11 February 2006

Union denies Royal Mail plan snub


The union representing striking Belfast postal workers has denied it has rejected a proposal by Royal Mail to end the unofficial dispute.

The Communication Workers Union has been in talks with the Labour Relations Agency for four days.

Royal Mail claimed in a statement the union had rejected an offer to look at employee grievances only once they came back to work at the Tomb Street depot.

Union spokesman Peter Donaghy said Royal Mail had no firm proposals.

"Any firm proposals were put forward by us," he added.

"I'm not sure what the Royal Mail are saying: if they are saying they have put forward firm proposals, that's not true."

'Position unchanged'

Royal Mail commercial manager David Peden said the company's position remained unchanged.

"We know that the people don't want to be out there: they are losing hundreds of pounds (and) their customers are in grave difficulty in many circumstances now," he said.

"They don't want that and neither do we.

"When they come back, we can talk about any legitimate concerns they have, but this action just cannot be carried on any longer."

Deliveries have been disrupted since more than 200 postal workers at the Tomb Street depot in Belfast began the unofficial strike on 31 January.

It followed difficulties between staff and management over disciplinary procedures and other issues in the north Belfast section.

It is understood the dispute relates to allegations of widespread bullying and harassment in the company.

However, Royal Mail rejected the claims, saying the company was only dealing with a small number of cases.

Post has been disrupted in north, south and west Belfast but an attempt to widen the strike to Derry failed because of a lack of support for the Belfast workers.

Royal Mail said customers needing more information and advice could contact its helpline number on 08457 740740.

Irish government must demand that British end securocrat veto on truth about collusion

Sinn Féin

Published: 11 February, 2006

Sinn Féin Dáil Group Leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD speaking at the AGM of Sinn Féin in the Six Counties this morning said:

“With our increased mandate comes increased responsibility and we take our responsibilities very seriously. We have an obligation to advance the peace process and in talks which commenced on Monday last we made clear our determination to see the Good Friday Agreement restored in full. We are not in the business of renegotiating the Agreement. The DUP must face reality and share power with Sinn Féin. The British government must face down the securocrats and rejectionists and fulfil its obligations to the Irish peace process. Both governments must set a deadline for the conclusion of talks and there can be only one acceptable outcome to those talks – the full restoration of the Agreement in all its aspects.

“The Irish Government must face up to its responsibility. It is not good enough, for example, for Bertie Ahern simply to state, as he did during the week, that he does not expect that the British Government will change its mind on the Pat Finucane inquiry. The Taoiseach should be going to Downing Street specifically to demand an end to the securocrat veto on the truth about collusion. He should demand a special summit with Tony Blair devoted exclusively to this subject. It is not just another item on the agenda. These are the same securocrats who have thwarted efforts to find the truth about the Dublin and Monaghan bombings of 1974 which claimed 33 lives, or any of the instances of collusion or direct British attacks in the 26 Counties which claimed 47 lives in all. If the securocrats are not faced down on collusion how can they be faced down over their obstruction of the peace process in general?"

During his address Deputy Ó Caoláin said:

“We are presenting the only real alternative to the policies of the Fianna Fáil-PD government which has been in power since 1997. This is a government which has been in office during the most prosperous period economically in the history of the 26-County state but which presides over one of the most unequal societies in Europe. A report issued this week confirms that the top 20% of wage-earners in the 26 Counties earn 12 times more than the lowest 20%. One in seven children live in poverty. Our two-tier public-private health service is grossly inequitable and limps from crisis to crisis. On this small island lavish wealth lives side by side with avoidable poverty.

“We are out to change all that, North and South. Change will not be delivered by the other so-called Opposition parties in Leinster House - Fine Gael and Labour. They cannot even agree on basic issues such as the privatisation of State assets, Irish neutrality and the EU services directive which threatens jobs, wages and conditions in Ireland. For that reason we have christened them the Coalition of the Confused.

“There has been much discussion about whether Sinn Féin would enter a Coalition in the 26 Counties. If we believe that such an arrangement would advance our agenda including Irish reunification and our social and economic policy platform then we should take the option seriously. But it will be decided by the party membership at a special Ard Fheis if and when the need arises. But we will have no options to consider if we do not first of all increase our political strength and that means at least doubling the number of Sinn Féin TDs in Leinster House in the General Election which could come at any time in the next 17 months.”ENDS

Full Text

Is mór an áthas atá orm chun labhairt anseo ag cruinniú cinn bliana Chúige na Sé Chontae. Tagaimíd le chéile mar eagras láidir aontaithe atá ag forbairt agus ag fás ar fud na tíre. Táimíd anseo chun pleanáil don bhliain seo romhainn agus do na céimeanna eile i dtreo ár gcuspóir – Poblacht na hÉireann.

I am honoured to be asked to deliver this address to the Annual General Meeting of Cúige na Sé Chontae Shinn Féin. The year since your last AGM has been a momentous one for Irish republicans, a year in which, unquestionably, our struggle has advanced.

It is easy to lose sight of it now, but the 5th of May 2005 will, in time to come, be remembered as one of the most significant dates in the history of Sinn Féin. On that date Sinn Féin achieved its largest ever vote in a Westminster election in the Six Counties and elected five Republican Teachtaí Dála – Gerry Adams, Martin McGuinness, Michelle Gildernew, Conor Murphy and Pat Doherty. Our position as the foremost nationalist party in the Six Counties and the largest pro-Agreement party was consolidated and advanced.

Victories in five parliamentary constituencies in the Six-County area came less than a year after an All-Ireland vote in the EU elections that saw us win the support of 342,256 voters across the 32 Counties.

If you want a quick explanation for the waves of reaction from the usual suspects that we have also seen in the past year, then you only have to look at those electoral successes. It has nothing to do with criminality or weapons or agents or any of the 101 diversions our opponents have tried to create. It has everything to do with the fact that well over a third of a million people on this small island look to Sinn Féin for political leadership. Irish republicanism is growing as an electoral and political force and our opponents will do anything to stop that growth. But I believe they understand neither the depth of our support nor the strength of our resolve.

For the same reason many of our opponents do not understand the meaning of the other huge event of the past year – the decision of the IRA to formally end its armed campaign and to put its weapons beyond use. Like the cessation of 1994 this decision was, I believe, taken from a position of strength. It was a vote of confidence in the ability of Irish republicans to take our struggle forward. It was done in the knowledge that republicans are changing the political landscape in Ireland and have the potential to bring about much more fundamental change. Above all it was based on the firm conviction that the republican analysis is correct and that we go forward undiminished in our determination to reach our goal of Irish unity and freedom.

The peace strategy has seen the republican electoral mandate greatly increased, as I have described. With our increased mandate comes increased responsibility and we take our responsibilities very seriously. We have an obligation to advance the peace process and in talks which commenced on Monday last we made clear our determination to see the Good Friday Agreement restored in full. We are not in the business of renegotiating the Agreement. The DUP must face reality and share power with Sinn Féin. The British government must face down the securocrats and rejectionists and fulfil its obligations to the Irish peace process. Both governments must set a deadline for the conclusion of talks and there can be only one acceptable outcome to those talks – the full restoration of the Agreement in all its aspects.

The pivotal role of the Irish Government in all of this cannot be under-estimated. Yet that Government’s performance, again and again, has fallen far short of what is required. Our negotiators have observed it at first hand. As the sole Sinn Féin TD from 1997 to 2002, and as leader of our TDs in the Dáil since 2002, I have also seen this at first hand in Leinster House.

When the Peace Process and the Six Counties are debated in Leinster House the so-called opposition parties of Fine Gael and Labour see it primarily as an opportunity to pursue their anti-republican agenda. For its part the Fianna Fáil-Progressive Democrats government vacillates between the political imperative of the peace process and its own party political interests. Fianna Fáil has been content to allow the Minister for Injustice and Inequality Michael McDowell to make the running. They hope to benefit from his attacks on Sinn Féin while skulking in the background to avoid the political flak.

McDowell’s 21st century McCarthyism extends to anyone he sees fit to target and his witch-hunt against the Centre for Public Inquiry and Frank Connolly is a case in point. Let it not be forgotten that he was fully backed by the Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and by his other Cabinet colleagues in that affair, despite his gross abuse of his position as minister. Not a single Fianna Fáil member of the Oireachtas had the courage to speak out.

At the start of the peace process when Sinn Féin’s electoral support in the 26 Counties was less significant than it is now our political advance was seen as a purely Six-County affair. There was a brief thaw in our relations with Fianna Fáil. But as soon as it became a matter of votes and seats being contested - and, God help us, actually won by Sinn Féin in the 26 Counties - the mood changed. Now we were showing that we really were capable of changing the political landscape North and South and challenging the old failed politics, not only on the national question but on social and economic issues as well.

From around the time of the first Nice Treaty referendum in 2001 the anti-Sinn Féin bandwagon began to roll again. And this went beyond the normal cut and thrust of party politics. We are used to that and expect it. The political establishment in the 26 Counties began to mirror unionism in its refusal to respect the Sinn Féin mandate and in putting up obstacles to progress in the peace process. Sinn Féin played a key role in defeating the first Nice Treaty referendum, a victory for democracy that was a severe embarrassment to Bertie Ahern. Then in the run up to the 2002 General Election McDowell devoted his entire speech at his own selection convention to an all-out attack on Sinn Féin and Irish republicanism. The renewed effort to criminalise Irish republicans in general, and Sinn Féin in particular, had begun. And don’t forget, McDowell’s is just the loudest voice. Others are just as culpable. This has been like manna from heaven to the DUP who could always point to the guff emanating from political and media sources in Dublin to justify their intransigence.

All this must change. The Irish Government must face up to its responsibility. It is not good enough, for example, for Bertie Ahern simply to state, as he did during the week, that he does not expect that the British Government will change its mind on the Pat Finucane inquiry. As you know the Finucane family is refusing to co-operate with any inquiry held under the terms of the Inquiries Bill which gives British ministers and British intelligence agencies the controlling hand and would effectively gag an inquiry. The Taoiseach should be going to Downing Street specifically to demand an end to the securocrat veto on the truth about collusion. He should demand a special summit with Tony Blair devoted exclusively to this subject. It is not just another item on the agenda. These are the same securocrats who have thwarted efforts to find the truth about the Dublin and Monaghan bombings of 1974 which claimed 33 lives, or any of the instances of collusion or direct British attacks in the 26 Counties which claimed 47 lives in all. If the securocrats are not faced down on collusion how can they be faced down over their obstruction of the peace process in general? The Dáil has actually voted in support of a full inquiry into the Pat Finucane murder, yet the British government, at the behest of military and intelligence forces, is still stonewalling on the issue.

The Irish Government has weakened its own authority to challenge Britain on these issues because elements in its own State also sought to close down investigations of collusion. The Irish government further undermined the national position when it co-operated in the establishment of the now totally discredited so-called Independent Monitoring Commission. That legislation was opposed all the way by Sinn Féin – but only two other TDs supported us in voting against it in the Dáil. Since that vote in December 2003 the taxpayer in the 26 Counties has been footing the bill for this mouthpiece of British intelligence to the tune of €1.5 million per year.

The pressure of public opinion must be brought to bear on the Irish government, especially from within the 26 Counties. This is why it is vital that the political strength of Sinn Féin is increased on a national basis.

We made a significant breakthrough and secured five Dáil seats in 2002. We are five among 166 TDs but I have no hesitation in saying that on all fronts we punch above our weight and I am very proud of the representation and the leadership given by the Sinn Féin team in Leinster House. That includes not only the five TDs but also the other full-time activists who work in that site of struggle. Each of our TDs has several policy portfolios which entails speaking for the party on those issues in the media and in the Dáil, as well as helping to develop party policy, linking up with NGOs and spearheading party campaigns.

We are presenting the only real alternative to the policies of the Fianna Fáil-PD government which has been in power since 1997. This is a government which has been in office during the most prosperous period economically in the history of the 26-County state but which presides over one of the most unequal societies in Europe. A report issued this week confirms that the top 20% of wage-earners in the 26 Counties earn 12 times more than the lowest 20%. One in seven children live in poverty. Our two-tier public-private health service is grossly inequitable and limps from crisis to crisis. On this small island lavish wealth lives side by side with avoidable poverty.

We are out to change all that, North and South. Change will not be delivered by the other so-called Opposition parties in Leinster House - Fine Gael and Labour. They cannot even agree on basic issues such as the privatisation of State assets, Irish neutrality and the EU services directive which threatens jobs, wages and conditions in Ireland. For that reason we have christened them the Coalition of the Confused.

There has been much discussion about whether Sinn Féin would enter a Coalition in the 26 Counties. If we believe that such an arrangement would advance our agenda including Irish reunification and our social and economic policy platform then we should take the option seriously. But it will be decided by the party membership at a special Ard Fheis if and when the need arises. But we will have no options to consider if we do not first of all increase our political strength and that means at least doubling the number of Sinn Féin TDs in Leinster House in the General Election which could come at any time in the next 17 months. Like all the elections we have fought in recent years that will be an All-Ireland election for Sinn Féin. I look forward to comrades from all parts of the Six Counties participating across the constituencies as we prepare to send a greatly strengthened Sinn Féin team back to Leinster House. And in so doing we will also advance the demand for people in the Six Counties to have their MPs, their Teachtai Dála, participating in Leinster House.

That said, we do not rely and cannot rely solely on elected forums to bring about change. Real change, the type of national, economic, social and cultural change we want will only come about through empowerment, through people the length and breadth of this country claiming their rights. In the past three years we have seen people power in action in the massive anti-war movement in 2003 and in the campaigns in support of the Rossport Five and the Irish Ferries workers last year. The media and political establishment would like to think that such campaigns are a thing of the past, that people are depoliticised and demotivated and will not take to the streets. But they were proven wrong and in all of these campaigns Sinn Féin has been to the fore.

Why we need to campaign, why we need people power is best summed up in the words of the Proclamation of the Irish Republic which “declares the right of the people of Ireland to the ownership of Ireland to be sovereign and indefeasible”. That means Ireland owned by its people – not by the British government, Shell Oil, Tony O’Reilly or any golden circle of wealth and power. This year we mark the 90th anniversary of that Proclamation and the 1916 Rising. We welcome the fact that the Irish government has ended its embarrassed silence on the Rising. For our part, in marking this 90th anniversary, we will focus on the unfinished business of the men and women of 1916 – the need to end partition and to create a society that truly cherishes all the children of the nation equally.

30 years ago tomorrow in Wakefield Prison in England Prionsias Stagg died on hunger strike. The Fine Gael-Labour government hijacked his body and buried him under concrete in his native County Mayo. They hoped to bury the sprit of Irish republicanism with him. A few weeks later the British government opened a new prison at Long Kesh and for five years they tried to bury Irish republicanism in the concrete tomb of the H-Blocks. That too failed. The ten hunger strikers of 1981 smashed the criminalisation strategy and began a new phase of struggle. Like the men and women of 1916 they inspired freedom-loving people all over the world. The 25th anniversary of the hunger strikes is an opportunity for us to educate, debate, organize, recruit and plan ahead. Advancing closer to our ultimate goal in 2006 is the best way to commemorate the hunger strikers.

1916 leader James Connolly once addressed the British government in these words:

"If you strike at, imprison, or kill us, out of our prisons or graves, we will evoke a spirit that will thwart you, and perhaps, raise a force that will destroy you! We defy you! Do your worst!"

They have done all of those things to republicans in the past 90 years.

They did their worst.

We defied them.

Here we are, stronger than ever.

We have not been defeated. But that is not enough. We want to win.

Let us plan and work for success and let us succeed.

Ar aghaidh linn le chéile.

Best way to commemorate 90th anniversary of 1916 is to begin preparations for Irish re-unification

Sinn Féin

Published: 11 February, 2006

Sinn Féin Chief Negotiator Martin McGuinness MP speaking to party activists from across Dublin this afternoon said the best way for the Irish government to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the 1916 Rising is to begin preparations for Irish re-unification.

Mr. McGuinness said:

“The Irish government’s decision to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the 1916 Rising is welcome. The 1916 Rising was for all the people of Ireland and we would like to see events take place not just in the capital city but in every county in Ireland. For our part, in marking this 90th anniversary, Sinn Féin will focus on the unfinished business of the men and women of 1916 – the need to end partition and to create a society that truly cherishes all the children of the nation equally. We will be leading the campaign to get the Irish government to mark the year by beginning preparations for Irish re-unification.”

Commenting on the beginning of talks to restore the political institutions Mr. McGuinness said:

“The next few months will be the most challenging and crucial since the Good Friday Agreement was signed. Political talks have finally begun and will continue this week and it is crucial that there is speedy progress. The DUP cannot be allowed to stall things any longer. The Irish and British governments need to make it clear to the DUP that they intend to get the institutions back up and running before the loyalist marching season begins in April. They need to make it clear that it is they who are in charge and not Ian Paisley.”ENDS

Celtic to speak to IRA victims

Belfast Telegraph

Club is firm on tackling sectarianism

By Peter Winter
11 February 2006

A group that represents IRA victims is set to travel to Glasgow to tackle Celtic Football Club over alleged sectarianism.

The famous soccer team has invited Willie Frazer to visit them, after the Families Acting for Innocent Relatives boss launched a blistering attack on Celtic.

He lashed out at the club following an incident in which two of its stars were filmed amid a republican sing-song in Donegal last April.

Mr Frazer said he was planning to accept the Celtic offer - although no date has yet been fixed for his visit.

News of the meeting has emerged ahead of tomorrow's Old Firm clash between Rangers and Celtic.

Celtic has emphasised that it "stands firm against bigotry in all its forms and will continue to be a club for all".

The club issued the invitation to Mr Frazer in response to his letter of complaint about the Donegal sing-song, at which John Hartson and Stephen Pearson were present.

The pair admitted singing The Fields of Athenry but insisted that they did not participate in any pro-IRA chanting.

The club has proposed demonstrating at first hand that it is "tackling sectarianism, racism and religious intolerance".

Speaking today following the invitation, Mr Frazer said: "We hope they genuinely want to rid football of this intolerance."

He added: "Rangers seem to have knocked this sort of behaviour on the head."

Mr Frazer referred to an incident in 1999 when Rangers vice-chairman Donald Findlay quit the club after he was filmed singing a loyalist song in a club.

But the FAIR chief has himself been the target of strong criticism. A Belfast Telegraph reader has complained that his website contains fierce references to Celtic and republicans.

"Why should he bring the club into it?", the reader asked.

Mr Frazer responded that he represented those who had suffered at the hands of the IRA, and he would always challenge both the terror group and any apparent support for it.

"For too long people have thought it is OK to attend a function where others chant IRA slogans," he said. "Anyone who finds themselves in that situation should at the very least get up and leave."

In a statement, Celtic denied the two players had shouted anything promoting political or paramilitary organisations and stressed the event at Clanree hotel in Letterkenny was not organised by the club.

The statement continued: "People who indulge in sectarian behaviour or in the promotion of paramilitary organisations, have no place within the Celtic family."

Mr Frazer, however, said he was frustrated by the way many perceive republican songs: "We want to change the whole idea that the IRA were fighting some romantic, colonial war and it's therefore OK to sing these songs."

SDLP man's tribute to UVF killer

Belfast Telegraph

By Brian Hutton
11 February 2006

A prominent SDLP figure has paid tribute to a former RUC and UVF killer who died this week.

Ballymena councillor Declan O'Loan said that Billy McCaughey deserved recognition for positive developments within loyalism.

"There is no doubt that Billy McCaughey was responsible for some terrible things in the past," said Mr O'Loan.

"Some of his local contributions were disruptive and unhelpful, even up to quite recent times.

"But I have talked to him at length and I have no doubt that much of his thinking was forward looking and progressive."

McCaughey was jailed for the murder of a Catholic shopkeeper in Ahoghill in 1977.

He also admitted shooting a customer at the Rock Bar near Keady, Co Armagh, in 1976 during a botched bomb attack carried out along with two other serving RUC officers.

McCaughey was also jailed for kidnapping Ahoghill parish priest Fr Hugh Murphy in June 1978 with another police officer.

Later he became North Antrim representative for the PUP and a member of the party's executive.

Appeal for calm after new attack


A Sinn Fein assembly member has appealed for calm in a troubled area of west Belfast following a petrol bomb attack on a woman's home.

It happened at about midnight in the Divismore area of Ballymurphy.

The living room and the kitchen were scorch damaged in the attack. The woman escaped injury.

Sinn Fein MLA Michael Ferguson said tensions had been running high in the area since the killing of father-of-six Gerard Devlin on 3 February.

"Under no circumstances is it acceptable to attack anyone in their home in this way," he said.

"The Devlin family, like myself, for a full week now have been calling for people not to be taking this sort of action or getting involved, but to allow them to bury their loved one with peace and dignity."

Trouble has been continuing in the Ballymurphy area since the death of Mr Devlin, including a number of petrol bomb attacks.

Four men appeared in court earlier this week charged over the killing.

Patients warned of clotting drug risk

Irish Examiner

11 February 2006
By Catherine Shanahan

UP TO 500 patients may have been treated with a faulty anti-clotting drug which can cause serious bleeding.
Sanofi-aventis, the manufacturers of Clexane Syringes, yesterday announced a product recall after it emerged that some syringes may contain an over-concentration of the active medicinal substance, enoxaparin, which is injected to thin the blood.

A statement from the Irish Medicines Board (IMB) warned that over-concentration of enoxaparin "has the potential to cause significant adverse reactions including an increased risk of serious bleeding".

Since the affected product entered the Irish distribution chain on November 22 last, the IMB has been notified of one adverse reaction. In this case, the patient suffered irregular but non-fatal bleeding.

The IMB yesterday confirmed it had notified all 46 hospitals as well as the six pharmacies which received Clexane Syringe packs from the affected batch. There were 30 batches produced with this potential problem of over-concentration of up to 50% of enoxaparin, distributed to 58 countries worldwide. Britain received five batches and Ireland received one.

The IMB said the specific Clexane Syringes, 80mg/0.8ml, distributed in Ireland, were part of batch number 28043 with an expiry date of 09/07.

The IMB confirmed the batch in question included 454 packs, each containing 10 vials of the product.

The IMB has requested all patients who have been dispensed Clexane Syringes since November 22, 2005 to do the following:

* Check if your pack is the 80mg/0.8ml strength.

* If your pack is the 80mg/0.8ml strength, check the batch number. This is a lot number printed on one side of the outer carton and on the vial label.

* If the batch (lot) number is 28043, then this pack is one of the potentially affected packs and should not be used under any circumstances.

* You should, as soon as possible, go to your local doctor for further advice and treatment.

* Any affected batches should be returned to your local pharmacy as soon as possible.

The IMB said additional batches of Clexane are available in the marketplace.

A statement from Sanofi-aventis said the recall had been voluntary as a precautionary measure.

It said the decision was taken following quality control testing and a subsequent investigation which identified the potential for over-concentration of the active ingredient in a limited number of syringes.

Enoxaparin is an anticoagulant used to prevent clot formation in veins and arteries and to treat deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolisms (blood clots in the lung) and patients with unstable angina.

Sanofi-aventis, the world's third-largest pharmaceutical company, has a base in Waterford where it manufacturers over-the-counter products but not Clexane syringes.

Clexane is a prescription-only medicine licensed in Ireland for the management of thromboembolic disorders (blood clotting). It is sold as Lovenox in the US and France, and has been used to treat more than 118 million patients in 96 countries since 1987.

'Concern' over MI5 policing plan


Government plans to give MI5 a bigger say over police intelligence in Northern Ireland are cause for concern, SDLP leader Mark Durkan has said.

Mr Durkan said he was worried this would lead to a lack of scrutiny.

He said if this happened police intelligence would be unaccountable to the Policing Board or any future devolved administration.

The government is to publish a bill dealing with the proposed devolution of policing and justice powers next week.

"We worked a long time to ensure we ended the force within a force, which was the old special branch, and get intelligence policing on a completely new basis," he told BBC Radio Ulster's Inside Politics show.

"That would be bypassed and undermined if we had an ulterior intelligence policing operation continuing in a completely unaccountable way."

The Northern Ireland Bill, due to be published on 16 February, is understood to cover policing and some other matters, such as electricity deregulation.

The bill could also be amended in April to make other rule changes.

These changes concern voting procedures at Stormont and the accountability of ministers.

Devolved government at Stormont was suspended in 2003 following allegations of a republican spy ring at the Northern Ireland Office.

'Evidence relating to killing was removed'


**Please see also >>PSNI seize papers in police killing case

(Barry McCaffrey, Irish News)

Potential evidence in the controversial killing of a Co Armagh man was removed from Special Branch offices, a Police Ombudsman report is expected to conclude.

Neil McConville (21) from Bleary died in hospital after police shot him when his car allegedly crashed through a checkpoint near Lisburn in April 2003.

He was the first person in the north to be shot dead by police since the 1992 killing of Pearse Jordan (23) in west Belfast.

It remains the only such case involving the PSNI.

However, a report due to be published by Police Ombudsman Nuala O'Loan is expected to state that evidence relating to the case had been removed from Special Branch offices before her investigators could view it.

Some officers were reported to have been "non-cooperative, obstructive and difficult" when questioned by Mrs O'Loan's detectives.

On the day Mr McConville was killed undercover officers and a helicopter had monitored the movements of his car in Belfast, where it was alleged that a gun was being picked up.

As the red Vauxhall Cavalier carrying Mr McConville and a passenger left the city, seven cars carrying 21 undercover police officers followed.

At 6.55pm police claimed that they ordered his car to stop.

It is alleged the Cavalier then swerved into a police vehicle, spun and ended sideways on the road.

Police then smashed the driver and passenger windows and it was claimed the 21-year-old reversed his car, hitting an officer.

He was hit by three shots fired by a second officer, while the second man in the vehicle was also hit. The passenger was later charged with possession of a sawn-off shotgun.

Mrs O'Loan is expected to conclude that police withheld evidence after all material relating to the killing, including a computer hard drive, was removed from Special Branch offices before investigators had arrived.

It is understood that police claimed the removal of evidence was the result of "human error".

Mrs O'Loan's report is expected to state that officers overseeing the security operation were "non-cooperative, obstructive and difficult" when questioned.

Criticisms are expected to include a failure to issue clear commands to special support units involved in the incident.

A senior officer in charge of the operation, identified as Superintendent 'B', has been accused of failing to keep any verifiable records of the operation in the control room. There are also concerns over his accounts of events.

The Ombudsman is understood to have prepared files to be delivered to the Public Prosecution Service.

February 11, 2006

This article appeared first in the February 10, 2006 edition of the Irish News.

Relatives issue demand for justice at commemoration of New Lodge Six


Relatives of the New Lodge Six have demanded that the British government come clean about the 1973 killings following a rally that was held to mark the 33rd anniversary of the killings.
On the night of Saturday February 3, 1973, six men from the New Lodge area were shot dead and one wounded by the British army. But the circumstances were never investigated. The British army claimed that six gunmen had been killed in a gun battle with its troops, but the local community and the families involved have always rejected this. An investigation into the killings was carried out by the community in 2003 during which evidence was gathered that discredited the claims of the MoD.
John Loughran, whose uncle John was one of those killed, said the families deserved to hear the truth about what happened that night.
“We have presented our version of what happened and the British government is yet to acknowledge even receiving this. What message does that send to the families?
“We stand here in the knowledge that we are right and that we are joined in solidarity by people across this island who also yearn for truth and justice.
“To date no British soldier or British politician has been brought to book for the murders of Jim McCann, Jim Sloan, Tony ‘TC’ Campbell, Brendan Maguire, John Loughran or Ambrose Hardy.
“If they are serious about the future then they must deal with the impunity afforded to their state forces. Legislation designed to close down avenues for families to pursue truth and justice cannot succeed,” he said.
Speaking at the commemoration, held on Friday last, Sinn Féin MLA Cathy Stanton said the killings were a mirror image of the events of Bloody Sunday.
“This was a planned operation to murder and maim and was in keeping with British policy at that time. In the period 1969 to 1973 the British state had killed 188 people and what happened here in the New Lodge was part of that pattern.
“What compounded the grief was that they tried to place the guilt on those who were without guilt. That is, the men they murdered and the families, they ruined. All we have to do to understand this pattern is understand Bloody Sunday in Derry when the world was told these men were nail bombers.”
Cathy Stanton said the families deserved justice.
“The families must be supported in their campaign if we are to realise the type of change that is needed to build a new society.
If the British government is genuinely interested in conflict resolution then they must deliver on the family’s demands for truth and justice.”

Journalist:: Evan Short

DOH will fund heart specialist

Belfast Telegraph

Health chief steps in after Belfast Telegraph story

By Nigel Gould
11 February 2006

A specialist nurse for a heart condition that is the biggest medical cause of death in young people will take up a post at Ulster's biggest hospital after all - after the Belfast Telegraph revealed the post had been turned down because of funding.

The Cardiomyopathy Association, a leading UK charity that supports families affected by the killer condition, had offered to make available £40,000 for the two-year appointment of a specialist nurse at the Royal.

But the hospital told the Telegraph that, while it supported the introduction of such a service, it could not guarantee "recurrent" funding for the nursing post at this time.

After our story yesterday, Department of Health chiefs stepped in.

And in a statement last night, Health Minister, Shaun Woodward, said funding would be made available after all.

He said: "Undoubtedly a very strong case has been made for a specialist nurse. I am grateful to the Cardiomyopathy Association which has offered to pay for this post for the next two years. My Department will take on this long-term commitment to fund this nurse thereafter. We can do this because of my commitment to take money out of bureaucracy and put it into front-line services.

"This is an important post and it is absolutely right that we should make this response."

The Association's chief executive, Robert Hall, who was visiting Belfast, last night, praised the Belfast Telegraph, for highlighting the issue.

"We are grateful to the Belfast Telegraph for the story," he said. "This is just fantastic news. We are very pleased that recurrent funding will be made available by the Department and we look forward to working with the Royal.

"We already fund a nurse specialist post at the Heart Hospital in London and one shared between the Western Infirmary in Glasgow and the Royal Alexandra in Paisley.

"Both our nurses do invaluable work helping families with cardiomyopathy."

Ulster families affected by the condition, a disease of the heart muscle that is often inherited, had urged the Royal to appoint the nurse. One Newtownards couple, Sam and Amanda Graham, who lost their daughter, 14-year, Rebecca, last July to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy - the biggest medical cause of sudden death in the under 35s - said a nurse specialist was vital.

Rebecca, a pupil at Sullivan Upper School in Holywood, experienced dizziness and fainting, symptoms of the condition, from the age of 12 but was not diagnosed for two months.

Sam (41) last night thanked the Telegraph and said the appointment would help many families affected by the condition.

"The article in the Belfast Telegraph was terrific and it got results," he said.

"We just can't believe it. Words can't tell you how delighted we are."

Sam's wife Amanda (39) and Rebecca's 12-year-old brother, Matthew, have been screened for the condition and are clear. But Sam has been found to have the condition.

Orangeman takes parade battle to the Lords

Belfast Telegraph

By Michael McHugh
11 February 2006

A landmark legal bid to force the Parades Commission to give more information about its decisions is due to go before the House of Lords later this year.

The dispute between Dunloy Orangeman Davy Tweed and the commission over the banning of his local parade is set to feature in a hearing before the UK's highest court. The issue centres on whether the commission should disclose what submissions were made to commissioners.

The matter has been pursued through the Northern Ireland courts for some time and could set a precedent for future decisions.

Orangemen argue that there needs to be more transparency, but there are fears that releasing too much information could dissuade people from giving evidence.

A spokeswoman for the Orange Order said: "The commission has to say where it receives information from because some of the reasoning may be based on emotion. Somebody can go into the commission and say whatever they want and we can't challenge it."

Mr Tweed, who is a former Irish rugby international star, is worshipful master of Dunloy LOL 469.

The parade, banned by the commission, was from the local Orange Hall to the Presbyterian Church on Sunday October 29, 2000.

Blogspot spotty yesterday

There were a couple stories unable to be posted here yesterday due to site trouble:

Republicans To Mark the 30th Anniversary Of The Death Of Hunger Striker Frank Stagg

and Dig reveals Belfast's poor past

Today in history: Freedom for Nelson Mandela


11 February 1990

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us Leading anti-apartheid campaigner Nelson Mandela has been freed from prison in South Africa after 27 years.

His release follows the relaxation of apartheid laws - including lifting the ban on leading black rights party the African National Congress (ANC) - by South African President FW de Klerk.

Mr Mandela appeared at the gates of Victor-Verster Prison in Paarl at 1614 local time - an hour late - with his wife Winnie.

Holding her hand and dressed in a light brown suit and tie he smiled at the ecstatic crowds and punched the air in a victory salute before taking a silver BMW sedan to Cape Town, 40 miles away.

People danced in the streets across the country and thousands clamoured to see him at a rally in Cape Town.

"Our march to freedom is irreversible".
Nelson Mandela

Doctors treated over a hundred people as police clashed with youths looting shops in various cities and townships and several people were reported shot dead.

Mr Mandela, the deputy-president of the ANC, appeared on the balcony of Cape Town's City Hall to speak to the 50,000 people assembled outside at 2000 local time.

He acknowledged Mr de Klerk was a man of integrity, but said: "Our struggle has reached a decisive moment. Our march to freedom is irreversible."

"Now is the time to intensify the struggle on all fronts. To relax now would be a mistake which future generations would not forgive," he continued.

As he addressed the crowd South African state television broadcast a profile of Mr Mandela - including a BBC interview from 1961 - which was the first time he had been shown speaking on TV.

Now 71, the lawyer from the Transkei homeland was convicted of treason and sabotage in June 1964 and sentenced to life imprisonment.

He spent most of his sentence on Robben Island, off Cape Town, doing hard labour.

Since the 1980s he has refused numerous offers for early release from the government in Pretoria because of the conditions attached.

In Context

Nelson Mandela succeeded Oliver Tambo as president of the ANC later in 1991.

He divorced Winnie the next year following her convictions for kidnapping and being accessory to an assault.

Mr Mandela and FW de Klerk shared the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 for their efforts to transform South African society.

In the first multi-racial elections in the country's history he was elected president and the ANC gained 252 of the 400 seats in the national assembly.

He was succeeded as ANC president by Thabo Mbeki in 1997 and stepped down in favour of Mr Mbeki as national president after the 1999 elections.

Mr Mandela re-married in 1998 and was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2001, aged 83.

10 February 2006

DPP to get file on Cork moneylaundering inquiry

Irish Times

10 February 2006

Gardaí will send a file to the Director of Public Prosecutions next week following their investigation into the alleged laundering of almost £5 million which they believe was part of the £26.5 million stolen in the Northern Bank raid in December 2004, writes Barry Roche, Southern Correspondent.

According to Garda sources, the file arising out of Operation Phoenix is virtually complete and will be forwarded to the DPP next week for a decision on what charges are to follow as a result of an intensive 12-month-long investigation.

The detailed file comprises a lengthy covering report of more than 100 pages as well as almost 200 Garda statements and a further 200 civilian statements in what is believed to be one of the most exhaustive investigations conducted by An Garda Síochána.

Up to 100 gardaí, including many from the Criminal Assets Bureau, the Special Detective Unit, Crime and Security, the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation and the Garda Computer Analysis Unit were involved in the operation at various stages.

The lengthy investigation also involved forensic experts from the Garda Technical Bureau as well as local officers from Cork city, Cork west divisions as well as local officers in other parts of the country who were involved in follow-up operations to the initial raids.

According to Garda sources, the extensive file is likely to receive lengthy consideration by the DPP and could lead to a number of people being charged with both membership of an illegal organisation and with money-laundering offences.

Garda sources say they are hopeful that the file will lead to charges being brought for money laundering but point out that for such charges to be successful, a clear link must be made with the original offence, namely the Northern Bank raid.

Following the case of a 41-year-old man convicted in Dublin Circuit Criminal Court in 1999 of money-laundering, the Court of Criminal Appeal ruled in 2002 that the State must clearly prove beyond reasonable doubt that the money at issue in such cases is the proceeds of crime.

Details of the investigation first came to light on February 17th, 2005 when officers from Cab, backed up by local detectives, raided the home of a financial adviser in Farran, Co Cork, and recovered £2.4 million which they believe are proceeds of the Northern Bank raid.

Gardaí believe that the £2.4 million seized in Farran was part of a £4.9 million share of the Northern Bank raid proceeds sent to Cork by the Provisional IRA for laundering through a series of schemes operated on its behalf and for its benefit.

Officers believe that the financial adviser had already dispersed about £1 million through a variety of outlets prior to the Garda raid, including an estimated £230,000 to a well-known republican activist living in the Cork Harbour area.

This republican had also collected a further £1.5 million from the financial adviser for further dispersal but when news of the Garda raid in Farran broke at around lunch-hour on February 17th, 2005, this activist gave the money to another man for safe-keeping.

Gardaí estimate they have recovered or located all but approximately £200,000 of the £3.4 million that is recoverable.

During the investigation 11 people were arrested.

John Davey: a man of commitment

An Phoblacht

**This article appeared in An Phoblacht on 11 February 1999

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usSt Valentine's Day marks the 10th anniversary of the murder of Sinn Fein councillor John Davey, a life long republican and active member of Magherafelt District Council.

In 1987 William McCrea as MP for Mid-Ulster used `parliamentary privilege' and named John as ``an active IRA terrorist'', turning his life and that of his family into a turmoil that is currently being experienced by those named by Ian Paisley two weeks ago.

John's life and that of so many of his fellow republicans was a constant round of arrests, internment and harassment.

He was interned in the 50s for three years and on 15 August 1969 he was arrested with several others and interned in Crumlin Road jail.

Two weeks later, in a meeting with James Callaghan, the then British Home Secretary, John's wife, Mary, told Callaghan that the Special Powers Act was being used only against nationalists and that her husband's detention was unlawful. That night John and the others were released.

``Twenty years later, in September 1989, eight months after John was murdered,'' says Mary, ``James Chichester Clark, now Lord Moyola, admitted in a radio interview that he was wrong to have them arrested''.

In 1971, John was home alone with his five year old daughter Maria. John was lifted and Maria was taken by the British army to a local RUC barracks and kept for several hours, separated from her father, who was again interned.

Mrs Davey recalls: ``later that summer, a priest, introducing himself as Fr Wallace from Ballymena, called and asked me if he could speak to Maria about her detention. He produced a tape recorder and took some photographs and said he would send me copies. I never heard from him again but some time later during the Clockwork Orange affair I saw the `priest's' photograph in the Belfast Telegraph. It was Colin Wallace who worked for British Military Intelligence''.

While interned on the Maidstone, and in Long Kesh, John was subjected to beatings and torture at the hands of the RUC and British Army. In October he was severely beaten in Long Kesh and transferred to Musgrave Park Hospital with serious eye and knee injuries from which he never fully recovered. In May 1972 he took part in a hunger strike to improve conditions for the internees.

After his release at the end of 1973 John was constantly arrested and harassed. In June 1977 he and his 15 year old son Eugene were spreadeagled against the side of the house for four hours before being arrested. John was charged with having information likely to be useful to `terrorists'. The `information', as Mary found out later, when she was herself arrested, was a geography project which Eugene was doing for school which showed a street map of Maghera including the RUC barracks.

The charges were dropped when Eugene's teacher testified that there were 23 other copies of the map, one for each pupil in the class.

John was elected as a Sinn Fein councillor to Magherafelt council in May 1985. During the first meeting a Sinn Fein vice-chair was elected and a riot developed. A unionist hit John over the head with a chair. Ever the stoic, he remarked, ``I've had worse''.

Mary Davey recalls that ``after McCrea named John in Westminster ours became a life of anticipation''.

The anticipation was well founded when on 9 February Milltown killer Michael Stone tried to shoot John, but John managed to get out of his car and escape over fields with Stone in pursuit firing at him.

Dismayed at his failure Stone targeted John's brother-in-law Joseph O'Kane. The booby trap he laid, however, blinded a nephew of Joe's wife in one eye. Neither man has republican connections.

A year later John was shot dead as he returned from a council meeting. He was in his own laneway 50 yards from home.

His family believe that crown forces personnel were involved in the killing.

``I heard the shots,'' recounted Mary, ``and a few moments later I heard a family friend, shouting for me to get an ambulance. When we went to the car we found that it was parked with the handbrake on. John would only have stopped if he had seen uniformed men on the lane, certainly not for masked men''.

The Davey family still struggle to come to terms with their grief. They know that the sorrow and loss that they feel is as real as that of other families who have lost someone in the last 30 years, but their grief is not recognised.

``I counselled my children myself. What we really needed was practical assistance and a recognition of our loss.

``Willie McCrea abused his parliamentary privilege when he named John in the House of Commons. He signed John's death warrant. As a man of God he should know the eighth Commandment - Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour''.

Mary Davey continues to hope that the peace process will work, for the sake of her family and the memory of her husband. John's legacy lives on. He was succeeded in his council seat by his daughter Pauline and the young activists whom he took under his wing and gave the benefit of his knowledge have matured and continue to provide fresh leadership in South Derry.

Commemoration for SF councillor

Daily Ireland

By Connla Young

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usRepublicans from across Counties Derry and Antrim will gather this weekend to mark the 17th anniversary of the murder of Sinn Féin councillor John Davey.
The veteran republican was murdered in the lane way of his home at Gulladuff, Co Derry, on St Valentine’s Day, 1989 as he returned home from a monthly meeting of Magherafelt District Council.
The Ulster Volunteer Force later claimed responsibility for his murder.
Magherafelt Sinn Féin councillor Sean McPeake said there was collusion between Mr Davy’s killers and the security forces.
“John Davey was a well-respected public representative whose murder was a result of collusion between unionist paramilitaries and the British security services. The people who controlled and directed the loyalist death squad that murdered John are the same British securocrats who last week provided the information to write the IMC report. Their war against republicans has not ended.
“The British government have a duty and an obligation to get their house in order. They need to bring these anti-peace process elements to heel if progress is to be made in the coming period and they need to come clean on their role in the conflict here and begin to provide answers for this family and the hundreds of other families who suffered at their hands.”
Members of Magherafelt District Council recently voted to erect a plaque at the council’s headquarters in memory of John Davey and council colleague Bernard O’Hagan who was also murdered by loyalists.
Sunday’s commemorative event which will be addressed by Sinn Féin MLA for West Tyrone, Barry McElduff, starts at 2.30pm at St Mary’s Churchyard, Lavey.

Police renew appeal over Devlin murder


10 February 2006 16:15

Police in Northern Ireland have renewed their appeal for information on the murder of a teenager in an unprovoked attack in Belfast six months ago.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usPolice renew appeal over Devlin murder15-year-old Thomas Devlin was fatally stabbed as he and two friends walked home from a shop in the Somerton Road area of north Belfast, where they had gone to buy sweets.

Police immediately focused their investigation on two men who were seen in the area with a dog at the time of the murder, and these men remain the prime suspects in their investigation.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usThe officer in charge of the inquiry remains convinced that key witnesses who were in the area at the time have still not come forward.

He has also appealed to the families and friends of the two main suspects to come forward, in a bid to bring about justice.

Eight men have been arrested since August and in excess of 20 searches have been carried out but police still lack the crucial evidence needed to bring charges.

Date set for tribunal probing IRA ambush of RUC officers

Irish Examiner

By Harry McGee, Political Editor
10 February 2006

THE tribunal investigating the murder of two senior RUC officers in 1989 will commence its first public sittings in early March.
The Smithwick Tribunal yesterday placed advertisements in newspapers asking potential witnesses to contact it.

The inquiry will examine suggestions that members of the Garda Síochána or other State employees colluded in the fatal shooting of RUC Chief Superintendent Harry Breen and his colleague, Superintendent Robert Buchanan. Both were killed in an IRA ambush near the border between Louth and South Armagh on March 20, 1989, as they returned from a meeting with senior gardaí in Dundalk. The IRA unit which carried out the murders was aware of the route the two men took. Allegations of collusion have been made by at least two journalists.

This case was one of six collusion cases investigated by retired Canadian judge Peter Cory arising out of inter-governmental talks in Weston Park in 2003. He recommended a full inquiry.

The sole member of the tribunal is Judge Peter Smithwick the retired President of the District Court.

Hearings will begin in the King’s Inns in Dublin on March 3.

Gardaí probe CIRA link to pipe bomb

Irish Examiner

By Cormac O’Keeffe

GARDAÍ are investigating whether the Continuity IRA carried out a pipe bomb attack on a man in north Dublin on Wednesday evening.

Security sources initially thought the dissident republican group might have supplied the bomb to a criminal gang as part of a new ‘consultancy’ business it was developing. But some gardaí yesterday indicated the CIRA might have been directly involved in the bombing as part of its growing extortion campaign.

The paramilitary outfit - although quite small in number - has been increasingly active in the last year and a half, particularly in certain pockets in Dublin, as well as in Limerick.

The blast on Wednesday occurred outside the house of John Ward in Coolock as both he and other individual were moving a car.

The pipe bomb - contained in a thermos flask - fell off the boot of the car onto the ground, breaking apart.

The men heard the device ticking and ran for safety.

Army bomb experts said the bomb exploded, but failed to detonate fully.

The pipe bomb was packed with nails and shotgun pellets but they were not dispersed.

The interior of the bomb did explode but the bulk of the blast was embedded in the car. Neither the owner of the house nor his friend were injured.

Gardaí at Coolock are investigating a number of theories into the reasons behind the bomb attack.

They are being assisted by the Special Detective Unit - which investigates paramilitary activity.

Army bomb experts and officers from military intelligence are also involved.

The army experts are examining the contents of the bomb and its design in the hope of pinpointing which group might have manufactured it.

The renegade group was involved in two pipe bomb incidents in Dublin towards the end of last year.

Last December, a bomb was discovered in a car on the M50 motorway as it was due to be delivered to a criminal target.

Last November, a sophisticated hoax bomb was found on the driveway of a drug abuser in Blanchardstown, west Dublin.

The bomb was linked to the CIRA after someone from the group rang media warning of “extreme measures” as part of a new anti-drug campaign.

The previous January, the CIRA was believed to have been behind a pipe bomb in Belcamp Crescent, Coolock, a short distance from the scene of Wednesday’s explosion.

There have been a similar number of pipe bomb incidents linked with the Continuity IRA in Limerick in recent years.

Garda sources said there were “little nests” of CIRA activists in Dublin, with about eight in the west of the city and around a similar number in north Dublin.

Don't be fooled by propaganda

Belfast Telegraph

Eamonn McCann
09 February 2006

Anyone who doubts postal workers' claims that Royal Mail management is characterised by offensive arrogance should ponder the statement issued on Tuesday in relation to the Belfast dispute.

Explaining why letters had been hand-delivered to four representatives of the Communication Workers' Union (CWU) threatening them with legal action, the spokeswoman declared: "Letters were sent... to say... that there is no clear evidence showing a real will to get people back to work and a number of options are being considered, including taking injunctions out against them personally."

Not only were the union representatives being required to dissociate themselves from the strike, the four were being told they'd be held personally responsible for the stoppage and might be pursued through the courts for Royal Mail's losses if they failed to "get people back to work".

The role ascribed to the union was not of representing its members but of policing its members on management's behalf.

Royal Mail didn't actually demand that CWU officials use whips to herd postal workers in penitential procession through Belfast city centre and back into Tomb Street. But give them time. Why stop now when they've got away with so much?

Yesterday morning, one BBC presenter, having completed an interview in which the commercial boss of Royal Mail was allowed, unchallenged, to deliver a propaganda barrage against the postal workers, signed off by gratuitously reminding listeners that the strike was "illegal".

But it is not illegal, if we are to give the word its normal meaning. The strikers are not breaking the law.

It is true - presumably the point the BBC presenter was making - that they haven't jumped through the hoops designed by the Thatcher Government to neuter the trade union movement and left in place by New Labour and so cannot invoke the protection of the law.

It's understandable that Royal Mail management should take every opportunity to dub the stoppage "illegal." But journalists ought not to substitute management-speak for facts.

The startling one-sidedness of coverage derives mainly from the fact that union officials have themselves been advised by lawyers that they mustn't appear to express support for the stoppage lest they leave the union open to legal action.

As a result, news organisations achieve "balance" by giving management free rein and then providing space for a union spokesperson to stress that the union is urging its members to abandon the action to which management objects.

There is no direct expression of the viewpoint of the hundreds of workers who felt they had no option but to walk off the job.

Much was made of a Royal Mail suggestion that the strike was sparked when a worker from the Shankill was discovered noting the personal details, including the car registration number, of a manager.

These reports were set alongside quotes from a letter issued by a representative of a union involved in a battle for members with the CWU. The letter described the stoppage as "deeply sinister".

Taken together, the implication of these reports was that a Royal Mail manager had been targeted for attack and that there had been paramilitary involvement in this targeting.

There is no truth in this. None whatsoever. But the untruthful suggestion has been seriously damaging to the strikers' cause.

Those who reported the suggestion as if it had substance might now feel it appropriate to check the story. The diary is available for inspection.

Royal Mail management isn't alone in Northern Ireland in believing that citizens must abandon all expectation of dignity the minute they walk into work.

Thatcher's spoilt children, adopted and doted on by New Labour, acquire a half ounce of authority and dream of Mussolini.

The tendency is particularly marked in parts of the public sector being pared down and pummelled into shape for flogging off to private interests.

That's what's going on here.

Thatcher's attitude to working class people who dared to stand up for themselves was most clearly expressed in her mobilisation of the propaganda and repressive resources of the State to defeat the miners in 1984-85.

The NUM was pursued for its assets, nationally and internationally. But, as far as I remember, the Tory Government never went so far as to deploy people with corkscrew souls under cover of darkness to deliver letters implicitly threatening to seize the possessions of individual union members.

But that happened in Belfast last Thursday evening.

What are we coming to? Are people to be left homeless because they refuse to allow themselves and their fellow workers to be treated like dirt?

How strange that this should happen, and scarcely a dicky-bird about it, in an area where political leaders never give over about defending their communities' rights.

Incidentally, Hugh Smyth (PUP) and Michael Ferguson (SF) both made the point at Lanark Way on Tuesday that this had been the first time since 1932 that the Shankill and the Falls had come onto the streets together to make common cause.

You'd think every advocate of reconciliation etc. would be out cheering.

But too many would rather have the workers settle down separately than rise up together.

Personally, I take the opposite view.

Adams in new bid for visa

Belfast Telegraph

By Chris Thornton
09 February 2006

Gerry Adams has confirmed that he will seek a fundraising visa from the US so he can seek donations while in Washington for St Patrick's Day.

His announcement could herald another row with US authorities, who refused to give him a similar visa in November, prompting the Sinn Fein president to abandon a trip to America.

That refusal came as the State Department increased pressure on Sinn Fein to support the PSNI.

Mr Adams ended up addressing the November fundraiser by a satellite link.

Friends of Sinn Fein, the party's American fundraising arm, say they will hold a cash-generating event in Washington on March 16 which Mr Adams would be expected to attend.

Maskey calls for Hain to intervene

Belfast Telegraph

10 February 2006

Sinn Fein is calling on the Government to intervene in the postal crisis as the strike enters its eleventh day.

South Belfast MLA Alex Maskey is urging Trade Minister Angela Smith and Secretary of State Peter Hain to take action. Mr Maskey said that Sinn Fein supported the call for an independent inquiry into management procedures at Royal Mail.

"It is crucial that Angela Smith and Peter Hain both intervene in the interests of the local economy because, had we had a local Assembly, we as politicians would have expected speedy intervention.

"The community wants to see the dispute resolved as quickly as possible.

"We support the call for an independent inquiry into procedures and it is important that the community and business sectors along with political representatives unite in securing an equitable agreement."

West Belfast DUP MLA Diane Dodds called on all sides to increase their efforts to resolve matters. Mrs Dodds said she has met with both the postal workers and Royal Mail and that a way forward must be found as a matter of urgency.

"The current position cannot continue indefinitely," she said.

"Having spoken to the workers it is clear they don't want to be in this situation. Royal Mail as a company cannot allow this dispute to escalate. Any failure to act immediately will only increase the consequences to industry and local communities."

Unaccountable and largely unwanted


(Jim Gibney, Irish News)

What do a failed politician, a former CIA man, a former British policeman and a former government official have in common?

They have joined the ranks of people and organisations hell-bent on wrecking the peace process.

What is even more galling about these 'formers' is they are being paid huge sums of taxpayers' money.

Newspaper reports suggest they are paid £600 a day – a day that is, not a week. That is an incredible £3,000 a week; £144,000 a year.

And what are the hard-pressed taxpayers getting for the British government's largesse? Two reports a year that amount to little more than a few thousand words each.

The latest band of peace wreckers is the misnamed 'Independent Monitoring Commission' (IMC) – there is nothing independent about them.

After last week they should be renamed the 'Balderdice' Commission after its chairperson Lord Alderdice. He produced balderdash in their report.

Like so much else about this body we are not told who writes the report, who researches its facts, who exactly provides the information which shapes the report.

We do know that the 'Balderdice' Commission relies primarily on British intelligence agencies and sources therein or thereabouts.

So we can rest easy because after all, the intelligence agencies are bursting at the seams with devotees of the peace process.

Incredible though it seems, the British and Irish governments have handed over the future well-being of an already besieged peace process to this quango.

It is an unelected, unaccountable and largely unwanted body which has become the willing tool for every securocrat, spook and spy who has an axe to grind against the peace process.

All they have to do is communicate to the IMC in some vague way a juicy piece of baseless information such as that which has caused the latest crisis in the peace process. Then just leave it to the IMC. They will do the rest.

You will find out how on page 20, paragraph 3.23 of their report: "We have since received reports not all PIRA's weapons and ammunition were handed over for decommissioning in September. These reports are not able to indicate precisely what is the nature or volume of any remaining weapons..."

Riveting stuff. What intellectual rigour was at work to produce those two sentences? What test of accuracy did the IMC collective apply to the 'received reports'?

What does it all mean? What does a 'received report' amount to? Was the message 'received' by phone, email, text, letter, in person? Did the IMC squad rendezvous at a secret midnight location in a smoked-filled room to 'receive'? They are not revealing.

Maybe it is one of life's mysteries. It just happens. Someone plants an idea in a commissioner's head and before you know it is in the report. No questions asked. Well, none needed.

Contrast this vague, imprecise assertion with what actually occurred last September.

Under the careful scrutiny of five individuals, General de Chastelain, two of his team and two independent eye witnesses, Fr Alex Reid and Rev Harold Good, the IRA put all their weapons beyond use.

De Chastellain meticulously recorded as it happened what the five pairs of eyes witnessed.

He faced the world's press and was cross-examined.

The British, Irish and US governments accepted de Chastelain's report, confirming the IRA had put all their weapons beyond use.

By the way, de Chastelain heard the same report as the 'Balderdice' Commission which led them to claim the IRA withheld weapons. Didn't amount to much, he concluded. Found that out after asking a few relevant questions.

But then if you have spent most of your life trying to defeat republicans and failing, you will find it hard to pass up an opportunity to put the boot into them.

That might just explain the motivation of the one-time leader of the Alliance Party, the one-time head of London's anti-terrorist Special Branch and a man who was in the CIA for over 30 years.

For the British and Irish governments and other fans of the IMC, hoisted by your own petard comes to mind.

February 10, 2006

This article appeared first in the February 9, 2006 edition of the Irish News.

Hunger striking prisoners at Guantánamo being force-fed

Daily Ireland


Prisoners on hunger strike to protest their indefinite jailing without trial by the US at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, are being strapped to chairs for hours a day and force-fed.
According to a report in Thursday’s New York Times, 25 special “restraint chairs” were recently shipped to Guantánamo for use against hunger striking prisoners who try to resist forced-feeding.
In a prepared statement, Lieutenant Colonel Jeremy M Martin, who is Guantánamo’s chief military spokesman, claimed the harsh measures had dramatically cut the number of striking prisoners - from 84 in December to only four this week. The nature of the camp – where the movements of any humanitarian and legal visitors are highly-restricted – makes independent verification of Martin’s statement very difficult.
News of the specialised restraint chairs at Guantánamo broke a day after the publication of a study showing that less than half of the more than 500 prisoners being held at Guantanamo committed any hostile act against the US. The report by Professor Mark Denbeaux of New Jersey’s Seton Hall University and attorney Joshua Denbeaux – who act as lawyers for some Guantánamo inmates – represents the first detailed analysis of prisoners’ backgrounds.
Based on official Defense Department data, the study shows that only 45 per cent of prisoners were deemed to have engaged in hostile action against the US or its coalition allies. Among the definitions of what constituted a hostile act, was fleeing from a camp that US jets and artillery were bombing.
The US has repeatedly rebuffed criticism of its actions at Guantánamo by saying that the inmates are the “the worst of the worst” of America’s enemies. However, the study found that just eight per cent were considered to be al-Qaida fighters. Among the rest of the prisoners, 40 per cent were considered to have no clear connection with al-Qaida, and 18 per cent had no affiliation with either the Taliban or al-Qaida. Most of the prisoners have been held for more than four years, and so far about ten have been charged with any offences related to crimes violating the laws of war.
The report also highlights how few of the prisoners were actually captured by US forces themselves. In total, US troops captured five per cent of the prisoners, while 86 per cent were captured by troops of the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan, or Pakistani troops. According to Defense Department records, the criteria for suspecting that someone might be an al-Qaida or Taliban operative included: having possession of rifles; having used a guest house; having possession of Casio wrist watches; and the wearing of olive drab clothing.
At the time when Pakistani soldiers and Northern Alliance troops were rounding up suspects for the US, America was offering huge bounties for any al-Qaida or Taliban suspects.
Thousands of flyers were circulated across Afghanistan promising vast riches and power to prospective bounty hunters.
“Get wealth and power beyond your dreams,” read one flyer. “You can receive millions of dollars for helping the Anti-Taliban Force catch al-Qaida and Taliban murderers.
“This is enough money to take care of your family, your village, your tribe for the rest of your life.”

Real IRA threat for victim’s relatives

Daily Ireland

Murdered man’s family speaks


Relatives of a west Belfast man who was brutally stabbed to death last week have received death threats, Daily Ireland can reveal.
PSNI detectives called to the Devlin family home in the Ballymurphy estate on Tuesday to warn them they are being targeted by a number of people.
Later that day, a group of men took over two empty houses in the area. This incident was linked to a series of petrol bomb attacks that followed the murder of 39-year-old Gerard Devlin.
The father of six was fatally wounded on Whitecliffe Parade on February 3. Four men from the same extended family have been charged with his murder.
In the days after the killing, a number of homes in Ballymurphy were damaged in petrol-bomb attacks.
Daily Ireland understands around 15 men took over two houses on Tuesday amid fears they would be targeted by arsonists.
They eventually left after being confronted by concerned members of the community.
This was after the PSNI had called to the Devlin home warning his relatives they were under threat.
Mr Devlin’s aunt, Bernadette O’Rawe, called on those behind the threats to leave the family alone to grieve in peace.
“The people making these threats are well-known. Why can’t they leave my family in peace? Can they not see we are grieving?”
Mr Devlin’s family still has no idea when his remains will be returned home. Lawyers for those charged with murdering him are insisting on a second autopsy being carried out on the body.
Two cousins, Paul Burns (23) from Dermott Hill Park and Francisco Notarantonio (18) from Whitecliffe Parade, appeared in Belfast Magistrates’ Court yesterday charged with murdering Mr Devlin.
The men are the nephews and cousins of Christopher Notarantonio and William Notarantonio who appeared in court earlier in the week charged with the same murder.
Mr Burns is charged with murdering Mr Devlin and of causing an affray. When charged the defendant replied: “Not guilty, I have given a full account of what happened.”
Mr Notarantonio is charged with murdering Gerard Devlin, the attempted murder of another man and causing an affray. When charged he replied: ”I have given a full account. I am sorry to hear that Gerard Devlin is dead.”
In court, Burns, dressed in a black suit, and Notarantonio, dressed in a navy jacket and dark trousers, looked at the floor during proceedings. The defendants spoke only to confirm that they understood the charges.
A PSNI Detective Inspector told the court that she could connect the accused to the charges.
The PSNI officer, when questioned by defence solicitor Aidan Deery agreed that the defendants had gone voluntarily to the PSNI and co-operated fully.
The men were remanded in custody to appear at the same court via video link on March 7.

Loyalist killer dies after long illness

Belfast Telegraph

By Chris Thornton
10 February 2006

A loyalist who took part in a notorious sectarian murder and kidnapped a priest - while serving in the RUC - has died after an illness.

PUP member William McCaughey, who was also jailed for a UVF gun and bomb attack on a pub and was linked to loyalist protests outside a Catholic church in Ballymena, died at his home in Lurgan on Wednesday.

McCaughey, who was the party's North Antrim representative and a member of the PUP executive, was pictured during a protest outside Harryville wearing an Orange Order sash.

He later turned against the protests and helped clean up graffiti at the church. Shortly before his death he complained that unionist politicians had been responsible for luring young men into violence during the Troubles.

The 55-year-old is believed to have been diagnosed with cancer just over a year ago.

McCaughey was a member of the UVF and the RUC's Special Patrol Group at the same time in the mid-Seventies.

In 1978 he was jailed for the murder of William Strathearn, a Catholic shopkeeper, in Ahoghill, Co Antrim, a year earlier. Ahoghill was McCaughey's home village.

The killing became known as the 'Good Samaritan murder', because the UVF gang lured Strathearn, a 39-year-old shopkeeper and father-of-seven, to his front door at 2am by claiming they were seeking aspirin for a sick child. Strathearn was shot twice. He is believed to have been shot by Robin Jackson, the notorious loyalist known as the Jackal.

McCaughey admitted supplying the handgun used in the murder and driving Jackson to the scene. He also admitted shooting and wounding a customer leaving the Rock Bar near Keady, Co Armagh in 1976. A bomb was also left at the door of the pub, but it did not explode.

McCaughey carried out the attack with two other serving RUC officers, one of whom was on duty at the time. The two other policemen received suspended sentences.

It was later found that the guns used in the Rock Bar attack had also been used to murder Co Armagh brothers John, Brian and Anthony Reavey.

McCaughey was also jailed for kidnapping Ahoghill parish priest Father Hugh Murphy in June 1978 with another RUC officer. Fr Murphy, a former Royal Navy chaplain who held an OBE, was kidnapped in response to the IRA abduction of RUC Constable William Turbitt. Constable Turbitt was killed, but Fr Murphy was released.

McCaughey carried out the kidnapping less than two weeks before he went on trial on a bizarre theft charge.

Less than two months after murdering William Strathearn, McCaughey was alleged to have stolen two tables while acting as an RUC bodyguard for UUP MP John Taylor, now Lord Kilclooney. McCaughey and another policeman were accused of taking the tables from the home of Elsie Kelsey, the then mayor of Lisburn, while waiting for Taylor to leave a party.

The trial heard accusations and counter-accusations of drunkenness between the policemen and the partygoers. The jury failed to reach a verdict.

McCaughey was released from prison in 1994. He later joined the PUP, saying he supported the peace process and the Good Friday Agreement.

Make sure all that sparkles is conflict-free

Belfast Telegraph

By Deborah McAleese
10 February 2006

Pressure is mounting on Ulster's jewellers to ensure the diamonds they sell are "bloodshed" free.

With the sale of diamonds increasing in the run up to Valentine's Day, Northern Ireland's romantic shoppers have been urged to ensure that they purchase the perfect stone - one that has not been traded to fund armed conflict and civil war.

The horrifying affects of conflict diamonds will soon be highlighted in the Hollywood movie The Blood Diamond, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Connelly.

Set in Sierra Leone in 1999 DiCaprio plays a juggler specialised in blood diamonds - stones used to finance rebellions, privateers and terrorists.

Conflict diamonds are those sold in order to fund armed conflict and civil war. Warlords and rebel groups in countries including Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia and Sierra Leone have used billions of dollars of profits from the sale of diamonds from the mines they control to buy arms and fund devastating wars.

Director of the Northern Ireland Amnesty International branch, Patrick Corrigan, said: "Diamonds are a once in a lifetime purchase that people often choose as a token of love. I don't believe people here want this special gift to be related to the pain and suffering of others.

"Despite some progress, we are still concerned that the local diamond industry is falling short in combating the trade in conflict diamonds. They must keep their promises to end this devastating trade."

Diamonds mined in rebel-held areas in Cote d'Ivoire, a West African country in the midst of a volatile conflict, are currently reaching the international diamond market.

A new guide to help local shoppers chose the perfect stone has been published and explains that consumers can make a difference by insisting that the diamond industry keep the promises it has made to end the trade in conflict diamonds.

It recommends that shoppers ask retailers where the diamonds they sell come from and to see a copy of the company's policy on conflict diamonds as well as a written guarantee from suppliers that shows the diamonds are conflict free.

Special nurse offer rejected

Belfast Telegraph

Hospital turns down move by tragedy family

By Nigel Gould
10 February 2006

A charity offered to pay for a specialist nurse for a heart condition that has become the biggest medical cause of sudden death in young people but Northern Ireland's biggest hospital turned it down because it could not guarantee further funding, the Belfast Telegraph can reveal today.

Now Ulster families affected by cardiomyopathy - a disease of the heart muscle that is often inherited - are urging the Royal to reconsider its decision.

The Cardiomyopathy Association, a leading UK charity that supports families affected by the condition, said it had made available £40,000 for a two-year post at the Royal.

However, the hospital told the Belfast Telegraph that while it was very supportive of the introduction of such a service, it could not guarantee recurrent funding for such a post at this time.

But a spokeswoman stressed that the hospital would welcome further opportunities to discuss with the association "other options for our patients."

Ulster couple Sam and Amanda Graham, who lost their daughter, 14-year-old Rebecca last July to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy - the biggest medical cause of sudden death in the under 35s - said a nurse specialist was important.

Rebecca, a pupil at Sullivan Upper School, in Holywood, experienced dizziness and fainting, symptoms of the condition from the age of 12 but was not diagnosed for a year.

Sam and Amanda, from Newtownards, said: "When Rebecca was alive we did not know enough about her condition or the different treatments available. We only found out the true situation after she had died.

"A nurse specialist would have had time to sit down with us to discuss the full implications of the condition and all the options open to her and been able to give us more support through this very difficult time.

"We think such a nurse would have been of great benefit to us. We were a family with no experience of hospitals and we were finding it difficult to come to terms with a condition we knew nothing about."

In the Graham family, both Amanda (39), an executive officer at Dundonald Primary School, and Rebecca's brother Matthew, who is 12, have been screened clear.

But Sam, a 41-year-old facilities manager at Sullivan Upper School, Holywood, has also been found to have the condition. He is on medication and since Rebecca's death has had an internal defibrillator fitted. It will shock his heart back into life if it is in danger of stopping.

The Grahams said: "Rebecca was told her heart was not in danger of stopping. She just needed to avoid strenuous exercise, such as netball and rounders. But she died after feeling ill in bed one evening. We have since found out that other young people have died too when they are resting."

The Cardiomyopathy Association said that since October it has been seeking a meeting with health chiefs at the Royal to discuss other options.

Chief executive of the Cardiomyopathy Association Robert Hall said: "We already fund a nurse specialist post at the Heart Hospital in London and one shared between the Western Infirmary, Glasgow, and the Royal Alexandra in Paisley.

"Both of our nurses do invaluable work helping families with cardiomyopathy. We want to extend this service to the Royal."

Mr Hall will be in Belfast to address an information meeting tomorrow in the Park Plaza Hotel in Belfast which is being held by for families affected by cardiomyopathy in Ireland.

Google to put ancient text on the internet

Irish Independent

Katherine Donnelly

FANCY googling the Book of Kells or all 65,000 pages of first US president George Washington's diaries?

A new collaboration between Irish scientists and internet wizards Google may allow for web-based searches of handwritten documents in a way that has never been possible.

A joint Dublin City University (DCU)-based team has applied its internationally recognised expertise in video analysis to making images of handwriting searchable.

Research leader Professor Alan Smeaton said they "stumbled across" the possibility in the course of other research and approached Google, which has come up with funding for a year.

His colleague Dr Noel O'Connor said that with handwriting, which is at present not searchable, they were getting very good detection using the shape of a word - even though the writer always altered the way he or she wrote the same word each time.

The George Washington diaries and memoirs have, in fact, been made available for the research, which is being carried out in conjunction with two US universities.

"We've applied the approach to hundreds of pages of George Washington's diaries and memoirs, getting very good results. For example, you can select the word 'battle' and find all the references to that word in Washington's writings," said Dr O'Connor.

Up to now, the kind of material they are hoping to open up on the web, has been kept behind closed doors, or is accessible for examination in digital libraries, at a slow and cumbersome one page at a time.

Prof Smeaton believes that the techniques being developed in this project could lead to handwritten manuscripts being available for searching in the giant Google index within a couple of years.

"As a company, Google moves very fast and if the techniques we are developing in this project are as good as early results indicate, we can expect to see Google take up the outputs," he said.

Prof Smeaton said that libraries around the world were in the process of digitising their rare and historical manuscripts, so in the future, using this technology, Google search engines could make these manuscripts available and searchable worldwide.

The research is being carried out at the Adaptive Information Cluster (AIC), a Science Foundation Ireland multi-disciplinary research group involving DCU and UCD working in sensor science, software engineering, electronic engineering and computer science.

The team is also involved with the Dublin Institute of Advanced Studies in the Irish Script on Screen (ISOS) project - digitising old manuscripts written in the Irish language.

Thousands of images have been scanned with the intention also of making them searchable on the internet.

The system is based on "object detection" in video - detecting and identifying images of people or other objects in different video frames, even though there may be altered positions or angles, and applying this to differing slants or shapes of words in handwriting.

How `triple thumbprint man' was finally run to ground

Irish Independent

The massive Canary Wharf explosion in February 1996 killed two people, injured dozens and caused £150m of damage in east London

Fri, 26 Jun 1998

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usFOR more than a year the London Docklands bomber was an anonymous figure known to police as "the triple thumbprint man" because they were the only clues he left behind.

It was only when armed RUC officers hunting an alleged IRA gang arrested five men in an isolated farmhouse near Crossmagalen in Co Armagh that the thumbprints were matched to James McArdle.

McArdle, whose nose was broken during the police raid, was flown to London but refused to answer questions about the South Quay explosion.

"Until then he had been the triple thumb print man, but afterwards we were able to match 14 palm and fingerprints,'' said Commander John Grieve, head of the anti-terrorist branch.

Police had no prior intelligence of the bomb made up of over a ton of homemade explosives.

Four days after the blast, and in response to police appeals for help, an inquisitive lorry driver, Arthur Ward, reported seeing an unfamiliar lorry and trailer parked in River Road, Barking, nine miles from Docklands, on the day of the explosion.

He had stopped to look because he was "nosey''.

He was the 199th of the 850 people who rang the anti-terrorist hotline and provided what Cdr Grieve described as "the golden nugget'' of information. "There is no better example of what we are about than this case, of the public helping us. The hotline worked.''

The site at River Road was "like a quarter-mile rubbish tip, and officers crawled on their hands and knees picking up every bit of paper''. Because they were not sure what they were looking for every filthy, rain-sodden scrap had to be examined.

In an old tyre were tachograph records and a trucking magazine bearing the first thumbprint.

Nearby were discarded pieces of false number plates. On a trailer and ramps abandoned by the bombing team, forensic experts discovered traces of explosives commonly used by the IRA and paint scrapings which finally led to the lorry being identified as a former British Gas vehicle.

From the tachograph records its route through England from Northern Ireland and Scotland was traced and CCTV footage unearthed most of its journey south.

McArdle's second and third thumbprints were found on an ashtray at a truck stop in Carlisle where he stayed under a false name, and on a ferry ticket stub at Stranraer bought on a dummy run the month before.

Callers to the hotline also reported sightings of the lorry as it made its way to River Road with its deadly cargo. It was there the bomb was primed just hours before it was taken to South Quay by two men, McArdle almost certainly the driver.

Once it was in place with its two-hour time clock ticking away, "inaccurate and wholly inadequate warnings'' were given to agencies using recognised IRA codewords.

The same codeword has been used since a warning of a bomb at Victoria in 1991. It exploded, killing one person, because of the vagueness of the message about its location.

The word was again used in coded warnings of the Baltic Exchange bomb, which gave the location as the Stock Exchange; Paddington Station when the bomb exploded outside the police station; and the Grand National, which proved to be a false alarm.

The South Quay bomb was already in place when the first of five calls, again using the same word, came at 5.38pm, warning of a massive bomb at South Quay station.

It was little short of a miracle that more people were not killed and injured when it exploded at rush hour, scattering debris for hundreds of yards and leaving a crater 33ft wide and 10ft deep.

After the coded warnings, the lorry was spotted by Pc Roger Degraff. He was just about to try the handle of the door when some sixth sense stopped him.

It saved his life because police believe, from a piece of debris the size of a 50p piece, that a mercury tilt switch anti-handling device was in place ready to detonate the bomb at the slightest touch.

Pc Degraff went to warn Inam Bashir and his assistant John Jeffries. They told him they were just shutting the shop. But moments later the bomb exploded, killing both men. Pc Degraff was knocked to the ground and suffered cuts and bruises.

Others sustained a variety of injuries. Barbara Osei needed 300 stitches and has lost the site of one eye. Zauoi Berezag, who was with his family in a car near the blast, still suffers memory loss and his 17-year-old son's eardrums were perforated. Another man needs constant care because his injuries have reduced him to a child-like state.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us McArdle admitted driving the lorry to southern England but said he had no idea it contained a bomb. He did it as a favour for a man he called The Boss, whom he refused to name for fear of reprisals.

Cross-examined by John Bevan QC, he admitted being an IRA supporter but claimed he did not agree with violence.

Police, who have liaised closely with the RUC and gardai, are continuing the hunt for other members of the highly trained bombing team, thought to number four or five men. The families of his two victims remain grief-stricken. Mr Bashir's father died of a heart attack months after his son, and Mr Jeffries's father, with whom he lived, is said to have become a recluse.

Out of respect for the families' wishes police are not releasing video footage of the explosion.

Cdr Grieve said: "It is essentially a film of murder and we think it would be in bad taste. Our first duty is to support the victims and their families.

"They are two extremely nice, quiet, ordinary south London families who just don't understand why two people can go to work during the ceasefire and not come home again.''

(Daily Telegraph, London)

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