Editorial 13.12.03

Now that the dust has settled on the election results, the full enormity of the changed political situation is becoming clear.

However, what isn’t obvious is what difference the increased mandate for Sinn Féin and the dominance of the DUP in the unionist community will make to ordinary voters.

In regard to the DUP, vigilance is the price of fairplay for nationalists. For senior unionist politicians who opposed one-man-one-vote for Catholics, the allocation of housing according to need and the Good Friday Agreement are unlikely to mend their ways now they hold the whiphand in unionist politics.

On the nationalist side of the fence, the ramifications of the surge in support for Sinn Féin and the eclipsing of the SDLP will be felt for some time to come. For the first time since Partition, a clear majority of Northern nationalists have plumped for a republican party committed to a united Ireland.

In anyone’s language, that’s an incredible seachange.

Approximately one in four of the population here now give their support to Sinn Féin. An astonishing change of circumstances for a party which just ten years ago wasn’t even allowed to explain its policies on TV!

And while Sinn Féin has pledged to use that increased mandate wisely, it will no doubt be keen to ensure that its voters’ views are heard. That can only happen satisfactorily when the Executive is back up and running but in the meantime, there should be some tough talking with bodies which claim to represent us.

No quango, and this goes especially for the Board of the Housing Executive which continues to ban Sinn Féin from membership, should be allowed to have less than 25 per cent republican representation. That would be a jolt to the system for the great and the good, but it’s also democracy in action.

Likewise, Sinn Féin should now enjoy the advantage of majority representation on bodies set up under the last Executive when the Office of the First and Deputy First Minister was always allowed to appoint an extra representative on to new bodies (giving the SDLP and UUP a clear majority). As we wait for the Executive debacle to be sorted, it’s essential that ordinary nationalists see changes they endorsed with the franchise taking place. Certainly, the Police Board with its preponderence of SDLP nominees and SDLP supporters is suffering from a post-election credibility crisis.

Now that Sinn Féin is the majority nationalist party, it’s time it set its sight on transforming some of those institutions which represent the politics of the past. If that can’t be done, they should set up new and vibrant institutions which reflect the changed political circumstances we find our selves in.


The great misfortune of Jim Monaghan, Niall Connolly and Martin McCauley, the three Irishmen facing trumped up terrorism charges in Colombia, is that they weren’t born British.

For if they had have been Blighty-based and found themselves accused of child murder in Massachusetts or drug-smuggling in Singapore, they would have found a sympathetic press and political constituency demanding their return home.

As citizens of Ireland, however, they are saddled with a media which for 25 years wouldn’t let a republican voice sully the airwaves and a government — not to mention the opposition — which thinks its silence on the Birmingham Six and Guildford Four should be replicated when it comes to the miscarriage of justice which faces the Colombia Three.

As the trio face their third Christmas in prison and with no credible case having been made against them, they should be returned to Ireland immediately.

ic Derry - Derry Man's Evidence Never Used

Derry Man's Evidence Never Used
Dec 12 2003

THE EVIDENCE of a Derry man who recognised one of the Dublin bombers in 1974 was not used by Gardai in the subsequent hunt for the killers, it has been revealed by the Barron Report which was released to the public yesterday.

The Dublin-Monaghan bombings were the worst atrocity in the last thirty years resulting in the deaths of 33 people and an unborn child.

Last night Derry solicitor, Mr. Dessie Doherty, who represents two of the families of the victims, dismissed the report as 'nonsense'; and said nothing but a full judicial inquiry will get to the truth of what happened in May 1974.

The Derry witness was a bus driver in 1974 and had taken a party of school children on a trip to Dublin.

He was parked in South Leinster Street in Dublin when he saw the bomb car being parked and the driver walked past him.

As revealed in the 'Journal' in May last year the bus driver saw the same man in Derry almost a year later.

The Barron report reveals that this man saw the bomber again outside the Gresham Hotel in Dublin in November 1976 and reported this to the Gardai.

According to the report the Gardai mounted a search but did not circulate the photofit compiled by the Derryman after the bombings to officers.

Nor did the Gardai show the man any of the other photos or photofits compiled after the original investigation to se if he could identify the bomber.

Meanwhile Mr. Doherty, who represents the O'Neill and O'Brien families, said the families had expected little from the Barron report and received even less.

Both the O'Neill and O'Brien families walked out of the press conference called by the Dail Committee who will study the report.

Mr. Doherty said: "The publication of this report only reinforces the need for a full judicial inquiry into these bombings.

"When this so called private inquiry was called my clients had grave reservations and these have been borne out.

"This report, by its own admission, could not call witnesses and had no power to secure any documents."

Mr. Doherty continued: "The report itself reveals that there are 68,000 files in the Northern Ireland Office relating to these bombings and the files in the British Ministry of Defence could be 'counted in millions'.

"Yet few if any of these were handed over to Judge Barron, all he got was a ten page letter from the British Secretary of State.

The Bloody Sunday Inquiry had shown what happens if you expect voluntary co-operation from the MoD.

"Any Inquiry into the bombings has to be able to compel the MoD to hand over documents and while there is no guarantee that we will get them at least they will have to refuse in the full glare of the public spotlight."

The Derry solicitor added: "If there is a legal mechanism, apart from a full blown inquiry which will get to the truth of what happened in Dublin and Monaghan, I will be interested to hear about it.

"Only an Inquiry with the power to compel witnesses to give evidence has any chance of finding out what happened."

Mr. Doherty went on: "Many people have said after Dublin 'never again' but the exact thing has already happened again on August 15 1998 in Omagh.

"Again we have allegations of collusion, a botched investigation, an inadequate follow up and the involvement of state forces in some form or other."

The Barron report was scathing in its criticism of the Dublin government's handling of the investigation into the bombing.

Judge Barron in his conclusions noted: "The government of the day failed to show the concern expected of it. The government of the day showed little interest in the bombings.

"When information was given to them suggesting that the British authorities had intelligence naming the bombers, this was not followed up."

Gaeilge Oifigiúil - Official Irish Petition

To: Dáil Éireann - Irish Parliament
Is é ár n-éileamh go ngairfear teanga oifigiúil oibre de chuid an Aontais Eorpaigh den Ghaeilge.

Le meas,

Muid, a chuir ár n-ainm le seo.

We demand that the Irish language be declared an official working language of the European Union.


**Click on the above link to sign the petition


FRIDAY 12/12/2003 16:33:06 UTV
Ex-spy breaks covers to summons 'Stakeknife' denier

A former spy who infiltrated the IRA went to the west Belfast home
of the man who denies being British Army agent Stakenife today, in a
bid to force him into court.
By:Press Association

Sam Rosenfeld emerged from hiding to serve a summons on Freddie
Scappaticci as he fights Ministry of Defence attempts to silence him.

Legal papers ordering Mr Scappaticci to appear as a witness at the
High Court in London were handed to an elderly man who answered a
front door which still bore bullet marks from a gun attack a week

The unidentified pensioner angrily refused to accept the document
and threw it on the ground.

Even though Mr Scappaticci`s lawyer later claimed the summons was
invalid, Mr Rosenfeld insisted he was satisfied.

He said outside the house: ``I want explanations about British
government collusion in murders in Northern Ireland. Mr Scappaticci
may be in a position to provide them.

``If he goes into court he has the opportunity to deny or confirm
that he is Stakeknife.``

Mr Rosenfeld, 42, infiltrated the Provisionals during a three-year
undercover operation and alleges he has devastating information on
security force collaboration with terrorist killers.

Defence chiefs are seeking an injunction to stop him disclosing
details about his time with the covert Force Research Unit.

Between 1990 and 1993 he managed to win the trust of republican
paramilitaries on both sides of the Irish border.

Today was the first time he had returned to Northern Ireland in a
decade as he went into the heart of the staunchly republican
Andersonstown district to locate the man alleged to be Stakeknife.

Mr Rosenfeld says British army bosses reneged on an agreement to
resettle him after he quit.

Amid claims that MoD chiefs want to jail him for writing to the
Queen about his case, he also wants to go to the High Court in

He believes Mr Scappaticci, who was named earlier this year as
Britain`s top mole working as a security chief inside the IRA, can
help him prove agents are under life-long threat.

The building constructor wants him to appear at his case due to be
heard in the Royal Courts of Justice in London next Wednesday.

He was accompanied by Willie Frazer from south Armagh-based victims
group FAIR which represents the families of dozens murdered by the
IRA in the area.

Holding a picture showing the body of an alleged British agent
killed and dumped by the Provisionals, Mr Frazer said: ``Ninety two
of the murders in south Armagh have never been solved.

``We want to know if this man was part of the IRA`s so-called
nutting squad down there.``

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir John Stevens has also been
called to appear in court, along with another army agent known as
Kevin Fulton and a former military intelligence handler turned
whistleblower, Martin Ingram.

Mr Scappaticci`s solicitor, Michael Flanigan, insisted his client
would not be attending the private hearing.

``These proceedings in London are nothing to do with him,`` he said.

``As I understand it they are before a judge in chambers and if you
want to issue a summons you need leave of court.

``The summons isn`t validly issued or served by throwing it at my
client`s door.

``The case has nothing to do with us and we will not be there on

O'Loan To Examine Handling Of Fulton Allegation
The News Letter
Dec 10 2003

Exclusive By Stephen Dempster

POLICE Ombudsman Nuala O'Loan is investigating why the PSNI has not interviewed Freddie Scappaticci over a complaint that he held a man against his will, threatened and interrogated him.

The complaint against Mr Scappaticci, who is alleged to be the British Army's top agent inside the IRA, was made to police six months ago - ironically by another British agent, Kevin Fulton.

But, despite a detailed account of the incident which took place in February, 1994, when Mr Scappaticci was believed to be the head of the IRA's Nutting Squad, the police have yet to question the west Belfast republican.

When asked why this was, a PSNI spokesperson said: "The investigation is on-going and we cannot comment."

But sources have told the News Letter that Mr Fulton will meet a representative of the Ombudsman's office in the coming days, at a secret location in England, to discuss the matter.

When contacted last night, Mr Fulton said he had no comment.

But another source said: "Why have the police not spoken to Mr Scappaticci about this alleged crime?"

He added: "If someone goes to the police and makes an official statement accusing a person of something as serious as false imprisonment, it would surely be common practice for the police to then speak to the accused.

"Is it that Mr Scappaticci cannot be touched because he was a top British agent? It seems fair to pose that question."

Mr Scappaticci has strenuously denied being a British spy.

But Mr Fulton's meeting with the Ombudsman will also follow a weekend newspaper report claiming that Britain's top cop, Sir John Stevens, has been banned by the Ministry of Defence from talking to Stakeknife, as part of his inquiries into collusion.

An ex-Army Force Research Unit (FRU) officer, Martin Ingram, said there should be no reason why Sir John and the PSNI could not talk to Mr Scappaticci.

Mr Ingram was arrested by Special Branch on behalf of the Stevens inquiry team, over allegations he breached the Official Secrets Act - in connection with the work of the FRU.

"I was arrested and held in jail for three days by Stevens yet Mr Scappaticci - who has far more serious allegations hanging over him - has not been spoken to by police or Stevens," said Mr Ingram.

It is believed that Mr Fulton will also complain to the Ombudsman that files held on him by Special Branch, MI5 and the military have been destroyed.

Mr Fulton is battling with the Ministry of Defence in the High Court, in a bid to force them to provide him with a new identity, protection and a pension, as his life is under threat from the IRA and Real IRA.

The files would help prove his role as an agent.

It is understood that he will also raise his concerns about another case in which Special Branch is accused of covering up - the IRA murder of RUC officer Colleen McMurray in Newry in 1992; an attack in which officer Paul Slane also lost his legs.

Mr Fulton has claimed he warned MI5 and Special Branch an attack was imminent and they did not try to stop it.

The incident also has a wider significance as the alleged bombmaker was Patrick Joseph "Mooch" Blair - the same man Mr Fulton forewarned was making a bomb in the days before Omagh - another atrocity which was not stopped.

* Security sources attempted to discourage this report and discredit Mr Fulton during the writing of the story.

Former Chief Constable Sir Ronnie Flanagan also tried to undermine Mr Fulton's name, when the ex-British agent made claims that he warned about a bomb before Omagh.

The Police Ombudsman's report officially upheld the allegations by Mr Fulton and dismissed a number of claims by Sir Ronnie.

Belfast Telegraph

Unease as paramilitary segregation in jail looms
Officers at Maghaberry unhappy over move

By Ben Lowry at Maghaberry Prison

11 December 2003
PRISON officers in Northern Ireland are far from happy at plans to segregate loyalist and republican prisoners, the head of the Prison Service said today.

Peter Russell's frank assessment of staff sentiment came in remarks this morning, during a preview of the newly refurbished blocks to segregate the two rival groups at Maghaberry.

"The service has very mixed feelings about this," said the director-general of the Northern Ireland Prison Service. Around 60 loyalist and republican prisoners are due to be separated into two units at the prison in February.

Some £7m has been spent on preparing the two blocks, Roe House and Bush House, which were temporarily opened to the media today.

The prisoners will be accommodated in single cells, with their own televisions. The blocks will contain a communal room with pool tables and cardiovascular machines.

"Prison staff are not enthusiastic about the decision to segregate. The integrated regime was working well," Mr Russell said.

The prison chief sidestepped questions about his own personal feelings with regard to the new plans.

"We have to manage the system that we have got," he said.

The decision to separate republican and loyalist prisoners was taken in September, when the Government accepted the findings of the Steele Review.

The review, which followed months of so-called dirty protests and rooftop demonstrations, recommended segregation.

Prison officers are thought to feel that segregation is the first step towards paramilitaries gaining control of their own areas at Maghaberry, as they did at the Maze.

The Steele review is thought to have caused surprise and anger among staff.

One senior officer said today: "The professional advice was against this." But Mr Russell insisted today that the paramilitaries will not be allowed to gain control.

"Both the brief from the Secretary of State, and the basis on which we are devising arrangements, is that staff will remain in control."

Belfast Telegraph

**I know I shouldn't be amazed, but this story just blows me away with its illustration of unionist idiocy:

Fury over councillor's Christmas greetings

By Staff Reporter

11 December 2003

BANBRIDGE District Council chairman Cassie McDermott has been accused of "hijacking Christmas" to promote the Irish language.

A war of words has erupted in the Co Down town over the SDLP councillor's decision to send out bilingual Christmas cards.

The card, titled Christmas Blessings, features the Old School House at Mullan's Corner, Dromore, and includes the Banbridge District Council logo on the back. The message is printed in both English and Irish.

All five DUP councillors and a number of Ulster Unionists returned their cards.

DUP councillor Jim McElroy accused Mrs McDermott of "hijacking Christmas" to promote the Irish language.

"This is not only insulting to unionist councillors, it is also insulting to non-unionists and many in the nationalist community," he said.

"She has spoiled her term as chairperson by bringing up such a political issue at this time."

Fellow DUP councillor Stephen Herron viewed the card as a deliberate attempt to "get the backs up of unionist representatives on the council".

"She has succeeded in doing so and soured working relations within the council," he added.

"She will have to understand that in the main the only face the Irish language has to the likes of me and the people I represent is when it is painted in militant republican slogans and propaganda.

"Therefore when it comes through your door you immediately get the same sense of having your nose rubbed in the dirt of Irish republicanism."

A number of Ulster Unionist councillors have also returned their cards, including John Ingram who felt that "a bit more common sense could have been used in the decision to send out the cards".

"The reason I returned the card was that I saw it as an insult to those who elected Mrs McDermott to her position as council chairperson," he said.

Mrs McDermott said she did not regret sending out the cards and would do the same thing again.

"I am sorry that the spirit of Christmas does not appear to have reached everyone. I have endeavoured throughout my time to reach out and serve everyone in the district to the best of my ability.

"In the current spirit of inclusiveness and to ensure parity of esteem I decided to recognise both cultures on the Christmas card.

"This is a personal message and I'm sorry some of the councillors do not see it that way and cannot accept it in the spirit in which it was sent."

A spokesperson for Banbridge Council said: "The design and issue of the council chairman's Christmas card is and always has been a personal matter for each chairman."


::: u.tv :::

WEDNESDAY 10/12/2003 12:39:12 UTV
The Troubles' blackest day

On Friday May 17, 1974, 34 people were killed in terrorist bombings in Dublin and the borderside town of Monaghan. By:Press Association

They ranged in age from 80-year-old John Dargle, of Dublin, to the unborn baby of Colette Doherty, 20, also from Dublin. The baby was due two days later.

It was the greatest loss of life in a single day of the Troubles.

The nightmare began at 5.30pm, rush hour, on the busiest day of the week in the Republic`s heaving capital.

Three car bombs ripped through the heart of Dublin without warning, killing 27 people including an entire family.

Parnell Street, Talbot Street and South Leinster Street were devastated and within 90 seconds the city resembled a battle field.

Ninety minutes later a fourth car bomb exploded on North Road in the borderside town of Monaghan where a further seven people died.

Around 250 people were injured in the attacks.

That evening Taoiseach Liam Cosgrave said in a television and radio broadcast that he wanted to express ``the revulsion and condemnation felt by every decent person in this island at these unforgivable acts``.

He said it would help to bring home to the Republic what the people of Northern Ireland had been suffering for five long years.

``Everyone who has practised violence, or preached violence or condoned violence must bear a share of responsibility for (the) outrage,`` he added.

In Belfast, the UDA and the UVF denied responsibility for the explosions and in Dublin a statement issued by the Provisional IRA called the attacks ``vile murder``.

The then UDA press officer, Samuel Smyth, said: ``I am very happy about the bombings in Dublin. There is a war with the Free State and now we are laughing at them.``

Almost 20 years later, in 1993, the UVF admitted that it carried out the attacks, ``aided by no outside bodies``.

The bombings came at a time of acute instability in Northern Ireland and coincided with the loyalist Ulster Workers` Council strike, which brought down the power-sharing executive at Stormont established by the Sunningdale Agreement.

The arrangement collapsed 11 days after the bombings.

Relatives of the bereaved have campaigned tirelessly for the answers to endless questions about what exactly happened that day.

They believe an attitude of resignation was adopted by the Government that the bombings were inevitable because of the actions of the IRA.

The Justice for the Forgotten group, which represents the families of those killed and injured in the attacks, claims that only in a few instances did politicians visit the families or wounded.

There was no national day of mourning as there had been for Bloody Sunday.

There was no Government initiative to set up a fund for the dependants of those murdered.

There was no consultation with the families and no counselling was provided.

No progress reports on the investigation were given to the families. A memorial was built 17 years later.

The Justice for the Forgotten group says that, while the garda investigation appeared to be making good progress, it ground to a halt within a few weeks of the bombings.

Although gardai had the names of 20 suspects, some on an evidential basis and others from intelligence sources, not one was ever questioned. No-one was charged.

While the inquests in Monaghan were convened and concluded, the inquests into the 27 deaths from the Dublin bombings were adjourned less than two weeks after the tragedy.

All inquests have since been reopened but will not proceed until well into 2004.

Year upon year the relatives have campaigned for all appropriate information surrounding the events of that day to be made available.

They have brought claims before the European Commission of Human Rights, fought for radical reassessments of compensation packages, launched the Britain`s Zero Response campaign, written hundreds of letters, met foreign diplomats and displayed adverts in the British and Irish press.

In August 1999, John Wilson, of the Victim`s Commission, published a report recommending a private inquiry.

And four months later Taoiseach Bertie Ahern announced the launch of an official investigation to be headed by Chief Justice Liam Hamilton. It was warmly welcomed by campaigners who agreed to co-operate.

The inquiry was established to examine a range of issues, including claims of collusion between members of the British security forces and the UVF loyalist paramilitary bombers responsible for the attacks.

In October 2000 Justice Hamilton resigned on grounds of ill health and died a month later. The inquiry was taken over by Justice Henry Barron.

The four-year investigation has relied on witnesses to come forward voluntarily.

Justice Barron did not have the powers of a judge conducting a public inquiry. His remit was to draw conclusions rather than make recommendations.

The sophisticated nature of the devices used in the three Dublin bombings have fuelled suspicions that the British military was involved - accusations which have been hotly denied.

But campaigners believe the co-operation of the British Government in a public inquiry is essential if the truth is to be established.

The Barron report was due to have been published more than a year ago.

Its preparation was frustrated by an alleged lack of co-operation on the part of the British authorities.

It was eventually presented to the Taoiseach in October and handed to a joint Dublin parliamentary justice committee today.

Justice Barron is also expected to deliver a separate report on the Dublin bombings of December 1972 and January 1973 in coming weeks.

Relatives and victims continue to seek a public judicial tribunal of inquiry from the Irish government into the atrocities and is still fighting, almost 30 years on, for truth, justice and closure.

Scotsman.com News - Latest News - Study of Barron Report into Bombings Begins

9:39am (UK)
Study of Barron Report into Bombings Begins

By Victoria Ward, PA News

A powerful parliamentary committee was today beginning a three-month study of the Barron report into the 1974 Dublin and Monaghan bombings.

Irish Premier Bertie Ahern said the Dublin Joint Justice Committee would report back within three months on what further action should be taken in the wake of the report.

Its consideration would include whether “a further public inquiry into any aspect of the report would be required or fruitful”.

Sean Ardagh, chairman of the Committee, called on anyone who could assist in their deliberations to come forward with submissions of evidence.

Families of victims and many of those injured in the atrocities have demanded a public inquiry after the report found that the loyalist bombers who killed 34 people may have received help from members of the British security forces.

The long-awaited report found it likely policemen and soldiers participated in, or were aware of, preparations for the bombings, on May 17 1974, but found no evidence of collusion at a senior level.

The original police investigation and the Irish government of the day were also criticised by Judge Henry Barron.

The 288-page document found that vital forensic evidence and Government files relating to the bombings had mysteriously disappeared.

The judicial inquiry was established almost four years ago to examine claims of collusion between the British security forces and the Ulster Volunteer Force bombers, and to look at the garda investigation.

In his report, Judge Barron said: “There are grounds for suspecting that the bombers may have had assistance from members of the security forces.” However, he said any collusion between the UVF bombers and the security forces remained a matter of inference.

The sophistication of the bombs raised allegations that the killers had been aided by British security forces.

But Judge Barron said he believed the loyalist bombers were capable of carrying out the attack without help.

He added: “It is likely that the farm of James Mitchell at Glenanne played a significant part in the preparation for the attacks.

“It is also likely that members of the UDR and RUC either participated in, or were aware of those preparations.”

Greg O’Neill, a solicitor acting for the Justice for the Forgotten group, said the police handling of the original investigation had led to vital clues being lost.

“The combination of incompetence and downright carelessness on the part of those charged with protecting the people of Ireland is downright damnable,” he said.

“If Justice Barron has done nothing more than establish that fact then he has done a great deal.”

Northern Ireland Secretary Paul Murphy said the British Government had been committed to helping the inquiry and viewed the bombings in 1974 as “an act of obscene evil“.

Mr Murphy promised to study the report carefully.




Hundreds of men, women and children attended the dedication of a new monument in Milltown Cemetery yesterday to republicans who died during the conflict.

Sited at the current republican plot, the new memorial – costing in excess of £40,000 – has been almost two decades in the planning and building. Liam Shannon of the National Graves Association said that yesterday’s dedication ceremony was “an emotional but timely event”. Many of those who attended the dedication were family members of volunteers buried in the republican plot.

“We sent personal invitations to each and every family. Many of those who attended made time afterwards to say just how impressed they were by the new monument and to thank those involved,” said Liam. “It was an emotional day, but the fine weather and the large crowd that attended made the day one that will stay with many of us for a very long time.”

Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams addressed the large crowd, praising the tireless work of the NGA and taking the opportunity to reflect on the recent election results.

"Much has been said since the election about the rise in support for the DUP, and rightly so, for they were successful in increasing their mandate and swallowing up the smaller rejectionist parties.

“However as republicans well know with an increased mandate comes an increased responsibility to use it wisely.

"The DUP need to reflect upon this and indeed they need to reflect upon the wave of attacks on republicans’ homes in this city on Friday night.”

Supporters in Ballyconnell, Co Cavan donated the stone used in the construction of the monument.

Liam Shannon added: “We want to express our gratitude to all of those who assisted the Association in reaching our goal, including those members of the public who generously contributed to our fundraising. We are very proud and pleased with the new monument.”

Journalist:: Staff Reporter

Sinn Féin: The Good Friday Agreement


"On May 22 1998, more than two million people across Ireland voted for the Good Friday Agreement, an international Agreement which was the collective product of inclusive negotiations and a compromise between political opponents. While the Agreement itself does not resolve the causes of conflict, it does, if implemented, set out a political and institutional framework within which many of the causes of conflict can be addressed."

Click on the above link to read the Agreement in HTML or PDF format


THE BLANKET * Index: Current Articles

The Good Friday Agreement Revisited

Gerry Ruddy 8.12.03

Anyone steeped in the history of Irish Republicanism and taking a Republican perspective would have learnt well the phrase 'never trust the Brits'. It was with that firmly in mind that I approached the Good Friday Agreement. I voted against the Good Friday Agreement. I recognised that it was a compromise believed necessary by those who negotiated it from a republican perspective. I have no problems with compromise. I believe however that the GFA was the wrong compromise.



Random Ramblings from a Republican

Saturday, December 06, 2003

Jeremiah O'Donovan Rossa: Unrepentant Fenian

"Jeremiah O'Donovan Rossa is best remembered by most modern Republicans for his funeral. It is at this funeral that Padraic Pearse gave one of the most memorable and rousing speeches in the oratory history of the Irish. The truth is that Rossa did much for the Republican movement and this needs to be heard."



Sunday Life

Wanderers' return?
UDA in bid to persuade some Shankill exiles back home

By Stephen Breen

07 December 2003
LOYALIST godfathers are planning to lure some of the exiled 'Bolton Wanderers' back to Ulster, Sunday Life can reveal.

Senior loyalist sources told us that UDA chiefs, in west Belfast, have been contacting members of Johnny Adair's notorious UFF 'C' company, in a bid to persuade them to abandon Mad Dog.

One of Adair's exiled pals has already returned to the province, after the UDA assured him he was not under threat.

The man was told to supply information on Adair's gang, in exchange for his safety.

It is understood the UDA obtained the mobile phone numbers of the Shankill exiles from him, before contacting them.

The latest development comes, after it emerged, this week, that Adair's wife, Gina, and some of the other exiles, were warned by cops they were actively being targeted.

The UDA vowed to step up its efforts to kill the exiles, after learning they had been making frequent visits home - despite the death-threats against them.

But, there are now fears the man - believed to be a relative of 'Bolton Wanderer' Ian Truesdale - could end up like Adair's former military commander, Alan McCullough.

He was murdered in revenge for the killing of south east Antrim terror boss, John Gregg, in June.

Although the 21-year-old was told he would be safe if he returned from exile, he was shot dead, for supporting Adair during the UDA feud.

Adair's main ally in Bolton, Gary 'Smickers' Smith, has warned the exiles not to have any contact with the UDA.

Said a senior source: "The UDA has already got this man to come back, and he knows what he had to do - give up Truesdale, and the other exiles, for good.

"The UDA managed to turn this guy against Adair and the others, but people on the ground are thinking he could end up just like Alan McCullough.

"During the feud, the UDA threatened to cut this man up, just because they couldn't get to Truesdale.

"They may have managed to get one of the exiles back, but that won't stop them trying to get the others back, in exchange for information. They are trying to isolate Johnny as much as possible.

"UDA leaders, in west Belfast, are obviously angry that the exiles have been slipping back into Northern Ireland every now and again, when they have been told to keep out."

In a separate development, sources also told Sunday Life the terror group has set up a 'special unit', to investigate rumours one of the UDA's most senior figures, during the 1980s and 1990s, was a top Special Branch agent.



**I have a weblog that I go through various searches for, finding articles, information and stories on Bobby Sands to copy so that hopefully they will always be available to read. In the recent past there was a whole body of Irish republican history on a university server, but now it is no longer in existence. I do not know where all the history articles went, but it is a great loss. It is my wish that this not happen to any piece of information concerning Bobby. I also intend to add as a supplement, links to permanent web pages of found photographs because if the original articles go down, the copied text remains, but the photos do not, at least this is my experience during experimentation.

This article is from AN PHOBLACHT of last year. The article was so good, I wanted to include it here.

From 2002:

Mo Chara Bobby Sands


Last Friday, 3 May, former republican POW SEANNA WALSH delivered the annual BOBBY SANDS MEMORIAL LECTURE in the fitting surrounds of the Felon's Club in West Belfast. Seanna was a close personal friend of Bobby Sands, the first of ten Irish republican prisoners who died on hunger strike in 1981, and he shared some memories of the man he knew so well.


I was surprised but very honoured to come here tonight and speak at this the 20th Bobby Sands lecture. Go raibh maith agaibh don choiste chuimhneacháin as an cuireadh labhairt.

We are at a crucial juncture in the current phase of the Irish struggle for a United Ireland, on the cusp of substantial electoral gains in the Southern elections, but I've decided not to talk about all this.

I'm here to talk about Bobby Sands the man, Bobby Sands the son, the husband, the father - the poet warrior, the self taught Irish language speaker and teacher, the indomitable spirit of the republican prisoner.

I first met Bobby on remand in Cage 8 of Long Kesh before being moved to Crumlin Road Gaol in January '73. What struck me about him was the cocky self-assuredness of his Belfast dander and his spiky Rod Stewart hair cut.

I was a 16-year-old, 'thought he knew it all' child of Short Strand, East Belfast; he was from Twinbrook and before that Rathcoole and was a couple of years older.

We came through remand together but I didn't get to know him well until I doubled up with him in Cage 17 and later then in Cage 11 as we served out our sentences together.

There was a clatter of Short Strand men in Cage 17 and then after the burning of the camp, in Cage 11. We took a bit of stick about being a 'clique' but Bobby and several others would have been part of that group too.

The man behind the icon

And what was he like then, this the foremost icon of the last 30 years of republican struggle, the man behind the face that's recognised and venerated by freedom loving people from New York to San Francisco, from Johannesburg to Hebron, right across Europe?

Well he was very much one of 'us', an ordinary guy who loved a bit of craic, kicked a football, had a sleg and a laugh, and lapped up the sing songs and concerts we'd organise as the guitars and mandolins were pulled out to accompany the poitín voices - we'd sing and play away into the early hours.

Bobby read and absorbed books hungrily - political and historical books about British involvement in our country and the resulting resistance to that involvement, as well as novels. He also showed an interest in the plight of 'the ordinary man' throughout the world and the struggle for social justice, fair play and freedom. This was reflected in his writings and poetry while on the blanket. In the early years he was almost like a sponge, soaking in all these different ideas, histories and theories.

As he prepared for release in early '76, he worked hard to prepare himself physically and mentally for his return to the outside and re-involvement in the republican struggle. There was no room for doubt - he was coming out to reorganise the republican base in his area, Twinbrook, and he had a picture in his head, a plan he was determined to make true.

He reorganised the army, the auxies, na Fianna and Sinn Féin, but then he took things a step further. He organised republican involvement in the tenants' associations - until then a fiefdom of the Sticks and SDLP. He pushed republicans to become involved in the everyday battles with the British Direct Rule administration and unionists on Lisburn Council. As far as he was concerned, there was so much to do and not enough time to do it.

He still found time though for his singing and playing the guitar. There was one memorable night when, in the middle of one of Bobby's cabaret sessions, an IRA foot patrol came into the local drinking club and after checking a number of peoples IDs, they approached Bobby on the stage with the intention of asking him to read out a statement from the local unit - he had written it an hour previously! Somehow the Volunteer managed to misplace the statement and had only a bru card in the pocket, Bobby took this from the Volunteer and ad libbed his way through a 15-minute speech.

After six short months, however, he was back inside and I was already there too, waiting on him coming back. The rules were different this time though, with the denial of political status after March 1976.

The writer

Bobby was at the forefront of resistance to Britain's criminalisation policies on remand in Crumlin Road Gaol and then once sentenced, in the H-Blocks. He had been involved in writing a local weekly newssheet before recapture and he decided to continue writing for it in gaol. After a while he started writing for Republican News, soon to become An Phoblacht/Republican News. He was now like a man possessed; it was his job to tell the story of every brutal assault, every sadistic attack on the naked prisoners in the H-Blocks. He also opened up communication with our women comrades in Armagh Women's Gaol and those who retained political status in the Cages of Long Kesh.

The horrendous conditions in which we suffered meant nothing if the world outside of our immediate families knew nothing about them. Bobby was central to getting the word out, first of all to republicans and then to the wider community.

One effect of all this letter and article writing he was engaged in was that he developed a grá for poetry. He began to scribble bits of verse, which he would recite to the wing, interspersing it amongst his song repertoire. Nothing too heavy.

On one particular occasion, while we were in H6 in 1979, we received a collection of poems by the nationalist poet Ethna Carberry. Bobby was really taken with the maternal heartbreak of "An Páistín Fionn" and the blood-curdling tale of "Brian Boy Magee" that he set down and penned a letter. He got to the door that night after screws had left the wing and called to Brendan Hughes - 'Dorcha, get up to your door, wait till you hear this letter, it's a cracker, it's to your woman Ethna Carberry. I had to write to her after reading those poems'. The Dark replied, 'You may get your Ouija board out Bobby, she died 70 years ago!' You can imagine the slegging he got there.

Preparing for Hunger Strike

As the crisis in the H-Blocks dragged on from '79 into '80 and we went through different avenues to move the British on the Political Status issue, it became clear that we would be left with one last option - The Hunger Strike.

We had talked about the final recourse to Hunger Strike since the collapse of the Cardinal Ó Fiaich negotiations with Thatcher. It seemed to us that it didn't matter what the people of Ireland thought or said, the British had but one aim and that was to smash the republican resistance both inside and out of the gaols.

People began to prepare for Hunger Strike in the summer of 1980. We had been involved in a letter-writing campaign since the formation of the National H-Block/Armagh committee in the winter of '79. This was intensified in the run-in to the Hunger Strike in October 1980. We wrote to anyone and everyone of influence in Ireland, in Britain, throughout the world. Bobby was in his element. We were not allowed to receive replies, only personal letters - one per month - were allowed, so to be honest none of us knew what impact, if any, these letters had. We do know that hundreds and hundreds poured out of each block week after week, month after month. I later found out that these tiny letters had a massive impact throughout the world, carrying our message of the horrors of the H-Blocks.

Spinning yarns

Yet somehow or another, at the end of a frenzied day of writing, visits debates and arguments with governors and warders and whoever else, Bobby used to be able to get up to his door after lights out and relate a yarn. Usually, this would be from some obscure novel he had read but the tale he spun would be like nothing less than a movie blockbuster as prisoners sat in the darkness; mattresses propped on the cell pipes, listening to some magical tale of good overcoming evil, the righteous oppressed throwing off the shackles of the oppressor.

The hunger strike of 1980, as we all know, ended with the doublespeak and bad faith that helped the British to conquer and rule half the world. Instead of letting people's heads go down, Bobby and the rest of us on the gaol leadership bent over backwards to come to some sort of comprise with the prison governors and their allies in the NIO. They were not interested. They believed, foolishly, that republicans were beaten, that they had us on the run and it was simply a case of them holding their nerve and watching the gaol protest collapsing. How stupid were they?


It became apparent to a number of us that a second hunger strike was inevitable. With Bobby leading the charge in the face of justified concerns and worries from the army leadership outside, we pressed our case. We were successful. Bobby organised for himself to be the first man on the strike, the first then to die, the two-week gap before Francie Hughes joined him giving the British space to move, to make concessions once Thatcher had her pound of flesh.

At the end of his second week on the strike, he wrote to me telling me that he had put on a fine hopeful face to those around him on the wing, to his clann on the visits. But he told me he had no intention of trying to pretend anything with me. He was determined to do what had to be done and he knew that the British would show no mercy. Yet he was confident that by his actions his comrades coming behind, and a whole generation of young still unborn, would be so inspired as to ensure that his goal, his dream, his Aisling would become a reality. The rest is history. The story of the actual Stailc Ocrais was told and retold so often last year I'm not even going to try to revisit it here.

Tá mé chun chríochnú anseo beidh sibh sásta cluinsint ach

A chairde, we have come a long way since those sad dark days of 1981. We've still got a long way to go but we're steadily making progress. During those leanest of days in the prisons we got by "one day at a time". Out here it is a battle a day too. So:

Ar Aghaidh go bua

Ar Aghaidh don Phoblacht.

Go raibh míle maith agaibh as éisteacht liom anocht. Slán abhaile.

micheailin's Irish Republican Fenian Blog

For posts of 7 December 2003 click on above link as Blogger was down for most of the day and all posts are over at Xanga for that day :-[



Message from Ciaran Ferry via the Irish Heritage Group

Dia dhuit a chairde:

Below is a message from Ciarán Ferry. Please read it, and do me a
personal favor. When you're making out you Christmas cards in the
next few days. Please make out one more and send it to Ciarán. Lets
give this young man a little Christmas cheer. Just a card, nothing
else please. The rules are very strict about what he can receive.
Cards are OK though.

Thank you and God Bless,



My hopes for the future obviously include residing here in the
United States. But I have one, almost manic hope/desire, to spend
Christmas with my wife and daughter. It is such a special, magic
time for children and by reflection for the parents also. To see the
glow in our children's widening eyes in the soft atmosphere of
Christmas lights, to hear their childish shrieks as they claw at the
wrapping paper and reveal their presents. To sit with a glass of
cheer and pride ourselves that we have assured that one of the last
vestiges of childhood has been preserved.

In the past eleven months I have missed many special family
occasions, but none compare to Christmas. For me to miss this would
be a devastating blow to my morale, to suggest otherwise would be a
delusion of my emotions. I live in hope.

P.O. Box 16700
Golden, CO 80402-6700


The Observer | UK News | Army spy faces jail after appeal to Queen over 'murders'

(**see previous CRYPTOME link)

Army spy faces jail after appeal to Queen over 'murders'

Henry McDonald, Ireland editor
Sunday December 7, 2003
The Observer

A British Army agent has been threatened with imprisonment for writing to the Queen about security force collusion with terrorists in Northern Ireland.
English businessman Sam Rosenfeld spied on republicans for the Army's secretive Force Research Unit between 1990 and 1993. The 41-year-old builder worked his way into the company of IRA and republican dissidents in the Fermanagh and Tyrone areas during the early 1990s.

But he has since turned on his FRU handlers and taken them to the High Court in London, claiming that he was abandoned by Army intelligence officers. He also alleges he has devastating information about collusion between the FRU, loyalists and agents inside the IRA, who were allowed to murder in order to protect their cover.

The Ministry of Defence has now threatened Rosenfeld with two court injunctions to stop him going public about his work for FRU in the Irish border region.

He received his latest injunction order last Thursday, when MoD officials left court papers at his door. But Rosenfeld claims the most bizarre threat so far has been in the form of a threat to jail him for writing to the Queen about his case.

'I decided to write to the Queen because she is the Head of State, the upholder of our constitution. I wanted to tell that her armed forces in Northern Ireland were allowing murders to take place, letting their agents kill with impunity. That was 1 June 2002. Ten days after my letter, I had an invitation from the MoD to visit them. The threats to have me jailed are because of my letters to the Queen exposing collusion,' he said yesterday.

He has subpoenaed Sir John Stevens, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, and Freddie Scappaticci, the West Belfast man who denies he is the agent known as Stakeknife, to the High Court in London on 17 December. Rosenfeld claims that both men have valuable information which will prove his case that agents such as himself are under life-long risk from terrorist groups.

Solicitors acting for Scappaticci said that their client had never met Rosenfeld and would not be prepared to act as a witness in his case against the MoD.

Rosenfeld also claims that he has caught MoD officials committing perjury when they originally petitioned a judge on 27 November 2002 - and at subsequent hearings. 'I have found out from unreacted (blacked out) documents that there was nothing there that would compromise national security, yet the MoD mislead the judge - statements were altered to appear differently from what they actually were.'

Rosenfeld worked for Colonel George Victor Williams, a top FRU intelligence officer who died in the 1994 Mull of Kintyre Chinook helicopter crash, in which 26 senior security personnel were killed.

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