Irish Echo Online - News

Lawyer says O'Cealleagh will fight deportation
By Joe O'Neill

SAN FRANCISCO -- A former political prisoner who served over eight years in the Maze Prison appeared in court in Southern California on March 23 to face charges by the INS that could lead to his deportation.

Sean O'Cealleagh, 35, was detained on Feb. 25 at Los Angeles International Airport as he returned from a trip to Ireland for a family visit, accompanied by his 3-year-old son, and has remained in INS custody since his arrest.

At his court appearance, O'Cealleagh was granted an evidentiary hearing, by Judge Rose Peters, which is scheduled for April 20-22.

San Francisco attorney Jim Byrne, who was brought into the case as a co-consul by O'Cealleagh's lawyer, John Farrell, because of his expertise in immigration law, said last week that their client will vigorously defend his right to remain in the United States.

Byrne was part of the defense team during the extraditions cases in San

Francisco against the H-Block escapees, Jimmy Smyth, Pol Brennan, Terence Kirby and Kevin Barry Artt.

The INS will argue that O'Cealleagh was convicted of a crime of "moral turpitude" and therefore should not be admitted to the United States.

O'Cealleagh and two other men, who were later to be known as the "Casement Three," were convicted in aiding and abetting in the killing, by the IRA, of two British Special Air Service corporals who were dragged from their car which had crashed the funeral cortege of IRA volunteer Kevin Brady, in 1988. Brady, had been killed a few days earlier, at the funeral of IRA members killed by an SAS unit in

Gibraltar. In a grenade and gun attack on that funeral by loyalist gunman Michael Stone, three people were killed and over 60 people injured.

Convicted in the no-jury Diplock court, O'Cealleagh has always protested his innocence and a public campaign was organized around three of those convicted, to have the "Casement Three" released. O'Cealleagh was eventually released under the terms of the Good Friday agreement.

Byrne said that on his Green Card application his client had given full disclosure of his conviction. "Therefore," HE SAID, "the Immigration service must have deemed that the offense was political otherwise they should not have given him a Green Card. If they deemed that the offense was criminal, then they should have asked for a waiver. Instead they gave him a green card. Therefore, they made a determination that the offense was political."

O'Cealleagh was granted his green card in 2001 and his wife, Geraldine, is an American citizen. He is employed as a bartender at an Irish bar, O'Malley's, where owner, friends and patrons held a fundraiser that raised more than $7,000 toward his legal expenses.

This story appeared in the issue of March 31-April 6, 2004


--Seamus McKinney
Irish News

A brother of one of Derry's Bloody Sunday victims has warned the families preparing for the new inquiries arising out of the Cory Report to immediately seek to have all available evidence secured.

John Kelly offered to meet offered to meet victims' relatives, saying he would share his experiences of inquiries with anyone preparing for a judicial tribunal. He said he was sure that other Bloody Sunday families would also be willing to share their experiences.

Mr Kelly, whose 17-year-old brother Michael was shot dead on Bloody Sunday, said the families affected by Cory should learn from the experiences of the Bloody Sunday families.

"I am delighted for them but they should know they will now face obstacles at every turn," he said.

He warned that they should seek to have all available evidence secured as soon as possible.

He said rifles used on Bloody Sunday were destroyed within days of the Saville Inquiry being announced. Even after Lord Saville had been given assurances by the Ministry of Defence, other rifles were also destroyed.

"They (the Cory families) must act immediately," he said.

On an emotional level, Mr Kelly said the families must prepare for what would be a detailed, traumatic and stressful examination of their loved one's deaths.

"We have had it for the last six years... when the security forces are involved obstacles will be placed before them."

He said the families should also remember at all times that they had a right to justice and a right and duty to question every aspect of the inquiries.

"They should look at the Bloody Sunday Inquiry and see how things developed," he said.

Wishing the families well, Mr Kelly condemned the further delay in establishing an inquiry into the death of solicitor Pat Finucane.

He said he saw no reason why such an inquiry should not run parallel to legal proceedings.

April 3, 2004

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Cory Reports And Appendices

An Phoblacht

An obsessional collector
Belfast's Linenhall Library, a radical seat of learning and knowledge for over 200 years in the city, was the appropriate venue for a special evening of tributes last Monday to Belfast Sinn Féin Councillor Tom Hartley and to his family circle.

The Library's staff and management organised the public dedication of a 30-year archive, collected by Tom over the years, to his parents Hilda and Tommy.

They also awarded Tom honourary lifelong membership of the library, an accolade only 15 others can lay claim to, for his contribution to the library over the last 20-plus years.

The library was established in the 1790s, when Belfast was described as the Athens of the north because progressive republican and democratic thought was flourishing there.

It houses a collection of books detailing the history of Ireland in its broadest sense, second only to that housed in the national museum in Dublin.

It is a much used institution by Irish students and students from abroad keen to learn about Ireland and in particular the history of the conflict since 1969.

Evon Murphy, who administers the library's political collection, began the evening by describing it as an opportunity to "celebrate Tom's contribution to the library".

John Gray, chief librarian, said Tom was a "friend and an obsessional collector who knows when history is being made. A collector with an unerring instinct to select the right thing".

He described Tom as a private collector with a generous public spirit, catholic in a universal sense with his tastes, which produced, over 30 years, "the largest and most significant collection of its kind".

For John, it was an act of great generosity for Tom to name the collection after his parents.

David Porter, from the 'Evangelical Contribution of Northern Ireland' (ECONI), who has been working with Tom for almost ten years, spoke highly of his experience of Tom.

He spoke about Tom's other great love: rediscovering the dead for the living and organising tours of their graves in Belfast's City and Milltown cemeteries. He referred to one grave in particular, which Tom introduced him to, that of an Orangeman whose headstone had the inscription: 'True Irish Patriot'.

He viewed Tom in that light, "a patriot who had space in his heart and mind for people from my tradition".

It was left to Gerry Adams to remind those gathered that being an archivist, as Tom is, was a dangerous occupation from time to time.

Tom's keenness had led in the late '70s to Gerry, Danny Morrison and Danny Devenney being arrested with Tom and charged with a hanging offence, treason.

It also led to an attempt to arrest the entire staff of Republican News. To survive, the paper had to go underground for several years to avoid detection and disruption. The RUC raided the Public Records Office and confiscated the material, which Tom had been regularly depositing, and used it as the basis of the treasonable charges.

Gerry also recalled that nimble fingers are required to amass the over 3,000 items which Tom had "pilfered", many times under people's noses without them knowing.

Gerry took the opportunity to praise Tom's mother, Hilda, who kept an open house for republicans all her life. "She would have enjoyed the night, she would have been proud and rightly so of one of her beautiful sons."

The importance of the collection and its place in contemporary historical research, which makes it a living history of the conflict, was admired by Professor Richard English from Queens University.

The students he lectured were frequent visitors to the Hartley collection - a new generation born in 1985 who he said "learn more each time they leave the collection".

The collection itself lived up to the praise that was heaped on it.

It was like being in an Aladdin's cave of artifacts, where gem after gem was followed with nugget after nugget.

The hour we had to view it meant that we scanned the surface.

I dipped inside the many boxes holding the pamphlets. The first I picked out was about 'George Plant: Executed by Firing squad in Portlaoise March 5th 1942. In another box, 'Imperatives of Survival' by Seán MacBride, Nobel Peace Prize winner, 'British Army Terror' the killing of teenager Brian Stewart by a plastic bullet in March 1976, by Frs Brady, Faul and Murray, 'Our Own Red Blood': The Story of the 1916 Rising by Seán Cronin.

I could have stayed all night opening the boxes — such treasures yet to be uncovered.

On a small table was a permanent reminder of the duplicitous nature of the British Government.

In their original form, on the actual telex roll of paper, was a statement ending the first Hunger Strike in October 1980 and a statement from Bobby Sands saying that he was satisfied that if the proposals offered were implemented then they would "meet the requirements of our five demands".

In Irish, hand-written on cigarette skins inside a glass case, was another equally poignant statement "to be read by all political prisoners at 2pm Saturday 3:10:81 from the OC of the H-Blocks", ending the second Hunger Strike.

Everywhere you looked, your eye settled on yet another item of interest. The political badge collection has to be seen to be believed.

But it's to Tom, the creator of the collection, we turn for the final word: "My father and mother had ten children. We grew up in a two-up two-down in Harrogate Street on the Falls Road. We were shaped there. We got our values there.

"We grew up in an environment where we talked about 'Our Peter, Our Francis, Our Street'. The best way I could remember my brothers and sisters, parents and grandparents, was to name the collection after my mother and father.

"The collection is about memory, about our expectations and where we want to go."

I left the library thinking to myself that the recording of history is but a dedicated fingertip away.

Irish American Information Service

04/02/04 15:53 EST

The Irish government should be ashamed of its lack of
commitment to save a building known as 'Ireland's Alamo',
Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams claimed today.

Number 16 Moore Street in Dublin city Center is revered by
historians as the house where the leaders of the 1916
Easter Rising against British rule finally surrendered to
the Army.

They moved into the 18th century building following a fire
at the General Post Office in nearby O`Connell Street, the
focal point of the rebellion.

Today, 16 Moore Street is a run-down terraced shop behind a
bustling fruit and vegetable market. It is difficult to
note its significance save a tiny plaque high on the
crumbling walls.

Mr Adams called for the campaign to save the house from
commercial developers to be stepped up.

"This was a hugely important event in our recent history
and the proclamation remains a document of some note," he

"There should certainly be some sense of what happened
here. How would you even know if you were walking up and
down Moore Street? It`s shameful that there is no fitting
state commemoration of what is a pivotal event in recent
Irish history."

Mr Adams said the demolition of the building had so far
been prevented but the fact there were no plans to develop
it was indicative of the state`s attitude to the event.

"Now you go into any other state in the world and they all
commemorate events in their history watershed events," he

"But they don`t do it here. Why not? What is the
establishment ashamed of?"

The Sinn Fein leader was in Dublin to unveil the party`s
Easter commemoration programme and called on people across
Ireland to wear an Easter Lily to honor Ireland`s patriot

Christy Burke, Dublin city Sinn Fein Cllr, said the city
council had passed a motion that it be developed into a
museum but was still awaiting a supreme court decision.

"Here we have a golden opportunity to develop 16 Moore
Street so that tourists and our citizens can be proud and
see our history," he said.

Last year environmental campaigners collected signatures to
a petition to save the building, which was a fishmongers at
the time it was occupied by the Rising leaders.

On that historic Easter Saturday, Thomas Clarke, Joseph
Plunkett, Sean MacDermott, Padraic Pearse and William
Pearse gathered around the bed of the wounded James
Connolly and agreed on the surrender, to prevent
the "further slaughter of the civil population".

Padraic Pearse then wrote the notice of surrender on a
small piece of cardboard which is preserved in Ireland`s
National Library in Dublin.


BBC NEWS | Northern Ireland | Anger over 'terrorism' remarks

**Maybe Trimble should refresh his memory by re-reading THE COMMITTEE: Political Assassination in Northern Ireland by Sean McPhilemy, the book he never wanted anyone to read...

Anger over 'terrorism' remarks

The family of a murdered County Armagh solicitor has demanded that David Trimble retract comments linking her and another member of the profession to terrorism.

The Ulster Unionist leader has been criticised for remarks about solicitors Rosemary Nelson, who was killed in a booby-trap bomb in Lurgan in 1999 and Pat Finucane, shot by loyalists in Belfast in 1989.

His comments came after the government announced inquiries into Mrs Nelson's murder and that of two others, all of which involved allegations of security force collusion.

However, legal proceedings are set to delay the Finucane case.

Speaking in the House of Commons, Mr Trimble talked about those who "have a clear terrorist connection".

He said he was opposed to such inquiries, but added: "If as a result of this, the truth about Finucane and Nelson comes into the public domain incontrovertibly, there will be some side effect."

Mrs Nelson's brother Eunan Magee described the comments as "totally wrong" and demanded that the Ulster Unionist leader withdraw them immediately.

He said: "Rosemary provided legal representation for her clients. To try and suggest that Rosemary herself was involved in terrorism in some way, it beggars belief."

The Finucane family also expressed anger about the comments.

On Friday, in an interview with the BBC, Mr Trimble said he stood by his comments, saying "offence" to the families was "unavoidable".

"I don't think anybody thought he (Mr Finucane) was simply a lawyer," he said.

"I'm not saying he was (an IRA member), I'm just saying there's very, clear evidence of a close relationship."

Alex Attwood of the SDLP, who is also a lawyer, said the comments were "outrageous" and "offensive".

"Offence has been heaped upon offence," he said.

He said people would look forward to the day when Mr Trimble would be brought before an inquiry and "exposed for the misrepresentations" he has made.

On Thursday, Northern Ireland Secretary Paul Murphy denied the government was involved in a cover-up of allegations of collusion.

He said the delay in holding a public inquiry into Mr Finucane's murder was not a "stalling exercise".

The government said inquiries were to be held as soon as possible into the murders of Mrs Nelson, the killing of Catholic Robert Hamill by loyalists in Portadown in 1997 and LVF leader Billy Wright inside the Maze Prison by jailed members of the Irish National Liberation Army in 1997.

A man has been charged with the Finucane murder and he is due to go on trial in September.

Mr Finucane's widow, Geraldine, said the British Government "continue to cover up the truth about the death of my husband with their delaying tactics".

The human rights organisation Amnesty International described the government's failure to establish an immediate public inquiry into Mr Finucane's murder as "shameful".

Mr Murphy announced the inquiries in parliament on Thursday, to coincide with publication of the reports by retired Canadian Judge Peter Cory who has examined claims of security force collusion in the killings.

Meanwhile, a number of former soldiers named in Judge Cory's report on the murder of Pat Finucane have issued a statement saying they want to face a public inquiry.

In the statement, issued by their London solicitors, the soldiers said they had faced years of criticism without being given the opportunity to state their case openly.

They said the inquiry would let them "correct years of inaccurate press reporting" and claims of collusion.

On Friday, Chief Constable Hugh Orde warned that public inquiries into controversial murders risked undermining confidence in his force.

He said communities must not assume the cases reflected the current state of policing in the province.

Last October, Judge Cory delivered six reports to the London and Dublin administrations about a total of eight killings on both sides of the border.

The retired Canadian judge was appointed by the British and Irish Governments in 2001.

From IAUC Irish American Unity Conference
01 April 2004

The publication by the British government today of edited versions of the Cory Reports into British State collusion in four murder cases in Northern Ireland provides two further examples of British bad faith in its dealings with Ireland.

First, it again confirms evidence of a policy of British state-sanctioned murder in Ireland:

Judge Cory's conclusion is that some of the acts relating to the murders in themselves, as well as the cumulative effect of the documents and the statements, "clearly indicate to me that there is strong evidence that collusive acts were committed by the army (FRU), the RUC Special Branch and
the security services". -- Cory Report

Second, the British government is continuing to cover up the truth about the death of Belfast lawyer Pat Finucane by again delaying a public inquiry into his murder:

The Finucane family statement from today says, "The British Government continue to cover up the truth about the death of my husband with their delaying tactics," Mrs Geraldine Finucane said.

"We did not ask for the Stevens investigation. We did not ask for Justice Cory to prepare a report and we certainly have never asked for prosecutions. We have always said that these were delaying tactics and the delay continues."

"But the campaign for a public inquiry will also continue. Justice Cory's report confirms that there was a State policy of targeting and assassination. The public should read the details in his report. It is unbelievable but the official documents that he examined show that it is all true." --Geraldine Finucane

Ireland's Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Cowen, welcomed the three inquiries being set up immediately but said he was "very disappointed with the decision of the British government to delay action on the Judge's recommendation that a public inquiry be established quickly into the
circumstances of the murder of Pat Finucane."


1.) CONTACT DRUDGE REPORT http://www.drudgereport.com

scroll down to the bottom right hand side of the Druge webpage where there is a box that says "SEND NEWS TIPS TO DRUDGE". Enter your text in the box and hit the submit button. If Drudge gets sufficient emails from us and runs a story, it will go out around the world.

Send this link to Drudge on British State Sponsored Terrorism:

2.) SEND AN EMAIL LETTER TO MAJOR US, IRISH & BRITISH MEDIA OUTLETS. The list is located at: http://www.iauc.org/coryreport.htm


Please notify your friends of this initiative and forward them this and the email described above to come within the next 24 hours.

Many thanks,
Deanna Turner
Irish American Unity Conference

Below are two stories from the IAIS, the first covering the material the British government chose to publish. The second is the reaction to today's publication of an edited version to the reports.

04/01/04 06:44 EST

Severe criticism of British intelligence agencies and the British Government in the Cory Reports on collusion led to moves towards public inquiries in three cases today - with a judicial probe into the murder of Pat Finucane controversially put on hold.

British Army intelligence, RUC Special Branch, MI5, the Prison Service and the Northern Ireland Office all came under censure in the four reports published in the House of Commons today.

The British government is to press ahead with inquiries into three of the controversial killings, the Northern Ireland Secretary Mr Paul Murphy said today.

Public inquiries are to be set up immediately into the murders of the unionist paramilitary Loyalist Volunteer Force boss Billy Wright, Catholic father of two Robert Hamill and human rights lawyer Rosemary Nelson.

An inquiry into the fourth and most controversial case of all, the murder of Belfast lawyer Pat Finucane, will get under way once criminal prosecutions finish later this year, contrary to Judge Cory's report which suggested an immediate independent inquiry.

The report, published by the British government today, has been edited, "for privacy and protection".

Mr Finucane was shot dead in front of his family in his north Belfast home in February 1989. A West Belfast loyalist and British security force agent, Ken Barrett, is due to stand trial in September.

In his report, Judge Cory said a shadowy British Army Intelligence Unit operating in the North, the Force Recognisence Unit (FRU), were aware that an agent, Brian Nelson, whom they ran within the unionist paramilitary UDA
had "considerable influence" in directing targeting operations.

Cory said FRU were also aware that Nelson often played a direct and active role in reconnaissance missions.

He said that the continued provision of information to Nelson in these circumstances could be seen "as evidence of collusive behaviour that had the potential to facilitate the deadly operations planned by the UDA." (page 102)

"The documents I have examined disclose that Army handlers and their superiors turned a blind eye to the criminal acts of Nelson. In doing this they established a pattern of behaviour that could be characterised as collusive." (page 103)

Nelson was chief Intelligence officer for the UDA while also acting as an agent of the British Army's FRU.

Judge Cory's report that RUC Special Branch "rarely took any steps to document threats or prevent attacks by the UDA, whereas pro-active steps were routinely taken in connection with PIRA and other Republican threats".

He said the failure to issue warnings to person targeted by the UDA often led to "tragic consequences".

"This is indicative of attitudes with RUC Special Branch," he said. (page 105)

"If criminal prosecutions are to proceed the practical effect might be to delay the public inquiry for at least two years. The Finucane family will be devastated. A large part of the Northern Ireland community will be frustrated. Myths and misconceptions will proliferate and hopes of peace and
understanding will be eroded. This may be one of the rare situations where a public inquiry will of greater benefit to a community than prosecutions," Cory said.

The announcement by the British government of a delay of a public inquiry into Finucane's death could run into years due to the ongoing Stevens police investigations which could result in further prosecutions.

Sir John Stevens turned down a plea from Geraldine Finucane in February to set aside his investigations to allow an inquiry to take place quickly.

There have been allegations of British security force collusion in all four of the cases studied by Judge Cory.

Rosemary Nelson died in March 1999 when a loyalist bomb detonated under her car outside her home in Lurgan, Co Armagh.

Judge Cory said he was satisfied that there was sufficient evidence of collusion by British Governmental Agencies in her murder to warrant holding a public inquiry. (page 71)

"RUC officers are alleged to have made highly demeaning and threatening remarks about Rosemary Nelson while questioning her clients. Among other things, they are said to have questioned her morality, made insulting sexual innuendos, described her facial scarring in cruel and debasing terms, belittled her ability as a lawyer and, perhaps most disturbingly, to have threatened her life. It is for a public inquiry to determine whether or not these remarks were made. If it is found that they were, this could constitute strong evidence of collusion," said Cory. (page 66)

"The NIO's (Northern Ireland Office) mishandling of documents that were directly pertinent and vitally important to the safety of Rosemary Nelson may also indicate a level of neglect or disregard that could be found to be collusive." (page 69)

"The NIO's failure to take any action to protect Rosemary Nelson could be found to be troubling when it is considered against the background of the earlier murder of Patrick Finucane. By disregarding a significant body of evidence of threats against Rosemary Nelson, it could be found that the NIO engaged in conduct that was collusive in nature," Cory said. (page 70)

Mr Hamill died in hospital 12 days after he was kicked and beaten by a loyalist mob in Portadown town center in April 1997. An RUC police patrol in the vicinity refused to intervene as the mob attacked the Catholic man, a random sectarian target.

Cory also addressed allegations that RUC officers assisted the perpetrators in avoiding prosecution in the case.

"Police officers must not act collusively by ignoring or turning a blind eye to the wrongful acts of their officers or of their servants or agents. Nor can the police act collusively by supplying information to assist those committing wrongful acts or by encouraging them to commit wrongful acts,"
Cory said.

"First and foremost the actions of Reserve Constable B, if established, are capable of being found to constitute the most flagrant type of collusion. His actions did not constitute the simple turning of a blind eye. Rather they could be found to be carefully planned and premeditated actions taken
to frustrate a murder investigation and to protect or to exonerate an individual who might have been guilty of murder."

"Steps should have been taken to obtain the clothing of Robert Hamill and those identified as the scene as taking part in the assault, the failure to take steps may indicate a bias in the police force that could amount to
institutional collusion."

Loyalist Volunteer Force leader Wright was gunned down in a prison van at the high security Maze prison by the Irish National Liberation Army in December 1999.

In his report, Cory asked whether the Northern Ireland Prison Service "turn a blind eye to the very dangerous situation they knew or ought to have known would arise from billeting the INLA and LVF prisoners in the same H block in the Maze?"

"Similarly, did another Governmental agency fail to advise or supply to the Prison Service information they had received and considered reasonably reliable which indicated that a dangerous situation had arisen or was arising in the prison?" (Page 78)

Cory said that one or two of the incidents that occurred on the day of the murder "may, in themselves, have little significance".

"On the other hand when they are all considered together the resulting effect may be sufficient to take them out of the realm of coincidence and make them components of a plan to murder Billy Wright that was collusive in nature." (page 89)

"There is, in my view, sufficient evidence of acts or omissions that could, after hearing the testimony of witnesses, coupled with a review of the relevant documents result in a finding that there had been acts of collusion by Prison Services, their directors, officers or employees." (page 89)

Britain's Northern Ireland Secretary, Paul Murphy, said Judge Cory's report raised serious questions.

Speaking at Westminister, he told MP's he was under no illusions that confronting the past was "a difficult and painful process".

"The government and its agencies are ready to play their part. We need to find a way of remembering the past while at the same time not allowing it to hinder progress in the future."

"Northern Ireland needs greater reconciliation between the communities. That is where all our attention needs to be dictated. We should ensure that we do not concentrate on divisive issues from the past at the expense of securing
this," Murphy said.

The full text of the edited reports published by Britain's Northern Ireland Office can be accessed at:




04/01/04 09:32 EST

The British government is continuing to cover up the truth about the death of Belfast lawyer Pat Finucane, his family said today.

In a statement the family said today's statement from Britain's Northern Secretary Mr Paul Murphy was "very disappointing but expected".

Mr Murphy the British government would be pressing ahead with inquiries into three controversial killings, following the publication of the Cory reports.

Public inquiries are to be set up immediately into the murders of loyalist terror boss Billy Wright, Catholic father of two Robert Hamill and human rights lawyer Rosemary Nelson.

However, an inquiry into the fourth and most controversial case of all, the murder of Mr Finucane, will only get under way once criminal prosecutions finish later this year.

"The British Government continue to cover up the truth about the death of my husband with their delaying tactics," Mrs Geraldine Finucane said.

"We did not ask for the Stevens investigation. We did not ask for Justice Cory to prepare a report and we certainly have never asked for prosecutions. We have always said that these were delaying tactics and the delay

"But the campaign for a public inquiry will also continue. Justice Cory's report confirms that there was a State policy of targeting and assassination. The public should read the details in his report. It is unbelievable but the official documents that he examined show that it is all true."

Ireland's Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Cowen, welcomed the three inquiries being set up immediately but said he was "very disappointed with the decision of the British government to delay action on the Judge's recommendation that a public inquiry be established quickly into the circumstances of the murder of Pat Finucane."

In his report on Mr Finucane, Judge Cory warned against delaying an inquiry and said it might be one of the "rare situations" where a public inquiry "will be of greater benefit to a community than prosecutions".

He said evidence he had considered from a mass of official documents "clearly indicate to me that there is strong evidence that collusive acts were committed by the army (Force Research Unit), the RUC Special Branch and the Security Service."

"Without proper scrutiny, doubts based solely on myth and suspicion will linger long, fester and spread their malignant infection throughout the Northern Ireland community."

It was for the Attorney General to decide on prosecution, but it was extremely difficult to hold a public inquiry at the same time as a prosecution, said the judge.

Delaying the inquiry would be a bitter disappointment to the Finucane family and a large segment of the community, he added.

"The Finucane family will be devastated. A large part of the Northern Ireland community will be frustrated."

Meanwhile, Ulster Unionist Party leader Mr David Trimble has been attacked for implying that Mr. Finucane had paramilitary links.

Speaking in the House of Commons in London, Mr Trimble, said he was opposed to inquiries but added: "If as a result of this, the truth about Finucane and Nelson comes into the public domain incontrovertibly, there will be some side effect."

"I mention those two in particular because in the case of Wright a lot of his background and his terrorist activities are in the public domain and leave out Hamill because there's no reason whatsoever to link him with others who have a clear terrorist connection."

Mrs Geraldine Finucane said the statement was "very hurtful and untrue" and he should be ashamed of it.

"His accusations were designed to signal to a small section of the public that my husband's murder was justified," she said.

Mrs Finucane said that a public inquiry would give the Ulster Unionist leader the opportunity to repeat those statements and she looked forward to the day when he was forced to publicly retract them. Justice Cory stated that it was my husband's role as a solicitor which led to his murder. Trimble's statement in parliament today was not only false but it is also something that was contradicted by Justice Cory himself and by the RUC files which he examined."

The RUC has itself accepted that Mr. Finucane was never involved in the IRA.

Diane Hamill, sister of Robert Hamill, said her family was pleased the British government would act on Judge Cory's recommendation.

"For the last seven years this is all we have tried to get from the night that my brother was attacked and allowed to be murdered," she said.

The family of Rosemary Nelson said in a statement that she might be alive today if she had been treated with the "respect and dignity her professional position deserved".

They said: "We are both horrified and saddened, if not entirely surprised, by the graphic description of the abuse and vilification of Rosemary by members of the RUC contained within this report."

The family of the late Billy Wright has welcomed Judge Cory's

In a statement they said: "Judge Cory has raised a number of serious questions about the conduct and actions of the Prison Authorities and Intelligence Agencies."

Earlier today, British Prime Minister Tony Blair said: "It is important that we do try in Northern Ireland to move beyond the past. I don't know whether necessarily a truth and reconciliation commission is the right way to do it, but there needs to be some way of trying to both allow people to express their grief, their pain and indeed their anger in respect of what has happened in Northern Ireland without the past continually dominating the present and the future."

Commenting on the publication of the Cory Reports, Sinn Féin spokesperson on Policing and Justice Gerry Kelly said it sets out much of what has been known publicly but not acted upon.

"Judge Cory's conclusion is that some of the acts in themselves, as well as the cumulative effect of the documents and the statements, 'clearly indicate to me that there is strong evidence that collusive acts were committed by the army (FRU), the RUC Special Branch and the security services'."

"Sinn Féin supports the family demands for full independent, international inquiries. The Cory cases are but the tip of the iceberg. At least 80 people listed on the files of just one agent, Brian Nelson, the unionist paramilitary and British Intelligence agent, were attacked. 29 were shot dead. The British securocrats ran many more Brian Nelson's. They still do," Kelly said.

"MI5 recruited Nelson. MI5 reports directly to the British Prime Minister in Downing Street. That is where political clearance was given for the policy of collusion. That is where the responsibility lies. That is why a British Secretary of State for Defence sought to persuade the British Attorney General not to prosecute Nelson. That is why senior British officials were
involved in the attempted cover up."

"The Cory Report is a damning indictment of British rule in Ireland. It reports on the British government killing of citizens with impunity. This is a scenario usually associated with repressive dictatorships. In any democracy in Europe the government would have fallen."

"The structures which implemented this policy still exist. The agents are still being run. The handlers are still in place. We need to know where these people are now for many former members of Special Branch have since been placed into senior positions throughout the PSNI. They continue to have
a malign influence over policing in the north," continued Kelly.

"Sinn Féin is calling on the Irish government and on political and civic opinion throughout the island to pursue these matters with the utmost vigour to ensure that the wishes of the victims families are delivered and so that Irish citizens are never again subjected to such a campaign."

"The British government must take up it responsibilities. They must put an end to the cover up and to the ethos and structures in which this killing campaign flourished," Kelly said.


IOL: Finucane inquiry delay 'unacceptable': Sinn Féin

Finucane inquiry delay 'unacceptable': Sinn Féin
01/04/2004 - 10:45:16

The British government was today accused of trying to delay an inquiry into security force collusion in the murder of Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane by loyalists.

As Northern Ireland Secretary Paul Murphy prepared to release a report by retired Canadian judge Peter Cory on four controversial killings during the Troubles, Sinn Féin’s Gerry Kelly said there would be considerable anger if the British government delayed an inquiry into the 1989 murder.

The North Belfast MLA said: “It is now 15 years since the murder of Pat Finucane and if the briefings are to be believed, it could be at least 17 years before his family could even start to get to the bottom of what happened.

“That is unacceptable. The British government gave a commitment after the Weston Park talks in 2001 that it would act on Judge Cory’s recommendations.

“The families and Sinn Féin were sceptical about Judge Cory examining whether there should be public inquiries but, to be fair to him, he has been rigorous.

“However, our suspicion that this was merely a long-fingering exercise by the British government will be confirmed if, as people are being told, there is a delay to an inquiry on the Finucane case.”

Sources said today that the British government will agree in principle to four separate inquiries into the murders of Mr Finucane, Lurgan solicitor Rosemary Nelson, Portadown Catholic Robert Hamill and loyalist terror boss Billy Wright.

It is expected they will be able to proceed immediately only with inquiries into the Wright and Hamill killings.

An inquiry into Rosemary Nelson’s murder is expected to be slightly delayed because it is still the subject of an outside police investigation.

But a much longer delay is expected for an inquiry into alleged security force involvement in the killing of Pat Finucane by the loyalist Ulster Freedom Fighters because of legal proceedings relating to his murder.

The government was also expected today to kickstart a debate on how victims of violence could get to the truth about what happened.

Sources said Prime Minister Tony Blair may address the issue at his monthly Downing Street press conference.

BBC NEWS | Northern Ireland | Separate inquiries for NI killings

**click on above link for BBC article

Fenian Voice

Please remember to send Ciarán a birthday card before his birthday
on April 11th. I know it would sure give him a boost.
Thank you!

Ciarán O'Fearaigh
P.O. Box 16700
Golden CO.
80402 - 6700


Army anger as officers are linked to murders
By Thomas Harding, Ireland Correspondent
(Filed: 01/04/2004)
Daily Telegraph

Army chiefs are angry that criminal prosecutions are being
considered against two senior intelligence officers involved in combating terrorism following a report to be published today.

The officers' lawyers have also protested to the Attorney General because they believe the report's conclusions would prejudice any trial.

An investigation by Peter Cory, a retired Canadian judge, into four controversial murders in Northern Ireland will recommend public inquiries into each case.

The report, handed to families of the victims yesterday, is expected to name and criticise four senior officers connected with the Army's secretive Force Research Unit (FRU), which was formed to infiltrate and run agents inside terror groups.

The FRU has run into a mountain of controversy over allegations that Army officers conspired with loyalist terrorists from the Ulster Defence Association in the killing in 1989 of Pat Finucane, a Belfast lawyer who was allegedly connected to the IRA. One officer is named as Soldier J and another FRU officer is named as Soldier G, "an officer on sick leave" and criticised in the report.

The two other officers are referred to as Soldier AAA, a former
general officer commanding in Northern Ireland and knight of the realm, and Soldier AA.

Sources have told The Telegraph that the Army is furious with the report and has considered injunctions. A complaint has already been made to the Attorney General protesting against what it claims is its prejudicial nature.

The furore forced the Government to ask Judge Cory to write a foreword to the report in which he apparently states that his
findings are provisional and cannot be taken as formal determination.

The legal problems caused by the account have meant that it was delayed by four months as lawyers pored over it. Large extracts and a number of names have been blanked out.

There is also a fear that the costs for the public inquiries could, like the Bloody Sunday inquiry, spiral out of control. A former FRU operator who served under the officers said that it was simply not true that they had been involved in murders.

The officer told The Telegraph that while there was the odd "rogue", the system would weed them out.

"I am not saying we were squeaky clean but in the experience I had in Northern Ireland I have a clear conscience and can sleep at night.

"A lot of the work we did and continue to do is the right way to do it when faced with the terrorist situation we are and were in."

He believes that investigators have "assumed there is a scenario" then looked for the collusion "which fundamentally is not there".

He said the only man who would be able to shed light on whether there was collusion in the Finucane case was a UDA agent called Brian Nelson who died last year.

Soldier J was described as a man who "played the game with a straight bat".

"He never ordered the murder of anyone," the officer said. He
added: "It is very unfair. The soldiers cannot defend themselves."


**This is not a political message, but you ARE using a computer to read this, so I would like to alert you to an extreme menace to your PC's health. Under no circumstances should you download Incredimail to your machine or any other HOTBAR related program--no smiley programs or search aids (except for the Google Toolbar), etc. (you can use your own smileys you save from reputable sites). I have spent countless hours cleaning HOTBAR off of friends' and co-workers' machines when the HOTBAR program has reproduced (and I mean BIGTIME) and filled up their hard drives to the point where they are frozen. Malware is always a problem and should be dealt with by using programs like SPYBOT Search and Destroy and CLEANUP, but many people think Incredimail is legit. It is NOT. In some cases you can mess up your IE so bad it won't work without the hijacking spyware and you will have to use another browser (recommended anyway). I just wanted to tell you this so your machine will stay healthy. If you need any help, email me. Lecture over.

Subject: Republican POW Mick Kenny RELEASED
Date: Monday, March 29, 2004

The the Irish Freedom Committee is pleased to report to our Members
and supporters that after six years of almost unending harassment,
duplicity, and singularly cruel and abusive treatment at the hands
of the Free State government; Irish Republican POW Mick Kenny has
finally been released from prison, and is now home with his wife and family.

Mick Kenny has written to the Irish Freedom Committee today to thank
our Members and supporters for our lifeline of support from the U.S. to
both he and his wife Roisin over the past few years. He has told us that
our support, "arrived at a vital time, and was vital in maintaining my
morale, and my integrity as a republican political prisoner." He
has also told us that our support at a crucial time helped to rescue him
from the demoralizing isolation and harsh circumstances he was sent
into after being transferred away from Portlaoise; where he had been
viciously assaulted in cover of darkness and put into a coma.

The Irish Freedom Committee wishes to extend our warmest wishes to
both Mick and to Roisin in their new lives together. As our Members and
supporters will be aware, Roisin Kenny has carried out a yeoman-like
battle on behalf of her husband, including an extensive on-line
campaign and internet discussion forum to keep her husband's case in the
public mind.

Please send your congratulations and warm welcomes to Micheál and
Roisin O' Cionnaith, to the "Justice For Mick Kenny" discussion forum
located at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/justiceformickkenny/

For more information on Mick Kenny go to

Go raibh maith agat,

The Irish Freedom Committee®


© The Irish Freedom Committee® NewsList - IFC Updates



If you will join the above group, you will receive all kinds of news emails concerning the republican movement as well as have exclusive access to the group's resources, which include photos and files. If you would just like to drop in and view Seán's collection of Irish-related photos without joining, go HERE.


Date: Monday, March 29, 2004

The Irish Freedom Committee is asking that all of our Members and supporters please the time this week to remember Irish Republican political prisoners in Irish and English jails.

Please send EASTER CARDS this week to IPOWs who are paying the ultimate price of their freedom, for opposing continued British military rule in Ireland.

Bulk greeting cards can be purchased at discount department stores for under $10 in parcels of ten to twenty cards. They don't have to be fancy or expensive to convey a message of your support. Your message doesn't have to be long or involved, even just a signature will do if you're pressed for time.

For more suggestions or mailing tips, please email the IFC POW Dept at: Saoirse@irishfreedomcommiittee.net

The Irish Freedom Committee®

© The Irish Freedom Committee® NewsList - IFC Updates


ic NorthernIreland - The latest news, sport and business from Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland News

Man Who Lost Legs To Appeal Claim Decision

Mar 29 2004
--By Gemma Murray, Securty Correspondent

A MAN who lost both his legs in a UVF punishment attack is preparing to challenge a Government decision to refuse him compensation, while it is paying out funding to a loyalist prisoners' group.

Andrew Peden, 40, whose legs had to be amputated after the brutal beating and shooting, said he felt it was "very unfair" that he and his wife should be forced to struggle on welfare - while the Ex-Prisoners Interpretative Centre (EPIC) were granted funds.

EPIC won a High Court battle last week, forcing the Government to aid their work.

Mr Peden said it "stuck in his throat" that loyalist prisoners were getting money while he got nothing from the Government: "It is just unfair that EPIC can be granted compensation.

"I was told I was not eligible for money because I had a criminal record from years ago and because I did not co-operate with the police.

"Yes, I was convicted years ago for small things, but not for
terrorist offences.

"I don't know why I was refused." Mr Peden said his life has changed dramatically since he lost his mobility - he and his wife have struggled financially.

"Since the shooting, I have not been able to work. My wife and I are now homeless and living in an hotel. It is a struggle. We have been homeless for 18 months. My health has also been bad and I am just out of hospital.

"After EPIC won their compensation battle it makes the picture look a little different. There seems no reason why I cannot appeal."

In May, 2000, weapons, including a powerful machine gun, were found by police in the offices of the North Antrim branch of Ex-Prisoners' Interpretative Centre, in Ballymoney.

The ex-prisoners' group said it had vacated the offices prior to the arms find.

And, last year, the EU's anti-fraud office found there were serious weaknesses in the Northern Ireland Voluntary Trusts monitoring of the funding to the group.

The former NIVT was ordered to recover £26,500 of EU money it gave to EPIC, in Ballymoney, by the EU anti-fraud department.

However, speaking outside the High Court on Thursday, PUP frontman Billy Hutchinson told of his delight that a decision by the Secretary of State to refuse funding to rebuild the burned-out headquarters in Belfast was overturned.

"This is a landmark decision because it is the first time the
Government has reversed a decision in relation to ex prisoners' in terms of compensation."

The former MLA spent 16 years in prison for a double murder.


Irish Echo Online - News

**Now if they just had some help for the cats and dogs tortured and killed with impunity by soulless cretins in Belfast...

L.I. shelter helps Irish dogs find good American homes
By Jill Sheehy

On Thursday's Aer Lingus flight EI-109 bound for New York's Kennedy airport, there were some very special passengers waiting to be delivered into the care of some very capable handlers. They weren't dignitaries or heads of state, but rather, six Irish dogs in search of good homes.

Hand-delivered by workers with PAWS, an animal shelter in Sallins, Co. Kildare, the six dogs were deposited into the arms of representatives from the North Shore Animal League, a shelter in Port Washington, L.I.

Due to space constraints, PAWS looked overseas for help to shelter and find adoptive homes for this latest group of Celtic canines.

PAWS is one of the few no-kill animal shelters in Ireland, with about 6,000 dogs passing through their doors since 1997. It is policy that they also ensure every dog is either spayed or neutered. The one problem the shelter has is space, and with only 15 kennels, it's easy to understand why they enlisted the help of friends at the Animal League.

The transfer was put together in a matter of days and, even more astonishingly, is the third time both shelters have successfully done so. The eight dogs brought over earlier this March have all been adopted, and there are high hopes for this latest group.

The North Shore Animal League, which also abides by a no-kill policy, is a nationally recognized model for pet adoption. Operating since 1944, the shelter has a thorough screening process for prospective adopters and state-of-the-art veterinary hospital on-site to ensure good care for the dogs and cats that come into their premises.

The Animal League can have about 500 animals in-house at any one time, "and we're never empty" said Rick Matelsky, assistant director of operations.

On the Saturday after their arrival, one of the six Irish transfers had already been adopted and the other five were still awaiting homes.

Tiger, a Samoyed, and Bruce, a shepherd mix, join greyhounds Cupid, Dasher, and Pluto in looking for good homes. Ranging in age from 2 to 4 years old, the Greyhounds were of special concern for both shelters.

Greyhounds can be a hard breed to place in homes, both here and in Ireland. They are not common as pets in the U.S., and people tend to think of them as racing dogs instead of domesticated.

Ireland's dog racing industry puts plenty to use, but then usually abandons them after their work is done. Their passive nature, however, belies any statistics, according to representatives from both shelters.

"They are really just 45-mile-per hour couch potatoes." said Deirdre Hetherington, the director and owner of PAWS shelter in Kildare, where the dogs originated from. "Only about 2 percent of people in Ireland would ever dream of owning a Greyhound as a pet."

"Greyhound rescue here does a wonderful job of finding homes for them" added Neil Citro, an associate at the Animal League.

The program began earlier this month when the Animal League's UK affiliate, the Blue Cross, put PAWS in touch with Paul Green, director of operations at the Animal League. A few emails back and forth resulted in the first group of dogs coming over in early March.

This recent group of dogs seems to be adjusting well. "From the moment they hit ground, you wouldn't ever know they had started their journey in Ireland," Green said. "They are very gentle, very docile animals."

Indeed, all of the Celtic canines currently up for adoption at the Animal League can boast friendly personalities and show good interaction with handlers.

PAWS and the Animal League hope to continue the partnership as long as possible, and have high hopes for getting the dogs adopted to good homes, the mission for both shelters.

Hetherington called attention to the large number of dogs put down in Ireland every year, a sentiment that the Animal League understands as well. Humane Society figures indicate 3-4 million cats and dogs are put down every year in the U.S.

For more information on the Celtic canines or any of the league's cats or dogs that need good homes, call (516) 883-7900 or visit www.nsal.org or www.paws.ie.

This story appeared in the issue of March 24-30, 2004


Special Branch accused on eve of Cory

Ahead of this Thursday’s publication of the Cory report there was further embarassment for Special Branch yesterday when it was reported that a retired RUC detective has claimed that his former colleagues covered up nine murders committed by a UVF informer.

The accusations made by Johnstone ‘Jonty’ Brown, a former sergeant, are contained in three dossiers being investigated by Nuala O’Loan, the Police Ombudsman. Two of the murders being blamed on the informer are those of Portadown teenagers David McIlwaine (18) and Andrew Robb (19) who were both hacked to death near Tandragee four years ago. Back in November the Andersonstown News exclusively revealed that the informer was involved in the murder of the two boys. Speaking to the Andersonstown News in November, David McIlwaine’s father Paul, spoke of his despair at the delay in getting justice for his murdered son and Andrew Robb.

“Everybody’s been blocking us,” said Paul. “We’ve gone to every politician in the country and they don’t want to know.”

“What the PSNI and the British government are saying here is that these men can keep on killing innocent people because in the bigger picture they are giving us information.”

We also revealed in November that the informer has been linked to the murder of Raymond McCord jnr in North Belfast in 1997.

Four years after the double Portadown murder the UVF gang involved are still roaming the streets.

Journalist:: Staff Reporter



SDLP condemns loyalist sectarian attack
28/03/2004 - 7:00:52 PM
Irish Examiner

The SDLP has condemned a loyalist sectarian attack in which two young children escaped injury in north Belfast.

The attack happened at Westland Gardens shortly before 1am today. The children, aged eight and six, were with a babysitter in the house when a number of windows were smashed.

A street sign was used to break the glass. It's the second time the house has been attacked. SDLP councillor, Pat Convery, said it was appalling that the two Catholic children had been terrified.

He said the loyalist thugs responsible for this attack must be
brought to justice. Mr Convery said the two children had cheated death but if such attacks continued, someone will be killed.




Sunday Life

**This would be the PSNI doing something good

Tripped up
New laws to hamper Ulster child sex tourists

By Ciaran McGuigan
28 March 2004

ULSTER'S sleazy sex tourists face a crackdown from cops, under new legislation.

Cops from the province have been involved in monitoring the movements of a number of known paedophiles, who make 'child sex trips' to the Far East.

Now, new laws coming into effect in May, will make it easier for the PSNI to get orders preventing paedophiles travelling to notorious child sex havens.

Cambodia (favoured by pervert pop star, Gary Glitter), Thailand and the Philippines have seen an explosion in visitors, looking for child prostitutes.

A number of known sex offenders from Ulster have been tracked, as they travelled to the Far East.

But, under the new legislation, it should be easier for police to apply for 'foreign travel orders' against sex offenders, which could prevent them even getting on a plane. The orders can be made to force known paedophiles to remain in the UK, or to prevent them travelling to specific countries.

Chief Inspector Willie McAuley, the PSNI's leading officer in sex offences policy, says the new powers will make it easier to prevent paedophiles travelling.

He said: "This is quite an enhancement of what was available.

"There used to be just one order, that was difficult to obtain.

"But now there are four new orders, each dealing with a specific issue - and all of them are much easier to obtain."

Jail terms, of up to five years, can be handed down to perverts who defy the orders.

The new available orders are just some of the measures being introduced in the Sexual Offences Act, given Royal Assent last year, and which comes into effect in England and Wales, in May.

Section Two of the Act - which covers sex offenders - will also apply to Northern Ireland.

And certain aspects of Section One of the Act - that deals with the various offences - will come into force here temporarily.

Among them is the new offence of grooming children for sex. That will make it an offence - for the first time here - for adults, such as internet pervert, Stan Mallon, to use the world wide web, and other methods, to entice children into sex acts.

Sexual offences legislation specific to Northern Ireland is expected next year, following a public consultation process, which is due to start in May.

Temporary measures, adopted from the legislation in England and Wales, will apply here until then.


For being Irish in the wrong place and at the wrong time

God help you if ever you’re caught on these shores
The coppers need someone...

Breandán Morley • 21 March 2004

Amidst the current focus on the continued activities of paramilitaries in Northern Ireland, I recently had a very personal experience of the extent to which the British police remain unaffected by the peace process when dealing with Irish people travelling to the UK.

Three days after discovering that my father, who is 75, had been diagnosed as suffering from cancer, I boarded a flight from Dublin to Manchester in order to visit him.

When I arrived at Manchester Airport I was stopped by two special branch officers at the police control desk reserved for visitors from the Republic of Ireland and asked for identification. I handed over my passport and explained the reason for my visit. The police then asked me to fill in a landing card, while one officer walked off with my passport.



Loyalist threat

Editorial - Irish News

The fact that loyalists are using car bombs which could lead to
massive loss of life should be causing widespread outrage. However,
the attack in Belfast on St Patrick's Day has not sparked the type
of reaction that should follow any such appalling incident.

A car bomb found abandoned outside a bar in Belfast's University
Street was initially thought to have been aimed at disrupting St
Patrick's Day celebrations in the area.

It has now emerged that loyalists may have intended the bomb to have
been planted in the city centre, where thousands of people, many of
them children, had gathered for a concert.

The device was made up of a gas cylinder, fire extinguisher and
incendiary devices and was similar to the UVF car bomb planted at
the Auld Lammas Fair in Ballycastle in 2001.

The March 17 incident is alarming and must be regarded with the
utmost gravity.

Suspicion at this stage must fall on the UVF and this organisation
needs to make its position clear.

This attack will be seen as a clear escalation in the threat from
loyalist paramilitaries. It is a threat which must be taken

March 28, 2004

The Observer | International | Adams sings for votes as parties woo immigrants

Adams sings for votes as parties woo immigrants

Nicola Byrne
Sunday March 28, 2004
The Observer

As Nigerian members of the Church of the Redemptionist sang and clapped in a small parish hall in west Dublin last Wednesday, a beaming Gerry Adams did his best to keep up.
This was unfamiliar vote-catching territory for the Sinn Fein leader, but with upwards of 40,000 immigrants entitled to vote in next June's local elections it's unlikely to remain so.

Sinn Fein is one of a handful of parties aggressively targeting the latest additions to the Republic's electorate. While their prospective councillors engage with newly arrived immigrants about social issues ranging from housing to health matters, some of their Fianna Fail counterparts are distributing information leaflets written in Mandarin and African languages.

At Mosney in Co. Meath, one of the Republic's largest residential centres for refugees, a local Fianna Fail councillor has established a branch with an eye on almost 700 prospective votes.

In a multi-cultural newspaper, the party has taken out full-page advertisements inviting members of the new immigrant communities to join them.

Similarly, the Progressive Democrats moved quickly last year to overturn a proviso in its charter which stated that only EU citizens could become party members. The party is now attracting considerable support from the Asian communities of Dublin, a spokesperson claimed last week.

The courting of the immigrant vote by politicians is intense compared with just six months ago, when a report commissioned by an African welfare agency found that none of the main parties had implemented any measures to entice non-nationals into politics.

The about-turn is not surprising, according to Peter O'Mahoney, Chairperson of the Irish Refugee Council. He said: 'The attitude of some of the bigger parties has changed, because in some constituencies at least they realise that immigrants could hold the balance of power, and no politician is going to turn down votes, no matter where they come from.

'It's ironic, though, that some of these parties have at best been indifferent to problems of the immigrant communities in the past.'

Politics.ie - Sinn F?in demands movement on status of Irish language within EU - The Irish Politics Website

Sinn Féin demands movement on status of Irish language within EU
Saturday, March 27

Speaking as the Sinn Féin Slogadh debated the issue of the status of the Irish Language within the EU, Sinn Féin MLA Bairbre de Brún has said that the issue will be an important one in the fortcoming election. Ms de Brún said:

The European Union has eleven official working languages. Irish is not one of them. From May of this year, when the accession states become members of the EU, an additional nine languages will be recognised as official working languages. Again Irish will not be included.

EU Commission President Romano Prodi and the Commissioners-designate, last week launched the official EU website in the languages of the new member states on the 16th March 2004. Sinn Féin wants to welcome the new accession states to the EU on May 1st 2004, and the fact that all of the accession states will be able to access the official EU website EUROPA, in their own language, must be viewed as a progressive step. However, once again the Irish language has been overlooked by both the EU and the Irish Presidency.

At present Irish has what is referred to as treaty status, meaning that copies of treaties, such as Nice, are translated. In addition any correspondence with the EU in Irish will be responded to in Irish. However, legislation and law are not provided in Irish. When Ireland joined the Common Market, a mistake resulted in Irish being left off the original list of working languages. This has been admitted by a senior civil servant involved in the negotiations at the time. Now is the time to put that right. As new countries are applying to have their languages included this year, now is the perfect time for the Irish government to request the inclusion of Irish in this list. Attaining official working status is a relatively straightforward matter, requiring only acceptance by the Council of Ministers. Neither the governments nor the peoples of the other states are opposed to the Irish language having such status. The question is, therefore, who is opposed to the Irish government putting this before the Council of Europe? The 1997 the Fianna Fail/Progressive Democrat Programme for Government stated that "the Government supports the campaign for official status for the Irish language in the EU" After the election of 2002 they said, "we will in future use the report of Coimisiún na Gaeltachta 2002 as a policy basis", Recommendation 3 of that Commission's report reads as follows: "that status as an official working language in the European Union be achieved". Irish government action is the missing link.

Minister ó Cuív has said that he didn’t designate Irish for the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages because Irish is not a minority language but a national language. I can well understand this stance. Yet now we are told that the Irish government can’t obtain official working status for the Irish language at the EU because it is not the language of the government or Dáil. What status does the Irish language have according to the Irish government? Does it have any status at all?

Some critics have argued that providing additional translation would be a waste of money which could be used more effectively in other ways. Yet these same people raised no objection to this money being spent on translation into eleven or even twenty other languages. Only when Irish was mooted did they begin to ask questions about the cost. When one considers the low level of Budget increase involved, a more appropriate question would be whether the rights and entitlements of Irish speakers can be denied on such spurious grounds.

Granting official working status will give Irish speakers Equality with their other European counterparts and help the overall development and growth of the language. It will also substantially assist the full recognition of Irish in the Six Counties, where it continues to experience significant levels of governmental and statutory resistance. A positive response by the Taoiseach on this issue would help convince nationalists in the north that at least the Irish government is serious about the commitments given in the Good Friday Agreement to promote the Irish language, and will make British government or unionist resistance all the more difficult. International recognition would have a huge impact on the status of Irish language speakers and learners.

The Stádas campaign, which is calling for the Irish government to take the necessary steps to secure recognition, is growing more popular by the day. All those involved in the campaign need to be commended for their great work. It is time for the Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, to request the inclusion of Irish in the list of official EU working languages. No other obstacle exists. The time to act is now."

The Observer | UK News | New flats on hold for loyalist bonfire

**Here, I know a place where these people could burn...

New flats on hold for loyalist bonfire

Henry McDonald
Sunday March 28, 2004
The Observer

A multi-million pound luxury flat development and the creation of several hundred jobs in inner city Belfast have had to be put on hold because local loyalists want to have a bonfire.
Building of the apartments in Sandy Row has been shelved until after the marching season because loyalist youths chose the site for 11 July celebrations.

The old Albion Factory site near the Boyne Bridge had been selected by property developer Barry Gilligan for the flats. But loyalist sources said building was put off after a bonfire material was placed at the site.

The developer declined to comment this weekend about difficulties at the site, where once several hundred people were employed making shirts. There is no suggestion, however, of any agreement with loyalists to delay building. It is understood Gilligan has been advised by a firm of estate agents to sell the site after July.

Last night the Ulster Unionist assemblyman for south Belfast, Michael McGimpsey, and local UUP councillor, Bobby Stoker, said no one had contacted them or the Sandy Row community forum about development of the Albion Factory site.

They said there was a 'template' for co-operation between builders and locals in Sandy Row: construction of the Days Inn hotel on the edge of the Protestant redoubt. The hotel's owner, Indian businessman Diljit Rana, held extensive discussions with the community about his project three years ago. The space on which the hotel was eventually situated had been where loyalists held their traditional bonfire on the eve of 12 July.

Since they were displaced from the bonfire site close to Great Victoria Street, loyalist youths have been searching for an alternative location.

'All the builder has to do is contact my office or the community forum and this problem can be revolved quickly,' said McGimpsey.

Stoker said he hoped local people could be recruited to help build the apartments: 'This problem can be worked out if we all follow the lead of Diljit Rana and consult with and recruit from the local community.'

He said locals in Sandy Row would welcome an influx of younger, richer professionals. 'No one would be opposed to this development as it will bring much needed extra spending power into Sandy Row,' he added.

Sandy Row is one of the most deprived electoral wards in Northern Ireland and traditionally a stronghold of hardline loyalism.

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