Relatives for Justice

**In my email, Seán sent round a post by Fitzgerald from the group One Ireland about Nora McCabe, which reminded me of this article from Relatives for Justice. I tried to find the group link for One Ireland, but I am still looking.

NORA MCCABE: RUC and British Army Collusion in Murder in Northern Ireland

Nora McCabe was shot-dead by the RUC on the 8th July 1981 at 7.45am as she left her home in Linden Street off the Falls Road for the corner shop to buy cigarettes. It was also the morning that Joe McDonnell died on hunger strike.

The RUC denied any involvement in the shooting of Nora and also denied being in the vicinity of Linden Street that morning. An RUC investigation into her killing found that Nora died as a result of a blow/strike to the head by an instrument as yet unknown carried out by a person/s unknown. This finding was arrived at despite a number of eyewitness accounts stating that the RUC shot her with a plastic bullet at point blank range from one of two passing RUC armoured personnel carriers patrolling the area.

As a result of this 'investigation' and no cause of death firmly established or culprit/s apprehended, Jim received a date for an inquest into Nora's death scheduled for November 19th 1982. Pat Finucane was the legal representative for the McCabe family and shortly after the killing of Nora he was approached by a Canadian TV documentary/film crew who had been making a programme at the time of Nora's death. They handed Pat a video, which they said related to the shooting. Ironically this encounter took place during an international tribunal into the use of plastic bullets and their affects. This had been sponsored by local human rights activists (now with RFJ) and chaired by Kadar Asmal.

The inquest into Nora's killing opened on November 19th 1982. It heard evidence from several anonymous RUC members identified only by letters with the exception of James Crutchley. He was the most senior RUC member in West Belfast at the time and was on patrol with the two vehicles alleged to have fired the fatal shot. All RUC witnesses, including Crutchley, told the court that they were never near Linden Street and that they had only fired two plastic bullets while on patrol that morning. These they said were to disperse a crowd of rioters who had set up barricades in an attempt to obstruct their patrol and that they fired only when petrol bombs had been thrown. There were also numerous references to hijacked and burning vehicles, the road being strewn with beer barrels and debris. This contradicted civilian testimony.

After hearing evidence Pat Finucane introduced the film footage as new evidence. The court was immediately adjourned without viewing the evidence and on instruction from the DPP a senior member of the RUC, Insp Entwistle, was dispatched to Canada to interview the filmmakers.

Exactly one year later the inquest was re-convened. Inspector Entwistle told the court that the authenticity of the tape was genuine. The footage in turn was played to the court. It showed a picture somewhat different to that described by the RUC witnesses. There were no sign of rioters, barricades or hijacked vehicles. The road was clear. Most significantly the last couple of minutes, shown from a fixed position, focused in on two RUC armoured vehicles travelling countrywards along the main Falls Road. As they approached the junction of Linden Street and the Falls Road both vehicles slowed up. The lead vehicle surged to the right and across to the opposite side of the road towards Linden Street then abruptly stopped. A loud bang was heard. A puff of smoke was clearly visible from the right porthole of the RUC vehicle. It sped off followed by the second vehicle. Nora McCabe, mother of three children the youngest just 3 months, lay on the pavement. Local people gathered and some attempted to administer first aid. The footage remained until an ambulance arrived which took Nora to the nearby RVH. Nora died later the next day.

The jury found that Nora McCabe was completely innocent and that there was no legitimate reason for firing a plastic bullet. At the inquest Jim McCabe also waited for the DPP to announce that proceedings against the RUC both for killing Nora and committing perjury would commence.

A spokesperson for the DPP told the court that a decision had been taken not to prosecute. An outrage followed and Yorkshire TV showed the footage in a First Tuesday documentary in 1984 entitled 'Who Killed Nora McCabe'. Following this over 70 British MP's signing an early day motion calling on the then British Home Secretary Douglas Hurd to hold a public inquiry. He refused and in response to a question from Labour MP Joan Maynard 3 weeks later about the RUC members involved said; 'The 11 police officers in the patrol are still serving in the RUC. Three have been since been promoted: one to Assistant Chief Constable, one to Chief Inspector and one to Sergeant.' The Assistant Chief Constable was James Crutchley. The British Queen also subsequently decorated him.

Pat Finucane was to say that if justice were not delivered in this case, given the compelling evidence, then it would not be delivered in any other case.

Approximately 31,000 plastic bullets were fired during May, June and July of 1981 claiming 7 lives including Nora's. 3 of those killed were school children Carol-Ann Kelly 12, Julie Livingstone 14 and Paul Whitters 15. In total 17 people, 8 of them school children, have been killed by rubber and plastic bullets. Inquest juries have found that all have been killed in non-riot situations.



Hedgehogs find bonfires a perfect habitat

Eleventh night revellers have been urged to search their bonfires for hedgehogs before festivities get under way this weekend.

Campaigners said the vulnerable animals were likely to seek out bonfire sites because they were a perfect habitat for taking shelter.

Hundreds of bonfires are set to be lit across Northern Ireland this weekend.

They are built by the members of the Protestant community ahead of the Twelfth of July commemoration of William of Orange's victory over the Catholic King James II at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690.

The British Hedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS) said before the pyres were lit on Sunday night, people should look out for any sleeping visitors.

Fay Vass of the BHPS said hedgehogs were nocturnal and slept during the day.

Hedgehogs tend to hibernate between November and mid March
The Hedgehog is known as 'the gardener's friend'
They like to nest under sheds, hedges and brushwood
They should not be kept in close captivity
Their backs are covered with rows of short prickly spines and their bellies are covered with soft fur
A relaxed hedgehog lays down its spines

"At this time of year, bonfires are an ideal place. They look like a home - or rather they look like a four-star hotel to hedgehogs," she told BBC News Online.

"Bonfires are perfect for them because they offer a lot of protection and are waterproof.

"Unfortunately when a bonfire is lit, the hedgehog's natural defence mechanism is to curl up in a ball. They can also be asleep and they would not notice the fire that quickly."

In order to see if there are any hedgehogs at bonfires, they should ideally be moved to a different site or a few feet over.

"However, given the size of some of the bonfires in Northern Ireland that is not always possible," said Ms Vass.

"So what people should do is take a broom and a torch and take a look a few feet into the bottom of the bonfire to look for hedgehogs.

"Hedgehogs should be collected in a box, given cat or dog food and water, and kept in a quiet and dark place until the bonfires are over and have been dampened down."

Vanessa Reavey of Happy Hedgehog sanctuary in Belfast said given the scale of bonfires in Northern Ireland it was not often feasible to move them to look for the animals.

"I have passed may of them, and with crates piled high there is now way anyone is going to move them," she said.

Dozens of bonfires are set to be lit across Northern Ireland

"However, we would ask people just to look in at the bottom to see if there are any there.

"It is not just hedgehogs - pets also get caught under wood piles.

"At this time, females are nesting and there could be six or seven babies there.

"A lot of hedgehogs have been burnt in bonfires - it is not deliberate, but it can happen."

Belfast Telegraph

**fuckwits all

Tension rises in Twelfth run-up
Appeal for calm as support for protest grows

By Marie Foy
10 July 2004

ORANGE Order chiefs were holding a series of meetings today amid suggestions that protests on the Twelfth could spread across Northern Ireland.

Order sources claim support for the Belfast leadership's stand has been pouring in from county lodges, fuelling fears of copycat tactics should threatened protests go ahead.

The county lodges say they are willing to stage blockades of roads which could disrupt the province and heighten sectarian tensions.

Orangemen are protesting over a Parades Commission decision to prevent bandsmen returning home along a stretch of the Crumlin Road close to nationalist Ardoyne in north Belfast.

Lodges across Northern Ireland will be holding a series of meetings over the weekend to discuss their tactics and contacts with police chiefs in Belfast have not been ruled out, sources in the Order said.

Leading Ulster Unionist Jim Rodgers, an ex-Lord Mayor of Belfast and a former spokesman for the Order in the city, appealed to the Secretary of State to intervene urgently.

"This could have very serious repercussions," he said, but added: "I have absolutely no doubt that everything will be carried out in a peaceful fashion."

Orange Order spokesman Nelson McCausland, described the Commission as the "legislative arm of Sinn Fein" and called for its disbandment.

He said the issue was about more than a parade. "It is about the Sinn Fein strategy of isolating Protestant communities and waging psychological warfare on them."

Police have appealed for calm on all sides. Assistant Chief Constable Duncan McCausland said: "Communities have the right to parade and to protest but with those rights come responsibilities. People have a right to march as long as they do it peacefully, within the law. They also have a right to protest, peacefully and within the law."

Nationalists, including Eoin O'Broin of Sinn Fein and Martin Morgan of the SDLP, have demanded the Order withdraw threats of protests, saying violence could erupt.

Meanwhile, over 10,000 people were today expected to descend on the Donegal town of Rossnowlagh for its Twelfth celebration.

Members of lodges from across England, Scotland and the Republic were due in the seaside town.

Meanwhile, bonfire builders have been urged to take extra care after a 70ft construction at Shaws Bridge in south Belfast started to sink.Police were forced to close the Milltown Road between 5pm yesterday and 12.30am today causing traffic disruption.



9 July 2004

Top Tory politicians may have been targeted by the PIRA in the event
of a ceasefire breakdown, a Belfast Crown Court judge has said.

Crown Court judge Mr Justice Morgan's ruling came on Friday as he
convicted John Jude O'Hagan, 31, from Lepper Street, Belfast, of
spying on senior Conservatives, the RAF and UK based
telecommunication and other important utilities.

Mr Justce Morgan said O'Hagan from Lepper Street in north
Belfast "was engaged in a targeting exercise in the early part of

He held: "If this information was being gathered for the Provisional
IRA, it would merely indicate that the organisation was still
engaging in identifying targets while it was on ceasefire.

"Such identification of targets could only be consistent with a
recognition that the ceasefire might end and action against the
targets could then be considered".

Mr Justice Morgan said that in such circumstances, the gathering of
information would be for the prupose of preparing an act of

In all, O'Hagan, released on bail pending sentence in September, was
convicted of two charges of having false identities in connection
with the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism
and six charges relating to the possession and collecting of
information useful to terrorists.

O'Hagan, jailed for 16 years in 1993 for possessing explosives, but
released under the Good Friday Agreement, was arrested following the
break-in at Special Branch offices at Castlereagh on St Patrick's Day

Although police uncovered documents and a computer used to access
information useful to terrorists during a search of his home on March
30, 2002, none of the information stemmed from the break-in.

O'Hagan will be sentenced later.


Twelfth protests planned over march

The Protestant Orange Order is planning to hold a series of protests in several parts of Belfast at the end of Monday's Twelfth demonstrations.

The protests have been planned in response to a decision by the Parades Commission to place restrictions on an Orange parade in north Belfast.

It is understood Orange Order members are planning to block a number of main roads in and out of Belfast on Monday evening, although its exact plans are unclear.

The decision was taken at a meeting of Orange Order leaders in the city on Thursday night.

Loyalists blocked Ligoniel Road in north Belfast at rush hour for a third day running on Friday in protest at the Parades Commission's decision.

The Twelfth demonstrations are the biggest of the Protestant marching season.

'No bands'

In a statement on Friday, Orange leaders said they were protesting against a Parades Commission ruling which prevents supporters and bands of lodges from Ligoniel being allowed to walk along a contentious return route close to the nationalist Ardoyne area.

Lodges are allowed to walk at that stage near the Ardoyne shops, according to the Parades Commission ruling - but not bands or supporters.

The Orange leaders have called on members of all ten districts in Belfast to show their support at that point by staging demonstrations in various parts of the city.

They say these will continue as long as it takes to ensure not just the lodges, but also their supporters, are able to return safely home.

Orange Order spokesman Nelson McCausland told BBC Newsline on Friday that the Parades Commission's decision was "incomprehensible and indefensible".

"It is a denial of basic human rights that people living in Ballysillan should be denied the right to return to their homes," he said.

Mr McCausland said the protest would be peaceful.

"On Monday evening there will be a demonstration of solidarity by Orange districts throughout Belfast. It will be peaceful, measured, appropriate and dignified," he said.

The MP for north Belfast, the DUP's Nigel Dodds, called on Northern Ireland Secretary Paul Murphy to intervene.

Belfast's senior police commander, Assistant Chief Constable Duncan McCausland, said police were working closely with groups and communities ahead of the marches.

ACC McCausland said issues could not be resolved through a policing solution but by the whole community working together.

"People have a right to march as long as they do it peacefully and within the law," he said.

"They also have a right to protest, peacefully and within the law. The Police Service will do all in its power to facilitate both of these situations."

North Belfast Sinn Fein councillor Eoin O'Broin accused the Orange Order of trying to force the Parades Commission's hand.

"This statement from the Orange Order is clearly threatening and comes in the wake of UDA organised blockades of Ligoniel over the past two nights.

"I do fear that the Order is putting in place a plan in conjunction with unionist paramilitaries to try and force the Parades Commissions hand."


Announcing its decision on Tuesday the commission called for any protests to be peaceful and in proportion to the size of the parade.

It promised if these requirements were met the police presence would be reduced next year.

It said the parade was a "test" of the loyalist and unionist communities to deliver a peaceful procession.

The commission added that the restrictions were to reassure residents that their concerns were being taken seriously.

The Parades Commission was set up in 1997 to make decisions on whether controversial parades should be restricted.


Former IRA member arrested at Philadelphia airport

Wilkes-Barre Times Leader
Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA - A former member of the Irish Republican Army was
arrested at Philadelphia International Airport after he answered "No"
on a form that asked if he had ever been involved in terrorist
activities, authorities said.

Joseph Black, 46, who served three years in a Belfast prison in the
late 1970s for his involvement with the IRA, was detained by
immigration officials Wednesday after arriving on a flight,
authorities said.

He was arraigned Thursday on a charge of making a false statements on
an immigration form and ordered held at a federal jail until a
hearing later this month.

Prosecutors said Black's offense was a pair of incorrect answers on a
standard customs form given to short-term visitors to the United

One question asked, "Have you ever been arrested or convicted for an
offense or crime involving moral turpitude?" The other asked, "Have
you ever been or are you now involved in espionage or sabotage; or in
terrorist activities?"

Black answered "No" to both, authorities said.

European citizens usually pass through U.S. customs unchallenged, but
FBI and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents were
apparently alerted to Black's arrival and detained him for

During the interview, authorities said, Black told the agents that he
had been arrested in Ireland in 1977 for shooting someone in the knee
and for being a member of an IRA group. He said he served three years
and is no longer an IRA member, officials said.

Black was arrested after agents decided that his failure to disclose
his past on the customs form was a crime.

A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney in Philadelphia refused to say why
agents initially stopped Black, or how they knew he would be
traveling through Philadelphia.

A magistrate appointed the Federal Defender's Association of
Philadelphia to represent Black on Thursday, but calls to the office
went unanswered.



**From the Land of the unfree and home of the bastards


Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Received from Heaven Ferry.
08 July 2004

I just received the following message from Ciaran, written on July 4:

"Today has not been the best of days. At around 9 am there was a
search, and every book and magazine that I have has been taken from me. On this day, instead of celebrating American liberation from British occupation, I have had the reminders of captivity thrust in my face with all the indignity that entails. Just as well I only have a few finishing touches to do on the Bug's Life drawing I'm doing for Fiona - they took the magazine page I was drawing from! I was also strip searched, to top it all off.

It is now around 1:30pm, and I have received no word as to the fate of the my belongings. Obviously I complained about the whole episode, but you know the mentality of some of these people.

Please post something on the website, asking that no one sends me any more magazines or books until this situation is sorted out. I don't want them wasting their money! In the meantime, I can find the odd gem on the book cart here."


I just phoned the jail, and had a pretty hostile converstation with the Sergeant on duty. While on the phone, he dug out his handy dandy rule book(which he reminded me that Ciaran was given a copy of when he was booked) and said that the rules do infact state that any belongings in an inmates cell, above the allowed amount, will be confiscated and either circulated into the general jail system, or destroyed. They will not put anything in property, and will not allow inmates to send out excess items. He then went on to say that it was Ciaran's responsiblity to ensure that he did not get too many of these items in the mail. Yes, as if he has some control over that, as he sits in a jail cell in Colorado.

I was not aware that there was a specific number of books allowed
into the jail - I still don't know what that magic number is. But
regardless, I'm sure that everyone trying to coordinate that would be pretty futile.

While I had them on the phone, we had a little battle over Ciaran's wedding ring as well. Ciaran's wedding band was taken from him towards the end of his time at Denver County Jail, when they attempted to mix him in with the general population. When that attempt failed, he was returned to solitary confinement, but the ring was not returned. It went into his property and travelled with him to Jefferson County Jail when he was moved a few days later. Thankfully, I was later able to retrieve it.

Unfortunately, the Sergeant said that freedom of religion aside, and sacraments aside, Ciaran doesn't need his wedding ring. In fact, helpful man that he was, he even found the Prison Chaplin (whom he acknowledged was a paid jail employee) who said, "If the ring can come off, it comes off." Nice guys!

So, there you have it. I know Ciaran relies on books and magazines to pass the time, but I also don't want any of you to send something to him in good faith, only to have it taken from him as soon as he gets it. My suggestion, particularly to those of you who send him specific things on a regular basis, would be to continue sending magazines, as they can be read quickly. They are also less expensive to purchase and send.

Personally, I'm just sad that Ciaran has to go through any of this.

News Letter

Plea For Probe Into UVF Bar Massacre

Friday 9th July 2004

The Police Ombudsman's Office has been asked to launch an investigation into a massacre described as the forgotten tragedy of the Troubles.

Nuala O'Loan's office has said it will give "careful consideration" to a dossier it has been handed on the UVF atrocity at The Heights Bar in the Co Down village of Loughinisland 10 years ago.

Six Catholics, including the oldest victim of the Troubles, 87-year-old Barney Green, were shot dead as they watched a World Cup football game on television at the bar in June 1994.

The SDLP's former South Down MLA Eamonn O'Neill has asked Mrs O'Loan to examine police files and assess if everything possible has been done to catch the killer gang.



Postal deliveries in Northern Ireland will not be back to normal until next week following the discovery of five letter bombs at the province's main sorting office, Royal Mail has said.

A special police team searched through thousands of postal items

Dissident republicans are being blamed for the devices, which were intercepted at the Mallusk postal sorting office in Newtownabbey.

It has been established that the letter bombs found early on Thursday contained petrol rather than explosives, which meant they were not identified by sniffer dogs.

One of the devices was addressed to the governor of Maghaberry Prison in County Antrim.

Four devices were sent to District Policing Partnership members in the north west.

A special police team searched through thousands of postal items by hand, looking for any more suspicious packages.

Police have warned the public to be cautious when dealing with their post and asked people to contact them if anything appears suspicious.

No warnings had been received, said the PSNI.

Northern Ireland Secretary Paul Murphy condemned the attacks.

"These activities have no place in the Northern Ireland of the 21st century," he said.

The director general of the Northern Ireland Prison Service, Peter Russell, said: "The nature of such attacks is particularly indiscriminate and is to be condemned.

"Prison officers perform a very difficult role on behalf of society and they should not be intimidated in this way.

"Of course those behind this have no idea who is going to open such a package and who might be injured.

"I am thankful that due to the vigilance of postal staff this has been avoided today but we do all need to remain alert to this type of threat."

'Delivery services'

Policing Board vice-chairman Denis Bradley said it was "disturbing for the people involved".

"They are doing their best, they have taken a stance around policing - to get in there and help and make it more sensitive to the needs and desires of the community," he said.

Mallusk postal sorting office has been closed

"They are being targeted and picked out in this horrible parlance of 'legitimate targets' - first of all as if there was anyone was a target, and secondly as if anything of this nature was legitimate."

The first device was discovered at about midnight.

Bobby Weatherall of the Communication Workers' Union said the areas where the devices were found had been cordoned off by the police.

"Staff are well briefed in what to look for in the mail system in Northern Ireland.

"When they come across these things, they set them down and walk away and tell their managers and the police are involved right away."

Meanwhile, a suspect package at a post office at the Diamond in Portstewart in County Londonderry has been declared a false alarm.

An Phoblacht


Photo: Philip McGuigan

'Evil' is the way in which unionist councillors in Ballymoney describe their fellow councillor Philip McGuigan. They see his presence in the council chambers only in terms of "causing trouble". Sometimes, when Philip tables a motion before the council, a unionist mob appears in the public gallery to heckle and intimidate. But more often they just ignore him.

"If I raise an issue, the other councillors just pretend they can't hear me, they just blank me out," says Philip. There are two other elected nationalist councillors but "they say nothing or have nothing to say".

Inside the remarkably neat and tidy local Sinn Féin office, Philip McGuigan chats about life in as a councillor in Ballymoney and as an MLA in North Antrim. It's impossible to equate this easy-going, mannerly politician with the jibes of his opponents.

"If something or someone is 'evil', then it follows that there can be no engagement, no exchange of ideas or accommodation of difference," says Philip. "Political demonisation creates the space where unionist paramilitary violence takes place.

"I've been repeatedly threatened and attacked. But it's about much more than that. It's about hostility and intimidation certainly, but it's also about exclusion, denying nationalists and their representatives legitimacy. It's about trying to silence their voices."

Ballymoney is a small town in an idyllic rural setting. On the approach from Belfast, the fields are increasingly lush and green. In the pastures Jersey cows, resplendent in their soft fudge and cream hides, gently graze. This should be a lovely place to live.

But this quiet town, on the western edge of Ian Paisley's North Antrim heartland, was the scene of one of the worst atrocities to result from the Orange Order's Drumcree standoff.

"People outside the area only know Ballymoney as the place where the Quinn children were burnt alive. A place where Greg Taylor, an off duty RUC officer, was kicked to death by unionist bandsmen angry at the re-routing of an Orange march. And where Catholics attending Mass in Harryville were forced to run the gauntlet of a unionist mob," says Philip.

Ballymoney may be quiet but it is far from peaceful. And when it comes to facing the terrible truth about anti-Catholic discrimination and sectarianism, silence and denial are a part of the underlying violence of this place.

Philip McGuigan, originally from South Derry, moved to Ballymoney almost eight years ago. In 2001, he became the first, and so far the only Sinn Féin candidate to be elected to Ballymoney District Council. Last year, he was elected to the Assembly.

"I remember news footage of Ian Paisley standing outside the scorched remains of the Quinn family home, denying the killings were sectarian and denying it had anything to do with the Orange Order's dispute at Drumcree," says Philip.

In her study 'An unsettled people', Susan McKay records numerous interviews made shortly after the murder of the three Quinn children in which the ordinary unionist people of Ballymoney denied the killings were sectarian.

The local people she interviewed often admitted there was no other explanation but they insisted it was a case of "there's more than meets the eye".

Chrissy Quinn was a Catholic with a Protestant partner and a mixed family background. Her children, four boys, were technically Catholic but they attended the local Protestant school and on the night of the murders, the three children who died had been helping with the Eleventh night bonfire.

"Chrissy Quinn and her children had tried to do what most Catholics in North Antrim are advised. Keep quiet and assimilate," says Philip. "But to the bigots who firebombed their home, they were always 'taigs'. That's not something you can keep quiet in Ballymoney or Ballymena.

"Susan McKay once said that of all the communities she visited in the course of writing her book, Ballymoney was one of the most frightening," says Philip, "not because of overt violence but the silence and denial which is so interwoven into the fabric of the social order here."

Eight years after the initial Orange blockade of the Catholic chapel at Harryville, the Church of Our Lady remains shut every Saturday night during the Orange marching season. Parishioners who routinely allowed themselves the indulgence of a late Sunday morning by attending Mass on Saturday night are barred every July and August.

"The closure of the chapel is described as a 'voluntary' bid to reduce tension," says Philip, "but it's really to avoid further sectarian attacks. Of course, closure in the face of intimidation is an attack, a sectarian attack on the right of people to attend Mass."

In 1996, the Catholic chapel in Harryville became the focus of unionist protests against the re-routing of an Orange march away from the nationalist village of Dunloy. For 20 months, at a cost of £2 million to ratepayers, Orange Order supporters blockaded the Catholic Church.

Parishioners and their vehicles were routinely attacked as they attempted to go to Mass every Saturday evening. Eight years later, the mob no longer needs to mount a physical presence, the threat of intimidation is sufficient to suspend Mass and close the church. Fear also keeps the parochial house abandoned. But little is ever said about it.

"It's a disgrace," says Philip, "an indictment of the kind of society in which we live when people are denied freedom of worship at their local chapel. To describe the closure of the chapel in such circumstances as 'voluntary' is complete nonsense."

When it comes to Harryville, the local media doesn't carry stories about fundamental religious rights, freedom of worship or the Good Friday Agreement's promise of freedom from sectarian harassment. The operation of sectarian intimidation can be very, very quiet in North Antrim.

Philip describes how "doing things quietly" is the established way in Ballymoney. "I'm constantly being cautioned by people to do things quietly," says Philip. "I'm advised not to alert the press of any contentious issues but it seems to me that people have been doing things quietly here for years and it changes nothing.

"I intend to make a lot of noise. My job and the job of Sinn Féin is to raise issues, not hide them, to initiate debate, not add to the silence, to move forward rather than stand still."

There's a growing confidence amongst nationalists in North Antrim and that is being reflected in the growing strength of Sinn Féin in the area, says Philip.

"Sinn Féin," he says, "is hoping to build on the strengths of last November's Assembly elections and secure more council seats in next year's local elections in Ballymoney. We also hope to secure a breakthrough in Ballymena."

An Phoblacht


By Laura Friel
8 July 2004

If there's one lesson to be drawn from this year's Orange marching season and more particularly Drumcree, it is this. Exclusivity and the refusal to engage has led the Orange Order and the people they claim to represent into a political and cultural cul de sac. The bullyboys who were allowed full reign at Drumcree not only failed to defeat nationalist aspirations of equality and respect, they also drove many of their own supporters to question their own position.

At the height of the Drumcree standoff, the Orange Order could attract 30,000 supporters to the Hill and bring the Six Counties to a standstill with roadblocks, but sectarian intimidation as a mass political tactic was always doomed. Growing political strength and confidence within the nationalist community was never going to allow a return to the old days of Orange supremacism.

The Orange Order had a well-remembered and documented history of virulent anti-Catholic sectarianism. Its marches through nationalist communities were always accompanied with intimidation and sometimes led to the occasional pogrom in which Catholic homes and property were attacked, communities were put under mob siege and people lost their lives.

The Orange marching season and the sectarian intimidation of Catholics, as residents, as workers and as parishioners, has always gone hand in hand. Indeed, it is woven into the very fabric of the social and political life of the Six Counties.

In the past, companies employing a predominantly Protestant workforce routinely laid off Catholic workers during the summer. During July and August, civic venues became off limits for Catholics. The Housing Executive routinely freed up emergency accommodation in preparation for the annual flux of Catholic families forced to flee their homes.

Yet despite this history of provocation, the nationalist community's requests were modest. They did not ask for Orange marching to be banned. They did not ask for the Orange Order to be disbanded.

The people of places like Garvaghy and Lower Ormeau Road called for dialogue and the re-routing of contentious Orange parades away from Catholic residential areas. Orangemen were only asked to speak to their Catholic neighbours and to march only where they could be comfortably accommodated.

The Orange Order responded like a spoilt child denied that extra lolly. Orangemen held over 3,000 uncontested parades every year but the idea of re-routing a handful in the interests of community relations drove the Order into a furious rage.

Like Richmal Crompton's Violet Elizabeth, they tossed their curls and stamped their foot and threatened to "scream and scream until they're sick". Well, they have screamed and screamed and all it has done is make them sick.

This year, less than 500 Orangemen marched to Drumcree in the wake of a bitter dispute between the local Portadown lodge and the ruling body of Grand Masters. Ironically, the split occurred because Portadown Orangemen had attended an informal meeting arranged by the Parades Commission in South Africa. The Grand Masters deemed such a move broke the Order's self-imposed taboo of engaging with the Commission.

But it didn't have to be this way and it doesn't have to be this way. Republicans and nationalists have no particular love for the Orange Order, how could they, given its history? For most nationalists, the Orange Order appears to be nothing more than a sectarian version of the Ku Klux Klan. But it even occurs to us that Orangemen could choose to play to their strengths rather than their weaknesses. Strengths like civic pride and moral duty. Teach us what can be valued.

There can no be longer a place for intolerance and sectarianism and exclusion. The Orange Order needs to acknowledge and reject those elements of its past culture that sanctions and encourages such traits and build a peaceful settlement with its Catholic neighbours and fellow citizens. Dialogue, respect and accommodation are the real challenges facing the Orange Order. There is no alternative, as the dwindling numbers attending Drumcree clearly illustrate.

Drumcree Parade

Speaking from an upstairs window of the Orange Hall, deputy master David Burrows spoke briefly to the 500 Orangemen gathered below. It was the usual brief. The Portadown district was still here and Orangemen would march as they had done so for the last 200 years.

Shortly after 10am, the Orange marchers, accompanied by an accordion band, made their way towards Drumcree Church. The Parades Commission had refused to review their determination to re-route the parade away from the nationalist Garvaghy Road. At the front, an Orangeman carried a bannerette declaring, "Portadown Lodge No.1 is still at Drumcree".

On the Garvaghy Road all was quiet. The residents' spokesperson, Breandán Mac Cionnaith, had asked nationalists to stay away and they did. Outside St John's Catholic Church, in the past the scene of some appaling sectarian antics by the marchers, there was some additional security but generally it was low key.

At Drumcree church the marchers attended a Battle of the Somme commemorative service before lining up to parade to the barrier blocking their way down the Garvaghy Road on Drumcree Bridge. At the bridge, a simple pole had replaced the 20-foot steel barricade of former years and the hundreds of riot-clad RUC/PSNI officers were replaced by a handful dressed casually in boiler suits.

At the barricade, the familiar ritual of handing a letter of protest was re-enacted. The protestors remained for less than 15 minutes as the band played 'Onward Christian Soldiers' before dispersing around 2pm.

At the barrier, local Orange Order leader David Burrows reiterated the Orangemen's tactic of returning to the bridge every Sunday until they are allowed to march down the Garvaghy Road. The march has been re-routed since 1998, over 300 Sundays ago. Every Sunday, a handful of Orangemen march to the bridge.

Concluding the protest, Burrows read the familiar quote: "Here we stand. We can do no other." But no one really believes it any more. Engagement with local residents is becoming increasingly inevitable and in truth, Orangemen know there is nothing to fear from such an engagement.

In Derry, the Apprentice Boys long ago abandoned trying to force marches through nationalist areas without dialogue and accommodation. After engaging, the Apprentice Boys have seen the event evolve into an annual weeklong festival and tourist attraction.

As the Drumcree marchers prepared to disperse, the skies darkened. In the fading light, a lone Orangeman stood in the field silhouetted against the approach storm and the spire of Drumcree Church.

Orange Order position unchanged

The Garvaghy Road Residents Coalition has said that the media comments by officers of Portadown LOL District No. 1 suggesting that the Orange Order would not rule out future talks with residents if the Drumcree parade was allowed to take place do not represent any shift in the Order's position.

A spokesperson for the GRRC said: "In June last year, proposals to the effect were sent by the Orange Order to the British Prime Minister's chief of staff Jonathon Powell. They were later sent to the GRRC two weeks after Drumcree. This year, the same proposals were tabled again by the LOL. The Parades Commission was aware of the proposals both last year and this, when they issued their determination barring the Orange Order from parading along Garvaghy Road. Clearly, they also saw nothing new in the Orange Order's proposals.

"Furthermore, the commission has gone on record to state in its most recent determination that the GRRC is the only group prepared to enter into any engagement without pre conditions. Despite recent media spin, it remains a fact that the Orange Order has yet to publicly declare that it would be prepared to do likewise."

An Phoblacht

Anger as Parades Commission allows Ardoyne 12th parade

The Parades Commission has come under fire for allowing an Orange Parade to pass along the Crumlin Road and past the Ardoyne Shops in North Belfast next Monday 12 July.

The Commission ruled, on Monday 5 July, that four Orange Lodges and bands will be allowed to march along the Crumlin Road and past the Ardoyne shops on Monday morning, en route for the 12th, while on Monday evening three lodges are allowed on the return route. No bands, however, are to be permitted to make the return journey.

Reacting to the decision, Sinn Fein MLA for North Belfast, Gerry Kelly, said 'the Orange Order time and time again have clearly broken the restrictions placed upon them by the Commission, yet the very same Commission fails to sanction them'.

Kelly accused the Parades Commission of rewarding the Orange Order for refusing to engage with nationalist residents.

The Parades Commission made its ruling on the Ardoyne parade just days after it received a report, compiled by international observers, containing photographic evidence showing UDA commander William John Borland leading the Orange Parade past the Ardoyne shops last year.

The report, the work of the United States-based Irish Parades Emergency Committee (IPEC) and the Brehon Law Society, highlighted the prominence of the loyalist leader and other known loyalists at the 2003 parade and described their presence as 'pervasive'.

The report outlined how 'contested parades are often accompanied by loyalist paramilitary displays and sectarian harassment in contradiction of the laws and rules of marching. IPEC and Brehon Law Society observers documented the open inclusion of paramilitary and other sectarian elements in Orange Order parades in defiance of both Parades Commission rulings and public order legislation.'

The report, titled Marching and Disorder, also pointed out how the 'impact of intense militarisation in order to facilitate Orange Order Parades has an incalculable negative effect on the residents of these communities. Such deployments disrupt the life of the community.


Setting the record straight
Tension reaches boiling point ahead of Monday’s Twelfth parade on Springfield Rd

With tension along the Springfield Road reaching boiling point ahead of this Monday’s Twelfth of July march by the Orange Order, a spokesperson for local residents last night insisted that there has not yet been any genuine or meaningful dialogue of any kind over the issue.

And Sean Paul O’Hare said that the conduct of the Parades Commission, the British Government and unionist politicians during the past three weeks has “polluted the atmosphere” and “badly damaged” cross-community initiatives in the area. The Andersonstown News has also learned that just over a month ago proposals were privately submitted nominating the South African lawyer, Brian Currin, as a mediator for direct dialogue, but the Orange Order ignored this approach.

Sean Paul called on local people to come out in numbers for the protest that will assemble prior to this Monday morning’s march. The prominent local community worker made his remarks during a lengthy interview which residents’ representatives hope will “set the record straight” in relation to the events of the last number of weeks.

“There has been a lot of misperception, and indeed misinformation, about what has happened in the last few weeks. This process of the last few weeks has been cynically used against us and because it is such a sensitive issue we feel we need to let people in our community know the details. One central fact is undeniable: the Orange Order has refused to engage in any process of direct discussion or meaningful dialogue in relation to this ongoing issue,” he said.

The Orange Order’s last march along the Springfield Road on Saturday June 26 was marked by widespread anger in the nationalist community after the Parades Commission reversed a previous determination to restrict the route
According to Sean Paul, the Parades Commission’s original decision to ban the Orange Order march along Springfield Road (announced one week earlier on Saturday, June 19) should never have been reversed.

“It is important to put all of this in context,” he said. “We have consistently been asking for a direct and meaningful process of genuine dialogue with the Orange Order to achieve a long-term resolution.

“Two years ago, a cross-community organisation facilitated a process of contact with individual unionists, loyalists and Orangemen.

“But although something positive came out of this in terms of the cross-community mobile phone network being enhanced, the big difficulty was that none of the participants had any mandate to address issues on behalf of the Orange Order.

“But we haven’t seen anyone in relation to this initiative since January 2003 – that’s over eighteen months ago.

“Then last year the Parades Commission granted the Orange Order march and it was characterised by widespread breaches of the guidelines, particularly in terms of paramilitary emblems, flags, music and so forth.

“During a presentation to the Parades Commission three weeks ago, we demonstrated conclusively that last year’s sectarian activity had occurred repeatedly and was in breach of Parades Commission guidelines.

“On the back of our presentation, the Commission then issued its determination on Saturday, June 19, banning the Orange Order from the Springfield Road.

“Given the context, the Parades Commission’s determination to ban the march came as a massive relief to local people. It was the only right and reasonable decision that could be made,” he said. “Between that Saturday and the following Wednesday, we called for calm and appealed, once again, for the Orange Order and unionist community to enter into meaningful dialogue for a long-term resolution.”

Meanwhile Ian Paisley led hard-line unionist reaction to the Parades Commission’s ban by announcing that he was taking the matter to Tony Blair.

And the UUP leader, David Trimble, also made an angry statement on the issue, while a number of other unionist political figures voiced their disgust at the Parades Commission ruling.

Sean Paul said that this public reaction was ongoing despite the fact that no behind-the-scenes communications of any kind had taken place. Then, on the evening of Wednesday (June 23), Sean Paul says he received a telephone call, out of the blue, from a prominent loyalist community worker.

“This loyalist, whom we had worked with on other cross-community issues, told me that there had been a new forum established and he asked could we meet. I said I would contact him once the residents’ representatives had met and on Thursday, I phoned him back. We agreed that two representatives from the residents would meet with two loyalist figures who also sit on the forum, around lunchtime.

“The objective was to discuss the wider potential of any formal dialogue.”
Sean Paul says that the loyalists agreed that they would ask the Orange Order for an assurance that members participating in any forum would be acting with the full authority of the institution, and that any process would involve an authorising officer from the Parades Commission.

“The loyalists arranged to meet us again on Thursday evening at 7.30pm and we put out a statement saying that we welcomed any initiative that would lead to meaningful dialogue with march organisers.

“We heard nothing throughout Thursday until one of the loyalist representatives told me on the phone at 7.15pm that they couldn’t secure any letter of authority from the Orange Order. We went ahead and met the two loyalists at 7.30pm in order to get an explanation, during the course of which they raised concerns about their capacity to control fellow loyalists on the day of the banned march.

“It is also important to note that throughout the week we kept in close contact with Sinn Féin and the SDLP over the issue.”

According to Sean Paul, those were the only two meetings held with any figures from the loyalist or unionist community.

“Everybody was disappointed that the potential for dialogue hadn’t been pursued, however even the loyalists accepted that it was now too late to embark on a meaningful process for that Saturday’s march.

“However, following a range of political meetings, including a high-powered Sinn Féin delegation, as well as contact with ourselves the next day (Friday), the Parades Commission then took the inexplicable decision to reverse the ban.

“We only heard of the decision through the media. It was a clear decision to punish residents even though we had fulfilled all the Parades Commission criteria.

“And in the event, that Saturday’s march involved many of the bands who had behaved so appallingly the previous year.”

Sean Paul is adamant that the contact with the two loyalist figures fell far short of the commencement of a process of meaningful dialogue. And he hit out at the Parades Commission for “rewarding the ‘might-is-right’ brigade, whilst punishing residents for complying with the rules”.

“The facts are clear. There has not been any genuine dialogue with anyone from the loyalist community to resolve this long-term issue.

“There is currently no potential for genuine dialogue given the outrageous actions of the Parades Commission in collapsing to loyalist threats.

“And the big question now is whether the Parades Commission will begin to accept a back-door conversation with one or two unauthorised members from a unionist community forum as some kind of meaningful dialogue. If that is the case across the North, then the prospects for long-term resolution of the marching issue are very bleak.

“In the meantime we have another Orange march being forced through the area on Monday morning and we are calling on the nationalist community to come out and protest,” said Sean Paul.

Journalist:: Jarlath Kearney


08/07/2004 - 08:42:57

A loyalist mob including senior members of the Ulster Defence Association blocked a road in north Belfast last night in an apparent show of force ahead of the annual Twelfth of July celebrations.

The blockade took place during rush hour last night and prevented cars and buses from entering the mainly nationalist area of Ligoniel.

The incident is believed to be linked to the Parades Commission’s decision to ban loyalist “hangers on” from marching past the nearby nationalist enclave of Ardoyne on Monday evening following Orange Order marches to mark the Twelfth of July.


1981 Irish Hungerstrikers

**Click HERE to view CRAZYFENIAN'S photo of the Belfast mural honouring Joe McDonnell located in the Danny Morrison Gallery

Died July 8th, 1981

A deep-thinking republican with a great sense of humour

THE FOURTH IRA Volunteer to join the hunger-strike for political status was Joe McDonnell, a thirty-year-old married man with two children, from the Lenadoon housing estate in West Belfast.

A well-known and very popular man in the Greater Andersonstown area he grew up, married and fought for the republican cause in, Joe had a reputation as a quiet and deep-thinking individual, with a gentle, happy go-lucky personality, who had, nevertheless, a great sense of humour, was always laughing and playing practical jokes, and who, although withdrawn at times, had the ability to make friends easily.

As an active republican before his capture in October 1976, Joe was regarded by his comrades as a cool and efficient Volunteer who did what he had to do and never talked about it afterwards.

Something of a rarity within the Republican Movement, in that outside of military briefings and operational duty he was never seen around with other known or suspected Volunteers, he was nevertheless a good friend of the late Bobby Sands, with whom he was captured while on active service duty.

Not among those who volunteered for the earlier hunger strike last year, it was the intense disappointment brought about by the Brits' duplicity following the end of that hunger strike, and the bitterness and anger that duplicity produced among all the blanket men, that prompted Joe to put forward his name the next time round.

And it was predictable, as well as fitting, when his friend and comrade Bobby Sands met with death on the sixty-sixth day of his hunger strike, that Joe McDonnell should volunteer to take Bobby's place and continue that fight.


His determination and resolve in that course of action can be gauged by the fact that never once, following his sentencing to fourteen years imprisonment in 1977, did he put on the prison uniform to take a visit, seeing his wife and family only after he commenced his hunger-strike.

The story of Joe McDonnell is of a highly-aware republican soldier whose involvement stemmed initially from the personal repression and harassment he and his family suffered at the hands of the British occupation forces, but which then deepened - through continuing repression - to a mature commitment to oppose an occupation that denied his country freedom and attempted to criminalise its people.

It was that commitment which he held more dear than his own life.


Joe McDonnell was born on September 14th 1951, the fifth of eight children, into the family home in Slate Street in Belfast's Lower Falls.

His father, Robert, aged 59, a steel erector, and his mother, Eileen (whose maiden name is Straney), aged 58, both came from the Lower Falls themselves.

They married in St. Peter's church there, in 1941, living first with Robert's sister and her husband in Colinward Street, off the Springfield Road, before moving into their own home in Slate Street, where the family were all born.

These are: Eilish, aged 38, married with five children; Robert, aged 36, married with two children; Hugh, aged 34, married with three children; Patsy, aged 32, married with two children, and now living in Canada since 1969; Joe; Maura, aged 28 and single; Paul, aged 26, married with two children and Frankie, aged 24 and single.

Frankie is currently serving a five-year sentence on the blanket protest in H6-Block on an IRA membership charge, following his arrest in December 1976, and is due for release this December.

A ninth child, Bernadette, was a particular favourite of Joe's, before her death from a kidney illness at the early age of three.

"Joseph practically reared Bernadette", recalls his mother, "he was always with the child, carrying her around. He was about ten at the time. He even used to play marleys with her on his shoulders."

Bernadette's death, a sad blow to the family, was deeply felt by her young brother Joe.


One of his friends at that time was his future brother-in-law, Michael, and he began dating Goretti from around the time he was seventeen.

Joe and Goretti, who also comes from Andersonstown, married in St. Agnes' chapel in 1970, and moved in to live with Goretti's sister and her family in Horn Drive in Lower Lenadoon.

At that time, however, they were one of only two nationalist households in what was then a predominantly loyalist street, and, after repeated instances of verbal intimidation, in the middle of the night, a loyalist mob - in full view of a nearby Brit post, and with the blessing of the raving Reverend Robert Bradford, who stood by - broke down the doors and wrecked the houses, forcing the two families to leave.


The McDonnells went to live with Goretti's mother for a while, but eventually got the chance to squat in a house being vacated in Lenadoon Avenue.

Internment had been introduced shortly before, and in 1972 the British army struck with a 4.00 a.m. raid.

Joe was dragged from the house, hit in the eye with a rifle butt and bundled into a jeep. Their house was searched and wrecked. Joe was taken to the prison ship Maidstone and later on to Long Kesh internment camp where he was held for several months.

Goretti recalls that early morning as a "horrific" experience which altered both their lives. One minute they had everything, the next minute nothing.

On his release Joe joined the IRA's Belfast Brigade, operating at first in the 1st Battalion's 'A' Company which covered the Rosnareen end of Andersonstown, and later being absorbed into the 'cell' structure increasingly adopted by the IRA.


Both during his first period of internment, and his second, longer, internment in 1973, as well as the periods when he was free, the McDonnell's home in Lenadoon was constant target for British army raids.

During these raids the house would often be torn apart, photos torn up and confiscated letters from Joe (previously read by the prison censor) re-read by infantile British soldiers, and Goretti herself arrested.

In between periods of internment, and before his capture, Joe resumed his trade as an upholsterer which he had followed since leaving school at the age of fifteen. He loved the job, never missing a day through illness, and made both the furniture for his own home as well as for many of the bars and clubs in the surrounding area. His job enabled him to take the family for regular holidays but Joe was a real 'homer' and always longed to be back in his native Belfast.


Part of that attraction stemmed obviously from his responsibility to his republican involvement. An active Volunteer throughout the Greater Andersonstown area, Joe was considered a first-class operator who didn't show much fear. Generally quiet and serious while on an operation, whether an ambush or a bombing mission, Joe's humour occasionally shone through.

Driving one time to an intended target in the Lenadoon area with a carload of Volunteers, smoke began to appear in the car. Not realising that it was simply escaping exhaust fumes, and thinking it came from the bags containing a number of bombs, a degree of alarm began to break out in the car, but Joe only advised his comrades, drily, not to bother about it: "They'll go off soon enough."

Outside of active service, Joe mixed mostly with people he knew from work, never flaunting his republican beliefs or his involvement, to such an extent that it led some republicans to believe he had not reported back to the IRA on his second release from internment.

The Brits, however, persecuted him and his family continually, with frequent house raids, and street arrests. He could rarely leave the house without being stopped for P-checking, or held up for an hour at a roadblock if he had somewhere to go. A few months before his capture, irate Brits at a roadblock warned him that they would 'get' him.

Outside of his republican activity Joe took a strong interest in his children - Bernadette, aged ten and Joseph, aged nine - teaching them both to swim, and forever playing football with young Joseph on the small green outside their home.


His capture took place in October 1976 following a firebomb attack on the Balmoral Furnishing Company in Upper Dunmurray Lane, near the Twinbrook estate in West Belfast.

The IRA had reconnoitred the store, noting the extravagantly-priced furniture it sold, and had selected it as an economic target. The plan was to petrol bomb the premises and then to lay explosive charges to spread the flames.

The Twinbrook active service unit led by Bobby Sands, was at that time in the process of being built up, and were assisted consequently in this operation by experienced republican Volunteers from the adjoining Andersonstown area, including Joe McDonnell.

Unfortunately, following the attack, which successfully destroyed the furnishing company, the escape route of some of the Volunteers involved was blocked by a car placed across the road.

During an ensuing shoot-out with Brits and RUC, two republicans, Seamus Martin and Gabriel Corbett were wounded, and four others, Bobby Sands, Joe McDonnell, Seamus Finucane and Sean Lavery, were arrested in a car not far away.

Three IRA Volunteers managed to escape safely from the area.

A single revolver was found in the car, and at the men's subsequent trial in September 1977 all four received fourteen-year sentences for possession when they refused to recognise the court.

Rough treatment during their interrogation in Castlereagh failed to make any of the four sign a statement, and the RUC were thus unable to charge the men with involvement in the attack on the furnishing company despite their proximity to it at the time of their arrest.

ADAMANT From the day he was sentenced Joe refused to put on the prison uniform to take a visit, so adamant was he that he would not be criminalised. He kept in touch instead, with his wife and family, by means of daily smuggled 'communications', written with smuggled-in biro refills on prison issue toilet paper and smuggled out via other blanket men who were taking visits.

Incarcerated in H5-Block, Joe acted as 'scorcher' (an anglicised form of the Irish word, scairt, to shout) shouting the sceal, or news from his block to the adjoining one about a hundred yards away. Frequently this is the only way that news from outside can be communicated from one H-Block to the blanket men in another H-Block.

It illustrates well the feeling of bitter determination prevailing in the H-Blocks that Joe McDonnell, who did not volunteer for the hunger strike last year because, he said, "I have too much to live for", should have become so frustrated and angered by British perfidy as to embark on hunger strike on Sunday, May 9th, 1981.


In June, Joe was a candidate during the Free State general election, in the Sligo/Leitrim constituency, in which he narrowly missed election by 315 votes.

All the family were actively involved in campaigning for him, and despite the disappointment at the result both they and Joe himself were pleased at the impact which, the H-Block issue had on the election, and in Sligo/Leitrim itself.

Adults cried when the video film on the hunger strike was shown, his family recall, and they cried again when Joe was eliminated from the electoral count.


At 5.11 a.m., on July 8th, Joe McDonnell, who - believeably, for those who know his wife Goretti, his children Bernadette and Joseph and his family - "had too much to live for" died after sixty one days of agonising hunger strike, rather than be criminalised.

Published in IRIS, Vol. 1, No. 2, November 1981. IRIS was a publication of the Sinn Fein Foreign Affairs Bureau.


Hunger striker's story set for film

William Graham
7 July 2004 Irish News

The life of Francis Hughes, the second IRA prisoner to die on hunger
strike, is to be portrayed in a multi-million pound film.

An Irish film company backed by American producers is reported to be
making the €12 million (£8 million) film called The Time Has Come.

It will recount Hughes's life from when he joined the IRA in his
teens to his death on hunger strike at the Maze prison on May 12
1981, one week after the death of Bobby Sands.

Hughes, from Bellaghy, Co Derry, was born in 1956. He joined the IRA
at 15 when, his family said, he witnessed his brother Oliver being
taken from his house and interned.

A Sunday newspaper reported that the film, which was the brainchild
of stuntman Joe Condren, had received the backing of Hughes's family.

It is hoped that the film will go into production in October with, Mr
Condren claimed, Ray Winstone, the star of Sexy Beast, playing a
British soldier.

Belfast Telegraph

Sinn Fein hits out over Orange parades go-ahead

By Chris Thornton
06 July 2004

SINN Fein today attacked a Parades Commission ruling that allows Orangemen to pass nationalist areas in north Belfast on the Twelfth.

The commission approved feeder parades that will pass Ardoyne shops on the Crumlin Road - scene of frequent protests against the parades in recent years.

But the commission warned Orange marchers they were treating the parade as "a significant test" - hinting that bad behaviour could jeopardise the march in future.

It also said it expects the Parades Forum - a unionist body formed to help get approval for last month's contentious Whiterock parade - to engage with Ardoyne residents.

The commission blocked Ballynafeigh Orangemen from entering the lower Ormeau area for the sixth year in a row.

When that parade was banned from crossing the Ormeau Bridge in 1999 the Orange Order moved the Belfast field to Ormeau Park as a protest, but the prospects of significant protests at the site appear to have faded.

In north Belfast the Parades Commission attempted to reduce nationalist objections to the parade by calling for policing levels to be reduced if the protests against the parade were peaceful.

"The violence associated with protests in this area make it more difficult for the commission to challenge any bad behaviour in the parade," their ruling noted.

But Sinn Fein Assembly member Gerry Kelly said the body had made "absolutely the wrong decision".

He said: "People are asking is this body just there to legitimise sectarian marches?"


Three released without charge

Three men who were arrested in a police operation in County Down have been released without charge.

Two men are still being questioned after a firearm was recovered from a car at Water Street, Newry, on Monday.

The incident took place close to the city's Catholic cathedral at about 1100 BST.

The firearm was taken away for forensic examination.

News Letter

Five Men Arrested After Weapon Find

By Philip Bradfied
6th July 2004

Denim-clad policemen with minimachine guns arrested five men in Newry yesterday, stopping one of their cars off with an unmarked landrover.

Police confirmed that five people were arrested and a gun seized in the operation in Water Street, near Newry Cathedral, at around 10.30am.

Two cars were seized and the area was sealed off by forensic experts for much of the day in what sources believe could have been a sting operation against the Real IRA.

Police would not confirm or deny a terrorist connection, but it is understood that one of the men arrested comes from a prominent republican family with links to high-profile bombings at the height of the Troubles.

The incident is understood to have started when two of the five men went to drive out of the car park in a red Peugeot and were blocked by plain clothes police in an unmarked landrover.

At least 10 armed policemen - six uniformed and four plain clothes - sealed off the car park at the rear of Newry Cathedral.

Two of the five men arrested were detained in the car park for between one and two hours while police closely searched their car.

Spectators gathered and a Press camera was confiscated.

The arrested men were kept about 50 yards apart while the first car was examined.

After phone calls were made they were eventually dressed in white forensic suits and handcuffed before being removed.

Police ran checks on all vehicles in the car park and a blue Toyota was also seized and searched, with the area still sealed off into the afternoon.

A gun was seized and was to be examined by forensic experts.

UUP MLA for Newry and Armagh Danny Kennedy said he welcomed the police operation and would await further developments with interest.


Sunday Life

Mad Dog's Nazi pal shot

By Ciaran McGuigan
05 July 2004

A RIGHT-WING pal of Johnny Adair has been shot in a gangland feud.

Liverpool gangster, turned British National Party organiser, Joey Owens was hit with a shotgun blast to the shoulder, a number of weeks ago.

He was reported to have needed treatment at Liverpool's University Hospital, after the shooting.

The attack is believed to be the latest in a long line of violent incidents, in a bloody feud between rival gangs, on Merseyside.

Earlier this year, Sunday Life revealed how Owens, who has stood as a BNP candidate in council elections, boasted of his friendship with Adair to enhance his hardman image.

Owens has been questioned by police in relation to a number of gangland murders in England.

He was acquitted of the gangland murder of George Bromley, in 1998, when the star witness vanished just before Owens was due to stand trial.

The Wigan-born enforcer first met Adair in the 1980s, through their shared National Front connections.

Adair later travelled to Liverpool to meet Owens publicly, after he was first freed from the Maze jail, under the Good Friday Agreement.

That trip was reported to have alarmed cops, who had identified, at the time, a funding link between right-wing elements in Liverpool and Adair's Shankill Road UFF 'C' Company.

Links between Adair and right-wing groups in England remain strong, according to loyalist sources.

Several loyalist sources have told Sunday Life in recent weeks that links between Adair's supporters, the LVF and Combat 18 are growing in strength.

They have suggested that they will provide Adair with a number of safe houses after his release, next January.

Our sources also claim that the cells of supporters in England will be used to attack Adair's UDA enemies in Ulster.

Danny Morrison.ie


--Danny Morrison

Seven weeks ago the IRA shot dead 34-year-old Brian Stewart in East Belfast. Two months before that the organisation killed 47-year-old Andrew Cully in Greyabbey by firing ten shots into him as he sat in his car. Three months before that the IRA killed 31- year-old John Allen at his home in Ballyclare.

This year alone there have been two dozen IRA shootings and bombings in loyalist areas. The IRA has also intimidated several Protestant families from their homes who are now living in hostels in fear of their lives.

Following these IRA attacks on loyalists Ian Paisley’s Democratic Unionist Party without hesitation met with representatives of the IRA. The purpose of the meeting was not to appeal for an end to the ongoing bombings and shootings of Protestants or for the organisation to decommission its weapons, but to seek its support in presenting a united front to the Parades Commission.

Well, my apologies. You know it didn’t happen like that and that it was the UVF, not the IRA, which carried out those killings. Furthermore, both the UVF and the UFF, as well as killing each other, continue their campaigns against Catholics and members of the ethnic minorities in the North in gun and bomb attacks.

The DUP’s double standards are breathtaking, yet Paisley and Robinson & Co hardly blink when confronted with their hypocrisy, if and when you can find a journalist to confront them.

Last week the Parades Commission banned Orangemen from walking up a nationalist section of the Springfield Road. The Commission quoted previous breaches of the conditions it had laid down and which the Orangemen had ignored, such as the flaunting of loyalist paramilitary flags and banners, the playing of sectarian tunes and the refusal to talk to residents.

Nationalists on this part of the Springfield Road have been protesting against this march for over three decades, following the nearby burning down of Catholic homes in Bombay Street in August 1969. Sited in the heart of this nationalist area was Mackies Foundry (before it moved) which overwhelmingly employed Protestants and reminded Catholics of their second-class status. Each summer Catholics looked forward with dread to Mackies closing for the Twelfth fortnight holidays when their windows would be broken by ball bearings thrown by some of those coming from the factory. In June 1970 there was a serious riot at the time of this Orange parade up the Springfield, leading to a large number of injuries on the nationalist side and CS gas being fired by the British army and the RUC.

Throughout the subsequent years of the conflict nationalists in this area were killed in bombings and shootings in scores of sectarian attacks. To this day, their homes are regularly attacked by loyalist gangs throwing paint and petrol bombs. So, it is only natural that they resent and oppose an annual Orange parade marching through their streets, via a security gate on a peace fence which is only opened once a year for this very purpose.

However, according to the unionists nationalists are being ‘intolerant’ and are out to ‘destroy Protestant culture.’

Shortly after the Parades Commission’s ban on the Orange parade, Ulster Unionist leader David Trimble and loyalist paramilitary spokespersons warned that the Parades’ decision could create a ‘serious and dangerous situation’ and ‘may well kick us off into a very hot summer.’

A new group, the North and West Belfast Parades Forum, was formed to lobby the unionist position, as is their entitlement. However, it is the makeup of this forum which exposes the hypocrisy of the DUP in particular, which refuses to talk to Sinn Fein because of its alleged links with the IRA.

And so the DUP, the UUP, the Orange Order, and representatives of some Protestant churches sat down with representatives of the UVF, the UDA/UFF and loyalist ex-prisoners’ groups to draw up an appeal to the Parades Commission about the proposed conduct of the Orange parade. Representatives of the Forum also met with representatives of the nationalist residents of the Springfield Road – despite the Orange Order having a ban on meeting such groups. There was no local agreement reached but the Parades Commission took into consideration the meeting having taken place when it did a u-turn and lifted its ban.

Nationalists were furious and accused the Commission of giving into the threat of violence and of rewarding the loyalists for having merely met with them. Nationalists protested across Belfast by blocking some roads on the day of the parade. The parade passed off peacefully and the loyalists disingenuously furled their contentious paramilitary banners (which they were not supposed to carry) until they passed through the area.

From a unionist perspective it was a clever stratagem, though it left nationalists resentful. Given its success the Orange Order may well agree to talk directly to the residents of Garvaghy Road in Portadown, though this year’s return parade from Drumcree, which takes place today, Sunday, remains banned from the nationalist area.

By talking to the representatives of loyalist paramilitaries (who killed Brian Stewart just seven weeks ago) the DUP has utterly undermined the pretext it uses for refusing to talk to Sinn Fein (that the IRA still exists and hasn’t disbanded).

Over the years the DUP has been gingerly diluting its position in regard to contacts with republicans. It used to refuse to sit in the same television studios with Sinn Fein. Not any longer. Last year the DUP’s Gregory Campbell in a public forum shared a platform with Alex Maskey at West Belfast Talks Back and, again this year at WBTB, the DUP representative Jeffrey Donaldson will share a platform with Sinn Fein’s Mary Lou McDonald MEP.

If the DUP can participate in the Parades Forum with representatives of the UVF and UFF to secure, in the words of the DUP, “a mere ten-minute walk”, then how can it justify refusing to participate in talks with Sinn Fein to secure the greater objective of peace, stability and prosperity for all the people of the North?

The only explanation for its stance is sectarian bigotry or cowardice, though I am inclined to believe that it’s about an equal mix of both.


Woman 'threatened over flag'

An SDLP councillor claims his elderly mother was threatened while confronting a gang erecting an Ulster flag outside her home in County Antrim.

Danny O'Connor, a member of the local District Policing Partnership, said his mother was taken to hospital following the confrontation.

He said police officers had assured him during a recent DPP meeting that the "intimidatory placing" of flags would not be tolerated in Larne.

The incident happened in the Craigyhill estate on Monday night.

Meanwhile, Mr O'Connor said the flag had still not been removed.

He said: "Late on Monday evening a group of known UDA men hung an Ulster flag on a pole directly in front of my house.

"When my mother challenged them, she was verbally abused and explicitly threatened with death.

"As a result she was taken to hospital on police advice, but the same patrol declined to do anything about the flag.

"This is directly contrary to assurances given to me in the presence of a fellow DPP member and other party representatives last week by the PSNI superintendent.

"He told us he would not tolerate any paramilitary flags, yet there is a UDA flag at the end of my street."

Mr O'Connor said as a member of the DPP he "must be able to rely on assurances of proper policing given me by senior officers".

"The SDLP will be demanding, both on the DPP and through our representatives on the Policing Board, that the PSNI live up to these assurances."

'No powers'

A PSNI spokesman said: "The police in Larne have worked extremely hard in the last number of months with community representatives from both sides of the community in an effort to resolve the flags issue. This situation is much improved on previous years.

"As recently as last week, Superintendent Tom Haylett, the DCU Commander in Larne, met with Mr O'Connor and others and advised them that where his officers came upon anyone erecting paramilitary flags positive action would be taken.

"This was not the case last night. Officers responded to an incident to find that an Ulster flag had been erected. Police have no powers to remove non-paramilitary flags.

"Many of the issues surrounding the flying of flags cannot be resolved by a policing solution. They can only be resolved by the whole community being prepared to work together to find an acceptable answer."


Fury over passport fiasco

Security alert as scores of Irish applications go missing. A cross-border investigation begins amidst concerns of LVF involvement

A major cross border investigation is underway after scores of applications for Irish passports disappeared, the Andersonstown News can reveal.

The applications contain a raft of personal details as well as up-to-date photographs and the fear is that loyalist paramilitaries could be involved as it’s known that Royal Mail is already investigating possible LVF involvement in the theft of credit cards at the Tomb Street sorting office in central Belfast.

It’s believed that the missing forms – numbering up to 50 we understand – were all in one bag and it’s hoped that could make the investigation easier.


Fears that loyalists may be involved

A major cross-border investigation is under way after the disappearance of dozens of local Irish passport applications, the Andersonstown News can reveal.

Official sources in Dublin put the number of missing applications at “between fifteen and twenty”. However, another source claimed the figure “could be in excess of fifty applications”.

The passport applications were all submitted as part of the Irish government’s highly successful ten-day fast-track programme.

The Andersonstown News understands that all the applications – which had been sent by registered post – were contained in the same postbag.

In theory, this means they could be traced throughout their entire route and that only a small number of workers could have access to them.

An Irish government source yesterday confirmed that Royal Mail and An Post have now launched a top-level investigation into the matter.

The incident has already caused massive disruption to local holidaymakers.
And serious security concerns have been raised because the applications contain photographs and intimate personal details, such as names, addresses and dates of birth.

It is known that the Royal Mail’s Internal Investigation Branch is investigating possible LVF involvement in the theft and subsequent use of credit cards that were stolen from the post.

Paddy McKenna, whose son’s passport application is one of those that disappeared, labelled the incident “absolutely scandalous”.

“I only became aware of this on Friday, when, after waiting almost four weeks, I decided to phone up and find out what was happening to my son’s application.

“An official at the Passport Office in Dublin told me that my son’s application was only one of many to disappear recently.

“My son needs his own passport because he is fifteen and is travelling on his own.

“But despite the fact that he is already on my passport from when he travelled as a child, the Passport Office won’t issue a new passport without having a birth certificate.

“Our predicament is that the long birth certificate is in the application that has disappeared.

“Although the first person was very helpful, in subsequent conversations another official basically said ‘tough luck’,” said Paddy.

The angry local dad blasted the response of official agencies as “not good enough”.

“We applied in good time by registered post, and having paid for a special service, that is what we expected to receive.

“However, no-one wants to help us. The Passport Office say they can only launch an investigation about material they have possessed, but since they have never received these applications, they say the loss is nothing to do with them.

“Royal Mail say they are investigating the loss and there is no other way they can help me at present.

“This is ruining my son’s summer,” said Paddy.

An Irish government source yesterday confirmed that the Department of Foreign Affairs is aware of the incident and looking into the matter.

Up until now, the fast-track passport scheme has been a huge success with over 10,000 applications processed last year, and current estimates suggest that over 15,000 applications will be made.

The scheme is currently available at thirty-seven Royal Mail Post Offices throughout the North.

Journalist:: Jarlath Kearney



Police backed over killing

William Stobie was a Special Branch informer

The police did all they reasonably could to protect a loyalist informer before he was murdered, the Police Ombudsman's office has found.

William Stobie, 51, was killed by the Red Hand Defenders in December 2001, weeks after being acquitted of charges relating to the murder of Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane.

Stobie was a self-confessed former Ulster Defence Association quartermaster and a Special Branch informer.

Ten days before he was killed, Stobie was warned by police he should urgently move from his home on the Forthriver Estate in north Belfast.

The Ombudsman found police patrols had been stepped up around his home and he had been given other security advice, but he stayed at Forthriver.

According to police files, about 18 months before his murder, he was assured of his safety by a senior loyalist, believed to be Johnny Adair.

The Stobie family had alleged that police failed to ensure his safety, but Police Ombudsman Nuala O'Loan said the investigation by her office showed they did all they could to protect him.

"The police have been exonerated on this occasion," she said.

"I'm quite satisfied that nothing they could have done would have prevented Mr Stobie from being shot when he walked outside the house.

"Clearly they could have been there 24 hours a day, but that is not practical given the number of people under threat here.

"It is very sad - if Mr Stobie had taken their advice, he might be alive today."

The case against Stobie, who was accused of aiding and abetting the killing of Mr Finucane, was dismissed through lack of evidence.

Mr Finucane, a high-profile Catholic solicitor, was shot dead by the UDA in front of his family at his north Belfast home.


On Whose Side: Stakeknife

Book Review

Mick Hall




**Piss ants on Parade

Police Block Demonstrators in N. Ireland

Police Block 2,000 Protestants From Parading in N. Ireland; Protesters Later
Disperse Peacefully
The Associated Press

PORTADOWN, Northern Ireland July 4, 2004 — Police blocked about 2,000
Protestants of the Orange Order brotherhood from parading through the Catholic
section of this bitterly divided town Sunday. The demonstrators dispersed peacefully
after their leaders handed police a letter of protest. It was the seventh
year in a row that the hard-line Protestant fraternal group has been prevented
from marching down the Garvaghy Road in Portadown, the major Catholic enclave in
this overwhelmingly Protestant town southwest of Belfast.
Orange leaders gave the letter of protest to police commanders at a
10-foot-high steel wall blocking the road. They demanded to be allowed to march to the
center of Portadown via Garvaghy Road, where Catholic hard-liners began
blocking the Orangemen's usual parade route in 1995.

But police commanders quietly said they were obliged to uphold a ruling from
the British government-appointed Parades Commission. Every year since 1998 the
expert panel has said the Orange Order won't be allowed through until the
group drops its decade-old ban on negotiations with Garvaghy Road leaders.

Portadown's deputy Orange leader, David Burrows, told the crowd they were
welcome to protest at police lines but only peacefully.

"There must come a time when this crazy decision to uphold the (Irish)
nationalist veto on our parade comes to an end," Burrows told the crowd.

The dispute over the annual Orange parade triggered riots across this British
territory in 1996, 1997 and 1998. But most of the crowd this year piled into
cars and left without trouble after Burrows' appeal.

The protests have grown increasingly tepid since police successfully blocked
the Orangemen for the first time in 1998. The Orangemen that year stood their
ground at the barricades for a week, then quit after three Catholic boys were
killed in an arson attack in another mostly Protestant town, Ballymoney.

British army engineers have ensured that Orangemen could not outflank police
lines by erecting coils of razor wire, digging and flooding trenches in cow
pastures beside the blocked road.

Orange leaders have refused face-to-face talks with Garvaghy Road protest
leader, Breandan MacCionnaith, citing his conviction in connection with a 1974
Irish Republican Army bombing of the Royal British Legion building in Portadown.

The Orange Order, a conservative anti-Catholic brotherhood founded near
Portadown in 1795, was instrumental in establishing Northern Ireland in 1921,
shortly before the predominantly Catholic rest of Ireland won independence from

Orangemen once controlled many institutions in Northern Ireland but have seen
their influence wane since 1972, when Britain dissolved a local
Protestant-dominated government and imposed a system of "direct rule" from London that
still operates.

Nonetheless, the Orange Order demonstrates its grass roots strength with
several weeks of marches across Northern Ireland each summer. Its biggest marches
come July 12, the anniversary of the 1690 Battle of the Boyne, when the
Protestant William II defeated his Catholic rival for the British throne, James II.



Barry McCaffrey
4 July 2004
Irish News

A DUP councillor has said Catholics living in a south Belfast
apartment block should move to the Republic if they objected to a
huge Northern Ireland flag being erected on their building.

Belfast councillor Ruth Patterson said residents of Whitehall Square
should be aware that they were living in "a Protestant area".

She said she did not support the erection of loyalist paramilitary
flags beside the apartments in recent days because they "ghettoised"
the area.

However, she said a Northern Ireland flag erected on Whitehall Square
itself was "part and parcel of community life here".

Loyalist youths also attempted to erect a paramilitary flag outside
St Mary's on the Hill Church in Glengormley last night (Friday).

A police spokeswoman said officers and community representatives had
succeeded in dissuading them. Union flags were previously flown
outside the church.

The private Whitehall Square development in the Sandy Row area has
attracted a number of loyalist protests.

In September contractors employed to clean sectarian graffiti from
the building were attacked by loyalists and their van was set on
fire. This May graffiti was again daubed on Whitehall Square, calling
for the expulsion of Catholics.

Later around 300 loyalists protested outside the £120,000 apartments,
claiming that Sandy Row residents had been taunted by republicans
living in the private development. After those protests a number of
Catholic residents said they were leaving the apartments.

Responding to the latest erection of flags, Ms Patterson said: "If
they (residents) don't like the flags of this country, then they
should go and live across the border."

Ms Patterson said the developers should have told buyers that they
would be living in a loyalist area.

"The good people of Sandy Row were demonised because they dared to
stage a protest after provocation from Whitehall Square," she said.

Rejecting nationalist claims that the erection of loyalist flags was
designed to intimidate Catholic residents, Mrs Patter-son said: "Of
course they are going to say that. They are doing what they do best –
complaining about the marching season."

However, SDLP councillor Pat McCarthy described the erection of the
flags as "naked intimidation".

"This is pure sectarianism and unionists can't deny that. These flags
were deliberately erected at Whitehall Square because they believe
there are still Catholics living there," he said.

Sinn Féin councillor Alex Maskey said: "I had hoped this intimidation
had been brought to an end but unfortunately it seems there are still
people intent on stoking up sectarian tension.

"There are good people in Sandy Row and I would call on that
community to stand up and say this is wrong and that the flags should
be removed."

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