BBC NEWS | Northern Ireland | Senior IRA arrests 'discouraged'

Senior IRA arrests 'discouraged'

By Dominic Casciani
BBC News Online at the National Archives

IRA funerals: Republican leaders would attend

Former Prime Minister Sir Edward Heath demanded to know why IRA leaders were not being arrested as they appeared at funerals in the 1970s.
But he was told it would be almost impossible to arrest republican leaders without causing bloodshed.

He made the demand after high profile appearances at republican funerals.

It was suspected the leaders were hiding in the Irish Republic and were being smuggled back and forth to boost morale.

Sir Edward began asking what was going on after three senior republicans had been seen wandering around freely at funerals for IRA members killed by the security forces.

Sean MacStiofan, a wanted man on both sides of the border, and Daithi O Conaill, were two of the key men behind the Provisional IRA which had become the main republican organisation by 1973. A third, Cathal Goulding, led the smaller Official IRA.

Policy denied

Documents released at the National Archives reveal Northern Ireland officials explained to the prime minister what had happened in each case.

"Unless there existed strong evidential proofs of a serious criminal offence contemplation of such an arrest would be most unlikely."
--Graham Shillington, RUC chief constable 1973

"The prime minister may be assured that there is certainly no deliberate policy of refraining from arresting such persons," said the briefing.

"There is no doubt that many people knew or could easily have guessed that there would be a liberal sprinkling of IRA leaders [at funerals]."

Officials told the prime minister that the security services could theoretically launch "snatch operations" but a "price would be paid".

In the case of one funeral, officials said attempts to lift Cathal Goulding would be extremely difficult.

"IRA sympathisers would not have let Cathal Goulding be arrested without giving a lot of trouble and the political significance of an incident in which lives might well be lost and many persons injured has to be weighed in the balance."

However, the prime minister was not satisfied.

"His own inclination [is] that they should be arrested and tried and he would like to know what the objections are to doing this," came the reply from Downing Street.

Graham Shillington, chief constable of the Royal Ulster Constabulary, was invited to explain.

"The places where the arrest of such persons would be likely to occasion disproportionate disorder are in the enclaves or elsewhere at a public meeting or procession," he said.

"Unless there existed strong evidential proofs of a serious criminal offence, contemplation of such an arrest would be most unlikely."

In other words, unless republican leaders were caught in the middle of a suspected terrorist act, there was little the police felt they could do.

Furthermore, officials conceded that there was probably very little police officers could do if they apprehended the men at roadblocks or checkpoints.

"They should be naturally frisked and indeed asked questions," the PM was told. "But what if both proved negative? Is the policeman or soldier to send them on their way without further ado?"

Army sympathy

General Sir Harry Tuzo, the head of the army in Northern Ireland, agreed it was difficult to make arrests.

Documents recently revealed he had opposed the introduction of internment, fearing it would make it twice as difficult for him to combat the IRA.

He saw merit in a system where IRA leaders would be regularly subjected to interrogation - but he sympathised with the fears of the chief constable that it could lead to more harm than good.

Despite continued demands from Downing Street, the Northern Ireland Office refused to agree to a blanket arrests policy.

"The furthest we can reasonably go in giving guidance to the security forces," officials told Sir Edward, "is to say that an arrest should be made, provided first, it is clear that there is enough evidence to found a good expectation of being able to secure a conviction for a criminal offence, and secondly that the arrest can be effected without occasioning disproportionate disorder.

"To arrest a visiting IRA leader with a view to internment would be political unwise.

"So often we would be wiser not to act and be prepared to defend this exercise of discretion."



Latest (statement / press release) by:

CONTACT; Andy Martin, (Director of Publicity)

Phone: 07742 439 449

email: belfast32csm@yahoo.com

New Years statement issued on behalf of the National Executive by Mr Francis Mackey, National Chairman.

As we enter 2004 we are mindful that on 21st January 85 years ago, the elected representatives of the Irish Nation declared their freedom through the Declaration of Independence.

The historic election of December 1918 formed the first Irish Parliament, Dail Eireann, and was the clear democratic wish of the Irish people to end British rule in Ireland. The Irish people have been denied that right to this day.

In commemorating this historic event the 32 County Sovereignty Movement looks forward with patriotic principle to uphold and defend the democratic right of the Irish people. We emphasise the responsibility of all republicans to uphold the principle of the 1916 leaders, the first Dail Eireann and the Sovereignty of the Irish Nation.

We look forward to advancing the search for real peace with justice and we question why the British Government insists on continuing their illegal claim to the occupied six counties.

Reflecting on the past year, the 32 CSM are convinced now more than ever that our decision to oppose the modernisation and normalisation of British rule in Ireland through the 1998 agreement was the correct route for republicans. That agreement was based on a flawed analysis and failed the Irish people, Protestant, Catholic and Dissenter. It is sectarian by its very nature and fails the people on this island.

The agreement has not addressed the British government’s illegal claim to part of Ireland and it is our firm belief that Unionism will not be persuaded to address their needs within the island as long as such a claim exists.

The 32 County Sovereignty Movement asks the Protestant people, particularly those in working class areas, to look seriously at the similar circumstances in Catholic areas and see the deprivation that affects both equally. We pose the question, can your needs be met with the continuance of sectarian conflict which the British Government is content to allow to continue in order to safeguard their interests and divert attention from the real reason why they are holding on to their illegal claim?

The 32 County Sovereignty Movement believe all our needs to alleviate the deprivation and hidden poverty that exists can be more effectively addressed in an all Ireland context without the diversion of the British Government and the frustration that creates in both communities.

The GFA cannot be all things to all people and the inherent flaw on the issue of National Sovereignty allows for the agreement to flounder as we have witnessed over the past years with the constant suspension of the Assembly at Stormont. This process is doomed to failure, and will continue to fail the people of this island.

The process of moving forward is made more difficult by both the British and Dublin Governments, when they use negative propaganda against groups like ours for opposing the Stormont arrangement as if our opinion was not equally valid.

This vilification should not be taken lightly and under analysis does not stand up to scrutiny and is indeed a weak attempt to hide their failure, which we continuously expose.

We will never allow a British Government or indeed anyone else to criminalize us and we challenge the Dublin Minister of Justice Mr Mc Dowell on his blatant lies on the 9th December 2003 when he stated on RTE that the 32CSM were associated with drugs and criminal activity.

Such allegations are unfounded and without a single shred of evidence and I challenge Mr Mc Dowell to produce the evidence to substantiate his claim. If he doesn’t, which we are certain he cannot, it will be taken for what it is, lies. In the meantime I will be seeking legal advice to address such unfounded allegations and the slur he has cast on myself and members of this movement.

The past year has also witnessed the framing of republicans based on corruption within the RUC/PSNI. This was evidenced in the cases against Noel Abernathy, Martin Brogan and Mark Carroll, with the use of contaminated evidence to attempt to secure a false conviction.

This type of injustice is nothing new in the armoury of the British Government against Irish citizens and we have noted the silence of the Dublin administration and the constitutional parties in Stormont. Obviously such injustices are not part of their brief within the confines of what they agreed with the British government.

The 32 CSM repudiates such injustice and we call for all prosecutions under the corrupt British judicial system to be rescinded.

The past year has revealed claim and counter claim in the investigation into the Omagh atrocity 1998. Given the revelations that sinister state forces were involved resulting in the horror of that bomb, it is my firm belief that only a full independent public enquiry will come near establishing the truth of what happened leading up to and on that fateful day.

The 32 CSM are committed to pursuing our peaceful path through international arbitration at the United Nations and will increase our endeavours to have Ireland’s case heard to uphold the Irish people’s democratic rights and to protect Irish National Sovereignty.

It is clear that the proscription of the 32 CSM in America is based on falsehood and is unconstitutional within the laws of that country. It is our intention to increase our efforts to prove to the US administration our bona fides as a peaceful organisation upholding Irelands rights as a Nation and that our challenge to the British Government is a legitimate position for the Irish people.

In the year ahead we call for a full debate amongst the Irish people on the Sovereignty of the Irish Nation and call for a continued effort to have our challenge answered at the UN. It is time for the British government to decolonise Ireland or to answer why they continue to hold on to their illegal claim.

We take this opportunity to wish all our supporters at home and abroad, a peaceful and happy New Year.

We extend New Year and solidarity greetings to Irish POWs at home and abroad. We salute your courage and determination in refusing to allow the British Government to criminalise you and your determination to force the Government to implement segregation within Maghaberry Gaol.

The British Government have conceded that political prisoners exist in Ireland and by conceding on this issue admit that the issue of Sovereignty which has historically led to conflict remains unresolved.

The Irish people must now demand their democratic right to uphold and protect National Sovereignty and we in the 32 County Sovereignty Movement will continue to give leadership with our challenge, via the UN, on this basic principle.

BBC NEWS | Northern Ireland | IRA 'concern' over peace process

IRA 'concern' over peace process

The IRA says it had destroyed a huge number of weapons

The IRA says it is "deeply concerned" about the handling of the peace process by the British and Irish governments.

In its New Year statement, the IRA claimed the governments had failed to respond adequately to the most recent act of arms decommissioning.

It insisted its decommissioning in October had been its biggest yet and it expected something in return.

Although expressing frustration, there is no suggestion the organisation's ceasefire is in jeopardy.

The IRA said its October action, as part of a failed choreography to restore the devolved Stormont Assembly, involved "the largest amount of arms to date".

"After that the sequence was put on hold," the statement continued.

"Since then the two governments have not honoured their part of it.

"Consequently there has been no progress on a range of issues involved.

"The British Government carries the premier responsibility for that. It's failure to deliver is of deep concern."

The IRA has been expecting security reforms.

BBC Ireland correspondent Mark Simpson said republicans have been seeking a reduction in British Army installation and further policing changes.

He added that the statement reflected comments already made by senior Sein Fein figures.

Talks due

The need for a breakthrough in the peace process has intensified ever since Sinn Fein and Ian Paisley's Democratic Unionists emerged from the November elections to the suspended Assembly as the most powerful parties on either side of the union-nationalist divide.

UK Prime Minister Tony Blair and Irish Premier Bertie Ahern are trying to find a way to get the two extremes to work together during a review of the April 1998 Good Friday Agreement.

Talks involving all sides in Belfast are due to begin within weeks amid demands from Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams that they are limited to a month.

But with negotiations expected to drag on much longer, the two governments will have to make some tough decisions later in the spring about the future direction of the peace process.



28 December 2003

British soldier taken from ferry 'had weapons in bag'
—by Tom Brady, Irish Independent

A BRITISH Army officer was taken off a B and I ferry by gardai at
Dublin port on the evening of the Dublin bombings and weapons were found in his bag.

This astonishing information is contained in an Irish Army
intelligence report examined by the Barron inquiry. But no reference
to the arrest or the find appears in Garda records and no further
developments were reported.

At lunchtime on the day of the bombings, a telephone caller told
gardai he was worried that a white van with an English registration
parked outside the Department of Posts and Telegraphs on Portland
Row might contain a bomb.

Garda records show that details of the alleged registration were
taken, but those numbers were shown later not to have been issued.
At around 5.10pm the gardai received a second call from the witness
and agreed to send a patrol to examine the van. When two gardai
arrived at the scene they were met by the witness who told them a
man had driven the van away towards Sheriff Street.

Shortly afterwards the bombs went off. The witness called gardai
several times after and at 6.30 he was taken by a garda car to the
docks. The witness saw the same van in the deep sea area of the B
and I ferry port. Gardai searched the van and found a British Army

The Barron report shows that through allowing witnesses to examine
photographs of suspected loyalists, the Dublin investigation team
found three witnesses who identified David Alexander Mulholland,
described by the gardai as a member of the UVF with a history of
involvement in car bomb blasts as being in the green Hillman car
which contained the Parnell Street bomb.

Gardai received no specific intelligence warning although a general
alert for key-holders to watch out for firebombs was issued on May


online.ie: news

SF wants timeframe for Agreement review
2003-12-29 16:20:01+00

The review of the Good Friday Agreement must be limited to one month, Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams said today.

As London and Dublin prepare for talks with all sides in Belfast, he also insisted the two governments had to make it clear there could be no renegotiation of the deal struck in April 1998.

British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, and Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, are hoping discussions in the new year will advance the process, even though Ian Paisley has ruled out a chance of his Democratic Unionist Party entering into a power-sharing arrangement with Sinn Féin at the Northern Ireland Assembly.

No timetable for the talks has been announced, but Mr Adams has called for them to be limited to four weeks followed by prompt publication of the review's conclusions.

David Trimble's Ulster Unionists and Mark Durkan's SDLP will also be heavily involved, but the Sinn Féin leader said other political parties should be invited to take part as well, along with business, civic, church, equality, human rights and trade union representatives.

This process he said, was about a review of the operation and delivery of the Agreement and while the party welcomed the assertion by both governments that it would not be a review of the fundamentals, they were concerned some parties may seek renegotiation.

Mr Adams said: "There is an onus on both governments to make it clear that this will not happen or that anti-Agreement parties will not be allowed to use the review for their own ends.

"The review is not a substitute for working political institutions."

It was disappointing and unfortunate that parties were considering their approach to the review in the context of a continuing suspension of the political institutions which, he claimed, could only serve to encourage those who seek to veto the Agreement's implementation.

He said: "The suspension is itself a breach of the Agreement and undermines substantially any assertion by the governments that its fundamentals are not up for renegotiation.

"The suspension of the Assembly should be lifted immediately."

online.ie: news

Former minister backs Barron report findings
2003-12-29 18:10:02+00

A minister in the coalition government of 30 years ago today broke ranks with former senior colleagues, backing a critical report by a senior judge on the official handling of the Dublin and Monaghan bombings in 1974.

The Barron report, issued after an investigation into the background of the bombings by High Court judge Mr Justice Henry Barron, directed criticism at then-Taoiseach Liam Cosgrave and his government.

The then-Government was criticised for failing to pass on information received from British Prime Minister Harold Wilson about the suspected involvement in the bombings of the UVF loyalist para-military group.

Three members of the Cosgrave government, Dr Garret FitzGerald - who later became Taoiseach in Dublin - Patrick Cooney and Conor Cruise O'Brien have subsequently disputed the Barron findings.

But today ex-Labour Minister Justin Keating said he accepted and admired the contents of the report.

Mr Keating also supported a demand from families of victims of the bombings for a judicial inquiry into the incidents.

He said he believed the report was accurate, and added: "I don't believe we showed the diligence in pursuing it that we should have done.

"And I think that there were political reasons which seemed good to the government of the time, but which did not, and don't seem, good to me."

Justice for the Forgotten, a group representing victims' families, said they "very much welcomed" Mr Keating's comments - particularly his backing for an inquiry.

A spokesman said that "a form of judicial inquiry" with full powers to compel both witnesses and documents was the "minimum" to which the families were entitled.

He maintained there was "an overwhelming case" for the families to know what had gone on and, as the the main players in 1974 were still around, they should "give evidence to such an inquiry and be tested on it".

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Belfast Telegraph

Irish language for all Ulster schools - SDLP
DUP dismiss idea as 'a stunt'

By Chris Thornton
29 December 2003

THE SDLP called today for Irish to be made a compulsory subject for every Northern Ireland school - leading to accusations they were trying to be 'greener' than Sinn Fein.

The party's spokesman on the Irish language, Assembly member Patsy McGlone, said the SDLP will introduce a new bill to make Irish an official language if devolved powers are returned to Stormont.

He said they will also "press" for the language to be introduced into all schools as a core subject.

But the DUP dismissed the plan as an unworkable stunt cooked up by the SDLP to compete with Sinn Fein.

"I don't know when the SDLP are going to stop this stupid competition with Sinn Fein to see who can be more green," said DUP Assembly member Sammy Wilson, a former teacher.

"It's very wrong to use school kids as part of this."

But Mr McGlone said the plan "means developing a cultural heritage programme in schools and establishing a Resource Unit in the Dept of Education to co-ordinate the position of Irish in English language schools".

However, under present Assembly rules, neither proposal would be likely to succeed under unionist opposition.

Mr McGlone said the SDLP's aim is to achieve the "same support and official backing" for Irish culture in the North as it receives in the Republic.

"We want people North and South to look upon Irish and English as their official languages," the Mid Ulster representative said.

"We want people to welcome and rejoice in their national culture."

Mr Wilson said it is important for young people to study languages, but said it would be better for them to learn languages that have "economic value rather than a dead language".

"Even within the nationalist community the number of people who are competent at Irish or want to be competent at Irish is limited".

He said schools should be concentrating resources on "numeracy and literacy in the language children use in everyday life", rather than being forced to spread resources to another compulsory subject.

Mr McGlone said the proposed Irish Language bill would "give full legal recognition to Irish and create parity of esteem between Irish and English.

"This would allow people to deal with public bodies in Irish," Mr McGlone added.


28 December 2003

INLA threat to end ceasefire after O'Hare is denied parole
—by Liam Clarke and Dearbhail McDonald, Sunday Times

THE INLA ceasefire is in doubt following the government's decision to refuse Christmas parole to Dessie O’Hare, Ireland’s most notorious terrorist.

O’Hare, known as the Border Fox, wanted temporary release to spend Christmas with his wife Clare and family. The refusal of Michael McDowell, the justice minister, to allow O’Hare leave has provoked a furious response from the hardline republican terrorist organisation.

A senior member of the Irish Republican Socialist party (IRSP), the INLA’s political wing, warned that the government should be “concerned about the ceasefire in the medium term”. The IRSP is also considering a legal challenge to the decision not to allow O’Hare out.

Eddie McGarrigle, a member of the ruling executive of the IRSP, said the organisation was taking O’Hare’s case as a litmus test of the government’s good faith.

“When we were discussing plans for the INLA ceasefire with the Irish government we made it very clear that Dessie O’Hare and Eddie Hogan (his co-accused who was released three years ago) were high on the list of prisoners we wanted released,” McGarrigle said.

“The Irish government should now be concerned about the INLA ceasefire in the medium term, because if the people who are pushing peace-building efforts and initiatives walk away from the process who is going to take their place? I am considering doing that at the moment.”

O’Hare was sentenced to 40 years in 1988 for kidnapping and mutilating John O’Grady, a dentist. O’Hare hacked off two of O’Grady’s fingers with a chisel in an unsuccessful attempt to secure a IR£1.5m ransom from his family. The INLA, which was undergoing a split, disowned the kidnapping but accepted O’Hare back into the terror group when he was jailed.

He later became the officer commanding the INLA prisoners at Portlaoise, a post he held until he was transferred to Castlerea open prison last year.

Since he was affiliated with a paramilitary group on ceasefire, O’Hare was deemed eligible for early release under the terms of the Good Friday agreement. The government has, however, refused to implement the recommendation in the case of O’Hare, who is regarded as one of the most ruthless and volatile individuals to emerge during the Troubles.

His willingness to mutilate his victims is seen as evidence of psychotic tendencies. The IRSP points out that loyalists who attacked and tortured Catholics, including members of the Shankill Butcher gang, have been been freed in Northern Ireland.

In recent years O’Hare has been carving a new image for himself. His character appeared to change after he spent four years in the basement of Portlaoise prison speaking to nobody and becoming adept at yoga. When he emerged from this self-imposed retreat from prison society he became associated with the Glencree Centre for Peace and Reconciliation. He has attended a conference there and has offered to meet his victims.

McGarrigle said that the IRSP blamed McDowell and the Progressive Democrat party for the failure to release O’Hare.

“Fianna Fail people have told us the PDs are the problem,” said McGarrigle. “McDowell made the release of prisoners commission send Dessie to five psychoanalysts. Dessie passed the tests with flying colours but he still hasn’t been released.”

The Observer | Politics | IRA bomber attacks Sinn Fein on abortion

IRA bomber attacks Sinn Fein on abortion

Terrorist who turned teacher demands a stronger Catholic line

Henry McDonald, Ireland editor
Sunday December 28, 2003
The Observer

One of the IRA's most important gun-runners and bombers has accused his Sinn Fein comrades of being too politically correct about abortion and gay marriage.
Gerry McGeough, who was jailed in the United States for attempting to buy Stinger surface-to-air missiles for the Provos, said some Sinn Fein members were anti-Catholic on moral issues.

McGeough, a former Sinn Fein national executive member and key figure in the IRA's East Tyrone Brigade, said: 'You would never get a leader of Sinn Fein condemning abortion, homosexual "marriage" or anything of that nature.

'I, as an Irish nationalist and Catholic, never want to see the day when there are abortion clinics in every market town in Ireland. But looking around there is no political grouping willing to take a stance against that.'

McGeough told the Irish Catholic that his faith sustained him while he was in jail on terrorism charges.

The gun-runner, who was prepared to ship missiles, rifles and explosives into Northern Ireland during the Troubles, said he was pro-life and militantly opposed to abortion.

He also sounds a conservative, Euro-sceptical note in his interview: 'Many people, I believe, wish for a society where faith, decency, pro-life convictions and national self-determination within Europe can flourish; and not be swallowed up in a dictatorial EU bureaucracy.

'What we need is a strong Church, led by strong church figures willing to stand up and say what the Church stands for.'

Referring to his past, McGeough said it was his 'patriotic duty' to join the IRA in 1975 and take up arms. He believed the IRA's armed campaign was just.

'I was a soldier. I came into contact with other soldiers and no civilians were involved. I believe it was a "just war", and that peoples and nations have a right to defend themselves; that the English have no right to be in Ireland, or any part of it. Bear in mind that the Catholic Church has chaplains in almost every army in the world.'

McGeough was arrested in August 1988 while crossing the Netherlands-German border with two AK47 rifles in his car. He was charged with attacks on the British Army of the Rhine and held for four years in a specially built German detention centre.

His trial in Germany was interrupted by extradition to America, where he was charged with attempting to buy the surface-to-air-missiles in 1983. He served three years in American prisons before his release in 1996.

Now working as a teacher in Dublin, McGeough has just completed a history degree from Trinity College Dublin.

Although he has left the republican movement, McGeough remains committed to Patrick Pearse's vision of a Gaelic Catholic Ireland, which stresses the cultural and religious aspects of nationalism.

'I believe that we have a God-given duty to ensure that the faith is kept alive and passed on to future generations,' he said.

Sunday Life

Murder suspect bolts to the country

By Stephen Breen
28 December 2003

THE Real IRA gunman suspected of blasting west Belfast man, Danny McGurk, to death earlier this year is believed to be in hiding, in Co Down.

Sunday Life understands the man - the main suspect in the killing - fled to the tiny village of Ballyhornan, after he was forced to flee Belfast.

Mr McGurk died when he was blasted five times by a dissident republican gang, at his Ross Street home.

The 35-year-old father-of-six, who had a conviction for manslaughter, was targeted after he was involved in a row with a leading renegade republican boss, from the Lower Falls Road area.

A priest at the funeral of the murder victim branded his Real IRA killers as "cowardly drug traffickers".

The dissident republican - believed to be one of the terror group's top bomb-makers - is from the Ardoyne area.

The thug is on the run from the Provisionals, and is now understood to be living in the home of another well-known renegade republican, in the south Down area.

It is also understood the terrorist has launched a Real IRA recruitment drive, after moving to the area.

Ballyhornan has been used as a base, in the past, by dissident republicans, but a notorious Continuity IRA gang, which was operating in the area, was smashed by the Provisionals.

A senior security source told Sunday Life: "Mainstream republicans are not too happy about this man coming to Ballyhornan."

sbreen@belfast telegraph.co.uk

Sunday Life

News special - Johnny's year in the dog house...

By Stephen Breen
28 December 2003

IN just over a week's time, ousted terror chief, Johnny 'Mad Dog' Adair, will have spent the last year behind bars.

During his time locked up in the women's and asylum seekers' wing of Maghaberry Prison, Adair will have had 12 months to reflect on - what can only be described as - his "annus horribilis".

It all started to go wrong for the former leader of the UDA's notorious 'C' company, when he kickstarted his campaign to become the terror group's 'top dog', in 2002.

Shortly following the launch of his crusade, Adair and his former sidekick, John 'CoCo' White, remained defiant, after they were expelled from the UDA for "treason".

But Adair's defiance was short-lived, when he was returned to prison, by Secretary of State, Paul Murphy, in January, as his feud with his former comrades threatened to spiral out of control.

Although the terror boss still held control over the lower Shankill, from his prison cell in Maghaberry, his fate was finally sealed, after the murder of bitter enemy, John 'Grug' Gregg.

The south east Antrim UDA 'brigadier' was gunned down, along with fellow terrorist, Rab Carson, by Adair's men, in February.

The killing sparked a violent response from the UDA leadership, and the few remaining members of Adair's 'C' company were forced to flee for their lives.

The caged loyalist was helpless in his lonely prison cell, as the terrorist and crime empire, which he had spent years constructing, crumbled around him.

Adair watched as wife, Gina, sidekick, 'CoCo', and his most trusted allies fled Northern Ireland under threat of death, to the sanctuary of Scotland, and later to the north west of England.

The former 'C' company leader was left even more isolated, as some of his former 'steadfast' comrades, including prominent west Belfast loyalist, Mo Courtney, refused to back him, in his war with the UDA leadership.

Adair was now being attacked from all quarters.

Even Milltown murderer, Michael Stone, got in on the act, when he spoke exclusively to Sunday Life about Adair's behind-bars gay sex romps and drug-taking exploits, during their time in the Maze.

As the UDA leadership announced a one-year period of "military inactivity", after the bitter feud with Adair's men, the caged loyalist was left out in the cold.

But, during the year, Adair's battered ego resurfaced from time to time, when he would verbally attack the men on the UDA's 'inner council'.

Speaking to Sunday Life, Adair vowed to go back to his old stomping ground, after his release from prison, in 2005, and promised to confront the men who he blamed for attacking his wife, Gina, when she defied a UDA death threat, to make a visit to her mother's home.

We were also the first paper to travel to Bolton, to meet with Adair's wife and his henchmen, to report on their new life away from the Shankill.

And we were the first to reveal how Adair had become embroiled in a bitter row with one of his former comrades, who he accused of being a top spy, during the 1980s and 1990s.

But, after the arrest of Adair's pal, 'Bolton wanderer', Ian Truesdale, for the murder of Jonathan Stewart, and last week's arrest of his wife and son, for alleged drugs offences, his Christmas and New Year is not going to be a happy one.

Senior security sources told Sunday Life Adair's fall from grace had been "remarkable".

Said the source: "The last year must seem like an eternity for Adair and his men. They really have been attacked from all quarters.

"Adair used the last year to refer to his enemies as 'criminals' and 'pimps', but everyone knows his own men are ruthless terrorists and gangsters.

"Everything seems to be going wrong for Adair at the minute, and it really is hard to see him going back to the Shankill - the word on the street is that he's finished."

It just goes to show you, what a difference a year makes . . .

Sunday Life

Don't extradite my son, pleads Belfast mum

By Stephen Breen
28 December 2003

THE concerned mother of a former INLA man, who is facing deportation from the United States, last night pleaded with Ulster politicians to back her son's campaign to remain in America.

Speaking to Sunday Life, Ellen McAllister, from Belfast's lower Ormeau Road area, urged leading SDLP and Sinn Fein figures to lobby the US authorities on behalf of her son, Malachy.

A spokesman for former SDLP leader John Hume, who has built up an extensive network of contacts in the States, also said he would be happy to meet with Mrs McAllister to discuss her son's case.

McAllister, who met with former US President Bill Clinton to discuss his case, is facing expulsion from his adopted country, because of a conviction in the 1980s.

The builder was jailed, after he signed a statement to cops, when he was implicated by republican supergrass Harry Kirkpatrick.

The 46-year-old fled Northern Ireland, in 1988, after a Red Hand Commando murder-squad came within inches of killing his family, when they fired more than 30 shots into his home.

The weapons used in the attack were later found - along with McAllister's personal details - in a loyalist arms dump.

The family has already been backed by US congressmen, Joe Crawley, Steve Rothman, and other senior politicians.

And, we can reveal the Washington-based Irish National Caucus group, which specialises in Ulster's troubled peace process, is also set to plead with US politicians to support McAllister's campaign.

The group's president, Fr Sean McManus, told Sunday Life he would be writing to US politicians, in a bid to highlight the case.

Speaking for the first time about her son's campaign, Mrs McAllister said any help provided by local politicians would be "greatly appreciated".

She said: "My son is no terrorist, and should be allowed to live in the United States, because he has been nothing but an upstanding member of the community in New Jersey.

"He went to America, because loyalists fired over 30 shots into his living room and also his kids' bedroom - what else was he meant to do?

"The reason he fled was because he wanted to protect his family, and he wasn't going to stay in a place, where he knew he could be killed at any time, as they had his personal details.

"I am so proud of him, because he went there with nothing, and yet still managed to start his own business, and provide work for the Americans - what threat can he be?

"I don't know what help our politicians could provide, but any help would be greatly appreciated, because if my son is sent home it will absolutely devastate him, and his family."

South Belfast Sinn Fein Assemblyman,Alex Maskey, said he would also be happy to meet with Mrs McAllister.

Added Mr Maskey: "I have lobbied for other people, in similar situations in the past, and would be happy to meet with the McAllister's to discuss their case.

"The vast majority of people who had a similar case to Mr McAllister were upstanding members of the community, and would not have been in that situation, had it not been for the conflict."


Sunday Life

My Hero" - Dog saved my dad in IRA attack

28 December 2003

David with dad Johnson and another family pet in 1991

AN ULSTER dog lover wants his faithful Alsatian honoured - for saving his dad from an IRA assassin's bullet.

David Hamilton believes his old dog, Rebel, deserves a posthumous medal for sinking his fangs into the gunman, who came to murder his father, Johnson.

Sunday Life is backing David's campaign to have Rebel's bravery recognised.

Said David: "If Rebel hadn't been in the house, when the gunmen forced their way in, my father would certainly have been killed.

"I'll be doing everything in my power to have him recognised with a medal or a bravery award."

AN ANIMAL-loving Ulsterman is spearheading a campaign to have his old dog posthumously honoured - a quarter-of-a-century after it saved his father from an IRA murder gang.

Farmer, David Hamilton, opened his heart to Sunday Life, to talk about his crusade to obtain a bravery award for his old pet, Rebel.

The 49-year-old, from Dromore, Co Down, hopes the Alsatian will be honoured, for its courage and selflessness, when IRA gunmen almost killed his father, Johnson, in November 1979.

Rebel lost an eye, and was shot in the stomach, when it pounced on one of the gunmen, after they forced their way into Mr Hamilton's Finaghy home.

Mr Hamilton, who died in 2000, was blasted in the arm and side, before the dog sunk its teeth into one of the masked gunmen.

The terror gang - who had targeted the lorry driver in a case of mistaken identity - panicked, and shot the dog, before fleeing.

Rebel never fully recovered from his injuries, and died in 1981.

Although the Ulster Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (USPCA) initially said it supported plans to honour Rebel, the dog has never received any recognition for its bravery.

Speaking to Sunday Life, Mr Hamilton said it would be a "great tribute" to his father, if Rebel received a bravery award.

He said: "The award for Rebel was mentioned at the time of the shooting, but, as the years went on, nothing ever came of it.

"This is something I have been thinking about for a long time, and just thought it was a good idea to have the dog honoured now, because it would be a great tribute to my late father.

"I don't know who or what organisation would honour the dog, but I will be doing all I can, in 2004, to have Rebel recognised with a medal, or bravery award."

"Rebel was a great pet, and if it had not been in the house when the gunmen forced their way in, my father would have been killed.

"If a person can receive an award for saving someone's life, I don't see why an animal can't. The incident may have happened a long time ago, but if any pet deserves recognition, it's Rebel."

The farmer's campaign is being backed by Lagan Valley MP, Jeffrey Donaldson.

Said Mr Donaldson: "I very much support Mr Hamilton's bid to have Rebel honoured with a bravery award.

"There are numerous examples of animals playing courageous roles in Northern Ireland, and Rebel deserves this, because he saved a man's life.

"Dogs which worked for the security forces in the fight against terrorism have been honoured in the past, and I don't see why this pet should not be honoured.

"I will do everything I can to assist Mr Hamilton in his campaign."

sbreen@belfast telegraph.co.uk

Northern Ireland election: An attempt to rescue the Good Friday Agreement

**Published 26 November 2003
World Socialist Web Site

Northern Ireland election: An attempt to rescue the Good Friday Agreement
By Steve James
26 November 2003

Today’s second election for the Northern Ireland Assembly is another desperate effort to resuscitate the constitutional arrangements established under the power-sharing Good Friday Agreement of 1998 (Agreement).

Voters are being asked to choose representatives for a devolved Assembly and a governing executive whose every action has been characterised by bitter divisions. Northern Ireland is currently ruled directly from London, the Assembly having been suspended four times in its short history and put on ice for over a year by the British government following a manufactured spying scandal involving Sinn Fein. It remains to be seen whether these elections will lead to any agreement on the terms for its revival.

Such instability is the direct result of the Agreement, which was predicated on ensuring the interests of big business at the direct expense of the democratic rights of working people.

The Good Friday Agreement was patched together by the United States, Britain and Ireland as a means of creating a more stable economic environment for corporate investment in the North. Irish workers were excluded from any real say so over the future course of events.

The US in particular, which is the largest and most influential investor in the island, was concerned to replicate the success of the Southern Irish Republic which had been transformed over the preceding decades into a boom area for corporations seeking an avenue into European markets. But plans to extend the cheap labour economy north of the border depended upon establishing a stable political and economic framework for investment by ending sectarian-armed conflict, and enabling greater collaboration between London and Dublin.

For their part the British government had long concluded that the enormous cost of maintaining thousands of troops in a state of readiness along the border, coupled with a vast and complex apparatus of surveillance and repression, far outweighed the financial gains accruing from its military domination of the province.

The Conservatives under Margaret Thatcher had signed the Anglo-Irish Agreement with Dublin in November 1985, establishing an Intergovernmental Conference providing for cooperation on political matters, security, legal matters and the promotion of cross-border economic cooperation.

The South recognised that the Northern six counties belonged to Britain and that any change would demand a majority vote that the Protestant Unionist majority could veto, but the agreement met opposition on all sides.

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams condemned it for having “copper-fastened partition and Dublin’s recognition of the Northern Ireland state”, while the Unionists held mass protests culminating in a “day of action” on March 3 that closed down much of Northern Ireland’s economy. The North’s Stormont Assembly was dissolved in June 1986.

The two governments concluded that it was essential to secure the agreement of the Unionists and bring Sinn Fein on board if success was to be achieved—a perspective that was given added impetus following the election of the Labour government of Tony Blair in 1997.

During the protracted negotiations that culminated in the Good Friday Agreement, the British and US governments sought to convince the Protestant bourgeoisie represented by the Ulster Unionist Party that cooperation was the only means of securing its economic future. The elite that had dominated political life in the North following the forced partition of Ireland in 1921-22 had seen its engineering and textile manufacturing operations decline and the transformation of the province into an economic backwater whose small, globally uncompetitive industries were dwarfed by the new outfits operating in the South. Unionism entered the Agreement seeking to attract investment while defending as much of the apparatus guaranteeing Protestant rule as possible.

But the plans of big business were dependent upon incorporating Sinn Fein and its military wing, the Irish Republican Army (IRA), into the proposed structures of British rule over the North. Sinn Fein depends on US backing for its survival. Under the urging of Washington, the IRA agreed to a ceasefire in 1995 and Sinn Fein made clear that it was seeking a political accommodation with London that would elevate them into government. As the representatives of an aspiring layer of the Catholic middle class, Sinn Fein allied itself to US corporate interests in the hope of emulating the economic success of its contemporaries in the booming South.

The coming together of imperialist interests with those of the sectarian formations was sold to the people of Northern Ireland as an equitable means to halt the civil war, end anti-Catholic discrimination, overcome the religious divisions which have plagued Northern Ireland for centuries and inaugurate a new era of peace and prosperity for all.

The referenda on the Agreement won the support of an overwhelming majority in the South and of Catholics in the North, and a narrow but significant majority of Protestants.

But the constitutional arrangements never offered a genuine prospect of meeting up to the grandiose claims made for the Agreement, i.e., that it would end sectarian hostilities. This prospect was not in the interests of the bourgeois powers that drew up its provisions. None of them were prepared to abandon a strategy of divide and rule that had been employed so successfully to prevent the emergence of coherent and unified political opposition to big business from the working class.

At the Agreement’s heart was a Stormont Assembly that institutionalised the sectarian divide. By defining every member of the Assembly as belonging to either a Unionist and Protestant community, or a Republican and Catholic community, the Agreement guaranteed that every area of political and economic life became an arena for turf wars between the sectarian factions.

Moreover, while a majority of ordinary Protestants supported the Agreement, a sizeable minority led by the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and sections of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) opposed the Agreement as a sell out of Ulster’s interests. They found support in particular from within the province’s vast paramilitary and state security apparatus.

In its short life, therefore, every decision taken by the Assembly on investments, schools, hospitals, language rights and so on has been denounced by one or other camp as either a concession to “terrorism” or a capitulation to the British and Unionist hierarchy.

All the suspensions have their roots in factional feuding usually initiated by sections of Unionism opposed to the Agreement. Under the barest of pretexts relating to this or that aspect of the IRA’s disarmament, the anti-Agreement Unionists have succeeded in getting the British government to stall the Assembly in order to save the political skin of pro-Agreement First Minister and UUP leader David Trimble.

As a consequence the Agreement has been accompanied by the growth of ever-deeper sectarian divisions. While Northern Ireland is a safer place for business and the level of conflict between the paramilitary groups has been considerably reduced, there are daily reports of pipe bombings, punishment beatings and families forced out of their houses by paramilitary gangs. The initial reversal of the trend towards polarised housing in many working and middle class areas has been thrown back. So-called “peace walls” continue to be erected at “sectarian interfaces”. North Belfast now has 15 of them. Opinion polls suggest that the current election will see a historically low level of cross community voting—where nationalists vote for unionist parties, and vice versa.

At the same time the prosperity which the Agreement was supposed to bring has proved illusory. While a narrow minority are doing rather well, the experience of ordinary Catholics and Protestants has been one of continuing pressure on schools and social services. The recent “Bare Necessities” report produced by a pro-Agreement thinktank, conceded that 502,000 people, including many Protestants, were living at or close to a poverty line of around £156 a week.

Jobs have continued to disappear. In the last two months, 160 jobs were lost at Carpets International in County Down, 55 from hosiery firm Adria in Strabane and Derry, 80 from a Glen Dimplex electronics plant in County Down, 300 from clothing manufacturer Desmonds & Sons in Derry and 189 at Saintfield Yarn in County Down. This follows large-scale layoffs from the Shorts aircraft plant in Belfast and the end of shipbuilding at the Harland and Wolf shipyard.

The continuing growth of social inequality, in an atmosphere of existing sectarian divisions, is forcing working people into the arms of those parties perceived to be most aggressive in standing up for the interests of “their” community—Sinn Fein on the one side and the DUP on the other. Much commentary around the election has speculated on the likelihood of Sinn Fein and the DUP emerging as the largest parties in the new Assembly, a scenario that guarantees further tensions and instability.

The elections will resolve nothing. Despite the numerous parties standing in the elections, only two perspectives are on offer. Voters are being asked to either endorse a continuation of an Agreement that has only deepened divisions and done nothing to ameliorate the social difficulties facing working people, or support reactionary Unionist calls for a return to the past through a renegotiation of the Agreement aimed at marginalising Sinn Fein.

For all the worldwide parading of the Agreement, the “peace process” and its participants, as a global example of how conflict could be overcome to the benefit of all, none of the contending parties are capable of addressing the real concerns of the vast majority of the Northern Irish population. As a consequence, despite this only being the second election to the Assembly, predictions are for a low turnout, perhaps below 50 percent.

A new party for working people in the North and South of Ireland needs to be built based on the understanding that sectarian divisions and social inequality can only be reversed by offering high living standards, good education and the fullest expansion of democratic rights for all, regardless of their religion or community.

Improved housing, healthcare and full participation in political life for one section of working people cannot come at the expense of another. Rather it can only emerge through laying claim to the immense private and corporate wealth owned by a narrow elite in the North and South and reorganising all areas of economic life to meet the basic social needs of the masses instead of the selfish requirements of big business. The inevitable and bitter opposition such a perspective would meet from the Ulster, Irish and British bourgeoisie can only be overcome by a unified political movement of working people throughout Ireland and in Britain on the basis of such a socialist strategy.

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