**Typical PISS-NI shite

40 storm Mater but no further action says PSNI

Two rival loyalist bands were responsible for a massive attack on accident and emergency staff at the Mater after a recent Tour of the North parade, the North Belfast News can reveal.
But despite the shameful display of wanton violence against health service staff and recent government promises of a get-tough approach against attacks on fire, hospital and ambulance crews, no further police action will be taken.
That means that over 40 people who forced terrified staff and patients to barricade themselves in a room get off without as much as a caution, despite their actions being recorded on the hospital’s CCTV system.
A 15-year-old boy who was arrested on the night is facing “a report”.
Two women described as verbally abusive were let go without charge.
Sources at the Mater said the trouble erupted after a fracas between two unidentified bands led one bandsman to seek hospital attention for an injury.
“The other band tried to get in on him and his own ones were there to protect him,” said the source.
Chief Executive of the Mater Sean Donaghy said a review of the hospital’s security system was on the cards, adding that staff were “genuinely frightened”.
“We have a very good relationship with the community here and it was only with the backing of both communities in North Belfast that we were able to change the status of the hospital,” he said.
But another source said the incident had been played down by management.
“It was very, very clear on the CCTV that Orangemen wearing suits were throwing golf balls. They surrounded an ambulance and it could not respond to emergency calls. There was a lock down in A&E and the mob ran into the hospital and into intensive care to try and get a lift down to A&E.”
The North Belfast News contacted the PSNI this week to establish if there had been any arrests or charges in response to the violence, but a police spokeswoman revealed that there were no other offences revealed.
“CCTV footage has been examined by police and the Director of Public Prosecutions and at this stage no further offences have been disclosed,” said a spokeswoman.
When asked if bandsmen had been identified on the tapes, she replied: “That is the matter closed for us.”
A spokeswoman for health workers’ union Unison expressed surprise at the lack of any arrests.
“Obviously we were expecting something to come out of this. It’s the same old story that people want to come to work to treat the sick and violence prevents them from doing so. I would expect if people could be proven to be responsible then they would face the full rigours of the law."
Sinn Féin’s Gerry Kelly expressed outrage that no action had been taken.
“It’s incredible that after a loyalist march through a Catholic area, bandsmen went on the rampage in a hospital which should be a neutral space, endangering staff and patients,” he said.
“Despite video evidence of this the PSNI are saying that the issue is closed and there will be no further action. Staff should be free to go about their work and patients should be free from sectarian harassment.”

Journalist:: Staff Reporter


Nothing new on McBride army killers

The mother of British army murder victim Peter McBride has blasted as “nothing new” an internal report from the army that found it was wrong to allow two soldiers convicted of his murder back into its ranks.
Independent Assessor of Military Complaints Procedures, Jim McDonald, insisted the decision to let Scots Guardsmen Mark Wright and James Fisher back in dealt a major blow to the forces' reputation.
Jean McBride gave a guarded welcome to the report, but said previous recommendations by the assessor about her son's case had been ignored.
"This is nothing new – Mr McDonald has made these reports all along," she said.
"It just seems to be that it is falling on deaf ears."
SDLP Justice Spokesman Alban Maginness said it was "one of the most appalling cases of abuse by the British army".
"As Jim McDonald rightly points out, people are regularly put out of the Army for smoking cannabis – yet these soldiers have been allowed to stay on. One has even been promoted," he said.
"In fact, every soldier found guilty of murder has been discharged from the Army, except where their victims have been civilians in the north."
Sinn Féin north Belfast assembly member Gerry Kelly called for the immediate removal of the two guardsmen.
"The British government should now order the immediate dismissal of these two convicted killers from the British army and allow the McBride family some closure on this injustice," he said.
Wright and Fisher were found guilty of killing 18-year-old Peter McBride, shot after being searched by a British army foot patrol in the New Lodge district of North Belfast in 1992.
The soldiers' claim that they opened fire because they thought Mr McBride was carrying a coffee jar bomb was rejected by the trial judge as a lie, and they were sentenced to life imprisonment for murder.
However, after serving six years they were released and allowed to return to the Army.

Journalist:: Andrea McKernon


Westland Bonfire completely illegal says BCC

The huge July 12 bonfire built on land owned by the Fire Authority containing hundreds of tyres on the Westland Road is an illegal bonfire according to the Belfast City Council and the Department of the Environment.
The bonfire, which is currently being built, lies on waste ground to the rear of the Westland Road Fire Station and is owned by the Fire Authority. It is also a stone’s throw away from North and West Housing Association homes which were completed nine months ago.
According to Fire Brigade sub officer Nigel Evans, of Red Watch Westland, they are concerned about the bonfire.
“The bonfire seems to be built well, but the tyres, are illegal. The bonfire seems to be a fair distance away from the houses, and that would be our main concern. The Fire Brigade and Belfast City Council will do all they can to ensure everyone’s safety, and if we receive a complaint we will investigate it fully. And if we receive another one, we will do the same. Bonfires are sensitive issues in the community and we must deal with them as such.”
The staff at Westland Fire Station said they were aware that the bonfire was being built on their land, while John Wilson, Divisional Officer at Eastern Board Headquarters of the Fire Brigade confirmed the Westland Road bonfire was on their land.
He was unable to clarify if permission was sought by the residents for the erection of the bonfire on their land.
At the moment Belfast City Council is currently investigating the possibility of whether they should buy the land back from the Fire Authority.
At a meeting of the councils’ Parks and Amenities Sub Committee on May 11, councillors reminded each other that in 1994 they agreed to give the wasteland behind the fire station to the Fire Authority so they could provide additional car parking and a road traffic training area. At this same meeting councillors were informed that the Fire Authority no longer needed the land and that they wanted to return the land to the council.
The merits of making the bonfire site a multi-sports facility for the Westland Road community was discussed and councillors agreed to undertake a feasibility study investigating this, at a cost of £10,000.
DUP MLA and BCC councillor for the Waterworks wards Nelson McCausland said he had not received any complaints about the bonfire
“It’s a bonfire that I have had no complaints at all about. It seems to be well organised, the material is stacked quite carefully, and very tidily, so it’s not an eyesore.
“Bonfires are problematic and I personally have not received any complaints.”
According to local sources the bonfire makers are getting help to build the bonfire by council workers with forklift trucks and diggers.
A spokesman for BCC said they were not allowed to go on private land unless invited.
“The Fire Brigade must have requested help from us, if indeed this is the case. It may very well be a contractor employed with us, but we would not go in, unless we were asked to.
“We don’t help people build bonfires, but on public health grounds we may clear sites or tidy at the request of the relevant land owner. In BCC eyes all bonfires are illegal.”
In a leaflet produced this year by the Department of Environment and Heritage Service they said that no celebratory bonfire is authorised in law.
They further confirmed that the use of tyres is completely illegal.
“The problem is that when they are burnt, or disposed of illegally, they give off toxic fumes which could affect pregnant women, the elderly or asthmatic sufferers.”

Journalist:: Staff Reporter


Mother slams sectarian attack on school bus

The mother of a 14-year-old boy who was injured in an attack on a school bus on the Ligoniel Road on Monday has spoken of her fear that school children could be facing serious danger when the school term begins in September.
The woman, who did not wish to be identified, described how her son was one of a group of students who were on a school bus coming from Hightown CBS which came under attack at the bottom of the Ligoniel Road.
“My son said there were about five men standing at a chip shop at the corner of the Crumlin Road. One of them was kicking tiles on the wall of the chip shop and he lifted one of the tiles and tried to throw it towards the window of the bus. He was about 19 or 20. Then he got on the bus with another man through the emergency door and starting moving down the bus hitting the boys on the heads with a tile and whacking their heads against the windows. The boys were terrified and they ran down towards the front of the bus. One of the boys who is only in first year was in an awful state as he was whacked across the head with the tile.”
The woman said her son described how the man then left the bus and when the bus driver later phoned the police, her son was brought back to the scene, before being brought home.
“They must have thought because he had got a good view of the man that he (my son) would have been able to identify him if he was still in the area. But the police said that there were no complaints made or reports of any injuries.
A PSNI spokesperson said that the attack was carried out on passengers leaving the bus at a bus stop, and that two males “appeared to strike out at some of the passengers”.
The spokesperson also said that that there was no evidence to suggest that the attack was sectarian and that no injuries or complaints had been reported.
“The fact that it happened at that area and it was known to be a bus carrying Catholic schoolboys, that to me makes it sectarian” the woman said.
The woman went on to say that she had phoned the school to tell them what had happened and she was told that teachers from the school would be travelling on the buses again in September.
“They usually travel on the school bus but as it was approaching the end of term, there were no teachers on the bus that day.”
She said that the terrifying attack which had left some of the teenagers badly shaken was the culmination of a number of incidents in the area, and that the bus was often subject to attacks by youths throwing stones.
“My son is fine now, and thank God he only has a bump on his head.
“But I’m worried that he could be attacked again and I’m reluctant to let him travel on any bus, whether it’s a school bus or an ordinary public bus.
“What if that man had a knife on him, or the bus driver had been attacked? I hate to think what might have happened.”
The mother said she intended reporting the incident to the police and she felt it “wasn’t something that could be shoved under the carpet”.
Sinn Féin Councillor for Ligoniel Eoin O’Broin said that those responsible were cowards who had “picked a very easy target.”
He went on to say that the incident followed a number of other attacks in the area in recent days and there was a strong onus on all community leaders “to do whatever they can to bring such attacks to an end”.
“It is not known if all these incidents are related but this most recent attack is the most serious given that it was a physical attack.”
The suggestion by PSNI that the attack was not sectarian was strongly rebuked by Cllr O’Broin.
“The incident happened at the bottom of Ligoniel Road, on a bus carrying Catholic school boys, so it was clearly sectarian in motivation” he said.
“There have been two separate incidents in the Ligoniel area recently, including attacks which took place on Saturday night where cars at the Ballysillan Road had their windscreens smashed.
“There have also been incidents at Squire’s Hill, where youths from the nationalist community were throwing stones at a Protestant house. We have identified who is responsible for the stone throwing at Squire’s Hill and we have spoken to the boys’ parents.
“We would call for an end to such incidents and would urge unionists councillors to do the same. What we need is for community leaders and political leaders on both sides to restore calm.”



More than 80 per cent of loyalist extortion cases – most perpetrated by the UDA and reported to the PSNI – never lead to an arrest.
That is the shocking admission by the police force’s Organised Crime Task Force in a recent strategy document that said: “In 81 per cent of cases reported an investigation could not be pursued because the victim requested no police action”.
The glossy document which outlines the 2004 strategy for combating organised crime said 70 per cent of racketeering crimes were carried out by the UDA/UFF last year.
The report is further evidence of the UDA’s grip on vice affecting North Belfast businesses including the Ballysillan/Westland UDA who extort cash from local builders, shops and restaurants.
“According to reported incidents, the construction industry is hardest hit, accounting for 50 per cent of all incidents. In some cases the demands run into hundreds of thousands of pounds. Although difficult to quantify due to under reporting it could run into several million pounds per annum,” says the report.
The Task Force included the Assets Recovery Unit, which has been criticised for not doing enough to seize the assets of notorious loyalist criminal godfathers, drug dealers and vice ring kings. SDLP MLA Alban Maginness said much more needed to be done to bring more perpetrators to justice.
“It remains to be seen how efficient the Organised Crime Taskforce will be. Recent events where drug dealers have been apprehended and especially the very successful operation against cross border fuel smuggling indicate that while progress is slow, there are results,” he said.
“It is apparent that the Taskforce has prioritised certain operations. It is a positive step, but there is much more to be done. More resources need to be allocated to the Organised Crime Taskforce so they can tackle more cases and do so more urgently.”

Journalist:: Staff Reporter

Irish Examiner

Garda bill for Bush visit and May Day hits €12m

03 July 2004
By John Breslin

OPPOSITION politicians are to grill Justice Minister Michael McDowell in the Dáil next week after it emerged €12 million was spent on gardaí security for the May Day weekend and President George W Bush’s 18-hour visit to Clare. Figures released under parliamentary questions show an estimated €5m was spent on overtime, travel and subsistence for the 3,800 gardaí deployed for Mr Bush’s visit.

This is on top of more than €7 million spent on overtime, expenses and equipment during the May Day weekend.

FG justice spokesman Jim O’Keeffe wants Mr McDowell to explain what impact the EU presidency will have on the garda budget for the rest of the year.

The costs for those two weekends are much higher than the estimated spending on security and policing for the six months of Ireland’s EU presidency. Just last month, the Department of Finance estimated it would be €8.5m in total.

A Department of Justice spokesman said yesterday that an extra €7.5m was available to pay for overtime incurred. But there is no extra money in the budget for travel subsistence, with €1m less being allocated than the amount spent last year.

Mr O’Keeffe expressed concern about the cost of policing the two events.

“These two events have effectively absorbed all of the additional funds provided to the gardaí for the presidency. It means that the cost of the security arrangements for the many high-level meetings and functions the Irish presidency hosted will have to come from normal garda resources,” said Mr O’Keeffe.

Hoteliers in Dublin will be celebrating a bonanza after it emerged the gardaí spent €236,000 on accommodation for members on the May Day weekend.

Around 5,000 were on duty policing protests and celebrations as 10 countries formally joined the EU.

The €12m does not include the extra costs incurred by the Defence Forces, though they are expected to be significantly lower since overtime is not a factor.

A Justice Department spokesman defended the costs, saying the gardaí were given all resources necessary to protect the public and visiting heads of state.

The gardaí will be given the resources needed in the second half of the year, the Justice Department spokesman insisted.

However, Mr O’Keeffe believes the implications are very serious.

“Are we going to see cutbacks in overtime, fewer gardaí on the beat, less resources for vital equipment, reduced opening hours of stations?” he asked.

The bill

An estimated €4.9m on overtime and travel during the Bush visit.

The overtime bill amounts to €272,000 for every hour Bush stayed in Ireland.

An estimated €6m on overtime and travel during the May Day weekend.

€236,000 on hotel bills for May Day.

€736,000 to buy equipment for use over the May Day weekend.



Professor McKenna criticised government 'capping' policy

The vice-chancellor of the University of Ulster has described the limits imposed on university places in Northern Ireland as "indefensible and iniquitous".

Professor Gerry McKenna told graduates and their families at a graduation ceremony in Belfast's Waterfront Hall, that the capping policy imposed by government made poor economic sense.

He said limiting student places was "a roadblock to self improvement for the people of our community".

Northern Ireland was the only one of 12 regions in the UK to have "an artificial restraint upon opportunity" for university education imposed by the government, he added.

"Although some students choose to go to Great Britain, there is evidence that many thousands who are forced to leave Northern Ireland would like to study closer to home," he said.

"Crucially for our economy and for a pluralist community trying to emerge from conflict, the evidence shows that over 70% do not return to Northern Ireland after graduating."
--Professor Gerry McKenna

"With the impact of increased fees from 2006, this situation will get worse and will put more pressure upon the artificial cap".

The vice-chancellor said that about 14,000 full-time undergraduates from Northern Ireland were studying in Great Britain.

"Crucially for our economy and for a pluralist community trying to emerge from conflict, the evidence shows that over 70% do not return to Northern Ireland after graduating. We cannot afford this loss of talent," he said.

Professor McKenna also said that if the cap were lifted, the level of funding provided for each student would have to be protected to ensure that any increase in entry would not mean any lessening of the high quality of university education available in Northern Ireland.


The Act of Union: 2 July 1800

1800 Act of Union abolishes Dublin parliament, allows Irish MPs to sit at Westminster and ends trade barriers

"Under the terms of the merger, Ireland continued to have over 100 MPs representing it in the united parliament, meeting in the Palace of Westminster. Part of the trade-off was to be the granting of Catholic Emancipation. However this was blocked by King George III who argued that emancipating Roman Catholics would breach his Coronation Oath." Go >>> HERE

Ciaran Ferry Legal Defense Fund





**Personally, I think any group of people who feels the need to get out on the frigging street and parade up and down like a pack of morons every 5 minutes and waste money, resources and time in security ops to protect their sorry asses are ludicrous and beneath contempt. If that is the only way I could show my so-called culture, I would feel embarrassed. There are more constructive ways to celebrate ones culture than with all this parades shite.

Parade passes without incident

The parade passed off peacefully through the east of the city

An Orange Order parade through east Belfast has passed off peacefully.

Hundreds of people lined the route as the parade made its way along the Albertbridge Road and onto the Ravenhill Road on Thursday.

Earlier in the evening the Army and police mounted a huge security operation which completely cordoned off the Short Strand area.

Large metal shutters and land-rovers along the road screened the march from the nationalist area.

The Short Strand residents staged a peaceful protest during the 45 minute parade.

Two hours after moving into the area, the security operation was wound down.


An Phoblacht

Marching season sectarian attacks

Photo: The hoax device left outside the home of Derry MLA Mary Nelis, which was dealt with by republicans

A Catholic family in Antrim escaped injury when their home was targeted by unionist paramilitaries. The couple and their 16-year-old son were asleep upstairs when a pipe bomb was placed outside their front door. It was shortly before 4am in the early hours of Monday morning when the device exploded, leaving the door and letterbox damaged and filling the house with smoke.

Paddy Murray, a former prisoner released under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement, said he had been afraid that his home might be targeted during the heightened tensions of the Orange marching season. His two youngest children, daughters aged seven months and two years, were staying with relatives at the time of the attack.

"When I expect trouble I move the babies out of the house," said Paddy, who is also Chairperson of the Rathenraw Community Association. The Murray house has been targeted before and their windows have been broken but this is the first bomb attack. "I've received a number of death threats before and windows have been broken but this latest attack is the most sinister.

"I'm not leaving Antrim. I intend to stay. This was the work of loyalists. The last threat I received came from the UVF so I suspect this has something to do with them."

o A pipe bomb discovered outside a house in County Down had been left just yards from a children's playground. The device was found by a postman on the doorstep of a flat in Downpatrick's New Model Farm estate at around 11am on Tuesday. The postman said the device looked as if it had been ignited but failed to explode. No one was in the flat at the time. The postman alerted families nearby immediately.

Sinn Féin Councillor Eamon McConvery said it was "a random sectarian attack in a quiet area".

o A hoax device discovered outside the home of Derry Sinn Féin MLA Mary Nelis was dealt with by local republicans after ensuring that neighbours were informed and children were safe in a local park. It was one of three such devices planted across the city on Sunday night. SDLP Assembly member Pat Ramsey was also targeted.

At around 5.30pm on Sunday a member of Mary's coming to visit informed her that there was a suspicious object at her front doorstep. When dismantled it was discovered the device — in a plastic container — consisted of a circuit board, battery, wiring and a quantity of talcum powder.

"To those small minded people who think that this type of action will intimidate either myself or my party, I tell them very emphatically that we have been attacked by far more powerful forces than them and it did not deflect us from our course and we will not be deflected now."

o Meanwhile, a Belfast man who was shot three times and seriously injured by unionist paramilitary gunmen two years ago has described the compensation offer of less than £500 as an insult.

Jason O'Halloran (31) was shot three times by an armed UDA ganging in a drive-by shooting on the corner of Rosapenna Street and the Oldpark Road on 21 July 2002. Jason was shot in both legs and groin and ten more shots were fired at him as he lay on the ground.

The attack took place shortly before the UDA killing of Catholic teenager Gerard Lawlor on the Whitewell Road. In 1972, the victim's mother was shot dead by unionist paramilitaries in a sectarian attack on the Oldpark Road. His father was seriously injured in another unionist paramilitary attack in 1974.

O'Halloran has described the Compensation Agency's offer of £487 as outrageous. "I cannot believe they are telling me that my life is worth less than £500," said James.

"I was told that it was a miracle that none of my vital organs were ruptured. I could have been killed that night. Do these people think you are shot and a couple of days later you can forget about it? I am still waking up with flashbacks." A solicitor for O'Halloran's will be appealing the decision.

o In Limavady, residents of the Edenmore Road have expressed concern after unionist paramilitary flags were erected outside their homes. A resident said that flags had been erected every year despite local opposition.

The local council recently agreed that flags should not be erected on public property and asked statutory agencies to remove them. However, unionist paramilitary intimidation of council staff has resulted in a reluctance to carry out their statutory obligations.

An Phoblacht

Adams slams Parades Commission over Springfield Road u-turn

The Parades Commission's decision to force an Orange Parade through the nationalist Springfield Road Community has been described by Gerry Adams as disgraceful. The Sinn Féin President was commenting after a meeting with the Parades Commission held at the party's request.

"The Parades Commission collapsed last week in the face of threats by unionist politicians and unionist paramilitaries," said Adams. The decision to force an unwelcome Orange march through a nationalist residential area was "an act of moral cowardice which has left a deep sense of hurt among the Springfield Road residents who worked hard to try and find a resolution".

The Parades Commission ignored its own guidelines to reverse an original determination re-routing the Orange Order's parade away from the Springfield Road. According to the rules, a "change of circumstances" is the only mechanism with which to review a determination.

To date, the Orange Order have refused to adhere to even the basic requirements of dialogue with residents and the Parades Commission. Indeed, they have made a virtue of their refusal to engage. In the circumstances, it is hardly surprising that last week's last minute u-turn by the Parades Commission stunned local people.

As spokesperson for the residents, Seán Murray, pointed out, the Orange Order has not changed its position one iota. "They have not spoken to residents and they insist that they have not spoken to the Parades Commission. Nothing has changed."

Outrage at the Commission's u-turn decision brought the city to a stand still on Saturday as protestors took to the streets to register their anger by staging a series of roadblock pickets.

"Nationalists fear that the Parades Commission didn't just capitulate to unionist pressure but actively colluded with unionists to allow the Orange Parade to pass through Springfield Road," said Murray. "The criteria they appear to have adopted gives a green light to the Orange Order to march through any nationalist area."

The Sinn Féin delegation met with the Commission on Wednesday. Accompanying Gerry Adams were Assembly members Alex Maskey, Gerry Kelly and Cathy Stanton and Councillor Tom Harley.

"This was a reprehensible decision which will have ramifications in the future," said Adams. "The decision by the Parades Commission has cheapened the process of dialogue as a means of resolving difficult issues.

"The Commission gave us an explanation which we didn't accept. They said they would reflect on the points we raised but I have to say we were far from impressed."

Belfast Telegraph

Traffic grinds to a halt in series of bomb scares

By Ben Lowry
01 July 2004

TRAFFIC was paralysed across Belfast today when the city's busiest arterial route and a number of other key roads were closed at the morning peak period, due to security alerts.

One of the first alerts, at Hilden railway halt between Dunmurry and Lisburn, was declared a hoax by mid morning.

Police had received a phone call at around 8.20am, claiming that a suspect device had been left at the station.

Two further security alerts resulted in the closure of the Westlink between Grosvenor Road and Broadway shortly after 8am.

Further alerts at the M3 onslip at Middlepath Street, near Bridge End, and at Wellington Park, at the junction of Lisburn Road, were declared hoaxes by late morning.

Another alert was continuing in the Stranmillis Road area, with diversions in place along Chlorine Gardens and towards Malone Road.

Outside Belfast, there was an alert on the M1 at Moira Bridge.

The Westlink, which is Northern Ireland's most heavily-used road, is due to be upgraded by 2010.

Work on the Westlink scheme, which will widen much of the route to three lanes in each direction, is not due to begin until 2007.

Irish American Information Service


07/01/04 08:26 EST

The Reverend Ian Paisley's Democratic Unionists must speak
directly to Sinn Fein if the problems in Northern Ireland's
peace process are to be resolved, a United States government
official claimed today.

As he prepared to meet members of the Strabane District
Policing Partnership, Ambassador Mitchell Reiss, who is
President George Bush`s special envoy to Northern Ireland,
urged unionists and republicans to thrash out their
differences over the negotiating table.

He also claimed he was more encouraged about the prospect of
broader participation in policing after his discussions with
Sinn Fein and other parties in recent days.

"I have been very consistent on the issue of the DUP and
have said that they need to speak directly to Sinn Fein," Mr
Reiss said.

"If they have points of disagreement with Sinn Fein, then it
is better to address them through face-to-face meetings
rather than through the media. Dialogue must take place -
not just on a one-to-one basis but through extended
conversation. It is best to air differences sitting around
a table and that is what I will be saying to the DUP when I
meet them tomorrow."

Northern Ireland`s politicians are preparing for an
intensive push to restore devolution in the fall.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Irish Taoiseach Bertie
Ahern warned last week after talks in London that, if they
failed to achieve a breakthrough in September, they may have
to stop paying Assembly members` salaries and find a new way
of running Northern Ireland.

Mr Paisley said last Friday that he detected a faint outline
of a possible deal to revive the Assembly and his party
would be submitting proposals this summer to move the
political process forward.

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams has, however, been critical of
the DUP`s failure to take part in direct dialogue with his
party and yesterday he accused Mr Paisley`s party of putting
the process on hold because their senior members were on

The West Belfast MP also dismissed suggestions that
republicans would be tested for a short period of time of
possibly six months on their commitment to the peace process
before power-sharing could be resumed.

"The periods of decontamination or of a verification or of
being tested - all of that has long since passed," Mr Adams
said in Belfast yesterday.

Mr Reiss said he was more optimistic about the prospects of
a deal to restore the Assembly than he had been previously.

"All the parties know what the issues are," he said.

"There is a greater sense of clarity about what needs to be
done to move forward. In my conversations with the
governments in London and Dublin there is a greater sense of
determination to move the ball over the goal-line."

Mr Bush`s envoy praised the role of district policing
partnership members in Northern Ireland in delivering
changes to the police service, saying they had shown great
determination and devotion despite receiving threats and
being attacked by some paramilitary groups.

He said during his visit to the Strabane DPP he would be
telling its members that Mr Bush continued to support their

Mr Reiss also said he was encouraged from his meetings in
Northern Ireland that the problems of policing could be

He said he hoped broader participation in policing in
Northern Ireland could be possible in the future.

"We still have a way to go but things are moving in the
right direction," he insisted.

"The point that is worth emphasising is that policing can
only prosper if the larger political framework is a success.
It is essential for Sinn Fein to participate in policing for
the political process to move forward. But I think that it
is absolutely essential that there has to be a definitive
and permanent end to paramilitary activity."

Today in Irish History


1681 - Despite witnesses against him being discredited, Oliver Plunkett is hanged, drawn and quartered in London
1690 - Battle of the Boyne; the Jacobite forces (Irish, French, Germans and Walloons) are defeated by the Williamites (Irish, English, Dutch, Germans and Danes). The Williamite victory, being seen as a defeat for Louis XIV, is welcomed by Pope Alexander VIII
1701 - A public holiday is proclaimed for the inauguration of a statue of William III at College Green, Dublin
1798 - Rebels remain in camp at Kilcavan
1867 - Thomas Francis Meagher, Young Ireland leader, dies
1899 - Birth of singer Cavan O’Connor
1916 - The Somme offensive begins. The 36th (Ulster) Division suffers heavy casualties
1924 - The Irish Free State Aer Corps is established
1998 - Northern Ireland's new Assembly meets for the first time amid the growing crisis over the Drumcree Orange Order parade in Portadown. A new era in power-sharing between unionists and nationalists in Northern Ireland begins with David Trimble and Seamus Mallon elected First Minister and Deputy First Minister respectively to the new Assembly. Sinn Féin delegates abstain from the first-ever vote in the Assembly, while anti-Agreement unionists vote solidly against the two appointments



When you look at Orange parades and read about them it is difficult to remember that all these parades, which cause so much trouble, are religious.

They are intimately connected with all the Protestant churches. It is extraordinary that religious parades have to be marked so often with verbal aggression and even, as in the recent case of the Mater Hospital, physical violence.

One of the best – possibly the best – treatment of the Orange Order is a book by William Brown entitled ‘An Army With Banners – The Real Face of Orangeism’.

It was published last year by Beyond the Pale. It gives an excellent account of the history of the Order, its purpose and its effects on social, religious, political and economic life in Ireland.

A very gentle French woman called Simone Weil used to say we should accept history – all our history – as part of us and while we may not agree with everything our people did in the past, we recognise it, and admit that it is what made us what we are. The Orange Order was created at a time when it was considered quite all right to use religion for politics and politics for religion.

The hatred created historically among religious people was unbelievably severe and damaging.

To this day we still hear echoes of them. People were led to believe that their way of life, their worship of God, their lives even, were in danger if there should be any political change. At times the ways of life and the lives were in danger indeed, but most of the time they probably were not.

Our wars were largely about who would own land. Religion was often the excuse.

One famous Reformation and the opposition to it gave excuse for wars in which hundreds of thousands were killed.

That Reformation is often called the Protestant Reformation but was, in reality, a rebellion by Catholics against the takeover of their church by scoundrels.

The Orange Order is still concerned with who shall own land. As far as religion is concerned the Order is based firmly on the idea that God's chosen people can invade other people's territory and dominate those who live in it; the same biblical fundamentalist idea inspires organised land-holding in Irish border counties as it inspires George Bush's land-seizing crusade in the Middle East.

Nowadays the disputes which agitate the Orange Order involve ownership of streets and houses rather than great domains; villages rather than great cities.

When you compare the scale of the wars fought for ownership of thousands upon thousands of acres in Ireland with the present-day wars fought for control of streets or sections of small towns you realise how the scale of the problem of land seizure has changed.

So a big question now is whether the Orange Order can adjust itself in Ireland to unavoidable changes, learn how to keep its dignity and help create a new form of economics and government in which resources will be shared and thereby be enriched.

There is no doubt about William Brown's attitude or the attitude of some others of his tradition. For him the Union with Britain did indeed have value and the future union of people in Ireland working united along with Britain in a European Union is not only attractive but even bound to happen.

For the Orange Order then, the question becomes whether having recognised inevitable change it will create an opposition destined to be just a last bastion of something? Or will it join with others in a beginning of a new prosperity which everyone can share and enrich?

In the nineteen sixties a forward looking organisation of Young Unionists was practically submerged because those who could have supported them did not, largely through fear. They were looking for a form of government which would give fair play to people within the British union.

The Orange Order was one of the organisations which opposed them, the churches were among those who could have helped them and did not. In the nineteen sixties there was promise of progress in every organisation we had, including the Orange Order.

But, as we can see in books like An Army With Banners, the Orange Order like every other of our organisations was exploited by some very rich and powerful people, people who used both rich and poor for their own political and financial ends. And the Orange Order, like other organisations, found itself caught eventually in a corner from which it could not escape without tearing itself to pieces.

But the lesson is still there to learn, that people can pursue the idea of union in Ireland, or unity in Europe, or unity in Britain while keeping their dignity and recognising everyone else's. And no matter what our history has been, the important matter is that decent people exist today who do have the courage and the clearsightedness to see the good in everything while working to correct the bad in it.
This book by William Brown is one of the books that should be read – again and again.


IMC threatened with legal action over human rights breach

The Andersonstown News has learned that a range of community and voluntary groups are instructing solicitors to challenge the Independent Monitoring Commission (IMC) over alleged breaches of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Papers in relation to the challenge are expected to be lodged by the end of next week on behalf of the broad-based Campaign Against Political Vetting.
The legal challenge will argue that aspects of the IMC's first report recommendations are outside of the body's remit.

"We have consulted with our solicitors and will be challenging these dangerous recommendations of the IMC. Not to do so would be a great injustice to the community and voluntary groups, who are at the coal face of the day-to-day problems that affect our communities," said spokesperson Stephen Corr.

"We will challenge our belief that the IMC recommendations in relation to the community and voluntary sector are in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights and that, in this instance, the IMC is clearly making recommendations outside its remit.

"Our meetings are open to anyone within the community sector and details of further meetings will be well circulated," he said.

Meanwhile the prominent community worker also hit back at comments made by IMC boss Richard Kerr during an interview in last Monday's Andersonstown News.

"One of our main concerns regarding the report initially was that it undermines the Good Friday Agreement, and here we have one of the IMC members saying that prior to taking up his position, he hadn't even read the GFA, and has – even at this point – not visited West Belfast.

"We are asking how can an individual make potentially make-or-break judgements on the state of affairs here, when he has absolutely no idea of the complexities of the situation and how we have arrived at this juncture.

"The most striking point is his attitude to his job. Richard Kerr gives the impression of being a hired sharpshooter, brought into position to report on issues with which he has no background or, indeed, long term interest.

"The campaign initiated against political vetting has been working steadily away behind the scenes since the publication of the first IMC report.
"We have met with all the leading figures in the community sector, including NICVA and the Human Rights Commission.

"We will not sit around and wait until we receive a letter informing us that funding has been cut on the basis of some unsubstantiated gossip," said Mr Corr.

Journalist:: Jarlath Kearney


Thickos on Film

CCTV shock for black taxi depot dopes; arrests are expected soon

No masks, no gloves, no sense. That’s the verdict on this gang of crazed thickos who trashed the city centre Castle Junction HQ of the black taxis two nights running this week.

Cops are this morning studying these vivid CCTV images – along with a wealth of fingerprint and forensic evidence left at the scene by the bungling raiders.

It’s thought that the five-strong gang, who caused thousands of pounds worth of damage to the taxi depot, could be behind bars within days – or even hours.


Taxi depot is trashed... TWICE

Teenage thugs hell-bent on destruction have devastated the headquarters of the West Belfast Taxi Association after attacking the building on two consecutive nights this week.

As these CCTV pictures, obtained from Castle Junction, show, the gang wreaked havoc at the black taxi headquarters in the overnight attacks.

A spokesman for the West Belfast Taxi Association (WBTA) says he believes that the same teenage gang, were responsible for both attacks on Castle Junction in King Street causing tens of thousands of pounds worth of damage and disrupting the service.

CCTV footage shows that five teenagers were involved in each attack.

The first attack on the building took place in the early hours of Tuesday. The gang first tried to gain entry to Castle Junction through an adjoining car park.

When this failed they gained entry to Castle Junction by prising a shutter open with a plank of wood. The unmasked and ungloved thugs then went on a wrecking spree, stealing £2,000 worth of cigarettes. They also used a chair to smash a toy machine which contained money. In the early hours of Wednesday a gang again broke into the premises by prising open the same shutter and left more devastation in their wake.

A further quantity of cigarettes was stolen, telephones were ripped from the walls and a shop in the building was ransacked.

It’s thought that the extensive CCTV footage as well as forensic evidence left by the thugs could lead to early arrests.

The spokesman for the WBTA said that staff are furious about the attacks on the premises and added that the devastation caused was a direct attack on the local community who are served by the black taxis.

“I would say that this has caused tens of thousands of pounds worth of damage and am in no doubt that the same people are involved in both attacks,” he said. “The service has been disrupted two days in a row and the people who did this have attacked the entire community by attacking the service, they have mucked the staff about and they have mucked local people about,” he added.

A spokeswoman for the PSNI said that the attacks were under investigation.
“I can confirm that the premises were burgled on two consecutive nights and that £2,000 worth of cigarettes were stolen on the first night, during the second attack the premises were damaged and a quantity of cigarettes were stolen.”

The spokeswoman confirmed that the PSNI are following the line of enquiry that the same gang was involved in both attacks.

Journalist:: Roisin Cox


Sinn Féin Deputy Mayor commemorates Somme with minute’s silence

The Sinn Féin Deputy Mayor of Belfast will observe a minute’s silence today (Thursday) to mark the anniversary of the Battle of the Somme.

Joe O’Donnell says the gesture shows clearly that republicans are committed to engaging with Protestants and unionists.

Speaking at a press conference at the City Hall yesterday, at which he was accompanied by former Mayor of Belfast, Alex Maskey, Councillor O’Donnell said that he is keen to show that republicans are committed to building bridges.

Mayor of Belfast Tom Ekin will today conduct proceedings at the cenotaph and will lay a wreath.

“It is the Mayor’s responsibility to lay a wreath at the cenotaph on this occasion, and while I considered with other Sinn Féin colleagues laying a wreath as Alex Maskey did during his term as Mayor, we decided it was the Mayor’s responsibility,” said Councillor O’Donnell.

“I will attend the special meeting of the Council in the chamber at 11am when a minute’s silence will be held for those from the 36th Ulster Division who lost their lives,” he added.

Councillor O’Donnell says he believes this level of direct participation to mark the Somme anniversary is appropriate for him as Deputy Mayor of Belfast.

“I believe it is building on the initiatives taken by Alex Maskey during his term as Mayor to reach out to the unionist and Protestant people of Belfast,” he said.

“It clearly shows that republicans are committed to engaging with the unionist and Protestant people and that we are prepared to meet them on common ground, no matter how difficult it is for us as republicans to do so.
“This is what making peace is all about,” he added.

Councillor O’Donnell said that he hopes that one day all sections of the community in the North will feel welcome at the cenotaph.

“I also believe as part of this ongoing commitment by republicans with civic responsibility to mark occasions like the Somme, councils need to establish all-inclusive ceremonies where everyone can participate,” said Councillor O’Donnell.

“The ceremonies will appeal to only one section of the people of this city, those from a unionist and Protestant background,” he added.

The Sinn Féin Deputy Mayor said that discussions are ongoing about civic ceremonies organised by the council to mark the Somme and other similar occasions.

“I believe this is the way forward and I look forward to the day when all the councillors and all the people of Belfast will feel welcome at Belfast’s cenotaph,” he added.

Journalist:: Staff Reporter


News Letter

West Belfast Festival 'Biggest And Best Ever'

By Joanne Lowry
Wednesday 30th June 2004

FANS of Christy Moore will be rushing to pick up one of the hottest tickets in town this summer as the Irish singer headlines this year's west Belfast festival.

Feile an Phobail yesterday announced its line-up for the carnival, now in its 17th year. Festival director Carol Jackson said this year's programme was "the biggest and best ever - as usual".

For the first time, Feile has organised an event outside west Belfast: Loudon Wainwright III will bring his honest humour and engaging stage persona to the Lyric Theatre on Saturday, July 31.

Other festival highlights include a concert by London-based urban act Big Brovaz, a hip-hop and R&B dance night with Radio One DJ Tim Westwood, and a comedy night with some of the best names in the business - Rich Hill, Adam Hills, Tara Flynn and Eddie Bannon.

On the literary front, there will be readings by Roddy Doyle and the carnival parade is sure to be another crowd-puller on August 1.

Full details of the festival programme, which runs from July 30 to August 8, can be found on the Feile website www.feilebelfast.com.



Gerry Adams said Ian Paisley's DUP was 'on holiday'

The Democratic Unionists' terms for a devolution deal for Northern Ireland are unacceptable to republicans, Sinn Fein's Gerry Adams has warned.

Mr Adams said on Wednesday that the talks process was on hold because the DUP were "on holiday".

The political institutions have been suspended since October 2002 amid allegations of IRA intelligence gathering at the Northern Ireland Office.

The Sinn Fein president said the DUP showed "no sign whatsoever" of political will to reach a deal.

He dismissed the notion that republicans would be tested for a period of months before power-sharing could be resumed.

"I've made it very clear that the terms that the DUP have publicly expressed are not acceptable," he said.

"How could they be acceptable? We have just refreshed our mandate and we respect the DUP's mandate.

"The periods of decontamination, or of a verification or of being tested - all of that has long since passed."


Meanwhile, Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern admitted the DUP's refusal to talk to Sinn Fein was causing difficulty, but he believed Northern Ireland's parties were "up for" a deal.

Mr Ahern added on Wednesday that he believed the DUP was prepared to work towards a consensus, and were "quite advanced" on his previous perception of the party.

In the Commons, Ulster Unionist leader David Trimble challenged the government to close down the Stormont Assembly if no deal was reached in September's talks.

Mr Trimble said the government should make clear to those parties who he claimed had been "dragging their feet" that it will put in place alternative arrangements.

Northern Ireland Secretary Paul Murphy told Mr Trimble that the government understood the issues which have to be dealt with, and that it was right they should be decided in September.


MEP — Next SF leader could be from south

Valerie Robinson
Irish News

Sinn Féin's next president could be from the Republic as its support
base continues to grow across the south, the party's new Dublin MEP
has predicted.

Mary Lou McDonald, the Dublin-based politician who is due to join
Bairbre de Brun at the European Parliament next month, told the Irish
News that a successor to Gerry Adams could be found in the Republic.

Mr Adams (56), who featured prominently in the party's recent
European election campaign on both sides of the border, has acted as
party president since 1983, making him one of the longest-serving
party leaders in Irish history.

In an interview in today's Irish News, Ms McDonald said that she
could "see no reason" why the party should not be led by someone from
the south in the future.

"Gerry Adams is a fantastic party president. Sinn Féin is the kind of
party that is making room for younger people, who bring in new issues
and perspectives," she said.

Ms McDonald added that it "might make more sense" at some point in
the future for the all-island party to be led by a representative
from the south.

She also indicated that Sinn Féin could lead a left-wing coalition
into government in Leinster House, if support for the party continued
to swell.

She said the party would first concentrate on the mandate given to it
by voters to push forward the peace process but added that it would
be "looking to build a broad progressive coalition".

"Obviously we would want to work with others on the left," she said,
suggesting that Labour could make a viable candidate for coalition at
some point," she said.

"All things are possible, but it will eventually depend on the
ability of the respective parties to offer a coherent alternative to
what's there at the moment," she added.

"People are saying that it's time for change and Sinn Féin would put
equality and the national question at the centre of any coalition."

June 29, 2004


Group In U.S. to Highlight Collusion

By Christine Hickey
Irish Abroad

MEMBERS of the Irish organization Firinne are in the U.S. spreading
the word about collusion in Northern Ireland. The group is made up of
Irish families whose family members have been killed, they believe,
by direct action of the British government sharing information with
Loyalist death squads.

Members of Firinne (Gaelic for truth) feel that collusion is a
British state policy in Northern Ireland that has been carried on for
over 30 years. The group wants to highlight the stories of Catholics
who have been murdered in the North, without any subsequent
investigations into the circumstances or arrests.

John Davey was elected as a representative for Sinn Fein in the
Magherafelt District Council in 1985. On February 14, 1989, Davey was
driving home from a council meeting when he was shot to death,
Davey's daughter, Pauline Davey-Kennedy told the Irish Voice during
an interview on Monday.

Davey's death came two short days after the murder of Pat Finucane,
whose case became the best known of the campaign against collusion.
Prior to his murder, Davey had been harassed by the RUC on a daily
basis, his family claims. The Daveys also claim that a security file
on John Davey made its way into the hands of Loyalists.

The Davey family was never informed of an investigation into John's
murder. "We were led to believe that they never actually did an
investigation because we were never told that one had opened or
ended," Davey-Kennedy expressed.

"We have suffered, and we know there was collusion. The British
government will try to minimize it and try to make people believe
that it didn't happen, but it's not over. It's never over," she said.

As a Sinn Fein representative, Davey campaigned for many community
and equality issues, including ending discrimination in the
workplace. "He was a strong and vigilant man who was highly respected
by the community, and he became a threat to the British
establishment," Davey-Kennedy remembers.

Following his death, opponents used his title as representative to
legitimize the murder of a Sinn Fein activist. Some alleged victims
of collusion, however, have never been involved in politics.

Kelly Hamill was only three years old when her father, Pat Hamill,
was shot four times in front of her, her mother, and her sister on
September 9, 1987.

"He was a Northern Ireland heavyweight champion. That was the only
thing he was interested in outside the family; he was a real family
man," Kelly Hamill recalls. "Sometimes you felt that being Catholic
was enough (for them to kill you). You were automatically a target,
and you couldn't feel safe."

The Hamills lived just off of Springfield Road in Belfast. "It was a
real flashpoint area, there was such a strong military presence every
day. But on the day of his murder, not one RUC member was to be
seen," Kelly recalls. "It took three minutes for an ambulance to
arrive, but 55 minutes for the RUC to get there."

Not only was there an absence of police presence oh the day of both
John Davey's and Pat Hamill's murders, but the families were never
given any further information about their deaths or any ensuing

The Hamill family was again in the spotlight at the end of 1995, when
Kelly's little sister Catherine Hamill met President Bill Clinton
during his first trip to the North. Catherine poignantly spoke about
her father at an event Clinton attended, and her words brought tears
to his eyes. Catherine and her family later traveled to the U.S. at
the invitation of the Clintons.

Firinne represents over 200 families just like the Daveys and the
Hamills. The organization is on a campaign to expose collusion in the

So far, they have been to Dublin, London, Philadelphia, New York and
Washington D.C. to bring their cause to the attention of government
officials. "We want the British to stand up and accept
responsibility, to say, `This is what happened and this is why it
happened,'" said Davey-Kennedy.


Real IRA ruling overturned

The Real IRA is an illegal terrorist organisation, the Court of Appeal in Belfast has ruled.

Wednesday's judgement overturns last month's ruling that the Real IRA - which carried out the Omagh bomb atrocity in August 1998 - was not listed under section 3 of the Terrorism Act 2000.

During the case, Mr Justice Girvan cleared four men of being RIRA members, saying that under current legislation, an organisation was proscribed only if it was listed or operated under the same name as a listed organisation.

The men were eventually cleared of a dissident republican plot to murder police and soldiers on Tuesday.

This latest judgement does not affect their acquittal, as the Attorney General referred the case to the Appeal Court purely on a point of law.

The Lord Chief Justice, Sir Brian Kerr, sitting with Lord Justices Nicholson and Campbell, said that when the Terrorism Act 2000 was passed, parliament was well aware of the existence and activities of the 'Real' IRA.


He said that quite apart from the notoriety of the Omagh bomb outrage, the organisation was specified under the NI (Sentences) Act 1998 before the passing of the Terrorism Act.

"In our judgement it is inconceivable that the legislature did not intend that the 'Real' IRA should be proscribed and that its members should be liable to prosecution for belonging to a proscribed organisation," said the Lord Chief Justice.

"Given the manner in which various groupings of the IRA had been proscribed historically, we consider that it should have been apparent to any member of the 'Real' IRA that he was guilty of an offence under these provisions if he continued his membership or professed it."

The Real IRA was behind the 1998 Omagh bombing, in which 29 people died.

A defence lawyer applied for leave to appeal to the House of Lords, and Sir Brian said they would give a decision next week.


Delivered by IRSP Ard-Comhairle member, Gerard Foster

Friends and Comrades, in 1966, Seamus Costello, founder and leader of the IRSP and the INLA, stood on this very spot, the most revered grave in Irish Republican history. He delivered one of the most prophetic orations ever delivered here in Bodenstown; we make no apology for revisiting his oration here today. 38 years ago Costello said of the six-counties;

In the North, the destinies of one and a half million of our countrymen are controlled by a puppet regime whose existence for some 45 years has depended on the support of British armed forces. This regime has found to its apparent delight that one of the simplest ways of ensuring its continued existence is by the furtherance of bigotry and sectarianism. Ample evidence of this policy can be found in the recent antics of a certain reverend agent provocateur.

These then are the means by which the British imperialists intend to maintain the people of the North in perpetual slavery. These are also the means by which the working classes are divided against their own material welfare.The pro-British capitalist classes who control the economy of the North know very well that, when the people reject those who foster sectarianism, their next step will be to demand a just share of the wealth, which they create. These are the real reasons why one section of the community are led to believe that it is in their interest to discriminate against another section. Never are they told that the standard of living which they enjoy, at the expense of their victimized neighbors, is theirs by right - rather are they tricked into believing that these natural rights are a reward for their support of the regime. These tactics serve to ensure that a large section of the population of the North remain loyal to the regime and at the same time do not insist on having a bigger share in the wealth.

Costello was highlighting how Britain maintained its rule in Ireland by sectarian division and social division. Of course Britain could not only have done this by force of arms alone. There are native capitalist classes both North and South of the border that have facilitated British rule because it allowed them to profit. They serve no master but money. They have been a constant block to the Republic.

No matter what guise they went under, or what Republican name they choose
to call themselves-such as Fianna Fail-Soldiers of Destiny- so long as they
were in defence of existing property relations they were and are a block to
the Republic. In every generation there have been those who have
compromised their principles, endeavouring to partially liberate Ireland
from the yoke of the British through negotiation that first required the
concession of equity instead of social equality.

We regard the Good Friday Agreement as one such effort. Sinn Fein have
reaped electoral rewards as a result. They are now the largest nationalist
Party in the North and have built a base in the South that seems
impressive. But in so doing they may well have forgotten the lessons of
history. The Workers Party once had similar success in the South. Where are
they now? When a political movement ditches it¹s principles it may well
have short-term electoral reward but in the long term it will be no longer
what it was.

It would be remiss of us at Bodenstown not to highlight that Wolfe Tone
over whose grave we stand, believed in Liberty Fraternity Equality.

Liberty includes the freedom to express your views without fear or favour.
We call on all who call themselves Republicans to recognize the right to
dissent, the right not to agree- the right to articulate minority views.
And we call on all Republicans to condemn anyone or any organization that
tries to stifle political opinions they don¹t agree with. We in the
Republican Socialist Movement have endured bitter times in the past. We
have learnt that the way to resolve differences is not to take up the gun
against our opponents but to respect their views while not agreeing with them.

We have strong differences with other republicans over such issues as the
Good Friday Agreement, abstentionism, armed struggle and so on. But we must
not allow those differences to embitter us or to demonise our political
opponents. If we call for the unity of the working class so also should we
call for the unity of republicans on issues on which we can agree? That is
why we welcome the growing openness among all shades of republicanism to
sit down together and discuss issues. We have long called for a broad
front. A few years ago we pushed the idea of a republican forum where
republicans could discuss differences in an open and fraternal way and
debate how best to move towards the Republic.

Therefore we can but only welcome calls for Republican Congress. This
movement will play a constructive role in helping to bring that about.

But what is unique about our analysis of the political situation is that we
assert that the Republic will not emerge under capitalism. Unless the
working class as a class take the leading role in the national struggle
fighting for social freedom then the end result will be a neo-colony in
thrall to international capital. The forging of links between the different
sections of the working class is critical to the successful struggle for
socialism in Ireland.

As republican socialists we support the continuing dialogue with sections
of the unionist working class. However, that dialogue must be an
exploration and examination of working class communities' views, fears and
CATHOLIC AND DISSENTER are principles, which remain the cornerstone of
republican socialism. They also represent the best formula for uniting our

Seamus Costello recognized in an article that engagement with unionist
working class was and is important but equally so there can be no exclusion
of republican socialist politics from any agenda concerned with working
class politics such as that practicised by the Socialist Environmental
Alliance in the North¹s European election; Costello wrote;

Connolly was totally in opposition to this approach. He categorized them as
gas and water socialists. Today in Belfast we have what we call ring-road
socialists. They are exactly the same type of people. They are, in fact,
the leadership of the Official republican movement in Belfast.

We maintain that any co-operation with the Protestant working class must be
on the basis of a principled political position. It must be on the basis of
explaining fully to the Protestant working class what all our policies are,
not just our policy on the ring road.

We must try and politicize them, simultaneously with conducting a political
campaign to get rid of Britain. It will be primarily an educational
function, or an educational campaign directed towards Protestants in the
hope at least that some significant section of the Protestant working class
will understand.

In reaching out to all sections of the working class including the recent
arrivals to our country fleeing economic or political oppression we must
not be afraid to face up to issues. We are told by the administrations in
DUBLIN, BELFAST and LONDON and we are also told by some Republicans that
the failed Belfast/Good Friday/Stormont agreement some how will provide not
only a pathway to peace on the island but is also a stepping stone to a
democratic socialist republic. Like Saddam¹s weapons of mass destruction
this is hogwash.

We are being asked to believe in a new Republican slogan, LIBERTY,

Equity means fairness. It does not mean equality. Equity is not part of my
definition of republicanism.

EQUITY CAN NEVER LEAD TO EQUALITY. At its very best equity will maintain
the status quo of discrimination of rich over poor, Protestant over
Catholic, white over other ethnic groups. And so will the Good Friday
Agreement. Importantly, for republican socialists the current political
dispensation will maintain, nurture and propagate the divisions in the
working class. Irish Republican Socialists will never endorse any political
settlement between Ireland and Britain, which has at its heart the
destruction of Irish working class unity and the promotion of greed and

As republican socialists we reject this process as flawed. Already in the
North we have major funders of community infra structure charged with
Targeting Social Need talking about a 'benign apartheid reward' (Urban 2 ­
Inner North Belfast, Community Empowerment Partnership, 9th June 2004).
This is at the behest of reactionary unionism led by the DUP and
unchallenged by supposedly progressive unionism within the loyalist
community sector.

'Benign apartheid' like 'secondary discrimination' is a direct result of
the sectarian social equity being delivered by the Good Friday
Agreement. Supporters of the status quo would have the working class
believe this is acceptable because the apartheid and discrimination that
results from equity is not the primary motivation but merely an unavoidable
secondary outcome of the process. In other words, northern working class
Catholics still remain twice as likely to be unemployed and homeless as
they were ten years ago! But, that¹s ok as in the bad old days of unionist
domination discrimination was direct and intentional; today discrimination
is merely a benign by-product of a flawed political process. So that¹s OK then!

Meanwhile today, working class Catholics are twice as likely to be
unemployed and homeless!! We are asked to accept that this secondary
discrimination is benign. If this is the case where is the strategy to
combat secondary discrimination?

Discrimination either primary or secondary can never be benign or harmless;
it can only deliver the continuation of inequality and division. Both are
anathema to republican socialists.

James Connolly referred to 'gas and water' socialists, Seamus Costello
referred to 'ring road' socialists in the 1970s and today we have the
'equitable' socialists or 'stepping stone' republicans. The titles may
change but the politics remain the same. All the above require unacceptable
compromises of basic republican principles.

The core values of republicanism as articulated by Wolfe Tone and the
United Irishmen that of liberty, fraternity and equality were then and
remain now the most progressive form of political thought and one that we
in the IRSP fully endorse and principles that we hold dear. We remain
determined to insure that republican socialism will be a core plank of any
progressive agenda that sets as its goal the liberation of our class, our
country and common humanity.

In his 1966 oration Seamus Costello laid out the path to the socialist

This in effect means that we must aim for the ownership of our resources by
the people, so that these resources will be developed in the best interests
of the people as a whole. Some of you may feel that these aims are
impossible to achieve until such time as we have an independent all-Ireland
government. It is certainly true that some of these aims will not reach
fruition until such time as we have an all-Ireland parliament. However, in
the meantime, you as republicans have an extremely important part to play
in the furtherance of this policy.

"It is your duty to spearhead the organization of a virile co-operative
movement among the farming community. It is also your duty to use your
influence as trade unionists to organise a militant trade union movement
with a national consciousness. In short, it is your duty to become active,
hard working members of each and every organization that is working for the
welfare of all the people and towards the reunification of the country.

As it was in 1966, so it is today.

Comrades and friends here today get out there and work for the liberation
of your class and your country.



The United Irishmen formulated their programme in response to the specific
contradictions they confronted in Ireland in their own times, but they drew
inspiration from the Republican revolutions that had taken place in America
and France. They turned to France not only for inspiration, but also for
material and military aid. We all know that this aid was too little and
came too late to enable the success of the United Irishmen’s attempted
revolution, but it is important to recognise that they sought it out.

In 1848, when Young Ireland rose, it turned to Irish émigrés for support
and it leaders, like Stephens and Mahoney sought refuge in France, where
they were active in the Republican and Socialist circles of the day. The
Fenian Rising was being organised for, both an American and Irish
organisation were established to build for the insurrection.

When Connolly was seeking support, he traveled to both Scotland and America
raising funds. He was actively involved in the formation of the SLP in
Scotland and in establishing the IWW in America. When the Spanish Republic
defended itself against a fascist insurrection, Irish Republicans formed
the Connolly Column to join in the fight there. In earlier times, the INLA
sent volunteers to fight along side of the revolutionaries of the MPLA in
Angola, trained in the PFLP’s camps in North Africa, and secured weapons
through armed revolutionaries in Europe, such as Action Direct and the CCCs
of Belgium.

Irish revolutionaries have long understood the importance of both receiving
and providing international solidarity and support, in terms of
inspiration, morale building, and material aid.

Today, the IRSP has established the Irish Republican Socialist Committees
of North America and more recently the Federation of Irish Republican
Socialist Committees Abroad, the first chapter of which was formed in
Sweden and which is drawing support from elsewhere in Europe, Australia,
New Zealand, Latin America, and beyond. The party has been active in
support for revolutionaries in Turkey and the Resistance in Iraq. It has
participated in international conferences in Puerto Rico, Italy, the
Netherlands, and Germany. It has contributed to African Liberation Day
celebrations around the world. And, the IRSP has issued statements of
solidarity with struggles around the globe.

In continuing to uphold a tradition in Irish Republicanism which dates all
the way back to the United Irishmen, the IRSP today remains mindful that
our class is in struggle around the world and that all workers gain from
the successes of workers in other nations and are obligated to defend and
provide solidarity with workers’ struggles wherever they may occur. As we
stand at this grave side today, I bring to you greetings of solidarity from
the comrades of the IRSCNA and FIRSCA. In addition, I bring to you
greetings of solidarity from the many socialist and anti-imperialist
organisations with which the IRSP has forged relations over the past
several years.

Today, as in the days of Tone and the United Irishmen, Irish
revolutionaries continue to seek and extend solidarity to like-minded
activists around the world. We are stronger for the assistance receive, but
stronger too are we for the assistance we provide.



Yahoo News


GAZA CITY (AFP) - A 14-year-old Palestinian was shot dead by Israeli troops in the southern Gaza Strip town of Khan Yunis, Palestinian medical and security sources said.
Ahmed Abu Eid was standing on the roof of his house feeding pigeons at the time, the sources said. He was hit in the chest by shots fired from an army post just outside the Jewish settlement of Neve Dkalim.
An army spokeswoman initially denied the incident, but an Israeli military source later said troops had fired at a suspicious figure standing on the roof of an abandoned building and "identified a hit".

"This was an abandoned building which is used by terrorists to shoot at army positions and at settlements," the source said, adding that militants had fired an anti-tank missile from the building on Monday.

The boy's death brings the overall toll since the September 2000 start of the Palestinian intifada, or uprising, to 4,136, including 3,141 Palestinians and 923 Israelis, according to an AFP count.

On Sunday night, an Israeli soldier was killed and five injured when Palestinian militants set off a massive explosion in a tunnel they had dug underneath an army post near the Gush Khatif settlement bloc and Khan Yunis.

Sunday Life

INLA's chilling warning if trouble erupts during marching season

28 June 2004

ARMED INLA terrorists last night vowed to patrol the streets of Belfast's interface areas, over the marching season.

A spokesman for the terror group - blamed for this month's murder of drug baron, Kevin McAlorum - told Sunday Life it will "retaliate" if trouble erupts at flashpoint areas in the city.

The warning was issued after senior security sources told us the renegade republican group has received permission from the IRA, to target loyalist gunmen if nationalist communities come under attack, next month.

Although leading Provos will continue to "monitor" interface areas during parades, the terror group's members have been warned not to get involved in sectarian violence, because of the ongoing peace process.

But the INLA spokesman claimed its members had the weapons to "protect" nationalist communities, and warned leading members of the UDA and UVF they would be targeted if trouble flared.

Sources claimed the terror group has just received a consignment of weapons from English-based crime gangs.

Said the paramilitary leader: "We hope there will be a peaceful summer, like last year - but we won't stand idly by, if nationalist areas come under attack from loyalists.

"We think it is important to have our men on the ground over the marching season, because we have a duty to protect vulnerable nationalist areas.

"We will be trying to keep our people restrained, but we won't need permission from anyone to protect our people if they come under attack."

This latest development comes after hopes of a peaceful marching season suffered a setback, after a gang of parade hangers-on went on the rampage at a north Belfast hospital, last week.

Up to 40 youths, who had been following the flashpoint Tour of the North parade, were involved in disturbances at the Mater Hospital, after breaking away from the march.

We also revealed last week how a senior UDA brigadier told Sunday Life it had no plans to engineer street confrontations over the summer.

The brigadier said the organisation would probably agree to send members to 'police' Orange Order parades over the marching season.

"We don't want to see our areas engulfed in violence over the summer, despite what some people have been reporting," he said.

"We are hoping that there'll be a peaceful summer this year, and that parades are allowed to go ahead and pass off peacefully."



29/06/2004 - 07:19:10

Army chiefs were wrong to allow two soldiers convicted of murdering a Belfast teenager back into the ranks, an independent watchdog said today.

Jim McDonald, assessor of military complaints procedures in the North, insisted that the decision to let Scots Guardsmen Mark Wright and James Fisher back in dealt a major blow to the forces’ reputation.

He said: “When the army are dismissing young men for smoking pot, the fact that it has failed to do anything with these two guys undermines its credibility. They should not have been reinstated.”

Wright and Fisher were found guilty of killing 18-year-old Peter McBride.

The Catholic father of two was shot as he ran away from a military checkpoint in the New Lodge district of north Belfast in 1992.

Claims by the soldiers that they opened fire because of suspicions that Mr McBride was carrying a coffee jar bomb was rejected and they were sentenced to life imprisonment for murder.

After they served three years behind bars, they were released and allowed to return to the army.

Amid nationalist fury at the decision, Mr McBride’s family has mounted a tireless campaign to have the pair thrown out.

Their case was aided by a Court of Appeal ruling that an Army Board which brought Wright and Fisher back in had not produced the exceptional circumstances needed to justify the soldiers’ retention.

But with no judicial order for the Ministry of Defence to act against them, the British government has resisted all demands for the authorities to intervene.

In his latest annual report, Mr McDonald said the row has attracted adverse publicity across the political divide “and thus undermines the credibility of Army employment policy”.

“I realise that the longer this case goes on, the more difficult its resolution would appear to be, but a resolution remains necessary in the interest of justice.”

A retired high court judge could head up an outside tribunal to deal with such sensitive issues, he suggested.

Appointed by the British government under the terms of the Terrorism Act, Mr McDonald’s report also slates military authorities for unacceptable delays in sorting out public grievances.

Overall complaints, such as low-flying helicopters and road-checks, rose slightly from 534 to 551 in 2003.

But while the overwhelming majority settled informally, none of the eight cases involving formal proceedings were resolved within the four-week target.

He said: “I am concerned that the military may not be giving quite the priority to replying to these complaints which such matters deserve.”

Blaming staff changes at Army headquarters in Northern Ireland, Mr McDonald added: “There’s no excuse for this.

“Eight cases is the smallest number we have had for a long time. If there had been 108 it could have been understood.

“But I know it will be put right in the current year because I have already had words with those people in administration at HQNI.”

Today in Irish History

**Sorry, a day late


1922 - The Provisional Government of the Irish Free State bombards the Four Courts in Dublin, and the Civil War begins



Army defuses pipe bomb

Paddy Murray said he had been targeted before

Army bomb experts have defused a pipe bomb in County Down.

The device, which police described as "viable", was found at about 1120 BST on Monday in the Oriel Drive area of Downpatrick.

People from a number of houses had to be evacuated while it was made safe.

Police said they were keeping an open mind as to who was responsible for the attack.

Several items have been taken away for forensic examination.

Officers have appealed for anyone with information concerning the incident to contact them.

Meanwhile, a man whose home in Antrim was targeted in a pipe bomb attack has blamed loyalists.

The device exploded at about 0400 BST on Monday at the Rathenraw estate area.

Paddy Murray, his wife and their 16-year-old son escaped injury in the attack.

The letterbox was damaged at the house in Norfolk Street.

Mr Murray said he had been targeted before.

"I got out of jail under the Good Friday Agreement in 2000, and since then, I have been a target for loyalist hate mobs," he said.

"I am also a community worker, and I do a lot of work on the estate.

"We would come out and argue against what's going on in Antrim town, which leaves me as a target."


Pupils injured in bus attack

Last Updated: Monday, 28 June, 2004, 20:21 GMT 21:21 UK

A number of Catholic primary school children have been left badly shaken after being attacked in north Belfast.

A Citybus carrying pupils from the Edmund Rice Primary School stopped near Ligoniel and was approached by youths.

The children were struck as they got off the bus, but none of them was seriously injured.

Sinn Fein councillor Eoin O'Brin said the attack was sectarian.

However, a police spokesman said there was nothing to suggest that this was the case.


Sunday Life

Drumcree banned!
...but this time by the Orange Order

By Alan Murray
28 June 2004

THIS year's controversial Drumcree parade could be axed - by the ORANGE ORDER!

The incredible move - to stop Portadown No 1 District Lodge parading to Drumcree Parish Church next Sunday - was approved by the order's all-powerful Grand Lodge at a special meeting last week.

And only a technical hitch prevented a motion suspending the entire Portadown district being implemented after delegates voted overwhelmingly to censure it for sending officers to a Parades Commission-sponsored forum in South Africa.

It's understood that the Grand Lodge voted 75 votes to two in support of a motion backed by Grand Master Robert Saulters to suspend Portadown District and stop it parading over the summer.

But before the suspension could be endorsed, Armagh County Grand Lodge first had to hear the complaint against Portadown under internal Orange Order rules.

The move has stunned the Orange Order in Portadown, which was unaware of the move to suspend them.

It's understood the order's Grand Master, Robert Saulters, led the move against the district during Thursday's special delegate meeting, after reading newspaper reports about the South Africa visit in February.

Those reports alleged contacts between Portadown District officers and members of the Parades Commission.

His backing for the suspension was endorsed by an overwhelming majority at the meeting - and is certain to split the order down the middle.

Between now and next weekend's parade, efforts will be made to convene a special meeting of the Armagh County Grand Lodge to hear the complaint against Portadown District and forward a decision to Grand Lodge.

If the County Armagh Grand Lodge endorses the view of Grand Lodge, Portadown District could only parade to Drumcree if it defies both its county lodge and Grand Lodge.

No officers from Portadown District were prepared to comment last night on the extraordinary development.

Deputy District Master David Burrows and District Secretary Nigel Dawson attended the February conference in South Africa, but didn't meet representatives from the nationalist Garvaghy Road Residents Association, which refused to participate.

The official policy of Grand Lodge is to have no dealings with the Parades Commission on any issue - although all lodges, districts and county lodges file standard '11/1' forms to the commission seeking permission to parade.

Since 1995, the annual Drumcree parade has been banned from returning to Portadown town centre via Garvaghy Road, except for one year - 1996 - when then Chief Constable Hugh Annesley reversed his decision because of fears of widespread public disorder.

For the last three years, the scale of protest at Drumcree has been greatly reduced, with virtually no trouble last year.

A ban is expected to be imposed again by the Parades Commission this year.

But leading Orangemen are amazed Grand Lodge has moved against the Portadown District, effectively making the Parades Commission's ruling irrelevant.

One leading Orangeman - who didn't want to be named - told us: "If you had told me that the hierarchy of the institution was planning this, I wouldn't have believed it - nor would the membership, nor would the Orangemen participating in the Whiterock Parade.

"There was no hint that Thursday's meeting was being specifically called to achieve this.

"It is incredible to think that the hierarchy is about to shoot the institution in the foot.

"They are on the brink of making Portadown No 1 District go away - something Brendan McKenna and Sinn Fein couldn't achieve."

Sunday Life contacted a spokeswoman for Mr Saulters yesterday, but she refused to comment.

She would only say: "Grand Lodge business is conducted in secret and should remain secret.

"The Grand Master makes no comment on Grand Lodge matters."

Belfast Telegraph

Ex-RUC man keeps links to sex industry
Former Sergent back in Philippines despite earlier deportation

By Kathy Marks in Angeles, Phillippines
28 June 2004

A FORMER RUC man from Larne was today accused of remaining at the heart of the Philippines sex industry by running a string of bars for tourists seeking underage girls.

Richard Agnew - who moved to the Philippines 11 years ago, leaving behind a trail of angry investors in a time-share company that he set up after leaving the RUC - has a hand in a number of bars and clubs in Fields Avenue in Angeles, a seedy city north of Manila, catering for sex tourists.

Despite being arrested last year and deported, he is back in the Philippines, operating the same businesses with apparent impunity.

On a recent Saturday night, several of the bored-looking dancers in Nero's Forum nightclub looked no older than 12 or 13. It was a similar story at the Blue Nile Executive Club next door, where men scanned the dance floor before paying a "bar fine" - a fee for taking the girl of their choice away for sex.

Mr Agnew (44) was nowhere to be seen and staff at the Tropicana Hotel, which he owns, said he was in Thailand.

Reliable sources say, however, that he is in Angeles, keeping a low profile after returning to the Philippines soon after being deported in October last year.

"Richard owns all the clubs around here," said the floor manager at Nero's Forum.

Mr Agnew's business partner, Steve Baker, from Cambridge, was equally forthcoming.

"Richard and I run all these clubs with an Irish guy," he said.

Those statements might surprise local police, who arrested Mr Agnew last August after raiding one club, the Blue Nile, and discovering six girls aged between 11 and 13.

The former police sergeant swore that he did not own the clubs. He was imprisoned, but a few weeks later police dropped the charges for lack of evidence. His name did not appear on the clubs' official documents.

Agnew, who once ran a flopped timeshare company in Northern Ireland, has previously angrily denied claims he owns clubs where minors are exploited for sex. He previously told the BBC's Spotlight he is just a consultant to clubs and is not involved in hiring staff.

Although local police have been alerted to Agnew's return to Angeles, they have declined to take action, saying they still have no evidence that he owns the clubs - 17 in total, according to one estimate.

Others are less indulgent. Father Shay Cullen, an Irish priest who has been fighting child prostitution in the Philippines for two decades, said: "He (Mr Agnew) is into clubs and bars, and minors are found inside, so let a court of law decide."

At the Preda Foundation, the refuge that Fr Shay runs near Angeles, Mr Agnew is a familiar face to one girl, Roxanne.

Shown a photograph, she said: "That's Big Daddy" - the term for a sex-club owner.

She added: "We always had to smile nicely when he was around."

Ecpat, a global network that campaigns against child prostitution, estimates that 300,000 sex tourists from Japan alone visit the Philippines every year. Many others are British.

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