To view full text of Independent Monitoring Commission report click here:
IMC REPORT LEADS TO SANCTIONS, TALKS CANCELLATION
British Direct Ruler Paul Murphy has ordered a cut in state
funding for Sinn Fein and the Progressive Unionist Party
following the publication today of the report by the
International Monitoring Commission.
In its first report, the IMC -- a new body set up for the purpose
by the two governments -- called for financial sanctions to be
imposed on the parties, accusing them of being linked to active
paramilitary organisations in the North of Ireland.
On the alleged kidnapping of republican dissident Bobby Tohill,
the IMC declared that this was an operation "planned and
undertaken by the Provisional IRA", although this had been denied
by the IRA leadership.
The report lists a dozen murders carried out by loyalist
paramilitaries since the beginning of last year, five of them by
the UDA. Most are drug related or a product of internal
feuding, but include the sectarian killing of Lisburn Catholic
Republicans view the IMC as little more than a tool of the two
governments, set up outside the terms of the 1998 Goood Friday
Agreement in order to undermine that agreement.
As the political atmosphere soured in advance of today's
publication, It was announced last night that intensive talks in
London aimed at restoring momentum to the peace process have been
Paul Murphy told the British parliament today that the penalties
have yet to be finalised, and Sinn Fein and the PUP have until
next Tuesday to appeal his order cutting their block grant.
He declared: "I am persuaded that it would be right to remove for
a period the entitlement to the block financial assistance paid
to Assembly parties in respect of both Sinn Fein and the
Progressive Unionist Party."
On the basis of their participation in the Assembly, some 120,000
pounds is paid by the British exchequer annually to Sinn Fein,
while 27,000 pounds is given to the smaller PUP.
Murphy also said it was possible that the salaries of Assembly
members could be cut if further reports by the IMC were equally
negative, and that the parties could also be excluded from any
The Dublin government said it accepted the "disturbing"
conclusions of the report that senior members of Sinn Fein are
operating at the highest echelons of the IRA and that the IRA
remains involved in "paramilitary and criminal activity".
In a statement, it said: "The transition to exclusively
democratic means must be completed. We want this to happen once
and for all, and as soon as possible.
The Ulster Unionist Party leader, David Trimble, suggested action
on prisoner releases would be better than proposed financial
penalties directed at the political parties. The SDLP described
the proposed fines as "petty cash" to Sinn Fein and a "risible"
Sinn Fein Assembly member for West Belfast Bairbre de Brun said
that her party 'did not accept the IMC and would politically
fight the governments on this report and the sanctions it
She said: "It is complete nonsense that a so called independent
body confirms what he PSNI [police] are saying on the basis of a
briefing from the PSNI.
"The IMC has no credibility with the broad nationalist
electorate. It is a disgrace that the Irish government has
signed up to the establishment of this body in the first place.
"There is of course nothing in the report of the IMC about the
role of the British government in collusion, the continuing
suspension of the political institutions or the continuing
failure to demilitarise or deliver on policing, justice and human
SInn Fein has vowed to fight the sanction at technical, legal,
and political levels.
Party chairman Mitchel McLaughlin said Sinn Fein was a party
which had been censored for 25 years.
"It didn't stop our politics and if the British government are
foolish enough to think that by imposing financial penalties -
and they are really imposing those financial penalties on our
constituency in terms of the service they are entitled to - then
Sinn Fein will defeat that as we defeated the policies of
exclusion and censorship."
The attempt to use the artificial mechanism of the IMC would not
succeed any more than previous attempts to exclude Sinn Fein, he
Today's IMC report comes as three days of proximity talks,
planned for London next week, involving all the Six Counties
parties and British and Irish officials were postponed.
It is unclear if the talks will proceed before the European
elections in June.
Republicans have accused the British government of acting
deceptively over the talks. Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams said
the talks cancellation was "unacceptable" and was "an example of
the ad hoc and almost casual attitude of London and Dublin
towards the process."
THE MONITORING COMMISSION REPORT: THE REPORT'S FOUR AUTHORS
The four members of the IMC who compiled today's report are:
20 April 2004
THE former Assembly Speaker is the commission's specialist on Northern Ireland's internal politics.
The 48-year-old was leader of the Alliance Party between 1987 and 1998 and was elevated to the House of Lords in 1996. He was on the party's negotiating team during the build-up to the Good Friday Agreement.
He is also a practicing psychiatrist and an elder in the Presbyterian Church in Ireland.
Along with John Grieve, he serves on the IMC sub-committee that will deal with breaches of the Agreement that fall within Northern Ireland's internal political system.
THE former head of Scotland Yard's anti-terrorist unit was a member of the Metropolitan Police for 36 years.
The 57-year-old joined the Met in 1966, first serving in Clapham. As a detective, he worked on the Flying Squad, Robbery Squad and Murder Squad.
He introduced Asset Seizure Investigation in the United Kingdom.
He was also Scotland Yard's first Director of Intelligence and ran the Anti-Terrorism Squad during the period when the Real IRA embarked on a bombing campaign in London between 1996 and 1998.
Mr Grieve retired in May 2002 and is currently a Senior Research Fellow at Portsmouth University and Honorary Professor at Buckingham Chiltern University College.
Along with Lord Alderdice, he was appointed to the IMC by the British Government.
DICK Kerr (68), was a member of America's Central Intelligence Agency for more than 30 years, eventually becoming America's chief spy in the early 1990s.
After joining the CIA in 1960, he worked as a Soviet military analyst during the Cuban missile crisis of 1962-63. A Soviet specialist, he later served in senior posts in the CIA's Directorate of Intelligence, including the office that provides daily intelligence briefings for the President.
He was the CIA's Deputy Director from 1989 until 1992, and served briefly as the acting Director of the agency before he retired from the organisation in 1992. He is currently a member of corporate boards in the private sector.
He was appointed to the IMC by the US government.
A FORMER senior civil servant in the Republic's Department of Justice, Joe Brosan was part of the Irish Government team that discussed the North-South and British-Irish relations during the early stages of the talks process.
A trained barrister, he held senior posts in the Department of Justice's Garda and Security divisions as well as working on law reform. He became Secretary General of the Department in February 1991.
In 1993 he became the senior aide to Padraig Flynn, the Irish member of the European Commission. He retired from the Irish civil service in 1999 and became a consultant on public and European affairs. He was appointed to the IMC by the Irish Government.
DE BRÚN - IMC HAVE NO CREDIBILITY
--Published: 20 April, 2004
Responding to the Report of the IMC and the British Government response to it, Sinn Féin Assembly member for West Belfast Bairbre de Brún said that her party 'did not accept the IMC and would politically fight the governments on this report and the sanctions it imposes'.
Ms de Brún said:
"Sinn Féin has a substantial electoral mandate across Ireland. The British government does not have one vote in Ireland. We will not accept any proposal which discriminates against our party or our voters.
"Our firm intention is to politically fight the governments on this report and the sanctions it proposes.
"The IMC is not an independent body, it operates outside the terms of the Good Friday Agreement and is the tool of the two governments. The IMC Report is a proxy report for the securocrats who have done so much to damage the process up until now.
"It is complete nonsense that a so called independent body confirms what the PSNI are saying on the basis of a briefing from the PSNI.
"The IMC has no credibility with the broad nationalist electorate. It is a disgrace that the Irish government has signed up to the establishment of this body in the first place.
"There is of course nothing in the report of the IMC about the role of the British government in collusion, the continuing suspension of the political institutions or the continuing failure to demilitarise or deliver on policing, justice and human rights commitments." ENDS
PUP IN FAVOUR OF RODDY MCCORLEY BRIDGE NAME
A senior member of the loyalist PUP has backed calls from
republicans to name the new bridge on the main Belfast to Derry road
after hanged United Irishman Roddy McCorley.
PUP representative for North Antrim Billy McCaughey said many
Protestants in the area supported naming the bridge at Toome after
McCorley, a Presbyterian who was hanged there in 1798.
"I believe that cross-community support existed to have the new
Toome Bridge named after Roddy McCorley," he said.
He said that with the right approach, agreement could have been
reached, but added: "I don't think Sinn Féin were the right people
to do the approaching".
"The area Roddy McCorley came from (Dramaul, near Randalstown) is a
solidly unionist area but they would mainly be Presbyterians who
would support a radical tradition.
"They maybe wouldn't beat the drum about that era of their history
but scratch the surface deep enough and they would identify with
it," he said.
At the weekend Sinn Féin erected unofficial signs on the bridge
naming it after 'Rodai Mac Corlai', but these were later removed by
Mr McCaughey said the dispute over the naming of the new bridge at
Toome represented a "missed opportunity".
Mr McCaughey said Sinn Féin had "betrayed and sullied the
illustrious memory of Roddy McCorley by their antics".
"He was not a sectarian nationalist, as are a majority of Sinn Féin
members." Yesterday afternoon a security alert caused massive traffic
disruption close to the bridge.
Traffic was diverted around Toome from 2pm after a suspicious object
was found at the new bridge.
British army bomb experts were called to the scene to deal with the
device which they described as "viable".
Police said a number of items had been removed for further
examination. The new bridge was later reopened to traffic.
April 16, 2004
SCHOOLKIDS' ROLE IN BOGSIDE 'PEACE' MURAL
Tuesday 20th April 2004
School kids from across Derry will play a key role in the Bogside Artists' final wall mural on Rossville Street.
The artists - Tom and Willie Kelly and Kevin Hasson - say the "Peace Mural", to be completed this summer, is probably their most important work to date.
It will be the final mural in the series that has come to be known as "The People's Gallery" located in the vicinity of Free Derry Corner.
The final image in the series, say the artists, "won't be just for the Bogside or even Derry - but for people everywhere."
Tom Kelly told the 'Journal': "We are resolved to make the creation of this mural a 'social' event. In other words, we would like to see as many youth leaders, teachers, students etc, to address the problems involved in creating such a mural.
"We would be happy to receive any sketches, paintings or ideas on the subject, although we cannot promise that any ideas we receive will be used. After all, this is not a competition.
"Think of it as a salutary exercise that would enable participants to focus on peace in our city and the obstacles that prevent it.
"Think of it as a way of heightening consciousness of the fact that Derry is our home. The resultant image should, therefore, be positive and effective and hold out hope for all of us for a peaceful future."
The artists' say they can, on request, visit schools, youth clubs or community associations to host a workshop in relation to the peace mural and its design.
"Ten of the best designs will be included in an exhibition that will complement the unveiling of the peace mural this summer," said Tom Kelly.
The new peace mural is the culmination of a "vision" which commenced in 1994, the creation of the mural known world-wide as "The Gasmask."
In all, there are now nine murals along the length of Rossville Street - a unique visual record of more than 30 years of social conflict.
Indeed, Derry City Council has pledged to spotlight each of the murals in a bid to boost its already impressive tourism credentials.
Tom Kelly says that, when spotlit and viewed from the city walls, the murals will "be nothing less than spectacular."
Turning again to the peace mural, Tom Kelly says: "This image will say all that we, as individuals, have been trying to say in one way or another for years.
"it will be a beacon, a lighthouse radiating hope for a better future for ourselves and our children, a glorious statement from the people of the Bogside calling for an end to armed conflict for good.
"As such, it will speak not only for Bogsiders but every right thinking person in the city."
Further information on the Bogside Artists is available on their website at http://www.bogsideartists.com.
JEAN MCBRIDE IN THIRD LEGAL BID
20/04/2004 12:13:48 UTV
The mother of a Belfast man murdered by two soldiers in 1992 vowed
today to keep on fighting until his killers are thrown out of the
Mrs Jean McBride was speaking outside the High Court before the start
of her third legal bid to force the Ministry of Defence to get rid of
Scots Guards Mark Wright and James Fisher.
They were convicted of murdering 18 year-old Peter McBride near his
home in the New Lodge area of Belfast in 1992. But they served only
three years of a life sentence and were immediately re-instated in
Mrs McBride said: "I think it is a disgrace that this has carried on
so long. Everybody except the Army Board thinks they should be put
"They`ve even promoted Fisher to the rank of corporal and I think
that is rubbing salt in my wounds.
"I will never give up the fight to have the two soldiers discharged.
If I am not here then my three daughters will carry on the battle.
"If they tell me there is nowhere else to go other than the European
Court then that`s where I will go to get justice."
Last June the Court of Appeal ruled by a 2-1 majority that the army
was wrong not to discharge the soldiers. But Lord Justices Nicholson
and McCollum stopped short of ordering the army to do so.
Instead, they made a legal declaration that the reasons given by the
Army Board for retaining the soldiers did not amount of exceptional
circumstances - the only reason they could be kept on.
But in September it was revealed that the Army Board had decided
not "to revisit the question of the employment of the Guardsmen." In court today Seamus Treacy, QC, for Mrs McBride, said: "Peter
McBride was murdered on 4th September, 1992. Almost fourteen years
later the two men who were convicted of murdering him still served in
the armed forces of the United Kingdom with the full support of the
military and political establishment in circumstances where it is
clear that many others convicted of much lesser offences have been
Mr Treacy said Queen`s Regulations laid down that a soldier was to be
discharged if he was sentenced to imprisonment, detention or any
other form of custody.
He said 2005 soldiers were discharged under the regulations and 28
were retained - a percentage of 1.4.
Mr Treacy referred to Lord Justice McCollum`s judgement in which he
"One would expect that soldiers who have misused the lethal weaponry
with which they are equipped in order to take away a life without
justification should be regarded as quite unfitted for further army
NI GRANTS WITHHELD AMID PARAMILITARY CLAIMS
2.02PM, Tue Apr 20 2004
Sinn Fein and the Progressive Unionist Party are to have Government grants withheld because of alleged IRA and loyalist paramilitary activity.
Northern Ireland Secretary Paul Murphy revealed the move in response to a new report on terrorist violence which also accused senior members of the republican party of being leading figures in the Provisionals.
Mr Murphy said the commission had recommended taking action on the salaries of Assembly Members and party funding against Sinn Fein and the Progressive Unionist Party.
He said: "I am persuaded that it would be right to remove for a period the entitlement to the block financial assistance paid to Assembly parties in respect of both Sinn Fein and the PUP and I propose to do so next Wednesday." Sinn Fein has vowed to resist any proposal for their Assembly members' salaries to be deducted.
Last year, the Independent Monitoring Commission was set up to observe terrorist ceasefires and whether all sides are honouring commitments under the Good Friday Agreement.
But the IMC is said to have agreed with Northern Ireland chief constable Hugh Orde's verdict that the Provisionals plotted the kidnapping of dissident republican Bobby Tohill.
It was his abduction from a Belfast city centre pub in February and the political fall-out which ensued that persuaded the IMC to rush forward its first report.
Although the IRA denied it had authorised any attack on Tohill, who was rescued by police, Mr Orde's assessment left unionists demanding sanctions against Sinn Fein.
As power-sharing does not exist in Northern Ireland at present, it is believed the commission has looked at the possibility of fining Sinn Fein and the PUP over IRA and UVF activity.
Sinn Fein has always pooled its members' salaries into a fund which goes towards the party and paying all its staff. The party has 24 MLAs and Assembly salaries are worth around £31,000 each.
Following the release of the IMC report, the British and Irish governments are planning intensive all-party talks in London later this month to deal with paramilitarism and other problems in the peace process.