**Dawn posted this excellent essay to the group. Here is another link to it:


by Albert Einstein

This essay was originally published in the first issue of Monthly Review (May 1949).

Is it advisable for one who is not an expert on economic and social issues to express views on the subject of socialism? I believe for a number of reasons that it is.

Let us first consider the question from the point of view of scientific knowledge. It might appear that there are no essential methodological differences between astronomy and economics: scientists in both fields attempt to discover laws of general acceptability for a circumscribed group of phenomena in order to make the interconnection of these phenomena as clearly understandable as possible. But in reality such methodological differences do exist. The discovery of general laws in the field of economics is made difficult by the circumstance that observed economic phenomena are often affected by many factors which are very hard to evaluate separately. In addition, the experience which has accumulated since the beginning of the so-called civilized period of human history has—as is well known—been largely influenced and limited by causes which are by no means exclusively economic in nature. For example, most of the major states of history owed their existence to conquest. The conquering peoples established themselves, legally and economically, as the privileged class of the conquered country. They seized for themselves a monopoly of the land ownership and appointed a priesthood from among their own ranks. The priests, in control of education, made the class division of society into a permanent institution and created a system of values by which the people were thenceforth, to a large extent unconsciously, guided in their social behavior.

But historic tradition is, so to speak, of yesterday; nowhere have we really overcome what Thorstein Veblen called "the predatory phase" of human development. The observable economic facts belong to that phase and even such laws as we can derive from them are not applicable to other phases. Since the real purpose of socialism is precisely to overcome and advance beyond the predatory phase of human development, economic science in its present state can throw little light on the socialist society of the future.

Second, socialism is directed towards a social-ethical end. Science, however, cannot create ends and, even less, instill them in human beings; science, at most, can supply the means by which to attain certain ends. But the ends themselves are conceived by personalities with lofty ethical ideals and—if these ends are not stillborn, but vital and vigorous—are adopted and carried forward by those many human beings who, half unconsciously, determine the slow evolution of society.

For these reasons, we should be on our guard not to overestimate science and scientific methods when it is a question of human problems; and we should not assume that experts are the only ones who have a right to express themselves on questions affecting the organization of society.

Innumerable voices have been asserting for some time now that human society is passing through a crisis, that its stability has been gravely shattered. It is characteristic of such a situation that individuals feel indifferent or even hostile toward the group, small or large, to which they belong. In order to illustrate my meaning, let me record here a personal experience. I recently discussed with an intelligent and well-disposed man the threat of another war, which in my opinion would seriously endanger the existence of mankind, and I remarked that only a supra-national organization would offer protection from that danger. Thereupon my visitor, very calmly and coolly, said to me: "Why are you so deeply opposed to the disappearance of the human race?"

I am sure that as little as a century ago no one would have so lightly made a statement of this kind. It is the statement of a man who has striven in vain to attain an equilibrium within himself and has more or less lost hope of succeeding. It is the expression of a painful solitude and isolation from which so many people are suffering in these days. What is the cause? Is there a way out?

It is easy to raise such questions, but difficult to answer them with any degree of assurance. I must try, however, as best I can, although I am very conscious of the fact that our feelings and strivings are often contradictory and obscure and that they cannot be expressed in easy and simple formulas.

Man is, at one and the same time, a solitary being and a social being. As a solitary being, he attempts to protect his own existence and that of those who are closest to him, to satisfy his personal desires, and to develop his innate abilities. As a social being, he seeks to gain the recognition and affection of his fellow human beings, to share in their pleasures, to comfort them in their sorrows, and to improve their conditions of life. Only the existence of these varied, frequently conflicting, strivings accounts for the special character of a man, and their specific combination determines the extent to which an individual can achieve an inner equilibrium and can contribute to the well-being of society. It is quite possible that the relative strength of these two drives is, in the main, fixed by inheritance. But the personality that finally emerges is largely formed by the environment in which a man happens to find himself during his development, by the structure of the society in which he grows up, by the tradition of that society, and by its appraisal of particular types of behavior. The abstract concept "society" means to the individual human being the sum total of his direct and indirect relations to his contemporaries and to all the people of earlier generations. The individual is able to think, feel, strive, and work by himself; but he depends so much upon society—in his physical, intellectual, and emotional existence—that it is impossible to think of him, or to understand him, outside the framework of society. It is "society" which provides man with food, clothing, a home, the tools of work, language, the forms of thought, and most of the content of thought; his life is made possible through the labor and the accomplishments of the many millions past and present who are all hidden behind the small word "society."

It is evident, therefore, that the dependence of the individual upon society is a fact of nature which cannot be abolished—just as in the case of ants and bees. However, while the whole life process of ants and bees is fixed down to the smallest detail by rigid, hereditary instincts, the social pattern and interrelationships of human beings are very variable and susceptible to change. Memory, the capacity to make new combinations, the gift of oral communication have made possible developments among human being which are not dictated by biological necessities. Such developments manifest themselves in traditions, institutions, and organizations; in literature; in scientific and engineering accomplishments; in works of art. This explains how it happens that, in a certain sense, man can influence his life through his own conduct, and that in this process conscious thinking and wanting can play a part.

Man acquires at birth, through heredity, a biological constitution which we must consider fixed and unalterable, including the natural urges which are characteristic of the human species. In addition, during his lifetime, he acquires a cultural constitution which he adopts from society through communication and through many other types of influences. It is this cultural constitution which, with the passage of time, is subject to change and which determines to a very large extent the relationship between the individual and society. Modern anthropology has taught us, through comparative investigation of so-called primitive cultures, that the social behavior of human beings may differ greatly, depending upon prevailing cultural patterns and the types of organization which predominate in society. It is on this that those who are striving to improve the lot of man may ground their hopes: human beings are not condemned, because of their biological constitution, to annihilate each other or to be at the mercy of a cruel, self-inflicted fate.

If we ask ourselves how the structure of society and the cultural attitude of man should be changed in order to make human life as satisfying as possible, we should constantly be conscious of the fact that there are certain conditions which we are unable to modify. As mentioned before, the biological nature of man is, for all practical purposes, not subject to change. Furthermore, technological and demographic developments of the last few centuries have created conditions which are here to stay. In relatively densely settled populations with the goods which are indispensable to their continued existence, an extreme division of labor and a highly-centralized productive apparatus are absolutely necessary. The time—which, looking back, seems so idyllic—is gone forever when individuals or relatively small groups could be completely self-sufficient. It is only a slight exaggeration to say that mankind constitutes even now a planetary community of production and consumption.

I have now reached the point where I may indicate briefly what to me constitutes the essence of the crisis of our time. It concerns the relationship of the individual to society. The individual has become more conscious than ever of his dependence upon society. But he does not experience this dependence as a positive asset, as an organic tie, as a protective force, but rather as a threat to his natural rights, or even to his economic existence. Moreover, his position in society is such that the egotistical drives of his make-up are constantly being accentuated, while his social drives, which are by nature weaker, progressively deteriorate. All human beings, whatever their position in society, are suffering from this process of deterioration. Unknowingly prisoners of their own egotism, they feel insecure, lonely, and deprived of the naive, simple, and unsophisticated enjoyment of life. Man can find meaning in life, short and perilous as it is, only through devoting himself to society.

The economic anarchy of capitalist society as it exists today is, in my opinion, the real source of the evil. We see before us a huge community of producers the members of which are unceasingly striving to deprive each other of the fruits of their collective labor—not by force, but on the whole in faithful compliance with legally established rules. In this respect, it is important to realize that the means of production—that is to say, the entire productive capacity that is needed for producing consumer goods as well as additional capital goods—may legally be, and for the most part are, the private property of individuals.

For the sake of simplicity, in the discussion that follows I shall call "workers" all those who do not share in the ownership of the means of production—although this does not quite correspond to the customary use of the term. The owner of the means of production is in a position to purchase the labor power of the worker. By using the means of production, the worker produces new goods which become the property of the capitalist. The essential point about this process is the relation between what the worker produces and what he is paid, both measured in terms of real value. Insofar as the labor contract is "free," what the worker receives is determined not by the real value of the goods he produces, but by his minimum needs and by the capitalists' requirements for labor power in relation to the number of workers competing for jobs. It is important to understand that even in theory the payment of the worker is not determined by the value of his product.

Private capital tends to become concentrated in few hands, partly because of competition among the capitalists, and partly because technological development and the increasing division of labor encourage the formation of larger units of production at the expense of smaller ones. The result of these developments is an oligarchy of private capital the enormous power of which cannot be effectively checked even by a democratically organized political society. This is true since the members of legislative bodies are selected by political parties, largely financed or otherwise influenced by private capitalists who, for all practical purposes, separate the electorate from the legislature. The consequence is that the representatives of the people do not in fact sufficiently protect the interests of the underprivileged sections of the population. Moreover, under existing conditions, private capitalists inevitably control, directly or indirectly, the main sources of information (press, radio, education). It is thus extremely difficult, and indeed in most cases quite impossible, for the individual citizen to come to objective conclusions and to make intelligent use of his political rights.

The situation prevailing in an economy based on the private ownership of capital is thus characterized by two main principles: first, means of production (capital) are privately owned and the owners dispose of them as they see fit; second, the labor contract is free. Of course, there is no such thing as a pure capitalist society in this sense. In particular, it should be noted that the workers, through long and bitter political struggles, have succeeded in securing a somewhat improved form of the "free labor contract" for certain categories of workers. But taken as a whole, the present day economy does not differ much from "pure" capitalism.

Production is carried on for profit, not for use. There is no provision that all those able and willing to work will always be in a position to find employment; an "army of unemployed" almost always exists. The worker is constantly in fear of losing his job. Since unemployed and poorly paid workers do not provide a profitable market, the production of consumers' goods is restricted, and great hardship is the consequence. Technological progress frequently results in more unemployment rather than in an easing of the burden of work for all. The profit motive, in conjunction with competition among capitalists, is responsible for an instability in the accumulation and utilization of capital which leads to increasingly severe depressions. Unlimited competition leads to a huge waste of labor, and to that crippling of the social consciousness of individuals which I mentioned before.

This crippling of individuals I consider the worst evil of capitalism. Our whole educational system suffers from this evil. An exaggerated competitive attitude is inculcated into the student, who is trained to worship acquisitive success as a preparation for his future career.

I am convinced there is only one way to eliminate these grave evils, namely through the establishment of a socialist economy, accompanied by an educational system which would be oriented toward social goals. In such an economy, the means of production are owned by society itself and are utilized in a planned fashion. A planned economy, which adjusts production to the needs of the community, would distribute the work to be done among all those able to work and would guarantee a livelihood to every man, woman, and child. The education of the individual, in addition to promoting his own innate abilities, would attempt to develop in him a sense of responsibility for his fellow men in place of the glorification of power and success in our present society.

Nevertheless, it is necessary to remember that a planned economy is not yet socialism. A planned economy as such may be accompanied by the complete enslavement of the individual. The achievement of socialism requires the solution of some extremely difficult socio-political problems: how is it possible, in view of the far-reaching centralization of political and economic power, to prevent bureaucracy from becoming all-powerful and overweening? How can the rights of the individual be protected and therewith a democratic counterweight to the power of bureaucracy be assured?

Clarity about the aims and problems of socialism is of greatest significance in our age of transition. Since, under present circumstances, free and unhindered discussion of these problems has come under a powerful taboo, I consider the foundation of this magazine to be an important public service.

Belfast Telegraph

Cross-border visit for group

By Patsy McArdle
14 August 2004

Between 20 and 30 young people from the loyalist Mount Vernon estate in North Belfast are crossing the border into the Republic tomorrow for the first time under a special EU Peace Programme project.

The young folk, aged between 16 and 18 years, will visit Drogheda and the Battle of the Boyne site, where a local historian and civic figure will inform them of the history of the site.

The group, which will set off from Mount Vernon Community Hall in Belfast tomorrow at 10am, will be accompanied by trip organiser George Newell and will be addressed at the Boyne site by Drogheda historian and local councillor Sean Collins.

Belfast Telegraph

Jailed Ex-IRA man returns from the US

By Sean O'Driscoll in New York
14 August 2004

A former IRA man returned to Ireland at the weekend after serving 35 days in prison for failing to declare his criminal record on a US government entry from.

The Philadelphia court sentenced Belfast man Joseph Black (47) to time already served, allowing him to return to Ireland.

Black was on his way to a niece's wedding when he was stopped at Philadelphia airport on July 7 by the FBI's anti-terrorism task force and agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

He was accused of lying on a standard US entry form and locked in prison but won his freedom last Thursday.

Black's release came after a New York congressman contacted the deputy head of the US Department of Homeland Security and asked that Black be allowed to return to Belfast.

Black's Pittsburgh- based brother-in-law, Sean McClorey, who served time in the Maze prison, announced Black's release before a concert by ballad singer, Maura O'Connell.

He said Black's sentence was largely due to work done by New York Congressman Eliot Engel.

McClorey had previously told the Belfast Telegraph that a US government agency was involved in "point scoring" by keeping keeping Black in prison.

Irish Examiner

SF ‘could hold balance of power’

14 August 2004
By Paul O’Brien

SINN FÉIN could hold the balance of power after the next general election, admits Fianna Fáil backbench TD Conor Lenihan.
The question now, he said, was in what circumstances the party would be admitted to power.

Mr Lenihan, tipped to win a junior ministerial portfolio in Bertie Ahern’s imminent Cabinet reshuffle, added that the period of “scaremongering about Sinn Féin is over. I don’t think it’s positive for Fianna Fáil or any other establishment-minded parties to be seen, symbolically or otherwise, to be having a go at Sinn Féin; I think that only adds to their appeal.

“And I also feel it belies the reality that after the local and European elections, one thing you can be certain about is that Sinn Féin have the potential to hold the balance of power after the next general election,” he said.

“That’s something people have to focus on now: how and in what circumstance will they be admitted to power in the Republic.”

But he stressed that Sinn Féin still did not appear to have a “highly developed set of economic goals”.

“I think that until they have that sort of platform, it’s virtually impossible to analyse whether they’d be a force for good or a force for evil in terms of the management of the economy.

“And I think that before they can go into government, they still have acts of completion and things to finish with regard to the peace process, and until they honour those obligations, they won’t be allowed into government by any of the parties.”

But Mr Lenihan, speaking in an interview with Hot Press magazine, conceded that there were lessons to be learned from the way Sinn Féin worked in disadvantaged communities.

“The parties of the centre in Ireland - broadly encompassing Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Labour - have become somewhat out of touch with life as it’s lived in disadvantaged areas.

“And I think that we ignore those constituencies at our peril.”

Sinn Fein general secretary Robbie Smith last night said that while many of Mr Lenihan’s comments were positive, his criticism of the party’s economic policies “were nonsense”.

“We’re the only party that makes a budget submission, and we have well-thought out policies on tax reform, health, transport and all the major areas.”


Thousands attend loyal order march

A strong police and army presence surrounded the area

The main Apprentice Boys parade through Derry city centre has passed off without incident.

Thousands of loyal order members took part in the demonstration on Saturday to commemorate the Relief of Derry.

Three people were arrested for minor offences and others were noted for future prosecutions.

Earlier, a contentious feeder parade in north Belfast passed off without incident.

A Parades Commission ruling barred Ligoneil Walkers Club from marching passed the Ardoyne shop fronts and nationalist homes.

However, an amendment to the decision allowed the marchers and their band to be bussed through the area.

In Derry, a local drama group staged a re-enactment of the Siege of Derry firing off muskets ahead of the parade.

About 15,000 Apprentice Boys took part in the celebrations, which began when several hundred members, accompanied by three bands, paraded along the city's historic walls.

They were led by Apprentice Boys Governor William Allen who said local branches should have been allowed to march their chosen routes.

"I am a bit sad they couldn't get walking down Ardoyne," he said.

"They have done it for the past two years and it went peaceful.

"The Apprentice Boys will always keep within the law and they have not lost dignity by going down on a bus."

The loyal order also laid wreaths at the war memorial in the Diamond area and attended a church service at St Colm's Cathedral.

A number of petrol bombs were thrown at police in the Dunfield Terrace area of the Waterside.

The attack happened just after 1500 BST on Saturday.

One police vehicle was struck but there were no reports of any injuries.

Large screens were erected in the Diamond to keep rival gangs apart.

Local police commander Richard Russell said he was satisfied with the outcome of the demonstration but he was dissapointed with the behaviour of some bandsmen and nationalist bystanders.

He said video footage of the parade would be studied and prosecutions may follow.

Meanwhile, a van has been set on fire during a stand-off at an Apprentice Boys parade in County Londonderry.

It happened after about 100 protesters blocked Main Street in Maghera about 0930 BST on Saturday.

The police say the crowd refused to move to an agreed protest area and the Apprentice Boys agreed to turn back to avoid confrontation.

Tommy Cheevers, the Apprentice Boys spokesman in Belfast, condemned the decision to bar the order from the Ardoyne area and said the threat of violence from republicans had been given in to. He handed a letter of protest to the police.

"We are not in the business of bringing people out on the streets to cause trouble," he said.

"We are angry because no matter what we do we are being punished. Not for our own violence but because of republican violence."

However, Sinn Fein assembly member Gerry Kelly said he hoped the parade would set a precedent.

"If we could have this type of sensible approach every time there was a suggestion of a parade through these Catholic areas of Ardoyne and Mountainview, then things would be a lot smoother," he said.

"I hope this is a good sign for the future."


Apprentice Boys parade passes off peacefully in North Belfast

14/08/2004 - 09:33:41

Today's Apprentice Boys parade in North Belfast has passed off peacefully.

A massive army and police presence blocked their path before the Apprentice boys boarded a bus to take them past the Ardoyne.

The spokesman for the Apprentice Boys, Tommy Cheevers, handed over a letter of protest. He said he was "utterly disgusted" and that the order would be challenging the Parades Commission's decision in court.

He maintained that all the nationalists had to do was to threaten violence at the main Apprentice Boys Parade and they got their way.

PUP councillor Billy Hutchinson accused the nationalists in the Ardoyne who objected to the parade of "naked sectarianism and bigotry".



Zoo is still squawking 70 years on after opening

The year is 1934 and partition has taken hold in the North of Ireland. The world is in the throes of the deepest economic depression as millions eked out an existence in abject poverty.

Closer to home famous Belfast nationalist Joe Devlin had died at the beginning of the year and Belfast felt the pangs of the hungry thirties.

It was also in this year that Belfast Zoo opened its gates to the people of the city with children charged 4d – four old pence – and adults, sixpence.

That was 70 years ago and through the generations, Belfast Zoo and its surrounding area of Bellevue and Cavehill have been a much-loved institution in North Belfast.
The Zoo owes its origins to the old city trams – firstly horse drawn trams of the Belfast Street Tramway Company and later the steam tramway of the Cavehill and Whitewell Tramway company that carried passengers from Belfast to the outlying villages of Whitewell and Glengormley for day excursions.

When the lines were being taken out in the 1960s the subsidence from the Cavehill to the Antrim Road near Throne hospital was known to be so bad that the iron rails were left in the ground to slow down the creep of the Cavehill to Belfast Lough.
In 1911 the line had been taken over by the Belfast Corporation who decided to build a playground and pleasure gardens – Bellevue Gardens.

During the roaring ‘20s Bellevue was a popular destination for day excursions and, in 1933, it was decided to have a ‘zoological collection' on the site.

In 1934, twelve acres on either side of the Grand Floral Staircase were laid out as Bellevue Zoo. In the first year there were 290,000 visitors.

Raymond Robinson is the birdman of Belfast Zoo and gives talks on the history of the zoo, its past keepers and the various well-loved animals that have populated its cages throughout the 20th century.

One of the stories to which he has always been endeared is this picture (missing in online edition--two ladies with an elephant in their back garden).

“We think it’s somewhere and someone on the Whitewell Road,” says Raymond.

“That happened during the Second World War on the Whitewell Road. This elephant was called Sheila and she stayed at this house from 1941 to 1945. The animals had to be shot because of the German air raids and the threat to safety if dangerous ones got out. The two women took Sheila so she wouldn’t be destroyed and they looked after her.

“The first elephant was called Daisy and she was here for opening day in March 1934. But when they walked her down to Belfast docks from the zoo, she refused to get on the ship and she stayed. She was buried somewhere in what is now the lower carpark.”
Standing with one of the zoo’s exquisite Blue Eyed Cockatoos Raymond Donaldson says the purpose of zoos has changed through the years, and that is true of Belfast Zoo.
In the 1970 and 1980s the zoo underwent many changes.

“Things have changed in the types of cages the animals were kept in, but that doesn’t in any way mean they were treated badly. They were always treated well. An English animal dealer called George Chapman from Tottenham Court Road in London brought the zoo to Belfast.

“The Belfast Corporation wanted to have a zoo, but they needed people who knew how to run a zoo. It was a city pride thing for Belfast. Dublin had a zoo, London had one and Edinburgh as well. Chapman put £10,000 behind it and £8,000 came from the City Corporation.”

But near ruin came for the zoo after the German Luftwaffe struck in an Easter 1941 bombing.

“The Germans took the Waterworks for the Docks and bombed North Belfast close to the zoo. None of the animals were injured, but one bomb fell on Bellevue at the Pleasure Grounds. There was a lot of fear about wild animals escaping if bombs hit the zoo. The department of public safety gave the order to destroy the dangerous animals, but some of the animals that were shot weren’t known to be dangerous. A constable McMurray from Glengormley police station and members of the home guard had to carry out the shootings. It was a very sad day for the zoo. A large rodent and some vultures were killed, which is confusing as they carried no threat to public health.”
Now the animals live in the new grounds that stretch further over the Cavehill. But as part of the anniversary celebrations coming up at the end of this month, Raymond will be giving a tour on the old zoo that still has many of the original 1934 cages.
“Just because the animals have more space today doesn’t mean they were miserable in the old zoo. In 70 years to come, people will see the way it is now as old fashioned. At the start the people involved in the zoo knew exactly what they were doing.

“A lot of money was paid for the animals and it didn’t make financial sense to treat them badly and let them die of disease. Animal husbandry was as important as it is now. Now zoos fulfil a conservation role. We help breed endangered species which is what this Indonesian Cockatoo is. We also successfully bred a sea eagle recently, which was a terrific thing to be able to do. Animals are just like humans. You put a pair to breed in a cage and it’s just like you or I, they might hate each other’s guts,” laughs Raymond.

Belfast Zoo will be celebrating its 70 birthday on the weekend of August bank holiday, 28-30 August.

A fancy dress party on the 1930 fashion theme will take place hosted by the North Belfast Historical Society. There will be bouncy castles, feeding of the animals by zookeepers and tours of the old zoo.

Anyone with stories to tell of the old Bellevue or who can donate pictures of the old days can contact the zoo to contribute to the festivities. Phone 90776277 or 90774625.

The North Belfast News would be eager to find any person who remembers the opening or the first years of the zoo.

And we are appealing for anyone who can identify the two women looking after the elephant in the picture (missing here). Call the newsdesk on 90584444 or email andrea@irelandclick.com

Journalist:: Andrea McKernon


Revised ruling on parade

The Apprentice Boys march is due on Saturday

Members of a loyal order involved in a contentious parade in north Belfast can be taken by bus past a mainly nationalist area, the Parades Commission has said.

The commission had previously ruled against the Ligoniel Walkers Club from walking past shops at Ardoyne Road before being bussed to the main Apprentice Boys demonstration in Londonderry.

It has now decided to amend its decision and allow a single bus past the contentious area on Saturday.

About 350 officers will be used to police the ruling.

The commission said it had reviewed all the information about the parade and was "content that participants traverse the restricted part of the route by bus, which would be beneficial to the overall management of the parade.

"The commission hopes that the Parade Forum's offer of dialogue with residents of Ardoyne will enable a local accommodation to be reached in the case of future parades in this area."

Trouble followed a parade in Ardoyne in July

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

The police have appealed to residents' groups and Sinn Fein to meet them to discuss future plans for policing parades in an attempt to reduce confusion and rumour.

Senior police sources have said they are keen to listen and outline their plans to find out the impact on local people.

Chief Superintendent Richard Russell said he hoped the Parades Commission's move would help to defuse tensions.

"The Apprentice Boys have said they will abide by the Parades Commission's determination and remain legal at all times and on the Ardoyne residents' front, they have said they will accept buses going down the road without creating any problems.

"So putting those two things together, if that feeder parade can pass off peacefully and those people can get to Derry, then I think they'll have a good day."

Nationalists in the Ardoyne area and Sinn Fein had said they would oppose a parade through the area on 14 August.

It followed incidents on 12 July when more than 20 police officers were injured after nationalist youths clashed with the security forces after supporters of the parade were allowed through the area.

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

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

Irish American Information Service


08/13/04 08:55 EST

British Prime Minister Tony Blair must address the issue of
collusion between members of the British security forces and
loyalist gunmen in Northern Ireland during next month's
peace process talks, he was warned today.

Sinn Fein vice president Pat Doherty said it was vital the
issue was dealt with in next month`s negotiations at Leeds
Castle in Maidstone, Kent.

With the British government facing demands for an inquiry
into the controversial murder in 1989 of Belfast lawyer Pat
Finucane, the West Tyrone MP said while republicans had, at
various stages of the peace process, overcome obstacles, Mr
Blair`s officials had frustrated progress.

"The British Government has, on three separate occasions,
unilaterally suspended the institutions set up under the
Good Friday Agreement," he said.

"It has also failed to deliver on its commitments on
policing, the administration of justice, demilitarisation,
equality and human rights. The British Government`s failure
to deliver on the above issues is directly related to its
determination to suppress the truth about its policy of
collusion. The British Government fully understands that
the truth about collusion will expose the extent of its
dirty war in Ireland."

"The resulting domestic and international outcry would focus
an unwanted spotlight on the murky state apparatus which
implemented this policy and which still remains intact,"
Doherty said.

In April the British government gave the go-ahead for three
public inquiries into controversial killings in Northern
Ireland - the fatal attack on Portadown Catholic Robert
Hamill by a Protestant mob in Portadown in 1997, the gunning
down of Loyalist Volunteer Force leader Billy Wright by the
INLA in the Maze Prison in 1997, and the murder of solicitor
Rosemary Nelson in a loyalist car bomb outside her home in
Lurgan in 1999.

However Northern Ireland Secretary Paul Murphy held back on
an inquiry into alleged police and Army involvement in the
murder of Mr Finucane by the Ulster Freedom Fighters in
front of his family at his north Belfast home.

In all four cases, retired Canadian Judge Peter Cory
recommended inquiries after being asked by the British and
Irish Governments to weigh up the case for and against new

Many observers believe Mr Finucane`s murder is one in a
series of killings which involved loyalist paramilitaries,
members of the Royal Ulster Constabulary and Army intelligence.

Mr Doherty said today if collusion was addressed it would
greatly undermine the ability of the Northern Ireland Office
to control and manipulate policing, the courts and other
agencies in the future.

He continued: "Unless the British Government comes clean on
its policy of collusion and opens up its institutions to
democratic scrutiny and accountability, it will continue to
be in default of its commitments under the Good Friday
Agreement. The British Government holds the key to
resolving many of the outstanding issues in the Peace
Process. Does it possess the will? We will find out in

Next month`s talks will see the British and Irish
Governments try to sew together a deal which can deliver
lasting devolution and power sharing in Northern Ireland.

Mr Blair and Irish Taoiseach Bertie Ahern have warned if
agreement cannot be reached in Maidstone, they will have to
reconsider their policy towards Northern Ireland.

If a deal is to be struck, it will require bridging the gap
between Sinn Fein and Northern Ireland`s largest party, the
Reverend Ian Paisley`s Democratic Unionists.

The DUP insists it will only contemplate sharing power with
Sinn Fein if the IRA empties its arms dumps and stands down.


Ex-IRA man jailed in US for not disclosing past
13/08/2004 - 07:15:13

A man who was a member of the IRA in the 1970s was sentenced to 35 days in prison for failing to reveal his past on a US customs form.

Joseph Black, 46, of Belfast, was arrested at Philadelphia International Airport on July 7 after he arrived in the United States with his family to attend a niece’s wedding.

Border agents said Black committed a crime when he answered “No” on a form that asked if he had ever been convicted of a crime of “moral turpitude” or been involved in terrorist activities.

Black served time in a prison outside Belfast in the late 1970s for being involved with the IRA and shooting a man in the leg.

Black will get credit for the time he has already spent in jail, meaning that he will have finished his sentence by Saturday. He will then be deported, authorities say.

“We’re happy. The family is happy,” said Black’s brother-in-law, Sean McClorey, of Crafton, Pennsylvania. ”Our wish now is for him to go home as soon as possible.”

Black’s family said he left the IRA after his release from prison and posed no threat to anyone when he arrived in Philadelphia. He pleaded guilty shortly after his arrest in an attempt to speed his return home.

Federal prosecutors agreed that he posed no terrorist threat, but said they were enforcing regulations that bar people with past convictions for violent crimes from coming to the United States without a visa.

“Joe let the judge know that if he ever gets another wedding invitation, he’s going to send a cheque,” McClorey said. “He doesn’t intend to come back to the United States any time soon.”

Black is one of a number of veterans of the Northern Ireland conflict who have been arrested over the past year after travelling to the United States.

Three men from the North were arrested for similar visa breaches in Boston last November after they arrived on a British Airways flight from London. One had failed to reveal a 1986 conviction for an IRA killing. The trio were sentenced to time served, but spent several months in a detention centre awaiting deportation.

John Coyle, 31, of Co Tyrone, was arrested at Philadelphia International on July 27 after he arrived on a flight from London. He was charged with failing to reveal on a customs form that he had been convicted in Belfast in 1996 for throwing a petrol bomb at a police vehicle. Coyle’s case is continuing.


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From Heaven Ferry
13 August 2004

Over the next few days, the Ciaran Ferry Legal Defense Fund website may experience some downtime and/or errors as we complete a change of hosting providers.

The good news is that upon completion of the move we will be
introducing a new phpBB driven bulletin board service, to replace the
existing Yahoo! Group.

The phpBB board will be a exciting new addition to the website, and
we hope that the introduction of the new forum will enable us to
provide more up to date news and case updates, as well as open up
discussion and news-sharing amongst activists. While the bulletin
board will continue to focus on Ciarán's case, there will also be
forums for general discussion, political debate, as well as news and
information about other Irish Deportees and cases of interest.

There will be an announcement made when the site transfer is complete
and the new bulletin board is available, and at that time the forum
will also be accessible from the main menu on the Ciarán Ferry
Legal Defense Fund homepage. I strongly encourage all of you to join
us there, whether it be to share news, ask questions or just find out
what everyone else is doing.

Thanks for your continued support!


Hospital staff attack plan for relocation to prison site

13 August 2004
By Cormac O’Keeffe

MEDICAL staff at the Central Mental Hospital (CMH) are strongly opposed to proposals within Government to relocate the hospital to a prison complex site.
Hospital sources are understood to be using internal avenues within the Department of Health to protest the move.

“We need a new hospital, we may need a new site, but there are absolutely no advantages, and there are a number of disadvantages, to being on the same site as a prison,” said a hospital source.

The concerns of medical staff follow criticisms of the proposal last week by Schizophrenia Ireland, The Irish Penal Reform Trust and the Psychiatric Nurses Association.

Staff at CMH perceive the move as an attempt by the Department of Justice toincorporate the hospital into the prison system, by locating it on the same site as the Mountjoy Prison complex.

While the CMH is managed and funded by the Department of Health and the East Coast Area Health Board, the site is owned by the Office of Public Works.

The source admitted the CMH building was not suitable and that it had been twice condemned by the Council of Europe’s Committee for the Prevention of Torture.

“We have been saying it for years that this building is not fit for its purpose and that the whole site may have to be sold and located somewhere else.

“But what has recently crept in is this notion, that does not come from us but originates from the Department of Justice, that since they have to move Mountjoy as well, that they could save a lot of money to put us on the same site. That suits them. In effect, they would be wanting to take us over.”

The CMH is the National Forensic Psychiatric Service and is the only centre that provides services to prisoners who are mentally ill.

The hospital’s central function is to cater for those who have gone through the criminal justice system but have been found to be insane, rather than guilty.

The CMH also caters for people who are referred there from local hospitals.

“We are not a prison and the hospital has always been managed by the Department of Health. If we go on the same site as a prison, people naturally would not see us as a hospital, but as a prison. That would make people who are mentally ill and need a service more unwilling to come here.

“A whole rake of international covenants on rights, including the rights of the mentally ill and prisoners, say people found insane should be in a hospital, not in prison.” The source said Justice Minister Michael McDowell, OPW Minister Tom Parlon and Health Minister Tim O’Malley were pushing the proposal.


Residents call on UVF to stand down

Donegall Pass residents have called on the UVF to stand down its entire company based within the South Belfast estate.

At a meeting with the South Belfast News in the city centre on Wednesday a number of terrified residents said “every decent person in Donegall Pass” wanted the local UVF disbanded.

The group, made up entirely of long-term Donegall Pass families, insisted a leading loyalist in the area was directing a relentless campaign of intimidation that threatened to destroy the estate.

The man in his late ‘30s they referred to was appointed commander of the Donegall Pass UVF after its former leader was jailed in May 2003.
The new boss immediately set about extorting cash from Chinese businessmen and burning down the homes and restaurants of those who would not pay.

Public outrage against the wave of race hate attacks initiated by the new commander forced the UVF to announce in April that he had been stood down. However, he continues to call the shots in the area, ordering random attacks on those who cross him.

During the past 12 months he has overseen countless attacks on ethnic minorities and forced a local mother and daughter to flee their homes after two separate incidents in May and August.

At the beginning of the year the paramilitary boss was also involved in stealing thousands of pounds worth of lead from the roof of a city centre church that was later sold on the black market.

The Donegall Pass YCV, carrying out the orders of the UVF commander, have attacked the children of families he has fallen out with, robbed delivery vans dropping off loads at local hotels and Chinese restaurants and broken into cars at Central Fire Station.

In two acts of sickening cruelty the YCV also brutally beat a Frenchman for walking around his Donegall Pass house naked and killed seagulls in the local playground after catching them with fishing lines and hooks. According to witnesses the YCV members involved in both incidents were drinking and high on drugs.

“We can’t speak out publicly because we will be put out of our homes,” said the Donegall Pass residents.

“The local UVF are running wild and this area is going to become a ghetto unless someone sorts these people out.”

South Belfast DUP councillor Ruth Patterson, who has been in touch with residents, admitted Donegall Pass was out of control.

“I was accused of going off half-cocked last week when I gave just a glimpse of what was happening in this area,” she said. “But from these residents’ accounts it is clear that there are major problems in Donegall Pass.

“I want to know what paramilitaries have to say about good people who have contributed to this area being forced from their homes?

Residents are not lying when they say there are elements hell bent on destroying the area.”

Journalist:: Staff Reporter


Fears grow over ‘back door’ march
All eyes now on PSNI response to Apprentice Boys move

Fears are mounting that Cops may allow members of Saturday’s banned Apprentice Boys parade to walk past Ardoyne despite a Parades Commission ban.
Speculation has been mounting this week that the Ligoniel Walker Club would respond to the Parades Commission ban on the feeder parade by taking off their collarettes at Hesketh and walking down the footpath of the Crumlin Road. Some Apprentice Boys see this as a way to get around the ban.
A source in the Parades Commission said officials would be watching the police handling of the march after the PSNI overturned the July 12 ban on Orange Order supporters marching past Ardoyne.
That PSNI decision caused anger behind the scenes in the commission.
And this morning Apprentice Boys spokesman Tommy Cheevers insisted there would be no buses to take the loyal order to Derry from Hesketh.
However, there is the possibility they could board buses at Ballysillan, if they decide to turn back.
A meeting of the loyalist parades forum is to take place tonight including representatives of the Apprentice Boys.
The forum includes the UDA-linked UPRG, Protestant church leaders and loyal order members.
But all eyes will be on the PSNI over fears on the nationalist side that the Apprentice Boys will be escorted down the Crumlin Road as pedestrians.
In July the police caused outrage among the nationalist community after they forced through hundreds of Orange supporters, including the leadership of the UDA in North Belfast, despite a ban from the Parades Commission.
As Ardoyne, Mountainview and nationalist residents of the Crumlin Road were locked down by an army and police ring of steel, the loyalists were escorted up the Crumlin Road amid angry and bitter scenes.
That sparked rioting that led to some of the worst violence witnessed in the North for years.
A PSNI spokeswoman would only say the parade would be adequately policed, but refused to comment on operational matters and how many PSNI and British Army would be brought into the area on Saturday.
Tommy Cheevers refused to be drawn on the possibility of his members removing regalia and walking through the banned route.
“There will be no buses at Hesketh, but all options are on the table for tonight so I can’t confirm anything,” he said.
“The Ardoyne shops will be closed off to the Protestant community and we are now seeing that Irish republicanism want to ban all access to this community.”
Sinn Féin councillor for the area Margaret McClenaghan said the fear and distrust for the police on the nationalist side was palpable.
“Everyone is still fearful the Parades Commission will change the ruling. They are afraid that at a late stage they will do the same thing they did on the Springfield Road under pressure from the NIO.”
She said statements by the leadership of the Apprentice Boys in Derry had not been helpful
“Willie Hay has said there will be no trouble in Derry but significantly he said he didn’t know what was going to happen in Ligoniel.
“That’s 21,000 Apprentice Boys having a good day out in Derry but what does it mean for the nationalist people of North Belfast?”

Journalist:: Staff Reporter



The PSNI’s failure to bring charges or convictions against the killers of a North Belfast postman has led to his family demanding the disclosure of PSNI files on the murder probe.

Lawyers for the McColgan family asked for files to be handed over at a preliminary hearing of the Belfast coroner’s court on Tuesday.

The 20-year-old father of one was gunned down in January 2002 as he arrived for work at Rathcoole sorting office.
Despite an investigation being launched and the PSNI saying they know the killers, no charges have been brought. One of the suspects is believed to be serving a jail term for an unrelated offence.

The deep concern over the lack of police convictions was raised with the McColgan family solicitors Madden and Finucane at the brief inquest hearing.

The solicitors are requesting more PSNI files before a full inquest can be held.

Belfast coroner John Leckey said depositions had been made, but that he did not have all the material relating to the investigation.

“There is an obligation on the state to adequately investigate the death of a citizen,” he said.

Counsel for the PSNI said there was no objection to handing over relevant material. A date for August 30 was set for the PSNI to hand over files, including statements.

Journalist:: Staff Reporter

An Phoblacht

Collins and Boland: heroes or villains?


Photo: Harry Boland and Michael Collins

Unravelling the historical conundrum that is Michael Collins and the legacy that he and others of that time bequeathed to us rumbles on and featured in a lunchtime debate as part of West Belfast's Féile.

The debate, titled Heroes or Villains, looked at Collins and Harry Boland, another very important figure in the IRA leadership of that time, and the respective roles they played in the independence struggle.

The relevance of the debate, which is almost a century old, was reflected in the fact that over 100 people were turned away because the venue, The White Fort, was packed.

Not surprisingly, most interest centred around Collins, his thoughts and actions. Harry Boland is not well known and little has been written about him.

In fact, interest in Boland is probably due to the 1990s film about Collins, which features him and places him in a contested love triangle with Collins for the affections of Kitty Kiernan, who was loved by both men.

But it was the love for Ireland and not Kitty Kiernan that thrust Collins and Boland together as leaders of the IRA.

The great what ifs?

Last week's debate went over the ground that has been well travelled over the last nearly 90 years. What if there had been no Civil War; what if Collins had lived; what shape Ireland today?

Other questions also surfaced. Were they republicans? Why so little interest in partition and the plight of northern nationalists and Catholics and so much in the 'Oath of Allegiance'. Did they have an economic vision; a social conscience?

David Fitzpatrick, who has just written a book about Harry Boland, posed a question I've never come across and that is whether both men were democrats or elitists; their loyalty not to the will of the people but the will of the 'Irish Republican Brotherhood'.

I thought Frank Costello's presentation of Michael Collins as a 'fighter and a mediator' was a fair and accurate enough description of him. He also described him as a 'consolidator', a 'what we have we hold' approach to the events unfolding back then.

To reinforce this last point, interestingly, Costello used a letter from Collins sent to one of his comrades in which he quotes from the actions of the leader of the Russian revolution, Lenin, who had to give away a huge part of Russia to Germany to hold onto to an area under the control of the revolutionaries.

Collins as nation builder?

What I thought was less convincing and historically questionable was Costello's description of Collins as a 'nation builder', given his advocacy of the Treaty, which dismembered the Irish nation.

However, it has also to be said that Costello is not an historian, He is a north American living in Belfast and specialises in giving political and economic advice to potential investors from the US.

Fitzpatrick, on the other hand, is an historian and teaches history at Trinity College Dublin.

He knows his subject very well. He said that Boland was an IRB man who took his orders from them and knew the mind of the IRB better than Collins did.

Like Collins, he accepted the 'temporary partition' of Ireland as it was described during the Treaty debates in the Dáil but sided with de Valera over the oath of allegiance to the British King.

He shared Costello's argument that the strategic view at the time was to take ground and regain lost ground later on.

He had a social conscience and played a big part in mediating between Sinn Féin and the Labour Party.

He used his mediation skills to help bring about the electoral pact between Collins and de Valera.

Whether they were democrats is irrelevant

I found it strange that Fitzpatrick put a lot of emphasis on his belief that both Boland and Collins were not 'democrats but elitists', that their loyalty was to an elite body the IRB, some 3,000 strong and that they were guided by what they would 'accept' and not what the Irish people or their elected representatives would accept.

It seems to me to be entirely irrelevant whether Collins or Boland were democrats.

How could they be given that Ireland was under military occupation by the British crown and had been for hundreds of years?

The political culture of the times in Ireland was shaped by the British Government's denial of democracy even in the limited form that existed at that time.

It is not surprising that both men's first loyalty was to the IRB or, for that matter, the leadership of the IRA; they were members of both and soldiers first, not politicians.

Neither is it surprising to find that they didn't trust the people's instincts.

The will of the electorate in such circumstances is the last port of call for a revolutionary pledged to the overthrow of occupation by military means.

That is the lesson of history and it is entirely understandable because no one votes for war.

As to whether Collins and Boland were 'heroes or villains', their advocates thought they were a bit of both.

I'm not so sure that today's republicans would have such a benign view of Collins.

An Phoblacht

South Armagh health threat from British spy posts

Photo: A two-headed calf born recently in South Armagh

The South Armagh Demilitarisation Committee (SADC) says there are growing genuine fears that emissions from British Army surveillance and communications equipment is triggering cancer in both animals and humans living in the South Armagh area.

Pictured is a two-headed calf born within the past three weeks in the South Armagh area. The farm at which the calf was born is in close proximity to a British Army spy post extensively equipped with low frequency microwave radiation-emitting surveillance equipment.

There are local farmers who are convinced that the regular birth of deformed livestock are as a result of mutations caused by a concentration of toxic substances and radiation caused by the huge surveillance, transport and building operations of the British military forces bedded into South Armagh.

Whilst globally it is common knowledge that instances of births of such deformed calves are rare, there is evidence that in the South Armagh and border regions, incidents like this are becoming regular, says the campaign.

"This is not some Old Testament pestilence, it is a here and now reality," said one farmer. He is convinced that the number of cancer patients and the huge variety of cancer types in the South Armagh area provide ample evidence of the need for full disclosure by the British Government of what equipment its forces are using. The SADC also wants details such as the health impact on British service personnel over the years to be made available.

Dr Damien Beirne, a Belfast doctor, carried out extensive research into emissions from British military surveillance and communications equipment. The veteran GP, who had worked in the City's Falls Road area for many years, found that cancer was the main killer in his practice. His research found in his practice 120 deaths from cancer had occurred in seven years, with another 140 people on the practice list suffering from 37 different types of cancer.

An SADC spokesperson said that South Armagh in particular has borne the brunt of a growing and intensive occupation by the British military forces. He adding that whilst there was an illusion that spy posts, with their complicated and deadly surveillance machines, were coming down, the reality of the situation on the ground in South Armagh and other border areas is quite the opposite.

"More communication masts, more helicopter flights, more foot patrols, more sickness, more distress for the communities are what we are getting" said the spokesperson, who added that the whole issue of the health and wellbeing of the community has to be opened for debate.

"It's not just the environmental damage to our landscape that people should be worried about, but the reality that there is the potential for sickness and death as a result of the emissions from all these ranges of military equipment" he said.

An Phoblacht

Andersonstown honours fallen comrades

Photo: Orla Tohill of Ógra Shinn Féin reads the Roll of Honour

A special outdoor Mass at the Republican Garden of Remembrance in South Link, Andersonstown on Sunday 8 August, remembered those republican activists from the area who died during the conflict.

Celebrated by Fr Des Wilson, it was a moving ceremony that comforted the many relatives of the dead who attended.

In his sermon, Fr Des told his congregation that those killed in the conflict, "were indeed stolen from us.

"When young lives were stolen and grief entered the hearts of a family never to depart from them, we were suffering a conflict brought on us not by our people's fault or sin but by bad government."

An Phoblacht

15 years fighting for the truth - Geraldine Finucane delivers the PJ McGrory Memorial Lecture

BY Laura Friel

Photo: Geraldine Finucane

The covert killing of Irish people by the British state was a recurring theme during this year's festival. During the annual commemoration of Internment rally, hundreds of relatives of the victims of state collusion carried photographs of those who were murdered while calling for the British state to tell the truth about its involvement in the killings.

On the eve of the rally, Geraldine Finucane, the widow of murdered Belfast defence lawyer Pat Finucane, delivered her first public address about British collusion in Ireland at the PJ McGrory Memorial Lecture. Speaking to a packed hall at St Mary's College, Geraldine described the 'Long Road to the Truth' journeyed by the Finucane family in their continued determination to expose the truth about Pat's murder.

"My family and I will not stop travelling the road we have embarked upon until a fully independent public judicial inquiry into the murder of Pat Finucane is established," said Geraldine.

"It seems, however, that the closer we get to the establishment of that public inquiry, the further away it is. It is a strange situation to be in where something you have worked for becomes more difficult to achieve the closer you get to it," she said.

"I would like to compare the journey to climbing a mountain. The progress you make at the bottom of the mountain is quick because the ground is well trodden and the climb is not so steep.

"But as you progress up the slope and you get further away from familiar ground, the going gets tougher and the terrain steeper. The air is thinner and easy paths are more difficult to find. When you close in on the summit, progress can be slow, as each step requires more and more effort.

"The journey towards the establishment of a public inquiry into Pat's murder is the mountain we have had to climb. The difficulty of the terrain is the resistance of the British state. Our summit, of course, is the truth."

Detailing the circumstances of her husband's killing, Geraldine Finucane cited the role of British Minister Douglas Hogg, who had "slurred the reputations of working solicitors" and highlighted the intelligence provided by the British Army to the UDA through its Force Research Unit agent, Brian Nelson. This mechanism allowed loyalist assassins to be "more effective in targeting people" in the interests of British occupation.

The appearance of a high-ranking British Army officer, the FRU commanding officer Brigadier Gordon Kerr, during Nelson's trial to mitigate the sentence imposed upon him, is an indication that collusion was a policy pursed from the very top of the British military and political establishment.

"The appearance of Kerr was approved at high levels within the British political and army establishments, just as the activities of the FRU were sanctioned and approved," said Geraldine. "After Kerr gave his evidence, he received a letter from General Sir John Wilsey, General Officer Commanding, Headquarters Northern Ireland," said Geraldine.

The letter from Wilsey to Kerr ran, 'I cannot let your most sensible and effective contribution on 29 January go without congratulating you most warmly. Not only did you more than honour your commitment to Nelson but you also served the Army's and I judge, national interests, extremely well.'

Geraldine also noted part of John Stevens' most recent report. "My family and I have not cooperated with John Stevens but I think part of his report is worth quoting here, if only because it is so forceful in its simplicity," she said.

Stevens' highlighted collusion in a number of ways, including 'the wilful failure to keep records, the absence of accountability, the withholding of intelligence and evidence and the extreme of agents being involved in murder'. Stevens concluded that 'these serious acts and omissions have meant that people have been killed or seriously injured'.

Commenting, Geraldine said: "When Sir John Stevens quoted this statement aloud in Belfast on 17 April 2003, he set the case of Pat Finucane apart from all the others and changed something fundamentally about the fabric of the place in which we all live. This happened not just because of what he actually said but also because of what his statement represented.

"In delivering even the briefest of summaries of his full report, the Commissioner of the London Metropolitan Police in Britain was saying in plain and unmistakable language, that collusion had happened. It was real.

"A British police officer, their foremost police officer, confirmed that collusion with paramilitaries was institutionalised, that it was entrenched, that all of the rumours and accusations, claims made over many years were absolutely true." Geraldine pointed out that Stevens had admitted that collusion was "British state policy in Ireland".

"The murder of Pat Finucane is not about the killing of one man. It is a documented example of a British Government policy in action, state-sponsored murder," said Geraldine.

"When Judge Cory finished his work in October 2003, he delivered his reports to the British Government for publication, a commitment made in Weston Park by both the British and Irish Governments. This did not happen. The reports presented to the British Government were not published for six months after they were submitted."

Geraldine outlined the legal battles mounted by her family to force the British into keeping their promise. "When the reports were eventually published on 1 April 2004, the version of the report by Judge Cory on Pat's case was the most heavily censored of all."

Geraldine pointed out that in an accompanying speech made by the British Secretary of State Paul Murphy, "no commitment to a public inquiry into the killing of Pat was given and none has been offered since".

"I am now engaged in another court case against the British Government to compel them to commence a public inquiry into the murder of my husband as recommended by Judge Cory. I should not have to do this. The British Government made a commitment to implement the recommendations of Judge Cory and they are breaking that commitment," she said.

"I have spent the last 15 years fighting to expose the truth behind the murder of my husband. I believe that the truth will remain hidden until a fully independent public judicial inquiry is established to investigate all the circumstances.

"The legacy of Pat Finucane will not be diminished for as long as one person demands the truth. It is this, the continuation of this work, this vocation, this ideal, that brings us together this afternoon in memory of Pat Finucane," said Geraldine.


Belfast Telegraph

SF in warning over water charges

By Brendan McDaid
12 August 2004

Sinn Fein in Londonderry today urged British direct rule ministers to "back off" over plan to introduce water charges in Northern Ireland.

Councillor Gerry MacLochalinn today branded the government "undemocratic" in the face of widespread alarm at the new charges.

Mr MacLochlainn said: "British NIO Ministers are showing their true, undemocratic colours in trying to force through the water taxes in the face of almost total opposition from across the political spectrum, from trade unions and from the public.

"But then again they have no mandate to take any of the decisions that they are currently forcing on us."

Direct rule minister John Spellar's announcement this week that the Water Service is to be scrapped, has met with a wave of protests.

The government plans to replace the Water Service with its own company, GoCo, from 2006, which will charge households for water usage.

The level of the "tap tax" to be levied on households from April 2006 will be revealed later this year.

The Belfast Telegraph this week revealed that more than 700 Water Service jobs are expected to go in the next four years as part of the government shake-up.

Vowing that his party will take on the government over the planned charges, Mr MacLochlainn added: "The revelation in the Belfast Telegraph that these interlopers are also planning massive job cuts demonstrates the scale of the privatisation agenda that imported British Labour party stooges intend to force through.

"The British government are guilty of failing to invest properly in our services for decades.

"In comparison to other models of managing water services, the British government stands accused of treating everyone who lives in the north of Ireland as a second class citizen.

"We will also ensure that in the negotiations next month that the entire issue of British Treasury financing of all of our services is on the agenda."

Belfast Telegraph

Apprentice Boys may defy ban on Ardoyne
Violence fears as marchers plan to pass flashpoint

By Brendan McDaid
12 August 2004

The Apprentice Boys of Derry today refused to rule out Belfast members attempting to march past Ardoyne despite a Parades Commission ban.

The Apprentice Boys spoke out for the first time today amid reports from senior loyalists that Belfast Apprentice Boys planned to remove their collarettes and walk as individuals in the vicinity of the nationalist area.

It is feared such a move on the feeder parade could spark violent scenes similar to those witnessed at the north Belfast flashpoint in July.

Speaking from Derry today, where the main march and parade will take place this Saturday, Apprentice Boys spokesman Willie Hay said: "I do not know what their plans are and they will make their own decision."

He added, however: "As far as we are concerned, we are sure that all Apprentice Boys will stay within the law and within the determination made by the Parades Commission, no matter how difficult that will be."

Mr Hay accused the commission of bending to republican and nationalist pressure in its decision last week to ban the Belfast brethren from marching to Ardoyne en route to Derry.

He claimed: "The decision by the Parades Commission not to allow this parade has been given under threat.

"Those who issued the biggest threat of violence have won the day and that is how the Apprentice Boys see it."

The Parades Commission issued its ruling last week, citing the Apprentice Boys' refusal to engage in talks with nationalist residents and the violent clashes that followed the Orange Order parades last month.

Mr Hay said the Apprentice Boys now planned to raise concerns over the rulings of the Parades Commission following Saturday's march.

"When you look at last year, it was very peaceful parade and protest. What has changed?

"There's a number of questions which now need to be asked of the Parades Commission and a number of concerns we want to put."

Meanwhile, police in Derry yesterday held talks with nationalist and loyalist community representatives in a bid to calm tensions ahead of Saturday's parade.

The meeting was called following several violent episodes earlier this week at interface areas.


War of words after plastic bullet vigil

(**Mural photo by CRAZYFENIAN--click for larger view)

A war of words has broken out between a leading justice campaigner and the PSNI after officers in riot gear turned up at an anti-plastic bullet vigil last week.

And Clara Reilly of the United Campaign Against Plastic Bullets has revealed that she has sent a letter to the Chief Constable Hugh Orde branding the PSNI actions as “menacing and provocative”.

In a letter to the PSNI Chief Constable, Hugh Orde, Clara Reilly, chair of the United Campaign Against Plastic Bullets, hit out at the PSNI actions, as over 120 people held a peaceful protest outside Andersonstown Barracks. The annual protest is now in its nineteenth year, but according to the veteran campaigner this is the first time the PSNI or their forerunners, the RUC, have ever turned up.

Out of the 17 people killed by plastic or rubber bullets, five were killed by members of the RUC.

“On Wednesday 4 August 2004, the United Campaign Against Plastic Bullets held its 19th annual vigil in memory of all those killed and injured as a result of the use of plastic and rubber bullets,” reads Clara Reilly’s letter to the Chief Constable. “This event has been held with dignity every year and is attended by members of the families of the victims of plastic bullets as well as survivors of some of the horrific injuries inflicted. One of those who has attended every year is Mrs Emma Groves, blinded by a rubber bullet in 1971. She is now in her eighties and would never dream of missing this event despite her advanced years.”

In her letter Ms Reilly states that others in attendance included Brenda Downes, whose husband Seán Downes was killed by an RUC member firing a plastic bullet at point blank range 20 years ago this month; and Jim McCabe whose wife Norah was killed by the RUC in July 1981.

“In respect of the above it was with dismay and outrage that our vigil was last week accompanied for the very first time by a presence of the RUC/PSNI.

Two Land Rovers parked at each end of the vigil and your officers in riot fatigues stood directing traffic. Aside from being menacing this was an attempt to control and contain the vigil.

“Norah McCabe’s daughter, who was three-months-old when Norah was killed, was pushing her newly born baby in a pram to join the vigil. One of the officers attempted to direct her passage and freedom of movement, she rightly refused to engage in this exercise, her look and demeanour expressed her revulsion.

“Her anger was only suppressed by her dignity and respect for her mother’s memory at the vigil. She had no doubt that the Land Rovers they were driving contained plastic bullet guns.

“Not once during its 19-year history has this vigil ever witnessed such a presence. This totally peaceful act of remembrance was this year subjected to such intimidation that could only be interpreted as insensitive and provocative given the event’s significant background. It was an act of triumphalism directed at the relatives of people killed by the RUC and British army using plastic bullets.”

However, Ms Reilly says that the PSNI “bullyboy tactics” were not successful.

“Over 120 people joined the vigil. Neither intimidation, nor indeed the murder of their loved ones will diminish these families’ sense of purpose and only strengthens the determination to see human rights and justice win the day.”

Last night a spokesperson for the PSNI told the Andersonstown News: “The Land Rovers were on traffic duty, facilitating the flow of traffic past protestors.”

However, an angry Clara Reilly last night pointed out that the PSNI presence was insensitive given that the organisation are currently using the deadly weapon.

“They weren’t needed, and have never been needed during the past 18 years,” said Clara. “The presence was insenstive and menacing, particularly as many children were attending the vigil.”

Journalist:: Anthony Neeson


Ardoyne holds its breath as parade looms

Fears are growing that loyalists are planning to block roads throughout Belfast at the weekend in protest at the Parades Commission’s decision to ban the Apprentice Boys from marching past Ardoyne on Saturday.

And leading Apprentice Boy Tommy Cheevers had added to these concerns by insisting dialogue with nationalists is dead and that it is impossible to predict how loyalists will react to the Parades Commission’s verdict

Speaking to the Andersonstown News, Mr Cheevers refused to rule out the possibility that roads could be blocked.

“I cannot predict how loyalist communities will react but what I do know is that they are exceptionally angry,” he said.

“This was a political decision made to create space before talks in September. The Parades Commission was told what verdict to make.

“Loyalist communities know this and they are telling me they are considering pulling out of all talks with representatives of nationalist residents’ groups.

“As for whether roads in Belfast will be blocked at the weekend, I honestly don’t know, but dialogue is definitely dead.”

North Belfast Sinn Féin councillor Margaret McClenegan said the nationalist community is expecting protest action from loyalists.

“They threatened it when the Springfield Road march was originally banned at the end of June so it comes as no surprise that we’re hearing it again,” she said.

“Perhaps they think by making threats the Parades Commission will perform a U-turn.

“What the Apprentice Boys need to understand is that had they bothered to engage with the Ardoyne Parades Dialogue Group we may have been able to reach an amicable situation.

“It is their failure to talk to residents which has brought about this problem.”

The Parades Commission took the decision to ban 55 Apprentice Boys from parading by Ardoyne last Friday.

The Apprentice Boys wanted to march past the nationalist estate before boarding buses and setting off to their main demonstration in Derry.

On July 12 Ardoyne residents were fenced into their homes by the PSNI and British Army to accommodate an Orange Order march passing by the area. This resulted in the worst rioting seen in Belfast in two years.

Journalist:: Ciaran Barnes

Irish Echo Online - News

Black to get hearing

By Ray O'Hanlon

A Philadelphia court is set to pass sentence on Belfast man Joe Black this week. The hearing is set for Thursday, Aug. 12.

Black has been detained by federal authorities since arriving in the city last month. He was arrested at Philadelphia airport July 7 after arriving from London. He was traveling to a wedding in Pittsburgh.

Black's wife, Geraldine, and three of his five children were with him. They have since returned to Ireland.

Black could be sentenced for up to six months or be sentenced to time served at Thursday's hearing.

But even with time served, his detention could continue for some weeks or even months before he is deported from the U.S.

"That's our deepest fear. Joe could spend months in the custody of the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement," said Sean McClorey, Black's brother-in-law.

Deportation delays frequently result when there are no seats available on flights. The process also depends on the availability of a BICE escort on the flight.

Black, who is 47, has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of failing to disclose his imprisonment on IRA-related charges in the late 1970s.

McClorey said that he had spoken to Black by phone in recent days.

"He was despondent, though he was trying to disguise it," McClorey said. "Joe is the kind of guy who is always busy doing something, so to chain him down is really cruel and unusual punishment."

Black served three years in Long Kesh after being convicted of carrying out a kneecap punishment shooting for the IRA in 1977. After prison, he left the IRA and set up a home-improvement business in Belfast.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that federal prosecutors had accepted that Black had traveled to the U.S. solely for the wedding in Pittsburgh and not for any nefarious purpose.


Rep. Eliot Engel has asked House Speaker Dennis Hastert to immediately schedule a bill that would grant permanent residence in the U.S. to Belfast man Malachy McAllister and his family.

"If the McAllister family was forced to return to the north of Ireland, their lives would be in danger," the New York Democrat wrote in his letter to Hastert. "I urge you to schedule this bill and provide this great family the peace and stability they so greatly deserve," he added.

Engel's letter urges a fast track for a bill submitted by Rep. Steve Rothman, of New Jersey. The McAllisters live in Rothman's congressional district.

Both Rothman and Engel have argued that McAllister, a onetime INLA member, and his family are in danger from loyalists should they return to Belfast.

The family fled the city in 1986 after loyalist gunmen fired into their home.

Malachy McAllister is now the sole parent of four children. His wife, Bernadette, died from cancer in May.

This story appeared in the issue of August 11-17, 2004

Irish Echo Online - Editorial

Irish Echo Editorial: Bogside memories

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Perhaps it doesn't quite rate with Waterloo, Gettysburg or the Bulge, but the Battle of the Bogside, which erupted in Derry 35 years ago this week, will forever stand out in the history of Ireland as a moment when people who felt betrayed, oppressed and thoroughly frustrated drew their line in the asphalt and said "enough."

Much of the world was in flames in that summer of '69. Derry, a big town or a small city, was having to compete for attention with far more bloody urban clashes in other countries and continents, the U.S. included.

But what Ireland lacked in geographic scale, it more than made up for in historical depth.

Those journalists that turned up in the North in the early days of the civil rights marches found themselves immersed in an historical conflict that had simmered since the days of pikes and muskets.

What transpired in Derry in those August days of 1969 laid bare to the world a society that has been constructed and maintained on a policy of discrimination based not on race, but on national loyalties and religious affiliation.

Those divisions, and the policies shoring them up, were never more evident than when marching groups walked along "traditional" parade routes while sticking it to residents who did not want the marches to take place.

In Derry, the marchers of August were Protestant and unionist. The uneasy residents were their neighbors, the city's Catholic, nationalist and republican inhabitants.

The Battle of the Bogside was ignited by something long familiar to Derry people: the annual Apprentice Boys march, which took place on Aug. 12 that year. As the march reached Waterloo Place, nationalists staged a protest against what they saw as yet another set piece expression of Protestant triumphalism. The confrontation would not, however, simply end with tunes and slogans. Very quickly, running street skirmishes developed between young Catholics and members of the Royal Ulster Constabulary. Barricades sprang up all over the Bogside district and what followed was a battle by any definition. In a 36-hour period, hundreds of petrol bombs, bricks and other assorted missiles were directed at police, who fired back, primarily with gas.

Such was the intensity of the clashes that the British government rushed in troops. The soldiers were initially welcomed by Bogsiders, but the initial bonhomie was not to last.

The world was waking up to yet another conflict. Within the Bogside area itself, people gleaned information not just from mainstream media, but also by a local Samizdat that included the "Barricade Bulletin." Bulletin No. 2, dated Aug. 14, would announce a "great defeat" for the unionist government in far away Belfast. But it added a cautionary note: "We do not yet know whether it is a victory for us."

The argument over victory or defeat would repeatedly surface in Northern Ireland in the years that followed. It would hover over marches, demonstrations and even funeral processions. The argument would makes headlines anew in other places such as the Garvaghy Road and in Ardoyne. But it would never be quite resolved. The matter of who wins and loses in Northern Ireland has always been impossible to fully nail down.

The real battle has been to work out a process by which everyone comes out ahead. And that one continues to smolder. But the Battle of the Bogside, the clash that gave birth to "Free Derry" and riveting pictures that were beamed around the world, has to be seen now as an enormously significant turning point. It was a battle waged not by terrorists, but by citizens, old and young.

In the years that followed, many heads would hang with shame at the brutalities that were to become all too familiar during the Troubles. But veterans of August '69 in Derry, to this day, find little trouble in recalling with some pride that they stood up to an unjust state apparatus and proclaimed a new and long-delayed freedom, if only for a handful of streets in a town that had been weighed down for too long by the failures of a troubled past.

This story appeared in the issue of August 11-17, 2004

Irish Echo

Unionists lash Reiss over parades e-mail

By Anne Cadwallader

BELFAST -- The U.S. envoy to Ireland, Dr. Mitchell Reiss, can expect a hot reception from unionists next time he visits Northern Ireland after he was quoted calling some Orange parades "foolish" and "malicious."

Unionists reacted furiously to his comments, which were made in an e-mail to the spokesman for the Irish National Caucus, Fr. Sean McManus. The DUP MP for East Derry Gregory Campbell has said he was "disgusted" with the remarks and other unionists have followed suit.

Reiss will join Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and British Prime Minister Tony Blair for talks next month aimed at restoring devolved government.

All the political parties in the North have been sent a joint letter from Irish Foreign Minister Brian Cowen and British Secretary of State Paul Murphy with details on meetings set for the Sept. 16-18.

There will be smaller meetings held at Stormont in the days prior to the inclusive talks where details on how each party wants to proceed.

Just how Reiss will participate in the process is as yet unclear.

Meanwhile, the U.S. state department has confirmed there was correspondence between Reiss and McManus and does not deny the contents reported in a Belfast daily.

The Irish News quotes Reiss as writing: "Obviously, the idea is to provoke, intimidate and champion their 'superiority.' We've seen this behavior down through the ages, with many groups and many ethnicities. This is an old story that does not improve with the retelling."

McManus has denied breaching confidence in releasing the contents of the mail, but said they had not referred to all Orange parades, just those opposed by nationalist residents groups.

"He [Reiss] was not referring to the whole concept of parading. He was referring to those like Drumcree and Ardoyne and places like that where there are problems," he said.

Campbell, however, has called on Reiss to urgently clarify the U.S. government's position. "I am utterly disgusted", he said. "Dr Reiss's comments are symptomatic of a man who doesn't understand the parading issue at all."

The DUP MP said that Reiss's comments were "a thinly veiled attempt to lump the likes of the Orange Order in with some of the worst groups in human history.

"Will he now turn his mind to Ancient Order of Hibernians and nationalist parades that go through, or close to, Protestant areas and describe them in a similar way?" asked Campbell.

"Dr Reiss has sadly swallowed republican propaganda hook, line and sinker. These sort of remarks will only serve as succor to Sinn Fein/IRA and republican residents groups who simply cannot tolerate the thought of loyal order parades.

"Up to this point the Bush administration has adopted a more evenhanded approach to the situation than the previous Clinton administration. Are they now taking up what can only be viewed as a completely partisan and pro-republican standpoint?"

A U.S. State Department spokesperson said, "There was an off-the-record meeting with Irish-American representatives and Mitchell Reiss on July 21. Amongst the topics discussed were the recent contentious parades around July 12.

"The U.S. government is aware that there are around 3,200 parades in Northern Ireland per year, the vast majority of which are peaceful. We are also aware that this in part can be attributed to the efforts of responsible parade organizers and community representatives."

The spokesman had no immediate comment on Campbell's call for an apology but said that the comments had been taken "out of context."

The Irish News, which ran the story first, pointed out that the State Department had not clarified how the e-mail had been taken out of context as it had been published in its entirety.

McManus insisted that he had not broken any confidence between himself and Reiss. "There was nothing confidential about the correspondence," he said. "I do not have a confidential relationship with Dr. Reiss.

"He has never told me anything in confidence. My job is to lobby the U.S. government and Congress in an open, above-board manner. I make public my correspondence to them, and their correspondence to me.

"I am not a secret negotiator", he said, adding that he had never betrayed a confidence during his 30 years as a lobbyist. "At no time did I enter into confidential dealings with Dr. Reiss and he never asked me to keep anything in confidence," he said.

More support for Reiss came from the SDLP Assembly member John Dallat, who said Reiss's comments were "further proof . . . that the marching orders need to take note of and understand how they are perceived, not only by others here in Ireland, but by people across the world.

"Clearly some marching orders have made some progress but as a whole they should see these comments as a wake-up call to finally get their house in order and realize that their belligerence and intransigence only damages their own cause and no one else's," Dallat said.

(Susan Falvella-Garraty in Washington, D.C., contributed to this story.)

This story appeared in the issue of August 11-17, 2004

Irish Echo

Flashpoint: 'Free' Derry
35 years ago, Battle of the Bogside led to deployment of British troops

By Peter McDermott

Thirty-five years later, Liam MacNiallais remembers the haze over the city. "It was almost like a fog," he recalled. "There was so much smoke from the tear gas. You could smell the cordite just wafting up."

He was a 10-year-old resident of the Creggan, which was up the hill from the Bogside.

The Battle of the Bogside began on Aug. 12, 1969. In his most recent book, "Ireland Since 1939," Henry Patterson writes: "By Aug. 13, 'Free Derry' had effectively seceded from the northern state."

Before it the battle was over, another 24 hours later, the British army was patrolling the streets of Northern Ireland, and has been there since. Derry, particularly the Bogside and the Creggan, which had become "no-go" areas, would never be the same.

It began when the Apprentice Boys, a Protestant organization similar to the Orange Order, marched, as they did traditionally, along Derry's 17th century embattlements overlooking the Bogside.

Beforehand, the Apprentice Boys received assurances at a meeting with the Derry Citizens Defense Association that the counterdemonstration would be properly stewarded.

The situation in the city was tense. The civil rights movement's most famous early march took place in the city on Oct. 5 the previous year.

There were riots in early January after the Burntollet march and again at Easter. At that time, Samuel Devanney was beaten by policemen as they pursued rioters into his house. (He died in July of his injuries.) The legend "You are now entering Free Derry" appeared on a gable wall for the first time in April. "It captured people's imagination," said MacNiallais, now a Manhattan resident.

More radical leaders had emerged: Post-war British Labor education policies -- state aid to voluntary schools and grants for college education -- had helped create the new Catholic leaders. Some of them, like the charismatic Derry native and Trotskyist Eamonn McCann, were self-proclaimed revolutionaries.

"There were those who participated from within who hoped they could seize the opportunity to precipitate the complete revolution in their terms, in the sense that this would precipitate the end of Northern Ireland," said Sean Farren, who, at age 30, watched events from Dublin, but was to move to County Derry the following year.

However, the pent-up energies of youth in a city that had 20 percent unemployment was becoming a factor. Soon, as McCann himself said, the "hooligans" were increasingly driving events.

MacNiallais said: "My father was a marshal in the civil rights marches. He and lot of other men went down to the Bogside, trying to make sure there wasn't a confrontation. But the spirit of the day was that the young men and young women had had enough negotiation with people who didn't listen."

Patterson said in an interview that looking back today one can see the ratcheting up of communal tensions: "Reading the papers from January to August, the level of sectarian animosity is rising all the time." he said.

Back in 1966, when he first went to Queens University in Belfast, Patterson, a working-class Protestant from Bangor, Co. Down, became a republican socialist. "My father was a unionist with a small 'u' -- he voted for the [Northern Ireland] Labor Party," he said. Patterson's uncles were Orangemen and mainstream unionists; one, though, was more radical, tending toward the Paisley position.

Patterson was in Derry on Oct. 5, 1968 and joined People's Democracy, the leftist, radical student wing of the civil rights movement, when it was formed. When his relatives met him, they'd ask: "What are you doing with that lot?"

He participated in student civil rights demonstrations in Belfast that felt Protestant animosity at working class Sandy Row and Donegall Place.

"The attitude of the Protestant working class was, here were whingeing Catholics on grants," he said.


The trigger in Derry on Aug. 12 was said to be the throwing of pennies by the Protestant marchers upon the Bogside. Bottles, stones and other missiles were hurled at marchers and the police defenses for two hours before the inevitable charge.

"It became apparent that the police were going to come in and teach us a lesson," MacNiallais said.

But the residents of the Bogside, who'd already constructed barricades, were ready with stones and petrol bombs. One local dairy is said to have lost 43,000 milk bottles in the preceding four days.

What took place over the next 48 hours was visually similar in certain ways to the May and June "events" of the previous year, the student uprising in Paris. For their battle to control rebellious streets, the RUC were clad and equipped rather like the feared French riot police, the CRS; the demonstrators were youthful for the most part, and indeed led by people, McCann and new MP Bernadette Devlin among them, who'd been student leaders until recently; and the rioters' used stones and bottles, too, as in Paris, and the police responded with a new weapon of crowd control -- CS gas.

The French analogy broke down on at least one front, however. "These were civilians coming in behind the police," MacNiallais said. "It was a clash of two cultures."

He said in the early hours of Aug. 13, car drivers beeped their horns and people ran into the street. He remembered hearing the cry: "They're trying to burn the cathedral," although to this day, he still doesn't know if it was ever seriously threatened.

"But as soon as people heard that -- at this time the people were very Catholic and church-going -- the thought that this might be possible was enough for the men who hadn't gone to the battlefront to get them down there," MacNiallais said. "My father and all the fathers in the street put their clothes on and went down to the Bogside."

After that there were almost no able-bodied men left in the Creggan. Mothers and their children followed events on television. MacNiallais recalled that as he played in the street with a friend, women talked, huddled in groups.

"Rumors were flying around," MacNiallais said. "One woman turned to us and said: 'You're going to have to defend us if the B-men come in.' "

She was undoubtedly joking, but the concern about the B Specials was real. That constabulary was, he explained, like the National Guard. "But these guys hated us with a passion -- that's the sense we got. When our mothers talked about them, you could sense the fear. You could see it in their eyes. They talked about the B-men almost in a whisper."

On an RTE broadcast on the evening of Aug. 13, Taoiseach Jack Lynch said that his government could "no longer stand by and see innocent people injured and perhaps worse."

This started another rumor: "The Irish army was massing on the border. It was definitely coming in. They were going to cross the border and take over Derry. There were stories like that floating around," MacNiallais said. "In fact, the Irish army had set up aid stations for refugees."

The closeness of the Republic to the city was a major factor, Farren believes. "Because it [Derry] was contiguous to the border, because it had a broadly nationalist hinterland, it had about it a confidence, a fearlessness that would not have been present at the time in Belfast, where nationalism is a set of islands," he said.

The help was to come from the broader civil rights movement.

Patterson remembered: "I knew what was happening in Derry. The call went out to have demonstrations in other parts of Northern Ireland. The police would have to pull back."

Soon it was evident that the RUC, just 3,000 strong, were exhausted and demoralized and also that the B Specials, if fully deployed, would only worsen the situation. It was then that the British army was called in.

When that happened, there was a certain confusion among children in the streets of Derry.

Said MacNiallais: "We thought, 'Well, at least they don't hate us. They'll protect us from the B Specials.' "

The mobilization of the B Specials had a sobering effect on the Protestant community, too, taking it to mean that a full-scale uprising against the state was taking place. Patterson has written: "Both communities feared that their ethnic nightmare was about to become a reality in Belfast and acted accordingly."

On the night of Aug. 14, eight people died in the city. The Troubles had begun.

In Derry, the people felt they'd defeated the RUC. "There was an air of excitement, a air of pride, that we were actually standing up for ourselves," said MacNiallais, who today is the quizmaster and Irish-language teacher at Rocky Sullivan's bar.


Sean Farren moved to a transformed North to take up a job with the University of Ulster. He became an admirer of Hume, Derry's most prominent politician, in a situation that was unraveling.

"John's attitude always was if you have recourse to violence,
you must always be able to control that violence," Farren said. "If you bring people onto the streets, there's no predicting what will happen.

"You may not be able to control the forces that you've unleashed; you end up with a far worse situation than the one you were trying to address."

"There was a lot of reform," Farren said of the administration of Prime Minister Terence O'Neill, who'd resigned in April 1969. "But reformers have to be very strong leaders. He wasn't able to convince people that he was doing the right thing."

Said Patterson: "[The civil rights movement's] agenda was explosive for the regime because, although if all its demands were implemented in full it would not have undermined the union with Britain, its implication for traditional Unionist control of Derry, Fermanagh and Tyrone was revolutionary.

"And grassroots unionism could not differentiate between losing control of Derry and Fermanagh and losing control of Northern Ireland."

He said that civil rights campaigners, including the left-wing republicans who became the Officials, genuinely wanted to reform the state. But they failed "to understand the way marches had profoundly sectarian connotations because of the history of communal relations in the North. Grassroots unionists and Orangemen saw civil rights marches as essentially 'Fenian' demos in disguise and therefore wanted the state to apply the traditional approach to republican parades -- that is, ban them."

Patterson was at the meeting that at Christmas 1968 at which radicals discussed and planned the Burtollet march. Still in his ultra-leftist phase, he supported it at the time, though "with grave reservations."

The civil rights leaders had welcomed the O'Neill reforms and his "Ulster at the Crossroads" address, and had declared a truce, which Patterson believes now was the sensible approach.

But the radicals, like PD leader Michael Farrell, were intent on exposing the state as beyond reform. Farrell, Patterson recalled, said those going on the march "should be prepared to get their heads split open, then he said: 'But when we arrive there [Derry] there'll be an insurrection.' "

For Patterson, Burntollet was a "disaster" that worsened sectarian tensions and "stimulated the process of radicalization and violence in Derry which would get far beyond the control of the leadership of the civil rights movement."

Patterson believes also that the short-sighted policies of the London government in August 1969 led to the growth of the Provisionals.

"I think if the British had then, or soon afterward, introduced direct rule, then you wouldn't have had a situation where the British army was propping up the Unionist regime," he said.

Patterson remained a committed leftist, but he broke with PD and came to feel that the nationalist analysis of history could not explain the complexity of the North, much less offer a solution.

Farren, who joined the SDLP in 1972, and was a minister in the recent Northern Ireland Executive, said that the "three-pronged" agenda set out by Hume in the 1970s became the basis of the Good Friday agreement.

"There had to be an accommodation within the North, between North and South, and between Britain and Ireland," he said.

Liam MacNiallais's family, however, became disillusioned with the SDLP. His mother, Mary Nellis, was a candidate for the party, but was unhappy with its response on the prisoner issue. "Her son was being tortured in the H Blocks," MacNiallais said, referring to his brother. She became active in the Relatives Action Committee. Today, Nellis, at 70, is a Sinn Fein Assembly member, continuing an activism that began in the years before the Battle of the Bogside.

MacNiallais said: "The SDLP were too complacent for many years. The nationalist people have woken up and said 'Enough's enough' -- just like our people said in '69."

In 1980, Patterson, a prolific author, became a member of the Republican Clubs, the Workers Party. (He joined those who formed Democratic Left in 1992) He believes the old WP analysis, which emphasized democratic reform, has been vindicated.

"I think that's where the Republican movement is at the moment," he said. "They took a long time getting there, but at least they got there. Thank God for that," he said.

Facing into fresh devolution talks next month, Farren reflected on the tragedy that cost more than 3,600 people their lives. He said the majority of unionists and nationalists never supported violence, and for that reason the North avoided the fate of the former Yugoslavia, where hundreds of thousands died in the 1990s.

"There seemed to have been enough common sense in Northern Ireland to hold us back from going completely over the precipice," Farren said.

This story appeared in the issue of August 11-17, 2004

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