08 June 2006

Hermon to meet UVF victim's dad

Belfast Telegraph

Party urged to sever links with PUP

By David McCord
08 June 2006

A UVF murder victim's father is to meet the UUP's only MP in a bid to persuade her to totally repudiate the party's Progressive Unionist Party link-up.

Lady Sylvia Hermon spoke last month of her "deep distress" at her party's Stormont alliance with PUP leader David Ervine.

But she also stated that the move would be "worthwhile" if it helped bring about loyalist decommissioning and halted murders.

Raymond McCord Snr, whose son was beaten to death by a UVF gang in 1997, has revealed that he will be holding face-to-face talks with the North Down MP this weekend.

"I believe Lady Sylvia is an honourable woman," he said.

"I will be asking her to fully renounce her party's link with the PUP and to support a public inquiry into my son's murder."

Lady Sylvia told the Belfast Telegraph: "Having talked to Raymond McCord at length, I can honestly say that I share many of his concerns and so I certainly welcome the opportunity to discuss them further when we meet on Saturday.

"With Raymond, I know there will be straight talking and that's very much to be welcomed."

Mr McCord has repeatedly accused the two main unionist parties of failing to speak up for UVF victims from the Protestant community.

The Ulster Unionist Party came under further pressure over its PUP link-up last week as a result of the gun attack on leading loyalist Mark Haddock.

In a separate development last week, eight Co Antrim men were jailed over a UVF "photo shoot" in Newtownabbey in January 2003.

Among those imprisoned was a one-time PUP activist, Colin Greer. He was the keyholder of the Monkstown shop premises where the publicity stunt was being staged.

Greer, the son of former Newtownabbey PUP councillor Billy Greer, received two concurrent 12 month sentences.

Police stormed the shop premises using CS gas and discovered an Uzi sub-machine gun, a replica sub-machine gun and a Chinese assault rifle, as well as UVF paraphernalia.

The judge in the case, Mr Justice Girvan, said the photoshoot was designed to show that the UVF was "still in business" with "willing volunteers".

Nuclear leak sparks criminal case


The leak occurred at the Thorp complex at Sellafield

The operator of Cumbria's Sellafield nuclear reprocessing plant is facing a criminal prosecution over a leak of radioactive material.

Acid containing 20 tonnes uranium and 160kg (353lb) of plutonium spilled from a ruptured pipe into a sealed cell at the site's Thorp complex.

The spillage, discovered in April 2005, may have happened eight months earlier.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) case faces a preliminary hearing at Whitehaven Magistrates' Court.

The HSE alleges operator British Nuclear Group Sellafield Ltd (BNGSL) breached conditions attached to the Sellafield site licence, which was granted under the Nuclear Installations Act 1965.

It says the company failed to ensure that safety systems were in good working order and that radioactive material was effectively contained.

No-one was hurt and no radioactive material escaped into the atmosphere, as a result of the spillage.

Work at the Thorp complex was halted when the leak was discovered.

Police release footage of IRA's Manchester bomb


Wed Jun 7, 2006 6:30 PM BST

LONDON (Reuters) - Video footage of the IRA's bombing of Manchester city centre in 1996 were released on Wednesday for the first time.

The bomb, one of the largest to explode in Britain during peace-time, did not kill anyone.

Although a coded warning had led to the evacuation of the area more than 200 were injured and the city's Arndale Shopping Centre, which had earlier been packed with Sunday shoppers, was totally devastated.

The images were released by Greater Manchester Police after officers concluded there was little chance of catching anyone for the offence.

"In consultation with the Crown Prosecution Service, we have concluded that at this time there is no realistic possibility of a prosecution," Deputy Chief Constable Dave Whatton said.

"This has allowed us to release new material that we have held for the last 10 years," he said in a statement.

The bomb, planted in a small lorry which left a crater 40 feet wide and 15 feet deep, came only a few months after a bomb ripped through Canary Wharf in London in February killing two people.

Manchester police release footage of PIRA Manchester bomb

32CSM Message Board

Posted by 'Con'


Video onsite

Greater Manchester Police

Greater Manchester Police has conducted a review of the investigation into bombing of Manchester city centre in 1996.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usDeputy Chief Constable Dave Whatton said: "The Manchester bomb had a tremendous impact on the lives of people in the area, which is why we have thoroughly reviewed the case. A team of officers from GMP's Anti-Terrorist Unit carried out a detailed analysis ahead of the 10th anniversary of the incident.

"In consultation with the Crown Prosecution Service, we have concluded that at this time there is no realistic possibility of a prosecution. This has allowed us to release new material that we have held for the last 10 years.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usImage Hosted by ImageShack.us

"Any speculation about individuals alleged to be linked to the incident is unhelpful as there is insufficient evidence to substantiate charges.

"As with all major investigations if new information comes to light it would be considered."

Thomas McElwee - Hunger Strike 1981

INA/Irish Hunger Strikes Chapter 42

Today, 8 June, in 1981, Thomas McElwee began his hunger strike.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

"Thomas McElwee was born into a large family of eight girls and three boys. He lead the typical life of a nationalist lad in the South Derry countryside, full of promise but very little chance to rise in the world. Young Tom wanted to study to become a mechanic, but the only opportunity to do so was in Ballymena, Paisley-land, where he was harassed and had his tools stolen. So, he settled into work around his home near the town of Bellaghy on the Tamlaghtduff Road. Frank Hughes was his cousin and their large family and his were close. The McElwee boys, like the Hughes boys and the other nationalist families were constantly harassed by the RUC, UDR and British army.

Thomas and Benedict were arrested and taken away for questioning regularly. Still, it came as a surprise when the phone rang with the news of the premature bomb explosion and the condition of the two boys. Fighting the Brits force for force was not necessarily surprising in South Derry."

Click on above link to read more


Thomas McElwee

"Sincere, easy-going and full of fun.

THE TENTH republican to join the hunger strike was twenty-three-year-old IRA Volunteer Thomas McElwee, from Bellaghy in South Derry. He had been imprisoned since December 1976, following a premature explosion in which he lost an eye.

He was a first cousin of Francis Hughes..."

>>>Read Thomas McElwee's biography at Irish Hunger Strike 1981 Website


CAIN 1981 Hunger Strike Chronology


Monday 8 June 1981

Tom McElwee, then an Irish Republican Army (IRA) prisoner, joined the hunger strike.

Thursday 11 June 1981

A general election was held in the Republic of Ireland. [When counting was completed a minority government was formed between a coalition of Fine Gael (FG) and Labour. On 30 June 1981 Garret FitzGerald replaced Charles Haughey as Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister). Two H-Block prisoners were elected to the Dáil.]

Friday 12 June 1981

The British government published proposals to change the Representation of the People Act making it impossible for prisoners to stand as candidates for election to parliament.

Monday 15 June 1981

Sinn Féin (SF) issued a statement to say that a Republican prisoner would join the hunger strike every week. [This was seen as a stepping-up of the hunger strike. Paddy Quinn, then an Irish Republican Army (IRA) prisoner joined the strike.]

Monday 22 June 1981

Michael Devine, then an Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) prisoner, joined the hunger strike.

Monday 29 June 1981

Laurence McKeown, then an Irish Republican Army (IRA) prisoner, joined the hunger strike.

Tuesday 30 June 1981

The British government issued a statement on prison policy in Northern Ireland. The government said that it would not grant special category status and would retain control of the prisons.

Haddock 'prepared to testify'

Irish Independent

TOP loyalist Mark Haddock is prepared to testify against a former boxer accused of trying to kill him, a court has heard.

Ronald Bowe (29), is the second man to be charged with the attempted murder of the alleged Special Branch agent.

Haddock (37), was shot six times as he stepped out of his car for a meeting in Newtownabbey, County Antrim, last Tuesday.

The outlawed UVF is suspected of authorising the assassination bid of one of its former commanders. He was gunned down while on trial for the attempted murder of a nightclub doorman.

His one-time trusted friend, Darren Moore (36), has already been charged with involvement. The accused was remanded in custody.

DUP man elected Mayor of Strabane with support of SF

Irish Examiner

07/06/2006 - 12:43:05 PM

The Democratic Unionist Party has secured the chairmanship of nationalist-dominated Strabane District Council in Co Tyrone for the first time ever.

DUP councillor Thomas Kerrigan was unanimously elected as the town's mayor last night, with Sinn Féin supporting his candidacy in the interests of power-sharing.

The republican party is now calling for reciprocation in unionist-dominated councils like Ballymoney, Lisburn and Ballymena, where nationalists are routinely excluded.

07 June 2006

Posts on alternate sites today

For today please read all posts >>here or >>here.


06 June 2006

Derry: 'A place to be proud of'

Derry Journal

DERRY'S NEWLY elected Mayor, the SDLP's Helen Quigley, has vowed to play a lead role in transforming the city into a place that everyone is "proud to call home."
Image Hosted by ImageShack.usLast night, at the Guildhall, where she was officially inaugurated as Derry's new First Citizen, Mayor Quigley spoke of her determination to "make Derry a better place to live, an easier place to get a job, a safer place to socialise and a cleaner place to visit."
"In short, a place that we are all proud to call home," she told councillors and a packed public gallery.
"That's the Derry I want and that's the Derry I will work tirelessly to help deliver over the next twelve months and beyond."
Mayor Quigley, who represents the Northland electoral ward in Council, has also pledged to help bring more jobs to the region - and to protect those already here.
"As Mayor, I will fight for Derry wherever I need to and whenever I can - by trying to attract new jobs and protect existing ones; by lobbying to secure the investment we need or have already been pledged, in everything from our road, rail, port and airport infrastructure to our skills base and our educational capacity."
The new Mayor said she was also determined to use her year in office to represent all of the city's communities.
She said: "For too long we have interpreted the terms 'communities' as nationalist or unionist. We must broaden our understanding to include the growing number of ethnic communities in our midst, be they newly arrived migrant workers or long-established families."
In her inaugural address, Councillor Quigley also pledged to use the office of Mayor to "reach out to older people", to support families who want "to do the best they can for themselves and their children", to work with young people and to see more women "take their place in all sectors and at all levels of society."
Mayor Quigley also vowed to spend the next year 'championing' the city's interests "effectively" and 'all our people equally'.
A key element of her year in office, she revealed, would be 'safeguarding' the city's built heritage.
"Having lost so many of the city's beautiful buildings over the last number of years, we must appreciate the potential that our historic fabric - be that in the shape of a shirt factory or an old house - represents for tourism and the city's image."
She added that she was under no illusion as to "the scale of the task ahead of us to realise Derry's potential as the thriving hub of a prosperous North West region."
Turning vision into reality, she said, was 'within our grasp - but only if we work together."
"As Mayor I will do whatever it takes to make this a reality. The journey will not be easy but the outcome will be more certain if we travel it together in a spirit of co-operation, friendship and reconciliation, united in our belief that this city can become all that our mothers and fathers dreamt of and all that our children so richly deserve."
06 June 2006

Two questioned over pub murders


A man and a woman have been arrested in connection with the murder of six men in County Down 12 years ago.

The six men were murdered in the Heights Bar, Loughinisland

Both were arrested in the greater Belfast area on Tuesday and are being held for questioning at a police station in Antrim.

Six Catholic men were murdered by loyalist paramilitaries as they watched a soccer match in the Heights Bar, Loughinisland, on 18 June 1994.

The Ulster Volunteer Force was blamed for the attack.

One of the victims, Barney Green, 87, was one of the oldest people to be murdered during the Troubles.

The others who died were Adrian Rogan, 34; Daniel McCreanor, 59; Eamon Byrne, 39; his brother-in-law Patrick O'Hare, 35, and 53-year-old Malcolm Jenkinson.

Five people were also injured in the attack by gunmen armed with an AK47 and a Czech-made rifle.

MI5 transfer 'cause for concern'


The transfer of responsibility for matters of national security from the police to MI5 is a cause for concern, a policing watchdog has said.

NI Oversight Commissioner Al Hutchinson said the move had "profound potential implications for the police service".

In his 16th report, he said the transfer must not stop police from investigating organised crime.

The report also criticised the failure to build a new police training college in Northern Ireland.

However, Mr Hutchinson said that "tremendous progress" had been made in the transformation of policing in the past five years.

The Independent Commission on Policing for Northern Ireland, also known as the Patten Commission, was set up after the Good Friday Agreement in 1998 to develop a framework for a police service capable of attracting and sustaining support from the whole community.

Mr Hutchinson is an independent figure charged with overseeing the implementation of the Patten report's 175 recommendations.

In his latest report published on Tuesday, he said 124 of the recommendations had now been completed, 10 more since his last report.

'Robust and rigorous'

The decision means MI5 will gather intelligence on terrorist groups and their activities, while the police will gather criminal intelligence.

The oversight commissioner highlights the fact that it is sometimes difficult to tell the difference between terrorist and criminal activities, and warns that the change must not prevent the police from investigating organised crime.

He said the transfer must not affect the robust and rigorous accountability of the police.

The oversight commissioner also expressed concern about the failure to provide a new police training college, five years after the government gave a commitment to do so.

The government has pledged £90m to the project, a figure which is £40m less than what is needed.

Until this shortfall is addressed, one of the Patten Report's key recommendations will remain unfulfilled.

Mr Hutchinson said the reforms were irreversible and had gone so far that there was nothing to stop Sinn Fein joining the Policing Board.

He said the political judgement from Sinn Fein that the time was right to act was the only thing needed.

"Virtually everything is on a good track to improvement, and I don't know why they would hesitate in joining from a practical perspective," he said.

Policing Board chairman Professor Sir Desmond Rea said he welcomed Mr Hutchinson's comments on the police college.

"While the government has made available £90m there remains a shortfall, without which the college, as planned, simply cannot be built," he said.

PSNI Assistant Chief Constable Roy Toner, who has responsibility for the management of change within the service, said the commissioner's "positive remarks" on the level of change achieved.

"Creating and managing change in a large organisation like ours, while at the same time delivering a quality policing service, is not easy, but we are doing it," he said.

Mr Hutchinson, an officer with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police for 34 years, took over as Oversight Commissioner from Tom Constantine who held the position from May 2000 until his retirement at the end of 2003.

Garden for Michael to be place of healing

05 June 2006

Family and friends of murdered Ballymena schoolboy Michael McIlveen gathered on Saturday to stage a football tournament and fun day to raise money towards a memorial garden close to his home.

Sean McIlveen, uncle of the 15-year-old Catholic who died on May 8 a day after being attacked in the centre of the County Antrim town, said they want the garden to be a place of remembrance and also a place of healing.

"We want the garden set up in memory of Michael but also want it to act as a symbol of cross-community reconciliation to try and bring both sides of the community together," he said.

Family friend, Lynsey McCrudden (24), one of the main organisers of the fundraising event, said: "We want the garden to show that no one should have to die like Michael did and hopefully it will help prevent others dying."

The fun day included a soccer tournament on a football court close to Michael's Dunvale home which was a place where he was often found playing with friends. Hundreds of local people were present at the Fun Day.

On Saturday Michael's friends were playing matches for special trophies in his name.

Sean McIlveen said: "Beside the football court there is some unused ground and that would be an ideal spot for the memorial garden."

Lynsey McCrudden said: "We want the garden to have a tree, a bench and a plaque and we also looking at the possibility of getting a plaque at the place where Michael was attacked."

Later in the summer another Fun Day, this time free for children in the area, is planned for the Dunclug estate.

Meanwhile Sean McIlveen has already been in contact with Glasgow Celtic captain, Lurgan's Neil Lennon, who said he would speak to Barry Ferguson, captain of arch-rivals Rangers about getting involved in a fundraising gesture.

In the days after Michael's death his friends, from both sides of the community united in grief and the words 'MickyBo RIP' - after Michael's nickname - were printed up on Celtic and Rangers shirts.

Friends wearing Celtic and Rangers jerseys helped carry his coffin on the day of his funeral in a powerful image which touched officials of the teams in Glasgow.

Orange and Loyal orders meet Catholic leaders


05 June 2006 22:44

The leaders of the Orange and Loyal orders have had their first-ever formal meeting with the leaders of the Catholic Church in Northern Ireland.

The delegation met Archbishop Seán Brady and other northern bishops at Dr Brady's residence in Armagh at the request of the Loyal orders.

The group consisted of Robert Saulters and Drew Nelson from the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland, William Logan and the Rev Tom Greer of the Royal Black Institution, and George Dawson MLA and Mervyn Storey MLA from the Independent Orange Institution.

A spokesman for the Joint Working Group described the meeting as 'a cordial, businesslike and useful exchange of views held in an atmosphere of concern for the coming months which all sides wish to see pass in an entirely peaceful manner'.

Archbishop Brady said the meeting was powerfully symbolic coming at a time when tensions often rise in Northern Ireland.

He said it showed the desire of the leadership of the loyal orders to go beyond the barriers of history and marked a first step that was to be greatly welcomed.

Dr Brady also said that it was ultimately through gestures of friendship and understanding at local level that contentious issues would be resolved.

Ex-associate charged with murder bid on top loyalist

Irish Independent

A FORMER associate of loyalist Mark Haddock was charged yesterday with trying to murder him.

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usMark Haddock (left) leaving court in Belfast last January with Darren Moore (right) who was charged yesterday with trying to murder him - click to view

Darren Moore (36), of Mount Vernon Park, north Belfast, was remanded in custody after appearing at Belfast Magistrate's Court.

Mr Haddock (37) was shot six times at Newtownabbey last Tuesday and is recovering in Royal Victoria Hospital, where he is under a 24-hour armed police guard.

Det Insp Gareth Nicholl said when Moore was charged he replied: "Not guilty. Could you check my alibis?" But he believed he could connect Mr Moore with the charge.

Mr Moore was remanded in custody until July 4.

Last week's shooting was blamed on the UVF after it was alleged that Mr Haddock had been a Special Branch informer for more than 16 years. The murder bid took place while Mr Haddock was on bail awaiting judgment in a Crown Court case in which he denied the attempted murder of Ballyclare pub doorman Trevor Gowdy in December, 2002.

Moore had been charged in connection with the same attack. The charge was later dropped.

Martin Ingram Responds to Liam Clarke


5 June 2006

A writes:

Martin asked could you please put up his response to the Liam Clarke piece today: http://cryptome.org/mcguinness-spy3.htm

Martin Ingram is the co-author with Greg Harkin of the best seller Stakeknife: Britain's secret agents in Ireland.

A point of Correction

Martin Ingram

I have no intention of getting into a public slanging match with Liam Clarke but I feel I must address a number of points raised within Liam’s latest communication to Cryptome.

My record on telling the truth stands and he knows it. He feels slightly put out by having his bells jangled that is all.

Liam Clarke knows that the now Chief Constable Hugh Orde told the family of Mr Notorantonio that my claims that he featured within the Brian Nelson files -- that he had been involved in the Stakeknife story -- were true. Mr Clarke sat on that story because his sources did not want the story in the public domain.

The newspaper (the People) that did carry the story received an immediate injunction, forcing that paper to publish a blank page in recognition of the state's desire to stop the story from being told. The injunction made it clear that no mention of the murder could be made and further more a second injunction prevented the paper from telling the world that it had been injuncted in the first place.

Liam Clarke may well have a close relationship with Sir John Stevens but no matter how many times he repeats Sir John stories it does not make them accurate or authentic. The bottom line is Sir John was not best pleased when this story made it to print.

Liam is also being disingenuous in regards to his contacts. Liam enjoyed entertaining the now Chief Constable in his home of an evening. Now I am unsure how many journalists in Northern Ireland enjoy that privilege but I would speculate not many. Indeed I doubt many could muster a contact book with an MI6 officer within, so for Liam to say he does not enjoy a privileged relationship with key personnel is wrong.

05 June 2006

Blogspot site not working

This site is not working well today: Please read the posts >>here




06/05/06 09:01 EST

The first meeting in Northern Ireland of the Preparation for Government Committee has ended in stalemate. The representatives of all the main parties failed to agree who would be appointed as chairperson of the body.

A variety of proposals were discussed but no agreement was reached at the meeting held at Stormont today.

Sinn Fein`s Martin McGuiness suggested that the committee be either jointly chaired by representatives of this own party and the DUP or rotated between the parties.

This was rejected by the DUP.

In turn, the DUP proposed the Assembly Speaker, Eileen Bell, as a possible chairperson, but she rejected the role herself and left the meeting.

The DUP also suggested their own South Antrim MP William McCrea and the Alliance Party leader Daivd Forde for the role.

However, Mr Ford said he would only consider the role as part of a wider rotation system between all the parties.

DUP leader Ian Paisley denied his party was not taking the committee seriously by sending unimportant party figures to represent it.

Mr McGuinness has asked for another meeting of the committee on Tuesday, however, it is unclear at present if that will happen.

Some of the parties are writing to British Secretary of State Peter Hain to clarify whether the need for "consensus" means the committee can only move forward on the basis of unanimity.

Earlier, Mr Paisley said he would ask the British government for a two week extension to the November 24 deadline to devolution in Northern Ireland.

He called for what he described as "injury time" at Stormont.

The DUP is annoyed about the British government not scheduling any debates for the Assembly, so it wants two week's extension to the 24 November devolution deadline.

If the government accedes to Paisley's latest demand, that would push the deadline to 8 December. However the November 24 date is written into the law which set up the current assembly, so any change would require fresh legislation, which seems unlikely.

The DUP has insisted that the committee should not be a negotiating body, while the SDLP wants it to do precisely that.

Alliance Party leader David Ford said he had reservations about the committee, but would join.

On Sunday, Ulster Unionist Party leader Sir Reg Empey said he had appointed Alan McFarland, Danny Kennedy and Michael McGimpsey to represent the party on the committee.

"Although we still remain concerned at the manner in which the remit for the committee has been arrived at, we will approach it in a positive manner and seek to identify the obstacles that are standing in the way of devolution and deal with them," he said.

On 15 May, Northern Ireland's politicians took their seats in the Stormont assembly for the first time since October 2002.

While there is no immediate prospect of a power-sharing executive being formed, the British government hopes recalling the politicians will help to pave the way towards a deal in the fall, by its deadline of 24 November.

Devolved government was suspended over allegations of a republican spy ring. The court case that followed collapsed when it emerged that a British Intelligence agent was at the center of the alleged spy ring.

Direct rule from London was restored in October 2002 and has been in place since.

Liam Clarke and Martin Ingram


5 June 2006

Liam Clarke is co-author with Kathryn Johnston of Martin McGuinness - From Guns to Government.

Liam Clarke, Sunday Times, writes:

You are performing a good service covering this McGuinness debate.

However I notice you are carrying a link (click >>here) to Martin Ingram's reply to my article. His reply is tendentious on some points and it is more likely to be accessed through Cryptome than independently. I'd be grateful if you could somehow include the following from me:

It s a regrettable blow to Martin Ingram's credibility that he attempts to refute my examination of his document by saying he lied to me about it. Of course he would have had no need to do so, all he needed to say was he couldn't comment. However I think that it is likely that he did tell me the truth as there was some corroboration from other journalists for his account. Whatever has happened he has now lied, either to me or in his claim to have lied to me, on his blog. That makes it very hard to take his word on any material that cannot be fully corroborated.

This is unfortunate because he is basically an honest man, he has been a good source of reliable information in the past and I considered him a good friend.

Other points on his blog are misleading and untrue. I do not have friendly relations with the PSNI my wife and I are currently involved in a legal action against them for raids on our home and our arrest under the Official Secrets Act. We brought a complaint through the police Ombudsman which resulted in several of them being disciplined and the whole force censured as Cryptome has recorded elsewhere.

He accuses me of sitting on the story that Francisco Notarantonio was allegedly killed to protect Stakeknife. I did not publish this because I did not believe it to be true, and, contrary to what he says, nothing has ever emerged to substantiate it. The Stevens inquiry never stood it up and the UDA, who carried out the murder, denied that they had been targeting Scappaticci as was claimed. Repeated repetition does not make something true.

There are other points I could make, but perhaps that is enough.

You may wish to post another article which I wrote and which I think adds to the McGuinness debate. Here is the link:


Life for man over Hassan murder


05 June 2006 12:25

A court in Baghdad has sentenced an Iraqi man to life in connection with the abduction and murder two years ago of the Irish-born aid worker Margaret Hassan.

A court official said Mustafa Salman had been charged with aiding and abetting the kidnappers.

Another man was cleared and a third was freed due to lack of evidence.

Mrs Hassan, who was 59, had British, Iraqi and Irish citizenship; she was kidnapped in October 2004 and shot a month later.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dermot Ahern, had appointed a lawyer in Baghdad to represent the Irish government at the trial.

Reiss set for talks to broker feud


British Irish Rights Watch ask US Special Envoy to Ireland to help with Ballymurphy feud

By Ciarán Barnes

President Bush’s Special Envoy to Ireland has been asked to broker an end to a West Belfast feud that has claimed one life and left more than a dozen people injured.

The respected human rights group, British Irish Rights Watch (BIRW), has written to US government official Mitchell Reiss calling on him to use his influence to bring calm to the area.

The feud, centring on the Ballymurphy estate, involves two local families.
There had been a history of trouble involving both groups following an attack on Gerard Devlin two years ago.

In September 2005 Mr Devlin contacted Daily Ireland after being attacked with a pitchfork. He claimed a £10,000 bounty had been put on his head.
In February of this year the father-of-six was stabbed to death. Four men have been charged with his murder.

Following Mr Devlin’s death around a dozen homes belonging to members of another family in Ballymurphy were targeted in arson attacks.

A friend of the Devlins, 17-year-old Wayne McComb, was hit in the leg in a drive-by shooting.

A short time later another friend of the family, Jim Reynolds, was beaten with hammers as he lay in bed.

The Devlin family have claimed the investigation into Gerard’s murder has been hampered by PSNI Special Branch agents and their handlers. The Police Ombudsman is currently probing these allegations.

Some members of the other family involved in the feud recently moved to Spain in order to escape the violence.

In its latest monthly report, British Irish Rights Watch confirms it has written to Bush advisor Mitchell Reiss about the situation in Ballymurphy.

Director Jane Winter said, “BIRW’s prime concern is the apparent lack of any effective policing in Ballymurphy to bring the situation under control and prevent any further violence.

“Ballymurphy is a republican heartland in West Belfast,” she continued. “The PSNI’s ability to deliver effective policing there will be a test of the extent to which its attempts at reform have been successful.”

In an interview with Daily Ireland in March the West Belfast PSNI District Commander, David Boultwood, said there had been 150 incidents linked to the feud in the five weeks after Mr Devlin’s murder.

He said the feud had cost thousands of pounds to police and praised the work of Community Restorative Justice in trying to bring peace to the area.

Journalist:: Ciaran Barnes

Republicans pay tribute to volunteers


BY Aine McEntee

Hundreds of republicans gathered in Beechmount yesterday (Sunday) to pay tribute to deceased IRA volunteers and Sinn Féin activists from the area.

In bright sunshine plaques in their honour were unveiled at a specially designed garden in Beechmount Avenue while two trumpeters played a lament.

The garden was designed and built by the Mid-Falls Commemoration Committee and was given a solemn blessing by Fr Des Wilson.

The local priest told the family and friends of those who had gathered for the event that the commemorative garden will serve as a reminder of the tremendous sacrifice people from the area had offered up during the struggle for freedom.

“It’s wonderfully fitting that their memory will be alive for years to come,” Fr Des said.

“We bless this holy place and may God bless this place and keep it safe.”
Former republican prisoner Danny Morrison, who also addressed the crowd, paid tribute to the Mid-Falls Commemoration Committee for all their hard work over the past three years.

He told the crowd they were right to be proud of the people who gave so much to the republican struggle.

“This area didn’t ask for loyalists to come in and murder our people, this area didn’t want the British Army, and so we slowly turned towards the IRA and Sinn Féin for leadership.

“The struggle was long and it was brutal. People of the nationalist community were killed because of their religion or where they came from.

“I am so proud of what this area produced. In the end the conflict produced a risen people, who know what they want and it’s only right we honour our dead.”

The wife of Stan Carberry said she thought the garden was a fitting tribute to those who had died. Gemma Carberry’s husband was shot in the back by the British Army in November 1972 on the Falls Road.

“I think this is a really nice tribute. I think it’s fitting that those who died are remembered in this way, and they’re all mentioned together.”

During the special service, children of the mid-Falls held aloft pictures of all those who are honoured in the garden. Families also laid wreaths.

Well-known republican and hunger striker, Pat McGeown, who died in October 1996, was given a special mention by guest speaker, ex-blanketman Pat Sheehan.

Pat McGeown joined the 1981 hunger strike on July 9 but was taken off the strike by his family after 42 days without food. He died having never fully recovered from his ordeal.

Pat’s son Sean said he felt honoured to witness the unveiling of the garden.
“I think this is a welcome recognition of those who have given so much, and others who have given their lives to the republican struggle. I’m delighted with the tribute and I think it’s very appropriate given it’s the 25th anniversary of the hunger strikes.”

Local Sinn Féin councillors Tom Hartley, Fra McCann and Chrissie Mhic Giolla Mhin were among those who attended the event on Sunday. Also there was Dublin councillor Larry O’Toole, whose area of the capital is twinned with the Falls.

Journalist:: Áine McEntee

Troubled parades body to rule on Whiterock

Belfast Telegraph

By Chris Thornton
05 June 2006

The Orange parade that sparked widespread loyalist rioting last autumn has been scheduled for the last Saturday in this month - with the Parades Commission due to rule on it in the aftermath of its membership crisis.

Last year's Whiterock parade was initially postponed and eventually led to serious disorder - including a gun attack on police - when it was rescheduled for September.

More than 80 officers were injured and Orangemen have privately acknowledged that the episode caused significant damage to the organisation.

Talks between marchers and the representatives of residents who oppose the June 24 parade have reportedly taken place under Community Relations Council chief Duncan Morrow, but there have been no indications yet that a resolution will be reached.

The Commission is due to discuss the parade next Wednesday, by which time the Court of Appeal should have decided whether it is lawful for Orangemen to serve on the parades body.

Last month, the High Court removed David Burrows from the Commission, ruling the NIO had failed to follow proper procedures in appointing him and another Orangeman.

The ruling left the way open for Mr Burrows to be reappointed, but Portadown's Garvaghy Road Residents' Coalition argued in the Court of Appeal last week that no Orangeman should be on the Commission because of a conflict of interest.

The appeal court's decision is expected this week. Regardless of who rules on the parade, Whiterock is now recognised as one of the most contentious in the marching calendar.

This year the Orange Order has cut the size of the march by more than 10% - although it is still expected to involve 750 people and 16 bands.

For years, nationalist residents have sought to have the parade rerouted away from the Springfield Road, which is on the nationalist side of the peaceline.

West Belfast Orangemen want to march onto the road through Workman Avenue.

Last year, there were suggestions a deal might be close, but reports of contact between the Orange Order and residents were denounced by senior members of the Order.

The Commission then rerouted the marchers through an old industrial site, former home of the Mackies plant.

Furious Orangemen called off the parade and tried to restage it in September.

When the Commission stuck to their original determination, rioting broke out during the parades.

Loyalist paramilitaries appeared to have orchestrated the attacks - including the appearance of a gunman who shot at police from the Highfield estate -but police filmed Orangemen taking part in the violence.

The unrest spread to other parts of Belfast, with commuter routes being blocked intermittently over several days.

The tale of two Martins


(by Suzanne Breen, Sunday Tribune)

To say it's the tale of two Martins is an under-statement. It's a full-blown war. Hated by many outside his own community, adored by IRA grassroots, Martin McGuinness has been causing controversy for decades.

But never before have his republican credentials been questioned. Now, former British intelligence officer, Martin Ingram, is claiming that the man once dubbed 'Britain's number one terrorist' was working for the other side all along. He has produced a transcript of a conversation between agent 'J118', allegedly McGuinness, and his handler.

McGuinness dismisses it as "a load of hooey" and is "a million percent confident" no evidence will emerge to support the claim. Ingram isn't backing down: "I'm telling the truth and Martin McGuinness knows it. I'm confident the full story will come out, however long it takes."

McGuinness's favourite film is A Man for All Seasons. He says he loves the scene where Sir Thomas More faces his accusers in Westminster's Great Hall. It was in Stormont's Great Hall that McGuinness, his voice quivering with emotion, addressed the informer allegations last week.

More than reputations are at stake for both Martins. Denis Donaldson's murder shows the fate that can still await informers from old comrades; to lie about an ex-IRA chief-of-staff could have serious consequences for Ingram, ceasefire or not.

In republican circles, there are rumours of an internal IRA investigation into McGuinness. It's claimed he has been questioned by the IRA's director of intelligence and two other senior members whose names are known to the Sunday Tribune. The republican community seems divided and confused. "I can't accept it, no way could this be true. It's British dirty tricks," says one west Belfast activist. Another disagrees: "The 'J' in his codename stands for Judas."

Many Sinn Féin members believe McGuinness; IRA personnel are more sceptical. 'F*** Martin McGuinness,' said old graffiti on Belfast's Lower Ormeau, denouncing the Sinn Féin MP for demanding that four on-the-run republicans hand themselves in. 'F*** Martin McGuinness (tout)', it read after the claims. The leadership ordered its removal.

"Even if McGuinness stays in position, he's ruined," predicts a west Belfast republican. "People are two-faced. They might shake his hand and say they don't believe a word of it but, behind his back, they'll say 'touting b***ard!' "

'Martin Ingram', 44, is a pseudonym. The government knows his true identity - he has an Irish passport. For eight years, he served with the controversial Force Research Unit (FRU), including in Derry.

The two Martins have much in common. McGuinness would "talk to a stray dog", friends say. Ingram admits he "never shuts the f*** up". They both love Donegal. McGuinness's mother was born there and he recalls childhood summers in the county. Ingram's wife is also a native. He adores "the people, the landscape, the turf fires – though I don't think, in present circumstances, I'll be enjoying them for quite a while!"

Both men like traditional music and football. McGuinness is a Derry City supporter; Ingram, a Leeds' United man. They share an easy charm and sense of mischief. Ingram once phoned into a live radio interview with McGuinness, and addressed him in Irish. In a Stormont debate, McGuinness said of the DUP's Sammy Wilson, (a newspaper published nude photographs of Wilson), "it's great to see him today with his clothes on".

There are differences. "Martin has more time for guns than girls," declared a 1972 newspaper headline about "the boy who rules Free Derry". Ingram was jack-the-lad when he served in the North: "In Enniskillen, you could have scored as often as you wanted, even with Catholic girls." McGuinness's greatest extravagance is a West Coast Cooler at Christmas dinner. Ingram loves his drink.

It's difficult to cast him as a securocrat. He's previously helped republicans on collusion issues. Solicitors for Danny Morrison and the Finucanes asked for meetings. The Andersonstown News published an article by him.

But his case against McGuinness is far from overwhelming. The document is very flimsy. It contains no security classification or other details which could be used to check its authenticity. Ingram claims he removed these to protect his source, a serving Special Branch officer. The document contains nothing to identify J118 as McGuinness. There's only Ingram's claim he learned this from other intelligence sources. Neither does Ingram know McGuinness's alleged handler.

Ingram says: "The document forms a small part of my case against McGuinness. My evidence is based on my personal experience of dealing with many aspects of his life and with other agents." Writer and ex-IRA prisoner Anthony McIntyre, no friend of the Sinn Féin leadership, says: "I remain unconvinced by this document or anything that has been said. This is Diplock court evidence."

Ingram's personal credentials are his strongest point. He outed Freddie Scappaticci as Stakeknife and disclosed that Francisco Notorantonio was murdered to protect him. The republican's movement record on these matters is abysmal. Although it's now universally accepted Scap was an informer, Sinn Féin initially defended him staunchly.

Gerry Adams denounced the media as "the real losers" for having "bought a line from faceless people". A senior IRA source told the Sunday Business Post that Stakeknife didn't exist. "It would be laughable were it not so serious," he said. "Ha!Ha!Ha!" declared the Sinn Féin spokesman when asked to comment on the McGuinness claim.

Ingram admits it's personal for him. He blames McGuinness for the 1986 murder of Frank Hegarty, a Derry informer he liked. He promised Hegarty's son Ryan, he'd bring his father's killers to justice. Ingram uses the case to support his argument McGuinness is a British spy. McGuinness, he says, promoted Hegarty inside the IRA, against the advice of other republicans who presented him with evidence Hegarty had previously informed on republicans. The handlers of senior informers often have them promote lower level informers through the ranks.

Hegarty's informing led to the discovery of an arms' cache. Hegarty fled to England but missed home and regularly rang his mother. One day, McGuinness allegedly came on the phone and told Hegarty he'd be safe if he returned home. McGuinness denies this. Ingram claims he was in the room with Hegarty at the time and FRU taped the conversation.

Hegarty returned to Derry. McGuinness told his mother Hegarty had to attend a meeting in Donegal to clear things up with the IRA, Ingram says. Days later, Hegarty was found with a bullet in the head. Ingram claims McGuinness had to get Hegarty home, and have him killed, to restore his reputation within the IRA. He also alleges Freddie Scappaticci gave FRU advance warning of the murder, but the security forces let it happen because McGuinness's survival as a spy was deemed more valuable than Hegarty's life.

In 1993, following disclosures on Central Television's Cook Report, the RUC launched 'Operation Taurus', an investigation into McGuinness's IRA links. Later, its detectives questioned the decision not to prosecute him, despite three witnesses willing to give evidence.

It's entirely possible the British, involved in pre-ceasefire negotiations with Sinn Féin, decided that would have jeopardised the peace process. Ingram argues the failure to prosecute McGuinness goes deeper. He claims the supergrass, Raymond Gilmour, offered to testify against him in 1982 but was refused.

McGuinness served 14 months in prison in the Republic on two separate IRA membership charges in 1973 and 74. Membership charges in the North were dropped against him in 1976. Ingram says it's remarkable, that in 35 years at the top of the republican movement, McGuinness has never been convicted of paramilitary activity in the North: "This man has been so lucky, he should be buying lottery tickets." Again, it's a purely theoretical argument, not hard evidence McGuinness is an informer.

Ingram alleges the British deliberately built a myth around McGuinness, even praising him as "excellent officer material". While the Derry Brigade was very active in the early 1970s, from the 80s it was riddled with informers and other brigades ridiculed its inactivity. When asked why McGuinness would possibly become an informer, Ingram says: "What makes a woman buy so many f***ing shoes? I've no idea."

Jane Winter, director of the respected British-Irish Rights' Watch group, has met Ingram. "I don't know whether or not these allegations about Martin McGuinness are true," she says. "In my experience, Ingram has proved reliable in the past. He has helped families from both sides of the divide in Northern Ireland on collusion cases. So far, everything he has told me has turned out to be true. But he's stronger on cases where he has first-hand information than on those where he relies on other sources."

Ingram suggests one way of settling the war between the two Martins: "I've never shown my face in front of the cameras but I'll do it now because of the seriousness of the subject. I'm challenging McGuinness to a live TV debate – anytime any place, anywhere. There are no preconditions. The ball's in your court, Martin."

June 5, 2006

This article appeared in the June 4, 2006 edition of the Sunday Tribune.

McGuinness: DUP faction trying to have me killed


05/06/2006 - 08:39:54

Martin McGuinness has accused his enemies of "trying to have him killed" by claiming he was a British spy.

The Sinn Féin chief negotiator has also revealed his fury that allegations he once worked for MI6 had been published, but admitted he was powerless to stop them.

The claims against him were printed in a Sunday tabloid newspaper.

Mr McGuinness rubbished the rumours and blamed factions within the DUP, who, he maintained want to wreck the Northern Irish peace process.

'Martin Ingram, Welcome to the Dark Side'


'Martin Ingram is a Freelance Journalist, & former British Army Intelligence Officer, he is the co author of the best seller Book Stakeknife. (contact) ingrammartin@yahoo.co.uk'

'Welcome to the Dark Side' is a blog which is purportedly written by Martin Ingram. At present, Martin is intent on 'outing' Martin McGuinness.

04 June 2006

Bombs made from fertilizer can cause 'catastrophic' damage


Lee Berthiaume
The Ottawa Citizen; with files from the Canadian Press
Sunday, June 04, 2006

The three tonnes of ammonium nitrate police seized in Friday's terror raids posed a "real and serious" threat, but the substance is still readily available as a fertilizer.

Police said the arrests foiled a series of terrorist attacks that could have caused catastrophic damage.

One tonne of ammonium nitrate was used in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, which destroyed a federal building and left 168 dead.

"The quantity, of course, is alarming; it's quite astonishing," David Harris, a former chief of strategic planning for the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, said yesterday of the Toronto seizure.

"It seems to suggest an almost rabid dedication to undertake something serious, whether as a major catastrophic explosion or a series of devastating assaults."

Federal government regulations to make it more difficult to acquire bomb-making substances are on the way, but ammonium nitrate as a fertilizer is still readily available.

"It's a fairly ubiquitous substance," said Phil Lightfoot, manager of the explosives research laboratory at Natural Resources Canada. "It is widely used and relatively easy to acquire."

Mr. Lightfoot said recent changes to the Explosives Act have allowed for the control of substances that can be used to create bombs, and government officials are in the process of writing regulations on the control of ammonium nitrate.

The new regulations will require the vendor to know a buyer personally, or obtain identification, and keep written records of all sales.

Hundreds of thousands of tonnes of ammonium nitrate are produced at chemical plants in Canada each year, Mr. Lightfoot said.

Wade Deisman, director of the national security working group at the University of Ottawa, said changing regulations for ammonium nitrate will help in the short term, but terrorists and others will find something else to use to build bombs.

"As a stop-gap measure, it is a good measure," he said. "But right now we're talking about the most available (substance) and then they're going to move on to the second-most available. All it takes is a little imagination."

Besides the Oklahoma City bombing, ammonium nitrate has been linked to other terrorist attacks and plots. The Irish Republican Army used the substance in many bombings, and it was identified as the main ingredient used in the Bali bombings in Indonesia in 2002, which killed 202 people.

Eric Brooks, owner of Eco Landscaping Brookside Gardens nursery, said ammonium nitrate is still available in large bags from farming suppliers around the province, but most nurseries and hardware stores no longer sell it for home use because new fertilizers have been made available.

Hassan died 'because UK refused to speak to kidnappers'


04/06/2006 - 16:03:03

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usIrish aid worker Margaret Hassan, who was murdered in Iraq, died because the British government refused to speak to her kidnappers, her family claimed today.

The Care International worker was taken hostage in October 2004 and killed just under a month later. Her body has never been found.

Today her family said that during her captivity four calls were made to her Iraqi husband Tahseen in Baghdad from the kidnappers, demanding to speak to a member of the British Embassy.

But he had been told by the British that they would not speak to the hostage-takers.

“We believe that the refusal by the British government to open a dialogue with the kidnappers cost our sister her life,” Deidre, Geraldine, Kathryn and Michael Fitzsimons said in a statement released today.

Stone and Adair: Two fuckwits talk about each other

Sunday Life

Mad Dog's barking up wrong tree: Killer Stone claims Adair won't make thousands from book

Exclusive by Stephen Breen
04 June 2006

EXILED terror boss Johnny 'Mad Dog' Adair will NOT get £100,000 for his controversial autobiography.

The claim was made last night by cemetery killer Michael Stone, who maintains the Shankill loyalist will only receive around £10,000 for the book.

Adair's life story is being published by London-based Blake Publishing, which produced Stone's book None Shall Divide Us.

The ousted terrorist, who recently received a £100,000 gift from lotto lout Michael Carroll, sparked controversy by claiming he deserved "every penny" for telling his life story.

But Stone, who has now returned to Northern Ireland after a brief stay in Portugal, branded Adair's cash boast as "nonsense".

The graveyard murderer claimed once his ghost writer and literary agents are paid, Adair will receive nowhere near £100,000.

Said Stone: "Why would anyone want to pay a semi-literate thug, who is nothing but a drug-dealer and a gangster, such a large amount of money.

"He will have received an initial contract offer of £10,000, because this is his first book. But the agent and ghost writer will have to get paid from this amount.

"If Daft Dog wants to make anywhere near £10,000, then he will have to wait to see how the book sales go.

"Adair is just doing this book to get his popularity back, but he is fighting a losing battle.

"My book ended up costing me £30,000 - and the same will happen to Adair."

Adair hit back at his former hero and accused him of jealously, adding: "That man is criminally insane - he doesn't know anything about my book deal.

"My book will be better than his, because I will be telling the truth - I'm not living in a fantasy world.

"I think it's about time I told my story, because other people are making money off my name.

"Why shouldn't I get this cash, after everything my family has been through?

"Stone may have had a chapter on me in his book, but I couldn't be bothered writing a chapter on him. He's finished."

Cops to visit UVF figures

Sunday Life

04 June 2006

COPS are expected to pay "priority" visits to a number of senior UVF members before an explosive report into how the organisation was undermined by informers is published.

The murder bid on Mark Haddock has underlined the danger individuals identified in the Police Ombudsman's report into the activities of police informers within the UVF could face.

The first draft of the report is now being written.

But it could be two months at least before it is finally published.

Investigators, who have spent more than a year probing the role of police agents within the UVF's Mount Vernon battalion, are now writing the devastating report, informed sources say.

Outstanding legal issues could delay Ombudsman Nuala O'Loan's final draft until September.

The Director of the Public Prosecution Service, Sir Alasdair Fraser, has still to decide whether to bring criminal charges against former agent-handlers.

Said one security source: "While names will be blanked out, it will be virtually impossible to ensure that identities will be sufficiently disguised to ensure individuals are not identifiable to their fellow UVF associates.

"This is a tight circle of terrorists, who know what each other did. So, when an incident is discussed in the report and an observation made, it will probably be possible for 'Mr A' and 'Mr B' to work out what 'Mr C' did and who the informer was. The shooting of Haddock just underlines how dangerous this is," he said.

In spite of extensive speculation about what may be contained in Mrs O'Loan's report, informed sources say there are explosive and highly-sensitive matters still unknown to the public.

Said a senior source: "A lot of people have suggested that it is all out there in the public domain and that all the basic details and allegations about the police touts who were operating in the north Belfast UVF has been outlined in the papers, but that is not the case.

"Those familiar with the investigation say there are many sensitive matters that are still known only to the Ombudsman and her investigators."

If the Public Prosecution Service decides to bring charges against Haddock's ex-Special Branch or CID handlers, that will mean that the first report will have to be heavily-edited or delayed indefinitely so as not to prejudice criminal proceedings.

Rogue UDA gang copy Mad Dog

Sunday Life

By Sunday Life Reporter
04 June 2006

A ROGUE UDA gang is suspected of copying the tactics of their one-time hero Johnny Adair to paint-bomb a young, disabled gay man's home.

He was forced to flee his home - in the Co Down village of Killyleagh - after a window at the house was smashed and beer bottles filled with paint were splattered inside.

The gang has copied a tactic perfected by Adair during his time as commander of the UDA's notorious Shankill 'C' company and switched to using paint-bombs because they can no longer access their arsenal of pipe-bombs.

Malcolm McCormick gave Sunday Life an interview last year in which he alleged that, because he was gay, he was being discriminated against as he socialised in Belfast.

A homophobic motive was one line of PSNI inquiry in the immediate aftermath of the attack on his Braeside Gardens home.

But it is now suspected the renegade gang targeted Mr McCormick because they did not approve of a man who was visiting his home.

Sources suggest they have also previously used the same paint-bomb tactic to target a Catholic home in the same Killyleagh estate.

The Independent Monitoring Commission (IMC) has already been asked by SDLP MLA Margaret Ritchie to rule if the activities of this UDA-linked gang - which has included gang members visiting houses and ordering people out of the village - is in line with the paramilitary group's pledge that it is putting its violent past behind it.

Said Mrs Ritchie: "Community policing is about the community giving information and working in co-operation with the police."

The power of prayer

Sunday Life

Ex-UVF man's speaks of his hopes for peace and of the time he shared a stage with Sinn Fein delegates

By Karen Ireland
04 June 2006

AN EX-UVF terrorist - who once stood on the platform at a Sinn Fein annual conference - spoke last night of his hopes of seeing Protestants and Catholics united at a prayer service at Stormont today.

David 'Packie' Hamilton - who served 11 years for terrorist offences - told Sunday Life: "As a known, leading loyalist terrorist, who once found himself in the middle of a republican Ard Fheis, I know how powerful prayer can be and how it can unite people."

Up to 17,000 people are expected to converge on the Stormont Estate in Belfast today for the Global Day of Prayer.

Hamilton (50) - now minister of his own church in Stockport, outside Manchester - recalled the moment, several years after his release from jail, when he came face-to-face with republican prisoners from his H-Block past.

He said: "I was at a prayer meeting in Dublin when I looked out the window and saw loads of cars and people approaching the building we were in.

"I couldn't believe it when I spotted Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness arriving.

"As I watched the comings-and-goings, I recognised several leading paramilitary men who had been in prison at the same time as me and I was petrified.

"I thought, 'If these IRA men saw me, they would kill me'. Imagine me, a Prod and former UVF man in the middle of them at their conference in Dublin!"

Added Hamilton: "I panicked. I did the only thing I knew how to - I prayed and asked God to protect me and keep me safe.

"I walked out of the room we were in and came face-to-face with a one-time commander of the IRA.

"I didn't know what else to do, so I shook his hand and told him I was in the same building praying for their conference and for peace.

"He knew who I was, but extended his hand, too, telling me that, just because I was a Protestant, didn't make me all bad.

"Then he went in and told Gerry Adams about me being there and the next thing I knew I was on the platform.

"It turns out Gerry Adams and Martin McGuiness knew all about me as they had read about me in a newspaper in the car on the way down to Dublin.

"There was an interview with a former IRA man who I had once given a lift to in my car - he called me 'The Prod who lead him to God.'

"In my mind, God kept me safe that day - just like he had so many other times. I was once shot at three times - the fourth time, when the gun was put to my head, the trigger jammed.

"It was one night in prison, when I started to think about that time and the many others when I should have been killed - or, worse still, killed someone else by my actions - that I started thinking about God for the first time in my life.

"When I was released from prison that time, unlike all the others before, I vowed not to have anything to do with my old connections again and to try to put my life in some sort of order.

"That's what I have been doing for the past 26 years - and I have seen so many changes in Northern Ireland and believe that it's days like this, when people in the province and indeed the world unite, that we will see change."

On leaving jail for the last time, Hamilton studied at Bible College before taking up evangelical ministry roles around the world.

He also married his second wife, Sharon. The couple have three children - Adam (21), Jonathan (18), April Joy (11) and also have grown-up children, Louise (30) and David (29) from previous relationships.

Said Hamilton: "It was difficult at the start - getting used to a new life and people torturing me to re-join gangs. It was stressful for the whole family.

"Sharon lost a baby during a time when there were many attempts on my life. It was after this that we decided to make a fresh start and I took up a post in Wales."

In addition to his ministry work, he has worked with drug-addicts and written a book, A Cause Worth Living For, about his jail conversion.

He is now in the middle of writing a follow-up - A Cause Worth Dying For - which charts his life since prison.

"Do I have regrets about my past life and the things I was involved in? Of course I do.

"I spent years agonising and breaking my heart over what I had done, but finally I just had to work it all through with God and seek his forgiveness.

"You can't let your past hold you back."

• Global Day of Prayer, Stormont Estate, Belfast, 3pm-5.30pm.

Fury at plans to name park after IRA man

Sunday Life

04 June 2006

A CONTROVERSIAL move is underway to name a council-owned park in Downpatrick after a dead IRA commander.

Sinn Fein is claiming that an all-party commitment by members of Down District Council to rename a sports pitch in Newcastle after former Ulster Unionist council chairman the late Gerry Douglas should result in "equality" for republicans.

And they want to name part of the Town Park in Downpatrick after IRA leader Colum Marks.

Marks (29) was shot dead by undercover RUC officers in the park, at St Patrick's Avenue in the town, in April 1991.

A fully-primed horizontal mortar was found nearby.

Sinn Fein vice-chairman of the council, Eamonn Mac Con Midhe, said that, before the current four-year term of the council ends, his party intends bringing forward a proposal to name the park after Marks.

Mr Mac Con Midhe said: "I have already warned councillors.

"Once the sports pitch in Newcastle is renamed, we will be seeking equity for the community I represent."

He said that, since the council had agreed to the joint-SDLP/Ulster Unionist motion to posthumously honour Mr Douglas, they should not be surprised when they get a request on behalf of local residents to name the park after Marks.

"People already refer to this park as 'Collie Marks Park'.

"Now that we are in a post-conflict scenario, many tourists visit the site to pay their respects.

"If necessary, we will get signatures around the town to prove and support our case."

But DUP councillor Billy Walker warned: "It won't be happening.

"To compare Gerry Douglas - a man who served all sections of the community as a councillor for more than 20 years before his death - with an IRA terrorist, is contemptible."

The spot where Marks was shot is already marked with a monument, which also carried the names of other IRA members who died in the area.

Unionists have failed in previous attempts to have it removed from council-owned land.

Canada to discuss 'Real IRA' website

Sunday Life
04 June 2006

THE Canadian High Commission in London has agreed to meet a delegation from an Omagh bombing relatives' group to discuss a Real IRA-linked website which is hosted in Toronto.

The High Commission's political affairs minister, Ron Hoffman, has been in touch with the group to discuss possible dates for a meeting to examine how to deal with the website, which Lord Trimble says published a threat to murder him.

A spokesman for the commission said it had been in contact with the Omagh Support & Self-Help Group to suggest either a video-link or face-to-face meeting at its London offices.

Said the spokesman: "We have been in touch with the group and the High Commission is open to the idea of having a meeting with a delegation to discuss how we might approach this issue."

The Omagh support group said that its chairman, Michael Gallagher, would be in contact with the High Commission this week after he returned from a visit to the US.

Lord Trimble said he hoped to attend the meeting to discuss how pressure could be brought on Canadian company Netfirms, which hosts the 32 County Sovereignty Movement (32 CSM) site.

'A supermarket for bombers with no one at the checkout'

Sunday Life

Warnings about IRA stealing explosives ignored, claims new book

By Ciaran McGuigan, Chief Reporter
04 June 2006

THE Dublin government ignored repeated warnings that the IRA was able to steal explosives for its deadly bombing campaigns from right under their noses, according to a former Irish army officer.

The shocking claims are made in a new book - Speaking Truth to Power - by Londonderry-born author Don Mullan which tackles corruption in the Irish Defence Forces.

Ex-Irish army commandant Patrick Walshe was detailed to administer security at the Irish Industrial Explosives Plant at Clonagh, Co Meath in 1974.

The Irish Defence Forces took responsibility for security at the plant on behalf of the Department of Justice.

But Walshe's grim warnings to superiors that the plant was ripe to be targeted by paramilitaries looking for explosives went unheeded he claims.

Walshe told the author: "It was a supermarket for bombers with no one on-duty at the checkout."

It is believed explosives from the plant may not only have provided the firepower for the IRA's early 1970s bombing campaigns, but explosives from the same source, intercepted by the British security forces, had been used in the UVF bomb attacks on Dublin and Monaghan.

In 1972, a leading British civil servant was able to gain access to the plant posing as a friend of one of the plant's directors.

The ease with which he gained access confirmed British fears that the plant was wide open to exploitation by the IRA.

Commandant Walshe told the author that when he was handed responsibility for security at the plant two years later he immediately warned officials of the lapses in security that still existed.

He even photographed the ease with which bombers could gain access to the site and the explosives.

Another senior army officer, Colonel James Cogan, later described the situation as "a scandalous and criminal lack of security".

In one note to his superiors, three months after he first warned about the lack of security, Walshe warned about large quantities of explosive materials stored just yards from the factory flimsy perimeter fence.

In September 1974, he concluded: ". . . there can be no reasonable assurance that the source of bomb-making material in unauthorised hands has not come from the Irish Industrial Explosives Plant at Clonagh".

Walshe was even admonished for reporting the security lapses.

A fellow officer who reported the matter directly to the Irish Minister of Defence was later warned by his superiors that he had placed his military career in jeopardy.

Walshe said: "On February 6, 1975 unexpectedly, the military security duties at Clonagh were transferred to another unit.

"The Chief of Staff and security officials in the Department of Justice had failed to silence us, so the duty was returned to 'safer hands'.

"I had pointed out that there can be no confidence in the State Security System until the officials responsible for the scandal at Clonagh are identified and dealt with."

• Speaking Truth To Power by Don Mullan is published by Currach Press.

IRA 'had Garda insiders': new dossier claims

Sunday Life

04 June 2006

A dossier outlining alleged Garda/IRA collusion in the border areas is to be handed over to the Dublin Judge investigating the killings of RUC officers, Harry Breen and Bob Buchanan.

It is understood the dossier also pinpoints houses on the Cooley peninsula and Co Monaghan which were allegedly used by the IRA as interrogation and murder centres.

The 'collusion dossier' is the work of victim's worker, William Frazer and has taken several years to compile.

As well as the Breen and Buchanan murders, it includes information on the abduction and murder of former RUC Reservist, William Meaklin in August 1975.

There is information too on the infamous Tullyvallen and Kingsmills massacres, and several IRA gun attacks which killed RUC and UDR personnel in south Armagh

The activities of the IRA's notorious Internal Security Unit bosses and John Joe Magee and Freddie Scappaticci are also featured, and houses where they interrogated victims pinpointed.

"I know of two houses in the Omeath area where Magee and Scappaticci interrogated suspected security force informants," said Mr Frazer.

"There is evidence some of the suspects were executed at one of the houses. "

Mr Frazer claimed his dossier would show there were several IRA 'moles' active inside Garda stations along the border at the height of the Troubles.

The outspoken victims worker confirmed he would be travelling to Dublin to hand over his dossier over to Irish Judge, Peter Smithwick, who is heading the Dublin based investigation into allegations of Garda/IRA collusion.

The Tribunal is not expected to begin public hearings for several months.

Bid to unmask killer gang

Sunday Life

Exclusive by Ciaran McGuigan, Chief Reporter
04 June 2006

THESE are the men being quizzed by cops about the attempted murder of UVF double agent Mark Haddock. (Photo not here)

The man hiding behind the Hallowe'en mask is convicted blackmailer Willie 'Mr Muscles' Young, Haddock's former second-in-command in the Mount Vernon UVF.

Young was a regular in the public gallery during Haddock's trial for the attempted murder of pub doorman Trevor Gowdy, and wore this mask to hide his face from the media as he went in and out of the Laganside court complex.

In spite of his public support for Haddock, Sunday Life understands Young was arrested in north Belfast on Friday morning and was last night still being quizzed by cops about the murder bid on his former friend.

Also being questioned was Darren Moore, who stood beside Haddock in the dock charged in relation to the attempted murder of Gowdy.

Moore - who has also been questioned about the UVF murder of former UDA commander Tommy English in 2000 - was eventually cleared of the attack on Gowdy.

A judge stayed the case against Moore after the doorman suffered a nervous breakdown in the witness box before Moore's lawyer could cross-examine him.

Special Branch agent Haddock was last night continuing to recover in the Royal Victoria Hospital after being shot six times in the body when he was lured to a meeting on the Doagh Road, Newtownabbey last Tuesday.

Loyalist sources have told Sunday Life that the attempt on Haddock's life was carried out with the full knowledge of the UVF's leadership.

According to those sources, the UVF's Shankill Road-based chief-of-staff gave the green light for the murder of Haddock.

And the loyalist paramilitary group's 'brigadier' in South East Antrim is believed to have given the nod to Haddock's would-be killers.

It is understood that cops have already spoken to Haddock as he recovers under armed guard in hospital.

They have not yet taken a full statement about the murder bid from the Special Branch informer, but it is understood that Haddock has been willing to identify the man who set him up for murder and the other men who joined him in the murder bid.

And he has told his family that they may have to leave Ulster if he now gives evidence against his attackers.

Sunday Life understands that three men were involved in the attempt on Haddock's life.

As he arrived at the arranged meeting place near Mossley Orange Hall last Tuesday, the man who had set up the meeting got out of front passenger seat of a car and started talking to Haddock.

While they were talking, it is believed a second man got out of the back of the car and opened fire on Haddock with a small calibre handgun with a fitted silencer.

The gunman fired six shots into Haddock's body before the two men then fled with their waiting driver.

Police involved in the investigation were yesterday carrying out further searches of properties in greater Belfast.

Two men continued to help them with their inquiries, a spokesman said.

Ex-cop's fury at 'licence to kill' agent

Sunday Life

By Stephen Gordon
04 June 2006

JOHNSTON Brown - the retired CID detective who says shot loyalist Mark Haddock was given a "licence to kill" by Special Branch officers - says he is appalled that police have not investigated his claims.

Mr Brown says he has felt like a "voice in the wilderness" after revealing how a gang of UVF killers from Mount Vernon were allowed to kill and kill again.

He says Raymond McCord, who son Raymond jnr was brutally murdered by a UVF gang, is right to demand that Chief Sir Hugh Orde have Haddock questioned.

And he says the PSNI appeared more concerned that revelations in his book Into The Dark would breach official secrets rather than investigate the allegations that a serial killer (Haddock) and his murderous gang became untouchables.

"Haddock was at large and was a threat to public safety but the police never came to speak me," said Mr Brown.

"No one from the Historical Enquiries team has come to talk to me about these murders," he said.

"How loud do you have to shout? The police were trying to ignore what I was saying."

Mr Brown also revealed how Police Ombudsman investigators had to switch the venue of a meeting with him in 2004 because of Haddock.

"I was to have met them in the La Mon House Hotel but the venue had to be switched because it was discovered Mark Haddock was meeting his Branch handlers at the same hotel."

Mr Brown said a teenage Mark Haddock was recruited as a CID informer in 1984 and became a Special Branch agent in 1991.

The ex-CID man recalls Haddock crying like a baby and confessing to the 1993 sectarian killing of Catholic woman Sharon McKenna.

But Haddock was not prosecuted because he was a protected Branch agent.

He says following Sharon McKenna's murder Haddock became a monster who was behind a string of brutal UVF slayings.

In his best selling book, Mr Brown had only identified the agent and serial killer as X but he named Haddock on a UTV Insight documentary on Thursday.

Mr Brown says other agents in the UVF gang, identified as Y and Z in the book, remain at large and were also involved in murders.

He says he has since been tipped off that the PSNI may arrest him for breaching the official secrets.

Mr Brown says that while he is protecting many official secrets he will not stand by and allow public safety to be threatened by a culture of protecting dangerous men like Haddock from arrest and conviction.

"It would not be tolerated anywhere else in the United Kingdom or, indeed, in the world. But it seems no one wants to bring Haddock to book," he said.

"I believe there should be no hiding place for these people," he said.

Informer linked to 21 murders

Sunday Life
04 June 2006

SPECIAL Branch informer Mark Haddock has been linked to 21 murders and branded a serial killer.

He was publicly identified as being involved in nine murders by Irish Labour TD Pat Rabbitte using Dail privilege.

He named the victims as being:

Sharon McKenna in 1993;

Catholic builders Gary Convie and Eamon Fox in 1994;

Alleged informer Thomas Sheppard in 1996;

Protestant clergyman Rev David Templeton in 1997;

Billy Harbinson in 1997;

Raymond McCord jnr in 1997;

Former UDA commander Tommy English 2000;

David Greer in 2000.

McCord: Arrest Haddock

Sunday Life

04 June 2006

THE father of a UVF murder victim last night repeated calls for Special Branch agent Mark Haddock to be arrested in his hospital bed.

Raymond McCord, whose son Raymond jnr was battered to death almost nine years ago, wants Haddock charged in relation to a string of murders carried out by the Mount Vernon UVF since the early 1990s.

"I am calling on Hugh Orde to arrest Haddock in his hospital bed and charge him in relation to the murders that have been carried out by his gang."

And he called on the 108 members of the Assembly to back his calls for a full public inquiry into the role played by security forces informers in paramilitary murders.

Haddock is currently on bail awaiting the outcome of his trial for the attempted murder of pub doorman Trevor Gowdy.

He is also the subject of an upcoming report by the Police Ombudsman which is said to be damning in highlighting Haddock's activities while he was a Special Branch agent.

Excavation for underground station will affect park for up to three years

Sunday Business Post

By Pat Leahy
04 June 2006

A large part of St Stephen’s Green in Dublin will be closed to allow the building of an underground rail station.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usMost of the park is likely to be excavated and construction will continue for two to three years, as part of the building of the new metro and rail network. The Railway Procurement Agency (RPA) is in negotiations with Dublin City Council, the Office of Public Works and Irish Rail about the routing of the proposed metro – which will run to the airport – and the Heuston-Docklands underground railway. They will both run through the underground station at St Stephen’s Green.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Transport said that the metro proposals, including the St Stephen’s Green plan, would be put to the Minister for Transport, Martin Cullen, ‘‘after the summer’’.

The St Stephen’s Green station is a key part of the €34.4 billion Transport 21 plan announced by the minister last year.

At the time, Cullen said that the station would be completed by 2009, although several sources said that the deadline was optimistic. A spokesman for the RPA said that discussions were continuing as to where ‘‘within the Green’’ the new station would be located.

‘‘There’ll be an engineering logic to the location,” he said. ‘‘Some of the park will be closed, there’s no doubt about that. I don’t think all of it will be closed.”

Unionist turmoil over UVF shooting

Sunday Times

Liam Clarke
June 04, 2006

DAVID ERVINE, the leader of the Progressive Unionist party, has predicted overtures from the Ulster Unionist party (UUP) to the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) will eventually result in peace moves. Sir Reg Empey, the UUP leader, is facing increasing criticism for accepting Ervine’s party, the political wing of the UVF, into the Ulster Unionist grouping in the Northern Ireland assembly.

Empey’s dilemma has become particularly acute following the attempted murder earlier last week of Mark Haddock, a police informer within the UVF’s Mount Vernon unit.

Lady Sylvia Hermon, the UUP’s sole Westminster MP, has spoken of her “great distress” at the decision to treat with Ervine’s party, and there is widespread criticism of the move within the UUP.

Sources have told the Sunday Times that the attack on Haddock, 36, was ordered by the UVF’s East Antrim brigadier, another police informer known as Mr Y, but was not sanctioned by the UVF’s central leadership. The leader of the UVF in Mount Vernon assisted with the disposal of the vehicle.

Two men currently being questioned about the killing by police are understood not to have had any direct involvement in the murder. Haddock, who was shot in the stomach, arm, back and chest with a low velocity weapon, has been able to speak to police and identify his attackers.

One was a close friend of 20 years who lured him to the area near Mossley Mill in the Doagh Road area of Newtownabbey where he was shot. When Haddock arrived the “friend” got out of his car and another man, who had been hiding in the car, sprang up and shot him.

The UUP decision to allow Ervine to join its assembly group would give the party an extra ministerial seat at Sinn Fein’s expense if a power-sharing executive is formed.

Despite her discomfort, Hermon said the move could prove worthwhile if it helped to deliver UVF decommissioning. Even so, it is a continuing embarrassment to the conservative and middle-class UUP to be linked to an organisation engaged in numerous bloody feuds.

The UVF’s ceasefire is not recognised by the British government and the Independent Monitoring Commission has linked the organisation to violence, drug-dealing and criminality.

Security experts discredit claim that McGuinness was M16 spy

Sunday Times

June 04, 2006

A DOCUMENT purporting to show that Martin McGuinness, Sinn Fein’s chief negotiator, was an agent for MI6, Britain’s secret intelligence service, is a fake, according to senior security sources.

It was obtained by Martin Ingram, a former agent handler with the British Army’s force research unit, with the help of Kevin Fulton, a disgruntled former agent who is trying to pressurise his spymasters into paying him a pension.

The document was offered to the Sunday World and The Observer by a journalist who has worked extensively on stories with an intelligence angle. The Observer decided not to run it, neither did The Sunday Times, which obtained the document independently.

Ingram believes it is genuine, but last night Fulton said he knew nothing about it and had no idea whether it was authentic or not.

Ingram said the source of the document was a Special Branch officer who had worked with Fulton. Although Ingram had never met the officer, he had seen him leaving the document at a “dead letter box” or secret pick-up point.

“I am satisfied by the authenticity of this source, who has provided useful information in the past,” Ingram added. He gave the officer’s name to The Sunday Times for purposes of authentication. He had been told the officer could not be contacted because he was on holiday abroad.

Inquiries have confirmed that no detective using the name mentioned by Ingram is serving with Special Branch or CID. Neither is this person on the electoral register nor in the phone book. A uniformed constable with a similar name is serving in Northern Ireland but he said he knew nothing of Fulton, Ingram or MI6.

The name was not included on a list of RUC “handlers” that Fulton had previously given to The Sunday Times. This indicates the name, like the document, is a fabrication.

There were no security markings on the document, as would be usual with secret papers. Ingram said there had been MI6 classification on the original document, but this had been removed to protect the source. Ingram, who lives abroad, refused to make the originals available and turned down a Sunday Times offer to fly him to the UK to recover them.

The McGuinness affair may be linked to Fulton’s campaign to force the British Army to pay him a pension and a lump sum for the time he was an undercover agent in south Armagh.

In the past he has provided useful intelligence, even giving a possible warning on the Omagh bombing, but Sir Ronnie Flanagan, the former RUC chief constable, has said he is “an intelligence nuisance”.

This was a reference to an incident when Fulton burnt a vehicle kitted out with expensive bugging and tracking devices that he had been given for spying missions. In another incident he sent MI5 on a wild-goose chase looking for IRA arms across the UK. The cost of this exercise, motivated by a dispute with his handlers, was estimated at £2m (€2.9m).

The bogus document at the centre of the McGuinness affair purports to show McGuinness, code named J118, and an MI6 officer referred to as G, planning a series of proxy bomb attacks on British Army checkpoints across the province. The attacks, which took place at the end of 1990, claimed six lives.

The document is a transcript of a conversation but MI5, MI6, military intelligence and RUC Special Branch reports only ever contain summaries of what is said. “It is like no report I have ever seen,” said a senior intelligence officer. He added that, to his knowledge, McGuinness did not work for MI6.

Breakthrough in Dublin Monaghan bomb inquiry

Sunday Times

Enda Leahy
June 04, 2006

A BRITISH Army intelligence officer has provided vital new evidence to Patrick McEntee in his inquiry into the Dublin Monaghan bombings of 1974, the largest terrorist attacks carried out in the republic, according to one of the victims.

Last week McEntee was given a two-month extension for his inquiry after reporting that he had made a key breakthrough in the investigation. He submitted an interim report to the government on Tuesday, which said he had met an unnamed source of information “outside the state”.

Edward O’Neill, whose father was killed in front of him by the bomb in Dublin, and who is suing the state in the High Court to establish a full and open inquiry, said political and intelligence sources informed him last week that McEntee had met Lieutenant Colonel Peter Maynard, now employed at the British Ministry of Defence (MoD).

Maynard was interviewed by a previous inquiry into the bombings, carried out by Justice Henry Barron, and was named in Oireachtas committee hearings following Barron’s report.

Maynard, an explosives and ordnance expert, was based in Northern Ireland at the time of the bombings and named in the House of Commons after visiting Dublin in 1974, two months after the attack, in an attempt to recruit a serving Irish army officer as a British agent.

According to O’Neill, Maynard may have supplied McEntee with the identity of gardai who acted as British agents or were involved in the aborted garda investigation following the bombings. The attacks, on May 17, 1974, involved the highest death toll in a single day during the Troubles, killing 33 people.

This weekend the MoD refused to deny the claim that the officer had cooperated with the inquiry. A spokesman said they could not comment and initially requested Maynard’s name be withheld because of “D-notice issues”. D-notices are issued to the media to prevent the publication of information judged to be a threat to national security.

It is understood that any interview with Maynard would have required the sanction of the MoD and a review of any possible breach of the Official Secrets Act.

Last week an Irish government official confirmed that McEntee’s interview “outside the state” was in London and that during “informal” exchanges with Irish officials, McEntee had been advised to continue his inquiry if he believed information could be gleaned in relation to the gardai and their 1974 investigation. McEntee refused to comment on the claim last week.

Barron’s inquiry found evidence that Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) terrorists who carried out the attack had help from British state agencies.

Previous reports into the bombings, including one from a British army bomb disposal expert who submitted a 100-page report to the Barron inquiry in 2003, suggested that the UVF terrorists who carried out the attacks were incapable of manufacturing the sophisticated explosives and timers used. It has been claimed that the material was supplied by the British military from explosives seized from the IRA.

Maynard may be in a position to offer an insight into possible links between British military intelligence and the UVF or British agents in the Irish security services. There is no suggestion that he helped supply explosives or was involved in the attacks or in any collusion with the UVF.

McGuinness in new spy claims

Sunday Times

June 04, 2006

Martin McGuinness denies spying for MI6. So how has he survived when those around him have been shot or jailed, asks Liam Clarke

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usRAYMOND GILMOUR, the “supergrass” who infiltrated the IRA in the early 1980s, used to wake up screaming following nightmares that Martin McGuinness was about to shoot him. But now he suspects his life was protected by his former IRA commander and that McGuinness, like him, was a British agent.

“I could never understand how I was allowed to run so long and do so much damage. Now I suspect that McGuinness was looking out for me,” said Gilmour, who penetrated the IRA and the smaller Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) between 1977 and 1982.

Gilmour isn’t alone in his suspicions. All over Northern Ireland people are reassessing McGuinness’s career in the wake of newspaper claims by Martin Ingram, a former military intelligence officer, that the man once regarded as an IRA hawk had been controlled by MI6 for at least two decades. A retired RUC special branch officer believes McGuinness was the MI5 agent code-named “Fisherman”, though others maintain that this agent may have been a person close to McGuinness.

Republican veterans point to the “charmed existence” enjoyed by McGuinness. He has held every senior position in the Provisional IRA since its inception, but has never been shot or injured nor served a serious prison sentence in the UK.

During the internment swoops he managed to avoid detention and travelled freely back and forth from Derry to his granny’s house in Donegal where he was nominally “on the run”. Statements by another supergrass, Robert Quigley, implicated McGuinness in organising IRA activity, but he was never charged.

While McGuinness remained beyond the law, his followers were jailed and killed. Now he has a holiday home in Donegal, writes poetry and enjoys fly-fishing.

Some links to MI6 were even approved by the IRA. McGuinness had a so-called “back channel” to Michael Oatley, a former head of MI6’s anti-terrorism operations.

Oatley negotiated an IRA ceasefire in 1974-75. After it broke down he left open a secret channel of communication with two intermediaries in Derry, Brendan Duddy and Denis Bradley. This allowed messages to be passed to the IRA and McGuinness.

Oatley did not meet McGuinness until February 1991, shortly before he retired. Then they talked for three hours in what proved to be a crucial meeting in the lead-up to the IRA ceasefire.

Another channel, this time one not sanctioned by the IRA leadership, existed for some years with the British Army in Derry. It operated through two Derry peace activists. They were forced to leave the city when they revealed that it had been used to wind down the local IRA campaign in parallel with reductions in military activity. McGuinness denied all knowledge of it though he had been involved.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usFar from being the IRA hawk of legend, McGuinness wound down the IRA campaign in Derry far sooner than elsewhere. In an interview with Anthony McIntyre, a former IRA prisoner who is now a historian and commentator, Sean MacStiofain, the Provisional IRA’s first chief of staff, said that McGuinness had lobbied for a ceasefire as early as 1972.

IRA veterans agree with Gilmour that McGuinness often promoted suspected informers to positions where they could do most damage. One example was Frank Hegarty, an agent who worked for Martin Ingram. He was suspected of being an informer, but McGuinness personally put him in charge of hiding newly imported weaponry from Libya. As head of the IRA Northern Command, McGuinness put his trust in Freddie Scappaticci, the British army’s most prized agent, to handle internal security.

After the Libyan weapons were seized, Hegarty was offered a new life in England by his handlers but came home and was shot dead.

In 1979 Brian Keenan, who was running a ruthless bombing campaign in Britain and Northern Ireland, was arrested after being flagged down by McGuinness on the roadway where they had a brief conversation. When he was in jail Keenan asked that McGuinness be investigated by the IRA, but he did not pursue the matter after he was released.

In November 1994 a police investigation, Operation Taurus, found three witnesses to implicate McGuinness in directing terrorism. It was halted with the appearance of a letter asking prosecutors to bear in mind that McGuinness would shortly be in talks with the government about the future of Northern Ireland.

His political value, underlined by his hotline to a senior MI6 officer, may be sufficient to explain why McGuinness has often seemed a protected species.

However, the revelations that Denis Donaldson, Sinn Fein head of administration at Stormont, and Freddie Scappaticci, the IRA’s deputy head of security, were both in the pay of the British have left many grass- roots republicans prepared to believe the worst of their leadership.

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