Derry Journal

Derry Man In MI5 Spanish Sting Operation

Friday 3rd December 2004

Prominent Derry solicitor Paddy MacDermott says it appears armed British security agents are operating in a foreign country after a local republican currently living in Spain claimed that he was approached by MI5 this week in an intricate operation he believes was designed to get information from him.

Mr. MacDermott, whose client was the man approached, said he had been in contact with the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Spanish authorities about what he said was a "deeply disturbing' incident."

He told the 'Journal': "This is a deeply disturbing incident in which a Derry republican was approached by armed individuals in Spain who claimed to be from MI5.

"I have been in contact with the Spanish authorities over what appears to be members of the British security services operating in a foreign country and I want to know who authorised this operation."

The Derry republican, who asked not to be named in order to protect family members still living in the city, described his ordeal.

He told the 'Journal': "I have been working in this small mountain village in Catalonia for the past couple of days restoring an old house.

"On Wednesday about 2 p.m. I went to a local bar for some coffee and lunch. As I was sitting there I heard an English accent calling me by name and I turned and saw a couple in their 30's with three bottles of beer.

"I assumed they wanted some work done as English speaking builders are hard to find."

He went on: "No sooner had they sat down the man said quite calmly, 'We work for MI5,' at the same time moving his jacket to show a gun. I immediately put the beer down and got up to leave telling them to go 'f - -themselves.'"

The Derry man said that as he headed towards the door he noticed two other men sitting at another table, one of whom he had seen earlier in the day loitering near where he was working.

He added: "As I went towards the door I noticed the English couple were coming behind me. The man said: 'Don't worry we're not going to follow you, we just want a quick chat outside.'

"I stopped and instead went to talk to the barman as I knew they would not want witnesses."

The man said he then phoned the Spanish police to tell them that he had been approached by an armed man and was told the police would be there shortly.

The Derry man said that he then got angry and left the bar and had words with the people who had approached him.

He said: "I told them to go home, that the Empire was over and that Spain was not British. As I followed them two more men appeared from a side street talking on a radio and in total I noticed seven people working in a team."

The Derry man said that he was a republican but had never been convicted of anything.

He added: "The only thing I can think of is that when I was in Derry I worked for the prisoners.

"I would advise anyone if they are approached in this manner to make it clear that they do not want to talk to these people, contact their solicitor and the media."

The Derry man has been in contact with the Spanish police who arrived on the scene shortly after the incident and he gave them the number of the car used by some of the group who approached him.

Belfast Telegraph

Paisley frustrating deal: Adams

By Deborah McAleese
04 December 2004

Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams today accused Ian Paisley of "frustrating" the chances of an agreement.

Hitting back at remarks made by the DUP leader that he will have to "bite his lip" and "do a good deal of swallowing" if a deal is to be done, Mr Adams said the outburst proves how far the DUP has to move to accept "the concepts of accommodation and equality at the core of the peace process."

Mr Paisley made the comments last night, just days after saying that the IRA should be "made to wear sackcloth and ashes" as humiliation for their crimes.

In response, Mr Adams said that republicans and nationalists should not be provoked, nor should they be surprised by Mr Paisley's comments.

"The use of such provocative, insulting and offensive language is the clearest evidence of how far the DUP have to move to embrace concepts of accommodation and equality, which are at the core of the peace process," he said.

Meanwhile, Alliance leader David Ford said Mr Paisley's "bite my lip" phrase was "a hugely significant statement" by the DUP leader.

"It would have been impossible for him to say that a few months ago. I hope that Dr Paisley will manage to repeat this commitment without the intemperate language, so that people can understand more clearly how far the political landscape has changed."

The SDLP's Mark Durkan said today he is hopeful that an agreement will be reached, that it will last and that politics can move ahead.

"After the highs and lows of the years since the Good Friday Agreement, people still hold to a future without guns and with good government on equal terms. That is the measure of what is at stake.

"There might be better ways of achieving all this than the process we have had, but that reality should not diminish any positive prospect now emerging," he said.

He added that the SDLP would encourage "a final push" to ensure hopes are not dashed.


PSNI: Loyalist parade 'largely peaceful'

04/12/2004 - 18:37:03

Thousands of loyalists paraded through the streets of Derry today without any major trouble.

Despite three arrests for disorderly behaviour police described the scaled down security operation at the annual Apprentice Boys March as a success.

The Lundy’s Day parade was scarred by violence when Northern Ireland’s sectarian tensions were at their height.

But around 2,500 Apprentice Boys and 20 bands passed through the city today without any significant disturbances, further demonstrating the level of compromise reached by loyalists and nationalists.

Superintendent Richard Russell, the police district commander for the area, said: “I’m pleased with the way today’s events have gone.

“The parade was largely peaceful and the city remained fairly normal throughout the day.”

Although rival sides were separated by lines of officers, police chiefs decided not to erect crowd control barriers at flashpoint parts of the route.

The parade marks the 316th anniversary of the shutting of the city’s gates by 13 young apprentices against an attack by the Catholic King James II in 1688.

Colonel Robert Lundy, who was governor of Derry at the time of the siege, is loathed by loyalists as a traitor because he tried to persuade the defenders to surrender.

In recent years marchers and nationalists from the Bogside Residents Group have attempted to diffuse the situation through negotiations involving business leaders in the city.


**I understand and acknowledge that McDonald's does not promote healthy eating habits, but I look on their funding of these Ronald McDonald Houses for the use of families with hospitilised children as making the devil pay his dues. If you have ever had a sick child in hospital for any length of time, you know how it can tear a family apart trying to be with the child as well as take care of its own needs. These houses attempt to address that issue. Many times children and families must journey far away from home to the appropriate treatment places, and there is no option to drive back and forth from home to child. You are not going to stop people from demanding and buying unhealthy fast food, but if you can get some good use out of the profit from it, it should not be denied, especially when it is the sick children with all manner of diseases which will benefit. To deny it when you allow McDonald's to begin with is to cut off your nose to spite your face.

Harney under fire over hospital’s McDonald’s link

04 December 2004
By Claire O’Sullivan

HEALTH Minister Mary Harney was last night accused of a serious conflict of interest after she officially opened a children’s hospital project funded by a charity with close ties to the global food giant McDonald’s.
Labour’s health spokeswoman Liz McManus said the decision to perform the opening ceremony at Ireland’s first Ronald McDonald House showed “the department really is not taking the drive against obesity and unhealthy eating seriously enough.”

“I cannot believe that she opened the centre yet the Government is supposed to be running a serious drive to encourage healthy eating and fight the growing epidemic of obesity. Fast food outlets like McDonalds do not serve the interest of the health services at all,” Ms McManus said.

The €3.75 million Ronald Mc Donald House has been built on the grounds of Our Lady’s Hospital in Crumlin by the Ronald McDonald Children’s Charities of Ireland (RMCC) and will offer ‘home away from home’ accommodation for 16 families who have sick children in the hospital and are forced to spend long periods away from home.

The Department of Health yesterday strongly denied that attendance at the opening was a conflict of interest.

“The campaign against obesity and to promote healthy eating will continue and we don’t see a conflict of interest,” a department spokesman said.

A spokeswoman for Mc Donald’s Ireland said that Mr Harney’s presence showed that the department did not actively discourage the eating of fast food and that Mc Donald’s encouraged moderate eating habits.


Paisley talks to weapons chief

Mr Paisley wants transparent decommissioning

DUP leader Ian Paisley has had further discussions with the head of the decommissioning body on the issue of putting IRA weapons beyond use.

It is the second meeting between Mr Paisley and General John de Chastelain in a week.

It comes after weeks of intensive negotiations between the British and Irish governments and the political parties Sinn Fein and the DUP.

They have centred on the responses from the parties to the proposals put forward aimed at restoring power-sharing in Northern Ireland.

The DUP has demanded photographic evidence of decommissioning as an essential part of any deal to restore devolution.

On Friday, Mr Paisley said it was not up to his party to say "yes" or "no" to the latest British-Irish proposals when they meet Tony Blair on Monday.

Instead, he said Sinn Fein should first indicate that they would abide by the governments' proposals.

After Saturday's talks the DUP leader said that the IRA had still not contacted the general.

Mr Paisley said: "This process is being held back by the republican movement and they must engage immediately with the IICD (Independent International Commission on Decommissioning) or we will know that the whole exercise was one of deception by Sinn Fein/IRA."

He added that Sinn Fein were "not dealing with David Trimble now" - a swipe at the leader of the Ulster Unionist Party who was the head of the largest unionist party in Northern Ireland until last year's assembly elections.

General de Chastelain heads the decommissioning body

The Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams appealed to republicans not to be provoked by the "unacceptable language" used by Mr Paisley.

Mr Adams said that comments by Mr Paisley, in which he said he would have to "swallow hard" to do business with republicans, were an acknowledgement of the prospect of Sinn Fein in government.

He said: "It is also the first begrudging, mixed-up, convoluted, angry acknowledgment by Ian Paisley of the Sinn Fein mandate. We shouldn't dismiss that.

"He also said in terms of getting a deal , it was 'now or never'.

"As far as we are concerned, it is now.

"He needs to come up to the plate and he needs to say yes."


High hopes for peaceful parade

The police are optimistic a loyal order parade in Derry will pass off without any major problems.

Security is likely to be reduced for the annual Protestant Apprentice Boys parade on Saturday.

About 2,500 Apprentice Boys and 22 bands are due take part in the main Lundy's Day parade.

It marks the 316th anniversary of the shutting of the city's gates by supporters of William of Orange against the forces of the Catholic King James II in 1688.

Foyle District Commander Richard Russell said he wanted the celebrations to be as normal as possible.

"Our aim is to police this event in a way that will allow life in the city to continue as normally as possible and I encourage businesses to open as normal," he said.

"This means that everyone, marchers, bands, supporters and local people can mix on the parade route.

"I appeal to all those people to resist provocative behaviour which remains the only small irritation in a parade which has become a triumph for tolerance between the communities in the city."

Police have said they will confiscate alcohol on buses and on the parade route and illegal emblems will not be allowed. All bands have been warned about their behaviour.

Mr Russell said evidence from CCTV and police cameras would be used to bring public order offenders before the courts.

Contentious parade

Recent years have seen little trouble at the event, after agreement was reached between the Apprentice Boys, the nationalist Bogside Residents' Group and the business community.

Last year, the police said it was one of the most peaceful parades in recent times.

However, 17 people have already been reported for alleged offences arising out of a parade in August.

Meanwhile, eight feeder parades are due to take place in Belfast on Saturday.

In north Belfast, the Parades Commission has ruled that the Ligoniel Walkers Club must not walk past a mainly nationalist area, close to the junctions of the Ardoyne, Crumlin and Woodvale roads.

However, they can be taken by bus along that section of the route before going to Derry for the main parade.

Sinn Féin

Sinn Féin receives confirmation of Peace Dividend

Published: 3 December, 2004

Sinn Féin Chairperson Mitchel McLaughlin has this evening revealed that the British government have confirmed in writing to Sinn Féin that they will deliver a peace dividend as part of any deal.

Mr McLaughlin said:

"Sinn Féin has been arguing strongly within the negotiations for the British Government to deliver a substantial peace dividend as part of any overall deal. I believe that the case we put to them was irrefutable.

"Tonight the British government have agreed that a significant peace dividend is necessary. I obviously welcome that. But the content and terms suggested to us this evening by Paul Murphy fall very short of what is required. Sinn Fein will now meet with the British Government to ensure that any peace dividend is significant enough to make a real impact, particularly on the human rights and equality agendas.

"Having brought the British government to this position, we will continue to press them to ensure that any financial package is significant and that it is used to the benefit of those communities which have suffer most from the conflict".ENDS


::: u.tv :::

**From WEDNESDAY 01/12/2004 17:39:45

West Belfast police barracks set to close
One of Northern Ireland's most battle-scarred police stations is to be shut down, it was confirmed today.

By: Press Association

All remaining officers should vacate the Andersonstown base in the heart of republican west Belfast within months.

The station, which was the focus for Sinn Fein protests throughout the conflict, will be handed over to the Policing Board who rubber-stamped the decision.

Once the heavily fortified building is demolished the authority is expected to sell off the site.

Chief Constable Hugh Orde earmarked the station for closure as part of his plans to overhaul the police estate.

Surveys showed the number of weekly callers to it ranged from 30 to 109.

The efficiency reorganisation will see police from surrounding stations at Woodbourne, New Barnsley and Grosvenor Road responding to any calls from Andersonstown.

Police could not reveal when the closure would happen.

But West Belfast District Commander David Boultwood said it would lead to a more effective and efficient service.

"The closure of Andersonstown police station will allow the redeployment of resources to increase on-street and mobile police patrols in the area," he said.

"We hope to move as quickly as possible to implement the decision of the Policing Board. Andersonstown Police Station has been operating reduced opening hours for several months."

SDLP board member Alex Attwood, who has pressed for the shut-down, called for it to be handed over to the neighbourhood.

He said: "It can have a number of future uses, including preserving the archaeological remains that are believed to lie beneath the site, and a building or other scheme that sends out a message about the resilience of the local community and their hopes for the future."

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams has called for the land occupied by Andersonstown barracks to be given back to his constituents.

The West Belfast MP said: "There is no reason for this fortress in the middle of Andersonstown.

"Sinn Fein is the only party which has consistently campaigned for the closure of Andersonstown barracks.

"Now the property and land should be given back to the west Belfast community again.

"Sinn Fein will join forces with the local community to ensure this symbol of militarisation and oppression is made part of the regeneration of west Belfast which we are advancing."


NI deal 'could be put back'

Recent forecasts of speeded up demilitarisation in Northern Ireland would put back chances of a political deal, Ian Paisley has said.

The DUP leader said it was not up to his party to say yes or no to the latest British-Irish proposals when they meet Tony Blair on Monday.

Instead, he said Sinn Fein should first indicate that they would abide by the governments' proposals.

Mr Paisley was speaking after meeting Chief Constable Hugh Orde on Friday.

He said that if the IRA gave up its weapons and abandoned its criminal activity he would have to "swallow hard" to do business with republicans.

There have been intensive negotiations between the two governments and the political parties over the past few weeks.

They have centred on the responses from Sinn Fein and the DUP to the proposals put forward by the British and Irish Governments aimed at restoring power-sharing in Northern Ireland.

The current negotiations are being conducted through a series of British and Irish Government intermediaries because the DUP refuses to hold face-to-face talks with Sinn Fein.

Sinn Fein has said it believes a deal is possible. However, the DUP has told the IRA a deal was "now or never".

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams has urged Mr Paisley to accept the proposals adding that both governments are very clear about Sinn Fein's position.

But he said if the DUP leader believed it was "now or never" for a deal he should say yes to the latest British and Irish proposals.

On Thursday, he again declined to comment on the details of decommissioning and photographic evidence which has been demanded by the DUP.

He claimed this was a matter for General de Chastelain's arms commission.

The leader of the moderate Alliance Party has said a political agreement in Northern Ireland could be reached by the middle of next week.

David Ford has said moves are being made in the right direction.

Mr Paisley met the prime minister on Tuesday to discuss his party's response to the proposals.


PSNI pressing ahead with controversial registration process

03/12/2004 - 11:53:34

The PSNI is pressing ahead with a process of asking all officers to register their membership of semi-secret organisations like the Orange Order, the Freemasons and the Ancient Order of Hibernians.

A number of police offices have taken legal challenges against the measure, claiming it infringes their right to privacy.

However, the PSNI said it was pressing ahead with the process nonetheless.

The Patten Report on policing reform in the North had recommended that all police officers declare their membership of certain organisations as a means of ensuring public confidence.

Belfast Telegraph

Republican remembered

03 December 2004

A senior Sinn Fein politician is to attend the commemoration tomorrow for an historic IRA man.

Party President Pat Doherty will give the main oration at the Dublin ceremony for Martin Savage.

Dubliner Savage was shot dead in an ambush at Ashdown in 1919. Now, 85 years later, the IRA is under enormous political pressure to become an "old boys association".

The republican newspaper An Phoblacht said the volunteers' death had given renewed impetus to the war against the British and its administration in Ireland.

Sinn Féin

Suspected UDA armed robber receives bail

Published: 3 December, 2004

Sinn Féin Assembly member for North Belfast Gerry Kelly said today that the decision of a Belfast court to grant bail to a suspected UDA armed robber one day after he was originally remanded, raised again very obvious questions about the judiciary in the six counties.

Mr Kelly said:

" Republicans know only to well the biased and partisan nature of the judiciary in the six counties. That is why we made it an issue in the negotiations which led to the Agreement. That is why we have devoted so much time and energy since the Criminal Justice Review in getting this issue right. Policing and Justice cannot be divorced if we are to create the sort of society we are aiming for.

" Time and again senior and well known UDA figures appear in court receive automatic bail and if ever convicted receive paltry sentences. Contrast this with republicans and nationalists. There are countless cases of people spending years on remand with no prospect of bail. There is no comparison between the severity of sentences handed out to republicans and any other group.

" This well known loyalist receiving bail today is further reminder for ordinary people just how much work we still need to do to transform the current system into a system which nationalists and republicans can have confidence in." ENDS

Irish Examiner

McCabe widow ‘ambushed’ by moves to free killers

03 December 2004
By Jimmy Woulfe, Mid West Correspondent

THE widow of Detective Garda Jerry McCabe yesterday said she could not see any purpose in meeting Government representatives.

This follows the Taoiseach’s disclosure that the early release of her husband’s killers was part of the Northern peace talks.

Ann McCabe said she had heard about Bertie Ahern’s decision on the radio.

“I have no problem meeting the Taoiseach or ministers, but for what?

“They have said what they have said through the media and not to me. I can’t see any purpose of a meeting if that is the decision they have come to.”

She told the Irish Examiner she had been “ambushed” by yesterday’s Dáil announcement.

“I was driving to a friend’s house when I heard it on the radio. We were left out of it,” she said.

She produced a letter from Justice Minister Michael McDowell which told her: “I want to reiterate my assurance to you that if it had ever been necessary to deal with the issue of releasing the prisoners or if it ever becomes necessary to do so in the future, it would not and will not happen without you and Ben O’Sullivan (the other garda wounded in the Adare attack) knowing in advance.”

“They were common criminals and nothing to do with the peace process. It (early release) won’t add anything to the peace process,” said Ms McCabe.

She said the Dáil announcement made her wonder who was leading the country: “Is it the majority government or the minority Sinn Féin-IRA?”

Last night, Defence Minister Willie O’Dea said it was unfortunate that Ann McCabe learned of the possible early release in the way she did and said he plans to meet with Ms McCabe over the weekend.

Pat Kearney, brother-in-law of Det Gda McCabe said it was hypocritical for the Government to call on new garda recruits to implement the law without fear or favour when they were giving favours to the killers of Jerry McCabe.

“We trusted Bertie Ahern, we trusted his Government and we trusted the word that the two Ministers for Justice gave us,” he said.

Det Gda McCabe was shot dead in an attempted robbery in Adare, Co Limerick in June 1996.

Pearse McCauley from Strabane and Kevin Walsh from Patrickswell were jailed for 14 years for the manslaughter of Det Gda McCabe. Jeremiah Sheehy from Rathkeale got 12 years and Michael O’Neill was sentenced to 11 years.


Ireland's oldest woman dies

The oldest woman in Ireland has died aged at the age of 111.

Margaret Dolan from Tuam in County Galway passed away on Thursday.

She was born in 1893 when Queen Victoria was on the throne and was just 19 when the Titanic sank.



Mitchell calls for end to Irish neutrality

02/12/2004 - 16:35:39

Fine Gael MEP for Dublin Gay Mitchell has said the time has come for Ireland to get off the neutrality fence and take part in an EU common defence policy.

He was today as the EU force known as EUFOR formally took over peacekeeping duties from NATO in Bosnia.

The EUFOR contingent contains a battalion of Irish troops.

Mr Mitchell has said Irish neutrality is a sham and the Government should own up and recognise that.

“I want an end to Irish neutrality in the context of a common EU defence which is coming, and I think we should be negotiating it in terms to best suit Ireland, where we could participate in a case-by-case basis.

“By keeping our head down and refusing to inform the public, by refusing to debate the matter, we are missing an opportunity to draft the rules to suit ourselves.”


Adams criticises IRA membership convictions

02/12/2004 - 19:24:50

Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams has described as unsound two convictions for IRA membership passed at the Special Criminal Court this week.

Mr Adams has said Niall Binead from Crumlin and Kenneth Donohoe from Tallaght should not have been convicted.

The republican leader has said the evidence against the two was insubstantial.

“Arguably those people would not have been convicted in any other state. The basis of their conviction was that the judge looked at videos of their conviction and made a judgment based upon their demeanour," he said.

“He also received secret briefings from the Special Branch that would not be accepted in any courts anywhere else.”

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An Phoblacht

Valuable republican manuscripts under the hammer

While not wanting to add to the coffers of auctioneers, I'd draw attention to the forthcoming auction by Mealy's Auctioneers on Tuesday and Wednesday, 7/8 December. I do so in the hope that when the hammer is brought down on an array of republican memorabilia from the revolutionary years after the founding of Sinn Féin 100 years ago, that they will have found an appreciative home. Failing this, they will be lost forever to future Irish generations of republicans.

Sinn Féin election handbills from 1916, republican and nationalist newspapers from 1912 to 1922, including War News from the republican garrison in the Four Courts in June/July 1922; and issues of James Connolly's Workers' Republic are among the vast store of historical material at auction in Dublin next week.

Mealy's catalogue (www.mealys.com) lists among its many entries; a Thomas Ashe memorial card; a first edition of a Pádraig Mac Piarais book; Thomas McDonagh's poems; an Irish National Aid and Volunteers' Dependants Fund aeridheacht programme for 1917; a photo showing The Proclamation of the Irish Republic being removed from 86 Stephen's Green during the Rising in 1916; the handwritten statements of the IRA's 3rd Cork Battalion Flying Column to the IRA's Director of Propaganda concerning the Kilmichael and Crossbarry Ambush; republican ballad sheets; and election leaflets for Joe McGuinness' South Longford by-election campaign in 1917.

These items and many more would sit well in local museums, or in the many private/public collections of republican material; they could just the same be framed and raffled to raise funds for the Sinn Féin centenary celebrations next year. Though the auctioneers have set reasonably low guidance prices for a lot of the items, only a few of them would be accessible pricewise as Christmas presents

An Phoblacht

Dock workers sacked in run-up to Christmas

A freight and ferry company in Dublin has sacked eight men, a month before Christmas, because the overtired workers refused to work a night's overtime.

NorseMerchant Ferries, an English company with a branch in Dublin, fired the men last Friday. A source within the company, who doesn't want to be named in case he too is dismissed, told An Phoblacht this week that the men, who work as general terminal operatives, had been working 50-hour weeks for the past year and a half, and last Friday put their foot down, believing that their health and safety was being put at risk.

Our source told us that a year and a half ago, the company went into administration (near bankruptcy), and the workers rallied around to help get it back on its feet.

"Before, our shifts added up to about 37 hours a week," he said. "But we were all working 50-plus hours a week to get things back to normal. Unfortunately, by the time the company got back on its feet, it had started to think that these shifts were normal hours."

The men who were sacked were all involved in heavy manual labour. On the night in question, they were told not to start their shift at 3pm as usual, but to come in at 6pm. Then at 9pm, they were told a boat would be coming in at 1.30am, which they were required to unload.

"A ship coming in at that time would mean the men wouldn't be finished until after six in the morning," our source said. "The men were really sick when they heard this and they approached their foreman and said it was too much. Basically they, like the rest of us, were fed-up not knowing when they were going to finish their shifts, and more importantly, they were shattered tired from consistently working overtime."

The men had also been shaken by an accident that had happened in the docks that day, when a contract worker for the company had driven into one of their workmates. When this was logged in the accident book, it was noted that the man who caused the incident had only had a ten-minute break in an eleven-hour shift.

"That book has since gone missing," An Phoblacht was told. "But all of those things led to the men going to their supervisors and saying they just couldn't do the work. It was one night in a year and a half, and the company turned around and said: 'You either do it or your sacked'."


The men are now in an appeals process with the company and will decide later this week whether to go on strike. Unfortunately, they feel restricted in what they can do because of a threat the company has made not to pay the Christmas bonuses (around €5,000) due to each of them.

"When they were sacked they were not given pay in lieu or anything," our source said. "Now they are afraid they won't get their bonus money.

"The lads here want to go on strike in support of them, because it could have happened to any of us, but striking is not always the best method on the docks, because the companies usually bring in contractors from England. They've already brought in men to replace the eight and are putting them up in Clontarf Court Hotel at the moment. We're also afraid that we might lose our bonus as well."

When contacted, NorseMerchant Ferries told us that they did not feel it appropriate to comment on the situation as the men were currently in an appeals process.

But one of the sacked workers, who spoke to us on Tuesday, said: "They know they have treated us disgracefully. We stood by that company when it was going bankrupt and this is how they repay us. I was sacked by a letter sent in a taxi, and told I was guilty of gross misconduct, all because I was too tired to work more overtime. I'm not surprised they don't want to comment on that."

An Phoblacht

SAS get away with murder

Photo: The scene of the 1984 SAS killing of Volunteers Danny Doherty and Willie Fleming

The decision by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) not to prosecute members of the British Army's SAS involved in shooting dead two IRA Volunteers in Derry in 1984 was upheld in the High Court in Belfast on Wednesday 24 November.

Volunteers Danny Doherty and Willie Fleming were on active service in December 1984 when they were ambushed by a five-strong SAS gun gang, who rammed their motorcycle before firing a total of 59 shots into the pair.

Doherty was shot at least 19 times, with six shots hitting him as he lay prone on the ground.

At the 1985 inquest into Doherty's killing, the jury found that "the five-man army unit should have tried to arrest this person or at least informed the RUC earlier and his life might have been saved".

In his ruling, delivered at Belfast High Court, Judge Girvan dismissed the application brought by Julie Doherty, who was seeking a judicial review into the DPP decision not to prosecute any of the British soldiers involved in the killings.

Doherty challenged the DPP's failure to prosecute the British soldiers involved in the ambush and its refusal to provide her with "full and sufficient" reasons for not doing so.

In his ruling, Girvan said, "it has not been demonstrated that the prosecuting authority approached the exercise in arriving at its decision on an incorrect, irrational or improper basis.

"The no prosecution decision was made in 1986. In 2004 it is much too late for the applicant to seek effectively to reopen a decision made in 1986 and not challenged within a reasonable time thereafter."

Eugene Burns of Madden and Finucane solicitors, who represents Doherty, said: "We are disappointed at the decision, particularly in the light of the inquest jury's conclusions and the scientific evidence that Mr Doherty was shot from the rear and six shots hit him while he was lying on the ground."

In the aftermath of the killings, a DUP spokesperson gloating over the killings declared: "I am delighted that the two IRA men were intercepted and executed by the undercover army squad. The only way the IRA will be dealt with is when they are executed. They deal in death and must be dealt with by death."

An Phoblacht

Four Derry Volunteers killed in action - Remembering the Past


Photo: Volunteers Antoine Mac Giolla Bhríghde, Ciaran Fleming, Danny Doherty and Willie Fleming

In this week, 20 years ago, four IRA Volunteers, Antoine Mac Giolla Bhríghde, Ciaran Fleming, Danny Doherty and Willie Fleming, made the ultimate sacrifice for Irish freedom.

Antoine and Ciarán

Antoine Mac Giolla Bhríghde was from Magherafelt in South Derry. In 1964 his father Frank, in search of work, had moved the family from his native Derry to Belfast. Ignoring politics, they moved to Killowen Street in loyalist East Belfast, where they were soon under constant attack. The attacks culminated in 1972 with Frank and Antoine (then 14) being shot. Frank, already ill, never recovered from the 12 bullets that hit him and died 17 months after the attack. Antoine made a full recovery and took over as head of the family. In the mid-'70s, Antoine joined the Free State Army and in 1979, while on leave, he was captured near Strabane, smuggling weapons into the Six Counties. He was given a three-year jail sentence. Antoine was released in 1980 and worked tirelessly for the Republican Movement right up to his untimely death.

Ciarán Fleming was the youngest child of Maud and Paddy; he was raised on a loyalist estate in the Waterside area of Derry and witnessed the bigotry and triumphalism of the Orange State first hand. Ciarán was arrested and imprisoned from an early age and spent his formative years in the H-Blocks of Long Kesh at the height of the Blanket Protest and the Hunger Strikes. His quiet, easygoing nature belied a fierce and dedicated commitment to the republican cause. He played a major role in the Great Escape of 1983 and on his escape from jail returned to the forefront of the armed struggle. His cousin William, also an IRA Volunteer, was to die within four days of Ciarán.

On Sunday 2 December 1984, IRA Volunteers Antoine and Ciarán took part in an operation against crown forces near Drumrush in County Fermanagh.

The operation began the night before, when a Toyota van was commandeered in Pettigo, County Donegal. It was driven to a nearby site where it was loaded with nine beer kegs, each containing 100lbs of explosives. The van was then driven several miles across the border, where Volunteers carefully placed the landmine into position at the side of a laneway leading to the Drumrush Lodge Restaurant, outside Kesh. A command wire was then brought back to an observation post over looking the laneway, where three armed Volunteers lay in wait for the RUC and Brits. A hoax call was then made, warning that a firebomb had been placed in the Drumrush Lodge Restaurant.

At around 1am, Antoine and another Volunteer, both unarmed, were waiting in a van which was to be used to withdraw from the area after the engagement. They noticed an RUC car approach the restaurant and Antoine gave the code word "one", meaning to detonate the mine. The mine failed to go off. Then Antoine saw a car parked on the lane and believed it to contain civilians. Antoine got out of the van and walked towards the car to tell the occupants to leave the area. On approaching the car, two SAS men called on him to halt, they called to drop his gun and when Antoine said he wasn't armed, one of the SAS men stepped forward and shot him in the left side.

Antoine was then cuffed with plastic stays, beaten, tortured and shot dead. His comrades, when later debriefed, reported hearing a single shot, then screaming, and a short time later a further burst of machine gun fire, after which the screaming stopped. On hearing the first gunfire, the armed IRA Volunteers rushed to the scene and immediately opened fire on the SAS. They shot Lance Corporal Slater dead, hit a second in the shoulder and severely wounded the third with multiple gunshot wounds to the legs.

Under heavy fire, the Active Service Unit retreated across the swollen River Bannagh, where sadly, Ciarán, a non-swimmer, was swept away and drowned

Danny and Willie

Danny Doherty was from the Creggan Estate in Derry. He came from a close knit family with strong republican views. His father, two brothers and sister were all imprisoned for their republican beliefs. Danny joined Na Fianna Éireann at 14. Throughout his time in Na Fianna, he proved to be of invaluable assistance to the IRA. At 17, Danny lied about his age and became a member of the IRA. A short time after, Danny was imprisoned in Portlaoise Jail for membership and possession of explosives. He spent three years and ten months there. The conditions in Portlaoise at the time were very bad, with beatings and strip-searches. Once, Danny had to go three months without a visit. On his release, Danny reported back to the IRA and when asked what role he envisaged for himself, he promptly and without hesitation insisted on rejoining an active service unit.

Willie Fleming was born and raised in the Top of the Hill area of Waterside, Derry. He was the sixth of seven children of Leo and Betty. Three of Willie's brothers were POWs and Willie grew up in the midst of a conflict that took its toll on his community and on his family. He joined the ranks of Na Fianna at the age of 14 and was an extremely valuable resource to the Derry Brigade staff. As a member of Fianna Éireann, Willie was always active, either collecting information for the IRA or being active within the organisation. He attended several Ard Fheiseanna and spoke on many occasions. When Willie joined the IRA at 17, he became an invaluable asset, being intelligent, trustworthy and always anxious to play his role in any operation against crown forces.

On Thursday 6 December 1984, Danny and Willie were driving on a motorbike on active service through Derry. When they entered the grounds of Gransha Hospital, an SAS man drove a car into the motorbike, dislodging Willie from the pillion seat. As he lay on the ground, two further SAS members shot him, first with 9mm pistols, until they ran out of ammunition, and then with HK 53 sub-machine guns. His autopsy showed that he had four gunshot wounds to his head and 56 to his trunk and torso. When Willie was knocked off the bike it went out of control, mounting a kerb and throwing the already shot Danny to the ground. Two more SAS men then continued to empty their weapons into him. At Danny's inquest, the coroner stated that Danny had three gunshot wounds to the head and 21 to the trunk. Danny and Willie, although armed with pistols, had no chance either to defend themselves or to surrender. They were shot down by the Brits under the shoot-to-kill policy. Following the shootings, the RUC left the bodies lying where they had fallen for over five hours, before eventually removing them to Altnagelvin Hospital.

Funerals attacked

All four men were given full military funerals. At the funeral of Antoine Mac Giolla Bhríghde, the RUC, wielding batons, tried to remove the Tricolour from the coffin. They insisted on putting Land Rovers in the centre of the cortege and rammed the family car to get behind the hearse. The family then stopped the funeral until the RUC removed themselves from the cortege. After 20 minutes, the RUC pulled out of the cortege and the mourners made their way to St Mary's Church, where Gerry Adams gave the oration. Ciarán Fleming's body was not found until 21 December. His funeral took place on Christmas Eve and, despite further attacks by the RUC, Ciarán was laid to rest by his comrades with full military honours.

Willie Fleming's funeral from the Waterside joined up with that of Danny Doherty of Creggan. It was the largest funeral in Derry City since the death of Patsy O'Hara. The coffins were draped with Tricolours and four IRA Volunteers in full uniform fired volleys over the coffins. Over 3,000 people followed the cortege to Derry City Cemetery. In his oration, Martin McGuinness said: "We are an occupied country and those brave enough to fight repression deserve nothing but respect and unfailing support from us all. Only the IRA can bring Britain to the negotiating table."


Acts of Contrition
More details have emerged on the proposals to deal with the issue of trust which has bedevilled the peace process from the very outset. Talks sources suggest that by the end of December General John de Chastelain could report that he now has physical proof that the DUP has put all its sectarian bigotry ‘beyond use’.

In a secret location Ian Paisley has made or will make a video-recorded act of contrition, witnessed by the General and two other independents nominated by Sinn Fein and the DUP. This would open the door to a shadow Assembly in January. Sources say that under the proposals the video would not be shown immediately. Sinn Fein is saying no deal will be made without a film of Ian Paisley apologising. The nationalist people need transparency, said Gerry Adams: “Any deal must be fair and must address to my satisfaction and my electorate’s satisfaction all the fundamental issues that have blocked progress for so long. We need acts of completion, proof of the sincerity of the unionists and that they have turned their backs on discrimination and triumphalism forever.”

The video of Paisley apologising would be held by the head of the International Commission on Decommissioning until March. Paisley’s film would then go on general release and Sinn Fein would agree to a new power-sharing executive with the DUP. There is a real danger, of course, of the whole choreography being thrown into disarray should the Independent Monitoring Commission report adversely on the Reverend Ian Paisley’s activities. Just two months ago Paisley made an outburst against ‘Romanist journalists’ for not being truly concerned about his health and actually wishing him ill.

In the film Ian Paisley is expected to apologise for his contribution to the conflict, beginning with his threatened march into Divis Street in September 1964 to remove a Tricolour from the windows of Sinn Fein’s election headquarters. That sparked off rioting in which hundreds of nationalists were injured and scores arrested.

He goes on to express regret for his counter-demonstrations against the Civil Rights Movement which also led to violence; his founding of the Ulster Protestant Volunteers; the death of Jimmy Dempsey in September 1969, caused by his supporters trying to invade Iveagh and Broadway; his membership of the Ulster Workers Council’s committee which organised the intimidation and bloody violence during the UWC strike against power-sharing (the irony!); his involvement with the UDA which provided paramilitary muscle during the second violent strike in 1977; the Carson Trail rallies and middle-of-the-night demonstrations of loyalist firepower; his establishment of the ‘Third Force’; his support for the Ulster Clubs; and his involvement in founding Ulster Resistance, some of whose members imported illegal weapons to kill hundreds of Catholics.

Yes, Paisley says, ‘Sorry’.

If only!

If all sides were required to prove their sincerity then the above precondition could be legitimately demanded of Paisley. On the other hand, there are demands which are designed to be impossible or mischievous or designed to stymie political progress whilst laying the blame for failure on one’s opponent. I can live with unionism being in denial about its contribution to the conflict, either directly or as cheerleaders to state and loyalist paramilitary violence. Patronising as it sounds, unionists need our help, which is why republicans agreed to the amendments of Articles 2 & 3, the Patten Commission, and devolution, among other concessions.

I do not know if the IRA is prepared to allow an act (or acts) of decommissioning to be filmed as transparent proof that the act had actually taken place. I don’t believe that this demand from unionists is legitimate, don’t believe that it is or represents actual proof of total decommissioning. For that matter, I don’t believe that it will be the end of unionist demands or that it will settle unionists given that it is the political project of republicanism and the trend towards Irish unity which ultimately unsettles them.

Filmed decommissioning only makes sense from the dispassionate perspective of cold logic – lubricating the stalled negotiations so that a power-sharing executive and all-Ireland bodies can be restored.

If a photo or video is taken it will certainly become public and be used by the DUP for electoral advantage and to lord it over the UUP in terms of, “Look what we got and you didn’t!”

Republicans would be even more depressed than Ulster Unionists! Despite all that Paisley says about not wanting to humiliate anyone, he will parade the photos as the symbol of surrender. However, that satisfaction would be short-lived and a one-off regardless of how many times he hits playback. It would be short-lived against the fresh and daily images of the DUP in a power-sharing executive with Sinn Fein, symbolising and signalling a dramatic betrayal by Paisley of his entire political life, radically changing the political complexion of the North and putting the union on a slippery slope.

But, as I said last week, I cannot see Ian Paisley sitting in government with the SDLP never mind with ‘Sinn Fein/IRA’. (Or has the DUP dropped that phraseology in the past week?) The real stumbling block, as I am sick of saying, is not arms but the politics of power sharing: power sharing - the antithesis of the meaning of ‘ Northern Ireland’.

An Phoblacht

Combating violence against women

Violence against women has many faces. From birth to death, in times of peace and conflict, women face aggression at the hands of state, community and family. In some countries, the life of a woman is considered so worthless that baby girls get discarded, abandoned and even killed. Every year millions of women are raped by partners, relatives, friends and sometimes strangers, by employers and colleagues, security officials and soldiers. The overwhelming majority of those affected by violence at home are also women and girls. In recent conflicts in Kosovo, Bosnia, Sudan and Congo, we have seen how violence has been used as a weapon to dehumanise women themselves or to prosecute the community to which they belong.

All around the world, different actions took place on Thursday 25 November, International Day Against Violence Against Women, to highlight that violence against women is a problem that affects everybody in society.

It's in our hands: Stop violence against women, a report published by Amnesty International, investigates causes, forms and remedies, and highlights the responsibility of the state, the community and individuals for taking action to end violence against women.

This report finds that violence against women is not confined to any particular political or economic system, but is prevalent in every society in the world. It cuts across boundaries of wealth, race and culture. The power structures within society which perpetuate violence against women are deep-rooted. The experience or threat of violence inhibits women everywhere from fully exercising and enjoying their human rights.

Women throughout the world have organised to expose and counter violence against women. They have forced changes in laws, policies and practices through their work to bring those responsible to account. They have brought the violations against their human rights out of the shadows and into the spotlight. They have established that this violence demands a response from those who, in many cases, are responsible for that violence: governments, communities and individuals.

The women's movement has, above all, challenged the view of women as passive victims, as despite the many obstacles and threats, women are leading the struggle to prevent further violence.

The struggle to establish women's rights as human rights has not been easy. Despite its prevalence, it was not until the 1990s that violence against women emerged as a focus of international attention and concern. In 1993, the UN General Assembly passed the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women, UN Resolution 48/104. In the next two years, at both the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in Cairo and the 1995 Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, women's organisations from around the world advocated ending gender violence as a high priority. The Cairo Programme of Action recognised that gender violence is an obstacle to women's reproductive and sexual health and rights, and the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action devoted an entire section to the issue of violence against women.

In March 1994, the Commission on Human Rights appointed the first Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women and empowered her to investigate abuses of women's human rights. In the same year, the Organisation of American States (OAS) negotiated the Inter-American Convention to Prevent, Punish and Eradicate Violence Against Women. As of 1998, 27 Latin American countries had ratified the convention.

In May 1996 the 49th World Health Assembly adopted a resolution (WHA49.25) declaring violence a public health priority. WHO is sponsoring, together with the Centre for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE) and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, a multi-country study on women's health and domestic violence.

More recently, in September 1998 the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) brought together 400 experts from 37 countries to discuss the causes and costs of domestic violence, and policies and programs to address it. The IDB currently funds research and demonstration projects on violence against women in six Latin American countries. That same year, UNIFEM launched regional campaigns in Africa, Asia/Pacific, and Latin America designed to draw attention to the issue of violence against women globally. UNIFEM also manages The Trust Fund in Support of Actions to Eliminate Violence Against Women, an initiative that has disbursed US$3.3 million to 71 projects around the world since 1996.

Then, in 1999, the United Nations Population Fund declared violence against women "a public health priority".

An enormous range of anti-violence initiatives now operate in all parts of the world. Some are run by small grass-roots women's groups, others by large international agencies, and still others by governments. Moreover, growing research efforts have resulted in an increasingly detailed and sophisticated understanding of the causes and consequences of violence against women. Yet the violence continues.

Case studies

One of the cases highlighted by Amnesty is that of Grace Patrick Akpan, who was stopped by police officers for an identity check in Catanzaro, Italy, in February 1996.When she told them that she was an Italian citizen, they answered that "a black woman cannot be an Italian citizen". She was physically assaulted by the officers and required two weeks' hospital treatment. In October 1999, almost three years later, the officers responsible were found guilty of abusing their powers and causing Grace Patrick Akpan's injuries. They were sentenced to just two months' probation.

In Chihuahua, Mexico, the lack of political will to investigate the reasons behind the disappearance of more than 400 young women and to put in place resources to save other women from suffering a similar fate have forced families and friend of the victims to organise themselves. The organisation, Justice for our Daughters, counts on the support of barristers and lawyers that are acting for the families of the victims and works to force the authorities to act on what is happening to young women in Mexico. They have already denounced how they have received threats themselves.

These cases, and many others around the world, show how violence against women -which is never normal, legal or acceptable and should never be tolerated or justified - is sometimes if not allowed, then accepted. This attitude should change and everyone - individuals, communities, governments, and international bodies - has a responsibility to put a stop to it and to redress the suffering it causes.

Change must come at international, national and local levels. It must be brought about by governments as well as private actors, by institutions as well as individuals.

Taking action

In Spain, violence against women has become one of the main items of public and political discussion. Incidents of domestic violence are now widely reported in the press and the government is prepared to enact new legislation so those responsible for this kind of violence serve longer prison sentences. However, there is a very long way to go, as this year more than 52 Spanish women died as a consequence of violence inflicted by their current or former partners.

In Colombia, thousands of women took to the streets on Thursday 25 November to protest the impact of the civil conflict in their lives. The massive fumigations against huge areas under the excuse of eradicating coca plantations, carried out by the Colombian army and financed by the US administration, the forced displacement of populations escaping the conflict areas and the poverty that these situations create, affect the lives of million of women in Colombia. This year, women marched to El Chocó, where a high percentage of the population suffer discrimination not only because of their poverty, but also because of their Afro-Colombian origin, and where the violence of the armed conflict is a daily occurrence.

In Pakistan, it is estimated that around 1,000 women are killed every year due to the so-called honour-crime. To ask for a divorce, to have relationships outside wedlock or to offend the family honour are enough reasons for those women to be murdered, mutilated or burned alive. The Feminist Association of Legal Assistance for Women opened a women's refuge in the area of Punjab in 1990, where they provide assistance and a home to women who have been threatened with - or have already suffered - this kind of violence.

In Morocco, since 1993, the organisation Centre for Listening and Legal and Psychological Assistance for women victims of violence has been working to improve the situation of women in the North African country.

International Day Against Violence Against Women has come and gone. Since then, more women have died due to incidents of violence. Only when women gain their place as equal members of society will violence against women no longer be an invisible norm but, instead, a shocking aberration.


Violence against Women is defined as:

"Any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life."

UN Declaration on the

Elimination of Violence against Women


against women includes:

Violence in the family.

This includes:

• Battering by intimate partners,

• Sexual abuse of female children in the household,

• Dowry-related violence,

• Marital rape and female genital mutilation and other traditional practices harmful to women.

It also covers abuse of domestic workers such as:

• Involuntary confinement, physical brutality,

• Slavery-like conditions and sexual assault.

Violence in the community.

This includes:

• Rape,

• Sexual abuse,

• Sexual harassment and assault at work, in educational institutions and elsewhere.

• Trafficking, forced prostitution and forced labour fall into this category, which also covers rape and other abuses by armed groups.

Violence by the state.

This includes

• Acts of violence committed or condoned by police, prison guards, soldiers, border guards, immigration officials and so on, such as rape by government forces during armed conflict, torture in custody and violence by officials against refugee women.

In any of these categories, violence may be physical, psychological, and sexual.


The statistics on violence against women reveal a worldwide human rights catastrophe. However, these figures represent the tip of the iceberg. Violence against women is generally under-reported because women are ashamed or fear disbelief, hostility or further violence.

• At least one out of every three women has been beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused in her lifetime. Usually, the abuser is a member of her own family or someone known to her.

• The Council of Europe has stated that domestic violence is the major cause of death and disability for women aged 16 to 44 and accounts for more death and ill-health than cancer or traffic accidents.

• More than 60 million women are "missing" from the world today as a result of sex-selective abortions and female infanticide. China's last census in the year 2000 revealed that the ratio of newborn girls to boys was 100:119.The biological norm is 100:103.

• In the USA, women accounted for 85% of the victims of domestic violence in 1999, according to the UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women.

• The Russian government estimates that 14,000 women were killed by their partners or relatives in 1999,yet the country still has no law specifically addressing domestic violence.

• The World Health Organisation has reported that up to 70% of female murder victims are killed by their male partners.


Preventing violence against women requires us to:

• Speak out against violence against women, listen to women and believe them;

• Condemn violence against women as the major human rights scandal of our times;

• Confront those in authority if they fail to prevent, punish and redress violence against women;

• Challenge religious, social, and cultural attitudes and stereotypes which diminish women's humanity;

• Promote women's equal access to political power, decision-making and resources;

• Support women to organise themselves to stop the violence.

An Phoblacht

Defending Tom Barry and the Boys of Kilmichael

Photo: Historian and author Meda Ryan

Historian Meda Ryan last weekend defended the reputations of Tom Barry and his fellow IRA men, who inflicted a devastating blow against British forces in Cork on 28 November 1920 in the famous Kilmichael Ambush.

The ambushing of the British Auxiliary force was in response to a campaign of terror and brutality carried out by Macroom based Auxiliaries on communities in Mid and West Cork prior to the ambush. Revisionists have of late challenged Barry's account that the British Auxiliaries caught in the ambush surrendered, only to treacherously pick up their guns again when the IRA broke cover.

Ryan, author of the book, Tom Barry IRA Freedom Fighter, chose the very site of the historic ambush to make her rebuttal, at the invitation of the Kilmichael and Crossbarry Commemoration Committee, before 2,000 people gathered to honour the memory of Barry and his 36 comrades.

The following is the text of her oration.

On this spot, 84 years ago today, the first major ambush against the British forces in Ireland took place. It was Sunday 28 November 1920. Here at Kilmichael, Tom Barry and 36 young Volunteers took on the dreaded Auxiliaries who were stationed in Macroom Castle at the time. We are here today to commemorate this event, and to recall the bravery of Barry and his men and to remember also Jim O'Sullivan, Michael MacCarthy and Pat Deasy, who were fatally wounded here. These young men were tricked into accepting a false surrender by Auxiliaries, who had fought in the Great War and most of whom were commissioned officers.

Due to a certain type of historical revisionism in recent years, a cloud has hung over the Kilmichael Ambush and the actions of its commander, Tom Barry, on that day. A controversy has surrounded this ambush because all, except two, of the Auxiliaries who participated were killed on the site. The question posed is whether or not these Auxiliary soldiers surrendered, and subsequently took up guns and again used them against the Volunteers.

In 1998, Peter Hart, who was attached to Queen's University Belfast and now lives in Newfoundland, stated that Tom Barry's history of Kilmichael "is riddled with lies and evasions" — strong words about a man who was known for his uprightness and courage, and who fought against so much odds during the War of Independence.

In my research I could not find Barry's lies, nor did I discover where the evasions occurred, as Barry accepted full responsibility for the Kilmichael Ambush.

Peter Hart has based his theory mainly on three separate issues.

(First): On the official British establishment publication of the ambush details.

(Second): On a report that Barry allegedly wrote after the ambush.

(Third): On interviews, two of which he conducted himself.

Let us return to the reason the Volunteers found it necessary to undertake military action. Home Rule, which looked imminent before the Great War, was suspended for its duration, but it was not honoured when the war ended. The overwhelming success of Sinn Féin in the 1918 election meant that the Irish people placed their trust in their own representatives. The meeting of the First Dáil on 21 January 1919 laid the constitutional basis of the new Irish State. However, the British parliament declared it an illegal assembly.

The oath of allegiance to the Dáil of the Irish Republic by the Volunteers established them as an army for that parliament. As the RIC scoured the country and arrested Volunteers and Sinn Féin members, it was obvious that the British Government did not want the Irish people to control their own destiny. Tom Barry himself said: "When we went into the revolution, we had to feel that we were doing it for a purpose, we had been slaves for 700 years. When we tried to break free of this, they proclaimed anything that was nationalistic. Our people resisted arrest and that resistance led to shooting," and ultimately to guerrilla warfare.

On the 28th day of November, the Auxiliaries, who were stationed at Macroom Castle, had created terror among the citizens in these local districts. House raids, beating men, taunting women and taking pot shots at civilians who worked in the fields was their method of intimidating the people. The intention was to dampen the spirits of Volunteers. The activities of these Auxiliaries encroached on the Cork No 3 Brigade area, the border of which is just down the road from Kilmichael. On Sundays previous to this, these Auxiliaries travelled in Crossley tenders as they went on their rampage. So they had to be apprehended within Cork No 1 Brigade area — on the stretch of road before they reached Gleann crossroads, which led in different directions, just west of Kilmichael. Tom Barry felt there should be no further delay in challenging them.


Tom Barry had been appointed Training Officer and Commanding Officer of the 3rd West Cork Brigade Flying Column. This spot was carefully chosen. Barry borrowed an IRA tunic from Paddy O'Brien in order to slow down any approaching enemy lorry. At 2am on the morning of 28 November, the Column met in Sullivan's Ahalina, outside Enniskeane. Each man was armed with a rifle and 35 rounds of ammunition; a few had revolvers and Barry had two Mills bombs.

Fr O'Connell had heard the men's confessions at the side of the road. It was 3am on this extremely cold, wet night when the men were told that they were moving to Kilmichael to take on the dreaded Macroom-based Auxiliaries.

Barry and his men walked through by-roads and cross country, mainly in silence. They trudged on, locked in their own thoughts as the November rain lashed against them. They were drenched when they reached Kilmichael. Meanwhile, Pat Deasy, who had been ill during training, had been replaced by another man. Now well again, Deasy had followed the Column close behind, and pleaded with Barry to participate in the ambush. Barry agreed.

It was 8.15am when the Column reached the ambush position. The men were wet, cold and hungry. Barry gave them their positions and told them that the terrain allowed for no retreat.

Barry's plan was straightforward. He would be at the Command Post, supported by three picked marksmen.


Section 1, was up on the rocks, in from the Command Post. Section 2, was just behind the monument. Section 3 was subdivided, with half of the men just around the bend and the other half across the road. Two scouts were north of the road and one south of the Command post.

The hours passed slowly. The men, without food since 6 o'clock the previous evening, lay in their rain-sodden clothes. Then the people in an isolated house sent down a few buckets of tea and a homemade cake — all these people had — but this meagre supply of food did not go far. The men waited, and the day dragged. As the day wore on it began to freeze, so that the clothes froze on their bodies as they hid behind the rocks. All the time, Barry stood on the open road, as he fingered his Mills bomb. He was about to call off the ambush when a sidecar with some Volunteers arrived — they hadn't received mobilisation orders on time. Barry acted instantly and shouted to them to gallop up the side boreen.

Just a few minutes later, at 4.05pm, the first lorry came round the bend and began to slow as it neared the uniformed figure. Barry hurled the bomb, blew the whistle and fired the automatic.

The grenade must have landed on the driver's seat because the lorry lurched forward, then stopped a few yards in front of the Command Post where Barry stood. The Auxiliaries jumped out and there was sharp fighting, even hand-to-hand action. When the men in the first lorry had been dealt with, Barry commanded the three men beside him at the Command Post to move with him towards the second lorry. This lorry had been engaged by No 2 Section, which was in the middle of the ambush area, behind the monument, high up on the rocks.

The second group of Auxiliaries had taken up positions beside the ditch on the road. Some also had taken cover behind their lorry as the fight went on. Barry, with the three men at the Command Post, crouched along the dyke and stole along at the back. When they were about half way between the two lorries they heard the Auxiliaries shout, "We surrender! We surrender!" Some actually threw away their rifles and the firing stopped. The Volunteers accepted the surrender. In No 2 Section some Volunteers, who thought it was over, stood up. But the Auxiliaries again took up their guns; some used their revolvers to open fire. Following this encounter, three Volunteers were fatally wounded.

Realising that the Auxiliaries had made a false surrender, Barry shouted at his men to retaliate.

Barry and the three men with him dropped into a prone position and began a rapid fire. Other Volunteers in No 2 Section did likewise. The Auxiliaries knew they were sandwiched between two groups of men. Once again they shouted, "We surrender"; but at this stage Barry shouted to his men to keep firing and "do not stop until I tell you". Later he said: "Now for that I take full responsibility... The only blame I have to myself is that I didn't warn these young lads about the old war trick of a false surrender." He never forgave himself for this.

It was a tough fight and when all the Auxiliaries appeared dead, Barry then gave the ceasefire order. Two Volunteers in No 2 Section, Michael McCarthy and Jim O'Sullivan, were dead, and Pat Deasy, who had been sick and had pleaded with Barry to take part, was seriously wounded. He died later. Barry sent scouts for a priest and a doctor, and ordered the lorries to be burned. Many of the Column men were in shock. Barry, conscious of this and of the need to jerk them back to reality, ordered the men to get into formation, gave the "attention" command and ordered them to reload. He marched and counter-marched his Column, their faces lit in the winter twilight by the flickering light from the burning vehicles. Barry halted with the Column before the rock, where the bodies of the two dead Volunteers lay, and ordered them to "present arms".


In the controversy that has surrounded this ambush, Peter Hart treated unfavourably the role Tom Barry played in the fight for freedom. Though Hart has accepted that there was a surrender that day at Kilmichael, in his analysis he does not accept that there was a false surrender. But I suggest that because the Auxiliaries put their guns to use once more after a surrender, they re-activated the fight. Therefore, they engaged in a false surrender.

To back-up his argument, Peter Hart interviewed two people, whom he has acknowledged as having participated in the ambush. However, he does not name these people and only gives them anonymous initials.

You, here today, would wonder why any of the men who fought with Tom Barry on this day 84 years ago would want to remain anonymous. I question it also. Why will Peter Hart not name these men?

Furthermore, he says he interviewed one of the men in 1988, and another, a scout, on 19 November 1989. We all understood that the last survivor of the Kilmichael Ambush was rifleman Ned Young, whose faculties were impaired during his final years; he died on 13 November 1989 aged 97. We remember Jack O'Sullivan, the second last survivor, who died in 1986, Tim O'Connell in 1983, and my uncle, Pat O'Donovan, died in 1981. While they were able, these men stood on this platform here at the annual commemoration.

According to the records that I consulted, there were three scouts on ambush location during the fight. Dan O'Driscoll, the last of these three scouts, died in 1967. So who was Scout AF who spoke to Peter Hart on 19 November 1989? Why will Peter Hart not reveal the names of the two men he says he interviewed, whom he has acknowledged in his sources as having participated in the Kilmichael Ambush? If he revealed the names, then the credibility of these two witnesses who claim to give a first-hand account could be examined. Their version of events given to Peter Hart contradicts so many others. And while Peter Hart fails to reveal the identity of his anonymous sources, the story of the Kilmichael Ambush will remain clouded in controversy.

This is extremely important for history and for the men who fought in the 3rd West Cork Brigade. Peter Hart has claimed that Barry and his men killed prisoners on that day. But the Auxiliaries engaged in a false surrender, therefore they were not prisoners. By using guns after calling a surrender, they had resumed the fight. Therefore, as soldiers, they had to accept the consequences. Barry took up the challenge and the engagement was then fought to its conclusion.

In this locality and countywide, it was known in 1920 that there was a false surrender here at Kilmichael on that day.

Brigadier General Crozier, Commander of the Auxiliary forces in Ireland in 1920-'21, acknowledged that there was a false surrender. Even Lionel Curtis, Imperial activist and advisor to Lloyd George, accepted the false surrender in his writings in 1921. Stephen O'Neill, Section Commander during the ambush, wrote about the false surrender. There are other records to back up the false surrender story — many I could name, including my own uncle, Pat O'Donovan in Section 2, who was annoyed and upset about the false surrender because comrades were killed due to this deceitful action.

These Auxiliaries were commissioned officers with war experience and many had been decorated, so they knew the rules of war. They knew when to fire and when not to; they knew that when they shouted, "we surrender" it meant exactly that — a surrender — a ceasefire.

It is also important to state that the British cabinet accepted that the ambush at Kilmichael was "a military operation". British Prime Minister, Lloyd George sent over his chief Secretary for Ireland, because, he said, this engagement was "different in character from the preceding operations". So if the British Government accepted it as a military operation, then any solders who shouted "we surrender" should have accepted that code of war, and not broken their word.

The British administration compounded the issue when they wrote their official report on the ambush, which is now known to be a propaganda document. So also was the unsigned typewritten report that Barry was alleged to have written after the ambush.


In conclusion: When Tom Barry stood on this platform in 1970, he told his listeners that "the ending of partition is the responsibility of not alone of the people of Ireland, but of every Irishman wherever he may be. The objective is the same as 50 years ago."

In an interview I had with him in 1979, he said that "the nationalists in the northern part of our country are fighting for the same objectives as the men of 1916 and as we were." That is over 20 years ago. He could not understand at that time why negotiations were not more progressive. He couldn't see why citizens in that part of Ireland would not be happy in a United Ireland. His wish was for peace and unity on this island.

Barry and the surviving men who fought in his Flying Column continued, while it was possible for them, to return to this spot - often on their own or in the company of others. It was almost a place of pilgrimage for them. They made great sacrifices to give us the freedom we have today and they deserve to be remembered

Belfast Telegraph

Robinson launches broadside at 'deceitful' UUP

By Chris Thornton
02 December 2004

The DUP blamed the Ulster Unionists today for paving the way to the release of four IRA garda killers - insisting it was not part of any deal they are involved in putting together.

DUP deputy leader Peter Robinson hit out after the UUP taunted his party over their promises that they would stop concessions in the peace process.

The row broke out as the efforts to reach a deal for reviving Stormont hit a rough patch.

Yesterday Taoiseach Bertie Ahern told the Dail that his government would release the killers of Garda Jerry McCabe if the IRA disposed of all its weapons and issues "instructions to volunteers" about the IRA's future. The Garda Representative Association condemned the move.

After the announcement, UUP Assembly member Sir Reg Empey said the DUP had to explain their position on the release.

"The DUP gave an assurance to the people of Northern Ireland that the concessions had come to an end," he said.

"The DUP told people in their manifesto that they didn't want amnesties for terrorists.

"They have the opportunity to categorically state this is not part of any deal that they have negotiated or are part of. Do they support this decision and when did they know it was part of the deal?"

But Mr Robinson said the release of the McCabe killers - including Strabane man Pearse McAuley - was conceded last October during the build-up to the deal rejected by David Trimble.

He said the release "is part of last autumn's secret deal involving the UUP and Sinn Fein/IRA".

"As early as May we utterly condemned this decision. We will not be held responsible for the results of a weak and deceitful Ulster Unionist Party," Mr Robinson said.

The DUP deputy leader also attacked the Government for preparing to proceed with military cuts if the deal is completed.

He said the "key priority" for the Government and PSNI Chief Constable Hugh Orde "is not to placate the political needs of Sinn Fein but to protect the people of Northern Ireland".

Belfast Telegraph

Photos still the sticking point on arms
PMs set to call time on talks

By Brian Walker, London Editor
02 December 2004

Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern will call "time" on the intensive negotiations between the DUP and Sinn Fein in London early next week without having any real inkling of the outcome, Downing Street admits.

After 11 weeks of talks since the Leeds Castle conference, deadlock persists over the sequence of events linking a new power-sharing government with the end of the IRA as an active paramilitary organisation.

The immediate sticking point remains over Ian Paisley's demand to view photographs of IRA arms disposal mooted for later this month, at almost the same time as the decommissioning act itself - and before the DUP agrees to forming the Executive.

Sinn Fein refuse to let him see the photographs until they are clear the DUP accepts power-sharing.

This would come only when the British Government triggers the six-week countdown to the election of the First and Deputy First Ministers, which Sinn Fein wants to happen in January.

Sinn Fein believes Mr Paisley had actually "raised the bar" over viewing the photographs last week.

The two prime ministers will call it "one way or the other" on Tuesday or perhaps Wednesday, after Mr Paisley presents Mr Blair with the DUP's "final paper" on Monday.

Will Mr Blair and Mr Ahern try to get both sides to soften their incompatible positions? Downing Street insists that they will put no pressure on either on them, clearly believing any such attempt would be counterproductive.

After a one and a half hour session with the Prime Minister yesterday, Gerry Adams declared Sinn Fein had "made their final representations".

"In my opinion these discussions can go no further - it is now time for a decision," he said.

At this very late stage in the day, the prospects for reaching a deal next week looked uncertain.

At a Sinn Fein meeting in Navan, Co Meath, last night, Mr Adams denounced the DUP's stance as unacceptable to Sinn Fein.

"The parties have to vote for the election of the joint office of First and Deputy First Minister.

"At this point in the negotiations, one of the most important issues is the DUP's refusal to do this," he said.

Belfast Telegraph

Annetta kidnappers said sorry for ordeal
Filipino diplomat tells of fears before being set free in alley

By Mary Fitzgerald
02 December 2004

The Filipino diplomat held hostage with Armagh woman Annetta Flanigan in Afghanistan has told how their kidnappers apologised before freeing them.

Angelito Nayan was released unharmed along with his UN colleagues Ms Flanigan, from Richhill and Shqipe Hebibi from Kosovo last Tuesday - nearly four weeks after they were abducted in Kabul.

A shadowy Taliban breakaway faction called Jaish-al Muslimeen, or Army of Muslims, claimed responsibility for the kidnappings.

"They embraced each one of us and apologised profusely for what they did to us, and they even told us not to forget them," Mr Nayan told reporters in Manila in his first full account of their hostage ordeal.

He said they were taken to a car and abandoned in a deserted alley in Kabul.

The kidnappers claim the Afghan government agreed to release 24 Taliban prisoners in exchange for the three hostages, an allegation Afghan officials have strenuously denied.

Mr Nayan said the three hostages were generally treated well but added: "Make no mistake, they were and they are still ruthless."

Mr Nayan said the hostages were moved four times to different houses to escape detection.

"We had to walk one time for four hours. We were chased by dogs, climbed walls, and (crouched in) ditches," he said. "We were led to one house where you think people would be executed. Thank God, it didn't happen.

"I'm really grateful to God that I was with two strong women, and we just comforted each other," he added.

The diplomat recounted how the trio developed "goodwill" with their captors and were allowed to play solitaire, read books and fly kites.

"I don't feel any hatred. Having treated us well, they have shown they have a sense of Afghan hospitality," Mr Nayan said.

However, he said the routine of captivity tested the hostages' sanity.

"You wake up, you eat, you talk to them, you go to the bathroom, you eat, you talk to them, you read some books, you play some cards, you eat and then you sleep," he explained.

Mr Nayan said he considered attempting to escape but decided that "it would be incredibly selfish" to leave the two women behind.

He said he did not hate his kidnappers and believed they were just after money.

Belfast Telegraph

DUP out to block talks, says Adams

By Noel McAdam
02 December 2004

The DUP's refusal to accept Sinn Fein's mandate and the rights of its electorate is a "block" on efforts to move forward, Gerry Adams is warning.

The Sinn Fein president said the DUP's stance had been compounded by leader Ian Paisley's recent remarks on humiliating the IRA which should wear "sackcloth and ashes".

In a speech in Navan, Co Meath, last night, Mr Adams also said: "The DUP demands are not acceptable to Sinn Féin. They should not be acceptable to the two governments."

His comments came after an apparently downbeat assessment following his latest meeting with Prime Minister Tony Blair - though Sinn Fein sources insisted the work to do a deal was going on.

Mr Adams said his party had concluded its representations to the governments on their blueprint to restore the Assembly and power-sharing Executive. "In my opinion these discussion can go no further. It is now time for a decision," he said.

Mr Adams said both parties had a lot of work to do and the DUP had a long way to travel in a very short time if a deal was to be reached.

"A DUP demand for the humiliation of republicans is not only unacceptable, it will not happen and it has no place in a process of peace-making.

"The days of humiliation, of second-class citizens and of inequality are gone forever. If the DUP want to be part of a new and shared future, they will have to replace the mindset of humiliation with a psychology of accommodation and generosity," Mr Adams said.

After his meeting with Mr Blair, Alliance leader David Ford said the pieces for a deal were in place.

"Over the next few days it is important that both the DUP and Sinn Fein demonstrate their good faith intentions to one another, and that unionists focus on the very real substance that is on offer," he said.

"I am convinced that if the necessary will can be shown then the deal can be done. But it is far from certain that such an opportunity will present itself again for some time."

Belfast Telegraph

Belfast man freed on bail by judges
Milnes set to enjoy Christmas at home

By Ben Lowry and Mary Fitzgerald
02 December 2004

The west Belfast man jailed for assaulting a teenager he believed was stealing his girlfriend's car today thanked those who had campaigned for his release, saying the level of support showed his case had struck a chord with other victims of crime.

Kieran Milnes was released on bail by the Court of Appeal in Belfast yesterday following his conviction last month for inflicting grievous bodily harm.

Kieran (28), who has been the subject of a campaign for his sentence to be quashed, thanked those who had supported him.

At the same time as the bail hearing was going on in Belfast yesterday, other members of Milnes's family were in London to present the Attorney General with a petition signed by 5,000 calling for his release.

"The level of support I have received just shows you that this is an issue close to people's hearts," he told the Belfast Telegraph.

"So many people in west Belfast have been touched by crime. I did what I thought was the right thing to do. This opens up the issue of what people can and cannot do to defend themselves."

Milnes was jailed for nine months after pleading guilty to grievous bodily harm on a 15-year-old suspected joyrider.

Lawyers will try to have his guilty plea nullified to be followed by a re-trial before a judge and jury.

Milnes said he was "hopeful" of a successful outcome.

"After my experience so far I haven't much confidence in the legal system but my solicitor is upbeat and I am fairly hopeful. We'll see what happens," he said.

Granting bail pending appeal, the Lord Chief Justice Sir Brian Kerr said: "It must be made clear that this does not in any way represent a forecast of the outcome of the application for leave to appeal."

He said the 15-year-old boy had suffered a depressed compound fracture of the skull and a doctor who examined him had concluded that the injury was consistent with a blow from a hammer.

Milnes has denied using a hammer in the incident in October 2002 and claimed he was only protecting his property and his family.

But Sir Brian said a probation officer's pre-sentence report indicated that he had used a hammer.

However, the judges accepted the submission by defence QC Eilis McDermott that it was an exceptional case and bail should be granted as Milnes would have served about half his sentence by the time an appeal was heard.

A spokesperson for the Attorney General Lord Goldsmith said he had "listened carefully" to what Sinn Fein MLA Michael Ferguson and the Milnes family had to say yesterday.

"He found it very useful to listen to what they had to say, and to know the extent of public concern in Northern Ireland."

Lord Goldsmith stressed that he has "considerable sympathy" with victims of crime, but said that individuals must not take the law into their own hands.


Man cleared of police bomb plot

1 December 2004

Brendan O'Connor was cleared of the bomb plot

A County Tyrone man has been found not guilty of plotting to bomb a police station.

Brendan O'Connor, 26, from Pomeroy, was cleared of conspiracy to cause an explosion at Stewartstown police station in July 2000.

He was also cleared on charges of possession of explosives and membership of the Real IRA.

His family and friends cheered and clapped when the verdict was read out at Belfast Crown Court on Wednesday.

The judge, Mr Justice Weatherup, said that he could not be satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr O'Connor, from the Cavanoneill Road, Pomeroy, was connected with the bombing.



London expected to confront UDA over status of ceasefire

01/12/2004 - 07:35:08

The British government is expected to confront the UDA's political representatives about the seriousness of the loyalist group's latest ceasefire.

Northern Secretary Paul Murphy held talks with the Ulster Political Research Group earlier this month and later announced that the British government was prepared to accept the UDA's latest promise to end violence.

However, the status of the ceasefire is now being questioned after five men appeared in court in Belfast yesterday charged with conspiracy to kidnap and rob a bank official.

A large crowd of UDA men and supporters gathered in the public gallery during the hearing, including leading members of the UPRG, the political wing of the paramilitary organisation.

PSNI chief constable Hugh Orde had already said that he could link the arrest of the five men to the UDA.


UDA ceasefire 'will lead to split'

The latest ceasefire by the Ulster Defence Association will lead to a split in the organisation, the chief constable has said.

Hugh Orde said the opportunity existed for the UDA to work within a political framework, but that a return to criminal tactics would not be tolerated.

The loyalist paramilitary group's cessation of violence officially came into effect on 14 November and was subsequently recognised by the government.

In its statement, the UDA said it was committed to working towards the end of all paramilitary activity.

Speaking after a meeting of the Policing Board on Wednesday, Mr Orde said: "If you want to try and hide behind your flags of convenience and commit crime, we will come after you and we'll put you in front of a court.

"If you want to engage in politics we will do what we can to support you.

"I think you will see a split within the UDA. I think you will see some people who are I think genuinely determined to make a difference in a political sense and I think others simply can't help themselves."

Earlier, Mr Orde told the Policing Board that he hoped the use of plastic bullets could be phased out in Northern Ireland.

He said he was waiting for the results of a police review before making a decision.

He said he hoped the stock of plastic bullets and the number of officers trained in their use could be reduced.

The chief constable was speaking as it emerged the PSNI was facing a budget cut of up to £35m within the next two years.

At the meeting, SDLP policing spokesman Alex Attwood asked about the review of plastic bullets use, saying none had been fired in the province in the last two years.

Mr Orde said: "For me it is very simple - as long as there is no rioting then the need to use PBR (plastic baton rounds) is zero.

Progress on baton alternative

"What we have seen over the last two years, and a lot longer in parts of Northern Ireland, is that we don't need to deploy them because we have used other tactics.

"If you look at the level of violence on the 12 July this year and the restraint shown by my officers, plus the availability of water cannon, it would be highly unlikely that we would have to deploy baton rounds.

"Our intention is not to use them but we maintain the right to hold them and the right to deploy them if the only alternative would be to use lethal force in the form of live rounds."

Mr Orde said he expected to receive the results of the review within the next few days.

"In broad terms it looks like, in light of the current situation, we would reduce the number we keep, the number of officers we train and the number of guns we need," he said.

Budget cuts

Meanwhile, it has emerged that the PSNI is facing extensive budget cuts within the next two years.

The Policing Board revealed the annual PSNI budget in the next financial year will be cut by more than £5m.

The board said a letter from the Northern Ireland Office also revealed that in 2006-7, the police budget will be cut by even more.

Policing Board chairman Professor Desmond Rea said this "early indication of a £30m shortfall is most disturbing".

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