Belfast Telegraph

Brick bandits' threat to lives of children

By Paul Dykes
07 August 2004

LOYALIST paramilitaries are risking the lives of youngsters by getting them to steal masonry out of vacant Housing Executive homes awaiting redevelopment, it was claimed today.

In some cases, the houses are left with their inner walls "moving in the wind" on the brink of collapse.

A HE spokeswoman said this "brick banditry" had become a serious problem in areas where houses are bricked up pending demolition, and those doing it were taking huge risks.

In the latest incident, gangs of boys, possibly aged as young as 12, have been working their way through vacant HE houses in the Gainsborough Drive area on Belfast, within a stone's throw of York Road police station.

They can be seen stripping out items such as lintels, fireplaces, archway bricks and decorative brickwork and windows in broad daylight, often under the watchful eye of someone in a 4x4 vehicle with blacked out windows.

As some of these houses are still occupied, essential services including electricity remain live - further jeopardising the safety of the youthful bandits.

One woman told the Belfast Telegraph she came home from work on Thursday to find the rear wall of the adjoining property had collapsed after the boy thieves had taken key structural bricks away for sale.

"People who have to live here are having to put up with the consequences," Rebecca Doherty said.

"People have been using the area as a rubbish dump, and we are now getting vermin in our homes."

A PSNI spokesman stressed that police officers were concerned that lives would be lost.

Belfast Telegraph

Belfast festival first for Moderator

By Alf McCreary
07 August 2004

KEN Newell will tomorrow become the first Presbyterian Moderator to officially take part in the West Belfast Festival.

The Right Rev Newell will speak at St Oliver Plunkett's Church at 7.30pm on the topic "Imagining Belfast - My Kind of City."

The invitation to speak was issued by Fr Martin McGill, from the church, and also the organisers of the Festival.

Dr Newell, who was brought up on the Shore Road in North Belfast, is currently minister of Fitzroy Presbyterian Church, and his ministry has been noted for significant ecumenical outreach.

He has forged close ties with Fr Gerry Reynolds of Clonard Monastery, and both Fitzroy and Clonard have undertaken a number of important joint ecumenical initiatives.

Earlier this year Dr Newell created controversy when he invited the Catholic Primate, Dr Sean Brady, to attend the opening night of the Presbyterian General Assembly as his personal guest, along with the Church of Ireland Primate Archbishop Robin Eames and the then Methodist President, the Rev Jim Rea.

A Church spokesman told the Belfast Telegraph today: "Dr Newell regards this visit as another opportunity to address a wider audience and to put forward his views about developing friendships."

His address will be followed by a question and answer session.

Earlier this week the MP for Lagan Valley Jeffrey Donaldson, of the DUP, also addressed a meeting at the Festival.

The organisers of the festival expressed delight that Mr Newell is coming to speak.


Finucanes demand meeting with Blair over inquiry

The family of murdered North Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane has demanded a meeting with British prime minister Tony Blair over the stalling of the recommended public inquiry into his murder, the North Belfast News can reveal.
John Finucane revealed that a letter had been sent from the family over concerns by the family and the broad body of world human rights organisations over the stalling of the inquiry.
In April, retired Canadian Judge Peter Cory, recommended a full judicial inquiry into Pat Finucane’s murder by the UDA in 1989. There were delays in the British government publishing the report and the Finucane family have become increasingly concerned over what they say are the British government’s stalling tactics in carrying out Cory’s recommendations.
There have also been concerns raised over a watered down inquiry with limited scope.
“My family have recently asked for a meeting with Tony Blair so we can confront him personally as to our concerns and fears over more British delay,” he told an audience at the Landsdowne Hotel.
“We will go wherever we need to in order to fight for the truth.
“We will not stop until we achieve our goal, but we hope that one day, we will be able to stop because that will mean we achieved what we set out to achieve.”
John Finucane said the British state had pursued “an evil policy of collusion”.
Pat Finucane’s son was speaking at a special event held on collusion as part of the New Lodge Festival.
Former Belfast Mayor Alex Maskey also gave his personal account of the attack on his home in 1993 when North Belfast man Alan Lundy was shot dead.
“I can think of no other area that has been exposed to the murderous policy that is collusion more brutally than North Belfast,” John Finucane said.
“Over the years hundreds of people have lost their lives to British force, either directly or through proxy agents and killers in the loyalist gangs that have operated under their control. We want to know why so many people were allowed to die. Why collusion was a policy for so long, and to hold those accountable who introduced, maintained and covered up the intelligence networks.
“We simply ask for justice,” said Mr Finucane.
“The campaign that my family and I have engaged in is for the truth to emerge, for the British government to be held accountable.
“The only way this can be achieved is through a public, international judicial tribunal of inquiry that will fully examine all the evidence in my father’s case.
“Pat Finucane deserves no less than that, as do all of those murdered, wounded and bereaved by the state through its evil policy of collusion,” added Mr Finucane.

Journalist:: Staff Reporter


Community mourns death of ‘proud Ardoyne man’

The news of the death of republican activist and community legend Sean Colligan has left the community of Ardoyne in shock.
The father of three passed away last Tuesday, August 3, after a long battle with cancer. His great friend, Fr John Craven of Holy Cross Parish, was at his bedside when he died.
Sean Colligan will be remembered by many for his militancy during the early days of the Troubles in Ardoyne in 1969, and his lifelong commitment to the republican movement.
He will also be remembered with great respect for his role in the revival of the Ardoyne Fleadh Cheoil.
In January, 1990, Sean along with Eddie Donnelly decided enough was enough of August nationalist riots and bonfires, arrests and mayhem. It was time to revive the Fleadh and this time to make it more inclusive than ever before.
Eddie Donnelly recalled how the task of making the Ardoyne Fleadh into the shape it retains today did not daunt Sean Colligan.
“Sean was a very enthusiastic person, and when he set his sights on something, that was it, the job would get done.
“He could move mountains. Sometimes he trod on some toes, but he didn’t care. The end justified the means, and making the festival into a huge success was a priority for him.
“It has the line-up that you see now, including street parties, sport, plays, theatre. We attempted to involve every part of the community in it and it had to be free to all ages and groups. It was important that it was accessible to everybody.”
Eddie, who lives in Dundalk with his family, is originally from Ardoyne.
During the time when they worked together to get the Fleadh organised, Eddie remembered how Sean Colligan gave, not 100 per cent, but 110 per cent.
“He gave it his all. And if he gave 110 per cent, he expected you to do the same. Sean had endless energy and he gave it whole-heartedly.”
With key players such as Brendan Bradley, Brendan McMahon, Phil McTaggart, Eddie Donnelly, Sean Colligan, Margaret Scullion, Frank McCallum and Ronnie Quinn all on board, the team began to see results of their hard work pay off and soon through Des Fagan’s connections in the music industry, the Hothouse Flowers, Dolores Keane, and Frances Black were pencilled in.
Sean’s life changed forever in August, 1969, when the Troubles began in Ardoyne in earnest and being in the IRA during that time brought its own experiences. He became a defender of the area against the brutality of the RUC and B Specials.
“1969 is going to mean a lot of different things for different people but I know that as far as I was concerned it was all about defence and that meant there was a critical need to get guns,” Sean explained in the book, Ardoyne the Untold Truth.
“I was far from alone in that. Everybody wanted to get hold of guns to defend themselves. When the split in the Republican Movement came in 1970 who was going to be able to provide the means to defend the district was my first and only priority when I had to decide who to support.
“Defending your neighbours was what it was all about in Ardoyne. This is an area with militia mentality because of its geography. Our location dictated everything. We were surrounded and we had to stand up for ourselves because there was no one else to do it. That’s Ardoyne,”
Sean Colligan was later interned in Long Kesh and after that he was on the run for several years.
After a car accident in the 1970s, which severely damaged his legs, and a subsequent battle with alcohol in the 1980s, Sean began contributing an endless channel of enthusiasm into the community.
As Phil McTaggart explained, the Fleadh was the cornerstone for many projects in Ardoyne.
“The Fleadh was a brilliant structure of how community groups could work together, and today a lot of the work he kick-started is evident. He set up a lot of groups and brought them together. The likes of the Ardoyne Focus Group, the Oldpark Playgroup Committee and the mural projects were all born out of the Fleadh.”
Phil McTaggart, a co-ordinator of the suicide prevention group Pips, said that he had lost a great friend.
“When I joined the committee of the Ardoyne Fleadh, Sean took me under his wing and explained the lie of the land to me. He taught me an awful lot and he will be sadly missed in our community.
“All he wanted was the best for this community. He was a proud Ardoyne man and his tireless efforts in this community to break down barriers will not be forgotten.”
Sean’s stone carvings in Ardoyne are a little reminder of him, according to Eddie.
“He was a self-effacing man who did not want claps on the back or credit.
“Whatever project he was involved in, had to work and that was his ethos. We used to have differences of opinion all the time, but I think that was an indication of how strongly we both felt about this community.
“Sean Colligan was a dynamic man and not afraid to speak his mind. He wasn’t a back seat passenger and was the driving force behind some other fantastic work apart from the Fleadh – the North Belfast forum and work with the AA [Alcoholics Anonymous].”
Fr Gary Donegan, who will officiate at Sean’s funeral on Friday at 10am Mass in Holy Cross, said he was a man who was highly regarded.
“My colleague, Fr John, was a great friend of Sean’s and used to visit him twice a week. They knew each other for years, and as it happened John was with him when he passed away.
“Sean’s quality of life of late wasn’t great but around Christmas time when we learned about the increase in suicides, Sean attended a public meeting that was held to discuss it. Even at that stage he still wanted to be actively involved in the community and its problems.
“Sean will be badly missed and his family have a tremendous sense of loss even though they were prepared.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with them at this time,” added Fr Donegan

Journalist:: Staff Reporter


Ardoyne Fleadh Cheoil kicks off

It’s that time of year when there’s so much going on that your head spins. Yes it’s festival time and this weekend as one festival ends, another begins.
The Ardoyne Fleadh Cheoil begins in earnest on Saturday and will dish out a generous helping of fun, music and craic over an eight-day stretch.
At Holy Cross Church on Saturday evening at 7pm the now well-established pre-Fleadh Mass will be said by Father Ephraim in Irish.
There will be traditional music at the event as well as Irish dancing, and the offertory procession will be presented by Ardoyne Kickhams GAC.
On Sunday, August 8, the opening parade of the Fleadh will kick off at 11am. This year’s theme is ‘The Colours of Ireland’ and everyone is being encouraged to decorate their streets and themselves in the brightest colours possible. Prizes will be given out on the day for the best dressed.
On Monday, August 9, Marie Jones’ play, ‘A Night in November’ has been cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances. One of the play’s main actors has been hospitalised and unfortunately the show can’t go on.
But in its place, the organisers of the Fleadh have scheduled the hilarious sketch, ‘One flew over the Henrik Larsson’s Lounge’ to rock the rafters of Ardoyne Kickhams.
This play written by Scotsman Tom Sweeney has been receiving rave reviews since it went on the road.
Football they say is a game of two halves, and in similar fashion, this play is focused on a bunch of grumpy old men, half Celtic fans, half Rangers, who meet every day in their local to slag each other off. Then one day a practical joke backfires and mayhem descends on the Henrik Larsson Lounge.
We’ve been told book early for this one, although you can see it again on Thursday, August 12 as part of the Fleadh Comedy Night.
Children will get a chance every day to boogey their socks off at the Flax Centre Car Park. From 2-4pm and 8-10pm on Sunday to Thursday there’ll be jokes, music and of course the Stars in Their Eyes competition for people to look forward to. DJ Slick will be there and admission is free.
Lastly look out for lots of Italians and French musicians. They will be playing on the main stage at the weekend and will be holding a music demonstration and workshop on Thursday, August 12, at the Fleadh office at 2pm.

Journalist:: Staff Reporter


South Belfast PSNI head complaints statistics

The public have made more complaints and allegations about the South Belfast PSNI than any other district command unit in the north.

The 2003-04 Police Ombudsman's annual report published this week reveals that almost 150 complaints and 430 allegations have been made about the conduct of officers based in the south of the city.

The nature of the complaints and allegations range from malpractice and oppressive behaviour to racial discrimination and incivility.

Officers based at Musgrave Street are the worst offenders with 41 per cent of the South Belfast complaint total centring on the station. A further 30 per cent of complaints were levelled against officers at Donegall Pass, 23 per cent against those sited at Lisburn Road and six per cent against the Ballynafeigh PSNI.

Sinn Féin MLA Alex Maskey believes the reason South Belfast has the highest complaint and allegation statistics in the north is because the public are more likely to engage with the PSNI in the south of the city.

"The more people try and work with the PSNI the more disappointment they encounter," said Mr Maskey.

"Only last week we had a Bangladeshi family forced from the Village following 30 attacks on their home. I'm sure they registered a complaint as did many Ballynafeigh residents whose homes have been repeatedly burgled over the past year.

"It's a damning indictment of the PSNI when you consider South Belfast has the highest crime levels and complaint rates despite residents’ willingness to work with the police."

The Police Ombudsman's report reveals that 41 per cent of those who complained about PSNI misconduct over the past year were Catholic, 35 per cent were Protestant and 21 per cent from other or no religions.

The vast majority of complaints (80 per cent) were made by males, with a quarter coming from between the 16-25 years age group.

A spokesperson for the Police Ombudsman said it provided an independent and impartial complaints service for members of the public about the conduct of police officers in Northern Ireland.

Journalist:: Staff Reporter


Smyth addresses White Rule event

South Belfast MP Rev Martin Smyth has appeared as guest speaker at an event organised by a group that supports the re-imposition of white rule in Africa.

The Ulster Unionist MP has defended his decision to address members of the Northern Ireland Springbok Club at a ceremony in London in June.

Rev Smyth gave a talk on the achievements of the British Empire claiming that, in spite of some failings, it was one of the greatest ever forces for good in the world.

The controversial Springbok Club was formed in 1996 following a merger between the White Rhino Club and the Rhodesian Forum. The group flies the old South African apartheid flag at its meetings and refuses to accept the country's new inclusive symbols.

In a speech to party activists in 2000 leading member AD Harvey said it was quite clear where the group's sympathies lie.

"If there is any ambiguity in anyone's mind then the presence of the real South African flag on our logo should leave no one in any doubt," he said.

"In a nutshell our policy can be summed up in one sentence; we want our countries back and believe this can only come about by the re-establishment of civilised European rule throughout the African continent."

The Anti-Racism Network's Davy Carlin said he was deeply disappointed by Martin Smyth's decision to address the Springbok Club.

"Martin Smyth should be standing shoulder to shoulder with those who oppose racism," said the equality campaigner.

"At a time when racist attacks in South Belfast are at an all-time high it is a contradiction for Rev Smyth to, on one hand condemn attacks then attend a dinner hosted by the Springbok Club."

The African Cultural Society's Tura Artura explained how the Rhodesian Forum, which later merged to form the Springbok Club, often attracted white supremacists.

"I grew up in Zimbabwe during colonial times when the country was known as Rhodesia," said Tura. "The outlook of the Rhodesian Forum was to impose white rule on my country. It concerns me that former members of this group are now active within the Springbok Club."

Defending his decision to address the Springbok Club, a spokesman for Rev Martin Smyth said people of all colours and creeds attended his talk.
"As far as Rev Smyth is concerned the Springbok Club has nothing to do with white supremacy," said the spokesman.

"There were people of all colours and religions at his talk. During his 22 years as South Belfast MP Rev Smyth has been an avid opponent of racism."

Journalist:: Staff Reporter


Ardoyne man denies informer claims

An Ardoyne man with links to dissident republicans has denied being a PSNI informer.

David White decided to speak out after claiming sections of the media were putting his life in danger by trying to give the impression he is a supergrass.

The 39-year-old is currently facing charges of conspiring to cause an explosion at a motor tax office, making an improvised bomb, possessing gunpowder and membership of the Real IRA. The charges relate to incidents in Belfast city centre last year.

While on remand in Maghaberry prison in May, David White experienced difficulties getting transferred to the Real IRA Row House wing.

He was eventually moved there after staging a 12-day hunger strike.

At the time it was reported that prisoners within Row House objected to David White's transfer. The Irish Republican Prisoners’ Welfare Association’s failure to assist the North Belfast man increased speculation that there had been a fall out among dissident republicans.

However, Mr White insists reports of conflict between Real IRA prisoners and speculation that he is a PSNI informer are totally false.

"I want to state categorically that I am not and never have been a PSNI informer," said Mr White.

"Recent media reports focusing on my hunger strike gave the impression that dissident republicans did not want me on their wing, and this may have led to people wrongly assuming that I am a tout.

“I did have problems getting a transfer to Row House in Maghaberry but it had nothing to do with prisoners on the wing trying to block my move. It was the prison authorities who were causing the problems, however that has now been sorted.

“I want to clear my name and assure my community I am not an informer,” added David White.

Journalist:: Ciaran Barnes



Newton Emerson
Irish News

I am through the Broadway Roundabout and heading for the Boucher Road before I see them, so suddenly I am upon them. Three traffic cones stolen from the roadworks block my path and 10 little boys crowd around my car.

They are a boisterous blur of new sportswear, gold jewellery,
baseball caps and elaborate hard man haircuts – little copies of
their half-remembered fathers.

The middle-class do not dress their offspring like this: we can't
afford it... which is not to say that these children come from
working-class families.

Behind the Boucher Road, the streets of the Village itself will be
strangely quiet on this perfect Saturday evening as such families
keep their children indoors.

The junior sentries confronting me now are, instead, foot soldiers of
the underclass and I make no apology for using that term – in fact I
must insist on it, to distinguish them from their neighbours and
principal victims.

"You'll have to turn back mate," says the tallest of the boys through
my open window.

"We're bricking the cars up there." He says it much as you might
say 'We're painting the bathroom' – matter of fact, with just a hint
of satisfaction in a job well done.

He is eight. This is child abuse, pure and simple.

Not 100 yards from here his mother is kicking back on a leather sofa
enjoying her first Bacardi Breezer of the late afternoon.

Like all her class she would be furious at the suggestion that she is
an abusive parent, for paedophiles enrage the sentimentality that
passes for her intelligence.

Yet this mother, and nine just like her, have allowed their precious
darlings out to play 'Motorway Riot' for the second night in a row.

Worse, they have actually sent them out in 'protest' at a police
search the previous day.

While the others keep watch, three of the boys explain the rules of
their new game.

I am the age their fathers must be, so the instinct to gain my
approval outweighs the urge to deprive me of my car.

As they talk excitedly over each other, a surreal atmosphere of
innocence enters the general air of menace: in their expressions and
mannerisms, in their interaction with each other, these are still
recognisably little boys having fun and that realisation is

It is not too late for them but soon it will be, for the adults they
look to for guidance see nothing wrong in sending children out to
fight their battles for them.

Last week Patrick Lismore of Republican Sinn Féin appealed to 'the
youth' to rise up against the Good Friday Agreement. What a noble

I say a cautious goodbye to my three new 'mates', reverse onto the M1
and phone the police.

"How many are there?" asks the duty sergeant – and the poor scale of
the turnout sinks in.

There are 5,000 people in the lower end of The Village.

At the height of the previous night's rioting just 40 children took

This is no mass uprising but it is enough to bring the centre of
Belfast to a standstill, for the underclass hold the real veto in
Northern Ireland. We allow them to use the mechanisms of peace as
engines of war.

We listen to their contrived grievances, oblivious

to the fact that they would be lost without them.

We indulge their persecution of others – Protestants, Catholics,
immigrants, students, motorists – as they search for some outside
force to blame for their own squalor.

We let violent criminals terrify decent people into silence, then
appoint them for that very reason as spokesmen for their community.

Last night (Wednesday) the police called on just
such 'representatives' to "use their influence", although their
influence is the cause of the problem.

This morning Ruth Patterson, DUP sheriff of Belfast, blamed "heavy-
handed policing" for provoking the situation.

So the search begins again for a grievance to address and an outside
force to blame, which will distinguish this summer's rioting at the
Broadway roundabout from last summer's rioting at the Broadway
roundabout. Otherwise it might look as if some people in the Village
simply enjoy the attention that comes from violence, intimidation and
child abuse – and that would never do.

Meanwhile the 99% of the district's population not involved in the
disturbances may just keep their heads down.

Out of respect for their working-class community, we middle-class
people must not acknowledge the existence of a parasitic underclass
in their midst – although we wouldn't tolerate it in our own midst
for a second.

How did we reach the point where 10 lost boys can hold the gates of a
city to ransom?

The Northern Ireland peace process is an incredibly sophisticated,
generous and flexible system of rolling accommodation but an unspoken
promise of perfection may yet prove its fatal flaw.

Universal accommodation is impossible.

There will always be people among us prepared to man road blocks with

But they are small in number and perhaps, after 10 years of patient
progress, that number is as small as can be expected.

In the Village, in the Ardoyne, in the UVF, in Republican Sinn Féin,
it is the lowest common denominator that divides us.

We must prepare to write them out of the equation.

August 6, 2004


Danny Morrison - Irish Republican News - Ciaran Ferry

**Posted at Danny Morrison.ie

Ciarán Ferry Update

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

The lawyer for Ciarán Ferry, Eamonn Dornan was interviewed by Radio Free Eireann on 7/24/04

To listen, scroll down towards the middle of the webpage and CLICK ON:
Saturday RFE 7-24-04


*Please note, the latest update as of today: Homeland Security had a deadline of August 4th to make a determination whether to release Ciarán from jail or to produce a written statement on why they are continuing to
hold him. To the best of our knowledge, they have not responded yet. Ciarán's legal team and defense committee are actively following up on this new development. Eamonn Dornan said, "Homeland Security has failed to meet
its lawful obligations. This is yet another breach of Ciarán's constitutional rights to due process and a further illegal restriction of his liberties".

Deanna Turner
Irish Deportees of America Committee


Apprentice Boys blocked from marching in Belfast

06/08/2004 - 17:24:19

A bitterly opposed Protestant parade was tonight barred from going past nationalist homes in north Belfast.

Members of the Apprentice Boys wanted to march through the flashpoint Ardoyne district next week.

But amid fears of new trouble after sectarian rioting erupted in the area last month, Northern Ireland’s Parades Commission blocked the procession.

A determination issued tonight said: “The Commission has cause to believe that should the parade process without restriction there will be an adverse effect on fragile community relations, and potential for public disorder.”

One band and the Ligoniel Walkers Club branch of the loyal order had applied to parade past the Ardoyne shops before travelling to Londonderry to join the main demonstration on August 14.

Although the march has been trouble-free in recent years, the violence at Ardoyne during Orange Order Twelfth of July celebrations had a major bearing on the decision.

More than 20 police officers were injured in Belfast’s worst riots for two years as nationalist youths went on the rampage when loyalists were forced through the area.

A brief statement issued by the Apprentice Boys Association hit out at the ruling.

It said: “It would seem that the Parades Commission has once again capitulated to the threat of violence in Belfast and across the country.

“A full statement will be issued once the content of today’s determinations have been fully digested.”

But Sinn Féin, which had vowed to oppose the procession along with nationalist residents, insisted a sensible decision had been taken which must not be changed by the authorities.

The republican party’s north Belfast MLA, Gerry Kelly, said: “The community in Ardoyne is still very angry at the way the PSNI and Northern Ireland Office overturned the Parades Commission ruling and forced an Orange Order parade and their unionist paramilitary supporters through this area.

“It would have been wrong of the Parades Commission to add insult to injury by allowing the Apprentice Boys to come down this road.

“This was the only sensible decision to make. There should be no acquiescence to threats of violence from the Orange Order or Unionist paramilitaries.”



Adams: Remove IRA as 'excuse'

Gerry Adams made the comments to the BBC

Republicans need to be prepared to remove the IRA and the issue of IRA arms as an excuse for unionists to block political progress in Northern Ireland, Gerry Adams has said.

But the Sinn Fein president said the republican leadership would only be empowered to do that if there was a context in which they could make progress.

Speaking to the BBC on Wednesday, Mr Adams said he did not see the IRA doing that of its own volition but only as part of an "ongoing process of sustainable change".

He said if there was not such a process then there "would be great difficulties".

"I personally feel that while there are justifiable fears within unionism about the IRA and while people have concerns about the IRA, I think political unionism uses the IRA and the issue of IRA arms as a excuse," he said.

"I think that republicans need to be prepared to remove that as an excuse.

"But we who are in leadership will only be empowered to do so if there is a context in which we can make progress."

The political institutions in the province were suspended in October 2002 amid allegations of IRA intelligence gathering at the Northern Ireland Office.

The issue of ongoing paramilitary activity remains a major obstacle to restoring devolution with Northern Ireland's largest party, the Democratic Unionists, adamant that the IRA must wind down if they are ever to share power with Sinn Fein.

"I believe that if the IRA wanted to decommission all its weapons tomorrow it could do it."
Jeffrey Donaldson

Democratic Unionist assembly member Ian Paisley Junior said it was actions from the IRA, not Mr Adams' words, that counted.

The North Antrim MLA said: "Mr Adams and the IRA need to come to terms with the fact that unionism will not accept anything less than serious, substantial and conclusive action from the IRA.

"Yes we do have justifiable fears about the IRA and they must be assuaged."

Mr Paisley said the IRA and its stockpile of weapons and involvement in criminal activity and paramilitarism must disappear, "not just because it was a demand for unionists".

He said all those elements had to disappear because it was the right thing to do.

The Stormont government has been suspended since 2002

Meanwhile, a former IRA prisoner has challenged the DUP MP, Jeffrey Donaldson, over his attitude to decommissioning.

Seanna Walsh, who was arrested in 1988 in connection with a home made bomb, questioned the Lagan Valley MP during an event at the West Belfast Festival on Wednesday.

He said decommissioning was a "red herring" because people could always get more weapons if they wanted to.

However, Mr Donaldson insisted decommissioning was an essential element of the peace process.

'Abandon paramilitarism'

"Whether people like it or not, the unionist community does not trust the IRA because of what has been visited upon them by the IRA over 30 years.

"We need to see the weaponry being dealt with in a credible verifiable way, within a defined timescale.

"I would prefer it to be dealt with as soon as possible, preferably before the end of 2004."

Last month, Mr Donaldson said unionists would guarantee the stability of political institutions in Northern Ireland if republicans abandoned paramilitarism for good.

Intensive negotiations are set to take place in September in an attempt to get devolution restored in Northern Ireland.

An Phoblacht

UDA bombers target Ligoniel

The UDA's sectarian campaign against the nationalist community of Ligoniel in North Belfast was stepped up on Tuesday 3 August when the unionist paramilitary group left a bomb at the home of a young family.

A pipe bomb was found outside the Ligoniel Road home of a Catholic couple and their children, aged two and three, respectively.

The family were in the house when the device, which was said to have been ready to explode, was discovered. A controlled explosion was carried out by members of a British Army bomb disposal squad.

Sinn Féin Councillor Eoin Ó Broin said the family's home has been attacked by unionist paramilitaries before. This latest sectarian attack comes a week after An Phoblacht highlighted the ongoing sectarian campaign being waged by loyalists against this small isolated community.

In the two-week period before the 12th, Orange Order supporters, sometimes accompanied by well known unionist gunmen, blockaded the single road into Ligoniel. Vehicles travelling into the district were attacked, while a number of Catholics were attacked while travelling home on buses.

"The PSNI turn a blind eye and they say they don't have the resources to protect Catholics who are being attacked as they drive through," said one resident. "Unionist thugs know our cars and they attack us with bricks and bottles. The PSNI do nothing and won't even say these attacks are sectarian."

An Phoblacht

Derry used by PSNI for weapons training

Sinn Féin says the PSNI is using Derry City as a weapons training ground after the force again used the controversial CS spray in the city on Saturday 31 July.

A number of people were injured when members of the PSNI sprayed nationalists returning home from a night out. The CS spray was used at around 2.05am in Sackville Street and again at 2.30am in William Street.

Sinn Féin Councillor Paul Fleming said he believed the PSNI are using Derry as a training ground for new weaponry.

"This is the second time in a number of weeks that the PSNI have used this noxious weapon in controversial circumstances against the people of this city," said Fleming. He added that the use of the weapon in Derry stands in total contrast to the PSNI's response to rioting by loyalists in the Village area of South Belfast at the weekend, where no such measure was deemed necessary.

"The SDLP, who sit on the Policing Board and sanctioned the use of this weapon, must state why they have allowed the citizens of Derry to again become human guinea pigs for the PSNI," said Fleming.

The Police Ombudsman is currently investigating the use of CS spray by the PSNI in Derry in early July, when one man was treated for serious burns to his face and neck.

An Phoblacht

Loyalists riot after PSNI raids

Serious rioting broke out in the loyalist Village area of South Belfast on Friday night 30 July after the PSNI arrested two men in connection with racist attacks orchestrated by unionist paramilitaries.

The men were arrested after the PSNI carried out raids on homes in Glenmachan Street and took a number of items for forensic examination.

Gangs of loyalists then gathered at the Donegall Road and stoned passing motorists. The nearby Broadway roundabout and the Westlink were closed to traffic during the trouble, which lasted 90 minutes.

One of those arrested was later released without charge, while the other was freed pending a report to the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Ironically, the violence flared just hours after community groups in the Village launched a summer festival aimed at improving the image of the area, which has seen 90 racist attacks carried out against ethnic minorities this year alone.

Pressure has been growing on unionist political and community leaders to take a pro-active role in combating these increasing numbers of racist and sectarian attacks.

The six-day festival is being organised by the Greater Village Regeneration Trust (GVRT), which covers an area stretching along the lowere Donegall Road and south to Tates Avenue. GVRT chair Tommy Morrow said the festival was a direct response to the increasing number of racist attacks.

Meanwhile, in response to a second night of trouble on Saturday evening, the PSNI sealed off Glenmachan Street, prompting the DUP's Ruth Patterson, chair of the Belfast District Policing Partnership, to say "the people of the Village area were frustrated by the policing operation".

Ignoring the wider issue of the racist attacks, she said: "It appears the PSNI went into the area in quite a heavy handed way and that sparked off disturbances."

Belfast Telegraph

SDLP demands parades group ban for Ardoyne

By Noel McAdam, Political Correspondent
05 August 2004

The SDLP today demanded that the Parades Commission ban an Apprentice Boys parade from the Ardoyne on Saturday week.

Upper Ardoyne residents, however, backed the rights of the Royal Black Institution and a band to march in the mainly nationalist Ardoyne, Mountainview and Dales area.

SDLP councillor Martin Morgan said he personally wanted a moratorium on all parades in the area until new legislation boosts Commission powers to deal with march supporters and the Loyalist Forum meets nationalist residents.

"The Orange and Black Orders and Apprentice Boys really have to understand they must take responsibility for bringing people out onto the streets," the former Belfast Lord Mayor added.

"Any parade that came after the events of the Twelfth of July was bound to be affected. It is not suffering because of the people of Ardoyne who are very angry over how they were treated."

Mr Morgan, who was accompanied this afternoon at a Commission meeting by party colleague Alex Attwood and Councillor Margaret Walsh, also denied his party was playing "catch-up" with Sinn Fein, which met the Commission yesterday.

"It is purely a matter of timetabling. We met the Commission three days after July 12 when Sinn Fein were outside, protesting," he said.

After their hour-long meeting, Sinn Fein called on the Apprentice Boys to voluntarily re-route away from Ardoyne on August 14.

Belfast Telegraph

SF man reveals past doubts on truce

05 August 2004

A senior Sinn Fein strategist today revealed that he had deep doubts over the IRA ceasefire 10 years ago.

Long-time activist Jim Gibney spoke publicly for the first time of his misgivings and inner turmoil.

He said on the day of the ceasefire he was near tears on a journey from Dublin to Belfast and unable to face a party meeting.

Mr Gibney was speaking at a discussion event 'Recalling the Ceasefire' in the West Belfast Festival this afternoon organised by the Falls Community Council.

He and fellow senior member Tom Hartley were at a party planning meeting in Dublin when news of the 1994 IRA ceasefire broke.

"The meeting ended quickly and as I listened to the radio on the journey the emotional reaction in me was quite overwhelming. I wasn't in tears, but they were suppressed.

"It was an earthquake in how it shook me up. My head told me what the IRA had done was right but my head said, well, not so much it was wrong but, unsure.

"On the Sunday I felt a real compulsion to go down to the Republican Plot (in Milltown cemetery) where I quietly remembered all the young volunteers I knew who had died. I felt a real sense of emptiness.

"It took me some time to become convinced that we were on the right path. It was such a turnaround and there had been no real preparation for it."


Right to buy scheme halt set to disadvantage nationalist buyers

Proposed changes to a scheme that allows Housing Executive tenants to buy their own home have come under severe criticism from local MLA Fra McCann.

In May of this year the Department of Social Development commissioned a consultation process to look at the way social housing stock is sold off to tenants.

The scheme will also look at the possibility of allowing tenants to purchase Housing Association homes.

Since the Right to Buy scheme was launched in 1979 over 150,000 homes have been sold to Executive tenants here.

The scheme has been hailed a success for allowing low-income families to get a foot on the property ladder.

Fra McCann said the scheme was also successful in other ways. “Research has shown that when a number of families in any one estate purchase their homes the level of anti-social behaviour is reduced.

“As tenants become home owners they take pride in their area, this has a knock-on effect.

“Also when the homes come up for resale they are significantly cheaper than privately owned stock and so provide an opportunity for first time buyers to get their foot on the property ladder.”

However, since May of this year all house sales have been put on hold while the consultation takes place.

It is this, and the changes to the amount of discount that tenants are entitled to, that has outraged the West Belfast MLA.

Fra McCann said the consultation is nothing more than a smoke screen and he believes the department plans to force through changes regardless of the outcome.

“Since May of this year the tenants right to buy their home has been put on hold while this consultation takes place,” said Fra.

“This is unprecedented, it is normal to complete a consultation before making any changes.

“The department seems to be intent on forcing through change - regardless of whatever the outcome of the consultation process is.”

And Fra added that it would be nationalist householders who would be hardest hit by the changes.

“Pressure for housing in nationalist areas of Belfast is far greater in comparison to the demand for housing within unionist areas.

“This is also reflected in house prices.

“By putting a cap on the amount of discount that long-term tenants are entitled to, the scheme is making it almost 50 per cent more expensive to buy a home in a nationalist area.

“The amount of rates that those home owners pay will also be far greater as it will be determined by the value of their property.”

Fra has called on the DSD to increase the amount of new-builds to cope with demand, rather than make changes to the Right to Buy scheme.

“Few would deny that there is a shortage of social housing, but the way to deal with this is to ensure a proper and effective new-build scheme, not by penalising those who aspire to own their home.”

Journalist:: Allison Morris


World Heritage bid for Long Kesh site

Lisburn Councillor Paul Butler has called for the vacant Long Kesh prison to be recognised by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

The groundbreaking move by the former H-Block prisoner could see the historic site recognised globally alongside Robben Island and Auschwitz.

Cllr Butler’s proposal emerged as Coiste na n-Íarchimí held a public meeting on its plans for a peace campus, incorporating a museum, at the Long Kesh site.

Among the participants at Conway Mill were leading academics Louise Purbrick from Brighton University and Gerard Corsane from Newcastle University.

Mr Corsane is the former co-ordinator for the Robben Island training programme that seeks to fast-track professional training in museum skills for young black South Africans.

Mr Corsane identified a range of benefits that accrued from the transformation of Robben Island into a museum and conference centre – not least “the role of Robben Island in nation-building”.

He also said that the island has become “a significant site in terms of the revision of history and it made a lot of South Africans realise that while there was an official history, there were also repressed histories”.

“Robben Island is a symbol for human rights and reconciliation, and although it is a contested site it has played a crucial role in challenging key issues around human rights.”

Mr Corsane warned that any museum at Long Kesh would have to “strike a balance between turning it into a product and the poly-vocality of the process” of representing history.

Historian Louise Purbrick told the meeting that “it is really, really hard to underestimate the need for the force of evidence to understand a conflict”.
“Museums are part of that process of making things real.

“Long Kesh is evidence of conflict. How it is then interpreted is up to people here,” she said.

Ms Purbrick suggested that a museum at Long Kesh could act as a starting point for conflict resolution.

“I do feel that the significance of a building is related to its importance to the community.

“What I want to suggest is that preserving the actual site where that history happened is an important process.”

She said that the cultural challenge of the formation of a museum does in itself make the end result “more egalitarian, more equal, more productive and more progressive”.

Mike Ritchie, Director of Coiste na n-Íarchimí, pledged that the group’s peace campus proposal would be inclusive and progressive.

The plan encompasses proposals for a museum, a conflict resolution centre, an administrative and convention centre, and a peace park.

Each element is designed to facilitate the needs of historical demands, educational and learning needs, political opportunities, and support for victims and survivors.

Now Sinn Féin’s Paul Butler believes that the future of the site can best be served through an application to UNESCO.

“The site of Long Kesh should now be recognised as a World Heritage Site, and we in Sinn Féin believe that such a submission should now be made.

“In terms of the history of the site, it is as important to Ireland as Robben Island is to South Africa.

“I have also approached the Department of the Environment’s Heritage Service in a bid to ensure the site is preserved.

“While this matter is being processed at present, and the Department of the Environment have approached the matter with an open mind, it is vitally important from a historic and cultural perspective that this happens,” said Cllr Butler.

Journalist:: Jarlath Kearney


Derry Journal

Unionist Silence Over Castlereagh Slammed

Tuesday 3rd August 2004

Sinn Fein Assembly member Raymond McCartney has challenged senior unionist politicians to give an opinion on the ongoing Castlereagh security scandal.

Mr. McCartney said: "The ongoing silence of the British government in the face of this developing security scandal centred on Castlereagh and spy posts in nationalist areas has been matched by the silence of unionist politicians.

"This approach is in stark contrast to previous events in Castlereagh when the British alleged republicans were involved in gathering intelligence.

"Then the unionist politicians demanded full disclosure. They demanded compensation for those allegedly put at risk. They of course collapsed the political institutions on the basis of briefings from discredited British sources."

He continued: "However since the details of this scandal began to emerge no senior unionist politician has spoken. Their hypocrisy is clear.

"It is becoming fairly obvious that they have little interest in the lives of nationalists and republicans being put at risk. They have little interest in the RIR being investigated for colluding with unionist paramilitaries."

He went on: "The British government who are leading the cover-up and the unionist parties who are assisting them in it need to realise that this issue like Brian Nelson before will not simply go away.

"Nationalists know only to well the reality of collusion and the effects it can have on an entire community.

"Sinn FÈin will continue to raise this issue with the two governments until the truth about this scandal emerges and those currently in danger are informed."

::: u.tv :::



A 20-strong crowd which took part in a vicious sectarian attack in Carrickfergus last week-end was described in the High Court today as a "lynch mob."

Three Catholic families were forced to leave their homes as a result of the attack, said Crown lawyer David Hopley.

He was opposing bail applications by three Carrickfergus men accused of intimidation, causing grievous bodily harm and criminal damage.

The accused are: Norman Hendry, aged 42, from The Hollies, Philip Wills, 25, of Dean Park, and James Brown, 18, of Minorca Drive.

Mr Hopley said Hendry and Christopher Kearney, 23, were involved in a fight outside an off-licence in Irish Quarter West last Saturday.

He said Mr Kearney, a Roman Catholic, then went to the home of his friend Aaron Fay at Thomas Street.

About half an hour later a mob of 20 plus men forced their way into the house and viciously assaulted Mr Kearney.

At one stage he was held spread-eagled on the ground while Hendry punched him.

"The crowd hurled all manner of things, including a TV and video, at Mr Kearney," said Mr Hopley.

"They broke kitchen chairs over him and he was thrown out through a kitchen window. As he lay on the ground Hendry sat on his face and pushed it into broken glass

"Sectarian abuse was also hurled at Mr Kearney and sectarian threats were made to his sister Lisa Magill. She was told that if she did not move they would burn her out of Carrick. The householder Mr Fay was also attacked.

"This was a vicious sectarian attack and there seems to be some festering history involving a football team," added Mr Hopley.

"This was a lynch mob that arrived to attack Mr Kearney and he was badly beaten. As a result of this attack three families have been forced to leave their homes."

Mr Hopley said Mr Kearney`s injuries included a broken nose, fractured cheek bone and cuts and bruises on most of his body.

Lawyers for all three accused said they denied taking part in the attack.

It was claimed that Hendry and Wills were not even present as they were in their own homes, Hendry recovering from injuries received when he was allegedly assaulted by Mr Kearney.

Mr Justice Sheil said it was with considerable hesitation that he was granting bail.

"This kind of mob behaviour is disgreaceful in any society," he said, and added:

"What their role in this incident was will be a matter for
their trial."

He released the defendants on bail of £750 each and ordered them to reside at addresses well away from Carrickfergus pending the outcome of the case.


**This came in the mail from IRA2 . Thanks to everyone for posting all around :-)



Kevin Haddick Flynn on the Irishman who suffered the last public hanging in Britain


Throughout the Kingdom, among high and low,
A great excitement has long been caused,
Of a dreadful crime - horrible to tell
The fatal explosion at Clerkenwell.
... ...
Out of the seven they for the crime did try,
One Michael Barrett was condemned to die.
... ...
Patrick Mullany was a witness made,
A military tailor, he was by trade;
To save himself, he evidence gave,
Which he his neck has saved.
... ...
The informers swore, and others beside,
When the prisoners, all at the bar was tried,
That by Michael Barrett the deed was done,
And from the spot did to Scotland run.
... ...
He was taken in Glasgow and to London brought,
He says of the crime he never thought,
He would not be guilty of such a deed,
But he was convicted, as we may read.
... ...
Though Michael Barrett is condemned to die,
The dreadful deed he strongly does deny,
There is one above who all secrets know,
He can tell whether Barrett is guilty or no.
... ...
We hope all men will a warning take,
And long remember poor Barrett's fate;
We find it difficult throughout the land,
For man to even trust his fellow man.
... ...
A dreadful tale we'll have long to tell,
The fatal explosion at Clerkenwell.
... ...

THE FENIAN movement was one of the most important revolutionary movements to challenge the British Empire in the 19th century. It dominated Irish popular politics in the 1860’s and defied the anathemas of the Catholic Church and the condemnations of middle–class nationalists who advocated milder approaches.

Thousands of young Irishmen in both Ireland and Britain were recruited into its ranks; one of these was a young man from Co. Fermanagh who paid the highest price. This was 27–year old Michael Barrett, the last man to be publicly hanged in Britain. A commemoration was recently held in the City of London Cemetery, Manor Park, to mark his burial there over a 100 years ago.

Barrett was executed outside the walls of Newgate Prison on 26 May 1868 before a crowd of two thousand who booed, jeered and sang Rule Britannia and Champagne Charlie as the body dropped.

Months earlier, he had been arrested in Glasgow for illegally discharging a firearm and false evidence was used to implicate him in the Clerkenwell prison explosion which occurred the previous December. At the time it was widely believed that he was innocent and had been arrested to mollify a demand for vengeance against the Irish community.

In court, he produced witnesses who testified that he had been in Scotland on the date of the incident. The main case against him rested on the evidence of Patrick Mullany (a Dubliner who had given false testimony before and whose price was a free passage to Australia) who told the court that Barrett had informed him that he had carried out the explosion with an accomplice by the name of Murphy. The jury was out for two hours and in spite of the lack of corroboration pronounced Barrett guilty.

One of the trial lawyers, Montague Williams, wrote:

“On looking at the dock, one’s attention was attracted by the appearance of Barrett, for whom I must confess I felt great commiseration. He was a square–built fellow, scarcely five feet eight in height and dressed like a well–to–do farmer. This resemblence was increased by the frank, open, expression on his face. A less murderous countenance than Barrett’s I have not seen. Good humour was latent in his every feature and he took the greatest interest in the proceedings.”

The Clerkenwell bombing was the most serious action carried out by the Fenians in Britain and sparked hostility against the Irish community which took years to abate. It arose from the arrest in November 1867 of Richard O’Sullivan–Burke, a senior Fenian arms agent and the mastermind behind the sensational ‘prison–van rescue’ at Manchester a few months earlier. He was incarcerated in Clerkenwell Prison and on December 13th an attempt to rescue him was made by blowing a hole in the prison wall. The explosion was seriously misjudged; it demolished not only a large section of the wall, but also a row of tenament houses opposite. Twelve people were killed and over fifty injured.

The disaster had a traumatic effect on British working–class opinion. Karl Marx, then living in London, observed:

“The London masses, who have shown great sympathy towards Ireland, will be made wild and driven into the arms of a reactionary government. One cannot expect the London proletarians to allow themselves to be blown up in honour of Fenian emissaries.”

The Radical, Clarles Bradlaugh, condemned the incident in his newspaper The National Reformer as an act “calculated to destroy all sympathy, and to evoke the opposition of all classes”. Certainly it rallied public opinion behind a Tory government that was increasingly concerned by the revolutionary threat that the Fenians posed in Britain, let alone in Ireland.

The day before the explosion, the prime minister, Disraeli, banned all political demonstrations in London in an attempt to put a stop to the weekly meetings and marches that were being held in support of the Fenians. He had feared that the ban might be challenged, but the explosion turned public opinion very much in his favour.

After the explosion he advocated the suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act in Britain, as was already the case in Ireland. Greater security measures were quickly introduced. Thousands of special constables were enrolled to aid the police and at Scotland Yard a special secret service department was established to meet the Fenian threat. Although a number of people were arrested and brought to trial, Michael Barrett was the only one to receive the death sentence.

Queen Victoria was outraged that only one man went to the gallows. She urged that in future, instead of being brought to trial, Irish suspects should be ‘lynch–lawed’on the spot. Before he was sentenced Barrett spoke from the dock. The next day the Daily Telegraph reported that he

“...delivered a most remarkable speech, criticising with great acuteness the evidence against him, protesting that he had been condemned on insufficient grounds, and eloquently asserting his innocence”.

Following the sentence, many people, including a number of Radical MPs, pressed for clemency. In Fermanagh, Barrett’s aged mother trudged several miles in the snow to appeal to the local Unionist MP, Captain Archdale, a staunch Orangeman, who, predictably, rejected her.

On May 27th, following the execution, Reynold’s News commented:

“Millions will continue to doubt that a guilty man has been hanged at all; and the future historian of the Fenian panic may declare that Michael Barrett was sacrificed to the exigencies of the police, and the vindication of the good Tory principle, that there is nothing like blood”.

It should be mentioned that the disaster at Clerkenwell had one positive result; it concentrated British minds on the seriousness and urgency of the 'Irish question'. Within days of the explosion, the Liberal leader, William E. Gladstone, then in Opposition, announced his concern about Irish grievances and said that it was the duty of the British people to remove them. Later, he said that it was the Fenian action at Clerkenwell that turned his mind towards Home Rule.

Prior to its transfer to the City of London Cemetery, Michael Barrett’s remains lay for thirty–five years in a lime grave inside the walls of Newgate Prison. When the prison was demolished in 1903 it was taken to its present resting place. Today the grave is a place of Irish pilgrimage and is marked by a small plaque.


Residents to oppose loyal march

Nationalists in the Ardoyne area of north Belfast say they will oppose a loyal order march through the area later this month.

Residents held a public meeting on Tuesday evening to discuss concerns about the Apprentice Boys parade after rioting followed an Orange Order parade in the area last month.

One band and the Ligoneil Walker Club consisting of 55 marchers have applied to parade past the Ardoyne shops before boarding buses for the main demonstration in Londonderry on 14 August.

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams is to meet the Parades Commission to discuss the issue on Wednesday.

The march has passed off without major incident in recent years, but events during the return leg of a feeder parade on the Twelfth of July, has hardened the mood against any loyal order parade.

Residents spokesperson Ger McGuigan said he was not convinced the protest could pass off peacefully if the parade was handled in a similar fashion to the demonstration last month.

"I think there will be a very, very, large protest against it," he said.

"The people of Ardoyne have been treated badly enough and they are not prepared to stand by and let it happen again."

More than 20 police officers were injured when nationalist youths clashed with the security forces after Orange Order supporters were allowed through the area last month.

The parade had been restricted by the Parades Commission which ruled that only lodge members and marshals could take part in the parade back to Ballysillan as it passed the Ardoyne shops.

The police said they acted in accordance with the ruling as the parade's supporters were only allowed up the road after the march had passed.

Mr McGuigan said if the Apprentice Boys parade was pushed through against the community's wishes there could well be trouble.

The Parades Commission is due to meet on Thursday to consider the application.

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


Belfast Telegraph

SDLP in talks with O'Loan

By Noel McAdam, Political Correspondent
03 August 2004

The SDLP was today meeting Police Ombudsman Nuala O'Loan as the political fallout from her report into the police raid on Stormont almost two years ago continued to reverberate.

The party delegation, however, announced in advance its intention to focus on a number of other recent issues - including parading - as well as the Stormont raid controversy.

Justice spokesman Alex Attwood said the delegation would be raising the use of CS spray by the PSNI in Londonderry at the weekend as well as complaints from the SDLP on police actions at Parades in the Ardoyne and Lurgan.

The west Belfast Assembly member, who headed the delegation, said there would be particular reference to the actions of the senior police officer at the scene in Lurgan.

On the Stormont raid report, Mr Attwood said: "The report is welcome. It confirms what the SDLP claimed at the time - police action was heavy-handed. Even Hugh Orde appeared to accept this shortly after the raid.

"It is interesting that the Ulster Unionists through Sir Reg Empey have accepted the report, thereby accepting that the PSNI were heavy-handed".

"The report is also a further vindication of the independence and power of the Police Ombudsman's office," he said.

Today in Irish History

On this day, 3 August 1916:

Roger Casement, Irish patriot, is hanged by the English in Pentonville Prison, London. He was the last to be executed as a result of the Easter Rebellion.



Some of those stranded travelled abroad for medical treatment

Israeli human rights activists have taken up the cause of handicapped children from Gaza stranded at the border between Egypt and the strip.

The Israeli army says that it has closed the border for the last three weeks for security reasons.

Hundreds of travellers have been living for days in grim conditions in a transit terminal building in Egypt.

The Israeli organisation is demanding that the army allow the children to cross to their homes in Gaza.

Cramped conditions

"The conditions are terrible," a spokesman for Physicians for Human Rights-Israel told BBC News Online.

"They are sleeping on the floor in the waiting area of one of the terminals and are a limited number of restrooms," Shabtai Gold said.

"Since the border was closed, hundreds have had to be treated for diarrhoea and vomiting," he added.

The 11 children were on their way home from a summer camp in Italy when the border shut.

Like those around them, they do not have the money to go to hotels, they have no choice but to wait in the terminal in the hope that the Israelis will reopen the frontier.

So far they have waited 11 days.

Some of those waiting for the border to reopen have endured this hardship and squalor for about 19 days.

Many are surviving on food handouts from the Egyptian Red Crescent.

Court ruling

Physicians for Human Rights-Israel has written a letter to the Israeli Defence Minister, Shaul Mofaz, saying that Israel is responsible for their suffering.

The letter cites Israeli court rulings, which it says show that the army must care for civilians in these circumstances.

So far Mr Mofaz's office has made no reply.

The group petitioned the Israeli High Court last Wednesday, and a hearing date has been set for the end of the month.

The army has not said exactly why it has shut the border, but the BBC's Alan Johnston in Gaza says there is no doubt that it fears an attack by Palestinian militants on its position at the crossing point.

Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland's suicide epidemic claims young lovers as two more of its victims

By David McKittrick, Ireland Correspondent
03 August 2004

Her body was discovered on Sunday morning, close to the grave of the partner who had taken his life 11 weeks ago, in a profoundly poignant tableau intertwining love and death.

Fiona Barnes, just turned 18 and fondly described as "a wee kitten", had decided she could not live without her boyfriend, Michael McComb. And so she went, as she believed, to join him. She was found dead in a West Belfast cemetery; she had hanged herself from a tree near his final resting place.

The deaths of the two teenagers were redolent of a Shakespearean tragedy. They were childhood sweethearts and were so passionate about each other that friends referred to them as Romeo and Juliet.

Fiona's father, Aidan, said yesterday: "She took Michael's death very badly. She could not handle it. I would say she had thought about it - I reckon she sat beside his grave all night."

The two deaths are the latest in a string of young suicides in Belfast, many of them in the poorer north and west of the city.

Although no precise figures are available, so many people have taken their own lives that their loved ones last night gathered for a special cross-community service in Belfast.

The event's organiser, Irene Sherry, explained: "No one knows the sleepless nights or unspoken tears of the countless numbers of those affected. Nobody knows the silent stories of all these people."

As is so often the case in these areas, families suffer multiple blows. The McComb family were first afflicted in 2002, when their daughter Debbie, 15, was knocked down and killed by a so-called "joyrider" in a stolen car.

Debbie was one of more than a dozen victims of this practice, which is another of the deadly scourges of west and north Belfast. The driver of the vehicle which killed her was later jailed for nine years, prompting Debbie's grieving relatives to helpset up a support group, Families Bereaved Through Car Crime.

When further tragedy was visited on the family 11 weeks ago, with the suicide of Debbie's brother Michael, many assumed there was a connection between the two deaths.

Friends of the family have said, however, that Michael was troubled by incidents in his life dating back many years, and that they do not believe that his suicide was a consequence of Debbie's death.

The pity is that Michael's childhood demons should have overwhelmed such a romance. "Their friends called them Romeo and Juliet," a family friend said yesterday. "Ever since they started going out with each other they were inseparable. Fiona's friends said they hardly saw her because she preferred to spend all her time with Michael."

The couple moved into a small flat in a housing estate, with those who knew them thinking they had settled down well. There was talk about them starting a family. They had booked a holiday, and were this week supposed to be in Spain together.

But all was not well, and Michael had made a previous suicide attempt. His death, when it came, was devastating for both the McComb and Barnes families, but most of all for Fiona, who took to spending a great deal of time mourning at his grave.

According to Michael's mother, Mary: "Fiona was like a daughter to me. She was like a wee kitten. We were all so close to her. Fiona was so loveable. I treated her as if she was one of my own children. She looked forward to life so much. She only turned 18 last week and she touched the lives of everyone she met, she was so loveable and kind-hearted."

She added: "It doesn't seem like this torment is ever going to end for both of our families. This is too much."

The Barnes family had arranged for Fiona to have help in the wake of Michael's death. Aidan Barnes said: "We got her counselling and all, but more or less the child had her own mind made up. She was broken-hearted over her boyfriend. She just couldn't handle it."

One friend who knew her well commented: "After Michael's death she never became her old self again. She just couldn't stand being without him."

Patricia McQuillan of Gatekeeping, a West Belfast suicide awareness and support group, said: "A lot of the evidence and research would show that, when someone is very determined to take their own life, in some circumstances there's very little we can do." A number of such groups, both official and voluntary, are active in Belfast and a series of initiatives are under way with the aim of preventing suicides and of helping those bereaved.

One local health authority has a suicide task group, with a suicide awareness co-ordinator, and has run advertising campaigns and other initiatives. But those involved complain that the funding available is never enough. Northern Ireland has a high suicide rate compared with Britain, and parts of Belfast are regarded as particularly problematical.

Young men seem most at risk, especially in areas which suffer most from poverty, unemployment and the effects of the troubles.

Earlier this year up to a dozen suicides were reported in north Belfast, centring on the Catholic area of Ardoyne. Locals put the blame on a mixture of deprivation and paramilitary violence.

After this series of deaths special measures were brought in to discourage more "copycat" suicides, with parents and others being given advice on how to spot danger signs among young people.

Last month there was another prominent suicide in Ardoyne, when Mary Geraldine Cassidy, a 46-year-old mother of six children, took her own life following what was described as a vendetta against her family. Last year her son killed himself.

She was said to have been attacked a number of times. A relative said she had never got over the death of her son, adding: "She never got time to grieve, probably because she was getting trouble constantly."


* Experts say the Northern Ireland suicide rate is the highest in the UK.
* The most up-to-date figures ­ for 2001 ­ show the rate is 26 deaths per 100,000 of population for young males. This compared with a UK-wide figure of 15 deaths per 100,000. The male suicide rate was 21 per 100,000, compared to 19 per 100,000 across the UK. In north Belfast, between 11 and 13 suicides were recorded within a few months earlier this year.
* There were 5,910 suicides and undetermined deaths recorded in the UK in 2001, of which 132 were in Northern Ireland. The majority of those taking their lives are young males, butauthorities say they are also concerned about suicides among the older population.

Source: Independent

Belfast Telegraph

Funeral mourners hear peace plea

By Brendan McDaid
03 August 2004

Distraught mourners at the funeral of Londonderry assault victim Don McMenamin today heard pleas for an end to violence sweeping Northern Ireland.

In a hard-hitting message, Father Michael Canny spoke of the evil that was now stalking the streets of the province.

Speaking at the funeral in St Eugene's Cathedral today Fr Canny said: "The clenched fist, the iron bar or

the knife used against the other person must never be part of our thoughts or actions."

His comments came as mourner's turned out this morning for the funeral of "peacekeeper" Don McMenamin.

The 20-year-old died on Friday at Altnagelvin hospital, five days after being viciously battered with a wheelbrace. He had never regained consciousness.

Don's distraught mother Jeanette and stepfather Myles, this morning led the procession of mourners from his Rosemount Gardens home to St Eugene's Cathedral.

Don was hit in an unprovoked attack as he tried to break up a fight near his home last weekend.

One of the floral tributes today placed on the spot where he fell paid tribute to him with the words "peacemaker."

Fr Canny said violent deaths were now an all too frequent occurrence.

He added: "A death, no matter what the circumstances, in Belfast, Coleraine, Omagh or Limavady, does not have the same impact on us.

"It is only when evil visits our own community that its full effects are felt.

"Ten days ago evil visited our own parish and since then, it's fruits are obvious.

"The fruits of evil are the loss of a young life, parents without a son, sister and brother without a loved one, grandparents' hearts broken and friends in disbelief."

Don was described during today's service as an ordinary young man standing on the threshold of life.

Belfast Telegraph

Campaign for maze museum steps up
Ex-republican prisoners meet to support plan

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By David Gordon
03 August 2004

The campaign for a Maze prison museum was being stepped up today at a public meeting being held in west Belfast.

The Conway Mill event, part of the Feile an Phobail programme, was organised by Coiste - a welfare group for former republican prisoners.

Scheduled speakers included Gerard Corsane, a former director of South Africa's Robben Island museum, which depicts the history of the infamous jail where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned.

Coiste has drawn up detailed proposals for a museum at the now disused Maze site, incorporating part of the old H-blocks complex, the prison hospital and a section of the former internment compounds.

It envisages a museum forming part of a campus for conflict resolution, which would also include a peace park and an educational centre.

Laurence McKeown, from Coiste, said: "Today's meeting is an opportunity to promote the campaign, when there are a lot of people about during the Feile."

The future of the 360-acre Maze site is currently being examined by a consultative panel set up by Government.

It is seen as a front runner for a national sports stadium development, but the size of the landholding means a number of uses could be included in any future blueprint.

Strong objections to a prison museum have been voiced by unionists, who allege it would become a shrine to republican hunger strikers.

Coiste rejects this argument, and says groups such as ex-prison officers and former loyalist inmates also have a stake in the location.

The Department of the Environment has been assessing the case for listing some of the prison buildings, due to their historical significance.

Other speakers due to address today's public meeting included Mairtín O'Muilleoir, who sits on the consultative panel examining the Maze's future, Louise Purbrick of the University of Brighton, and Coiste director Mike Ritchie.

Derry Journal

Bogside Artists Are 'Ambassadors For Derry'

Tuesday 3rd August 2004

Derry Mayor Gerry O'hEara says the critically-acclaimed Bogside Artists have made a "massive" contribution to the city's tourism industry.

Mayor O'hEara was speaking as he unveiled the Artists' latest and final wall mural at Rossville Street.

The "peace mural" - designed by the Artists along with local schoolkids --differs from the group's previous works as it doesn't portray an actual historical event.

Instead, the mural shows a white dove, symbolising peace, and an oak leaf, symbolising Derry.

The Mayor believes the murals now rival the city's historic walls as a tourist attraction.

Nine other murals depicting important historical scenes already adorn a series of gable walls along Rossville Street.

Known as "The People's Gallery", they commemorate events such as the Battle of the Bogside, Bloody Sunday, Operation Motorman, and the 1981 hunger strikes.

In recent years the murals have become one of Derry's main tourist attractions with visitors from across the globe travelling to the city to be photographed alongside them.

Mayor O'hEara says the artists --Kevin Hasson, and brothers, Tom and Willie Kelly - have made a major contribution to life in Derry.

"The Bogside Artists have continually produced high quality art and more importantly, community art for the last 10 years," he says. "Their work is just one example of the many talented artists working in our city today.

"Their murals have become a living history museum that people can walk around and get right into where it all took place.

"Now that the open air gallery is complete, the City Council is taking steps to make it a permanent fixture in the city. The Council is going to spend some money and install lights at the murals and provide funding for the artists themselves to touch up the murals as they need it.

"We are also going to have them waterproofed to ensure that they will be around for a long time to come."

The murals, says the Mayor, are for everyone to enjoy.

"They're not just for the people of Derry but also the many tourists that come to the city every year to see them. The murals are now rivalling the Walls as the main tourist attraction in Derry and when they are lit up at night they will be even more popular," he said.

The Mayor says the Bogside Artists are an inspiration to many other talented artists working in Derry.

"People don't realise the high quality of art work produced in this city and the Bogside Artists are at the forefront of this. They have travelled extensively and exhibited all over Europe and in North America and Australia.

"When they travel around the world, they act as ambassadors, not just for Derry, but also for the tourism industry to which they contribute massively," he said.


SF make plea amid spate of suicides in Belfast

03/08/2004 - 13:26:52

The British government was today urged to release funds to tackle the surge in suicides among young people across Belfast.

Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams made the appeal after a visit last night to the family of Fiona Barnes, whose body was found hanging from a tree in Belfast’s City Cemetery on Sunday, just yards from her boyfriend’s grave.

Michael McComb, with whom the teenager had set up home, committed suicide earlier this year.

Mr Adams extended sympathy to the Barnes family and confirmed he would be seeking an urgent meeting with Northern Ireland Office Health Minister Angela Smith to tackle the problem.

“Too many families have suffered the deep hurt and trauma of bereavement following the suicide of a family member or friend,” the West Belfast MP said.

“Greater efforts must be made to tackle this problem.

“Over the past number of months Sinn Féin and community organisations have been lobbying intensively for money and support to deal with mental health issues.

“The continued high levels of suicide and self-harm across north and west Belfast demonstrates the failure of government to give this problem the high priority it needs.”

Mr Adams said counselling projects were being run on a shoestring budget in the north and west of the city.

He added that a strategy for the prevention of suicide, developed by the North and West Trust, had not been fully implemented because of a lack of funding.

“One project alone in Lenadoon has a waiting list for help of 120 people and the Trust itself has acknowledged that it is underfunded by £3m (€4.5m) in its mental health services,” the Sinn Féin president said.

“We have been told that this is a serious and complex issue for Government agencies. We are told that plans are being drafted. We are told that budgets are being identified. This isn’t good enough, the deaths continue.

“If the British Government and its health agencies are serious about tackling this issue, if they are serious about breaking this cycle and about ending these deaths, then they must invest in services which promote positive mental health, which support people in distress and support the families affected by suicide and self-harm.

“Our communities need the support, we need the resources and we need them now.”

Ms Barnes, from the Divismore area of west Belfast, set up home with Mr McComb, 19, earlier this year.

But her happiness was shattered when he killed himself just over two months ago.

Friends believe he never fully recovered from the death of his 15-year-old sister, Debbie, who was killed by a joyrider driving a stolen car in Belfast in March 2002.

Ms Barnes only turned 18 last week, but her grief was so intense that she refused to celebrate her birthday.

Her body was discovered in the cemetery by a man walking his dog.

Fiona’s death has devastated her father, Aidan, and mother, Maura.

“Kids think it’s the easy way out. They don’t realise they are leaving behind broken families,” said Mr Barnes.

“I wouldn’t say she had it planned, but I would say she thought about it.

“I reckon she sat beside his grave all night.”

Both suicides have brought back harrowing memories of a six-week period in north Belfast earlier this year when 13 young men and women took their own lives.

Priests and community workers have urged youths facing problems to seek help before their troubles become overwhelming.

At the height of the earlier suicide crisis, centred around the economically deprived Ardoyne district, a special 24-hour hotline was set up.

More than a dozen counsellors were dealing with 120 people a week.


SF blames UDA for Belfast pipe bomb attack

03/08/2004 - 12:14:48

Bomb disposal experts in the North have defused a pipe bomb found outside a house in a nationalist area of north Belfast this morning.

A road leading to the Ligoniel area was closed while the device was dealt with.

Local Sinn Féin councillor Eoin O’Broin has blamed the Ulster Defence Association for the incident.

He said nationalists in the area were subjected to a UDA blockade before the loyalist July 12 celebrations.

He added that he wasn’t surprised the intimidation had continued as the PSNI had failed to stop that picket.


Belfast Telegraph

Sinn Fein fury at PSNI watchdog's raid ruling
Verdict on stormont office move 'flawed'

By Noel McAdam, Political Correspondent
02 August 2004

Sinn Fein today lambasted the Police Ombudsman's verdict that the raid on republican offices at Stormont almost two years ago, which led to the collapse of devolution, was not politically motivated.

The party's Assembly chief whip Conor Murphy said the long-awaited report from Nuala O'Loan was flawed because it contained no reference to Operation Torsion, the Special Branch exercise which culminated in the raid in October 2002.

On the basis of available intelligence, the Ombudsman said the detective chief superintendent's decision to seek a warrant authorising a search of a specific desk in the Sinn Féin offices was "reasonable, proportionate and legal".

Mrs O'Loan added: "We have not uncovered any evidence that the police decision-making was influenced inappropriately".

Since the raid which outraged republicans, it has been reported that the information which triggered the operation came from a police source deep within the IRA itself.

The DUP said today the confirmation that Sinn Fein were "legitimate targets" for police attention was likely to produce rage within the republican movement.

Assembly member Sammy Wilson said: "Given that the Ombudsman is no friend of the police, the report must be a bad blow for IRA/Sinn Fein which will no doubt claim it is part of the conspiracy against them and call for it to be closed."

Mr Murphy said, however: "The Stormont raid on Sinn Fein's parliamentary offices was planned and

executed by an RUC cartel of political detectives, in the name of the PSNI.

"It was a politically motivated raid with the clear intent to collapse the institutions and undermine the peace process. The Special Branch version of events given to the Ombudsman about the Stormont raid varies from the version offered by the Chief Constable Hugh Orde."


Christy brings the house down

The West Belfast Féile opened on Friday night when Christy Moore performed a personal tribute to Joe Cahill in front of a capacity crowd in Beechmount Leisure Centre.

Christy and Declan Sinnott walked on stage to thunderous applause and as they sat down, Christy asked for a minute’s silence for the late Joe Cahill who was buried on Tuesday. Christy explained that Joe’s wife Annie and family and extended family were in the audience.

A very relaxed and good-humoured Christy started his repertoire of songs about oppressed peoples all over the world who had risen up and fought against their oppressors – the International Brigade in Spain, Steve Biko in South Africa, Fidel Castro and Che Guevara in Cuba and Bloody Sunday in Derry.

In keeping with the theme of the evening, he sang about miscarriages of justice in the cases of the Birmingham Six and a moving song about Guisseppe Conlon, father of Gerry Conlon (one of the Guildford Four), who died in an English prison, an innocent man.

His songs about the hunger strikers included the story of Francis Hughes and ‘The Time Has Come’.

In his own inimitabe style and humour Christy explained that he performed at Glastonbury recently and was followed on stage by Morrissey who had written and performed an anti-American song. Christy had gone out and bought the CD and learnt the words of ‘America You’re Not The World’ and the audience cheered and clapped when he sang ‘You can shove your hamburgers’.

Then Christy introduced Terry ‘Cruncher’ O’Neill who portrayed him in ‘Paddy On The Road’ and sang ‘Andytown Girl’, a tribute to Mairead Farrell written by Brian Moore, while Christy sang the words from a book on his knee. They both then sang ‘Women Are Being Stripsearched in Armagh Jail’ and Cruncher went off to cheers of appreciation.

Despite the heat in the hall the audience was hushed and respectful and when Christy asked us to sing the chorus of everyone’s favourite, ‘Ride On’ it was sung quietly all around the hall. At the end of the song Declan Sinnott played a magic piece on the guitar to cheers and applause.

When after nearly two hours of singing, Christy and Declan went off, the audience rose as one demanding an encore. Christy returned saying, “Who knows when I’ll get an encore again so I’ll get going again.” He sang another five or six songs and during ‘Irish Ways and Irish Laws’ he had what he called “a senior moment” when he forgot the words and a woman in the crowd helped him out, to the great amusement of the audience.

When he asked for requests for his last song the audience called for Lisdoonvarna and then it was over and Christy and Declan went off. The crowd called for another encore and even when they realised that Christy was not coming back on, they were reluctant to leave. I left the hall feeling privileged to have been part of a great night. It was a fitting tribute to ‘Uncle Joe’, as Christy called him, performed in a quiet, respectful and dignified way but with Christy’s own inimitable humour as well.

Thanks for the memory Christy.

Journalist:: Staff Reporter


The Way I See It

Remembering the days of the ‘Little Boy’ and the ‘Fat Man’

Charles Sweeney was born in Massachusetts, the son of a Catholic Irish-American plumber. Had he been Japanese he may well now have gone down in the book of infamy alongside Hitler, Stalin and bin Laden. Instead, because he was on the side of the victors he is defended as a saviour.

In the recent conflict in Ireland the protagonists caused much suffering and death, yet statistically all of that amounts to a tiny speck in comparison to the enormity of the fatalities in two world wars. Even so, there have been many instances here when someone involved in taking one life has expressed remorse, and been unable to live with themselves. A reflection on the grief they caused, major doubts about the ends having justified the means, a desire to be purged of guilt, will all have played a part in bringing the individual to an inner sense of right and wrong.

Over a period of a decade, perhaps up to a million innocent Vietnamese civilians were killed from the air by American B-52 bombers. But prior to September 11th, 2001, when three thousand innocent civilians were killed in the USA, the closest, other comparable terrorist incidents, in which there was huge loss of innocent civilian life, were the aerial bombings of Nagasaki and Hiroshima.

Setting the scene for those attacks was the Allied bombing of Germany, justified along the lines that Germany was the first to bomb London and other towns. “The German people,” said Churchill, “will taste and gulp each month a sharper dose of the miseries they have showered upon mankind.”

From November 1940 onwards the RAF’s Bomber Command was instructed simply to aim at the centre of a city when dropping payloads. Hamburg – 50,000 deaths, 40,000 injuries, one million refugees in one night; Dresden – 135,000 deaths. Sir Arthur Harris, Commander-in-Chief, Bomber Command, described the killing of German civilians as “a comparatively humane method” of saving the lives of British soldiers.

Hitler instigated World War II and was responsible for the deaths of tens of millions, including six million Jews in the Holocaust. The Japanese entered the war as an ally of Hitler and their soldiers were incredibly cruel not only towards their opponents but towards civilians in conquered territories.

In May 1945 when Germany surrendered unconditionally attention then turned to the war in the Far East. At the same time, relations between the principal allies – the USA, Britain and Russia – were strained as it became clear that Russia intended consolidating the victories it had achieved at great sacrifice in Eastern Europe. It was also about to come into the war against Japan in occupied Manchuria.

One night in March 1945 the US dropped incendiaries on Tokyo and killed 80,000 people. By April, Japan was helpless in the face of American naval and air power, her people starving. Most of her merchant fleet and navy had been sunk. An effective blockade had cut off her overseas army, and most of her air force was grounded. The US was also aware that the new Japanese cabinet was making moves towards peace, but that it didn’t want to unconditionally surrender, didn’t want to be occupied and wanted to maintain their revered Emperor Hirohito.

The US, at great expense ($2 billion) had in 1945 developed and successfully tested the atom bomb, two of which were ready to be deployed. President Harry Truman took the decision to use these weapons of mass destruction against Japanese civilians and hasten the end of the war. The American public and American troops were certainly grateful that he did.

On August 6th, fifty nine years ago this week, Major Charles Sweeney flew his B-29 plane, which carried measuring instruments, alongside another plane, piloted by Colonel Paul Tibbets, which carried a uranium bomb, nicknamed ‘Little Boy’. Tibbets dropped the bomb over Hiroshima, killing 75,000 people. More died later as a result of radiation sickness.

Before Japan had time to respond, Truman ordered another bombing, to give the impression that the US had a huge arsenal of atomic bombs. On this occasion, August 9th, 25-year-old Charles Sweeney, flying a B-29, dropped a plutonium nuclear bomb, named ‘Fat Man’ (as a tribute to Winston Churchill), over the city of Nagasaki. Forty thousand children, women and men were melted or turned to ashes; another 45,000 died later from burns and radiation.

Truman described it as “the greatest thing in history”.

Japan surrendered six days later. The United States justified the bombings by arguing that to have taken Japan by conventional force would have greatly multiplied the losses all round. Japanese troops viewed surrender as being a dishonourable act and would fight to the death. For example, when US marines landed on Okinawa a few months earlier they had met fierce resistance. They lost 12,000 men, the Japanese, 100,000 soldiers and 70,000 civilians. The US reckoned that to take the next major island, Kyushu, may have led to the loss of up to a quarter of a million of their own men alone.

Not everyone agreed. Fleet Admiral William Leahy, Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said, “It is my opinion that the use of this barbarous weapon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were almost defeated and ready to surrender. In being the first to use it, we adopted an ethical standard common to the barbarians of the Dark Ages.”

Undoubtedly, the decision to use the two atomic bombs was also aimed at chastening Russia in the Cold War which had just begun.

Both Charles Sweeney and Paul Tibbets (who is still alive) had no regrets. A few weeks after the war ended, Sweeney returned to the scene of the crime, Nagasaki, with Tibbets. “I took no pride or pleasure then, nor do I take any now, in the brutality of war, whether suffered by my people or those of another nation,” he wrote. “Every life is precious. But I felt no remorse or guilt that I had bombed the city where I stood.”

No remorse or guilt. What a frightening indictment of humanity’s inhumanity. Sweeney died last week, aged 84, a retired Air Force general. He lived a happy, unperturbed life and was buried after Requiem Mass last Tuesday.
Witnessing the Japanese signing the instruments of surrender, General Douglas MacArthur said, “Let us pray that peace be now restored to the world and that God preserve it always.”

Sweeney’s bomb turned God into an American.

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