long-term consequences."

The DUP leader said all of the parties must work towards building a relationship which is practical rather than politically-motivated.

Mr Paisley also added that he did not believe that the Independent Monitoring Commission would be in a position to give the IRA a clean bill of health in its next report that is due in January. The North Antrim MP said: "The IMC has told us that in no way will they be able to say that they can give a clean bill of health to the IRA."

Please save my little girl ... a mum's plea from the US

Belfast Telegraph

Parents in bone marrow search for brave Aileen

By Nigel Gould, Health Correspondent
19 November 2005

A desperate mum sent out an SOS from America last night to people across Northern Ireland: "Please help save my little girl's life."

Marie Fearon, originally from Newry but now living in Connecticut, told how her nine-year-old daughter Aileen desperately needed a bone marrow transplant.

And in an interview with the Belfast Telegraph Marie said: "I would appeal to everyone across Northern Ireland to help us. We really need a donor match. It only takes a minute to get tested.

"I really believe there is a match out there in Ireland - north or south."

In 1999, when little Aileen was just three, she was diagnosed with aplastic anaemia - a blood deficiency, representing a failure of the cell-generating capacity of the bone marrow.

Since then her mum and dad, Mike, who was also born in Newry, have been searching all over the world for a bone marrow donor match.

They have also tried a variety of alternative treatments but nothing has been successful.

Several donor recruitment drives have also been held by family members in Northern Ireland.

And recently some 100 local people were recruited to the Anthony Nolan Bone Marrow charity's register after a special clinic in Dromintee in Co Armagh.

But still no match was found.

Now, the family are hoping this report raises Aileen's profile to the extent that people across the province will come forward to be tested.

"The only know cure is a bone marrow transplant," Marie said.

"We have tried other treatments but they haven't worked.

"At the moment Aileen is having transfusions every week. But this is unpredictable.

"She is also susceptible to infection.

"But we are trying to live our lives as normal in very tough circumstances."

If Aileen is well enough, the family will be travelling to Northern Ireland after Christmas for a holiday.

Meanwhile, the Anthony Nolan Trust said potential donors should contact the charity on 0207 284 1234 or visit www.anthonynolan.org.uk

A spokeswoman said: "The Anthony Nolan is responsible for finding suitable unrelated donors for patients who require bone marrow transplants.

"Fewer than 30% of patients who need bone marrow transplants are able to find a compatible donor within their own families.

"The rest rely on the generosity of strangers who have volunteered to donate bone marrow to anyone in need.

"The Anthony Nolan Trust saves lives thanks to over 365,000 UK residents who have volunteered to donate bone marrow to any patient in need. The Anthony Nolan maintains a database of tissue-typing results of all prospective donors. Whenever a patient requires a bone marrow transplant the Anthony Nolan is requested to search this database to identify potentially matched donors."

Police reveal car clues in hunt for dissident's killers


19/11/2005 - 10:34:40

Detectives hunting the killers of a dissident republican in Northern Ireland want to trace three vehicles seen in the area where his body was found, it emerged today.

Martin Conlon died after being abducted by two masked men and shot in Co Armagh last week.

Police have been examining several possible motives for the murder of the 35-year-old, including one theory that he was attacked because he was gay.

They have also been checking whether he was the victim of a fall-out with former associates linked to the Real IRA.

Conlon, who lived at Railway Street, Armagh, died in hospital after being found unconscious with multiple gunshot wounds at the side of the Farnaloy Road, near the neighbouring village of Keady.

Details of three vehicles spotted in the area in the hours before his body was discovered on November 7 were released today.

The PSNI wish to speak to the drivers of:

:: A dark coloured vehicle seen on the Farnaloy Road around 1.20pm.

:: A dark coloured vehicle, possibly an Audi, seen in the Tullynawood area of Darkley, around 3.30pm.

:: A blue Vauxhall Corsa vehicle seen on the Farnaloy Road around 6pm. It is understood a woman was driving the car.

Conlon was freed from jail in the Irish Republic last year.

He had been one of six men jailed in Dublin in March 2001 after pleading guilty to training people in the use of firearms.

He was abducted while visiting a friend in Greenpark Crest off the city’s Monaghan Road.

Conlon was driven from the scene in his own car, a silver Volkswagen Passat.

His body was discovered about a mile-and-a-half from where his car was later found burnt-out.

Leaders Discuss N. Ireland Peace Process


Friday November 18, 2005 9:46 PM
Associated Press Writer

DUBLIN, Ireland (AP) - Northern Ireland's dominant Protestant politician discussed key problems besetting the province's peace process Friday during a rare meeting with Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern.

The Rev. Ian Paisley, leader of the Democratic Unionist Party, spent about an hour in Ahern's Government Buildings headquarters in Dublin - only his second meeting there since opening normal diplomatic relations with the Irish government last year.

Paisley for decades rejected such contact in protest of Ireland's involvement in Northern Ireland, a predominantly Protestant part of the United Kingdom.

Paisley, 79, said his party emphasized it remained unwilling to share power with Sinn Fein, the Irish Republican Army-linked party that represents most Catholics in Northern Ireland. He said Protestants didn't believe that the IRA had fully disarmed, even though international disarmament officials announced in September that the outlawed group had done this in secret.

Despite Paisley's hostility to Sinn Fein, the British and Irish governments remain committed to reviving a power-sharing administration led by the Democratic Unionists and Sinn Fein. Such power-sharing was the central goal of Northern Ireland's Good Friday peace accord of 1998, but a moderate-led coalition fell apart in 2002 amid chronic arguments over the IRA.

Both governments say they are cautiously hopeful that a report due to be published in January by an expert panel, the Independent Monitoring Commission, will confirm the IRA has ceased all activities, including bank robberies and attacks on criminal rivals.

``Depending on what the IMC says, we will expect progress to happen thereafter,'' said Irish Foreign Minister Dermot Ahern, who took part in Friday's discussions.

But Paisley discounted this. He said his party had been briefed twice in recent months by the monitoring commission, and was certain it wouldn't absolve the IRA of involvement in all activities, particularly in fuel and cigarette smuggling.

Paisley said he also pressed the Irish government on its plan to permit Northern Ireland politicians to speak as guests in Ireland's parliament. That proposal, sought by Sinn Fein, has been blocked by Irish opposition politicians.

Paisley said granting Sinn Fein leaders speaking rights in the Dublin parliament would ``jeopardize the prospect of a proper, constructive relationship between our two countries.''

He also criticized the Irish government's failure to extradite three IRA-linked fugitives to Colombia, where they fled convictions for training Marxist rebels in IRA weapons-making techniques. The trio resurfaced in Ireland in August, eight months after absconding on bail, but Ireland's legal system has taken no action on Colombia's request for extradition.

``We conveyed in the strongest possible terms that allowing these fugitives from justice to live freely within the Irish Republic is unacceptable, and Mr. Ahern must facilitate their swift extradition,'' Paisley said.

18 November 2005

Sinn Féin call for Hain statement on missing files

Sinn Féin

Published: 18 November, 2005

Sinn Fein Policing Spokesperson, North Belfast MLA Gerry Kelly has called on the British Secretary of State Peter Hain to make a statement after it was confirmed that his details were among files stolen from Castlereagh last year found in the possession of Loyalists.

Mr Kelly said:

"Across Belfast a large number of republicans have now been visited and informed that their lives are in danger from loyalist paramilitaries who had obtained their personal details. This information comes from the Castlereagh collusion file passed to unionist paramilitaries by the RIR and covered up by British Ministers, the PSNI and British Army over the past 16 months.

"I have requested urgent meetings with both the British and Irish governments to discuss this matter. It is unacceptable that this information has been the hands of Loyalists for 16 months yet only now are people being warned that their lives are threatened and are being provided with only minimal information.

"The silence from Peter Hain on this matter is deafening. If there is to any confidence that the British government is prepared to take the issue of collusion seriously then we need at the very least a statement from Peter Hain. I would also question why information on public representatives is being held in these files in the first place.

"The British government have been dishonest about this entire matter. When I questioned the previous security minister, Ian Pearson, about this matter he attempted to down play it and did not even inform myself or my party colleague Margaret McClenaghan, who accompanied me to the meeting, that our names where on these files. We need to know how many names are contained in these stolen files and how many people have now been informed that their lives are under threat.

"This situation is a scandal. The British government through the NIO are complicit in the cover up of this. It provides clear evidence of collusion. It is for that reason that a separate inquiry is required to get to the truth." ENDS

New anti-bullying helpline for kids

Daily Ireland

A new effort to make the bullying of children a thing of the past in the North’s schools was launched yesterday.
Statutory and voluntary bodies with a key interest in children and their education have joined forces to form the Northern Ireland Anti-Bullying Forum.
At the same time, with Anti Bullying Week just three days away, ChildLine Northern Ireland unveiled its new freephone helpline specifically aimed at helping children and young people worried about bullying.
Last year ChildLine NI counselled over 2,100 children about bullying – making it the single biggest issue that children called the charity about.
Meanwhile, the new forum will formulate a common strategy, co-ordinate anti-bullying efforts and seek to raise the profile of the issue among schools and pupils. Members of the new forum will in turn represent the North on a larger British and Irish Anti-Bullying Forum.
Local representatives from Save the Children, ChildLine NI, the NSPCC, Barnardos, The Children’s Law Centre, Disability Action, parents Advice Centre, the Department of Education, the Education and Library boards together with teachers representatives are all on the forum.
Geraldine Loughran from Save the Children will chair the new forum. She said: “We are committed to working together to create and promote an environment free from bullying for children and young people.
“We believe that their rights must be upheld in line with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which states that they should be protected from all forms of cruelty.”
The Department of Education is currently researching the extent of bullying in schools to update three-year-old research which showed 40 per cent of primary school children and 30 per cent of those in post-primary schools fell victim to bullies.
Ms Loughran said: “We all know that school bullying can have serious consequences for children. It can lead to academic underachievement, physical and emotional distress, loss of self esteem, eating disorders and truancy.”
The strategy formulated by the new forum should ensure greater help not just for children who are bullied but those who do the bullying, she said.
“We recognise that bullying has an emotional impact on those responsible, as well as those on the receiving end,” Ms Loughran said.
The ChildLine anti-bullying line — 0800 44 1111 — operates 24 hours a day, staffed by trained volunteers.

Sinn Féin MEP to challenge Ahern for Dáil seat


18/11/2005 - 13:20:17

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Sinn Féin MEP Mary Lou McDonald is to bid for a Dáil seat in Taoiseach Bertie Ahern’s constituency, it emerged today.

Ms McDonald confirmed she would seek a party nomination to contest the Dublin Central constituency at the next General Election.

The selection convention will take place on December 1 in Aughrim Street Parish Centre in Stoneybatter.

Remembering the Past - Kilmichael Ambush

An Phoblacht

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Photo: Tom Barry

On 21 November 1920 a column of 36 IRA riflemen were mobilised at Clogher, County Cork, for a week's training in advance of an attack on the Auxiliaries. At 2am the following Sunday the IRA Flying Column fell in at Ahilina. Each man was armed with a rifle and 35 rounds of ammunition. A few had revolvers, and their commander Tom Barry who had been appointed Training Officer and Commanding Officer of the 3rd West Cork Brigade Flying Column, had two Mills' bombs, which had been captured in a previous ambush at Toureen.

At 3am the men were told for the first time they were moving in to attack the Auxiliaries between Macroom and Dunmanway. Fr O'Connell had heard the men's confessions at the side of the road. On an extremely cold, wet night, the men began moving to Kilmichael to take on the dreaded Auxiliaries.

All IRA positions were occupied at 9am. The hours passed slowly. Towards evening the gloom deepened over the bleak Kilmichael countryside. At 4.05 pm. an IRA scout signaled the enemy's approach.

The first lorry came round the bend into the ambush position. Tom Barry, dressed in military style uniform stepped onto the road with his hand up. The driver gradually slowed down. When it was 35 yards from the Volunteers command post a Mills' bomb was thrown by Barry and simultaneously a whistle blew signalling the beginning of the ambush.

The bomb landed in the driver's seat of the uncovered lorry. As it exploded, rifle shots rang out. The lorry, its driver dead, moved forward until it stopped a few yards from the small stone wall in front of the command post. While some of the Auxiliaries were firing from the lorry, others were on the road and the fighting was hand-to-hand. Revolvers were used at point blank range, and at times, rifle butts replaced rifle shots. The Auxiliaries were cursing and yelling as they fought, but the IRA coldly outfought them. In less than five minutes nine Auxiliaries were dead or dying.

Barry and the three men beside him at the Command Post, moved towards the second lorry. This had been engaged by No 2 Section, which was in the middle of the ambush area, high up on the rocks.

The second group of Auxiliaries had taken up positions beside the ditch. Some had taken cover behind their lorry as the fight went on. Barry, with the three men at the Command Post, crouched along the dyke. When they were about half way between the two lorries they heard the Auxiliaries shout: "We surrender! We surrender!" Some actually threw away their rifles and the firing stopped. The Volunteers accepted the surrender. In No 2 Section some Volunteers who thought it was over, stood up. But the Auxiliaries again took up their guns; some used their revolvers to open fire. Following this encounter three Volunteers were fatally wounded.

When he saw this Tom Barry gave the order: "Rapid fire and do not stop until I tell you." The Auxiliaries once again shouted "We surrender" but on this occasion the order was given to "Keep firing on them. Keep firing, No 2 Section. Everybody keep firing on them until the ceasefire". The small IRA group on the road was now standing up, firing as they advanced to within ten yards of the Auxiliaries. When the ceasefire order was finally given there was an uncanny silence as the sound of the last shot died away. Sixteen Auxiliaries were dead and one seriously wounded. Volunteers Michael McCarthy of Dunmanway and Jim Sullivan of Rossmore also lay dead, and Pat Deasy was dying.

The lorries were set ablaze. The column was ordered to drill and march for five minutes. They then halted in front of the rock where Michael McCarthy and Jim O'Sullivan lay, where they presented arms as a tribute to the dead Volunteers. Just 30 minutes after the opening of the ambush the column moved away to the south, intending to cross the Bandon River upstream from the British-held Manch Bridge. Eighteen men carried the captured enemy rifles slung across their backs. It started to rain again and the men were soon drenched. The rain continued as the IRA marched through Shanacashel, Coolnagow, Balteenbrack and arrived in the vicinity of dangerous Manch Bridge. The Bandon River was crossed without incident and Granure, eleven miles south of Kilmichael, was reached by 11pm

The engagement at Kilmichael was the first between the IRA and the previously invincible Auxilaries and one of the most important battles of the Tan War. The British establishment could not comprehend how 18 battle-hardened officers fell in combat against what they previously dismissed as 'rabble'.

The first engagement between the IRA and Auxilaries, took place at Kilmichael, County Cork, on 28 November 1920.

The MacBride enigma

An Phoblacht

Book review - That Day's Struggle: A Memoir 1904-1951
By Seán MacBride
Edited by Caitríona Lawlor
Published by Currach Press

Fascinating insider's account of turbulent times

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Click to view - Seán Mac Bride

Seán MacBride had an amazing life. Son of executed 1916 leader Major John MacBride and Maud Gonne, reared in Paris, on IRA active service in the Tan War, in the Four Courts garrison in the Civil War, Chief of Staff in the '30s, barrister, founder of Clann na Poblachta, Minister for External Affairs and then an international career as a champion of human rights and peace, earning him both the Nobel and Lenin Peace Prizes.

This was a colourful journey by any standards yet this memoir is curiously monochrome. The pace and tone rarely change. Emotion is restrained. There is a reserve and a distance from people and events. At the same time, given the central role MacBride played, the book is fascinating as an insider's view of turbulent times.

Returning to Ireland in the wake of his father's execution in 1916, MacBride quickly joined the Irish Volunteers and was soon close to the leadership, going on arms-buying missions to the Continent. At the same time he was active with the IRA's Dublin Brigade and one of the rare moments where he shows emotion is when he describes the ambush in the Pearse Street area in which his comrade Leo Fitzgerald was killed.

MacBride dates his commitment to legal justice to this time. Obviously the execution of comrades after sentence by British courts martial had a deep effect. But on another occasion he saved a man from almost certain execution by the IRA who had court-martialled him as a spy. MacBride was convinced that the man was innocent and he had him admitted to a mental hospital before the IRA court could sentence him.

Serving as a courier for the Irish delegation in London during the Treaty negotiations, MacBride criticises the heavy drinking that went on. He was against the Truce and the Treaty. He had friends on both sides when the split came. On the morning of 8 December 1922 MacBride's cellmate Rory O'Connor was taken from their cell in Mountjoy and led out to his death. The anger and despair of the republican prisoners is conveyed here, as well as a heated confrontation between MacBride and a priest who was pleading to him to obey the bishops and recant his republicanism.

After the Civil War MacBride remained active with the IRA and became Chief of Staff briefly in the '30s. He was a 'caretaker', as he says himself. He believed that the 1937 Constitution removed the need for armed struggle and thereafter he concentrated on legal work. His most famous day in court was the inquest of IRA hunger striker Seán McCaughey when he got the prison doctor to say that he would not treat his own dog the way McCaughey was treated.

It was mainly ex-IRA lawyers who set up Clann na Poblachta. Seldom has a party had such a shooting-star existence. Two by-election victories, eleven seats in its first General Election in 1948, straight into government and then out in 1951, followed by decline and dissolution. Much could be said about the Mother and Child scheme controversy which dominated that Inter-Party government. Neither MacBride nor Noel Browne, the Minister for Health who wanted to implement the scheme of free medical care for mothers and babies, distinguished themselves in that affair. MacBride supported the scheme but says Browne engineered confrontation with the Catholic bishops and could have got it through if he had handled it better. Browne accused MacBride of treachery.

The Mother and Child debacle was certainly the low point of MacBride's career and he must bear a deal of responsibility for the fact that the despotism of the Catholic bishops and the elitism of the medical profession won the day.

MacBride says the purpose of Clann na Poblachta was "the bringing about of a change in government". It rushed into government with parties whose only common purpose was getting Fianna Fáil out. It had no long-term strategy and little organisational base. It failed to dent the powerful forces in Irish society, including the Catholic Church, Fianna Fáil and the Orange state. MacBride's efforts against partition as Minister for External Affairs have been deprecated by many historians but a re-assessment is surely needed. He tells here how Churchill repeated to him several times how he would not "let down" his "friends in Ireland" — the Unionist Party.

In his 1982 introduction to Bobby Sands' One Day in My Life, MacBride made clear his undiminished opposition to British rule in Ireland. He says he did not participate in the H-Block/Armagh campaign lest this be misconstrued as support for armed struggle but he lobbied the British Government and spoke on the Hunger Strike at an Irish-American Unity conference meeting in New York in 1981. By then he was a world renowned figure, promoting human rights and disarmament. This latter part of his career is not covered by these memoirs.

For anyone interested in Irish politics since 1916 this is a fascinating book about an enigmatic man and his times.


Castlereagh collusion confirmed

An Phoblacht

British army gave 400 names to death squads


The British government tried to suppress it. British sources briefed the media it was a "non story". The PSNI refused to comment and the then British NIO Minister Ian Pearson insisted, "There were no indications the material had fallen into the hands of paramilitaries."

Over a year after secret files containing the personal details of up to 400 republicans and nationalists were stolen from offices used by covert British army operatives at the PSNI Castlereagh complex, the PSNI have informed nationalists that their lives are in danger and their details are in the hands of unionist paramilitaries.

Sinn Féin confirmed on Wednesday afternoon last that party President Gerry Adams had been warned that his details were among those found in the hands of the death squads.

Commenting on this latest revelation Sinn Féin Belfast MLA Alex Maskey said: "Given the fact that the personal details of 400 people are believed to be contained in the Crown Forces dossier removed from Castlereagh and given to one of the loyalist gangs it will come as no surprise that more republicans are being visited this afternoon in addition to the 50 people spoken to last night.

"However what the visit to Gerry Adams' home today does prove is that as recently as July of last year the British state was still spying on the Sinn Féin leaders at a time when we were trying to advance the peace process.

"The British have attempted to cover up this collusion scandal involving the RIR since last July. The time for evasion is over. They have endangered people's lives for long enough. All those who have had their details passed to the loyalist gang must now be informed and the British must come clean on the extent of this operation.

Sinn Féin's Martin McGuinness reacted angrily after the blatant cynicism of those involved in the cover up was exposed this week. "The British government, British ministers and the PSNI have allowed at least 400 people and their families to live under threat for over 16 months without informing them of the danger," said McGuinness.

"The cynicism with which British officials decided to put people's lives further at risk rather than expose the truth about wrongdoing within their ranks is totally unacceptable. This is very serious. British forces not only colluded by making information available to unionist paramilitaries, the British authorities have further colluded by trying to keep it a secret," said McGuinness.

This week more than 50 republicans from were informed by the PSNI that their lives are in danger and their personal details had been found in the possession of unionist paramilitaries.

The PSNI have admitted the warnings are linked to documents originating from Castlereagh and discovered in the possession of unionist paramilitaries. They have also confirmed the documents are linked to a "security breach" in July 2004.

In July 2004 news of a security breach at the Castlereagh complex, which houses both Special Branch and British Military Intelligence, and the theft of documents fuelled media interest in what appeared to be another collusion scandal at the heart of the British occupation.

At the time the media claimed that the 'missing' documents amounted to "a British army bible of leading republicans across the north." It also emerged that 28 British soldiers, members of the notorious RIR, had been removed to other duties. The RIR unit in question had been based in Castlereagh and involved in manning observation posts in nationalist areas of Belfast.

In 2004 the PSNI insisted the incident was not a "break-in" and did not involve PSNI security. The PSNI refused to comment when asked about missing documents and reportedly reassured British Ministers that information had not been passed to unionist paramilitaries.

Despite the fact that the UDA claimed to have the material in their possession, reassurances to the contrary were repeated to the media by a British army spokesperson.

The cynicism of those reassurances, designed to disguise British army collusion and no doubt spare the blushes of presiding British Ministers, only emerged this week after 50 nationalists were informed that their lives had been, and continued to be, endangered.

Alex Maskey confirmed that around 50 people in the Short Strand area had been visited by the PSNI and informed their details were in the hands of local unionist paramilitaries.

"The people visited were told that their dates of birth were part of the documentation-clearly indicating that the source of information as being some official or statutory body," said Maskey.

"More than 50 people living in a small area have been told they could be under serious threat but I believe this document could contain the names and details of many more people in other areas of Belfast and throughout the north," he continue.

Maskey said the situation was even more serious in light of the fact that the main unionist paramilitary organisations had so far ruled out giving up their weapons.

"This revelation, as well as recent unionist paramilitary violence, would indicate they still pose a serious threat both in relation to sectarian attacks and the loyalist feud," he pointed out.

Speaking at a Belfast press conference Sinn Féin's Gerry Kelly confirmed that he had met with British Minister Ian Pearson in 2004 and tabled a series of questions about the Castlereagh incident.

"I asked him a number of questions including how many documents were 'missing', the nature of the information, the role of the RIR and whether information had been passed to unionist paramilitaries. To each and every question Pearson replied, 'no comment'," said Kelly.

Martin McGuinness said Sinn Féin will raising the matter urgently with both the British and Irish governments. "This is a very serious situation. Fifty families have been informed that their lives are in danger; there are possibly 350 more yet to be informed. Even where families have been informed of the threat, the PSNI have offered no details as to its nature while offering no prospect of meaningful protection."

McGurk’s - witness breaks 30-year silence


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• He saw bomb fizz and bombers run away
• As a child was brought to Long Kesh in RUC attempt to make him ID innocent Catholic
• Received death threats
• Was never told woman witness also saw bombers

A key eyewitness who was just eight-years-old when a massive loyalist bomb ripped through McGurk’s bar has talked about his ordeal for the first time in decades.
The successful search for Joseph McClory is part of a drive by relatives of the December 1971 explosion to get to the truth about security force collusion into the bombing.
In an exclusive interview the New Lodge man tells how he was the victim of RUC and British army harassment and his evidence dismissed at the time.
In a dramatic twist the former paperboy was until now believed to have been the only person who saw the men plant the bomb at the North Queen Street bar.
But the North Belfast News can now reveal that another eyewitness – a woman – came forward at the time to tell the RUC she had also saw the bombers.
However Pat Irvine, whose mother Kathleen was killed in the no-warning slaughter that claimed the lives of 15 people including two children, claims this witness was “swept under the carpet”.
“I have an RUC memo that says a woman named Mary or Marie McGurk – nothing to do with the bar owners – came into the station to say she saw the men plant the bomb. She was listed as 28, a housewife and from Upper Meadow Street. How did her evidence never come to light when it could’ve corroborated young Joseph’s? We are appealing for that lady to come forward now so we can get to the truth about the collusion.”
Joseph McClory met Pat Irvine for the first time this week. In an emotional meeting, he revealed how he received loyalist death threats to his home that he believes came from the British army who had got access to his address from the RUC. He was also asked to identify a Catholic man from Carrickhill as one of the bombers.
The 42-year-old said a short time after the bombing he was brought with his parents to a court in Long Kesh where he was asked if a man in the dock was one of the bombers. But the little boy told the truth and said no.
A delegation of victims will travel to Dublin to meet the Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, in December in a high-profile meeting in which the bombing will be discussed.
From the highest levels of the Stormont government at the time, misinformation was fed to the public with the bombing immediately blamed on IRA members making a bomb in McGurk’s. That, says the families, branded their loved ones as bombers also.
New Lodge man Joseph McClory, who is now a father-of-four, recalled the night of November 4 when he saw McGurk’s explode in front of his young eyes.
“I was delivering papers in and around three or four bars and was going into the last one before going home,” he said.
“I saw men standing in the hallway of McGurk’s and I looked to see what they were doing. I saw them get into what was an old fashioned looking car to me and it had a wee Union Jack sticker on the back.”
The child walked over to the package the men had placed at the bar door.
“I could see it was a bomb. It was just this lump with see-through plastic. I could see the fuse fizzing and I clicked on it was a bomb.
“I went round the corner into North Queen Street and saw a man I knew who was going in and I told him there was a bomb. I got 20 yards away across the street and it just blew up.”
Joseph McClory described the moment he saw the blast rip through the family bar where the McGurk children and their friends were in the upstairs living quarters. It was the biggest loss of life until the Omagh bomb.
“It fell right down to the ground. Only part of a wall was left and a statue of Our Lady where it had been upstairs. I ran home. The neighbour’s wife who I told about the bomb called at the door and I went down to tell the police what I saw. They just kept asking me were the men carrying guns. Then I went to the police station and gave a statement. Then I got threatening letters supposedly from loyalists saying to my parents if I was seen in the town selling papers again I would be killed.”
But a more sinister twist was to come for Joseph McClory when the RUC brought him to a court in Long Kesh.
“I remember going up with my parents. There was a judge and a court and I was swivelling on the chair and the judge told me ‘stop it’. They brought a man in and asked me was he one of the men I saw in the bombing. I said no. The man left Long Kesh free with me and my parents that day.”
Joseph McClory said the childhood horror at seeing the loyalist bombing in which one man later confessed to his part after being questioned about another murder, had affected his life.
“I was in and out of jail until I was 20, I don’t think I’ve ever got over it.”
Pat Irvine who is leading the hunt for all the testimonies of witnesses and victims in an effort to get to the truth appealed for the missing witness to come forward.
“It must have been so frightening for a boy so young whose evidence the RUC tried to distort.
“It brings out the whole truth about the collusion in the bombing of McGurk’s,” she said.

Journalist:: Staff Reporter

PSNI tapes found in bin

Belfast Telegraph

Hundreds of police interview cassettes dumped in Belfast

By Debra Douglas
18 November 2005

Calls were last night made for a full investigation into why hundreds of cassettes thought to be recordings of police interviews with defendants were dumped in a city centre bin.

More than 300 tapes and covers with the names of police officers and defendants were discovered in a large city centre bin by a security guard, prompting Ulster Unionist Jim Rodgers to call for an explanation.

"This is very alarming and deeply disturbing and I am calling for a full- scale investigation into this," he said.

"All of us are conscious, even in these so-called days of peace, that security is of paramount importance and I want to know why such tapes were simply discarded in a bin.

"There needs to be an inquiry and I want to know the outcome of it.

"I'm sure other members of the public will also be asking the same questions about this."

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, the guard, who asked not to be named, said: "There was about 300 tapes in the bin. I couldn't believe it.

"There were RUC cassettes and PSNI ones that said the names of police officers and the name of a defendant.

"All of them had been cut, but it's not something you expect to see, especially in a bin on a side street where there are a lot of druggies and alcos."

After the discovery was reported to the police by the Belfast Telegraph, the tapes were removed.

A PSNI spokesman said the tapes had been given to a solicitor in the area.

He added: "The tapes were supplied by the PSNI to the solicitor as required by legislation to assist them in the defence of their clients.

"The care and disposal of these tapes are a matter for the solicitor."

DUP calls for Hain's resignation


The DUP has called on Peter Hain to resign

The DUP has called on Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain to resign after he said the economy "is not sustainable in the long term".

Mr Hain told the New York weekly newspaper, the Irish Echo, that "the island of Ireland should in future be marketed as a single entity".

DUP assembly member George Dawson said Mr Hain should resign.

The row comes as the DUP is due to meet the Irish prime minister in Dublin on Friday.

Mr Dawson, who described Mr Hain's comments as "disgraceful and insulting, inaccurate and unjustifiable," added that his role was to build confidence in the Northern Ireland economy.


"Speaking in America, the secretary of state has done inestimable damage to the Nothern Ireland economy," Mr Dawson said.

"And rather than the Northern Ireland economy being unsustainable, I rather think it is the secretary of state's position which is unsustainable at the moment."

A DUP delegation led by party leader Ian Paisley will hold talks with Bertie Ahern and Foreign Minister Dermot Ahern.

The DUP refused to take part in talks with the Irish and British governments on Monday, jointly hosted by Dermot Ahern and Mr Hain.

The party said it was not taking part as the talks seemed to be nothing more than stock-taking.

Ahern's power-sharing plea to Paisley


18/11/2005 - 07:16:28

Taoiseach Bertie Ahern will urge the Rev Ian Paisley today to enter government in Northern Ireland with Sinn Féin early next year.

Mr Paisley is heading a Democratic Unionist Party delegation in Dublin for the first formal talks with the Irish government since the IRA announced an end to its 36-year armed campaign in late July.

It is also the first face-to face contact between Mr Ahern and Mr Paisley since the Independent Monitoring Commission (IMC) confirmed in September that the IRA had completed arms decommissioning.

An Irish Government spokesman said of today’s talks: “The meeting with the DUP is the latest in a round of discussions between the Taoiseach and Northern Ireland political parties.

“The agenda will centre around the need to find consensus on Mr Ahern’s stated objective to commence Northern Ireland power-sharing talks in the spring.”

Mr Ahern hopes talks to restore the suspended Northern Ireland Assembly can begin if the IMC gives the IRA a clean bill of health in its next report in January.

However Mr Paisley, who was appointed to the Queen’s Privy Council last month, remains unconvinced that the IRA has severed all links with criminality.

In October 2004, Mr Paisley visited Dublin for the first political meeting with an Irish head of government.

Two months later, a power-sharing deal with Sinn Féin collapsed because the DUP insisted on visual evidence of IRA decommissioning.

BBC NEWS | Northern Ireland | Four released in gun murder probe


Four people arrested in connection with the murder of Martin Conlon in Armagh have been released without charge.

Mr Conlon, 35, from Railway Street in the city, was found shot at Farnaloy Road outside Keady on 7 November.

Police are still questioning one man about the killing. Two men had been arrested in the Armagh area and a third detained in Dungannon on Thursday.

A woman and teenage boy were arrested on Wednesday. Police have said a homophobic motive is a line of inquiry.

They are also looking at whether Mr Conlon was killed by dissident republicans, with whom he was linked.

Mr Conlon was released recently from prison in the Republic of Ireland where he had served a four year sentence after being arrested at a Real IRA training camp.

Detectives returned to the scene of the shooting on Monday to stage a partial reconstruction in a bid to piece together the circumstances surrounding the murder and identify new witnesses.

17 November 2005

The day Belfast mourned


Roisin McManus speaks to Robert McClenaghan about his quest for justice for his murdered grandfather

BBC photo

The grandson of an elderly man killed in the attack on McGurk’s Bar in North Queen Street on 4 December 1971 says that he won’t rest until the truth is known about the bombing.

Robert McClenaghan from West Belfast is a spokesman for campaign group An Fhirinne. His grandfather Philip Garry (75) was killed in McGurk’s Bar. The campaign group will travel to Brussels on 6 December to lobby politicians at the European Parliament in a bid to shine an international spotlight on the issue of collusion between the British state forces and loyalist paramilitaries.

The loyalist bomb at McGurk’s Bar killed 15 people including children and pensioners. After the bombing official sources claimed that the bombing was an IRA “own goal”. However seven years later a UVF man was convicted of the bombing and received 15 life sentences.

Robert was a 13-year-old schoolboy when his grandfather was murdered. He clearly remembers the events unfolding.

“Philip Garry was my grandmother’s second husband. My biological grandfather had died when my father was very young,” says Robert.

“Philip had been a merchant seaman and had fought during the Second World War. I think he came home basically to enjoy his retirement and the rest of his days in Belfast.

“He was one of those people who was always very bubbly,” he added.
Robert says he remembers hearing the explosion from his family home on the Springfield Road.

“It wasn’t until the next afternoon, when all our family were sitting watching the highlights of the football, the next thing it came on to say they were interrupting the programme because of the bombing and they started to name the names of those who had been killed the night before in McGurk’s,” said Robert.

“The names came up on the TV screen and my mother started to squeal and my father jumped up to grab his coat. It was a massive shock,” he added.
Three days of funerals followed and Robert vividly remembers his grandfather’s funeral.

“He was buried from St Patrick’s chapel in Donegall Street and I remember that as the funeral came to the bottom of the Shankill there were loyalist mobs waving Union Jacks and they were singing a song ‘Bits and Pieces’.

“Even as a child I said to myself, there is something wrong with this.”
Political reaction to the bombing and media coverage angered the family who were overcome with grief.

“What outraged the family was the lies,” said Robert. “Unionist politicians at the time, the RUC, the British army and almost the entire media – and all of a sudden from being a 75-year-old innocent civilian my grandfather suddenly became a bomber and that’s what hurt and deeply affected the family.

“For years to come there was the stigma that my grandfather along with 14 other men, women and children were somehow responsible for the explosion at McGurk’s Bar on that Saturday night.”

Robert says that as he grew older he started to ask questions about why the truth was concealed about the bombing.

“Who were they trying to protect and why were they trying to protect them with such outlandish lies?” he said.

Robert says that the lies surrounding the bombing ate away at his grandmother Lily who died a few years ago.

“I remember sitting one night and we were having a cup of tea. I was involved with the An Fhirinne campaign and I asked her, ‘What would you consider justice?’ and she said if only they would say he was innocent, if only they would say he wasn’t a bomber. Basically that was it, she didn’t want a long drawn out thing, she just wanted the truth. If one thinks about collusion, collusion started for our family that night on 4 December 1971,” he added.
Robert says that his own family want to find out from the British government what information they have on the McGurk’s Bar explosion.

“Realistically up to now we have had nothing but intransigence and a brick wall as far as the British government openly admitting they colluded with loyalist death squads, and we are taking it to an international level.

“I firmly believe that the only way the truth about collusion will ever come out is if we have some sort of international, independent, judicial public inquiry which would compel senior members of the RUC, Special Branch, senior members of British military intelligence and members of the Northern Ireland Office, senior members of the British government, to compel them to give evidence under threat of prosecution.

“I believe that those are the only circumstances under which the truth of collusion will be revealed,” he added.

'No threat to Catholic education'


Mrs Smith is seeking to "reduce the administrative burden"

The government is "not on a collision course" with the Catholic Church over the proposed downgrading of its education body, the NIO has said.

Education Minister Angela Smith told the BBC there was "no threat to the Catholic ethos in schools".

The Council for Catholic Maintained Schools could be broken up as part of a sweeping review of NI administration.

The CCMS, which runs Catholic schools, is the employer of 8,500 teachers and looks after 500 schools.

The Review of Public Administration (RPA) has proposed that the body should be downgraded to an advisory role.

Mrs Smith said she was seeking to "reduce the administrative burden".

"The RPA will do that across the public sector. The announcement will be made shortly of how we don't spend too much money on administration and how that money gets to frontline services.

"That is the intention of the RPA and that is what we intend it to do."

She added: "I do not believe we are on a collision course (with the Catholic Church).

"I met the bishops last night and we discussed this last night, along with a number of issues.

"I can give them absolute reassurance, in terms of what they are concerned about, of maintaining the ethos and the character of their schools, they will not notice any difference."

'Learning experiences'

CCMS chief executive Donal Flanagan said to remove their input would diminish educational standards.

"What we are saying is that our ethos adds value to children's standards," he said.

"Teachers and ethos are inextricably linked and we want the right to be able to appoint teachers who are committed to the aims of a Catholic education.

"The government recognises, and nowadays almost everyone recognises, Catholic education adds value to the learning experiences of young children and improves their standards overall."

Widely anticipated changes to the way Northern Ireland is administered are set to be unveiled next Tuesday.

The review is the largest examination in more than 30 years of the organisation and delivery of public services in the province.

It was initiated by the devolved executive before the assembly was suspended in October 2002.

Many Catholic schools' representatives have written to the government in protest at the proposed downgrading of the CCMS.

The schools say they are concerned that it is a threat to the ethos of Catholic education.

Source claims Andre Shoukri’s latest stint in prison marks the end of his paramilitary career

Daily Ireland

UDA leader ‘to be out within week’

Ciarán Barnes

Ulster Defence Association (UDA) chief Andre Shoukri will be officially stood down by the paramilitary group within the next week, loyalist sources said yesterday.
The move to oust the 27-year-old comes at a time when almost the entire leadership of the north Belfast UDA is behind bars.
It is understood the UDA’s ruling Inner Council will use this as an opportunity to remove Shoukri and his gang in the coming days.
Last Friday Shoukri and his second in command William ‘Bonzo’ Boreland were remanded in custody on charges of blackmail, intimidation and money-laundering.
On November 1 leading north Belfast loyalist and Shoukri associate, Garry ‘Jock’ McKenzie, was remanded in custody on allegations of riotous assembly.
The arrests came six months after the paramilitary described as Shoukri’s ‘enforcer’ - convicted UDA killer Robert Molyneaux - was remanded in custody on blackmail charges.
Shoukri, Boreland and McKenzie also have convictions for blackmail. Along with Shoukri’s brother, Ihab Shoukri, they each were sentenced to two years in prison in 1997 for extorting money from a Catholic businessman.
Ihab Shoukri is currently on bail awaiting trial for UDA membership.
Last weekend supporters of the Shoukri gang attempted to install convicted loyalist blackmailer Tommy Potts as the organisation’s new north Belfast boss.
However, the appointment was rejected by the UDA Inner Council which is grooming a well-spoken loyalist who is heavily involved in interface work for the role.
Potts, who is loyal to Shoukri, was recently released from prison after serving two and a half years for extortion.
Shortly after being freed Potts, under orders from Shoukri, started a poison pen campaign against South Belfast UDA leader and convicted extortionist Jackie McDonald.
McDonald is the paramilitary boss leading the charge to have Shoukri thrown out of the UDA. He represents the UDA old guard and wants to politicise the organisation.
A north Belfast UDA source predicted that Shoukri’s latest stint in prison will finish his paramilitary career.
“Everything is in place to bring him down and something definite should happen within the next week.
“Shoukri and his gang are finished as a force in north Belfast.”

Church erects CCTV in bid to halt loyalist attacks

Daily Ireland

Connla Young

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Security cameras have been erected around a Catholic Church in County Derry in a bid to ward off loyalist attack.
Magherafelt parish priest Peter Murphy says the decision to install the cameras was unfortunate but necessary. The security move came just weeks after Saint John’s Church, which is located between Castledawson and Magherafelt, was targeted in a loyalist graffiti attack. During the September incident a number of graves were desecrated after loyalist vandals attacked headstones with paint and scrawled obscene sectarian graffiti on the church walls.
St John’s was reopened just over 12 months ago with a complete internal refit after it was gutted in a loyalist firebomb attack in 2003.
Fr Peter Murphy said the security cameras are needed.
“This church has a special place in the affections of parishioners who found these acts very distressing indeed. We have to try and prevent the chapel and adjoining graveyard from being attacked in such a way again and hopefully the cameras will achieve that aim. There is now 24-hour surveillance at Saint John’s which will hopefully deter those who carry out such disgusting acts.”
Magherafelt Sinn Féin councillor Sean McPeake said it was a matter of regret that the cameras were erected.
“It’s regrettable that in this day and age that we have to resort to placing cameras around a church. It’s indicative of the sectarianism that has been festering around the Magherafelt area this summer.”
Magherafelt SDLP councillor Jim Campbell is saddened by the erection of the cameras. “It’s a sad reflection on society we live in that not even the dead are safe. The people while in that churchyard did nobody any harm when they were alive they are hardly going to do any harm now.”
In recent months an outbreak of tit-for-tat sectarian incidents in the Magherafelt area has resulted in churches and Orange halls being targeted in vandal attacks. In August the PSNI issued a warning to GAA clubs in south Derry after they claimed to have uncovered a loyalist plot to spread broken glass on gaelic fields. Days later an explosive device was discovered at the gates of Magherafelt O’Donovan Rossa GAA club, which sits just yards from St John’s Church. A recent anti-GAA poster campaign in Counties Derry and Antrim originated in the Magherafelt area in September.
Last month Sinn Féin councillors in Bellaghy condemned nationalist vandals after the town’s Orange hall was singled out by spray painters.

SF says ‘400 on loyalist hit list’

Daily Ireland

Sinn Féin leader among 50 targeted

Martin McGuinness is demanding a public inquiry after more than 50 people and Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams were notified yesterday that their personal details are on a ‘military intelligence targeting list’ in the hands of loyalists - A full public inquiry has been demanded into how the details of scores of Republicans and residents of the Short Strand were taken from British Army offices in Castlereagh last year

Jarlath Kearney

Sinn Féin yesterday demanded a full public inquiry into the circumstances in which over 50 residents from Short Strand in Belfast were notified their personal details were in the possession of loyalists.
PSNI members visited dozens of addresses on Tuesday night to advise residents that a top-secret military intelligence document had been discovered in the possession of paramilitaries.
Sinn Féin also confirmed party president and West Belfast MP Gerry Adams was notified yesterday that his details were found on the military intelligence targeting list which unidentified loyalists possessed.
A PSNI spokesperson said on Tuesday night that, “police have recovered what is believed to be a document linked to a breach of internal security in British Army offices at the Castlereagh complex in July 2004.
“As a result, police are contacting a number of people about their personal security,” the PSNI spokesperson added.
The intelligence document is believed to contain the personal details of 400 republicans targeted by the British government’s intelligence-gathering services over recent years.
In the days after the document’s disappearance in July 2004, British government officials began directly contacting newsrooms and members of the media in Belfast to advise them that the security breach was “a non-story”.
Then, on July 21, 2004, after a meeting at Stormont specifically about the developing scandal, Sinn Féin policing spokesperson Gerry Kelly declared that British minister Ian Pearson told him, “this will be a very short meeting on Castlereagh because there’s no story here”.
Mr Pearson was accompanied by three senior civil servants and a note-taker, but refused to confirm or deny any details about the affair when pressed by Mr Kelly.
Later that day Mr Pearson issued a written statement denying that there was any prospect of collusion:
“I have confirmed with senior officers that there are no indications that material has fallen into the hands of paramilitaries.”
SDLP Policing Board member, Alex Attwood, also commented on the affair, explaining that a senior PSNI member blamed the document’s disappearance on over-zealous “research” by British soldiers.
“One senior officer advised me that one line of inquiry was that the document was taken for ‘research’ purposes,” Mr Attwood said.
With the British government actively lobbying to prevent the full ramifications of the incident becoming public, the malign hand of Special Branch and British Intelligence was apparent - particularly in the context of a previous alleged burglary at Castlereagh barracks on March 17, 2002.
On that occasion, the emerging picture after St Patrick’s Day quickly suggested the incident was “an inside job”.
A senior official source later revealed to this reporter that “for the first nine to ten days after the alleged break-in (in 2002) a substantial part of the investigation was directed at disgruntled police or army involvement”.
In those initial stages, 14 PSNI detectives were assigned to investigate the ‘inside job’ theory.
However that all changed on Thursday, March 28, 2002, when the PSNI major investigation team, commanded by Detective Chief Superintendent Phil Wright, made a decision to target republican activists over the alleged burglary.
Within forty-eight hours, the number of detectives on the case had been increased to 24.
On the morning of Easter Saturday, March 30, 2002, a massive PSNI/British Army operation codenamed Hezz resulted in six arrests and 28 raids against prominent republicans across the North.
Three other arrests and at least a dozen extra raids took place in the following two weeks.
Not a single item of evidence was recovered in relation to the alleged Castlereagh burglary and none of those arrested faced charges over the incident.
One former republican prisoner, John O’Hagan, was held for prolonged questioning.
He was subsequently charged, inter alia, with possessing documents likely to be of use to terrorists, including the biographies of former British prime minister John Major and former Chancellor Norman Lamont.
He was also charged with possessing an article from New Statesman magazine published in 1988. Mr O’Hagan was convicted at Belfast Crown Court in July 2004.
However, in a significant development, two reliable sources subsequently disclosed that on March 31, 2002 - the day after the Easter Saturday arrests - a senior detective formally confirmed that at least three-quarters of the PSNI investigation was still focused on “disgruntled police or army involvement”.
Sinn Féin yesterday said that the facts about the 2002 affair - taken together with the subsequent disappearance of the intelligence document from Castlereagh barracks in July 2004 - raise serious questions about the veracity of claims alleging republican involvement in the first apparent burglary.
Such questions are heightened by this week’s PSNI admission that loyalists have in fact obtained official British government intelligence documents detailing hundreds of nationalists.
Moreover, it’s worth recalling that news about the July 2004 incident only leaked out during the middle of the North’s official summer holiday fortnight.
On the evening of July 11, 2004, the PSNI issued a brief statement that the force “had been called to investigate” an alleged internal breach of security at Castlereagh barracks.
It was then reported that a member of the British Army had been arrested and was being questioned about the incident at the Military Intelligence site on the base - known as the ‘Green Huts’.
Although that suspect was released the following day, within the following 48 hours a number of broadcast newsrooms received telephone calls from a man claiming to be a British soldier.
The caller alleged that the person arrested was a member of the Royal Irish Regiment, formerly known as the Ulster Defence Regiment. This fact was subsequently confirmed by the British government.
Thereafter, 28 members of the RIR - ranging in rank from private to major - were removed from sensitive intelligence duties, including the staffing of spy installations.
At that time, the RIR was responsible for intelligence-gathering at the Divis Tower installation in west Belfast.
The involvement of the RIR in the affair raised alarm bells throughout the nationalist community, given the regiment’s sectarian reputation.
Significantly, however, there were no high-profile PSNI/British Army raid and arrest operations designed to lay the blame with any individual or group.
Nor was there any British government inquiry, akin to the “audit of security” conducted by former senior NIO civil servant John Chilcott to “make recommendations over the handling of sensitive material” which was instigated after the apparent burglary in March 2002.
Four months ago, in July 2005, Daily Ireland exclusively revealed that – barring three initial searches and one arrest – the PSNI failed to order any follow-up searches or arrests of any kind regarding the July 2004 incident. Nor has anyone ever being charged with responsibility for the document’s disappearance from Castlereagh.
A British Army spokesperson declined to elaborate on the current assignments of the 28 RIR soldiers who were temporarily removed from intelligence duties over the affair.
“We just gave them other jobs. I don’t know what they’re doing now.
“It would be unfair of me to speculate on what they’re doing now,” the British Army spokesperson said.
Speaking yesterday, Sinn Féin chief negotiator Martin McGuinness demanded a full independent public inquiry into the entire affair.
Mr McGuinness also highlighted wide-ranging concerns about the activities at Castlereagh barracks and he urged the Irish government to intervene.
“There should actually be a public independent inquiry into what took place because it’s quite clear to everyone that both the PSNI, the British security services, the NIO and British government are all complicit in this cover-up and that effectively equates to their active participation in collusion,” Mr McGuinness said.
“That’s how serious a matter we’re actually talking about. We have serious question marks about what was precisely going on in this complex at Castlereagh, given that the people who had the run of the place were effectively all attached to the British intelligence services, to the RIR, to the PSNI and formerly to the RUC.
“Balance this affair against the way in which republicans have been targeted over the course - not just of recent weeks and recent months - but recent years, with huge wholesale arrests taking place and many people dragged to interrogation centres and the vast majority of them effectively released without charge,” Mr McGuinness said.

O'Hare transferred to Portlaoise prison


17 November 2005 19:41

Dessie O'Hare has been transferred back to the maximum-security prison at Portlaoise following what the Prison Service has described as a breach of trust.

The so-called 'Border Fox' is serving a 40-year sentence for the kidnapping of Dublin dentist Mr John O'Grady in 1988.

He was caught with a mobile phone and a bag of pills hidden in his clothing.

He had just returned to the open prison section at Castlerea from Temporary release and the items were discovered when he was searched.

O'Hare was being released for short periods in preparation for his eventual release under the terms of the Good Friday agreement.

His release on licence has now been jeopardised.

A spokesman for the Prison Service confirmed this evening that O'Hare's security profile had been changed and that he had been moved out of the Grove Section of Castlerea - where prisoners live in houses rather than cells - to Portlaoise.

Millions of cigarettes recovered


Three men have been arrested and millions of cigarettes recovered during a police operation in Armagh.

The searches are part of an investigation into serious and organised crime linked to dissident republicans, police said.

The searches are continuing, with police and customs officers involved.

Meanwhile, in a seperate operation, police are questioning three men in north Antrim about paramilitary activity.

They were arrested in the Bushmills area on Thursday morning. A number of searches were carried out in connection with the arrests.

Irish forgery suspect flees to avoid U.S. extradition

World Peace Herald

By Bill Gertz
The Washington Times
Published November 17, 2005

WASHINGTON -- An Irish communist leader wanted in the United States on counterfeiting charges has fled Northern Ireland to avoid extradition.

Sean Garland, head of the Workers Party of Ireland, an arm of the Official Irish Republican Army, said in a statement posted on his Internet site yesterday that he decided to remain in the Republic of Ireland, where British authorities allowed him to travel two weeks ago for medical treatment.

A spokesman for the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia said yesterday that the U.S. government will continue efforts to have Mr. Garland extradited, if he cannot be returned to Northern Ireland, which is under the legal jurisdiction of the British government.

"We will be seeking extradition of Mr. Garland from the Republic of Ireland," said the spokesman, Channing Phillips.

Mr. Garland was indicted by a federal grand jury in May on charges of using his party contacts in North Korea to coordinate the purchase of fake $100 bills produced there.

Mr. Garland said he initially agreed to return to Belfast for an extradition hearing related to the U.S. charges but then feared the proceedings would be unfair.

"I have decided therefore not to return to British jurisdiction" because of the unjust nature of the U.S.-British extradition treaty, he said.

Mr. Garland was arrested in Belfast on Oct. 7 as the result of a 16-year investigation involving the U.S. Secret Service and other American agencies. Six men were accused of conspiring with Mr. Garland from 1997 to 2000 to buy more than $1 million in "supernotes" -- high-quality counterfeit bills that are difficult to detect -- from the North Koreans during travels in Ireland, Britain, Russia, Belarus, Poland, Denmark, the Czech Republic, Germany and elsewhere.

The Washington Times first reported in May 2001 that a top-secret U.S. intelligence report linked Mr. Garland to the supernotes. The report said Mr. Garland was involved in supernote trafficking and had met in 1997 with Chinese Communist Party official Cao Xiaobing to discuss "unidentified business opportunities."

Mr. Garland has denied the charges. He was released on bail after a hearing in Belfast.

The indictment was the first official U.S. government accusation linking the government of North Korea to the production of supernotes.

Urgent meetings sought as more Republicans informed of death threats

Sinn Féin

Published: 17 November, 2005

Sinn Féin Assembly member Gerry Kelly today confirmed that more republicans, this time living in the Lower Ormeau and North Belfast areas, were informed overnight that their details were contained in the Castlereagh collusion dossier.

Mr Kelly said:

" Overnight a number of republicans in the Lower Ormeau area and in North Belfast were visited and informed that their lives were in danger from loyalist paramilitaries who had obtained their personal details. We assume that this information comes from the Castlereagh collusion file passed to unionist paramilitaries by the RIR and covered up by British Ministers, the PSNI and British Army over the past 16 months.

" I have requested urgent meetings with both the British and Irish governments to discuss this matter. I met both governments in July 2004 when this scandal first broke. It was in the course of these meetings that the British government Security Minster of the time Ian Pearson stated clearly that the missing file was not in the hands of loyalists.

" This has proven not to be the case and the effect of these denials and the subsequent cover up has been 400 people and their families have been living under threat without being informed and therefore unable to take measures to protect themselves. This situation is a scandal and as the British government through the NIO are complicit in the cover up a separate inquiry is required to get to the truth." ENDS

New look for black taxis


By Roisin McManus

West Belfast Taxi Association are ringing in the changes this week with new signage for their seven seater cabs.

This is just one of the big changes for the local taxi firm who also have new vehicles and additional services available to their customers.

West Belfast Taxis have recently received DOE approval for the new signs for their seven seaters of which there are currently eight in silver, red, blue and black.

Manager of West Belfast Taxis, Stephen Long, said that the new signs are a welcome development.

“The signage is on the seven seaters only and from a business point of view it is to make customers more aware that the seven seaters are available. This has been a personal investment from the drivers.

“We are also working on a prototype for the other taxis and once this is approved we will hopefully bring it on board.

“We are also offering additional services, we occasionally do private hire, and are doing a lot of work with the Belfast Education and Library Board and residential homes. We make no difference between disabled and able-bodied passengers in terms of price.

“We are constantly looking to improve our service and our customer awareness,” he added.

A member of staff at Dympna Mews on the Glen Road, which avails of the taxi service, said: “We use the wheelchair friendly taxis, the service is dependable and reliable even at short notice and I think that a great service is being provided.”

Journalist:: Roisin McManus

CCTV row rages


Sinn Féin hit out at DUP in call for West Belfast cameras

By Roisin McManus

Sinn Féin in West Belfast have hit out at remarks made by the DUP’s Peter Robinson on CCTV in the area.

The Deputy Leader of the DUP has called on Chief Constable Hugh Orde to explain why there is no CCTV in West Belfast.

He said that the PSNI were guilty of partisan policing for failing to introduce the cameras in the West of the city.

The East Belfast MP said that CCTV is an invaluable tool in combating crime.

“Given that CCTV has proven to be so successful in the rest of Belfast, why shouldn’t West Belfast be placed under the scrutiny of these systems whenever CCTV has been in place in other parts of Belfast since as long ago as 2000?” said Mr Robinson.

“Is the absence of any CCTV cameras at all in the West Belfast District Command Unit because Sinn Féin/IRA have made it clear that they are opposed to them?

“Responsible public representatives should be demanding that their areas and the people they represent are protected by CCTV,” added Mr Robinson.

The DUP man said that he sees no reason why West Belfast shouldn’t have CCTV.

“It isn’t as if West Belfast is crime free. Far from it,” said Mr Robinson.

“The police’s own statistics show that between April and September this year offences against the person are up 37 per cent, domestic burglaries are up 43 per cent, robberies are up 49 per cent and criminal damage is up 30 per cent on the same period last year,” he added.

Responding to the remarks, Upper Falls Sinn Féin Councillor Michael Browne said: “Peter Robinson seemingly forgets that West Belfast has been under considerably greater levels of surveillance than other parts of the city. Not so long ago state of the art surveillance apparatus could have been found at Divis Tower, at two Springfield Road barrack locations, Andersonstown barracks, and Woodbourne barracks.

“The experience of course of people living in West Belfast has been that this apparatus did nothing to assist residents in the battle against criminal activity,” he said.

The local councillor said that this evidence makes a nonsense of any suggestion that CCTV would impact on crime related statistics.

“Anyone genuinely interested in combating crime in West Belfast would begin by recognising the need for policing arrangements that would enjoy the confidence of local people and that would actually set about addressing criminal activity.

“Today’s policing deficit not only allows the perpetrators of crime to act with impunity but in many cases it has been proven that rather than challenge the relatively small criminal element in the constituency, those charged with policing responsibilities actually work with the criminally minded to advance their own sinister agenda,” he added.

Journalist:: Roisin McManus

West Belfast man was questioned by RUC in Dundalk


(by Suzanne Breen, Sunday Tribune)

A West Belfast man has said gardai allowed armed members of RUC Special Branch to question him in Dundalk garda station. Legal sources believe it is the only such case in existence.

Patrick Livingstone said the RUC's later claim that he had made a confession during the "interview" resulted in his conviction for murder.

"I made no confession. I served nearly 18 years in the H-Blocks for a crime I didn't commit. I was framed by RUC Special Branch with garda complicity. I'm not prepared to let this rest. I want the guards' actions investigated."

Livingstone contacted the Sunday Tribune after the Barron report last week speculated that gardai hadn't travelled North to question loyalists suspected of the 1976 murder of Dundalk man, Seamus Ludlow, because they didn't want the same rights reciprocated to the RUC.

"That doesn't stand up because the RUC came South to question me five months before Seamus Ludlow was murdered," Livingstone said.

Livingstone is from a well-known republican family in Andersonstown. His sister Julie (14) was shot dead by the security forces when returning from the shop with a bottle of milk.

In December 1975, Livingstone, who was living in Dundalk, was being detained in the local garda station when he was told he had "visitors" from the North.

"I thought it was my parents. I was shocked to find three RUC Special Branch men. The guard locked the door from the outside. One of the Branchmen opened his jacket to let me see his gun.

"They showed me a photograph of Samuel Llewellyn, who had been shot dead in Belfast and asked if I'd killed him. They later said I replied, 'Aye, I done it.' I didn't say that. I never considered the RUC worthy of a proper response so I said 'you're detectives, you work it out'."

Livingstone claimed when he complained to gardai that he had received no prior notice of the RUC's visit and wasn't offered legal representation or read his rights, the desk sergeant just laughed.

Nine months later, Livingstone was arrested after an arms find in Newry. "I was taken to Bessbrook barracks. They kicked and punched me until I fell to the ground. Then, they held me down and took turns to jump on me from a table.

"I was left pure black from the chest to the knees. My testicles were badly swollen. I was taken to hospital. One of the detectives who had visited me in Dundalk walked in and charged me with Samuel Llewellyn's murder."

Llewellyn, a Protestant civilian, had been shot dead by the IRA in 1975 while helping repair houses on the Falls. His brutal killing, which became known as the 'Good Samaritan murder', caused widespread revulsion.

Livingstone said: "I never thought I'd be convicted. The case was based on the Dundalk statement I didn't make. But it was a Diplock court. My trial started at 11am and I was convicted and sentenced by 2.50 pm. I was the first person in the North given 'natural life' imprisonment."

Livingstone lost his appeal: "I left it at that. The 1970s were crazy. Every day, people were convicted in Diplock courts on little or no evidence. You just knuckled down and accepted it."

November 16, 2005

This article appears in the November 13, 2005 edition of the Sunday Tribune.

Orde: IRA has stopped punishment attacks

Belfast Telegraph

By Michael McHugh
17 November 2005

The IRA's punishment attacks have stopped ahead of next year's crucial Independent Monitoring Commission report, the Chief Constable has confirmed.

Sir Hugh Orde told a meeting of Westminster MPs that IRA punishment beatings and shootings had stopped.

He said this may be because it wants a clean bill of health ahead of January's IMC dossier, seen as crucial to bring about power-sharing.

Sir Hugh said the "encouraging" cessation of low-level violence was an indication of the power of the IRA high command over its members.

But he warned the select committee to be "realistic" about the likelihood of IRA criminality.

The IRA's decommissioning of arms last summer has been welcomed in many quarters but some unionists have expressed scepticism and demanded an end to all criminality before going back into government with Sinn Fein.

Sir Hugh added: "I think the word encouraging is probably right at the moment. One needs to be realistic about this. It is an illegal organisation.

"There are limits on how it can lawfully fund-raise, obviously, and we are keeping a very close eye on criminal activity and we will report fully and frankly to the IMC on everything we find in relation to all paramilitary groups in our next report."

The LVF's ceasefire, declared earlier this month, is being monitored by police and the Chief Constable said it was too early to assess the group's integrity.

"In terms of the LVF, it is too early to say, quite frankly.

"I said at the time we would wait and see, and I am still waiting to see what happens next.

"We have got no indications that disarmament of loyalist groups is imminent, so we have to wait and see."

Sir Hugh said dissident republicans were continuing to target economic targets and added that he expected more activity in the run up to Christmas.

He revealed that he was at Down Royal when the racing event had to be cancelled because of bomb hoaxes.

Sir Hugh said police officers north and south of the border were continuing to disrupt dissidents' operations.

40,000 risk losing their right to vote

Belfast Telegraph

By Chris Thornton
17 November 2005

At least 40,000 people appear to be in danger of falling off Northern Ireland's electoral register when it closes tomorrow.

People who have not filled out forms for two successive voter trawls will be left off the register, prompting Sinn Fein to accuse the Government of applying "different standards" to the electoral process in Northern Ireland.

A new list of voters is due to be published on December 1.

Earlier this year, the Government pushed through emergency legislation to allow about 70,000 voters who hadn't re-registered to stay on the list for May's general and local government elections.

The move was taken amid long-standing concerns about reductions in the size of Northern Ireland's voter pool.

The introduction of anti-fraud measures three years ago - including a requirement that every voter has to register him or herself - saw the electoral register fall.

This year ministers opted to temporarily return to a measure known as the "carry forward", which kept voters on the register even if they had failed to fill out a form.

The change allowed about 70,000 people to stay on the register in time for the election.

Electoral officials estimate around 25,000 to 30,000 of those voters have signed up during the current trawl.

That leaves about 40,000 to 45,000 who have not filled in registration forms twice in a row.

Sinn Fein vice president Pat Doherty has accused the Government of deliberately trying to remove voters from the register.

"In the last few years there has been a huge decline in numbers of people registered to vote," he said. "This has arisen as a result of the introduction of new and restrictive procedures for registration.

"Just eight months ago, in response to this decline in the electoral register, the British Government announced that to maximise the numbers entitled to vote in the May elections 70,000 people who were earlier removed from the register would be placed back on it.

"It is therefore incomprehensible that the British Government are again intent on removing these same people from the election register, and effectively denying them their right to vote in the next election."

Mr Doherty said he has asked for an urgent meeting with Political Development Minister David Hanson.

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