Yesterday and early this morning Blogger wasn't working, and I could not post to it , so you might want to check over at the main site to see if you missed anything cuz I don't want to go back and re-post here--it's too frustrating :@ :@ :@ Just click here:

---------> micheailin's


Men freed in murder inquiry

Two men arrested in connection with the murder of a west Belfast father-of-six last month have been released without charge.



Belfast separation fences divide, but slow violence

By Sharon Sadeh

Omagh detectives release woman

A woman being questioned by detectives about the Omagh bombing and other dissident republican activities has been released without charge.

The murder of Peter McBride


(actual article from link above has hot links for you to follow)

**11 years ago today

The murder of Peter McBride

Brief introduction to the case of Peter Mc Bride

September 4 1992 Peter Mc Bride, 18 year-old father of two young daughters, was stopped by a foot patrol of the Scots Guards in Spamount St, off the New Lodge Rd in Belfast. After an identity check and a thorough body search, which found him to be unarmed, Peter ran from the patrol and was chased by the soldiers. During the chase the soldier in charge ordered his men " don't shoot". Seconds later a witness heard the words "shoot the bastard ". Two soldiers, Guardsmen Mark Wright and Jim Fisher, shot at him, hitting him twice in the back from a range of some 70 yards. Peter, seriously wounded, stumbled through a house before collapsing in the back entry behind his sister’s house.

Below are some documents relating to this case.

Open letter from Jean Mc Bride to the Queen, May 13th 2002.

The judgement of the McBride Judicial Review, April 24th 2002.

Judgement delivered in McBride Judicial Review, April 17th 2002.

March 2002 Update.

Victim's mum pleads for 'end to agony', November 2001.

No Grazie to Scots Guards in Italy.

Declaration regarding the stationing in Germany of the two murderers of the Irish citizen Peter McBride. Our friends in the Peter McBride campaign in Germany have made the attached translation of the Petition they are bringing to the German Government in an effoert to have the two Scots Guards removed from Germany. Download the declaration as a Microsoft Word Document in a zip archive here. Please pass on the document to as many people as possible, sign it and return it to the address supplied.

Mc Bride International Day of Action / update

Call for Third International Day of Action on Mc Bride case

Peter McBride Judicial review - update day two (30/03/2001)

Peter McBride Judicial review - update day one (29/03/2001)

Peter McBride - German campaign (29/03/2001)

The full text of the adjournment debate on 13.12.00 in Dail Eireann, the Irish Parliament, on the decision by the British Army to retain Scots Guards Fisher and Wright. Contributions from Deputies Keaveney and Currie and the government response from Foreign Minister Brian Cowen.

Judical Review - The full hearing of the judicial review of the Army Board decision to retain in the British Army two soldiers convicted of the murder of Peter McBride will take place on March 29 and 30 2001

PFC statement on the new Secretary of State, Dr Reid, 'Has Serious Questions To Answer In Mc Bride Case'

A London based protest on behalf of the family of Peter McBride which is taking place on Saturday January 27, 2001.

A follow-up to British tabloid newspaper The News of the World article on the McBride case.

German Defence Minister requests explanation

Dail Eireann condemns the Scots Guards decision

Judical Review applied for in Mc Bride case / PFC publishes Restricted MOD document listing 'exceptional reasons'

'Christmas card' received from Scots Guards

Bloody Sunday relatives support McBride day of action

McBride Protesters at Mandelson Visit

Peter McBride - International Day of Action 1.12.00

Statement from US Congressman Walsh on McBride Case

November 24, 2000 - News on the Peter Mc Bride case, the murderers are to be retained in the British Army.

The December 2000 Day of Protest for the Peter McBride case.

The week of action planned for September 2000 around the Peter McBride case.

A chronology of events in the case of murdered teenager Peter McBride.

A June 2000 press release from the PFC calling for a zero tolerance murder policy

An article by Roy Greenslade in The Guardian referring to the Daily Mail coverage of the case, published on 22 November, 1999.

An open letter to author Tim Spicer, former Commanding Officer of the Scots Guards, published in "Ireland On Sunday", 31 October, 1999.

Saturday 4 September 1999 press release update on the judicial review of the Scots Guards decision. The link also contains a relevant article from the Irish News of the same date.

Wednesday 2 June 1999 press release update on the judicial review of the Scots Guards decision (Peter McBride case)

May 28 1999 Press release on the judicial review of the Scots Guards decision by the Army Board

September 2nd 1998 Update
Scots Guards Murderers Released
See the Secretary of State announcement on the matter here on the N. Ireland Office website.
Relatives For Justice comment on the release.
Further comment from the PFC, insensitivity shown towards Mc Bride family claims campaigners

The following article from the Pat Finucane Centre was published in the Irish News, Friday August 14, regarding the upcoming review of the life sentences imposed on two Scots Guards for the 1992 murder of Peter Mc Bride.The article includes testimony from a number of the soldiers involved in the incident that has never before been made public. It can be accessed here.

Briefing on the case of Peter McBride and the campaign to free his murderers.
See also weekly news updates 15th Feb 98, 2nd Feb 98, 30 Oct, 27 Oct, 1st June , 6th July, 3 August 97 and 30th September 1997

**neglected to put this in for those of you interested--no big surprise here...

The Sunday Times - Ireland

August 31, 2003

IRA ‘rewarded’ on-side media
Breandan Morley

SINN FEIN’S leading spindoctor has revealed some of the tricks of the trade. The party used its relationship with the IRA to manipulate media coverage, according to Danny Morrison, a former director of publicity for Sinn Fein.

Journalists who wrote articles favourable to republicans were “rewarded” with exclusive stories about the IRA and interviews with senior members of the paramilitary group, Morrison has revealed.

But reporters who criticised Sinn Fein were denied access to the IRA. Those who were persistently critical of the Provisionals were denied all co- operation by its political wing.

Morrison was head of the republican press centre in Belfast until 1990. Interviewed for a thesis on journalism in Northern Ireland by a student at Dublin City University, he outlined how he managed media coverage of Sinn Fein by cultivating selected journalists.

“We wanted to control everything,” he admitted. “If journalists wanted access to the IRA they had to come through us and then we get into a relationship and quid pro quos develop. If people got exclusive stuff from us, then you had a relationship with them where you would say, ‘Now we have a very important statement coming out tomorrow morning, so don’t let us down here,’ and so our story would maybe run as the top item.”

He added: “If I was giving somebody an exclusive story, making somebody, I expected them to promote something that maybe wasn’t as spectacular as the last thing they got.”

Journalists who were critical of Sinn Fein and the IRA risked being cut out of the loop altogether. Dawn Doyle, the party’s current director of publicity, admitted that the party had for some time refused to deal with The Sunday Times after it named prominent members of Sinn Fein as belonging to the IRA’s army council.



Outrage as top Loyalist is ‘fast-tracked’ for appeal

The Andersonstown News can exclusively reveal that top loyalist gangster Andre Shoukri is scheduled to have his case heard before the Court of Appeal on September 16.

Incredibly, Shoukri’s appeal is listed for hearing less than a year after he was first caught with a gun by the PSNI, according to legal sources.

On September 21 last year, Shoukri – whose previous convictions included extortion and malicious wounding – was stopped at a PSNI checkpoint at the Rathcoole estate in North Belfast.

The PSNI discovered that the loyalist hood was concealing a Walther pistol with 30 rounds of ammunition stuffed inside a sock.

Shoukri – the most senior member of the UDA/UFF in North Belfast – was then charged and remanded in custody to Maghaberry Prison.

On October 24, 2002, he unsuccessfully applied for bail.

During that court hearing a PSNI officer linked Shoukri to sectarian murders, attempted murders, intimidation, drugs, racketeering, moving counterfeit goods and orchestrating public disorder.

Amazingly, within three months Shoukri was back out on the streets.

The convicted thug was released after a second bail application on January 14, 2003.

Justice Nicholson stated that he was not satisfied the prosecution had made a case that Shoukri would be a danger to others if released on bail.

Accordingly, Shoukri was freed on £6,000 bail and a number of conditions were imposed on him.

Most of these conditions – including a night-time curfew and a fixed address – were subsequently rescinded on appeal to the High Court.

Shoukri maintained a high profile during the following five months of freedom, even finding time for a widely publicised street brawl outside a Belfast city centre nightclub on May 17, 2003.

A month later Shoukri’s full trial began at Belfast Crown Court.

And, on July 1, the notorious loyalist was sensationally acquitted of intent to endanger life – despite being found guilty of illegally possessing the Walther pistol and ammunition.

Sentencing Shoukri to six years imprisonment, Justice McCollum said the obtaining of the weapon was “tainted with a suspicion of criminal activity”.

Within days, lawyers acting for Shoukri had applied for bail once again, pending an appeal against the conviction.

Although this bail application was denied, Shoukri’s right of appeal was ‘fast-tracked’ for listing in early September.

One informed source said yesterday that the nature of the ‘fast-track’ appeal was “very quick, if not unprecedented”.

Following Shoukri’s imprisonment in July, the Lord Mayor of Belfast, Martin Morgan, expressed his concern about the handling of the case.

“The justice system under these circumstances needs to pay close attention to previous criminal offences, as in this case this sentence did not reflect the previous convictions of a man who quite clearly wears his badge on his sleeve,” said Mayor Morgan.

The treatment of Shoukri contrasts with the case of another North Belfast man, John O’Hagan.

Mr O’Hagan, from the nationalist New Lodge area, has now been on remand in Maghaberry Prison for seventeen months charged with possessing documents that could be useful to terrorists.

Despite raising £10,000 bail money and securing character references from a local priest, Mr O’Hagan has been refused bail at the High Court on five separate occasions.

When Shoukri’s appeal begins, he will have been arrested, charged, bailed, tried and his appeal started in the space of less than a year. Legal eagles are currently examining records to see if any other case has ever been processed so quickly.

Shoukri Fact file

September 21, 2002
Shoukri is caught red-handed with a pistol and ammunition at Rathcoole. He is charged and remanded to Maghaberry Prison.
October 24, 2002
Shoukri unsuccessfully applies for bail. A PSNI officer links him to widespread loyalist paramilitary activity in North Belfast.
January 14, 2003
Shoukri successfully applies for bail. Most of his bail conditions are subsequently rescinded on appeal.
July 1, 2003
Shoukri is acquitted of intent to endanger life, but found guilty of the lesser charge of illegal possession of a weapon and ammunition.
September 16, 2003
Shoukri’s appeal is ‘fast-tracked’ and scheduled for hearing less than a year after he was caught red-handed by the PSNI.

Journalist: Jarlath Kearney

IOL: Belfast loyalist ‘intent on ethnically cleansing Catholics’

Security sources in the North have claimed that the Ulster Defence Association’s new commander in north Belfast is intent on ethnically cleansing Catholics from a flashpoint area on his turf.

A loyalist mob, which included members of the UDA, forced two Catholic families to leave the Deerpark Road area last night.

The mob was armed with petrol bombs and other missiles and one man was injured by a flying brick during the expulsion.

The 33-year-old local UDA "brigadier", who is known as Bonzer, took over the north Belfast UDA after Andre Shoukri, nick-named the Egyptian, was jailed for possessing a loaded gun.

Bonzer and Shoukri were both imprisoned three years ago for trying to extort money from a restaurant owner who was forced to flee the North after giving evidence against the pair.

Bonzer was released 15 months later and has now taken over the UDA in north Belfast, where he is allegedly encouraging young loyalists to attack Catholic homes.

Two held in murder hunt

ic NorthernIreland - 'I Believe I Was Being Sacrificed'

**I try not to post too much of Fulton's slabbering, but I found this article interesting as an example of how much loyalty, so to speak, that a tout can expect from his handlers and how really stupid touts are to expect anything more. What you reap is what you sow.


::: u.tv :::

**The following is the full text, just for the record, of the statement issued by Óglaigh na hÉireann 31 August 2003 concerning "the disappeared."

We hope that the woman's remains found last week on a beach in Co Louth will bring closure to the trauma and suffering endured by the McConville family.

Over a month ago we passed on specific information in relation to sites where the bodies of Jean McConville and Columba McVeigh were buried.

This followed a complete review of all information available to us.

In the course of this review we revisited each case in detail.

We have also previously called for anyone with information to come forward.

In March 1999 the leadership of Oglaigh na hEireann, The IRA revealed the outcome of an 18-month investigation to locate the grave of nine people executed and buried by the IRA in a period from 1972 to 1981.

In initiating that investigation our intention was to do all within our power to redress injustices for which we accept full responsibility and to alleviate the suffering of the families, particularly those families who have been unable to bury or properly mourn their relatives.

Many complicating factors both hampered and protracted that investigation including the lapse of time, changes in leadership and death of members and former members of Oglaigh na hEireann.

Despite all of this the areas identified by us are the burial places of the people killed by the IRA.

There have been calls for us to provide information on other people who are missing at this time.

As previously stated by us we are not responsible for all those listed in the media as having gone missing over the past three decades.

We are responsible only for those we acknowledged in our statement of March 1999.

We were not involved in the recent disappearance of Gareth Ó Connor from Armagh. Anyone with information about this case should make that information available to the Ó Connor family.

Signed - P Ó Neill

Irish American Information Service

**It's interesting to note that whenever nationalists defend themselves against loyalist attacks, they are called "equally to blame."

09/03/03 14:27 EST
A Catholic man was hit in the face with a brick by a gang of loyalists during renewed sectarian violence in north Belfast.

The man suffered cuts and bruising after being hit in the face in the Deerpark Road area of the city.

The disturbances came as a Catholic family was moving out of the area, following a series of attacks and threats against them in the past week.

Windows in a number of Catholic homes along the road have been attacked since last weekend.

A number of homes along Deerpark Road have had their windows broken and are now boarded up.

Sinn Féin blamed loyalists for the violence, but community workers insist republican gangs are equally to blame.

Sinn Féin North Belfast representative Gerry Kelly has called on Unionists politicians and community leaders to end the campaign of intimidation and attack being orchestrated by paramilitaries against people living in the Deerpark Road area.

Mr Kelly said: "Thirty years ago unionist paramilitaries tried to burn people out their homes in exactly this same area. This week alone 2 families have been forced to leave the area because of attacks and intimidation. These attacks are clearly being orchestrated by the UDA. Today's attack is a concerted attack on this community. It is very serious."

"It is time that Unionist political leaders and community leaders used their energies to bring an end to this anti- nationalist pogrom."

Statement from O/C Stiofán Ó Dáláigh at Bundoran (taken from the IRBB)

“REVOLUTIONARY greetings and solidarity is extended to all true Republicans gathered here today in Bundoran for the annual H-Block Hunger Strike Commemoration.
Today Republican POWs find themselves forced into a situation in which they are once again on dirty protest. Those of us who remember the dark years from '78-'81 know only too well what such a protest means.

Down the long years of Ireland's freedom struggle, Republican POWs have found themselves in a battle of wits with those who have occupied our country and oppressed our people for over 800 years, Republican POWs once again face a Brit campaign to criminalize them.

Here in Maghaberry prison, England's criminalisation machine is in full swing, and once again Republican POWs commitment in refusing to be criminalized is solid. We refuse to let England criminalize over 800 years of Ireland's freedom struggle.

Maghaberry prison is run by a regime who know only brutality; their policy of forced integration is witness to that, as Republican POWs it's our right to have political status, utmost in our demand for political status is the demand for segregation.

The prison regime's policy of forced integration of both Republican and Loyalist prisoners has seen Republican POW's suffer death threats, not only to them but their families from loyalists and has seen a number of Republican POWs beaten and brutalised by loyalists who outnumber them in many cases 16 to 1, this takes place under the watchful eye of the screws, who don't hide their own loyalism.

The worst of those attacks took place this week when two Republicans were badly beaten by seven loyalists who forced their way into a Republican POW's cell, a gun was also put to the prisoners' head but it jammed.

There is little doubt that if this policy of forced integration isn't ended and segregation put in place, that a Republican prisoner will die; this is a fact of life within the walls of Maghaberry. It is clear England has set out to repeat history, learning nothing from her folly of the past; her blood lust is never ending.

On ending I call on everyone to highlight our struggle for segregation. The Republican POW's refuse to be criminalized, support us in our struggle. Let the injustice and brutality of Maghaberry be known to the world.

Sitting in this prison cell, the faces of the martyrs I can see clearly. We remember with great pride the 12 hunger strike martyrs who died within Brit prison walls and Pat Ward, who died as a result of hunger strike.

They are the brave and shine a light to those of us who struggle today.

Tiocfaidh ár lá.”

— Stiofán Ó Dáláigh
O/C Maghaberry Prison
Occupied Six Counties

ic Derry - Sister of Soldiers' Murder Victim Stands for Parliament

ic Derry - Maghaberry Prisoners Win Segregation

Sep 2 2003

by Eamonn Houston

LOYALIST AND republican inmates held in Maghaberry prison - including three Derry republicans - are due to be separated within the walls of the prison.

Dubbed the North's 'powderkeg prison', tensions have been simmering between loyalists and republicans forced to share cells and prison areas, culminating in a republican dirty protest and rooftop protests.

The 'Journal' can reveal today that the British Government is poised to announce "separation" of loyalist and republican inmates...


Register to vote again

Many people will not be registered to vote if the Electoral Office doesn’t publicise their current campaign, it has been claimed.

Upper Falls Councillor Michael Browne said that the Electoral Office’s current approach will do nothing to ensure that everyone entitled to a vote is registered.

“Representatives from the Electoral Office are currently working on a door to door registration process in West Belfast,” said Councillor Browne. “There are however a number of difficulties surrounding the current operation.”

Cllr Browne said that there has been no publicity advising people of the current registration drive and that people who registered during the last round of registration may believe that they remain registered.

“People need to be alerted to the fact that if they do not register to vote between now and October 15 then they will be excluded from new electoral registers, thereby losing their voting entitlement.”

The Sinn Féin councillor said that electoral staff are only carrying forms addressed to people who have previously registered. This means that provision is not made for first time voters or people who failed to register during the last round.

“Despite the probable requirement at the next election of photographic identification people are not being asked whether they are in need of ID or not. Considering that as many as 132,000 names had dropped from the last six county electoral register because of changes to the registration process one would have thought that the Electoral Office would have gone out of its way to do everything possible to maximise the numbers registering this time around.”

Journalist: Staff Reporter



Echoes of 1969 as loyalist mob drives families out of homes...


SDLP former MLA Alban Maginness has appealed for Protestant community leaders in North Belfast to use their influence and stop sectarian attacks that have led to three families fleeing their homes near Ardoyne.

A gang of up to 30 loyalist youths attacked homes on Deerpark Road on Friday. Last week our sister paper the North Belfast News told of the plight of one woman whose cat had been brutally mutilated and found dead at the door of her house. The young mother-of-two last week fled her home after the spate of attacks, blaming loyalists from nearby Glenbryn.

Sinn Féin’s Gerry Kelly who said his party was worried that the incidents were an attempt to drive Catholics out of the largely mixed area has also condemned the attack.

On Friday loyalists attacked a further two homes close to Alliance Avenue. The houses are opposite sectarian graffiti daubed in huge letters on the pavement. The writing says, “Kill all Huns. The only good Hun is a dead 1. Ardoyne IRA”.

Loyalists painted slogans on the houses whilst the bottles and golf balls were thrown at the homes.

One man whose home was one of those attacked was too frightened to be identified but said the motive was purely sectarian.

“I wouldn’t wish anyone any harm and I wouldn’t wish this brought upon anyone from any part of the community. It is just complete intimidation and if it was to happen to someone from what they would say the other side of the fence, I would equally sympathise.”

Alban Maginness said it was a worrying development for people living in the area and called for restraint.

“These incidents have been occurring over the past six months or more and they were clearly low grade but still disturbing attacks and cause damage to houses. But certainly the ferocity of these incidents has increased during the summer. It is a very worrying and disturbing development and particularly distressing for the people that were living there. It serves no purpose and I hope those with influence of paramilitaries exercise restraint in relation to this,” he said.

Gerry Kelly said he had no doubt the attacks were the work of loyalists.

“We know it is loyalists, and that is worrying because this is an area over the last 30 years that did not really feature in terms of the type of sectarian attacks that are now happening. We are worried that this is an attempt to move more Catholics out.”

Journalist: Andrea McKernon

Vol. Tom Williams


On the 2nd sept 1942, nineteen year old Thomas J Williams, Captain of C Company, Belfast Brigade was executed in the Crumlin Road Jail.

Following an Easter Sunday parade, Tom Williams led a six man unit of local Volunteers in a diversionary attack on the RUC.

The aim was to draw the RUC into the Clonard area in order that a Republican Commemoration could take place elsewhere in the city.

Having fired some shots over an RUC police van, the unit then made its way to a safe house, unaware that it had been under surveillance.

Soon, the house was surrounded and, as the police attempted to force an entrance into the house, an RUC officer was shot dead and Tom Williams was wounded three times.

While in hospital, Tom, as OC, claimed full responsibility for the RUC officers death.

Tom was sentenced to death along with his five comrades. The five volunteers sentenced with Tom were later reprieved.

Tom Williams, however, was to be executed in order to appease a very disgruntled RUC out for revenge.

Five out of the six IRA men receiving a reprieve was a blow they sorely felt.

Tom's final words to the Republican movement were to prove to be an inspiration for generations of Irish people the world over.

"Carry on, no matter what odds are against you; Carry on , no matter what the enemy call you; Carry on no matter what torments are inflicted on you. The road to freedom is paved with suffering, hardship and torture; Carry on my gallant comrades, until that certain day".

After Tom was murdered, his body was placed in a makeshift coffin which was carried by four prison officers and lowered into an unmarked grave near the jail's hospital. ''T.W.'' was later scratched on the wall.

On Wedensday, 19th January 2000, after a campaign by Republicans for over half a century, Tom Williams' remains were reinterred from his unmarked grave inside Belfast Prison to finally be buried in the family plot, Milltown cemetery

After Fifty Seven years Tom Williams is finally free.

**This is from the site of the Vol. Tom Williams Republican Flute Band Glasgow


BBC NEWS | Northern Ireland | Pair held in Omagh inquiry

ic NorthernIreland - Lord Mayor Faces Censure Over Decision to Snub NIO Minister

ic NorthernIreland - Pain That Will Never End

ic NorthernIreland - Driver was 'Accident Waiting to Happen'

ic NorthernIreland - Arsonists Fail to Ruin Pupils' First Day Back


TUESDAY 02/09/2003 08:08:40 UTV
Ex-prisoners suffer 'discrimination'

Former prisoners released in Northern Ireland under the Good Friday Agreement are suffering discrimination as a result of their paramilitary past, a report claimed today.

The report by a republican ex-prisoner's group, Coiste na n-Iarchimi has called for an end to barriers to the appointment of ex-prisoners in vital public services.

The organisation's chairman, former IRA hunger-striker Raymond McCartney said; "In this report we point out how little has been done to address the legal barriers facing ex-prisoners.

"The point is most startlingly highlighted by correspondence from the Ambulance Service indicating that political ex-prisoners 'would not be considered suitable for appointment in a public service such as ours.'

"We are aware of a similar policy approach by many other public bodies.

"Such attempts to persist in the criminalisation of republican ex-prisoners are bizarre in a society where you can be an ex-prisoner and a minister in the Assembly, common elected member of Parliament in Westminster, or a TD in Leinster House (the Irish republic's Parliament), the mayor of Belfast or the headmaster of a secondary school.

"Yet you can be barred from providing a vital service to your local community as a taxi driver or an ambulance worker or a postal worker."

The release of loyalist and republican prisoners under the Good Friday Agreement was one of the most controversial aspects of the 1998 accord.

Unionists expressed their revulsion at the release of paramilitary prisoners from the Maze Prison.

Ex-prisoners have maintained for the past five years that they are still being penalised for having being in jail despite the promise of equal treatment for all under the Agreement.

Mr McCartney, a senior Sinn Fein member in Derry, called for the law to be changed to ensure ex-prisoners did not suffer discrimination anymore.

"We continue to believe that those in positions of authority within government and statutory agencies must take note of the changed environment in which we live and amend legislation and administrative practice accordingly."

The full contents of the report will be discussed at the annual gneral meeting of Coiste na n-Iarchimi at the Gasyard building in Derry.

The Shamrockshire Eagle: 1st September 2003

**I've pointed it out many times, but I have to say again that THE SHAMROCKSHIRE EAGLE is one of the best Irish blogs--or any other kind of blog--on the net. This week there are two, to me, especially moving sections from it:

The Editorial: "We have Been Here Before"

and the last of "History Repeats"

If it were anyone else, I would copy and paste, but I really want you to go to the source and read the whole thing.


**This link to a short piece about the Ballyseedy massacre and the post from AN PHOBLACHT following shortly originated from a post over at Danny Morrison's gaff by Michael Kerry (see links). I think the more bits of information and links you see, the more you can investigate and research on your own, which can't help but further your understanding and hopefully tweak your interest.

Irish Civil war

At midnight on March 6th 1923, nine prisoners were brought to Ballyseedy Wood near Ballyseedy cross. They were Pat Buckley, John Daly, Pat Hartnett, Michael O Connell, John O Connor, George O Shea, Tim Tuomey , James Walsh and Steven Fuller. As they were getting into the van, the guard told them that this would be the last cigarette they'd ever smoke. When they got there,they were tied around a log and the mine was detonated.Most of them survived the initial blast but the soldiers threw grenades at them. All died, except for Steven Fuller- the force of the blast threw him into the nearby river Lee where he crawled for about 500 yds to Currans House. They took him in and hid him in a dug-out at the back of their farm for some weeks. He was the only one who survived the blast. There were two more mines detonated at that time also- one at Cahersiven and the other at Countess Bridge in Killarney. Only one man survived those two blasts. However the Ballyseedy massacre remains one of the worst atrocities of the Irish Civil War.

The Story Of The Drumboe Martyrs

This a a good site with photographs as well. Here's the overview:


(Drumboe Castle as it is now--other photos can be seen by clicking on original link

On a March morning in 1923, four Republican soldiers were put to death at Drumboe Castle, Stranorlar, Co. Donegal. Their execution at the time was described as the greatest tragedy of that period. Comd. Gen. Charlie Daly who hailed from Firries, Co Kerry was a man of outstanding character with a first-class National record. In "Kerry's Fighting Story", his name and that of his brother Tom who rose to the rank of Lt. General were mentioned time and again in its pages.

In 1920, Cathal Brugha, Minister for Defence, on whose shoulders rested the entire responsibility for the military offensive against the British, selected Charlie Daly for an important position by sending him to the North. Daly accepted the position and proceeded North without delay, arriving in Co. Tyrone, where he at once started to carry out the task set aside for him. It was during his time there that he contacted that noble son of Co. Derry, Brig. General Sean Larkin, who also came of an outstanding Catholic and Fenian family.

Early in 1922, other Kerry men arrived in the North, including Timothy O'Sullivan and Daniel Enright of Listowel, who were destined to face the Firing Squad, along with Daly and Larkin.

The Republicans of Donegal have already honoured them by a fitting Memorial at the very spot where they fell. They will again be honoured in this year of 1958, when a further Memorial will be unveiled to Tyrconnell's martyred dead at the gate leading to Drumboe Castle (see image below).

By so doing we, the Republicans of Donegal, will testify to the sentiments of love and pride with which those four Martyrs who gave their lives for the cause of Freedom on that bleak March morning 35 years ago are remembered.

Let us, the people of Tyrconnell and the North, re-affirm our unwavering allegiance to the Republic for which they suffered martyrdom. Their deaths that morning did not mean that all was lost, for the very reason that the grave made holy by the corpses of the martyrs it received served only to arouse in Tyrconnell - and everywhere in Ireland - the deepest feelings and admiration for the four young men, put to death for no greater crime than for loving Ireland and opposing British injustice imposed on their dear land by the Treaty of surrender and shame.

Every year since, the sons and daughters of Tyrconnell and other Northern Counties have remembered their sacrifice, and remembering have been mindful of the ideals they cherished for her complete liberation from alien control.

To conclude, let us be mindful of the fact that there are those who to-day are telling us to slow up and to adopt a policy of moderation. Should moderation mean pressing on for Freedom with wise restraint and calm reasonableness then it is a virtue which all must seek to achieve in this critical period of our country's history.

We cannot afford to slow up. We have a moral obligation to press on towards freedom because we have a date with Destiny. In God's name, let us keep moving.

James Quinn
Glenvilla House


The Story of the Drumboe Martyrs

This year marked the 80th anniversary of the end of the Irish Civil war, a sad and tragic chapter in our country's history. One of the tragic stories of that era occurred in a woodland called Drumboe on the outskirts of Stranorlar in Co. Dongal. It was at this spot that four young republican soldiers were brought to be executed by soldiers of the Free State Army on 14 March 1923.

Irish Surnames

**Saw this page today and thought the transformations of the names was especially interesting.


SUNDAY 31/08/2003 08:45:44 UTV (see links)
SF election nominees announced

Sinn Fein have the potential to send a team of MPs to the European parliament from both sides of the Irish border, the party claimed last night. By:Press Association

Party chairman Mitchel McLaughlin said Sinn Fein`s vote should continue to grow in Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic at the European Parliament elections next year.

The former Stormont Assembly Member made the claim after announcing three colleagues would seek next week the nomination to be the party`s Munster candidate in the Irish Republic.

The field for the Munster selection convention next Saturday will be Cork councillor Jonathan O`Brien, Nancy Irwin from Limerick and David Cullinane from Waterford.

Mr McLoughlin, who has decided not to contend next year`s European election north of the border, said: ``The next 12 months are likely to be dominated by events in Europe as the Irish government prepares to take over the presidency of the European Union, the possibility of an EU referendum and election to the European Parliament.

Sinn Fein has already chosen Marylou McDonald to contest the Dublin seat and she is hotly tipped to win. The election convention for Munster will take place next Saturday and in the Six Counties (Northern Ireland) early next week.

``I would like to wish the people contesting the Munster convention well.

``With preparations for the European elections well under way Sinn Fein can make real and significant growth.

``For the first time ever, next June, Sinn Fein has the potential to take several seats in the European elections and to send to Europe for the first time ever an all-Ireland team.``

Sinn Fein will be hoping to build on last year`s General Election successes in the Irish Republic which saw the party increase its number of TDs from one to five.

The party also has high hopes for its candidate north of the border having overtaken its rival, the SDLP in the 2001 Westminster and local government elections in the battle for the popular vote within nationalism.

Mr McLoughlin had been expected to run next year in Northern Ireland after he narrowly missed out on becoming an MEP in 1999.

However, Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams confirmed the former Foyle MLA had not put his name forward because he wants to concentrate on the development of the party next year on both sides of the border.

Former Stormont Health Minister Bairbre de Brun and the former chairman of the Assemblies Finance and Personnel Committee, Francie Malloy, are seeking the party`s nomination in Northern Ireland instead.

Nobel Peace Prize laureate John Hume has confirmed that he is defending his seat again for the SDLP and Democratic Unionist leader the rev Ian Paisley will be hoping to continue his tradition of topping the poll in every European Parliament election in Northern Ireland.

Sinn Fein is likely to argue during the Northern Ireland campaign that it is not targeting Mr Hume`s seat in the three seater constituency but instead it believes there is a real chance of a second nationalist seat.

Ulster Unionist MEP Jim Nicholson narrowly edged out Mr McLoughlin in the 1999 contest.

West Belfast MP Mr Adams will attend next Saturday`s selection convention in Limerick for the Munster candidate.

ic NorthernIreland - A Dead Man Walking Who Just Can't Stop Talking

**More of Kevin Fulton's yammering


Photo of Ciarán and daughter Fiona

**Many thanks to Sean MacAodh over at the IRBB (see links) for finding and posting this.


Diane V. Byrnes, Producer and Host


AUGUST 31, 2003


DVB: Ladies and Gentlemen, this is a recap of Ciaran's situation. British authorities charged Ferry with 'Possession of Weapons and Conspiracy to Murder Persons Unknown' He was convicted in a British Diplock court, designed to obtain maximum convictions for the state. There are biased judges, no juries, and the defendants are accorded little or no defense. Ciaran served 7 1/2 years of a 22 year sentence for being a passenger in a car that contained automatic weapons in the trunk. He was released from Long Kesh as a result of the Good Friday Agreement in July 2000. He had met and married an American woman, Heaven Sheehan and they lived in Andersonstown. The RUC had informed Ciaran twice that he was on the Loyalist hit list.

They came back to Denver for a family vacation over the holidays. Heaven learned she was pregnant so they decided to raise their child in America. Ciaran was on a 90 day visa waiver. Although this time framed lapsed, Ciaran did file all the necessary paperwork and Immigration authorities did approve his I-130 application and work permit. He was in the process of seeking permanent residency.

Ciaran & Heaven moved to New Jersey. In January 2003 they were requested to be in Denver for a routine hearing for his permanent residency. The Ferry's had requested the hearing be heard in New Jersey, but that was denied.

On January 30, 2003, after a short meeting with immigration officials, Ciaran & Heaven were separated for individual hearings. At that time, Heaven was informed that Ciaran was being taken into custody. Two hours later he was shackled and in handcuffs. The FBI approached Ciaran and requested he be a spy for the dissident republican groups in New York, if Ciaran accepted, he could go free. Ciaran declined. He was placed in a High Security Prison in solitary confinement. Ciaran was eventually transferred to Denver County Jail, still in 23-hour lockup. Each time Heaven & Fiona see him, behind a glass window, he is stripped searched. Homeland Security has charged Ciaran Ferry with overstaying his visa waiver. Immigration officials call Ciaran Ferry "a public safety threat' and a "flight risk".

On August 22, Ciaran had an Asylum Hearing with 6 1/2 hours of testimony on his behalf, and 1 1/2 hours of testimony by the prosecution. The judge will make his decision by November 1st. He may be deported to Northern Ireland, which means Heaven & Fiona, both American citizens, will have to leave America as well.

CF - Ciaran Ferry, HF - Heaven Ferry, DVB - Diane Byrnes, Producer and Host

DVB: Ciaran and Heaven, welcome to Echoes of Erin on WEDO in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

CF & HF: Thank you Diane.

DVB: You're welcome. Ciaran you are in a terrible situation, can you tell us a little bit about where you are right now as we are speaking?

CF: Well, I am actually sitting pretty close to the cell door, the phone is passed into me so I can converse and I am sitting in a cell, probably 12 by 6, maybe.

DVB: Ciaran, do they know you are on the radio here in Pittsburgh?

CF: I don't believe so.

DVB: Would you get in trouble if they knew that?

CF: I don't think so, I think it may be a freedom of speech issue.

DVB: Ciaran tell us what sort of conditions you are subjected to there at Denver County Jail and are you still in solitary confinement?

CF: Yes, that is correct. I haven't seen sunlight for quite a long time, since the 25th of February. I'm quite pale, I've lost a bit of weight I suppose, which I don't need to lose, not many people can say that. I have to have my visits or no contact visits with Heaven and the baby, so I have to speak to them through a plate glass window. Sometimes I am subjected to strip searching when I leave the jail, maybe to go to court or whatever. The conditions are extreme, you know.

DVB: Gee Ciaran, it sounds like you a really a bad criminal.

CF: Obviously someone doesn't like me.

DVB: When you filed your green card application in early 2002, you were in legal status, right?

CF: That is correct.

DVB: What happened between then and January 30, 2003 when you were arrested and put in shackles and chains?

CF: Well I had a work permit, I was working and earning a living providing for my family, doing what every American was doing. We didn't expect these sort of problems, obviously. We didn't expect such an extreme response. It is very shocking for both of us to be subjected to this.

DVB: Ciaran, I know the FBI had approached you, can you expand on that a bit and tell us how they approached you and what happened?

CF: It was the day after I was arrested by INS, I was in the EFI the federal correctional institute in Englewood. They came and offered me liberty if I would work for them and provide them with information on dissident groups and people like that. They insinuated I should infiltrate these groups. Obviously, I said I would never do that. I said to them, 'not only are you subjecting me to this treatment, but you are trying to put me into further danger and put my family in further danger." I thought the whole idea was disgraceful and ludicrous.

DVB: I agree with you. Heaven, has the FBI approached you to put pressure on Ciaran to do what they wanted him to do?

HF: Absolutely. They actually called me before Ciaran called me to let me know they had been in to see him. They asked me to visit him and talk to him, and they also came to my house the following week to try and talk to me some more. I didn't let them in the door. They definitely tried to put pressure on me.

CF: Diane, when they came to speak to me, that is a loose term, obviously they tried to put pressure on me, they thought I was in a corner. They thought they would put pressure on me. It is a disgraceful way to do business. After they came I put a phone call to Heaven to let her know I was OK and that this was the case. These people were trying to keep this quiet and we were trying to publicize it.

DVB: Heaven, what sort of pressures have you come under with the authorities on the publicity that Ciaran's situation has achieved?

HF: I don't think they have given me a whole lot of pressure besides the FBI. The other pressures we have had are just every day things like financial and raising a child by myself and all of the emotional stress and trauma of it all.

DVB: How are you handling it?

HF: Day by day.

DVB: You and Fiona cannot go to the jail and see Ciaran because he is subjected to the strip searches.

HF: Right, we see him behind the glass.

DVB: Ciaran, why would they strip search you with your wife and two year old daughter coming in?

CF: It seems to be their policy to strip search.

DVB: Are other prisoners stripped searched?

CF: Yes, as far as I know.

DVB: I am absolutely shocked to hear this.

CF: I don't think a lot of people in society realize this. I am in a certain position where I can almost have an outsiders view of the system. I see certain things go on, it shocks me some of the stuff.

HF: Just like lunch every day, who knows that at your local jail you eat the same thing every day for lunch. Who knows that kind of thing?

DVB: This is like something you read about in the 70's and 80's happening in Northern Ireland in Long Kesh with the Republican prisoners. August 22nd Ciaran, you had your asylum hearing, tell us a little bit about what went on?

CF: I spoke first for about four hours. Then my Father, whom we flew over from Ireland, gave testimony on what he went through and what type of a kid I was growing up. Heaven spoke last, she spoke from a Mother and a Wife's perspective. I thought we all had done very well.

I know these decisions are more politically motivated than legal. I think if the judge would take the whole case in the round, and rule on it on from a judicial point of view. I think we would win. Obviously you and I know that is not necessarily the case. We still have some hope, but the trend and the claim is against us. But that's not to say we are going to lose either.

DVB: Ciaran, what can my listeners do to help you?

CF: We are in desperate need of financial help to pay for our legal costs. Our legal costs are disgraceful for such a short period.

DVB: Being in jail 213 days I don't know that that is so short!!

HF: I was thinking the same thing.

CF: I have to think relatively here. I don't know what the outstanding bill is, but we have probably upwards of $20,000 still to pay. We have probably paid about $16,000. That is one of the major things and we also have to keep this issue alive. As you know there are other people like me, like John McNicholl who was in the middle of the night, sent out of the country.

I don't like to say this but I think I have to say it. There seems to be a concerted ANTI-IRISH effort against immigrants.

DVB: I would agree with you as well Ciaran. About three weeks ago I interviewed Malachy McAllister, although he is not in jail, his situation is tenuous as well.

CF: There is no doubt it, I think anyone who is an untenable situation needs to be afraid. You know this Extradition Treaty with Britain, has to give cause for concern as well.

DVB: I think there is a big movement affront here in America with the Irish American Unity Conference and the Ancient Order of Hibernians, they are really getting word out to people about the detriment of this Extradition Treaty. It is a terrible, terrible thing. I could be subjected to being extradited to the UK. Especially since we are talking on the phone here. I might end up in jail somewhere. That is what that treaty does.

CF: You're right, that's true. It's not just immigrants that need to be afraid, U.S. citizens need to be afraid of it, especially those of Irish extraction.

DVB: Hand in hand with the Extradition Treaty is the Patriot Act. The second addition of the Patriot Act tries to curtail activists. If that second part goes through it might be illegal for me to conduct this sort of an interview in the future.

CF: That's true, you are right Diane. I have seen British legislation before and emergency legislation, and if America goes down that road, I think it is going to be a very sad day for America.

DVB: You are absolutely right. I know many people are actively working to inform 'John Q. Public'.

CF: That is very important. Our issue at the minute is a very live and ongoing issue. If we can popularize it even more and warn people of the other legislation that may be dangerous to them. And also to ask people to make some small contribution to the defense fund if possible, and if the people would look at the website.

DVB: That website is www.freeciaranferry.com . The address is Ciaran Ferry Legal Defense Fund, P.O. Box 740071, Arvada , CO. 80006

I'll stay in touch with you by email and I do access the website, and I am in touch with the IAUC to keep abreast of your situation. And for sure I will keep my listeners in the Pittsburgh and surrounding area aware of what is happening with you. Depending what happens Ciaran, can we do this again after the decision is made?

CF: Certainly. Diane I would just like to thank everyone who has already supported, helped us and reached out to us. Without them we wouldn't be here. Thank you to all of the Irish Americans and some not Irish who have help us.

DVB: Ciaran, just know, we all wish the best for you. We know this is so unjust. Many of us are praying for you. But you certainly need more than prayers.

CF & HF: Prayers help too. We really appreciate what people are doing for us.

DVB: How is Fiona handling all of this? I realize she wouldn't really be aware except her Daddy is not there.

HF: That's sad, you think she is so young, but even now, it has been over seven months since Ciaran has been taken away, and she has trouble sleeping at night. She actually sleeps with me and sleeps on top of me so she knows I don't leave. It has had such a deeper impression than I would have guessed.

DVB: You had moved to New Jersey, but you have had to since relocate back to Denver?

HF: Right

DVB: What about work Heaven, are you able to work with all you have to do with Ciaran's case.

HF: Yes, it gets hard sometimes, it gets very busy, but I don't have a choice.

DVB: I'll put your address and website out there again. I want to thank you very much Ciaran for taking the risk and calling us in Pittsburgh. Maybe we can do another interview after the decision comes down for your asylum case.

CF: Certainly Diane

DVB: Take care and God Bless.

CF & HF: Slan!

Fatal crash driver gets four years

Laura Robinson and Leigh Creany: faces of the dead

**I am including this story because I find it just unbelievable all the way around--that Mullin was actually questioned before the accident and yet allowed to keep on driving when she was so very far over the legal limit for intoxication; that there was no trial but only a judge making pronouncement (oh, I forget myself, wanting a TRIAL) even though Mullin had clung to her assertion that she was not drunk and unfit until a week before her trial was due to begin; and that Mullin received a paltry 4 years for what she did. You take a look at these two beautiful young faces and ask yourself if two years for each of them will cover Mullin's debt. I think not. And I also think that whoever in traffic branch questioned her before the accident and allowed her to go on her way should have their asses hauled up on charges as well.

Fatal crash driver gets four years

Laura Robinson and Leigh Creany were killed
A County Tyrone woman who killed two people while driving drunk down the wrong side of a Northern Ireland motorway has been given a four-year sentence.

Mary Celine Mullin, 55, from Beragh in County Tyrone was three and a half times over the legal limit when she crashed her Land Rover into a car on the M1 between Lurgan, County Armagh, and Moira in County Down.

Laura Robinson, 21, and her 19-year-old work colleague Leigh Creany died in the accident on 5 June last year.

Mullin had made a U-turn on the slip road leading from the M1 to Lurgan then set off towards Belfast in the fast lane of the wrong carriageway.

On Monday, at Craigavon Crown Court, Judge Desmond Curran recommended that Mullin be allowed to serve her sentence in the hospital wing of Maghaberry prison near Lisburn.

Plea change

The families of the two women described the sentence as "too lenient".

In June, Mullin pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving in the head-on collision.

She had also originally denied driving whilst unfit, but changed her plea to guilty a week before her trial was due to begin.

The family of Laura Robinson said they were disappointed there had been no trial, as they felt there were still questions to be answered about the girls' deaths.

They said Mullin had been spoken to by traffic branch officers before the crash but was allowed to go on her way.

Louise Robinson's family have called for a public inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the collision.

The Police Ombudsman's office confirmed in June that it had received a complaint surrounding the incident and said the allegations were being investigated.

IOL: Holy Cross scare was hoax

01/09/2003 - 11:58:22

A hoax bomb found outside the Catholic Holy Cross primary school in north Belfast caused a security alert for a number of hours this morning.

The device was found at the gates of the building in the Ardoyne area as pupils were preparing for the beginning of the new school term this morning.

The children and parents were given shelter in the assembly hall of a neighbouring school while bomb disposal experts examined the suspect package.

Sinn Féin councillor Margaret McLenaghan said the alert had caused fear and anger among parents and children, whose school was at the centre of a violent loyalist blockade two years ago.

IRA:No more to say on 'Disappeared'

The IRA has said it has given all the information it has over the "Disappeared" - those kidnapped and murdered during the Troubles.


Sunday Business Post

Fears of inter-IRA feud grow

31/08/03 00:00

By Paul T Colgan

Mainstream republicans are refusing to rule out a confrontation between the IRA and dissident splinter group the Real IRA following the murder of Belfast man Danny McGurk two weeks ago.

McGurk, who was from the Lower Falls area, was killed after falling out with members of the Real IRA. He was shot while at home with his family.

Following the shooting, there have been rumours that the Provisional IRA may be poised to stamp down on the dissidents.

"Republicans will not be pushed around. Certain sections within the Real IRA are like the equivalent of the IPLO (Irish

People's Liberation Organisation) in the early 1990s - full of `crims'," said one mainstream republican source.

The mere mention of the IPLO by republicans appears to be a clear warning to the dissidents.

The IRA effectively closed down the IPLO in 1992. The splinter group had become involved in a bloody feud with the INLA (Irish National Liberation Army) and was linked to racketeering and prostitution.

In a republican 'night of the long knives' in September 1992 the IRA assassinated prominent IPLO man Sammy Ward, kneecapped several IPLO members and warned remaining IPLO members to leave the country.

The operation is reputed to have involved 100 IRA members. Several Real IRA members fled Belfast last week after local residents threatened to picket their homes.

Marion Price, spokeswoman for the 32 County Sovereignty Committee, which is aligned to the Real IRA, has been told by the North's security forces that her life is under threat.

"The McGurk murder was the culmination of a month-long episode," said one West Belfast republican.

"There were people in the Real IRA throwing their weight around. The community views them as a nuisance. They are a combination of malcontents and very young people who are badly led, badly organised and who happen to have guns. They're a bad situation waiting to happen."

"They're scared of the IRA and are under no illusion that there is a line they cannot cross. If they do, they will suffer the wrath of the movement. There is a breaking point - but that will be decided by the community itself.

"Everything the dissident groups touch goes wrong. It's clear that they are heavily infiltrated. In the eight years that the Continuity IRA has been in existence, I don't think they've ambushed one British soldier.

"They killed a former member of the UDR in an army base in Derry last year - he wasn't even involved any more. That's the extent of their war.

"Do they really think they are going to force Britain out of Ireland with such a campaign?

"The Real IRA recently came out and denied that it had made threats against Gerry Adams. It would be a really stupid move for them to carry out a threat like that."

Republicans fear that the Real IRA, while in no position to mount an effective campaign against the security forces, could derail the peace process.

"The danger in Belfast is that they'll come into conflict with someone like the `Sticks' (Official IRA). The Sticks, unlike the Provisionals, have nothing to lose and are schizophrenic at the best of times.

"The question is not what they'll do but what they'll trigger," said a republican source.

With movement towards the restoration of the North's political institutions expected over the coming months, republicans are concerned that incidents such as the McGurk murder could provide grist to the mill of anti-Agreement unionists.

The attention given to the trial and conviction of Real IRA leader Michael McKevitt has overshadowed the uneasy rumblings in West Belfast and the dirty protest by dissident republicans in Maghaberry Prison.

While the IRA has made it clear it will not tolerate further troublemaking in Belfast, the prison issue has the potential to cause tensions within the movement. If Real IRA demands for prisoners to be segregated from loyalists are not met, a hunger strike might be considered.

"The prison issue and the hunger strike hits a nerve with nationalists, and in particular, republicans,"said another senior republican.

"It's the one issue the dissidents have - but they have only one shot at it. Ifthey do itright,then they could generate some support or sympathy from the nationalist community. If not, then they will have undermined what little credibility or support they had in the first place."

The Maghaberry situation worsened during the week with the assault of two dissident republican prisoners by seven loyalists.The prisoners claim that the loyalists pulled a gun during the attack.

Marion Price, spokeswoman for the prisoners, claimed that the loyalists had attempted to strangle one victim in his cell.

The prison authorities deny that loyalists managed to smuggle a gun into the prison and that they have yet to find the weapon.

Nationalists and republicans, including Sinn Féin, have called on the authorities to segregate the prisoners to prevent the situation spiralling out of control.

Mainstream republicans support calls for segregation, but insist that the republican family in Belfast will not tolerate incidents like the McGurk murder for much longer.

"The IPLO was terminated because the ceasefires were coming," said the senior republican.

"Republicans said to themselves - `Let's get down to business with the Brits and really have a go at it'. They didn't want to be looking over their shoulders.

"I'm not saying the same thing applies now, but I'm sure the dissidents will have taken the IPLO episode into consideration."

Sunday Business Post

EXCLUSIVE: Scappaticci interviewed

31/08/03 00:00

By Barry O'Kelly

Freddie Scappaticci, the former IRA internal security officer accused of being the informant Stakeknife, has revealed he has become a virtual recluse and that he is afraid to leave his home after receiving death threats.

In an interview with The Sunday Business Post at his west Belfast home, a visibly nervous Scappaticci said: "I just don't leave the house anymore. The couple of times I have gone out, I've found people staring at me in the shops.

"People are looking at me because my picture's been everywhere. I mean, they're calling me a mass murderer. Now I can't go out to work. My life's been turned upside-down.

I'm not a religious person, but I've been in touch with the priests. It's for spiritual help."

Scappaticci (57) described as "ridiculous" the claims that he was the most significant IRA tout during the Troubles, betraying many of its operations while acting as deputy head of its internal security department.

Senior IRA figures have assured him that they know he is not Stakeknife, though the police are claiming his life is in danger.

Scappaticci said his windows have been broken five times and a pipe bomb was left in his garden. He said he was forced to get police protection after being told several times by the PSNI that it had information from credible sources that people were plotting to kill him.

See Full Interview below :

Freddie Scappaticci, who was named as Stakeknife, the IRA's most important informant ever for the British government, is living in fear in his West Belfast home and maintaining his innocence.

It's hard to believe that this is the Freddie Scappaticci, former top Provo, sitting in his front room, fidgeting, a scared, paranoid man, living day to day. A legendary figure in the republican movement in Belfast in the 70s and 80s. A former deputy head of the feared internal security department. A man who was alleged to have killed 40 informers.

Scappaticci, of course, has every reason to be scared. The one-time working class hero (among republicans) was named as the biggest British informant ever 14 weeks ago, a crime that carries only one penalty in his native west Belfast. Yet, he is alive and staying put, for the moment at least, with his wife and six children at their four-bed semi in Riversdale, an area that is also home to the IRA spymaster, Bobby Storey.

The republican movement says it believes Freddie's denials. Senior IRA figures have assured him that they know he is not Stakeknife. But in the paranoid world of paramilitaries and spook agencies, it's impossible to know what to believe.

Somebody was responsible for breaking his windows five times and planting a pipe bomb in his front garden.The police have repeatedly told him in recent months that his life is in serious danger, citing several allegedly credible sources. But it was also the police that leaked blatantly bogus stories about him.

At 57, Scappaticci is a small, squat man, barely 5ft 5in, looking ill at ease and noting his grim experience of "scumbag" journalists. He talks in short, nervous bursts to The Sunday Business Post. "There are people out there who are mixing it for me. I honestly don't know who's behind these threats... But I'm sure who was behind all this in the first place," he says.

This is a reference to the Sunday newspaper stories that appeared on May 11 last, identifying him as the notorious IRA informer. The People newspaper, the Glasgow Herald and the Sunday Tribune described him as the jewel in the crown of the intelligence services, who were prepared to allow an innocent Catholic, Francisco Notorantonio (66) to die instead of him.

"I mean this story went worldwide. It was like JFK was killed. It was coordinated. There's something smelly about it... It's the Brits. MI5, MI6, the British Army, take your pick. It had to be coordinated," he says.

The truth, he admits, will never be told to everyone's satisfaction. "Even if the British government had come out and cleared me, people would be saying, `they only cleared him because he's one of their own', it's Catch 22."

He agrees he made a fatal mistake in running from the story in the first 48 hours of it breaking. "I got advice and I was told the first 48 hours are crucial. But it's easier said than done. Once a lie gets a head start the truth has a hard time catching up."

The only forewarning he had was a call to the door of his home by Sunday People journalist Gregg Harkin on the Saturday night of publication.

"When all this exploded on the Saturday, I was just sitting on the sofa, looking after my grandson when this reporter called to the door.

"I invited him in, and he said, `No, I want to show you a story that's going to appear in the paper tomorrow, naming you as Stakeknife, the British agent.' He lured me outside, and a photographer took a picture of me from behind a hedge.

"He showed me a photocopy of the story and it said I was getting stg»80,000 per year as an informant. I didn't really believe it would be published it was so ridiculous. I went to bed early that night. But the next morning, when I went down to Creighton's (newsagents) and I saw all these photos of me, I just panicked. I didn't know how to cope with it."

Scappaticci took the default option that he resorted to whenever he was in trouble in the past. "I packed a small bag and took myself off to a friend's house," he says. He phoned his brother Michael that evening.

"We agreed the best thing to do was to contact Sinn Féin.We spoke to Alex Maskey (the then Lord Mayor of Belfast) and he advised us to get a lawyer. The people in Sinn Féin pointed out that the first 48 hours are vital. So we decided the next day to issue a statement, pointing out the facts."

The advice from Sinn Féin proved, tragically, to be correct. A lead story in the LondonTimes, and syndicated in the Irish Independent on the Tuesday, definitively reported that Britain's top spy inside the IRAwas under military protection at a former US airbase at Chicksands in Bedfordshire.

Those preparing to debrief Stakeknife were said to include Captain Margaret Walshaw, who handled the notorious loyalist agent Brian Nelson. Stakeknife was reportedly removed from his home in west Belfast on Saturday evening to a new location on "the mainland".

According to the Times report, he was located in a 12th century priory, an intimidating building, "said to be haunted by nine ghosts, including a suicidal baronet and a nun who was forced to watch her lover's execution before being sealed alive in a wall".

When Scappaticci turned up in person at a press conference the following Wednesday, at the Belfast offices of Michael J Flanigan & Co on the Falls Road, the damage was already done. Some of the follow-up stories speculated about how he managed to wing his way back to Belfast, simply ignoring the more obvious possibility that he had never left in the first place.

"If it wasn't so serious, it would be funny. I was supposed to be in Dover in a jacuzzi, in a safe house in Bedfordshire, in an MI5 hideout in London, being interrogated by John Stevens. And here I was still in Belfast, shellshocked."

Over the proceeding days, British security sources were quoted as saying he was behind virtually every major failed IRA mission over a 15-year period. He was supposedly the rat who betrayed the Gibraltar Three, the Eksund gun runners and the IRA men assassinated at Loughgall. These and other stories about Scappaticci's alleged exploits are dismissed by IRA sources.

Stakeknife, they say, is a mixture of informers and electronic bugs, a convenient pseudonym created to protect decades of spying and destabilise the enemy - the IRA - at the same time. A propaganda classic, for which Scappaticci is paying a heavy price.

"I have had several meetings with senior republicans, and they say, `As far as we are concerned, this whole Stakeknife thing is a policy, not a person'. It serves various purposes: it destabilises the peace process, and Sinn Féin in particular. It puts them on the back foot and it has directed attention away from the Stevens inqui r y i nto c ol lusion by the security forces in loyalist killings.

"This story goes back four years. The reports back then were about a Stakeknife who had the ear of Gerry Adams and who was deeply involved in the peace process. Now I have never had the ear of Gerry Adams and the first thing I knew there was going to be a ceasefire was a few hours before it happened when I bumped into a friend who told me."

The stories also focused on the disquieting claims about the murder of Notorantonio by loyalists in 1987. It was claimed that the killers were directed towards the elderly Belfast man - whose last involvement in the IRA was in the 1940s - by the security services in order to protect Scappaticci.

The huge mound of allegations prompt an obvious question: have you ever been in the employ, in any form or respect, of MI5, MI6, FRU or British Army or other branches of the security services?

"No. Absolutely not. But how can I prove it? It's just ridiculous. I wouldn't have the time to do half these things. I'd need to be an Ian Fleming character."

Scappaticci points out that the late loyalist double agent Brian Nelson, who was in a privileged position to know about the Notorantonio killing, never mentioned Scappaticci in his statements or jail diaries. The late Tommy Tucker, another agent, never mentioned him either. The loyalist UVF and UDA gangs were also at pains, in a recent statement, to claim that they had never targeted Scappaticci.

The statement received little media coverage. "It's not a great story. It's not the same as the one about Stakeknife, the jewel in the crown."

While various journalists claimed to have known months in advance about the Scappaticci claims, the IRA and residents in the sprawling village that is west Belfast were blissfully unaware of them. In the eyes of locals, he was a respected old timer.

His father Daniel came to the city in the 1920s from the Roman village of Casino and worked in his grandfather's chip shop and ice-cream van business. Freddie, one of six sons, grew up in the Markets area and was a noted soccer player.

The former Irish international Johnny Carey, of Manchester Utd fame, visited their family home in a bid to sign him for Nottingham Forest when he was 16 years old. His father resisted the idea because of his son's age, and after a three-week stint at Forest, the aspiring inside left returned homesick. He became a bricklayer instead. He has no regrets. "You can't wish your life away."

In 1970 he was arrested for riotous assembly during a police round up of republicans, and a year later, aged 25, he was interned without tr ial in Long Kesh. Among those interned with him were Ivor Bell, Adams and Alex Maskey.

"You got to know people and make contacts in there. It wasn't a case of, `I'm doing this for Ireland'. You just got on with doing your time and made the best of it."

He confirms that he joined the republican movement upon his release in December 1974. "It was a chaotic life," is all he will say about this period of his life. "I left the movement in 1990. It was for family reasons and other reasons. And I just wanted another life."

A statement by the informant Sandy Lynch that year is believed to have hastened his departure to Dublin for three years. Scappaticci was named in court as being present during the interrogation of the informer in a safe house in Belfast in 1990. The day after Scappaticci left the safe house, the police swooped. Sinn Féin publicity director Danny Morrison was arrested and later jailed for six years.

Scappaticci was arrested and interviewed in Castlereagh police station three years later. "Sandy Lynch gave a description of me and I did not fit that description. He's a liar." Lynch has since gone into hiding and been given a new identity in Canada.

Scappaticci faces a more worrying fate, although all the possible evidence available would suggest he was never a tout. "I have received numerous warnings from the police, saying my life is in danger, and eventually you have to take them seriously," he says.

The worry is there to see in his twitchy movements, his reluctance to stand for a photograph outside his house, the front door locked while he is being interviewed, his regular glances out the front window.

"I just don't leave the house anymore. The couple of times I have gone out, I've found people staring at me in the shops. People are looking at me because my pic-ture's been everywhere. I mean they're calling me a mass murderer. My family has been under enormous pressure.

"My wife finds it hard to take in. She's a very religious person. She says she wouldn't like to think that I did any harm to anyone. But what do you do with these sort of allegations? There's not one shred of evidence.

"And then when I eventually go to get protection, on the advice of the police, the People newspaper comes out with an editorial, saying it's a waste of police money protecting a mass murderer. They're the very reason I'm getting protection in the first place."

When various aspects of the story have been proven to be false, Scappaticci has found to his horror that new versions could be pasted on. "They said I had stg»2.4 million in a bank account in Gibraltar, that I was getting stg»80,000 per year. And then when it turned out that I was just a simple working man, they said I was a gambling addict and spent all the money, and that I had turned down the witness protection scheme. I have never been inside a betting shop in my life. And I was still in Belfast when all these stories appeared.

"At times I just feel it's not really happening. I just can't take it in. These faceless so-called security sources can do what they like. Not so long ago, John Reid and Tony Blair were complaining about them, so what chance have I got?

I'm a life-long republican and my reputation's destroyed. I'm just taking one day at a time. I couldn't tell you what I'll be doing in six months. I don't know what the future will hold, I'm only 57, I've another eight years before retirement. I'm just a working class man and now I can't go out to work. My life's been turned upside down.

"I'm not a religious person, but I've been in touch with the priests. It's for spiritual help... I'm talking now because stories keep appearing every week in the newspapers up here.

"I want to continue with my action against the British government [he's appealing a recent court ruling, refusing him an official government statement about the informant claims], because at the end of the day they are responsible for the security services, the people who are behind all this. But in the meantime the stories are getting more fantastic by the week."

Loyalist link to drug seizure

Police say they have delivered a major blow to what they believe is a loyalist paramilitary drug ring operating in mid-Ulster.
The claim comes after a lorry carrying ecstasy tablets with an estimated street value of £1m was intercepted in County Antrim on Friday.

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