ic Derry - Family Call For Justice For Derry Prisoner

Family Call For Justice For Derry Prisoner

Mar 5 2004

THE FAMILY of Derry man Seamus Doherty currently being held on remand in Maghaberry Prison on an explosives charge have called for support from the media and Derry City Council to have him released immediately.

Mr. Doherty's solicitor, Mr. Paddy MacDermott, is taking a judicial review over the decision to continue the prosecution and this may be heard next week.

The Derry man is being held on alleged DNA evidence in connection with explosives found outside Newry.

Two other men charged in connection with the same incident had the charges withdrawn when the defence discovered that British soldiers had interfered with evidence and that the PSNI had sought to have any forensic evidence relating to an informer, including evidence of explosives under his fingernails, in the case suppressed.

Recently the programme 'Insight' featured the case and now Mr. Doherty's family are calling for his immediate release.

They also revealed some evidence that was not mentioned on the Insight programme.

Anne Marie Doherty, Mr. Doherty's sister, explained: "Not everything to do with this case was disclosed by the Insight team.

"The PSNI are claiming that two traces of DNA were found on the explosives - one too small for analysis, the other was a possible match for DNA which resembles that of Seamus.

"If the informer/agent has semtex under his fingernails, the only clear and obvious inferences that can be drawn are - he was working with the device and was the actual bomb maker - he must have left very high levels of his own DNA.

"And what was his role that night as a paid informer/agent, was it to plant evidence? He now lives in an army barracks in England so we may never find out, however, if he didn't leave DNA, fingerprints, etc. then nobody else could have either."

But the Doherty family also revealed that what they believed to be a strange incident took place that only now makes sense.

Anne Marie Doherty said: "In April 2003 a very odd search team of the PSNI/FRU paid a visit to Seamus' apartment, the caretaker allowed them into the building and accompanied them to Seamus' door but maintains they had their own key to his door.

"When he heard a key being turned, Seamus went to the door and was confronted by three members of the PSNI/FRU. He was pushed and forced into his living room by one of them as the other two ran upstairs.

"He quickly realised something was wrong when the PSNI/FRU made a very clumsy attempt to justify their presence, so he forced his way out onto the landing of the flats to call for help from his neighbours.

"Immediately this PSNI/FRU shouted to his cohorts upstairs: "Wrong flat, let's go, let's go!" and they proceeded to run from the building."

She went on: "This is now highly significant to date, nearly a year on, no explanation has been received from the Strand Road PSNI to explain

what was going on. Secondly the easiest method to obtain someone's DNA is their bed, comb, toothbrush, etc. all of which were available upstairs in his flat.

"Finally and crucially, a letter dated a day before the illegal search in April 2003, from the forensic lab in England to the forensic lab in Carrickfergus, stated that DNA was found on the explosives but couldn't be identified.

"A hand-written note attached to it by a Detective stated: "Maybe more work is to be done?" - The PSNI/FRU were upstairs in Seamus' apartment less than 24 hours later without explanation."

The Doherty family say the whole case 'reeks with criminality' and 'highlights the depths to which the state can stoop to imprison innocent people.'

IOL: Housing workers walk out in NI after threats

Housing workers walk out in NI after threats
05/03/2004 - 14:18:49

Home repair workers in the North staged a walkout yesterday after coming under threat from loyalist paramilitaries.

Around 40 employees at a Housing Executive’s office dealing with the Ballysillan area walked out after being warned not to carry out any repairs or let out any more houses in the staunchly loyalist area.

A contractor and a maintenance officer were also confronted by a mob in Ballysillan and ordered to leave.

The threats came a day after the Executive refused demands from a Ballysillan resident to give an empty house next door to her friend.

Union representatives have insisted that their members will not go back into the area until their safety is assured.


From the Trinity Sinn Féin website: **I notice with all the garbage that has been printed about the Trinity Sinn Féin website that you cannot get to it at this time. At least I cannot. It is an excellent site, and this piece by Bobby Sands appears on it (http://marius.csc.tcd.ie/~sinnfein/1981/lark_and_the_freedom_fighter.htm)--


By Bobby Sands, IRA volunteer & MP

My grandfather once said that the imprisonment of the lark is a crime of the greatest cruelty because the lark is one of the greatest symbols of freedom and happiness. He often spoke of the spirit of the lark relating to a story of a man who incarcerated one of his loved friends in a small cage.

The lark, having suffered the loss of her liberty, no longer sung her little heart out, she no longer had anything to be happy about. The man who had committed the atrocity, as my grandfather called it, demanded that the lark should do as he wished: that was to sing her heart out, to comply to his wishes and change herself to suit his pleasure or benefit.

The lark refused, and the man became angry and violent. He began to pressurise the lark to sing, but inevitably he received no result. so, he took more drastic steps. He covered the cage with a black cloth, depriving the bird of sunlight. He starved it and left it to rot in a dirty cage, but the bird still refused to yield. The man murdered it.

As my grandfather rightly stated, the lark had spirit--the spirit of freedom and resistance. It longed to be free, and died before it would conform to the tyrant who tried to change it with torture and imprisonment.I feel I have something in common with that bird and her torture,imprisonment and final murder. She had a spirit which is not commonly found, even among us so-called superior beings, humans.

Take an ordinary prisoner. His main aim is to make his period of imprisonment as easy and as comfortable as possible. The ordinary prisoner will in no way jeopardise a single day of his remission. Some will even grovel, crawl and inform on other prisoners to safeguard themselves or to speed up their release. They will comply to the wishes of their captors,and unlike the lark, they will sing when told to and jump high when told to move.

Although the ordinary prisoner has lost his liberty he is not prepared to go to extremes to regain it, nor to protect his humanity. He settles for a short date of release. Eventually, if incarcerated long enough, he becomes institutionalised, becoming a type of machine, not thinking for himself,his captors dominating and controlling him. That was the intended fate of the lark in my grandfather's story; but the lark needed no changing, nor did it wish to change, and died making that point.

This brings me directly back to my own situation: I feel something in common with that poor bird. My position is in total contrast to that of an ordinary conforming prisoner: I too am a political prisoner, a freedom fighter. Like the lark, I too have fought for my freedom, not only in captivity, where I now languish, but also while on the outside, where my country is held captive. I have been captured and imprisoned, but, like the lark, I too have seen the outside of the wire cage.

I am now in H-Block, where I refuse to change to suit the people who oppress, torture and imprison me, and who wish to dehumanize me. Like the lark I need no changing. It is my political ideology and principles that my captors wish to change. They have suppressed my body and attacked my dignity. If I were an ordinary prisoner they would pay little, if any,attention to me, knowing that I would conform to their insitutional whims.

I have lost over two years' remission. I care not. I have been stripped of my clothes and locked in a dirty, empty cell, where I have been starved, beaten, and tortured, and like the lark I fear I may eventually be murdered. But, dare I say it, similar to my little firend, I have the spirit of freedom that cannot be quenched by even the most horrendous treatment. Of course I can be murdered, but while I remain alive, I remain what I am, a political prisoner of war, and no one can change that.

Haven't we plenty of larks to prove that? Our history is heart-breakingly littered with them: the MacSwineys, the Gaughans, and the Staggs. Will there be more in H-Block?

I dare not conclude without finishing my grandfather's story. I once asked him whatever happened to the wicked man who imprisoned, tortured and murdered the lark?

"Son," he said, "one day he caught himself on one of his own traps, and no one would assist him to get free. His own people scorned him, and turned their backs on him. He grew weaker and weaker, and finally toppled over to die upon the land which he had marred with such blood. The birds came and extracted their revenge by picking his eyes out, and the larks sang like they never sang before."

"Grandfather," I said, "could that man's name have been John Bull?"



Cop visits are 'Dirty Tricks' by Branch

In a shock new development this week, the PSNI visited the homes of around 15 well-known local hoods to warn them that they’re under threat from the IRA.

But last night furious republican sources slammed the move as Special Branch “dirty tricks”.

They say that the visits are designed to influence the forthcoming report of the Independent Monitoring Commission, brought forward in the wake of the Bobby Tohill incident. Each visit and each threat is reported to the IMC.

The Andersonstown News is aware of no other instance of the PSNI visiting and warning petty criminals about their personal security.

Visits by the PSNI to the homes of well known hoods – to warn them about their personal security – have been slammed as Special Branch ‘dirty tricks’.
Over the past week the Andersonstown News has learned that the homes of up to 15 teenage tearaways have been visited by the PSNI. The young thugs are being told that they are under threat from republican paramilitaries.

However ,a well placed republican source says the visits, coming in the wake of the Independent Monitoring Commission Report into the state of paramilitary ceasefires being brought forward, are nothing more than political spin.

Each visit made by the PSNI to warn people about their personal security is in turn logged by the Commission. An attempt to push up the number of perceived ‘breaches’ of the IRA ceasefire by making house calls to the homes of the local hoods is the reason for the visits, say local republicans.

PSNI Chief Constable Hugh Orde turned up the heat further yesterday when he claimed at a meeting of the Policing Board that the IRA had carried out more than 50 so-called punishment attacks and shootings over the past year.

Hugh Orde said the IRA were “matching loyalist levels of brutality”.

“I pointed out a couple of weeks ago that the UDA were still committing a large amount of punishment beatings, still engaged in the trafficking of drugs within their own community,” said Mr Orde. “The Provisional IRA have, without doubt, committed a similar amount of punishment beatings and shootings. I would attribute most of the republican attacks to the Provisional IRA rather than dissident groups.”

Over the past week a number of homes in the Lower Falls and Divis areas have been visited by the PSNI and teenage residents told that they are under threat.

Homes in the Markets area of Belfast have also been visited and a number of young men told that they are under threat from republicans.

Some of the people warned in the Markets area have no links to criminal activity or any history of anti-social behaviour.

A well placed republican source told the Andersonstown News that the recent PSNI interest in the safety of local hoods “has nothing to do with any threat and is politically motivated.”

The IMC are now expected to publish their report well ahead of the original July deadline. With unionists calling for Sinn Féin to be excluded in the wake of the alleged abduction of Bobby Tohill, the latest round of PSNI house calls is expected to strengthen the unionist position.

“This is an attempt to paint a picture of heightened republican activity ahead of the Monitoring Commission report,” our republican source claimed.
“This is clear evidence of Special Branch doing its best once again to put the current process at risk.”

Journalist:: Allison Morris



--Steven McCaffery
Irish News

Throughout the peace process, Sinn Féin's tightly controlled party
machinery has dulled any dissenting voices.

In an unprecedented insight into the party, former Sinn Féin
assembly member John Kelly, a founding member of the Provisional
IRA, tells Steven McCaffery that this central control has reached
intolerable levels...

John Kelly hit the earth with a thump. His rough landing inside the
walls of Crumlin Road prison brought his escape plan to a crashing

Today he recalls the episode almost 50 years ago and holds up his
left hand to show the crooked finger broken in the fall.

"I didn't get any hospital treatment. I damaged two discs in my back
and lay in a cell for something like 10 days.

"I was never taken outside to the hospital. My back still suffers
from it," he said.

In 1956, while still a teenager, he had been sentenced to seven
years in prison for the possession of arms.

His fall cost him an extra six months, which he spent in solitary

The Belfast-born republican has been jailed three times for IRA
activities, serving a total of 15 years in prisons north and south
of the border.

Involved in the border campaign of the 1950s to early 1960s, his
republican credentials stretch back to the early 20th century. His
uncle Billy was one of James Connolly's election agents.

Kelly himself was among a clutch of northern republicans who in
1969/70 wrestled control from the IRA leadership of the time. The
move came in the face of spiralling sectarian violence, and led a
radical hard core to form the Provisional IRA.

It is this republican clout which added punch to his criticisms of
Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams in yesterday's (Monday) Irish News.

The 68-year-old, now based in Maghera, Co Derry, highlighted his own
IRA convictions and said he was "disappointed and flabbergasted"
with the vehemence with which Gerry Adams has rejected persistent
allegations that he was once an IRA member.

It was a rare event for the peace process – open questioning of the
Sinn Féin leadership by a high-profile member of the republican

John Kelly first came to prominence in the landmark 1970 arms trial,
when he stood in the dock alongside the then Irish government
minister and future taoiseach Charles Haughey.

Violence in the north had peaked with vicious sectarian pogroms in
Belfast. It is estimated that around 1,600 Catholic and 300
Protestant families were forced to flee their homes.

The situation saw the Irish army establish field hospitals on the
border to act as refugee camps for fleeing nationalists.

In this atmosphere, claims emerged of an Irish government-sponsored
plot to smuggle arms to northern nationalists, effectively
delivering the weapons into the hands of the then regrouping IRA.

Many still see the 'arms trials' that followed as the greatest
single crisis to hit the southern state.

The case against John Kelly and his co-accused collapsed, but in
1974 Kelly was again arrested in the Republic for IRA membership.

He says that after that point he drifted to the "fringes" of the
republican movement, until Sinn Féin asked him to stand for the
local government elections in 1996, when he won a seat on
Magherafelt District Council.

After the signing of the Good Friday Agreement he also won a place
in the new power sharing assembly representing the Mid-Ulster

Last year, after undergoing heart surgery, he announced he would not
be defending the seat for Sinn Féin at the next election – but there
was surprise that he also withdrew from the party at that time.

In the face of continuing speculation that he privately felt he was
mistreated by Sinn Féin, he declined to make any public comment on
the matter.

Now he feels the reasons for his departure should be made public, in
the hope of spurring greater levels of debate about the republican
movement's future.

"The beginning of it was when I went in to see dissident republican
prisoners in Maghaberry (prison). Two of them were constituents of
mine," he said.

"I went in to see them on humanitarian grounds, not because I
thought they were correct in what they had been doing. I wouldn't
have been advising them to do that.

"Nevertheless, they were prisoners, as I was a prisoner, and I went
to see them.

"Following that I was pulled to one side and told that 'people
weren't happy' with my going to see the prisoners."

He later agreed to attend two rallies in Armagh organised by Marion
Price, of the dissident-aligned 32 County Sovereignty Movement, to
call for the segregation of republican and loyalist prisoners in
Maghaberry jail.

Mr Kelly said he viewed this as a "civil rights issue".

"That led to further tensions. When the segregation issue was
settled, the Irish News rang me about it and I congratulated Marion
Price for the lonely and difficult stand she took on it.

"And again I was censured immediately for that – for that two-line

"So I began to feel that within Sinn Féin republicanism there was no
room or no space for people to have an opinion that was different
from the leadership's opinion, and I felt that was contrary to the
whole spirit of republicanism. It was contrary, not only to
republicanism, but to the whole concept of the civil rights movement
where people living in a police state had been denied the right to
have a political opinion that was contrary to unionism.

"I felt that we couldn't go down the same road in terms of our own
constituency. I thought it was dangerous as well and unhealthy."

In a separate development, nationalist representatives on
Magherafelt council agreed to introduce the d'Hondt system of power-
sharing employed at Stormont.

The outworking of this was that DUP councillor Willie McCrea was
entitled to hold chairmanship of the council, supported by Sinn Féin
representatives. But Mr McCrea was a hate figure among a large
section of the local nationalist population.

His condemnations of violence were perceived as compromised by his
decision to once share a public platform with the loyalist
paramilitary Billy Wright. Mr Kelly said he felt the force of a
grassroots backlash.

"When this thing came in to the public domain I was left to carry
the can," he said.

"For me the argument wasn't about Willie McCrea, it was about how we
as a republican and nationalist community dealt with our political

"And it seemed logical to me that we should be demonstrating in a
very clear way that we would not do unto them that which they had
done unto us. I got no support from the leadership in terms of all
of that.

"They should have been standing up and saying: 'Yes, this was the
correct thing to do'.

"It wasn't about Willie McCrea, but you couldn't pick a better
subject to demonstrate your sincerity. He was a demon within

"The other side of that coin is that for unionists there must be
many demons within Sinn Féin.

"They must find some of us as abhorrent as we perhaps find Willie

But the veteran republican was also angered by the degree to which
he claims debate was stifled within Sinn Féin, and he speaks of
attempts to rigidly control contact between elected representatives
and the media.

"Sinn Féin are a very controlled organisation," he said.

"Some of my republican colleagues referred to them as a benign
dictatorship. That's their cynical view of it.

"It is a 'control dictatorship' with all the elite at the top.
Everything has to be filtered through that and no-one else is to be
given space to express an opinion.

"For example, at a party meeting some three years ago up at Stormont
I suggested that we should have more dialogue with unionists.

"I was told that 'having a dialogue with unionists requires a health

"That again was the kind of control – to say that people, apart from
leadership figures, couldn't talk to unionists without a health
warning being attached to it."

"I can understand from the transition from the conflict into
politics that they wanted to maintain tight control, an almost
obsessive control, of the way things are going.

"I find it difficult because that was never the way within

He referred to the observation of writer Brendan Behan, himself an
IRA member, that the first item on the agenda of each republican
discussion was "the split". But Mr Kelly claimed the control
necessary to ensure cohesion within a political party was exceeded.

"You weren't allowed to speak to the press without speaking to the
[Sinn Féin] press office.

"And if you were speaking to the press they wanted to know how
reporters got your number, and 'why were we not told about it'.

"I put all that down to the fear of someone saying the wrong thing.

"But there was no respect for the individual or the intelligence of
the individual.

"I think also, overarching all that, there was this type of control
at the top – this elite group as it were – who were to be the voice
of Sinn Féin, to be the voice of the republican community."

His observations are similar to some older members of the British
Labour Party, uncomfortable with the compromises which helped take
Tony Blair's 'New Labour' to power. But Mr Kelly denied that he was
the only voice within Sinn Féin who was concerned at the levels of
central control.

"I think there are people who would be echoing what I am saying, but
who at the end of the day would do what they were told," he said.

"So there was a distinction between whether you wanted to go along
with that, or whether you wanted to – not be your own man – but to
at least be allowed the dignity to express your own opinion.

"And not to be treated as someone who is incapable of having a
political opinion, or doesn't have the intelligence to have a
political opinion."

Mr Kelly said he did feel he could speak out, but others were unable
to do so.

"I think I was in a stronger position to speak out.

"But I think as well, because you have that length of service, you
felt that people should respect that, and that they should trust
your ability to speak on things and that you shouldn't have to be
subservient to this kind of elitism."

He cited further concerns over policy shifts delivered from the top

These included the acceptance of Private Finance Initiative (PFI)
schemes, which controversially brought private sector finance into
the public sector.

While this seemed at odds with other left-wing party policies, he
claims the principle was sacrificed for the need to support Martin
McGuinness and Bairbre de Brun, who as education and health
ministers oversaw building projects based on PFI cash.

Mr Kelly also expressed concerns at continuing drift and uncertainty
over the role of the IRA.

"In the whole history of physical force republicanism, going back to
the United Irishmen, to Pearse and the War of Independence and
beyond that, republicans never bartered arms for political
progress," he said.

"It was always said that they (the IRA) were dumping arms and

"Physical force republicanism always prided itself in maintaining
its honour in terms of its word – that they said what they meant and
they meant what they said and there was no equivocation.

"There was none of this business of creative ambiguity, or
incremental compromise.

"I think it devalued the very political process that we entered in
to – the Good Friday Agreement. It devalued it and created distrust
around it.

"People have said to me that there was this notion of 'ad hocery'.

"There was no long-term planned strategy, it was just moving from
day to day. And sometimes things fell in to your political lap and
sometimes they didn't."

Mr Kelly claimed that the republican leadership failed to be frank
with grassroots members about the direction in which Sinn Féin was

In a reference to earlier phases in republican history, when
physical force movements transferred on to a purely political path,
he added: "And Sinn Féin are now in the position pro-treaty
republicans were in 1921, as Fianna Fail was, as Clann na Poblachta

"They are a constitutional nationalist party, if you like, they are –
if there is such a political animal as constitution republicanism –
a constitutional republican party.

"So in that context there is no role for physical force
republicanism. There is no function for physical force

"And if you try to pretend there is, you devalue physical force
republicanism and you turn it into a kind of militia that does not
have the raison d'etre of physical force republicanism."

"That causes tensions as well. Had the leadership been more open
with the rank and file, with the republican families, with the
grassroots, then we would not have the difficulties that we find
ourselves in today in terms of the Good Friday Agreement."

Mr Kelly ruled out any return to violence by mainstream republicans.

"There can be no return to war," he said. "The people do not want
it. And the success of Sinn Féin after the agreement was predicated
on the belief that the agreement would deliver peace. People were
supporting that notion."

A supporter of the agreement, he also spoke out against dissident
republican violence.

"It is always going to be there (violent republicanism). But it is
now foolish, I think it is counterproductive," he said.

"I think it is sad that young people should again be finding
themselves behind prison walls.

"I would rather see them galvanised towards working – even
separately from Sinn Féin republicanism – but working towards the
constitutional political settlement I think is there to be gained."

He then moved to highlight what he said are the achievements of the
current crop of Sinn Féin leaders.

"In the round I think that in terms of the politics of where they
wanted to go, they have been by and large successful as is
demonstrated by their electoral success," he said.

"I think that in the overall all-island context, they are doing very
well in terms of their political project.

"Certainly they have brought an awareness, and indeed Bertie Ahern
has brought an awareness, of the need to resolve the northern
situation once and for all in terms of our historical struggle – the
whole sacrifice, the whole death and destruction suffered by both

"In that sense it has been brought forward," he said.

"Certainly things for Sinn Féin republicans are better.

"I think things are better for nationalists and republicans
generally within the six counties.

"There is no sense that nationalism and republicanism can ever
accept anything less than equality and the right to advance their
own identity, whatever form that takes.

"The agreement gives republicans a political architecture to pursue
their objectives in a democratic way, free from harassment and free
from intimidation of a kind we had in the past."

He said the criticisms he has levelled against the party were aimed
at "encouraging a debate".

"And that said, I have no desire to be a thorn in the flesh of Sinn
Féin republicanism for the sake of being a thorn in the flesh."

He added: "I think that opening up the debate is healthy. The civil
rights movement was a struggle against a police state that policed
the words and thoughts of the people – and we cannot exchange one
such system of political gagging for another.

"You cannot be a 'subject' of a political party, you have to be
a 'citizen' of it."

March 3, 2004


Veteran 'dismayed' by Adams IRA denial

(Steven McCaffery, Irish News)

A veteran republican who helped found the Provisional IRA has said
he is "bewildered and dismayed" by the way in which Sinn Féin
president Gerry Adams has denied ever being a member of the

Former Sinn Féin assembly member John Kelly last night (Sunday)
declined to say whether he believed Mr Adams had ever been in the IRA but in
a letter to the Irish News he says he is "disappointed and flabbergasted" by the
Sinn Féin leader's "need to deny the IRA".

Mr Kelly, who is on record as supporting the Good Friday Agreement,
last year announced that he would not defend his Mid Ulster assembly
seat and withdrew his membership of Sinn Féin citing "personal and
other reasons".

A senior figure who helped found the Provisional IRA in 1969/70, he
was also involved in the IRA border campaign of the 1950s and early
1960s and was imprisoned three times for IRA activity.

Mr Kelly came to prominence in the 1970 Arms Trial when, alongside
the then Irish cabinet minister Charles Haughey, he was accused of
involvement in a government-sponsored plan to arm northern

He has now raised concern at how Mr Adams has handled the persistent
allegations of IRA membership – a claim highlighted last week when
Taoiseach Bertie Ahern said he had "always assumed" that Mr Adams
had been in the IRA.

Mr Adams said he was "flabbergasted" by Mr Ahern's remarks and
repeated his denial of IRA membership.

In a letter published in the Irish News today, Mr Kelly writes: "The
significant issue here is not whether he was or was not in the IRA:
the significant issue here is why he feels the need to deny with
vehemence the question of IRA membership.

"I ask myself the question: is it now within Sinn Féin politically
and socially fashionable to disassociate themselves from physical
force republicanism?

"As a republican who, along with countless other republicans, was
charged with IRA membership (a charge which I did not deny),
convicted and sentenced for IRA membership, I am bewildered,
dismayed, disappointed and flabbergasted by Gerry Adams's need to
deny (disown?) the IRA."

Ending with an apparent reference to a magazine interview in which
Mr Adams spoke of his spirituality and said that he hugged trees, Mr
Kelly writes: "Maybe if I go out and hug a few trees... I'll begin
to catch myself on."

Asked whether he thought Mr Adams had ever been in the IRA, Mr Kelly
last night said: "It is not for me to make that judgment call. I
would prefer history would make that judgment call."

March 2, 2004

ic Derry - Prison Records 'A Matter Of Rights'

Prison Records 'A Matter Of Rights'

Mar 2 2004

Sinn Fein spokesman and former Long Kesh hunger striker, Raymond McCartney told the Sinn Fein Ard Fheis that wiping prison records of people imprisoned for political offences was 'a matter of rights.'

He was speaking in support of a motion calling for the records to be wiped clean.

Mr. McCartney said: "This is a very important motion for all exprisoners and their families.

"Many people, especially some sections of the media, have tried to portray this as some sort of attempt by Sinn Fein to airbrush the past.

"However, this just shows the hypocrisy of the media. When we suggest the creation of a museum at long Kesh we are accused of glorifying the past, yet when we propose the wiping out of prison records we are accused of trying to airbrush out the past.'

Mr. McCartney continued: "This is not an attempt to airbrush the past but an attempt to address a serious issue of ex-prisoner's rights.

"This issue involves the right to work, the right to travel, the right to lead a life where they are free from discrimination.

"Ex-prisoners face many obstacles in what jobs they can apply for and where they can and can't travel to."

He continued: "We believe that the prison records of everyone who was imprisoned for political offences over the last thirty years should be cleared.

"This will go a long way towards helping all exprisoners to get on with their lives without facing the discrimination that is part and parcel of life for former prisoners."


Irish Examiner

Ahern stands by Adams's IRA membership assumption
By Harry McGee, Political Editor

TAOISEACH Bertie Ahern yesterday stood over his assumption that Gerry Adams was a member of the IRA.

The Taoiseach said he had read books in his personal library over the course of the weekend and come across references which pointed to Mr Adams himself admitting he was in the provisionals.

"I went back and looked at the reference in my own personal library. It didn't take me too long to find the references," he said.

"Maybe the best thing for me to do is to give you the references, they are his own references, and he can deny those if he wishes."

Mr Ahern said he did not "want to call anybody guilty of untruths. What I can do is that I can show him his own reference and he can say that he didn't recall that particular reference".

It is believed the Taoiseach was referring to Provos: The IRA and Sinn Féin, written by the BBC journalist Peter Taylor in 1997.

In the book, Mr Taylor referred to a 1976 column written in the Republican News by 'Brownie', a pseudonym associated with Mr Adams.

According to Mr Taylor, the Republican News column represented the one and only time Mr Adams admitted IRA membership. He then quoted the article:

"Rightly or wrongly, I am an IRA volunteer and, rightly or wrongly, I take a course of action as a means to bringing about a situation in which I believe the people of my country will prosper.

"The course I take involves the use of physical force, but only if I achieve the situation where my people can genuinely prosper can my course of action be seen, by me, to have been justified."

Mr Ahern's return to the question of Mr Adams' links with the IRA comes after the Sinn Féin president emphatically denied last week that he is, or ever was, a member of the paramilitary organisation.

Mr Adams did not refer to Mr Ahern's comments during the course of his address to his party's Árd Fheis on Saturday but it is clear that Sinn Féin is under renewed pressure from the Irish and British Governments following the abduction of a dissident republican in Belfast 10 days ago.

Unionist parties last week renewed calls to have sanctions brought on Sinn Féin.

While the governments say they are reluctant to exclude Sinn Féin from the peace process, both have stated it must ensure continuing IRA activity, which Mr Ahern said is occurring weekly, must cease.

THE BLANKET * Index: Current Articles

The Enforcers

If you create an unnecessary power it will be unnecessarily used and abused - Danny Morrison

Anthony McIntyre • 27 February 2004

I had never met Geordie McCall before, having only spoken to him for the first time twenty-four hours earlier when he contacted The Blanket by phone to arrange an interview. I was aware of who he was and had earlier written about an attack on him at his mother's home in Belfast's Twinbrook estate in January. If what he and his friends had stated publicly was true then he was the latest to be targeted in a focussed series of Provisional attacks on those republicans who disagree with Sinn Fein's etatism.

MORE>>>The Enforcers

Turned to the IRA

Turned to the IRA
--by Danny Morrison

When Tony Blair was expressing outrage that he was being spied on by republicans (remember, ‘IRA Spy-Ring at the heart of government’?) there he was, according to Clare Short, cheerily spying away at the heart of international government.

Now, no matter what you think of United Nations Secretary General, Kofi Annan, he is no Osama bin Laden directing suicide bombers. The 63-year-old Ghanaian-born international civil servant, with over forty years of public service under his belt, was elected to his post for a second term two years ago by the world’s nations.
But the problem Tony Blair and George Bush had with Kofi Annan was that while they were bent on starting a bloody war – using lies and fake documents to bolster their case against Iraq – Kofi Annan was an obstacle in their way.

One year ago, before the outbreak of war, the ‘Observer’ newspaper published a top-secret memo, the source of which was Katharine Gun who worked for GCHQ, the British government’s intelligence and security organisation. She was arrested and charged but the charges were suddenly dropped last Wednesday.
Her defence was that she broke the Official Secrets Act out of necessity to prevent imminent loss of life. Furthermore, to the embarrassment of Blair, she intended calling upon the British Attorney-General to publish the advice he had given his government about the questionable legality of going to war without UN backing.

What was in the top-secret memo that Gun leaked? It came from US National Security Agent, Frank Koza, and it requested British help for the bugging of offices and homes in New York belonging to UN diplomats from the six ‘swing states’, those nations whose support would be vital if Washington and London were to win a Security Council resolution authorising the invasion of Iraq.

Here, three men including Denis Donaldson of Sinn Fein, were arrested and imprisoned on alleged ‘spying’ charges, which were subsequently dropped, but not before the allegations were used to bring down parts of the Belfast Agreement. Using that analogy Tony Blair should be in the dock. Instead, Downing Street loyalists are calling for Clare Short to be taken into custody and charged with being in breach of the Official Secrets Act!
Republicans are accused of having double standards and are regularly lambasted for their behaviour during the evolving peace process. But as my opening story shows, it is the British government which is to the fore in hypocrisy in its relations with Ireland and the world, not giving a damn about breaking the Vienna Conventions that regulate international diplomacy nor an international treaty such as the Belfast Agreement.

Irish republican strategy is determined by certain realities: that Tony Blair is a unionist; that the North is a sectarian society; that MI5 and the PSNI Special Branch are still at war; that there is a policing vacuum; that unionists will not compromise, nor make apology for their actions or what they have spawned; that Catholics continue to be killed, their homes and properties attacked; that Dublin poorly represents and defends nationalists; that the IRA hasn’t gone away.

Twelve days ago seven Catholic homes in North Belfast were attacked by loyalist paint and petrol bombers. The PSNI issued a statement making no reference to the identity of the perpetrators. Nigel Dodds, MP for the area, issued no statement of condemnation of these attacks, one victim of which was a 105-year-old woman.
Compare that with what happened when five men were stopped in a van forty-eight hours later.

The Chief Constable pronounced almost immediately it was the IRA. DUP leader Ian Paisley immediately demanded a meeting with the secretary of state. David Trimble immediately demanded sanctions against Sinn Fein. The Justice Minister in the South, Michael McDowell, immediately lashed out – again – at Sinn Fein. Suddenly, there was a crisis in the peace process as if there hadn’t already been a crisis over the inability of unionism to share the North with nationalists on an equal footing.

For nationalists what are most frustrating are the double standards that are continually applied, despite all the compromises they have made, despite the IRA decommissioning a large number of weapons on three occasions.

Who is to sanction the British government for repeatedly reneging on reforms it promised at the Weston Park talks? It introduced legislation outside of the Agreement to suspend the executive and assembly and recently set up an International Monitoring Commission (which excludes the Irish government nominee from examining the bad faith of the British or unionists).

A High Court judge ruled that David Trimble acted illegally when he barred two Sinn Fein ministers from attending meetings of the all-Ireland bodies, yet there were no sanctions against him.

And, of course, as far as the police and the Special Branch is concerned the alleged new beginning to justice doesn’t apply to them. Last Monday a UTV documentary revealed that the Special Branch and the British army had fabricated evidence against two South Down republicans – who were imprisoned on remand in 2003 - and that the DPP had concealed crucial forensic reports from their defence lawyers.

The PSNI, British Army and the DPP were clearly in breach of the principles of the GFA. Whether they were acting alone or with the sanction of their ‘leadership’ doesn’t appear to concern a lawyer like the Minister of Justice, Michael McDowell, as much as five men in a van.
The review of the Agreement was going nowhere. The DUP’s proposals, ‘Devolution Now’, are totally unacceptable to nationalists. In it the DUP makes no reference to North-South relations, policing, justice and human rights. Its models for government are insular and give the DUP a veto over nationalists. It envisages the largest nationalist party, Sinn Fein, being excluded from office and its ministerial seats redistributed and gerrymandered between the other parties.

It was just such practices within the failed political entity that was the North, and a sense among nationalists (their homes burning around them) that Dublin had failed them, that turned many of them to the IRA over thirty years ago.


February 18, 2004

Following a visit with his attorney on Presidents' Day, Ciaran Ferry reportedly remains "defiant" and "fully prepared to fight for his freedom to return to his wife and 2-year-old daughter."

Ciaran Ferry stated, "Despite the enormous psychological and emotional toll this illegal detention has taken on me and my American family, I refuse to allow my captors to criminalize me and the struggle I was involved in. Irish Republicans have fought too long and too hard to permit this to happen."

Eamonn Dornan, the attorney handling Ferry's asylum appeal, reported that Ciaran has now been held for over 12 months without warrant, without bond and without an opportunity to challenge the legality of his detention before a federal court.

Dornan said, "This is an unprecedented and outrageous abuse of Ciaran's constitutional due process rights. The government must explain, without delay, what possible grounds it has to consider Ciaran `a danger to society.'"

The U.S. government brokered the Good Friday Agreement ("GFA"), pursuant to which the release under license of political prisoners such as Ciaran Ferry was designed to boost the peace process. See GFA Section 10(2). Dornan stated: "The British and Irish governments have implicitly recognized the political nature of the offenses for which
Ciaran was convicted. Moreover, prisoners released under license following the Good Friday Agreement have clearly been found not to be a danger to society. Low level officials of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement ("ICE") should not be allowed to turn the terms of an international agreement on its head."

Heaven Ferry said, "My own government seems quite prepared to send me and my two year old daughter back to a country where a death threat has been issued against my husband and family. How can this government maintain that Ciaran poses any harm to society? If there's any `harm,' it is directed at me and my daughter. We deserve the full protection of our courts and our government, not persecution."

The Ferry's are nevertheless hopeful that current political support for Ciaran's case will soon filter down to the prison authorities in Denver and secure his release. Heaven says, "I am still holding out hope that political good will can intervene. But every day that my young daughter is deprived of her father is 24 hours too many."


A President for All

**Got this in my email:

Action Alert “A President for All” Ireland campaign

To all our supporters:

A petition is being circulated that calls on the Dublin government to allow citizens living in the 6-counties to vote in the 2004 Presidential Elections. The petition is one of the campaigns of Ogra Shinn Fein.

These young activists believe that as a step towards the re-unification of Ireland the citizens living in the 6-counties should have the right to join with those living in the 26-counties to choose a President to represent the whole of the island of Ireland. The current President of Ireland was born in Belfast. However, the people who grew up with her and still live in Belfast cannot vote for her.

We ask all of you to support “A President for All” campaign; sign the
online petition by going to this website www.apresidentforall.com.

Thank you for your continued support.

::: u.tv :::

MONDAY 01/03/2004 17:07:47
Cory reports court battle adjourned

The government today succeeded in delaying court action aimed at forcing it to publish reports into four contentious murders in Northern Ireland.
By: Press Association

It won a three-week stay of a High Court action in Belfast by families of the victims who say the Government has been putting off publication of the reports - which it received last October - and which examined allegations of security force collusion in the murders.

A judicial review seeking to force the Government into publication of the reports by retired Canadian Supreme Court judge Peter Cory was due to be held today.

Instead the Government`s legal team sought and won the postponement.

It was a move heavily condemned by the victim`s families who branded it another in a long line of Government delaying tactics.

Granting the adjournment Mr Justice John Gillen made it clear he did so ``reluctantly``.

Declan Morgan QC, for the Government, told the hearing that the Government needed the extra time to continue studying the reports and address legal concerns.

There were more than 100 people named in the reports and there were matters of their privacy, fairness and right to life as well as national security considerations which had to be addressed before publication, he said.

Mr Morgan added: ``The expectation is that within three weeks the reports will be published, or if not actually published a framework will be established in which publication will be achieved.``

Granting the adjournment the judge said: ``I do so in the expectation that this court will be given dates for publication in three weeks time.``

He said he had to balance the wishes of the families against the rights of the 100 named persons in the reports.

The judge set March 22 as the date he will sit again to be given a publication date.

The killings under the spotlight are:

:: The Ulster Freedom Fighters` murder of Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane, who was shot dead in front of his family in their north Belfast home in February 1989.

:: The loyalist killing of Lurgan solicitor Rosemary Nelson, who was blown up by a car bomb as she drove away from her home in March 1999.

:: The murder of Catholic Robert Hamill who was kicked to death by a loyalist mob in May 1997.

:: Loyalist Volunteer Force leader Billy Wright, who was gunned down inside the Maze prison by the INLA in December 1997.

Judge Cory also presented the Irish government with reports on the killing of two RUC officers and a Northern Ireland High Court judge and his wife amid allegations of collusion with the IRA by Irish police.

Dublin published its reports in December and ordered a public inquiry into the deaths of the two policemen.

Legal action was launched by the Finucane, Nelson and Wright families when the British Government failed to publish its reports, despite Judge Cory privately telling the families he had recommended public inquiries in all cases.

Opposing the Government application, Seamus Treacy QC, for the Finucane and Wright families, said there was a belief that the Government was trying cynically to delay publication.

He pointed to the St Patrick`s Day celebrations in the United States on March 17 during which Mr Murphy was, he said, due to accept an award on behalf of the Prime Minister in respect of Northern Ireland.

The QC said there was a belief that the Government sought delay so as ``not to damage the celebrations on St Patrick`s Day``.

Mr Treacy also alleged: ``It looks as if there is an attempt going on in the background to tinker with the content of this report. The families fear the Government is sexing-down the report.``

The Government had promised to publish the reports and from the families` point of view was engaged in a ``cynical breach of faith``, he added.

It was revealed in court that during the Government`s examination of the report elements of the Ministry of Defence and Police Service of Northern Ireland had either seen the report or extracts from it.

Mr Treacy said that for some interested parties to see the report in its original form, but not the families, was ``simply outrageous``.

Brian Fee, QC for the family of Rosemary Nelson, said he also strenuously objected to the adjournment application.

Speaking after the ruling, Geraldine Finucane, widow of the murdered solicitor, said she was ``extremely disappointed`` the case had been held up.

``This is just another delay in a long list of delays - they have been delaying for the last 15 years and want to keep it going as long as possible.``

And she said the revelation MoD and PSNI officials had seen the report was an outrage.

``I think it is an absolute disgrace that people in the MoD and PSNI have seen the report into my husband`s murder and I have not.

``These people are being accused of many things and I think it outrageous they have seen the report before me,`` said Mrs Finucane.

David Wright, father of Billy Wright, was equally angry.

But he said: ``I would not say I was disappointed, I was expecting the worst and I got it - it`s another delaying tactic by the Government.``

But Mr Wright said delaying action for three weeks would not change the actual facts in the report.

On this day 23 years ago, Bobby Sands began his hunger strike

Read The Diary of Bobby Sands

Biography The Revolutionary Spirit of Freedom



Sunday Life


By Alan Murray
29 February 2004

THE families of two teenagers, murdered in a gruesome double killing, say they believe the security services are deliberately hindering the police investigation, in order to protect a UVF double agent.

Andrew Robb and David McIlwaine were bludgeoned to death, in February 2000, at the height of a feud in mid-Ulster between the UVF and LVF.

Despite the availability of what their families claim is "compelling" forensic evidence, none of those involved has been convicted of the murders.

And, more than three months after the Lord Chief Justice directed Chief Constable, Hugh Orde, to disclose all the documents contained in the police file on the murder, no documents have been handed over.

The solicitors acting for the Robb and McIlwaine families have been told that Orde is planning to seek a public interest immunity certificate (PIIC), to prevent the file being handed over.

Said a McIlwaine family spokesman: "We have asked to speak to Hugh Orde, but he won't meet us.

"He promised openness, and an end to the 'force within a force' aspect, whereby Special Branch controlled investigations, and decided who would and who wouldn't be charged, but it appears not to apply in the murders of two innocent children."

Under current law, the Police Ombudsman, Nuala O'Loan, will see all documents relating to the case - including any Special Branch intelligence reports - as will the Coroner, when papers are eventually handed over.

But the relatives won't see the sensitive material, if Lord Chief Justice, Sir Brian Kerr, grants a PIIC.

In a statement, last night, the Police Service said it was a matter of regret and disappointment that no person had been made amenable through the courts for the murders.

It said the inquiry was continuing, but evidence was needed for successful prosecutions.

But, Andrew Robb's mother, Ann, told Sunday Life: "We suspect that some major informer is being protected."

Ulster Unionist leader, David Trimble, said the Chief Constable should meet both families.

He added: "There are matters which clearly concern the families, and I feel the Chief Constable should meet with them, and explain his position."

Sunday Life

Bombings report is 'Ireland's Hutton'
Inquiry into Dublin/Monaghan atrocities branded a 'whitewash'

By Sunday Life Reporter

29 February 2004
A HIGH-profile ex-British Army intelligence officer believes the Barron Report into the 1974 UVF Dublin and Monaghan bombings is a "whitewash".

Dirty tricks whistle-blower, Captain Fred Holroyd described the Barron inquiry into the atrocities as "Ireland's Hutton".

Thirty three people were killed and scores more injured in the loyalist bomb attacks.

Judge Henry Barron's recent report on the atrocities named three prime suspects, but was inconclusive on whether members of the British security forces colluded with the terrorists.

Holroyd, who was based at the British Army's 3 Brigade HQ in mid-Ulster during the 1970s, confirmed he had spoken Judge Barron during his inquiry into the UVF bombings.

However, he claimed the inquiry had missed out on valuable evidence.

Capt Holroyd added that the report had let the Garda and RUC "off the hook".

Judge Barron said in his report that Mr Holroyd had made "number of factual errors, memory lapses and contradictions".

But Holroyd also claimed there were inaccuracies in the report.

He said a colour Polaroid picture of murdered IRA Commander, John Francis Green, could not have been taken by Garda officers, as claimed at the hearing.

Holroyd said that, based on his experience, Garda officers had only a black and white camera at that time, which he had supplied to them along with a quantity of black and white film cartridges.

"All colour film cartridges were reserved for 4 Field Survey Troop at Castledillon, where Robert Niarac (an undercover Army intelligence officer) was based.

"The Garda did not have access to colour films at that time," he said.

Capt Holroyd's comments are likely to add further to the concerns of victims' families who have called for a full public inquiry into the Dublin and Monaghan bombings.

The families and supporters of victims have demanded that any new inquiry must be "cross-jurisdictional" after Barron conceded that a lack of co-operation from the British Government had "limited the scope" of his report.

Addressing the collusion issue, the Barron Report stated that the UVF units who carried out the cross-border bombings would have been capable of doing so "without help from any section of the security forces in Northern Ireland".

Sunday Business Post

Sunday Business Post
29 February 2004

RIC 'outcasts' recalled in the light of history
By Pat Butler

The Cumann na mBan statement, issued in April 1919, has more in
common with some of the more bloodcurdling passages in the Book of
Kings than the lofty sentiments enshrined in the 1916 Proclamation.

Founding ideals are all very well, but prosecuting a guerrilla-style
War of Independence demanded a rather more steely frame of mind.

"They [RIC] are the eyes and ears of the enemy, let those eyes and
ears know no friendship, let them be outcasts in their own land. The
blood of the martyrs shall be on them and their children's children,
and they shall curs e the mothers who brought them forth."

Chilling stuff; less for what is said, more for the subtext. The RIC
are cast as enemies of the people, accused of having given cul le
cine, of having `betrayed their own'.

The stain of their treachery would live in folk memory. For this
there would be no forgiveness and their guilt would pass on to their
children's children.

Little wonder that the progeny of those who wore the king's rifle
green between 1919 and 1922 didn't exactly make a habit of
declaiming that association in the atmosphere that dominated Irish
life after the first flush of freedom.

Dr Denis Donoghue, Henry James Professor of English at New York
University, whose father served in the both the RIC and the RUC,
makes that point with elegant clarity.

Exploring the ambiguity of his father's legacy for him in tomorrow's
Leargas documentary, RIC - The Forgotten Force, he states
unequivocally: "Would I have preferred that he were a teacher rather
than a policeman? Yes.

"Would I have preferred that he had no loyalty whatsoever to the
British authorities? Yes. Insofar as I am an Irish nationalist,
which indeed I am, I became a nationalist by living in the Police
Barracks at Warrenpoint."

Ruaidhri O Tuairisg is a lifelong republican from An Lochan Beag,
near Spideal, Co Galway. He is a nephew of RIC man Patrick Waters,
whom Kerry Volunteers are said to have thrown, along with a
colleague - both reputedly still alive - into the Gasworks' furnace
in Tralee.

Another account speaks of the men being shot and their bodies

Others still maintain they were shot and then the corpses were
disposed of in the Gasworks furnace.

One way or another, the bodies were never found.

Without rancour, O Tuairisg recalls: "It isn't that we hid it from
anyone, but I suppose we didn't broadcast it either."

When the killing was over and the Tricolour had replaced the Union
Jack on Dublin Castle, the charity of the neighbours' silence was
the best an ex-RIC man and his family could hope for.

The poisoning of the well of community had run deep. RIC connections
were simply not spoken of, except as a form of provocation.

In the context of the time, that is understandable. There can be few
more uncomfortable servants of an overthrown regime than the
disbanded members of its security police.

While the Black and Tans and the Auxiliary Division got to return to
Blighty, most of the old RIC remained in what had become a delicate
social landscape. Prudence demanded circumspection.

RIC practice was for men to serve outside their native counties.
When the force was disbanded in 1922, it became common for police
families to test the warmth of the welcome awaiting them back home
by sending their clearly marked furniture on before them. If it was
burned by neighbours, the message was clear. If not, it became a
judgment call. More than one RIC man got that call wrong, and paid
for it with his life. There were, of course, other options. All
serving officers of good standing were entitled to join the RUC, the
fledgling Six Counties police force.

Fewer than 1,500 did, over 900 of whom were of the Protestant
persuasion. Professor Gearoid O Tuathaigh makes the point that a
disproportionate number of the 500 or so Catholics who went north
were senior officers - the sectarian nature of that force being a
considerable disincentive to the rank-and-file cohort.

By contrast, fewer than 200 joined the new Free State Civic Guard -
suggesting even greater discomfort at the notion of serving
alongside recent adversaries.

The colonial police services throughout the British Empire welcomed
ex-RIC with open arms. Many served in Palestine, South Africa, Hong
Kong and Canada. Their experience in the face of guerrilla action
stood them in good stead. The vast majority, however, took the
king's pension, returned home, and got on with the business of

One such was Michael Corduff of Ros Dumhach, Belmullet, Co Mayo. He,
like so many younger sons of the rural poor, saw the RIC as the
natural outlet for career ambitions.

They were, in the main, Catholic country lads who had mastered
literacy and numeracy skills sufficient to perform comfortably the
business of petty administration.

These were "steady" youths with a bit of backbone for whom active
service in the RIC was far more attractive than "priesting" in

Corduff joined the force in 1901, though not with any sense of
ideological or political imperative. Here was, after all, a steady
job, status, a house, a modest income and a pension.

Even an adversary as unrepentant as Dan Breen of Soloheadbeg Ambush
fame (the event that rekindled the War of Independence in 1919)
understood the social and economic comforts that attracted sons of
the upstanding rural poor into the RIC. "They had this bit of
security in the RIC and a pension, and that was a hell of a thing
for an Irishman, and you'd want to be very strong to resist it."

Corduff's progress through the ranks was steady: constable, acting
sergeant, sergeant, head constable. He married in 1911, staying on
until disbandment in 1922.

His grandson, also Micheal, tells how his grandfather's readmission
into the affections of his neighbours was eased by two unrelated

First of all, head constable Corduff had married a local Ros Dumhach
girl. Also, as a young lad of 14 he had worked in the local school
as a teacher's assistant.

Two diehard republican families whom he had befriended during those
days went guarantor for him.

The word was out - don't trouble Corduff.

He lived on until 1962, famously contributing a quantity of
invaluable material to the Irish Folklore Commission.

What the RIC men attending the Wexford RIC Farewell Dance at the
Town Hall on February 24 1922 thought of their abandonment and
betrayal by the imperial government is a matter of conjecture.

After all, at least 493 of their comrades had fallen in the line of
duty in the preceding three years.

Many more suffered serious injury. A small number of their
colleagues had defected to the service of the fledgling Irish
Republic. But the loyal officers who attended the farewell dance
had, in their terms, held the line.

They had fought the hard, if bitter fight, and were now facing a
very uncertain future - consigned to the tender mercies of a new and
conceivably hostile regime.

Perhaps, indeed almost inevitably, that night in Wexford Town Hall
they gave a final nostalgic rendition of their signature tune,
Moore's melody The Young May Moon.

Their mood might more accurately have been captured by lines penned
by one MJB in July 1922 in Farewell RIC:

We're going away, we're passing fast
Some lie in graves from Leirs to Loos
Brought out there by an English ruse
The splendid heroes of the past
Some of us fell in England's cause
In Erin's Isle maintaining laws
Some lie in graves from Foyle to Lee
Fell fighting in the RIC.

Tomorrow night's documentary is a television first, an exploration
of a subject with deep resonance for a considerable number of Irish

Some 85,000 officers served in the RIC between 1822 and 1922.

The chances are that quite a percentage of people reading this,
whether aware of it or not, whether they like it or not, must have
had family who wore the king's or queen's rifle green.

If that sets you thinking, the Public Record Office in Kew holds all
the answers.

RIC - the Forgotten Force, Leargas, will air on RTE 1 tomorrow at

Sunday Independent

--Tim Pat Coogan
Sunday February 29th 2004

DESPITE the fact that RTE gave the DUP leader a ludicrously soft-centred interview on Prime Time recently, the fact remains that if Tony Blair really wants to find a weapon of political mass destruction, he need look no further than the benches directly opposite him in the House of Commons, where sits the subject of the interview: the very large destructive force known as Ian Kyle Paisley.

Let us be clear that what is at stake here is not merely the Good Friday Agreement, in its opposition to which the unionist community has reverted to type, and given Paisley a mandate to destroy it, but the possibility of ending the Irish Physical Force tradition once and for all. People sometimes either fail to realise or do not want to advert to the fact that most significant Irish political development originated in that tradition.

The Unionist Party founded the Ulster Volunteer Force in collusion with British conservatives and threatened war in a successful attempt to frustrate the verdict of the ballot box, and so prevented the introduction of Home Rule to this country in the last century. In response, the Irish Volunteers were founded, which led (apart from war, civil war and partition) to the creation of Sinn Fein and from it subsequently Cumann na nGaedheal, Fianna Fail, Clann na Poblachta, Sinn Fein the Workers Party and once again Sinn Fein. With the Good Friday Agreement, we were offered the prospect of finally closing off this deadly seedbed of violence and introducing a new era of fruitful politics and of friendship between Dublin, London, Belfast and the Irish diaspora.

This is now threatened and one of these days Tony Blair is going to have to turn from dealing with Iraq, and the Dail from its preoccupation with e-voting, to grapple with this reality. Perhaps because he appears to have a sense of humour, the full malign impact of the Great Disturber is either not explored in the Republic or else glossed over, as it was on Prime Time. Paisley may be funny peculiar. He is not funny ha ha.

Younger readers of the Sunday Independent are probably not aware of Paisley's "Third Force", created in 1981 after he had led a crowd of masked men up an Antrim hillside earlier in the year where 500 firearm certificates were brandished and a willingness to use them trumpeted.

Better-known will be his involvement with the Ulster Resistance Movement in 1986 at which Paisley and Peter Robinson were photographed with leading loyalist paramilitaries such as Alan Wright and Noel Lyttle. Part of the armament supplied to Ulster Resistance came from the notorious British undercover agent Brian Nelson. In 1986, also seeking to make an individual name for himself on the wilder shores of unionism, Peter Robinson and a loyalist gang invaded the Co Monaghan village of Clontibret and attacked the Garda station.This behaviour was part of the essential and continuing balancing act between the forces of extreme Protestant fundamentalism and loyalist paramilitarism which has characterised Paisleyite politics since he first entered public life. As far back as 1972, a British government report into the origins of the North Ireland troubles said:

"Fears and apprehensions of Protestants of a threat to unionist domination and control of government by an increase of Catholic population and powers, inflamed in particular [author's italics] by the activities of the Ulster Constitution Defence Committee and the Ulster Protestant Volunteers, provoked strong hostile reaction to Civil Rights Claims as asserted by the Civil Rights Association and later by the People's Democracy which were readily translated into physical violence against Civil Rights demonstrators."

Both the UPV and the UCDC were Paisley vehicles. Two years after the foregoing was published, Paisley, the man who denounces links with paramilitarism, including loyalist paramilitarism when it suits him, was photographed marching with loyalist masked paramilitaries as they wrecked the precursor of the Good Friday Agreement, the power-sharing Executive of 1974.

Today Paisley's targets are the same as they were in the earlier stages of his career: Dublin, Catholicism, nationalism. Paisley and his DUP are smoother, more media-honed than in the earlier stentorian days. Now the emphasis is on sounding reasonable, on protestations of willingness to co-operate with Dublin; the appearance of being a normal democratic party which cannot be expected to co-operate with a party which has links to an illegal army. It's a position to which, for many people in the Republic, the recent disturbing kidnapping incident in Belfast has added an air of justification. But the substance is something else, a visceral anti-Catholicism, summed up in this verse of Hymn 757 of Paisley's Free Presbyterian Church:

The mystery of Wickedness
Right surely is thy name
The Harlot in the Bride's attire
As all thy ways proclaim

No peace with Rome shall be our cry . . . This view of Rome in which the Pope is the Antichrist, who on occasion Paisley has publicly insulted, would appear laughable, were it not for the fact that a majority of the unionist electorate has just endorsed it. Our deletion of Articles Two and Three of the Constitution, which Paisley once sought, and their replacement by a quite noble-minded definition of what constitutes an Irishman has meant nothing.

Mistakenly, a wide swathe of Irish political opinion, including opinion in Sinn Fein, has chosen to believe that Paisley is an old man who can be bypassed in favour of pragmatists in his party who will do a deal. Granted Paisley is 77, but he's a strong 77. How old is the Pope? Has his age and physical condition made him appear willing to consider retirement?

The evangelical or religious component of Paisley's politico-religious creed is what sets him apart from the so-called pragmatists, presumably Nigel Dodds and Peter Robinson. Without the religious factor, Paisley's party would just be another slice of unionism, Tweedle Dee Jeffrey Donaldson and Tweedle Dum David Trimble.

I would not argue, as some optimists do, that in the absence of Paisley, moderation would easily be achieved. The split in unionism may heal.

But certain things will continue: dislike of Dublin, a distaste for power-sharing with Catholics, an inability on the part of unionist politicians to promote a vision of politics which, for example, would encourage their constituents to get themselves an education to replace the vanished apprenticeship culture, and perhaps even to co-operate with Dublin so that inward investment and a share in the benefits of the Celtic Tiger might be brought to unemployment-ravaged East Belfast.

Unionist politicians will continue to seek those benefits for themselves, of course, pace John Taylor's recent multimillion-euro newspaper deal in the Republic or the fact that Paisley's church draws revenues from this abhorred fiefdom of Rome.

Nevertheless it is true that at every step of the road over the last 40 years, any movement towards breaking out of unionist moulds always came up against the towering figure of Paisley.

I remember sitting in Captain Terence O'Neill's office in Stormont in October 1965 while public opinion in the Republic was still reverberating with approval for Sean Lemass's overtures of friendship towards O'Neill.

O'Neill and his secretary, Group Captain Jim Malley, who had done much to arrange the historicalLemass/O'Neill meetings, with TK Whitaker, both warned me of the dangers, unappreciated in the south, which Paisley's strident campaign against the dismantling of Belfast/Dublin barriers posed for the future. "The trouble is," said O'Neill, "that he does all this with the Book in his hand. The Book is very important up here."

It was and is. Petrol bombs might have been - and were - thrown for the first time in Belfast during 1964 after riots which Paisley incited with a threatening speech in the Ulster Hall fulminating against the display of an Irish tricolour in an innocuous back-street premises off the Falls Road, the headquarters of the Sinn Fein candidate in the Westminster elections. But the Bible was the missile which Paisley deliberately chose to throw at the head of a clerical opponent, the ecumenical Methodist preacher Donald Soper.

At an intellectual level, if I may be pardoned the term, Paisley (in a pamphlet) has attacked the Jesuits for, in effect, furthering devil worship. The mark of the cloven hoof is upon Jesuits because, Paisley argues, their sign, IHS, stands for a pagan Egyptian trinity, Isis Horub Seb. I do not know at what level one should place Paisley's resignation from the Orange Order, because it refused to expel Sir Robert Kinahan for attending a Catholic funeral service, nor his demonstration at City Hall against the lowering of the Union Jack on the death of Pope John XXIII who he described as "the Roman anti-Christ".

But at street level he is on record during the Fifties of giving the names and addresses of Catholics to supporters on the Shankill Road, and telling his hearers how long Protestants had lived in those houses before they passed into the hands of the Papists. He then went home, leaving inflamed crowds to attack the Catholic homes and businesses.

This had nothing to do with him, of course. No more than the fact that members of the UPV and UCDC were responsible for the series of deaths and explosions which blew Captain Terence O'Neill out of office a few years later. (In one, Thomas McDowell, a member of Paisley's Free Presbyterian Church, died attempting to blow up an ESB station in Donegal.)

Nor could anyone connect him with certain activities of a UPV organiser, a printer on his hate-sheet the Protestant Telegraph, Noel Doherty. Doherty did time for his involvement with paramilitaries with whom he discussed arms procurement at a meeting in Loughgall. Paisley, who was going to Armagh, drove him to the meeting and drove him from it, but claimed that he had no idea what was discussed.

The list is as long and as unlovely as Ian Kyle Paisley's own political career, but though Prime Time shied away from confronting it, the time is fast approaching when we and the governments of Dublin and London will have to do so.

© Irish Independent
http://www.unison.ie/irish_independent/ & http://www.unison.ie/



--Tommy McKearney

As Sinn Féin gathers for its annual ard fheis there will undoubtedly
be a large measure of satisfaction among the party faithful albeit
measured with a degree of trepidation.

The long cherished aim of overtaking the SDLP as the largest
nationalist party in Northern Ireland is achieved and few now doubt
that republicans have taken a decisive lead over their nationalist
rivals. Still greater success may be gained in the upcoming European
elections and not only in the north but south of the border as well.

Republican diehards who once scorned Gerry Adam's predictions that
Sinn Féin could make significant electoral gains have been rebutted.
There is vibrancy about the party that borders on the arrogant. Yet
in spite of its obvious advances, doubts still linger about where the
movement is going and where its journey will end.

There is clear evidence that an influential element still exists
within the wider organisation that has not entirely reconciled itself
to a purely parliamentary strategy. Recent events in Belfast are sub
judice and are best left that way. But the mere fact that P O'Neill has
been unable to issue a statement that his members have decided to
disband proves the point that not everybody in the family subscribes
to constitutionalism.

This divergence of opinion is unlikely to lead to a public split but
its impact will continue to cause difficulties for Sinn Féin. For so
long as the military wing continues to exist it will cause problems
for the parliamentary party. An outlawed, underground organisation
cannot be hidden from view nor can it guarantee that it will not get
itself occasionally caught in flagrante delicto.

As a result, there is now no likelihood of unionist participation in
a power-sharing executive. This problem may be side-stepped in the
short term but eventually a situation, that in itself is bordering on
the abstentionist, will challenge the party's ability to retain the
support of its new voters in the north. This will translate into a
vote loser in the south as the more middle-class section of the
electorate refuses to endorse a party with an ambivalent attitude to
its partners.

The dilemma for the Sinn Féin leadership and for its supporters is
that there will come a time when this conflict of interest will have
to be faced up to and in a fashion that will allow for no
prevarication. Faced with an ongoing stalemate in the north and
effective exclusion from influence in the south, the Sinn Féin bubble
must eventually burst.

There is a clear political imperative on the leadership to either
prevail upon the IRA to disband or to put credible daylight between
itself and the party. It needs little imagination to guess the stark
and stern message delivered by Mr Blair and Mr Ahern to Martin
McGuinness and his colleagues over the past few days and the
consequences for republicans if things do not change.

Over the past decade the Sinn Féin party has demonstrated a
remarkable ability to contort itself ideologically. Abstentionism is
gone, participation in Stormont is now eagerly sought and the
blind promotion of militarism is no longer evident. There is no
reason to be-lieve therefore, that the organisation and
its leaders will not be able to make the final move and
disentangle themselves convincingly from the armed wing.

Dealing with this requirement will undoubtedly take time and effort
on the part of the Sinn Féin leadership but doing so (and don't doubt
that it will be done) will also have another impact. Freed from
the 'shackles' imposed by its connection with the military, Sinn Féin
will find itself having new opportunities. They will be able to
resume their position in the northern executive and there will be a
real chance of securing a significant number of seats in the Dail
with the subsequent possibility of a coalition deal in the Republic.
Nor is there is any reason to believe that Sinn Féin will reject this
option since to do so would severely diminish the trust of its
efforts over the past 10 or 15 years.

The exigencies of parliamentary life will then take over. Already we
have seen Sinn Féin ministers in the north preside over the
administration of PFI (Private Finance Initiative) – something that
is clearly at odds with the party's claims to be socialist. Before
long the 'needs of the day' will also require a softer line on other
issues and before long the current flexibility will simply become, at
best, what Michael D Higgins describes as 'managerialism' or
opportunism at worst. The party that is rapidly acquiring all the
appearances of a fairly mellow social democratic grouping will become
indistinguishable from a host of other 'somewhere in the centre'

Sinn Féin is succeeding at the expense of its radical republicanism
and those holding feelings of trepidation are justified.

February 29, 2004

::: u.tv :::

SUNDAY 29/02/2004 12:39:52 UTV


The transfer of policing and justice powers from Westminster to
Stormont is essential to securing republican involvement in policing
in Northern Ireland, a senior Sinn Fein figure said today.

By:Press Association

Policing spokesman Gerry Kelly told the party`s annual conference in
Dublin there was still much work to be done before republicans could
get involved, with a third act of Parliament required in Westminster
to transfer power.

But he also admitted republicans feared getting policing ``horribly
wrong`` once it had been achieved.

The North Belfast Assembly member said: ``Critical to the new
beginning of policing and justice is the issue of the transfer of
powers to Ireland through the local Assembly, the executive and
hence into an all-Ireland context through the all-Ireland

``But transfer of powers is also crucial because it is the only way
that control of policing and justice can ultimately be wrested out
of the hands of British securocrats in London and the NIO (Northern
Ireland Office) who have run policing as a paramilitary force for

``The transfer of powers will require the enactment of a third
Parliamentary act by the British Government, surrendering power on
policing and justice matters which are currently controlled by the
NIO and by London.

``Without transfer, policing and justice will remain unaccountable
and a tool of repression.``

Among the issues Mr Kelly said still needed to resolved were:

:: A ban on plastic bullets, with an accountability mechanism set up
in the meantime to make British soldiers who fire them answerable.

:: Additional resources for Northern Ireland`s Police Ombudsman
Nuala O`Loan to carry on her work.

:: Commitments to boost the number of Catholics in the police

:: The publication by the British Government of retired Canadian
judge Peter Cory`s report on four controversial killings during the
Troubles - the murders of solicitors Pat Finucane and Rosemary
Nelson, Catholic father of three Robert Hamill and Loyalist
Volunteer Force leader Billy Wright.

:: Acknowledgement by the British Government of alleged collusion
between the security forces in Northern Ireland and loyalist terror

Mr Kelly said there was also a resistance to change amongst some in
the police.

This could be seen by the regrouping of members of the Royal Ulster
Constabulary in various branches of the Police Service of Northern
Ireland like ``the new variations of Special Branch such as REMIT.``

The North Belfast MLA noted unionists, British politicians and
sometimes other nationalists had accused Sinn Fein of being
``insatiable`` in its demands for policing.

``Let me be clear,`` he said.

``Those who have suffered from bad policing want proper policing
more than anyone else.

``That includes me, the parents of Holy Cross, the residents of the
Short Strand or north Belfast or south Armagh or Tyrone, sex crime
victims, drugs victims, car crime victims, victims and survivors of
collusion and all the others who want a better way of life who want
justice on an equal footing.``

Mr Kelly said unionists were afraid of losing ``their police
force,`` whether it was the PSNI or RUC.

But he admitted: ``If we are honest, republicans too have a fear of
achieving the new beginning to policing.

``We fear getting it horribly wrong. Our whole lives have been in
rebellion against a police force in rebellion against us.

``The whole idea of a police service in the Six Counties (Northern
Ireland), transitional or otherwise is a massive debate.``

Sunday Business Post

Backroom : Other parties mesmerised by SF's rise

The rise and rise of Sinn Féin has left the political establishment like rabbits staring into the headlights of an oncoming vehicle.

They see the threat but seem incapable of doing anything to stop the oncoming collision. As the Sinn Féin comrades meet at its Ard Fheis in Dublin this weekend, they are buoyed up by recent opinion poll findings which make it the fourth largest party in the state - and rising.

Opinion polls put its charismatic leader Gerry Adams ahead of all others - without even holding elected office in the state. Its coffers are groaning with cash from America. It is the coming force.

As recently as ten years ago, Sinn Féin was little more than a minor irritant in the Republic. In the North, the SDLP,with John Hume at the helm,was able to keep the party in its place - that is, as representative of the minority of the Catholic community which supported `the armed struggle'.

That's all changed, and we now have a political party that is poised to make a breakthrough in June's local and European elections.

It's not as if all this has gone unnoticed here in Leinster House, but the main critics of Sinn Féin appear to be those who don't have to worry about a resurgence - Fine Gael and the Progressive Democrats.

Michael McDowell has certainly taken the gloves off, and is constant and unremitting in his attacks.So is Enda Kenny in some of his better Dáil performances. But let's face it, the average PD voter is hardly likely to switch to Sinn Féin, nor will the Fine Gael professional or big farmer.

After all, they're "not quite our class, dear". It may help to rally the law and order supporters of these parties who still consider the Good Friday Agreement a propaganda victory for Sinn Féin and nothing else.

A bit more perplexing though is the silence of Fianna Fail and Labour on the subject, as these are the parties from which Sinn Féin will make its gains. As prospective and sitting Labour seats crumbled at the last general election, so too will Fianna Fail face peril to its soft working class and republican underbelly.

Sinn Féin may well benefit from the votes of floaters disillusioned with government policies on health, education and social welfare - or indeed those just plain disillusioned and looking for an alternative - who want to give the coalition a bit of a bloody nose.

Neither Fianna Fail or Labour has taken into account the Sinn Féin threat in its candidate selection. It's as if the Sinn Féin surge will just go away if it is ignored.Well, it doesn't look like that from the Backroom.

Take the Dublin Euro constituency, for example. Fianna Fail is running Eoin Ryan and Royston Brady, the cheeky northside Lord Mayor. Ryan comes from a Fianna Fail dynasty which includes a founder of the party and a minister in de Valera's governments.

Squeezed on the southside by the possible candidature of glamorous PD Liz O'Donnell, he will have no vote to fall back on from the northside,where Brady will hoover up the Fianna Fail faithful - all of which he will need for himself to get elected. Sinn Féin will have eaten away any surplus that might allow the Soldiers of Destiny even a smell of two seats.

His own party will not thankTaoiseach Bertie Ahern for presiding over the election of a clone of himself at the expense of the respected and popular Eoin Ryan.

It's a far cry from the aftermath of the Assembly elections when the eclipse of the SDLP saw some disgruntled Fianna Fail backbenchers welcome the possibility of Sinn Féin providing alternative dancing partners to the dreaded PDs. How a hanging or an election concentrates the mind!

For Labour the problem is similar. Proinnsias De Rossa still maintains working-class credibility, though in decreasing amounts as he is seen as having gone native in Brussels.With his base eroded, he will need whatever transfers his running mate Ivana Bacik and Fine Gael can produce.

The net result will be stagnation for both Fianna Fail and Labour and a gain for Sinn Féin by Mary Lou McDonald. Fine Gael have in effect given up on the capital - having topped the poll last time - and will run two low-profile candidates.

The pattern repeats itself over the country.The shift is to Sinn Féin and that will mirror itself in the local election results.The opinion polls show quite clearly which party is on the upwards move - Sinn Féin.

Only in Leinster,where Pat Rabbitte pulled something of a coup by enticing former ICTU general secretary Peter Cassells to run, does Labour stand any realistic chance of beating Sinn Féin. Although even that is in some doubt if Sinn Féin field fellow Meathman Joe Reilly. In Munster, Labour will come behind Sinn Féin - with ominous forebodings for the next general election.

Meanwhile, back at the Sinn Féin Ard Fheis, Adams addresses a party poised to gain representation in its fourth parliamentary assembly. It already has seats in Stormont,Westminster and Leinster House. Now here comes Brussels,with at least one seat from both the Republic and the North.

Is the Sinn Féin bandwagon unstoppable? The answer, so long as its rivals in Fianna Fail and Labour remain mesmerised and immobilised by its rapid rise, is yes.

Danny Morrison - Irish Republican News - Francis Hughes

**Posted by Kate

Francis Hughes


**Posters note God keep you safe in His hands Francis ...RIP

Francis Hughes was born on February 28th, 1956, the youngest son amongst ten children, into a staunchly republican family which has been solidly rooted, for most of this century, in the townland of Tamlaghtduff, or Scribe Road, as it is otherwise called.

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