03 June 2006

Connolly march attracts hundreds

BBC - Scotland

The march is an annual event

About 800 people have taken part in the annual James Connolly march through the centre of Edinburgh.

The event ended with a rally in the capital's King Stables Road on Saturday afternoon.

The procession commemorates the life of the socialist and Irish Republican, who was born in Edinburgh in 1868, the son of Irish parents.

Connolly was court-martialled and then executed for his part in the Easter Uprising in Dublin in 1916.

Asthma danger: more awareness needed say teen victim’s parents


Image Hosted by ImageShack.usThe distraught parents of young asthma victim Jim McMillan have spoken of how they want to raise awareness of the medical condition after it tragically claimed his life at the tender age of 16.
The New Lodge teenager was extremely popular in the area and at his funeral on Tuesday hundreds of young people turned out to pay their respects at a packed St Patrick’s Church.
Jim’s mother Michelle McMillan said she wanted other parents to know the dangers surrounding asthma.
“I just want other parents out there to know that it can kill.
“We knew he had a bit of bother breathing, like when he played football. But never did we think in a million years, it would take his life,” she said.
Jim’s early death has shocked the local community, but it has also shocked the health profession following his death and that of three other young people who died the same way.
West Belfast teenager Bronagh Kelly died last Thursday (May 25) after an asthma attack as did 14-year-old County Down youngster Victoria Warneck who died from an asthma attack on May 22.
This follows hard on the heels from the tragic death of 30-year-old Scott Wasson who died from an asthma attack as he and his new bride waited at the airport to fly home from their honeymoon in Barbados.
An Irish asthma expert has called for health professionals to increase awareness of the potentially lethal respiratory condition.
Patrick McKeown, founder of Asthma Care Ireland said more needed to be done to highlight the severity of the condition.
“I would agree to a large extent that more needs to be done to highlight asthma. It’s very rarely the condition flares up with no warning signs and leads to a chronic attack,” he said.
Respiratory nurse consultant at the Mater Hospital Anne Marie McGurk said the recent tragic events served as a reminder that asthma can be a serious and potentially life threatening condition.
“It raises the awareness of how important it is to comply with prescribed medications and be aware of signs of deteriorating and worsening asthma and know how and where to seek the appropriate medical intervention,” she said.
The youngster’s parents Michelle and PJ said they were told by the pathologist that asthma was responsible for their son’s early death.
PJ McMillan said he never thought his son’s health was so fragile.
“He was a strong boy, we thought how could he not pull through an asthma attack? At that age you’re fit and young. We’re completely baffled. We don’t understand how it happened,” he said.
Jim was a popular young man in the area and he was known for his love of football.
His school friends from St Patrick’s College organised a touching farewell to him as part of his funeral Mass.
The teenager was named after his mother’s brother Jim Meighan who was murdered in cold blood by the UVF in 1987. He was 22-years-old.
Jim’s heartbroken mum said friends and family could not help but remember her brother’s death nearly 20 years later.
“It’s like history repeating itself. My mother had three boys and a girl. Jim, my brother was the second eldest. My son Jim was the second eldest of the family as well. It’s just heartbreaking.”
Asthma is the most widespread long-term condition among children affecting 35,000 children in the North. There are on average three children in every classroom who have asthma. Figures show every year 44 people die from the condition in the North and there are over 2,445 people admitted to hospital every year suffering from its symptoms.

Journalist:: Staff Journalist

Nationalists call for removal of UVF flags from outside school


Nationalist politicians have called for loyalist flags to be removed from outside a Catholic school in North Belfast.

Last Friday a number of UVF flags were put on lampposts outside Our Lady of Mercy secondary school on the Bilston Road in the heart of the loyalist Ballysillan area.
This comes a year after the Housing Executive and PSNI launched an initiative to ensure that the flags issue was addressed. Called the Flags Protocol, it said it wanted to see interfaces and schools kept clear of bunting. Calling on those with influence to do what they could to get the flags removed, the SDLP’s Alban Maginness said the issue had to be resolved.
“I would call on the organisation responsible to take down flags that are really a provocation to people. These flags should be removed and everybody should use their good offices in order to resolve the matter and resolve it quickly.”
Echoing the call was Sinn Féin’s Danny Lavery who said he would be taking steps to ensure they are removed.
“I am calling for these flags to be taken down because schools are for education and people should be free to learn in an environment that is free from politics.
“I will work towards getting them removed as the pupils and staff of the school should not have to put up with such displays.”
A spokesman for the UUP said the party would back any initiative that stopped paramilitary flags from being flown.
“It is wrong that communities across Northern Ireland should have to endure the intimidation and triumphalist displays associated with the flags erected by paramilitary organisations. A number of local initiatives have provided alternative and much more constructive, non-sectarian ways of allowing communities to celebrate their cultural heritage. The UUP will continue to support such initiatives, and will use our every influence to ensure that such paramilitary displays become a thing of the past.”

Journalist:: Staff Journalist

HET set to begin McGurk’s enquiry


In the next few weeks the Historical Enquiries Team will begin its investigation into the McGurk’s Bar bombing which claimed the lives of 15 people over 35 years ago.
Relatives of the families have been contacted by the team to advise them the case will be reopened by the police team based in Lisburn.
Pat Irvine who was a teenager when her mother Kathleen was killed in the attack on North Queen Street said she was confident that the information would prove the innocence of the victims.
“The information we have passed onto the HET unequivocably proves the innocence of the 15 people,” Pat Irvine said.
“The evidence is there, in fact the evidence was always there to support this. We are quietly confident that the case which is being looked into by the HET will bring to the families and the public, the truth and nothing but the truth as promised.”
Evidence supplied to the HET team from the families includes a statement from the State Pathologist’s Department to the RUC in March 1972 stating ‘unfortunately we are not able to help…. there were no injuries identifiable as specifically due to the bomb’.
The families are convinced this piece of evidence, and others puts holes in the original claims that those killed were involved in the planting of the bomb.
The families widely believe that collusion between loyalists and the security forces created the conditions and opportunity for the bombers to plant their deadly device.
It is widely believed that loyalists who carried out the McGurk’s bombing orchestrated by sections of the security forces were in fact targeting the nearby Gem bar in an attempt to create a feud between republicans.
However because of bystanders outside the Gem the bombers attacked McGurk’s and slaughtered 15 people including two children.
The case is also being investigating by the Police Ombudsman which was revealed in the North Belfast News last September.
The December 1971 atrocity was the largest loss of life before the Omagh bomb and the families hope the Ombudsman can uncover why no investigation took place into the outrage.
Relatives say it was one of the earliest cases of security force collusion in the conflict.
Only one man who confessed seven years later to his part in the atrocity has ever served a sentence for the mass murder.

Journalist:: Áine McEntee

Shergar's triumph transcends the tragedy


**Via Newshound

**See also Police hunt Shergar's kidnapper's

We should recall the marvel of 1981 for his greatness, not his unfortunate and mysterious disappearance, writes Sean Magee

Saturday June 3, 2006

Twenty-five years ago today the Aga Khan's white-faced colt Shergar scampered up the Epsom straight to win the Derby by 10 lengths, the longest winning margin in the race's 226-year history. Less than two years later he was snatched by masked gunmen from the Ballymany Stud, near Newbridge in County Kildare, and disappeared off the face of the earth, spawning a mini-industry of books, documentaries, a ludicrous feature film and limitless employment for sleuths, hoaxers, clairvoyants and water-diviners.

Into the void left by an almost complete lack of evidence as to his fate poured a range of theories, most fingering the IRA, some involving Colonel Gaddafi, the New Orleans mafia or a vengeful bloodstock dealer wronged by the Aga Khan. Not to mention the story that Shergar had swum to a boat lurking off the Waterford coast, from where he was taken to Saudi Arabia to cover mares for a mega-rich potentate.

The generally accepted account is that Shergar was abducted by an IRA unit who killed him a few days later when negotiations for a £2m ransom had gone nowhere and the horse was becoming uncontrollable. His remains have never been found, though in 1991 the Sun located him in a field in the Channel Islands, and the Sunday Sport reported a definite sighting of Shergar being ridden by Lord Lucan.

Shergar's disappearance brought him a place in the public consciousness rare for any racehorse but the anniversary of his astonishing Derby victory is the moment to celebrate him for what he really was: one of the all-time greats.

Bred by his owner in County Kildare, close to the stud from which he was snatched, Shergar went into training with Michael Stoute at Newmarket. His debut race in 1981, was the Guardian Classic Trial at Sandown Park, the first ever sponsored by this paper at the behest of the Guardian and Observer racing correspondent Richard Baerlein, who after seeing the colt sluice home by 10 lengths famously advised punters that "at 8-1 Shergar for the Derby, now is the time to bet like men".

Baerlein's followers were handsomely rewarded. After winning the Chester Vase by 12 lengths, Shergar started odds-on favourite at Epsom, ridden by the 19-year-old Walter Swinburn, by then Stoute's stable jockey. Recalling the "dream ride" of his first Derby, Swinburn tells how early in the race Shergar "found his own pace and lobbed along as the leaders went off at a million miles an hour, with me just putting my hands down on his withers and letting him travel at his own speed".

Early in the straight Shergar pulled his way to the front and went further and further clear, so far that John Matthias on the runner-up Glint Of Gold thought he had won: "I told myself I'd achieved my life's ambition. Only then did I discover there was another horse on the horizon."

Swinburn was suspended for Shergar's next race in the Irish Derby, the ride reverting to Piggott, who produced a masterclass in how to win a Classic without moving a muscle. "He used to take quite a good hold" is Piggott's matter-of-fact recollection, jockey-speak for saying the rider's best tactic was to let the horse find his rhythm and go at his own pace.

The way Piggott and Shergar sauntered past their flat-to-the-boards opponents, as if two films were being played at different speeds, propelled the commentator Peter O'Sullevan into raptures - "He's only in an exercise canter!" - and Shergar into the equine stratosphere.

Before he raced again Shergar was syndicated for breeding, £250,000 buying one-fortieth of his reproductive timesheet to produce a valuation of £10m, then a record for a stallion standing in Europe.

The King George at Ascot followed, with the older generation trounced before the wheels came off in the St Leger at Doncaster. Swinburn was sending out distress signals with two furlongs to go, and Shergar could finish only fourth behind Cut Above, a horse he had beaten comprehensively in the Irish Derby. Piggott's view is that "he must have been over the top by then" but, whatever the explanation, Shergar's racing career was over.

A new one beckoned and in October 1981 the rookie stallion arrived in Newbridge. To the oompah of the town band and the cheers of schoolchildren waving flags in the Aga Khan's green and red racing colours, he was paraded up the main street. The Aga Khan, whose decision to stand Shergar in Ireland defied those who had gloomily expected his removal to the United States, was there to greet his hero.

Shergar produced 35 foals from his single season at stud, the best turning out to be the 1986 Irish St Leger winner Authaal, but only one had been born by February 8, 1983. That evening, one week before Shergar was due to resume covering duties, a horse trailer rumbled up the drive and past the paddocks towards the stud buildings and he was transmuted from celebrity racehorse to cause célèbre.

This Derby Day forget Lord Lucan, Colonel Gaddafi and visions of the IRA shooting a panicking racehorse and instead remember Shergar coasting up to the Epsom winning post with that enormous tongue lolling out as if in defiance of the grisly fate that awaited him. Wherever he may lie, his epitaph should be Swinburn's simple declaration: "That horse could gallop."

Prison sentences for six UVF members

Belfast Telegraph

By Ashleigh Wallace
03 June 2006

SIX men caught wearing loyalist paramilitary uniforms in a disused shop on the Monkstown estate were yesterday jailed after admitting professing to belong to the outlawed Ulster Volunteer Force.

The six men and two others were arrested after police using CS gas stormed the empty shop on January 18, 2003. All eight told police they were in the premises for a photo shoot which Mr Justice Girvan yesterday said was to show the UVF was "still in business" with "willing volunteers".

Once inside the disused shop, police officers discovered an array of weapons on show including an Uzi sub-machine gun, a replica sub-machine gun and a Chinese assault rifle. Also on display was UVF paraphernalia.

A total of eight men appeared in the dock of Belfast Crown Court, charged in connection with the raid on the premises.

Six Larne men admitted professing to belong to the UVF and each were handed a prison sentence.

Seven of the eight men in the dock also admitted possession of articles for a purpose connected to terrorism and of possessing intimidation firearms with intent to cause fear of violence, while an eighth man admitted aiding and abetting the two possession charges.

Joseph Crawford (34) from Fairway in Larne was handed a two and a half years concurrent sentence on each of the three charges, and also agreed to a 12 month period of post-custodial supervision.

Larne men Richard Morrow (27) from Lynn Road, 24-year old Dale Magill of Inverview Park and Philip Clarke (24) from Cairngorm Drive were also jailed for two and a half years and agreed to 12 months post-custodial supervision.

John Rolston (32) from Alexander Crescent in Armagh was ordered to serve two years and three months in jail on the three charges while Ian Davidson (27) from Waterfall Road in Larne was handed a two years and two months sentence.

Colin Greer (35) from Ards Park in Monkstown - the keyholder of the disused store - was handed a 12 month concurrent sentence for the two possession charges.

And 25-year-old Robert Anderson, who drove the men from Larne to Monkstown and who admitted aiding and abetting the two possession charges, was handed an 11 month jail term.

A fitting memorial for an island at peace


(Jim Gibney, Irish News)

Long Kesh has been at the centre of the Irish political conflict for most of its 30 years as a prison. Opened in late 1971 and closed in 2000, 25,000 republican and loyalists were held there, tens of thousands of relatives visited them, 15,000 prison warders and thousands of British soldiers detained them.

The International Red Cross said few prisons in the world had links to the community like Long Kesh.

The prison became a microcosm of the conflict beyond its two-mile perimeter wall.

Treatment of the prisoners inside the prison reflected government policy, whether unionist or British.

In late 1971 hundreds of republicans were interned there as the last unionist government tried but failed to suppress the nationalist uprising and the IRA's armed struggle.

Thirteen people protesting against internees being held at Long Kesh were shot dead on Bloody Sunday in Derry in January 1972.

This atrocity ended unionist domination for ever.

Long Kesh was a major embarrassment to the British government. It was a notorious prison. Its lasting image is that of a concentration camp.

The British government tried to alter this image by changing its name to the Maze and using 'detainee' instead of 'internee' to describe those it held captive.

As the intensity of the conflict grew the numbers of prisoners dramatically increased to a point in 1974 where more than 1,000 internees and sentenced republican and loyalist prisoners were held there.

The prison was flattened in October 1974 when republican prisoners burnt it in protest at harassment by warders. As part of a ceasefire deal with the IRA in late '74/early '75 the British government released the internees and introduced 50 per cent remission for sentenced prisoners.

Behind these peace moves the British government was duplicitously planning its criminalisation policy. This policy had a major impact on Long Kesh, those who were held there in the newly built H-Blocks and the struggle for freedom.

The British government hoped the H-Blocks would end the prison's 'concentration' camp image and criminalisation would isolate, weaken and defeat the IRA. They could not have been more wrong.

These moves sparked off the protest by hundreds of republican prisoners for political status at Long Kesh and Armagh Women's prison which resulted in 10 young men dying agonisingly on hunger strike 25 years ago this year, while on the streets 60 people died.

The prison was never too far away from national and international media attention.

Tens of thousands took to the streets in support of the prisoners. The prison protest gave the freedom struggle a much-needed boost.

I did time in the prison on three occasions. I met some of the finest people you could meet anywhere.

They had great energy, were industrious and inventive.

Many inmates spent their time trying to escape, digging tunnels. Some pulled off spectacular escapes. Hugh Coney from Coalisand was shot dead trying. Others educated themselves politically and militarily to return to the freedom struggle on release. Many did and subsequently paid with their lives.

Teenagers lost their youth there. Individuals served 10, 15 and more years. Some never came home alive, dying of natural causes or medical neglect. Almost 30 prison warders were killed by republicans and loyalists.

Most of the leadership of Sinn Féin and loyalist organisations served time there.

Gerry Adams was released from Long Kesh in 1972 to take part in negotiations with the British government.

Sinn Féin's electoral strategy, which helped build the party into what it is today, came out of Long Kesh and the decision to stand hunger strikers, two of whom were elected, Bobby Sands and Kieran Doherty.

Long Kesh is a place apart. Inside and outside its walls it generated great pain, loss and heroism.

It shaped those it held and they shaped the war and peace as we know it today.

On Tuesday the British government unveiled a new and bold vision for the future use of the Long Kesh site.

Gone as a place of conflict.

It will now be a place of pilgrimage for those who want to experience its history or to cheer on their Gaelic, soccer or rugby teams in the proposed new stadium.

A fitting memorial for an island at peace.

June 2, 2006

This article appeared first in the June 1, 2006 edition of the Irish News.

02 June 2006

Haddock admits alleged agent role

Daily Ireland

Ciarán Barnes

Leading loyalist Mark Haddock was last night reported to have confessed to family and friends that he has been a Special Branch informer for 16 years.
The ex-Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) leader, who was shot six times by his former paramilitary friends on Tuesday, made the admission as he recovers from his injuries under armed PSNI guard in Belfast’s Royal Victoria Hospital.
Detectives are planning to question the 37-year-old about the bid on his life over the weekend. It is understood he is demanding the PSNI resettle both him and his family in England under a new identity.
On Wednesday night a friend of Haddock’s, who had supported him during a recent court appearance, was forced to leave his home in north Belfast’s Mount Vernon estate. The UVF has also ordered relatives of Haddock out of the area.
A spokesman for the PSNI have confirmed that threats have been made.
During the mid-1990s, Haddock was UVF boss in Mount Vernon.
On Thursday Daily Ireland revealed a close friend of Haddock’s, who is also a Special Branch agent, organised the attempt on his life. He did so in return for the UVF not killing him.
Loyalist sources yesterday named the two men who shot the informer, known as Agent Helen, six times.
The paramilitaries are close friends of dead UVF man Colin Caldwell. The 23-year-old was killed in an IRA bomb attack at Belfast’s Crumlin Road prison in November 1991.
Caldwell was on remand for possession of firearms and UVF membership after being caught in a car containing weapons in Newtownabbey, north Belfast. Information Haddock gave to his RUC handlers led to Caldwell’s arrest.
Friends of Caldwell attempted to avenge his death on Tuesday by trying to kill Haddock.

Debates ‘U-turn’ for Peter Hain

Daily Ireland

British secretary of state Peter Hain has been forced into a U-turn on next week’s sitting of the Stormont assembly, the Democratic Unionist Party claimed last night.
Ian Paisley’s party said Mr Hain had been forced to back down on a plan to hold no debates for the second week running at Stormont after the DUP threatened not to take part in a special committee to prepare for devolved government.
There was outrage from unionists, the SDLP and Alliance Party politicians after Mr Hain informed assembly members there would be no debates next week.
Assembly members had suggested debates on the imposition of rates on manufacturers in the North and on the British government’s plans for the reorganisation of local government and public bodies.
A source said: “Dr Paisley made it clear that there would be no Preparation for Government Committee unless there was an assembly debate next week. We have now been informed a debate will take place.”

‘Partitionist’ Ordnance Survey maps omit North’s six counties

Daily Ireland

by Ciarán Barnes

An Irish government agency has been accused of supporting partition after it failed to include the six northern counties in a series of 150-year-old maps of Ireland.
At the beginning of the week, Ordnance Survey Ireland launched a new website at www.historicmaps.ie.
This contains a series of old maps of Ireland.
The maps were drawn years before partition, meaning they would have covered all 32 counties.
However, Ordnance Survey Ireland has not included the North among the maps on its website.
A notice on the website reads: “Please note that currently maps covering Northern Ireland are not contained within this archive.”
Sinn Féin TD Aengus Ó Snodaigh accused the Ordnance Survey of effectively supporting partition.
He described its omission of the Six Counties from the maps as “unfortunate”.
The Dublin South-Central TD said: “These maps were drawn up many years before the partition of this nation and so Ordnance Survey Ireland would have access to the maps of all 32 counties.
“It is most unfortunate that they have developed such a partitionist mindset. They are effectively supporting partition. “I would call on them to make all the maps of Ireland that they have in their possession available to all interested parties on this island and beyond.”
An Ordnance Survey spokesman said there were plans for the North to be included among maps that had yet to be put on the website.
He said: “We have to get the first phase finished before we can look at putting the North on the website.
“That includes getting maps from the Republic between 1842 to 1913 online.
“Unfortunately, we don’t hold much of the maps detailing the North.
“They were taken off us after partition but we do intend gaining access to and putting them on the website some time in the future,” said the spokesman.

Mayor was political prisoner in 1971

Daily Ireland

Exclusive – City’s new SDLP lord mayor was interned in Long Kesh

by Ciarán Barnes

Belfast’s new SDLP lord mayor is a former political prisoner, Daily Ireland can reveal.
Pat McCarthy was locked up in 1971 for being an alleged member of the Official IRA.
He was interned without trial for 11 months in the Crumlin Road jail in Belfast and in Long Kesh prison.
The 53-year-old father of three last night became Belfast’s 114th lord mayor and only the fourth nationalist to wear the chain of office.
He saw off the challenge of Sinn Féin’s Carál Ní Chuilín to be elected by 37 votes to 14.
The Democratic Unionist Party’s Ruth Patterson was elected to serve as his deputy.
Mr McCarthy told Daily Ireland he wanted to see Belfast grow during his time in office.
“I want the people of this great city to overcome their divisions,” said the SDLP councillor.
“I want to city grow and become a leading European capital.”
Mr McCarthy said he had no problem going to meet people in loyalist areas of Belfast. “My father was a merchant seaman who fought the Nazis.
“I still wear his medals proudly and I attend the Belfast cenotaph every year to remember those who died in the wars. “I have no problem bringing my message of peace to unionist areas. The people of this city have had a shared past and we can have a shared future,” said the new mayor, who is from the Markets area of south Belfast.
After leaving school at 15, Mr McCarthy went to work in the Belfast abattoir on Stewart Street. His weekly income was £5.
Following his release from prison in 1972, he threw himself into community work. He helped set up the Lower Ormeau Community Residents’ Association.
He got a job as a roofer before starting up his own construction business, which he still owns today.
Mr McCarthy has been married to his wife Angela since 1982.
They have three children — 22-year-old Christopher, 18-year-old Nuala and 16-year-old Declan.
Away from politics, Mr McCarthy enjoys breeding and raising greyhounds.

Mr A is rearrested


02/06/2006 - 19:14:16

The 41-year-old paedophile who had been released from jail after his detention for raping a 12-year old girl was deemed unlawful was rearrested today, less than two hours after the Supreme Court ordered he be returned to prison.

After three days of freedom, the man was arrested by gardaí.

Officers would not say where he was being held.

A garda spokesman said: “Following the decision of the Supreme Court today, June 2, 2006, gardaí have arrested the man identified as Mr A and he is being returned to prison in Dublin.”

It is believed he will be returned to Dublin’s Arbour Hill prison where he was serving his jail term before his release on Tuesday.

Mr A has already served 18-months of his three year sentence for unlawful carnal knowledge of the girl.

Minister fo Justice Michael McDowell said he believed today’s Supreme Court decision would mean that most convicted sex offenders would now remain in prison.

“I’m confident that the great majority of the people who stood to benefit will not be released and will serve their full sentences,” he said.

The minister earlier announced the Supreme Court verdict to Senators during the Seanad debate on the Bill to close the legal loophole which led to the sex offenders release and the chamber applauded.

Kevin Lynch


A loyal, determined republican with a great love of life

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us'THE EIGHTH republican to join the hunger-strike for political status, on May 23rd, following the death of Patsy O'Hara, was twenty-five-year-old fellow INLA Volunteer Kevin Lynch from the small, North Derry town of Dungiven who had been imprisoned since his arrest in 1976.

Click to view CAIN poster

A well-known and well liked young man in the closely-knit community of his home town, Kevin was remembered chiefly for his outstanding ability as a sportsman, and for qualities of loyalty, determination and a will to win which distinguished him on the sports field and which, in heavier times and circumstances, were his hallmarks as an H-Block blanket man on hunger strike to the death.'

Read biography >>here

This is a detail of the new Kevin Lynch mural. Click on the photo to view the whole mural - Source: >>IRBB

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Ó Snodaigh welcomes decision to re-arrest and imprison Mr. A

Sinn Féin

Published: 2 June, 2006

Sinn Féin Justice, Equality and Human Rights spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD has welcomed the news that the Supreme Court has ruled that the sex offender known as Mr. A should be re-arrested and imprisoned.

Deputy Ó Snodaigh said, "At last a little bit of good news in this whole debacle. I welcome the fact that the beast known as Mr. A will soon be back where he belongs -- behind bars.

"It is imperative that the Government keep in touch with the families of all of the victims of the other offenders who are appealing their cases. They must be assured of the consequences this Supreme Court ruling will have on the rest of the cases." ENDS

Omagh bombing trial date set


02/06/2006 - 15:23:01

The trial of the suspected master bomber accused of murdering 29 people in the Omagh bombing will start in September, it was announced today.

Mr Justice Weir set September 6 as the start date of the trial of electrician Sean Hoey, 36, the only man charged in connection with the Real IRA bombing in August 1998.

During a brief hearing at Belfast Crown Court the judge made clear to prosecution and defence lawyers that he wanted nothing to interfere with the start of the trial.

“I cannot overestimate that we should stick to the agreed timetable,” he told them.

It is expected the trial will last for around six weeks.

Hoey, from Molly Road, Jonesborough, on the South Armagh border, was not present in court for the hearing.

He faces a total of 58 charges relating to the Omagh bombing and a string of other bomb attacks carried out by the Real IRA.

Hoey will have been in custody for three years by the time his case comes to trial.

Man held over loyalist gun attack


Now a second is being held also

The victim was shot in Newtownabbey

A man has been arrested by detectives investigating the attempted murder of leading loyalist Mark Haddock, police have said.

The 36-year-old, who remains seriously ill, was shot six times in a gun attack in County Antrim on Tuesday.

Mr Haddock was shot at Mossley Orange Hall on the Doagh Road in Newtownabbey after he got out of his car.

He is on bail on a charge of attempting to murder doorman Trevor Gowdy at a social club in Monkstown.

He was named in that court case as a leading member of the Ulster Volunteer Force. Judgement in the trial has been reserved.

Six bullets ... and Empey feels heat

Belfast Telegraph

As UVF sources admit the attack on Mark Haddock, security expert Brian Rowan assesses the political fall-out

02 June 2006

The Ulster Unionist leader Sir Reg Empey will be feeling the heat of the political kitchen right now.

Even before the UVF fired six shots into Mark Haddock on Tuesday, there was some serious questioning of Sir Reg's judgement in inviting David Ervine to join the Ulster Unionist Group at Stormont - not just a questioning from outside the party but from inside it as well.

That questioning will be all the more intense as the full truth of Tuesday's shooting emerges.

Haddock was a Special Branch informer - de-activated we are told when the Police Ombudsman started to probe the 1997 murder of Raymond McCord junior and when the chief constable ordered a purge of the informer world.

The names of some agents have spilled out from that world.

Scappaticci was spared, Donaldson is dead, Barrett will forever have to hide, and six bullets will spell out to Haddock that the UVF want him dead.

Yes, the UVF, not mavericks within that organisation, not individuals acting without authority.

There will be no loyalist court martial after the Haddock shooting - those involved knew what they were doing and knew there would be no comeback from those who sit at the top of the UVF, inside its Brigade or Command Staff.

The only question still to be answered is whether the loyalist group will formally admit to its involvement in Tuesday's shooting.

There are some who think it should whatever the political implications.

But why was Haddock targeted and shot now?

His agent role has been an open secret for some time. The UVF have long had their suspicions.

He was dismissed from the loyalist wing at Maghaberry jail and, inside and outside prison, he was ostracised by the loyalist organisation.

The background commentary on this shooting is that Tuesday's attempt to kill Haddock resulted from the most recent revelations about his informer activities, but one imagines guns were being pointed at him long before then.

Haddock will know who he met on Tuesday, and therefore will know the man who came to kill him.

The gunman did not intend the informer to live. Six bullets is proof of that.

David Ervine meets and speaks to the UVF leadership every week. They will be talking today, and those in the room will know that they have put Sir Reg Empey in a very difficult place.

So far there has been no knee-jerk response from the Ulster Unionist leader, but he will want to keep a certain degree of wriggle room as the story of Tuesday's shooting continues to emerge.

Up to this point, Ervine has survived within the Ulster Unionist Group at Stormont.

Sir Reg Empey knows the real world of the peace process and knows what can happen, and so too does the chief constable.

We do not hear Hugh Orde calling for Dawn Purvis of the PUP to be removed from the Policing Board.

David Ervine and Dawn Purvis had nothing to do with the shooting of Mark Haddock, and those who know them well will know what they want the UVF to do.

That organisation needs to get on with it. It has had its consultation on its future, but has delayed an announcement on its decision until after the November deadline for a political deal at Stormont.

The longer it stays on the stage - the longer it allows actions such as Tuesday's shooting - the more vulnerable and fragile the Empey-Ervine arrangement at Stormont will become.

John Hume has been here before. In the same period as SDLP and Sinn Fein delegations met in 1988, the IRA murdered soldiers - 14 of them - in Lisburn and at Ballygawley.

The Hume-Adams process survived the Shankill bomb and Warrington and it went on to help deliver the ceasefires of 1994 and 1997.

Making peace is about taking risks.

But Northern Ireland is a political glasshouse, and those who live in it keep throwing stones.

We should reserve judgment on the Empey-Ervine arrangement and the reaction to it, until we know the full story of all of the talking and all of the meetings that have taken place at many different times during our long Troubles.

There have been contacts and there has been talking that we have not yet been told about.

If Reg Empey is being asked to show David Ervine the political door, should unionist politicians - all kinds of unionist politicians - also stay out of the meeting halls when marching is being discussed in the company of the leaders of the UVF, the UDA and Red Hand Commando?

Reg Empey has taken a risk and he has been embarrassed by the actions of the UVF, but if the Ulster Unionist leader can help deliver on the loyalist side what Hume achieved with the IRA, then it will have been a risk worth taking.

It is what peace making is all about.

Tensions over PUP woman's presence on board

Belfast Telegraph

By Jonathan McCambridge
02 June 2006

The presence of the PUP chairperson on the Policing Board has ignited fresh controversy with the UVF the main suspects in the attempted murder of Mark Haddock.

A political representative has said she felt constrained from raising the shooting with the Chief Constable because the PUP's Dawn Purvis sits on the board.

Haddock remains in hospital after he was shot six times in the body at an ambush in Newtownabbey on Tuesday afternoon.

The Chief Constable briefed the Policing Board in private yesterday about progress in the investigation into the shooting of the former leader of the UVF in Mount Vernon and alleged Special Branch informer.

However, during the public session of the board, Arlene Foster said: "In the private session I asked you if you felt constrained because of the presence of a certain member.

"I certainly felt constrained probing you on it because of the presence of a member of the PUP with links to the UVF. I did not want to probe you further."

But the Chief Constable responded: "I am not constrained at all and I said what was appropriate. The more representative the board is the better it is likely to be."

Speaking afterwards, Dawn Purvis dismissed Mrs Foster's criticism. She said: "If people want to play silly games that is up to them.

"The Chief Constable has said there is absolutely no indication as to who carried out this attack. I am absolutely committed to the rule of law."

The DUP now plan to take their protest to Ulster Secretary Peter Hain, who appointed Ms Purvis as an independent member of the Policing Board.

It said it was seeking an urgent meeting with Security Minister Paul Goggins.

Although Sir Hugh Orde would not publicly say who he believed shot Mr Haddock, he was encouraged by board members not to shirk making an attribution when he receives adequate intelligence.

Sir Hugh said: "I am not into second guessing my senior investigating officer.

"When it is appropriate to say things publicly, we will do so.

"It is only 48 hours after the event, it is early in the investigation - let's see where it takes us."

Mother of IRA victim furious at book claims

Belfast Telegraph

'Why no arrests over my son's murder?'

By Michael McHugh
02 June 2006

The mother of a republican victim linked to British agent Kevin Fulton has spoken of her 16-year battle for justice after fresh details emerged of the killing.

Ailish Morley (64) said she was disappointed that nobody had been arrested for the 1990 killing by the IRA despite Fulton reportedly admitting his involvement in a book to be published later this month.

Newry dissident republican Eoin Morley was shot dead after leaving the mainstream movement and in the book Fulton said he was one of two gunmen involved but didn't say who pulled the trigger.

The incident has been the subject of a Police Ombudsman investigation.

Ms Morley said that Fulton, a former neighbour in the border town turned IRA informer, had to live with his conscience for the rest of his days.

"I don't hate Kevin Fulton, he must hate himself every day he looks in the mirror. He comes from a lovely family, his parents are lovely people, in fact all his family are lovely people but he has to live with himself and he must hate himself," she said.

"He should come before the courts. I am disappointed that it's been so slow in coming to the fore. I have always believed that the police knew who was involved at the time and I am still waiting on arrests.

"It has been 16 years but it is still very raw. All I can do is hope that it will come sooner rather than later."

Mr Fulton didn't respond to efforts to contact him but a spokeswoman for the publisher of his book Unsung Hero, Michelle Signore, said she was 'aware' of the controversy.

He has been repeatedly linked to the Morley murder by press reports, although he has not been charged with any offence.

The killing is one of the cases being probed by the Historic Enquiries Team. Last year Police Ombudsman Nuala O'Loan found that there had never been a proper investigation into Morley's murder, that the police had failed to arrest a suspect and that high-grade intelligence had not been acted on.

The Ombudsman also found that during a meeting with police, the suspect had given the impression that he had carried out the murder. His fingerprint was also found on the murder weapon.

Mrs Morley said Fulton should be arrested and quizzed about the murder.

She added: "I don't care what money he gets from the book. No matter how much money he gets it will always be blood money. It might bring to the fore how evil the informer system is.

"He says that he has saved lives but if that was the case then why didn't he save my son?"

Eoin's father, David, was an IRA officer in the Maze prison in the early 1970s after defeating Gerry Adams in an election among IRA inmates.

Shortly before his death, Eoin Morley had left the IRA and joined the Irish People's Liberation Organisation.

He was shot twice on the night of Easter Sunday, April 15 1990 at a house in Derrybeg in Newry.

He was taken to the local Daisy Hill Hospital but died a few hours later from his injuries. The IRA said they had carried out the attack.

Ludlow murder report to be finished in four weeks

Belfast Telegraph

By Michael McHugh
02 June 2006

Garda detectives probing the murder of Seamus Ludlow are to complete a report by the end of June, the Belfast Telegraph has learned.

A specialist team under the command of Assistant Commissioner Martin Callaghan is reviewing the Dundalk forestry worker's 1976 murder by loyalists in an effort to bring the killers to justice.

The investigation was ordered by Garda Commissioner Noel Conroy, following a recommendation in an Irish parliamentary committee report into the killing.

Mr Ludlow (47) was picked up in Dundalk, then shot dead and dumped near his home outside the town. Nobody has ever faced trial for the murder, despite two suspects making admissions on the matter.

The case is particularly controversial because two UDR men were suspects and collusion with the security forces was mentioned during the sub-committee hearings. Mr Ludlow's nephew, Jimmy Sharkey, said he felt the killers would never be brought to justice.

"According to Assistant Commissioner Callaghan, the investigation has begun and the investigators are due to report back to him by the end of June," he said.

"We put the point to him that these boys will never be charged unless fresh evidence comes to light. They are coming back in six weeks to let us know whether it bears any fruit. If they did charge somebody they would walk in one door of the court and out the other. You just have to look at the release of [Pat Finucane killer] Ken Barrett to see that."

UDA man Barrett was released from prison early this week.

A hearing of a sub-committee of the justice committee in Dublin heard the killing was connected to members of the Red Hand Commando.

One of the suspects, Paul Hosking, lives in Newtownards. He has confirmed he was in the car with Mr Ludlow on the night he died, but denies killing him.

Senior gardai conducting the original investigation were unable to interview four suspects identified to them by RUC Special Branch in 1979.

Four men from north Down were interviewed by the RUC in 1997 but, for undisclosed reasons, the Director of Public Prosecutions decided not to take a case.

Mr Sharkey said he believed Garda involved in the new probe had been in contact with the PSNI, but claimed there was little chance of securing convictions.

The commitment to launch a fresh investigation was first given by Commissioner Conroy during evidence which he gave to the sub-committee earlier this year.

The committee report was published in March and it fell short of recommending the full public inquiry demanded by relatives of Mr Ludlow.

UVF leadership sanctioned Haddock murder bid

Belfast Telegraph

By Brian Rowan
02 June 2006

The UVF was behind the attempted murder of the informer Mark Haddock, the Belfast Telegraph can reveal today.

The disclosure comes from a senior and credible source, who spoke to this newspaper within the past 24 hours.

Another source has revealed that Haddock will know the gunman who fired the shots that critically wounded him.

The only unanswered question is whether the UVF will now formally admit to its involvement in the shooting.

It was not a maverick attack and nor was it carried out by individuals acting without authority.

The background commentary on this shooting is that Tuesday's attempt to kill Haddock resulted from the most recent revelations about his informer activities.

But, according to reliable sources, he was de-activated - a move that coincided with the opening of the Police Ombudsman investigation four years ago into events surrounding the 1997 murder of Raymond McCord Jnr and a purge of the informer world ordered by the Chief Constable.

The police have not yet publicly linked the UVF to Tuesday's shooting, but the confirmation obtained by this newspaper that that group was involved will increase pressure on the Ulster Unionists over their Stormont arrangement with David Ervine.

The PUP leader, whose party has political links to the UVF, has been saying in interviews that he believes there was no authorisation for the shooting.

A lengthy consultation involving meetings in Northern Ireland, Scotland and England has now been completed.

But the loyalist group is delaying making a declaration on its future intentions until after the November 24 deadline for a political deal at Stormont.

Next week, the Ulster Unionists will meet the Independent Monitoring Commission - the body that reports to the British and Irish Governments on continuing paramilitary activity and the state of ceasefires.

The Haddock shooting - and who was responsible - will be part of the agenda for that meeting.

A senior Ulster Unionist source said his party's objective is to try to bring paramilitarism to an end, to get the arms issue dealt with and to stop young people joining loyalist organisations.

Meanwhile, Haddock is recovering from his injuries and has been able to talk to family members from his hospital.

Anti-UVF campaigner Raymond McCord today challenged Chief Constable Hugh Orde to order the arrest of Haddock over the mounting allegations about his paramilitary past.

"The PSNI should not wait for the Ombudsman's report. Nuala O'Loan is not investigating Mark Haddock, she has been looking into the police investigation of my son's murder."

Remembering 1981: Strike intensifies as replacements come forward

An Phoblacht

Four more join Hunger Strike

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Photo: Joe McDonnell, Kieran Doherty, Kevin Lynch and Martin Hurson

During the month of May 1981 four more republican prisoners joined the historic H-Block Hunger Strike as replacements for Bobby Sands, Francis Hughes, Raymond McCreesh and Patsy O'Hara. During the course of the strike, each of the four men were to stand as anti H-Block candidates in the 26 County General Election of June 1981. Joe McDonnell in the constituency of Sligo/Leitrim, Kieran Doherty in Cavan/Monaghan, Kevin Lynch in Waterford and Martin Hurson in Longford/ Westmeath.

Joe McDonnell

The fourth man to join the 1981 Hunger Strike was Joe McDonnell, a 30-year-old married man with two children, from Lenadoon in West Belfast. A close friend of Bobby Sands, he was captured with him and replaced him on the Hunger Strike.

Joe and his wife Gorretti, whilst living with Goretti's sister, were forced out of their Lenadoon home in 1970 by loyalists as the British army looked on. In 1972 McDonnell was badly beaten by the British army and subsequently interned, first on the Maidstone prison ship and later in Long kesh.

On his release several months later McDonnell immediately joined the IRA and was active in the Andersonstown area. His spell of freedom was short though and he was again interned in 1973.

In October 1976 he was sentenced to 14 years in jail for IRA activities. He refused to put on the prison uniform.

Kieran Doherty

Belfast IRA Volunteer, 25-year-old Kieran Doherty joined the Hunger Strike on 22 May, as a replacement for Raymond McCreesh. He had spent seven of the previous ten years imprisoned. In 1980 he was amongst those 30 prisoners who went on hunger strike for four days prior to the ending of the original strike.

Kieran was born on 16 October, 1955 in Andersonstown. His father Alfie had an uncle, Ned Maguire, who took part in the famous IRA roof-top escape from Belfast's Crumlin Road jail in 1943. His son also Ned, was an internee in Cage Five of Long Kesh in 1974, when he took part in the mass escape from the camp during which Hugh Coney was shot dead by the British army. Ned's sisters (and Kieran's second cousins), Dorothy Maguire, aged 19, and Maura Meehan, aged 30, were shot dead by the British army on 23 October, 1971.

Another relative of Doherty's, his uncle Gerry Fox, was part of the famous Crumlin Road jail 'football team', who escaped from the jail by climbing over the wall in 1972.

Kieran himself had never displayed much of an interest in politics until internment. He joined Fianna Eireann in the autumn of 1971. On 6 October, 1972, the British army came to arrest Kieran, despite his father's objection that Kieran was under 17. His father eventually got him released after waking up the sexton of St. Agnes' chapel and obtaining Kieran's birth certificate.

When tried again Doherty managed to escape across the border, only to make his way back to Belfast at the beginning of 1973. A week or so later, he was arrested and interned in Long Kesh. He was among the last internees released in 1975. He immediately reported back to the IRA. He had many narrow escapes before his capture in August 1976. He was charged with possession of firearms and explosives and commandeering the car and received 18 years.

Kieran joined the blanket protest immediately. He was constantly in conflict with the warders.

Kevin Lynch

Kevin Lynch who replaced Patsy O'Hara, was born on 25 May, 1956 and lived in the small village of Park just outside Dungiven. A keen GAA enthusiast. He witnessed at first hand, crown forces brutality and joined the local stcky controlled Fianna Eireann. Later became involved with an independent active service unit until he emigrated to England in 1973. Upon his return in he joined the INLA around August 1976. Arrested in November of that year he was jailed for ten years. He suffered much brutality at the hands of the warders but was steadfast in his opposition to criminalisation.

No one was surprised by his decision to go on Hunger Strike which he did on 23 May.

Martin Hurson

Martin Hurson was born on 12 September 1956, in the townland of Aughnaskea, Cappagh, near Dungannon. He was part of a very close and good humoured family. Described as a quiet, religious, and easy-going young man, he nevertheless, before his arrest, enjoyed social pursuits such as dancing and going to the cinema. He enjoyed the company of other people, among whom he had a well earned reputation for being a practical joker and a bit of a comedian.

Martin was arrested an dtaken to Omagh RUC barracks on 11 November 1976, He was badly, and professionally tortured in Omagh for two days. He was beaten about the head, back and testicles, spread-eagled against a wall and across a table, slapped, punched and kicked. He was eventually forced to give an incriminating statement.

In November 1977, aided by perjured RUC evidence and totally ignoring clear evidence of torture, a Diplock court sentenced him to 20 years. He went straight on the blanket and joined the Hunger Strike on 29 May replacing Brendan McLoughlin who had to come off the strike due to a perforated ulcer.


Hurson honoured in Longford

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Republicans from all over Ireland travelled to Lanesboro, County Longford on Sunday last to commemorate the unveiling of a monument to 1981 Longford Westmeath candidate and Hunger Strike martyr Martin Hurson. A crowd of several hundred people watched on as cumainn from the four provinces joined the march through the town.

Speakers on the day included Kerry North TD Martin Ferris, Paul Hogan, Sinn Féin candidate for Longford/Westmeath in the coming election and Francie Molloy, Sinn Féin MLA for Mid Ulster.

Brendan Hurson brother of the late Hunger Striker, unveiled the monument. Also attending were Martin Hurson's girlfriend at the time of his death, Geraldine Donnelly as well as Dermott Boyle and Kevin O'Brien who were arrested under Section 10 of the emergency Provision Act at the same time as Martin Hurson.

Shooting: Attempt to stop emergence of collusion evidence

An Phoblacht

Murder bid aimed to silence British agent

Following the shooting of leading loyalist and suspected British agent Mark Haddock, Sinn Féin spokesperson on Justice issues Gerry Kelly said that many would be suspicious of the motivation behind the shooting given the fact that the Six County Ombudsman's inquiry into Haddock, the Mount Vernon UVF and their collusion with the Special Branch was due to be published next month.

"Mark Haddock was for many years a leading figure in the UVF in Mount Vernon, a grouping associated with many sectarian killings. It is also widely accepted that Haddock and others within the UVF in Mount Vernon were also working for the Special Branch for many years throughout this entire period", Kelly said on Tuesday evening.

"An inquiry into collusion between the Mount Vernon UVF and the Special Branch is currently being conducted by the Police Ombudsman and is due to be published next month. Mark Haddock is at the centre of this inquiry. Given this, many people will be rightly suspicious of both the timing and the motivation behind this shooting", he said.

"There is a clear pattern of former British Agents being killed in circumstances like this just as allegations of collusion or other activities are about to be exposed, as was the case of those involved in the murder of Pat Finucane", said Kelly.

Gerry Kelly later said Tuesday's murder bid again raised serious questions about who actually controlled the loyalist death squads. He said it was widely accepted that Haddock was controlled and directed by the Special Branch throughout the period in which he was engaged in killings with the full knowledge of his handlers.

"The attempt to kill Haddock follows a long standing pattern. Billy Stobie, another Special Branch agent and a man involved in the murder of Pat Finucane died in similar circumstances", he said.

"Many will believe that last night's attempt to murder Mark Haddock was an attempt to silence him and help prevent further allegations of widespread and systematic collusion between the Special Branch and the loyalist death squads emerging. Those members of the Special Branch who handled Mark Haddock would have much to gain from his death. This reality raises serious questions about who controls these gangs and who controlled the loyalist gang involved in yesterday evening's murder bid", Kelly said.

Last week in a BBC Spotlight television documentary, a former RUC officer revealed how RUC agents within the UVF in Belfast's Mount Vernon area had carried out sectarian murders and were being protected by Special Branch.

The BBC revelations by former RUC member Trevor McIlwrath, coupled with the release and relocation of loyalist Ken Barett, the killer of Belfast soliocitor Pat Finucane, drew further attention to made a clear agenda not just to protect unionist paramilitaries working for the British State but more significantly those handling them in the ranks of the Special Branch and MI5.

Human rights report

In April, An Phoblacht reported that a former north Belfast UVF leader, now widely reported as being Mark Haddock, was involved in more than a dozen murders while he was an agent for RUC Special Branch and that a report due to be completed by Ombudsman Nuala O'Loan was set to expose the role of Special Branch in these murders.

The probe followed a detailed report, Getting Away With Murder, by human rights group British Irish Rights Watch (BIRW). Information contained in the report has been described as "compelling".

The serious nature of the evidence collated by BIRW alarmed human rights groups so much that as well as sending a report to the Ombudsman, the group also sent copies to the so-called Independent Monitoring Commission, British Secretary of State Peter Hain, US Special Envoy Mitchell Reiss and the US Congress.

Former RUC detective Johnston Brown, who ran the UVF agent prior to being ordered to hand him over to Special Branch told the media, "of course there were elements within Special Branch who knew what he was doing but they chose to ignore it."


The UVF victims include 27-year-old Sharon McKenna a Catholic taxi driver who was shot dead by the UVF while visiting a Protestant pensioner in North Belfast in 1993; two Catholic workmen from County Armagh, Gary Convie and Eamon Fox, shot dead while working on a building site in Tigers Bay in 1994; Thomas Sheppard, shot dead in 1996; Rev David Templeton who died following a severe beating in March 1997; Billy Harbinson beaten to death in May 1997; Raymond McCord jnr beaten to death in November 1997; and David Greer and Tommy English both shot dead in October 2000.

Last December, after it emerged that the UVF killer of Sean McParland in Skegoniel 1994 was a longstanding Special Branch agent, Sinn Féin's Gerry Kelly called on the Six County Police Ombudsman's office to investigate allegations of collusion between PSNI Special Branch and unionist paramilitaries in Mount Vernon.

Two week's later it emerged that the man who drove away the UVF killers of Sharon McKenna was protected from arrest by his Special Branch handlers.

McKenna's murderer was also a Special Branch informant, involved in over a dozen killings. His Special Branch handlers repeatedly blocked RUC attempts to arrest him in the weeks following the murder.

A source with intimate knowledge of the case said if the RUC had questioned him, the killing would already be solved. "The Special Branch protected him from arrest because they knew he would crack under questioning."

The Branchman running the informer retired two years ago.

The McKenna family have campaigned to have the killers brought to trial.

In February, Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams held talks with Raymond McCord senior. Adams pledged to raise the case with the British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Taoiseach Bertie Ahern. "I think the McCord family have the right to the truth and that is essentially what Raymond McCord is looking for - the truth about the murder of his son. I think there is huge evidence to suggest that British agents were involved in that killing", he said.

Corrib pipeline roadway was 'built illegally'

Irish Independent

THE controversial €1bn Corrib gas project has been dealt a major planning blow.

Bord Pleanala has ruled that a private road from the Atlantic was built illegally.

Shell now faces having to tear up the road it built though a special conservation area in Co Mayo without planning permission.

Yesterday's landmark Bord Pleanala ruling could delay the project for at least a year.

In a clear win for objectors, the board ruled that a private road already built from the foreshore at Sruwaddacon Bay, where the gas pipeline comes ashore to the existing county road, needs planning permission.

An Bord Pleanala said that the road was built through a priority habitat protected under an EU directive on special areas of conservation known as SACs.

This means that Shell will either have to remove the 1km road built for the project or apply to Mayo Co Council for retention permission.

If it applies and loses, the road will have to be taken up.

The ruling also means that the company must stop work in a number of other areas linked to the project until permission has been secured.

A number of works already carried out also need permission and are not exempt, it also ruled.

This means that work on these projects will have to be halted.

Planning applications to sort out the controversy could take up to a year.

In a clear victory for opponents of the massive project, the board ruled in favour of An Taisce, which had questioned the issue of planning permission.

An Taisce had submitted a list of projects involved in the development and asked if they constituted development, which would need planning permission.

The board ruled that Shell requires planning permission for three aspects of work it is already conducting in relation to the Corrib gas field.

An Bord Pleanala has already given the go-ahead for the overall project.

Approval was also needed a for valve station already installed on the gas pipeline, the board ruled.

An Taisce said the decision raised serious concerns.

"It means that a major element of the Corrib Gas development in Co Mayo is unauthorised and is proceeding without planning permission," a spokesperson said.

"It also raises the question as to why the Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government, which has the legal function for implementing the Habitats Directive in Ireland, failed to take action with regard to the unauthorised development on the designated shoreline site," An Taisce said.

Treacy Hogan

City elects new SDLP lord mayor


Pat McCarthy said he wanted to develop a vision for Belfast

The SDLP's Pat McCarthy has been elected as the fourth ever nationalist lord mayor of Belfast City Council.

Mr McCarthy, who was first elected in 2001 and represents the Laganbank ward, will replace the DUP's Wallace Browne.

DUP councillor Ruth Patterson has been elected as his deputy for what will be Belfast City Hall's centenary year.

Mr McCarthy said he aimed to develop "a vision for Belfast". He added: "We have come through 30 years of turmoil and now must set our sights to the future".

He received the backing of all parties in the city council except Sinn Fein to become the third ever SDLP councillor to hold the post.

Alban Maginness was the first SDLP mayor in 1997, followed by Martin Morgan in 2003.

Ruth Patterson said she felt "deeply honoured" to be elected deputy lord mayor, which she said was a "great privilege".

On Wednesday, the Alliance Party said it would not back the Ulster Unionists for any top council posts because of its link with the PUP.

Alliance holds the balance of power on the council and had said it would back Mr McCarthy's candidacy.

The UUP has come under pressure over its assembly arrangement with the PUP, which has links with the UVF.

01 June 2006

Pair remanded on Real IRA charges


Two men have been remanded in custody on charges of Real IRA membership and smuggling cigarettes worth £1m.

Aidan Grew, 50, from Benburb Street, Blackwatertown, and Noel Abernathy, 37, of Glebe Mews, Dungannon, appeared at Banbridge Magistrates Court.

Mr Abernathy was also charged with having articles for use in terrorism.

Defence solicitors claimed evidence from MI5 agent David Rupert formed the basis of the prosecution case. A police officer refused to comment.

The defence also claimed their clients had been denied private consultation with their legal team.

Both men were remanded in custody until 20 June.

Judgment reserved in suspected IRA membership case

Irish Examiner

The Special Criminal Court has reserved its judgment in the trial of a 21-year-old Dublin man who denies being a member of the IRA.

The three-judge court will deliver its judgement on June 16 following the four-day trial of Vincent Kelly of Empress Place, Ballybough, Dublin, who was arrested after gardaí found a gun inside a van in north Dublin.

He has pleaded not guilty to membership of an unlawful organisation styling itself the Irish Republican Army, otherwise Óglaigh na hÉireann, otherwise the IRA, on June 7, 2005.

In evidence today a garda told the court the accused had told her he was “going to the chipper” when she approached him after he got out of a white Astra van, which had pulled over on the Malahide Road in Dublin on the evening of June 7, 2005.

Garda Anna Marie Gilmartin told Mr Tom O’Connell SC, prosecuting, she asked the accused to return to the van where she observed the driver as well as another unknown man in the back.

She said the driver later got out of the van and opened the back door, at which stage a third man ran across the road and escaped over the railings of a nearby school.

The witness said she later drove the van back to Clontarf Garda Station, where she searched it with a colleague.

In the front passenger-side door she found what she believed to be a bottle of CS gas. She later searched the back of the van, where she found two balaclavas, a pair of gloves and a gun partially concealed by another pair of gloves.

Under cross-examination from Mr Diarmaid McGuinness SC, defending, she agreed there had been nothing unusual about the way Mr Kelly was dressed and she said he had no gloves on his hands at any stage.

She also agreed the unknown man in the back of the van was immediately behind the driver’s seat in the position where she subsequently found the gloves and the gun.

Summing up the case for the prosecution Mr Remy Farrell BL (with Mr O’Connell) said the court was entitled to draw inferences from the activities and associations of the accused.

He said that while the accused himself was not in possession of the canister, the gloves and the gun, he was associated with persons who had those items available to them.

However, Mr McGuinness said that out of seven people who were stopped by the gardaí that day his client had been singled out as the only one to face a charge of membership (of an illegal organisation.)

He said the court was entitled to draw an inference from that, that there was no evidence at all to sustain the proposition that what was involved that night was an IRA operation.

He also rejected an assertion by the prosecution that a tee-shirt the accused was wearing under his jumper bearing the words Óglaigh na hÉireann was almost akin to an admission of his guilt.

He said it was evidently an old tee-shirt that had been worn and was not evidence of membership on June 7, 2005.

He said the prosecution had not sought to establish that the tee-shirt was a fashion garment exclusively available to members of the IRA and he said it was simply a tee-shirt that was likely to have been purchased in a shop, or perhaps given as a gift.

Mr Justice Richard Johnson remanded Mr Kelly on continuing bail until June 16.

'I got Scap, now I'm after you'

Belfast Today

Posted by Artybhoy (Saoirse na hÉireann)

01 June 2006

Martin McGuinness has said the allegation that he was a British spy is nonsense. Political Editor Stephen Dempster talks to Martin Ingram, the man who said Freddie Scappaticci was Stakeknife and is now saying that the Sinn Fein MP and chief negotiator was a double agent

FORMER Army intelligence officer Martin Ingram said last night: "I'm going after Martin McGuinness and I will get him, just as I got Freddie Scappaticci."
The man who this week made the startling claim that the Sinn Fein MP was a British spy reiterated the allegation to the News Letter, saying he would stick by it and eventually see it proved true.
"This is a marathon, not a sprint," he said. "I was discredited and vilified over Scappaticci. It took 18 months from outing him to seeing him flee to Italy. Does anyone now dispute that he was Stakeknife?
"I have no wish to lie or make things up for the sake of it. That's not what I am about. I believe Martin McGuinness to be an agent. He has been a protected species."
Mr McGuinness has described the suggestions that he was working for MI6 as "a load of hooey", "absolute nonsense" and "total rubbish".
And he pointed the finger at a DUP/Special Branch agenda to discredit him and destabilise the peace process and republicanism – similar to previous scandals that have arisen at crucial moments in political talks.
Most people cannot believe that a man who has been for 35 years so prominently entrenched in republicanism could possibly be a British agent.
Some in the media have also dismissed Ingram's allegations and noted that the
evidence published by the Sunday World was "flimsy".
It amounted to an alleged transcript of a phone conversation between an MI6 handler and an informer codenamed J118, who a Special Branch officer has identified to Ingram as Mr McGuinness.
But given that Ingram has credibility and a strong track record in the area of outing spies and misdeeds in the shadowy intelligence world – particularly in the Scapaticci and Pat Finucane cases – the Sunday World believed in its source and published.
The News Letter tracked Ingram down and asked him if he could prove his claim, noting that Martin McGuinness said he was "one million per cent" sure there was no evidence to stand it up.
Ingram said: "I would agree with him. I will not be able to produce a document or a tape that proves he was a British agent.
"I could not do that in relation to Freddie Scappaticci, to convince everybody of what I was saying. It took time for it to sink in and be established.
"People should remember that Martin McGuinness has a history of lying throughout the Troubles and I have a history of telling the truth."
Speaking of the MI6 transcript and the verification he said he got from a Special Branch man, Ingram said: "The man is a serving Special Branch officer who's coming to the end of his time and is frustrated at what's gone on, and I have no reason whatsoever to doubt him when he says J118 is McGuinness.
"I have had this document for two years. It's not just happened overnight. Frankly, I wanted more material but things did not go just as I wanted.
"Am I in any doubt that the document refers to McGuinness? What is crucial here is what the republican movement believes. It will know."
It is understood Mr McGuinness met IRA intelligence officer Bobby Storey and Sinn Fein man Declan Kearny for a debriefing at Connolly House in Andersonstown on
Monday morning.
Ingram also claims he has been told that republicans are very suspicious on the issue.
He hinted that more could emerge on Mr McGuinness, and vowed to deal with a succession of incidents that have marked the Sinn Fein man's political and paramilitary life.
"I will address these points, given time," said Ingram, who served as a Force Research Unit (FRU) handler in Derry in the 1980s and knew of Mr McGuinness and his activities intimately. Let's take Martin McGuinness and just some of what we know. He lived in Derry from the start of the Troubles. He was an IRA commander in the city – self-confessed.
"Never interned. Never charged with any terrorist offences in Northern Ireland.
Never attacked by loyalists. But I have testaments from loyalists who say they were going to kill him but were compromised or thwarted by sudden military presence.
"Then there are the supergrasses Raymond Gilmour and Bobby Quigley, who put 50 people away in Derry and were both willing and able to testify against McGuinness on his operational role in Derry and Ireland, and the police were stopped from charging him with an offence.
"Moving on, the Cook Report in the early 90s made a string of allegations against McGuinness which led to Operation Taurus, a police investigation into him.
"The evidence gathered for prosecution was dropped because it was not in the public interest to prosecute him? What was the public interest?"
Mr McGuinness is alleged to have played a role in the murder of IRA informer Frank Hegarty.
He has always denied ordering the killing and Scappaticci denied carrying it out.
But Ingram had been Hegarty's handler in Derry, which will lead sceptics to suggest that this personal interest leaves him open to suggestions of a vendetta against Martin McGuinness.
"Look, I'm totally open about that issue. This is a very serious subject and it took the life of one of my agents," he said. "I, of all people, do not treat this stuff lightly.
"I am doing this for the truth and for justice. There's no money involved. I never sought, nor was offered a penny (for the Sunday World story]. Nor is there a book deal.
"The motivation is the truth of what has happened – though I did promise Ryan Hegarty (Frank Hegarty's son] that I would bring Scappaticci and McGuinness to justice for their roles in his father's murder.
"By that I do not mean kill them. I mean justice. I got Freddie. He is a man on the run and I am pursuing him through the courts for perjury. Now I'm going after McGuinness and I will get him, just as I got Freddie."

A nation outraged

Irish Examiner

By Shaun Connolly, Political Correspondent
01 June 2006

OVERWHELMING public outrage at the looming early release of up to six child rapists rocked the Government to its core last night and left Justice Minister Michael McDowell fighting for his political survival.

His honesty was called into question by Labour leader Pat Rabbitte after 24 hours of apparent Government confusion over events leading up to the freeing of a self-confessed rapist of a 12-year-old girl.

The wave of anger which flooded radio phone-in shows and led to the spontaneous organisation of a mass march on the Dáil tomorrow left Fianna Fáil TDs reeling.

And in a major climbdown for the Government last night, Mr McDowell said emergency legislation to restore the crime of statutory rape would be rushed through tomorrow.

Mr McDowell told the Seanad that he would restore protection for children under the age of 15 and that the debate was being moved forward by five days.

Mr McDowell attempted to regain the political initiative last night by telling the Seanad he had “no inkling” until last Tuesday of the Supreme Court case which led to the striking down of statutory rape laws as unconstitutional. He said had he been aware of the case, no legislation could have been introduced while it continued as it would have undermined the State’s arguments.

Tánaiste Mary Harney earlier told the Dáil the Justice Department had been informed of the case by the Chief State Solicitors Office in November 2002.

She said an “information deficit” had then followed.

She apparently contradicted Mr McDowell’s claim the Director of Public Prosecutions handled “the carriage” of the case, by revealing the Attorney General’s office was also involved in it.

Mr Rabbitte insisted Mr McDowell had questions to answer regarding his “truthfulness” in the matter: “Serious questions now arise as to the competence and honesty of the Minister for Justice.”

Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny said Mr McDowell’s position was “incredible”.

“Is there any greater risk than the unconstitutionality of a law that lets the rapist of young children walk free in society to do it again possibly and with the spectre of the possibility of others following him out there?” Mr Kenny said.

The political storm raged as the Supreme Court agreed to hear an application by the State tomorrow to appeal the High Court decision to release a 41-year-old man, Mr A, jailed for having sex with a girl aged 12.

The girl’s mother said she did not believe her daughter would survive the recent turn of events. She called for a meeting with Mr McDowell after saying she found out about the release in a newspaper.

“I went to court on the Monday and it was like reliving it all again. He’s out and I can’t believe it, he should still be in jail, and even for the time he got he should have got more,” she said.

BOOKS - Understanding the development of Irish in Belfast

Daily Ireland

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usThere is a theory doing the rounds that the future caighdean oifigiuil in Irish will be determined in Belfast. Two generations ago people used to learn Munster Irish.
The centre of gravity switched to Connacht sometime in the 1950s when nobody was looking, and was firmly implanted there with the establishment of TG4, while Donegal seized the stage in Irish language song.
The fervour which kept the Irish language alive is recorded by the ten contributors to Fionntan de Brún’s new book on the Irish language tradition in Belfast.
“All the early teaching of Irish in Belfast was Munster Irish. One of the first teachers in the Ardscoil was Gearóid Ó Núallain, Myles na gCopeleen’s uncle, and even though he had grown up in Belfast he taught Munster Irish,” says de Brún.
“It was very hard to get published material in anything except Munster Irish.
“As late as the 1930s there were protests that Belfast boys were being taught Munster Irish in the schools.”
Customs and excise men from Cork, Kerry and Limerick lead the language revival at the beginning.
“The first Irish speaking family to fill in the census form in 1901 saying all their children spoke only Irish was a family from Limerick whose father was a customs and excise man and their servant from Kerry,” says de Brún.
“PT McGinley from Donegal was a customs and excise man, as was Pédraig Ó Sé from Kerry. It was a self help movement, and remained so as the Stormont government did everything in its power to stifle the Irish language movement.”
Belfast has an image of a dark industrial city with a utilitarian ethos and people clung on to a cultural revival as an antidote to that. Even back in the 18th century Robert McAdam was a great collector of manuscripts.
A lot of the Irish literary tradition, songs, stories and history was collected by McAdam.
Here was a classic Belfast protestant industrialist with his own iron foundry, and this was his passion, cultural revival and cultural antiquarianism.
In 1795 when Bolg an tSoláir, the first Irish language magazine, was published in Belfast by the Northern Star. MacAdam had plans for the first Irish language newspaper in the mid nineteenth-century, now we have Lá, an Irish language daily published in Belfast - not to mention the Daily Ireland and The Irish News' Irish pages.
There really hasn't been a time when the Irish language has not been a central part of the life of Belfast.
When you hit the 20th century you have a group in a working class area of the Falls Road running a small university ignored by the states.
Even the strong pre-independence protestant Irish speaking tradition managed to survive. R R Kane, the Orange Grand master and organiser of the first convention to oppose Home Rule, was a member of the Gaelic League, and an early banner inscribed Erin go Brágh indicates “that part of unionist tradition saw regional identity,” according to de Brún.
Fionntan grew up in North Belfast living off the Crumlin Road and then the Antrim Road.
He graduated form Queens in 1992 with a degree in Irish and French and taught in St Mary’s for the past eight years, moving to Coleraine in the autumn to teach Irish literature and Irish language.
“I was inspired to put together a collection of essays on the history of the Irish language mostly because I was sure the Irish language had featured prominently in the history of Belfast from its earliest roots as a settlement down to the present day,” he says.
“I was eager to see how the story would develop and what the overall picture would look like.
“I think it is important at this time, with Belfast undergoing major change, that people are aware of the place of the Irish language in the city's history and culture.”

No design contest for prison peace centre

Daily Ireland

One of Ireland’s leading architects has called on the British government to commission a design competition for the proposed centre for conflict transformation earmarked for the Long Kesh prison site.
On Tuesday direct-rule minister David Hanson announced an international competition aimed at the world’s top architectural practices, for the showcase stadium proposed as part of the same masterplan for the site ten miles outside Belfast.
“A design competition doesn’t just engage the interest of the world’s most highly regarded architects,” said Belfast-based architect Ciaran Mackel, who is also Daily Ireland’s architecture correspondent.
“It also is best practice, upgrades the importance of the project and leads to truly worldclass work.
“The international centre for conflict transformation, beside the preserved H-Block and prison hospital must be an iconic building, symbolic of the past and expressing hope for the future.
“It requires the same levell of expertise as the stadium and in fact even more imagination and verve since it is a challenge as unique as the Guggenheim in Bilbao or the new Holocaust museum in Berlin.”
Sources in the Office of the First and Deputy First Minister said the stadium had been selected for the design competition because it was a larger project than the peace centre.
Aound £7.5 million (€11 million) will be spent on working up the a masterplan to design stage with at least £1.5 million (€2.2 million) being allocated to the design competition for the stadium. The three main sporting codes and the four leading parties in the North will be represented on the selection panel.
Mr Mackel added: “It’s a mistake to have a design competition for the stadium but not for the conflict transformation centre. This should be a unified devellopment with an overarching theme for both flagship projects.”
Since the proposal for a peace centre and stadium was first made, unionists have worked to downgrade the peace centre building, arguing that it be out of eyesight to people approaching the stadium and “buffered” from the stadium by parkland – concessions granted in the outline masterplan unveiled on Tuesday.
“Unionists want a showcase stadium but they are quite happy to have the conflict transformation centre housed in a shed,” said an Office of First Minister source.

Loyalist band to march close to attack site

Daily Ireland

By Connla Young

A loyalist band parade has been given the go-ahead to pass near where a teenager was kicked to death last month.

MichaelNationalist opponents of the parade had urged loyalist bandsmen in Ballymena, Co Antrim, to shelve plans to march past the spot where a gang attacked Michael McIlveen on May 7.
The Parades Commission is known to have been reluctant to place restrictions on the parade. It postponed making a final decision until yesterday.
The Pride of the Maine Flute Band, the parade organiser, will now hold a parade involving 45 bands and 1,500 supporters this Saturday.
The parade has been given permission to pass Ballymena’s All Saints Catholic church and Broughshane Street, which is near where the Catholic teenager was beaten.
It is believed parade representatives have given several assurances to the Parades Commission.
Bandsmen have said they will hold a moment’s silence “for all young people who have been killed or have suffered as a result of violence in the Ballymena area”.
They have pledged to play “respectful tunes” in the area of the chapel and leave predominantly nationalist north Ballymena before 10.30pm.
Sinn Féin North Antrim assembly member Philip McGuigan accused the commission of “copping out”.
“I recognise and welcome steps by parade organisers with regard to this parade but the short and simple fact is that this parade is viewed by people in the north end of Ballymena as sectarian and triumphalist.
“Without engagement, the Parades Commission has shown that it hasn’t got the moral courage to reroute,” he said.
SDLP Ballymena councillor Declan O’Loan said: “We note the undertaking by the parade organisers and the expectation of the Parades Commission that Saturday evening’s parade will be respectful and dignified.
“Dignity and respect will contribute to building confidence and trust throughout the communities in Ballymena. Of primary importance is the peace and tranquillity of local residents.
“Those who would protest also have a clear obligation to show respect and dignity and to operate within the law.”
Commission chairman Roger Poole said: “All those involved are keenly aware of the sensitivities in Ballymena at this time, and the commission is pleased that the parade organiser has undertaken to ensure that this parade will take place in a respectful and dignified way.
“The commission also welcomes the organiser’s plan to observe a moment’s silence during the course of the parade in respect for all young people who have been killed or have suffered as a result of violence in the Ballymena area.
“The commission will not be issuing a determination in this case and anticipates that the conduct of Saturday’s parade will contribute to a lowering of tensions in the town.”

Finucane brother denies claims

Daily Ireland

Relative says tabloid allegations that lawyer was in IRA are false

by Connla Young
1 June 2006

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usA brother of Pat Finucane has denied claims that the murdered solicitor was a finance officer for the IRA.
The lawyer’s brother Séamus has also denied allegations made in a Sunday tabloid that he himself was recently dismissed from the IRA “with ignominy” for taking cash from the organisation’s funds.

Patrick Finucane - click photo to view

The Ulster Defence Association shot Pat Finucane dead in 1989 at his Belfast home.
Several people involved in the murder have been revealed as Special Branch informers.
In a statement released last night, Séamus Finucane said the articles were intended to smear his brother Pat’s name.
“These articles make unsubstantiated allegations about me, stating that I was dismissed from the IRA with ignominy. It is alleged that I misappropriated IRA money to fund a lavish lifestyle, that I own properties at home and abroad, that I own building companies run by front men. It further alleges that I was involved in threatening the newspaper’s reporters.
“The basic allegation is that I am or was involved in IRA finances and that I have misappropriated IRA money for my own personal gain. None of these allegations are true.
“Each of the articles about me contained a large photograph of my late brother Pat, the solicitor who was murdered in February 1989 by the UDA directed by a British army unit. These articles have nothing to do with him.”
Mr Finucane also dismissed recent claims by the informer Seán O’Callaghan.
“In an article published on March 12, 2006, this same newspaper published repeated lies by Seán O’Callaghan that Pat was a member of the IRA and was their financial adviser.
“O’Callaghan alleged that Pat was involved in IRA finances. O’Callaghan has made this allegation a number of times and it has been rejected as a lie by the family and by Pat’s colleagues and those who knew him well.
“It has also been rejected by the RUC chief superintendent who investigated Pat’s murder and by John Stevens and Judge Peter Cory,” he said.
“This paper should know that Seán O’Callaghan’s allegations lack credibility since he is an admitted murderer and liar.
“It is clear that all this is designed to tarnish Pat’s respected worldwide reputation. I can answer for myself but he can’t.
“For myself, I refute the allegations made about me. They are untrue and no evidence of any of these allegations has been put forward. I have nothing to hide,” said Mr Finucane.
The Belfast man said recent reports about him were clearly designed to cast a shadow on his brother’s name and the Finucane family’s campaign for an independent public inquiry.
He said: “My family have campaigned long and hard for a public judicial inquiry into Pat’s murder. The British state has been accused of involvement in this murder.
“We currently disagree with the British government’s proposals for an inquiry.
“We say that these proposals are in violation of the Weston Park agreement and contrary to article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights, the right to life.
“I am now considering my position and I have consulted with my solicitors to determine what options are available to me to counter these untruthful assertions.
“The family’s campaign will continue to seek justice for Pat Finucane. These attacks on me using Pat’s photograph as a backdrop should be seen for what they are in reality — namely, an attack on my brother Pat, who unfortunately can’t answer for himself.
“Those who continue to peddle these lies will be exposed if and when a proper public inquiry is established.
“They can come along to the hearings and give evidence and be cross-examined, which is a bit more difficult than making assertions in newspapers when they know that there is no mechanism available to challenge the truthfulness of those assertions in that forum. I will look forward to that day.”

Questions Raised For Orange Order After Scottish UDA Conviction

Sinn Féin

Published: 1 June, 2006

Sinn Féin Assembly member for Upper Bann John O’Dowd today said that the Orange Order had serious questions to answer after the conviction of yet another one of their members with UDA activity, this time in Scotland. Mr O’Dowd’s comments come after an East Fife Orangeman Stephen Moffett was last week convicted in Edinburgh of UDA membership and other serious offences including the possession of weapons.

Mr O’Dowd said:

“Last week a 45 year old Orangeman from East Fife Stephen Moffett was convicted in an Edinburgh court of being an active UDA member and of possessing UDA weaponry. This individual is the latest in a long line of Orange Order members who have been convicted of involvement in loyalist death squads.

“The Orange Order claim to be a religious organisation. They claim to be committed to peaceful activity, yet time and again the Orange Order are caught out with individuals like Moffett in their ranks. We witness the close links between the Orange Order and loyalist paramilitary gangs each summer during contentious parades in the north. Last summer both the UDA and UVF orchestrated serious rioting in Belfast on the foot of a re-routed Orange march.

“This latest conviction raises very serious questions for the Orange Order and once again places in the spotlight their links with violent unionist paramilitaries and demonstrates clearly to nationalists that the Order is not the peaceful, cultural, religious organisation that it claims.” ENDS

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