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**Please click on above link to view and sign the petition. This is what it says:
To: The United States Congress, President Bush and Attorney General John Ashcroft
On behalf of Malachy McAllister, Ciarán Ferry, Paul Harkin, John McNicholl (deported 7/18/2003) and any other Irishmen in the United States that is seeking asylum or is under arrest or is threatened with imminent deportation, or is being hounded or threatened in any way by the United States government, or has come here to visit or to participate in a family gathering or event and has now been detained and threatened with a Draconian sentence we, the undersigned, respectfully request that you cease and desist immediately. Your actions, while creating the illusion that you’re combating terrorism, actually does harm to the very cause that you champion by diverting valuable manpower to pursue those who come here to escape the institutionalized sectarianism and hatred of Catholics in The North of Ireland. They come here to build a better life for themselves and their progeny and to, ultimately, build up the United States. They are not enemies of the United States, nor are they terrorists who seek to harm Americans or American interests.
Furthermore, continued pursuit of these individuals, coupled with the new, revised, but as yet unratified extradition treaty between the United States of America and the United Kingdom of Great Britain, can only be viewed as a transparent attempt to court favor with the British government and the Queen of England.
Many of these individuals were convicted by a British Diplock court, an invention of the British state, designed to maximize the conviction rate of Irish political defendants. These courts were complete with case-hardened judges and sealed court rooms. A defendant who found themselves at the mercy of such a court had inadequate or non-existent legal representation and was subjected a juryless trial. These courts stood in direct contravention of the presumption of innocence standard that is the hallmark of a fair and impartial judicial system, one that we’re used to here in America. Many of these individuals were released in accordance with the letter and spirit of the almost-dead, 1998 Good Friday Agreement, brokered, in large part, by the United States, the very country that now seeks their deportation and ultimate demise at the hands of still-active Loyalist paramilitary organizations.
UDA rape beast expels families
By Stephen Breen
ANGRY parents, on Belfast’s Shankill Road, last night hit out over a convicted UDA rapist, who helps run a local sports team.
Loyalist sources told Sunday Life that a number of parents in the loyalist stronghold wanted the man removed from the team, because of his rape conviction.
It is believed the parents planned to hold a series of pickets outside his house, last week – but were warned by the UDA to “stay away”.
Although no protests were held, two families did protest outside the house, on Friday.
“The families were later told to leave the area by the terror group, after the rapist and his henchmen – armed with baseball bats – confronted them. The families later fled.
Now, other parents in the Shankill have refused to organise further protests, over fears they could be attacked by the UDA.
Earlier this month, Sunday Life revealed that the rapist was violently attacked, by another senior loyalist.
Loyalist sources told us the rapist had his nose broken, after he was confronted in a bar, by a former member of the UFF’s ‘B’ company.
The terror boss accused the man of being a “pervert”, before laying into him, following a remembrance service, in the Shankill.
Now, senior loyalist sources in the area claim there is a lot of anger locally, over the sex fiend’s position within the UDA.
Said a source: “Everyone knows this man’s background, but they are afraid to say anything, because he holds a senior position in the UDA.
“He’s up to his neck in everything, and a number of the parents were, quite rightly, not happy that he was involved with kids, when he has a previous conviction for rape.
“He has been getting a hard time of it lately from ordinary people in the street, but also from senior loyalists, who have always hated him, for having a rape conviction.
“Some of the parents planned to stage a picket, outside his home.
“However, when the UDA heard about it, they were warned to stay away.
“The parents who went ahead with a picket on Friday, and were considered to be the ringleaders, were subsequently forced from their homes, because the UDA wasn’t happy.”
**Gotta love this metaphor: “The big dinosaur, his hour come around at last was slouching towards Stormont to be born.”
Huff, puff, and compromise
By Tom McGurk
The mandarins of Merrion Row and Whitehall may well have had a serious cut at the Chardonnay after lunch last Friday.
After a decade of often mind-numbing but nonetheless dedicated political architecture among the strange inhabitants of the `dreary spires’ territory – north of the Black Pig’s Dyke – they had hoped it was all resolved for at least this generation.
Wild men have been tamed, reluctant ones encouraged into the sunlight and ancient ideologists dispatched to the knacker’s yard of history.
But come Thursday,the unspeakable was out once again in pursuit of the inedible. The big dinosaur, his hour come around at last was slouching towards Stormont to be born. Those who for so long had been outside the tent peeing in were now inside the tent peeing out.
For Ian Kyle Paisley, the long journey to his destiny had been completed. His populist, sectarian, traditionalist style of unionism had finally ousted the historic role of the Ulster Unionist Party as leader of unionism. The self-appointed leader of his own church and his own political party had come banging on the door.
Eighty-two years down the road from partition, the hell-raising street preacher had ended the hegemony of the Craigs, the Londonderrys, the Brookes, the Faulkners and the Trimbles.
At last the leadership of the lost tribe has passed from the residents of the Big House to the sitting tenants on what’s left of the estate. The sectarian guard-dogs had finally turned on, and devoured, their masters. Shrunken with age, emaciated and hunched into his huge overcoat, on Thursday evening Paisley was grinning at the cameras like some ancient wolf that had finally got right into the larder.
So what is the chorus among the political chattering classes this weekend?
On the political face of it,the meeting between an irresistible force and immovable object had taken place. But in attempting to assess the political vista now opening up before us, it is critically important to appreciate the crisis this situation is going to create for the DUP itself.
Not for the first time in political history, the experience of power may create rifts, for being in opposition allows factions to put differences aside.
After years on the sideline, surviving on slogans and abuse and never being prepared to negotiate with anyone, the DUP may now be about to learn some seminal lessons. If they don’t begin to learn those lessons very quickly, the triumph of political success will very quickly turn to the ashes of a Pyrrhic victory.
In the midst of all the chaos lapping around the political doors of London and Dublin stands one utterly irrefutably reality, one political rock in the stream, and that is there can be no ministerial salaries for the triumphant DUP unless and until they do business with Sinn Féin.
Their choice is utterly simple, government with Sinn Féin or no government at all. They can win the race, but the prize is as far away as ever. Talk of renegotiations, third ways and so on is no more than mere election fodder for the grim-faced electorate of North Antrim and beyond.
The Big Man has been promising the big miracle for over 40 year now; that he would once and for all save what he calls Ulster from its enemies. Now he has been given the power, and now he is about to discover that mantle he has taken from David Trimble’s shoulders will prove a heavy burden.
Even worse, the DUP as a political organisation is utterly uncrafted for the business of negotiation. In many ways it’s not a political party at all, grouped around any coherent philosophy.
It’s essentially a mixture of oligarchy and fan club that is already showing the signs of tension within its makeup. Its chaotic mixture of born-agains, Christian fundamentalists, bible-belters and sectarian reactionaries are interwoven with the credulous and the politically ambitious.
From the moment it transformed itself from what was originally the Protestant Unionist party into the Democratic Unionist Party it became an uneasy amalgam: Paisley’s religious crowd allied to Peter Robinson’s traditional unionist crowd.
What held this strange alliance of East Belfast back street preacher and born again estate agent together was the cement of sectarianism. Perpetually stalking the sidelines of the “NO” camp, the Paisley/Robinson team’s smirking dismissal of any attempt at progress was fine.But now on the pitch it may prove to be a very different game.
Peter Robinson, Nigel Dodds, Sammy Wilson and others belong to a generation that joined the DUP not to `Save Ulster from Sodomy'(and Rome) but to win political power.
In fact, given the pecking order within the UUP, that was probably why they joined up with Paisley in the first place. Now with the prospect of a polished ministerial car on the front drive, and a driver dancing to attendance, their view of things may already be changing.
For during the campaign there were indeed signs of change. Paisley, Robinson and Dodds have already sent out different coded signals about talking to the Shinners. There was a party decision to keep Paisley as much out of sight of the cameras as was possible during the campaign. Not for the first time might Moses, close to the Promised Land, be surplus to requirements.
I suspect that were a suitably biblical bolt of lightning to suddenly remove the Big Man from his earthly patch, DUP tears of relief might well outnumber tears of grief.
There will be huffing and puffing in the weeks to come,but withthe entire Northern nationalist community resolutely defending the house, the Belfast Agreement will not come down.
Watch the DUP ride the learning curve as they discover that majoritarianism is yesterday’s game, and watch as the twisting demands of political ambition and the ancient shibboleths tear their apparent unity of purpose apart.This, after all,will be Sunningdale for politically illiterate learners.
The outcome of the polls last week merely reflects the bitter divisions in Northern Ireland that the Good Friday Agreement failed to banish. Henry McDonald reports
Sunday November 30, 2003
John Hume sang, ‘We Shall Overcome’. The anthem of the American and later the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Movement rang out triumphantly throughout the King’s Head, a pub in South Belfast directly facing the counting centre. An emotional Hume burst into song in celebration of 30 years of peaceful, democratic politics. His party, the SDLP, had just realised its goal: a historic compromise between unionism and nationalism; a power-sharing government between Protestants and Catholics in Belfast.
However, those jubilant scenes in the King’s Head took place five years ago in a more optimistic, less divided atmosphere than that facing Northern Ireland this weekend. On Friday those SDLP members who ventured across the Lisburn Road from the King’s Hall counting centre to the King’s Head were seeking to drown their sorrows. They had just witnessed the collapse of the SDLP’s vote across Northern Ireland. The party that had taken risks to bring Sinn Fein into constitutional politics by securing an IRA cease-fire was being ‘rewarded’ by being spurned by the Catholic electorate.
By Friday night the picture was clear: the SDLP had only won 18 seats as opposed to Sinn Fein who were returned to the Stormont Assembly with 24 members.
The result marked a 360 degree turn in northern nationalism with Sinn Fein now on top with the exact amount of seats the SDLP had in the halcyon days of the spring of 1998.
Mournfully supping Guinness in the King’s Head, one of the SDLP’s veteran election workers in west Belfast – where the party’s former MP Dr Joe Hendron had just lost his Assembly seat – pointed to his pint. ‘Maybe there should be cyanide in this,’ he said tapping the glass.
He was not only in mourning for his party but also for the Good Friday Agreement, the deal made in SDLP heaven with its emphasis on shared consensus, power-sharing, consent.
The Unionist community turned on the Agreement last Wednesday, giving Ian Paisley’s Democratic Unionists 30 seats. David Trimble’s Ulster Unionist Party was returned with 27 seats, one more than when it left the Assembly, the winners were the DUP. Combining its votes with five of the Ulster Unionists who don’t support the Agreement, it is mathematically impossible to get enough support in the Assembly for a cross-community consensus.
Moreover, the outcome merely reflects the bitter divisions in Northern Irish society that the agreement failed to banish. In fact the only growth industry north of the river Lagan in Belfast has been the construction of almost 20 so-called peace walls separating Protestants and Catholics on a permanent basis.
The DUP’s figurehead may be Ian Paisley but its key strategist is his deputy Peter Robinson. Those close to the East Belfast MP say he plans no big moves over the next 18 months. Instead Robinson will wait until the next Westminster election in the hope that the DUP can wrestle more seats from the Ulster Unionists. In the event of the DUP holding more seats in the House of Commons with Labour on a much-reduced majority and the resurrected Tories biting at Tony Blair’s heels, Robinson will seek to gain a new agreement.
Sinn Fein however will not rest during this 18-month hiatus. Tomorrow Gerry Adams meets the Irish government and will press home the need for concessions to the republican community continuing. These include the controversial issue of the IRA ‘on-the-runs’ being allowed to return to Northern Ireland. The on-the-runs question is a major headache for Blair. He may be tempted to grant Sinn Fein this demand to secure and fasten the IRA cease-fire. But by doing so he will provide further ammunition to the resurgent DUP who will paint the peace process as a one-way pro-nationalist concession process.
The one politician inextricably linked to the agreement, Trimble, was remarkably relaxed yesterday about his future. Listening to Radio 3’s Record Review, this classical-music loving former academic was preparing for an unseemly scrap. If and when his chief internal critic, Jeffrey Donaldson, moves to have his leader ousted as head of the UUP, Trimble will fight back. He told The Observer he is not going to resign.
Trimble accepts Donaldson is about to move against him: ‘Donaldson’s language certainly points to a leadership challenge,’ he said. ‘The question is this: is he going to come over the parapet himself?’
‘He (Donaldson) is going to fail because the bulk of the party are not that upset at the outcome; they were bracing themselves for something worse.’
Asked why he would fight on, Trimble replied: ‘I have no choice. I am not being irresponsible like John Major or William Hague by resigning. They left their party in the lurch. I am not walking away and leaving my party to be misled. We need to have a better leadership than people like Donaldson.’
Donaldson was adamant, however, that Trimble has to go: ‘The election results carry a very clear message: two out of three unionist voters voted for anti-agreement candidates, even in the leader’s own constituency of upper Bann. There needs to be a change; that’s what the voters want. Otherwise we will lose more seats to the DUP at Westminster.
‘Trimble should do the honourable thing and step aside. We need a transitional leadership for a broader consensus.
‘If he stays then the UUP will end up like the SDLP.’
Donaldson now faces a choice – he and his allies will have to call a special meeting of the Ulster Unionist Council in order to topple Trimble over the next three weeks. Even his supporters accept that Trimble might still come through and survive the vote.
The SDLP will also have to endure several weeks of painful soul searching over its future. The Observer has learnt that at least five prominent SDLP figures in Belfast city have vowed they will no longer stand on the party’s ticket.
All of them are looking south to Fianna Fail. One of the five said: ‘I’m a nationalist, I’m in favour of a United Ireland so why would I not want to join an All Ireland party?’ The clamour for a SDLP merger with Fianna Fail will grow over the next few weeks. A number are going to make direct approaches to Bertie Ahern’s party in the next few days.
It was not meant to be like this: the centre parties squeezed, the hard-line forces consolidated. The landscape from Good Friday 1998 has been radically changed. The two communities are further apart than they were five years ago, politically and physically.
Twenty-four hours before the Good Friday deal was signed Paisley looked like yesterday’s man. In a media tent outside Castle buildings at Stormont, the venue where the peace negotiations were taking place, Paisley tried to hold a press conference. The DUP leader was shouted down by a group of former loyalist paramilitaries. He was driven from the platform by the baying loyalists who chanted, ‘Cheerio, cheerio, cheerio’.
The image of Paisley walking away from Stormont on Holy Thursday evening was one of the defining moments of the peace process. On the surface it appeared that Paisley and Paisleyism was confined to the dustbin of history. The events of last week and the surge of support for the DUP have made nonsense of that theory. Paisley still stands as a colossus in Northern Ireland politics who blocks any new historic compromise between unionism and nationalism.
Gerry Adams to deliver keynote address to Sinn Féin MLAs at Stormont
Published: 30 November, 2003
Speaking in advance of a meeting tomorrow in Stormont of the newly elected Sinn Féin MLAs, Assembly Group leader Conor Murphy MLA has urged the British government to move speedily to lift the suspension of the political institutions.
Mr. Murphy said:
“On Wednesday almost half a million people voted for pro Agreement parties. The majority of the MLAs elected to the Assembly are for the Agreement and for the re-establishment of the political institutions. The British government must heed the voice of the people and lift the suspension of the political institutions.
“We met yesterday with the British Secretary of State Paul Murphy and we will meet with the Irish government this week. Both governments have much outstanding work to do. We are demanding that they implement in full their commitments on Human Rights, Equality, Policing, Justice and Demilitarisation.
“Sinn Féin will not be resting on our laurels. Our increased Assembly team will meet tomorrow in Stormont and we will continue with the work done over the past number of years in delivering on our agenda of change.”ENDS
Editors Note: Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams will make a key note address to the Sinn Féin MLAs at 1pm in our members room in Stormont.
Murphy resists demand to lift Assembly suspension
30/11/2003 – 16:27:04
Northern Ireland Secretary Paul Murphy tonight resisted nationalist demands to lift the suspension of the power-sharing Assembly.
Mr Murphy said it would be highly unlikely that the parties could agree to form an Executive within the six week time period.
Both Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams and Mark Durkan, leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party have urged the British government to restore devolution as soon as possible.
The Northern Ireland Secretary said: “I don’t think we should unsuspend and restore it now. I don’t think that would be wise.
“Everybody knows that if we restored the Assembly tomorrow then we would have six weeks according to the rules to establish a government. It doesn’t take a political genius to work out it’s highly unlikely.”
The prospect of an early return to devolution appears further away than ever with the success of the anti-Agreement Democratic Unionists in Wednesday’s Assembly elections.
But DUP Deputy leader Peter Robinson denied today that he belonged to a party of wreckers.
Speaking ahead of tomorrow’s meeting with Northern Ireland Secretary Paul Murphy, Mr Robinson insisted his anti-Agreement party had a positive agenda.
“Do they really believe voters in Northern Ireland would have voted for a party of wreckers?
“The reality is that we have a positive agenda, an agenda for change.” The DUP has insisted that the Good Friday Agreement must be re-negotiated to create a new settlement acceptable to unionists.
But Mr Murphy said that the fundamental principles of the Agreement must remain.
He is writing to all the parties inviting them to take part in a review of the Agreement next month.
He said nothing could alter the principles of powersharing between nationalism and unionism, north-south relationships or that the principle of consent was central to politics in Northern Ireland.
“The Agreement says we should review the operation, the workings of the Good Friday Agreement.
“What it gives is an opportunity to the parties in the Assembly to talk about the issues that affect them.”
This is unlikely to satisfy the DUP which became the largest party in the Assembly with 30 seats with its call for a “fair deal”.
Mr Robinson said that republicans must not be allowed in government until the IRA is dismantled.
“They must give up violence. They must stand down their terror machines. They must hand over their weapons of destruction that have been held illegally.”
Taoiseach Bertie Ahern appeared to offer a ray of hope, stating there was scope for discussion of many of the DUP’s issues with the present peace process.
He said: “The election has thrown up some imponderables that we just have to now manage our way through but that is the will of the people of Northern Ireland and now the two governments have to get on with it.”
The DUP had identified shortfalls in the Agreement over accountability, stability, efficiency and effectiveness that could be looked at, he said.
“They are issues that I have no problem dealing with. I think stability is a fair enough issue for he DUP to argue about … with four suspensions of the institutions during the course of the Agreement.”
But he warned the DUP that “success brings responsibility” and said progress would have to be inclusive if the British government was to be persuaded it was worth reviving the devolved institutions.
“What the Irish government would like to see is that we now get into this review. It can’t change fundamentals but it can deal with the operation of the last number of years of the agreement.
“Hopefully we can then move into the period ahead – we are probably talking about into January, when we can try to negotiate these items and move forward.”
“I respect everybody’s mandate, including the DUP, and I look forward to trying to build on the success that has been the peace process.”
Meanwhile, Ulster Unionist leader David Trimble, whose party secured 27 seats in last week’s poll, could face a leadership challenge when his Assembly party meets tomorrow.
He faces a showdown with his bitter rival, Jeffrey Donaldson, who is calling on him to resign. Supporters of Mr Trimble have called on the Lagan Valley MP and MLA to support the leadership or leave the party.
Last Updated: Sunday, 30 November, 2003, 16:45 GMT
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Gang attacks youth with bars
The son of a man who lost both legs after being assaulted by loyalist paramilitaries six years ago has been attacked in Belfast.
Drew Peden, 17, needed 37 staples to a head wound and sustained severe bruising after being set upon by a gang of men on the Crumlin Road in the north of the city.
The incident happened as the youth was walking past the Flax Street mill between 0100 GMT and 0200 GMT on Sunday.
The teenager said four masked men got out of a car and attacked him with iron bars.
“They beat me with bats first,” he said.
“After that, they pulled my hat over my head.
They put something on my leg and asked me did I know what it was.
“I said: ‘Yes, a gun’.
“They said: ‘Do you know what we’ll do with you if you keep squealing? We’ll put you in that boot, and do you right.'”
The teenager suffered bruising to his back, arms and legs in the attack.
Drew’s mother Linda said the assault was vicious.
“They took his clothes off him. A taxi driver saw him lying at the side of the road unconscious,” she said.
“He had about five, big, deep lacerations to is head, blood everywhere and bad lacerations from his face right down to his feet.
“I’d say there’s 50 welt marks where they beat him with the iron bars and they stuffed something in his mouth so he couldn’t scream.”
Drew’s father, Andrew, had both his legs amputated after an Ulster Volunteer Force attack in 1998.
Last August, Drew Peden was shot in the legs by loyalists.
He also lost part of his hand when a pipe bomb blew up in a shed at his parents’ home.
The teenager said he believed Sunday morning’s attack on him was sectarian, but the police said they were keeping an open mind about the motive.
Anyone with information is urged to contact the police.
**proving that governments are the same the world over–FULL OF ASSHOLES.
Unforgiven for the Passions of His Youth
By DAN BARRY
Published: November 29, 2003
MALACHY McALLISTER sits at a corner table in a Manhattan restaurant, his back again to the wall. He has not been to his home in New Jersey for more than a week, because he knows that federal agents have been there, looking to detain and deport him. Eyes down, he is a man out of place.
So, he is asked in this restaurant somewhere, how was his Thanksgiving? “Nothing you would call a Thanksgiving,” he answers. His wife, Bernadette, reaches for his hand under the table, while Christmas music taunts in the background.
“What is the purpose of going after me?” he asks, without expecting an answer. “What does it solve?”
Many years ago in strife-torn Belfast, a young Malachy McAllister cast his lot with a paramilitary organization called the Irish National Liberation Army. To fight what he saw as the persecution of Catholics, he plotted to kill two officers of the Royal Ulster Constabulary. In one case, the officer was wounded; in the other, the plan was never carried out.
After serving more than three years in prison, he returned in 1985 to Bernadette, his days of resistance behind him. But Belfast forgets nothing. One night in 1988, masked gunmen fired 26 shots into the McAllisters’ home while three of their four children were inside with Mrs. McAllister’s mother. Time to go.
The McAllisters moved to Toronto and then, in 1996, to New Jersey. They requested political asylum, arguing that their lives would be in danger if they returned to Belfast. They settled as best they could into a Jersey routine. The father went to work each day as a stonemason. The children went to public school. The family joined the local parish.
In late 2000, the McAllisters received a mixed message. An immigration judge ordered that Mr. McAllister be deported, but granted asylum to his wife for having “suffered extreme past persecution based on her religion, her political opinion, and because she is Malachy McAllister’s wife.”
Mr. McAllister, who is 46, appealed his denial, the government appealed the asylum granted to his wife, and life continued. Their oldest, Gary, married an American woman. Jamie went to work with his father. Nicola, 17, is on the high school softball team. Sean, 16, has such sure hands that his football teammates call him “Sticky Fingers.”
Last week, Mr. McAllister was on Capitol Hill, meeting with yet another congressman who supported him, when his cellphone rang. It was his lawyer. The Board of Immigration Appeals not only had ordered his immediate deportation, but also had revoked the asylum for his wife and children.
He was in such shock that he walked in a downpour for an hour, trying to find his car. His drive back to New Jersey that night was the longest in his life, he says. Fresh in his mind was what had recently happened in Pennsylvania to another Irishman accused of having a paramilitary past: he had left for work early one morning, was seized by federal agents and was hustled onto a plane bound for Ireland.
Then came Mr. McAllister’s turn. Early one morning last week, his wife says, a team of federal agents in black jumpsuits appeared outside the door. She says two of them explained that they were investigating a hit-and-run involving a large black sport utility vehicle — Malachy’s.
But Malachy wasn’t home. And hasn’t been since.
Eamonn Dornan, his lawyer, immediately filed motions with an appeals court in Philadelphia, and won a temporary stay of Mr. McAllister’s deportation — though not of his detention. Michael Gilhooly, a spokesman for a Department of Homeland Security agency called Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said that cases of detention depend on many factors, and declined to say whether Mr. McAllister would be detained if found.
TUCKED into a corner of the Manhattan restaurant, Mr. McAllister holds his head in his hand, as if already imagining his family’s forced return to Belfast. Where he is sure that the enemies of his past await him. Where he is sure that his family will be at risk.
He questions the loose use of the term “terrorist.” Again and again, he says, “I’m a family man.”
On the table, next to a cup of cold coffee, rests a copy of a government notice made moot by what may be his last round of appeals. But if those appeals fail, he will receive another notice just like it, and so will his wife and four children.
Arrangements have been made for your departure to Ireland from New York, it will say. Report on this day, at this time, and have your bags ready.
ADAMS CALLS FOR ASSEMBLY RETURN
Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams has pressed for the Northern Ireland Assembly to be re-instated following this week’s elections.
The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) which opposes the Good Friday Agreement, overtook the Ulster Unionists to become the biggest party, but it refuses to share power with Sinn Fein, which also made gains.
Secretary of State Paul Murphy, who has met the main parties to discuss the future of power-sharing, has rejected calls for the Agreement to be re-negotiated.
The assembly was suspended more than a year ago and the parties went into the election against the background of a deadlocked political process.
Mr Murphy met the SDLP, Sinn Fein and Ulster Unionists separately at Hillsborough Castle on Saturday. He will hold talks with the DUP on Monday.
Ahead of his meeting, Mr Adams said his party would be pressing the government to get the assembly up and running again.
“We want to see the suspension of the institutions lifted and all of the other institutions that are part of the joint declaration that we negotiated, the unfinished business of the Good Friday Agreement, we want acts of completion on all of those,” he said.
“We’re going to press the governments to move ahead, and we’re going to meet the other parties.”
SDLP leader Mark Durkan said he had also told Mr Murphy he wanted the assembly reconvened sooner rather than later.
He added: “The election result makes it much more difficult for the Agreement. The Agreement is damaged by the election, but it is not destroyed.”
Earlier, DUP spokesman Ian Paisley junior – who won a seat alongside his father in North Antrim – told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that it was time the British Government “wakens up to the reality” that a new deal had to be sought.
“It’s dead in the water. The Agreement is over – that was the message of this election,” he said.
The British and Irish Governments have insisted that the Agreement remains the only viable political framework – and is not open to negotiation.
They promised to bring forward proposals in the new year for a review of the Agreement.
Ulster Unionist leader David Trimble predicted a deadlock for “the next few months” but said it was a “huge overstatement” to say the Agreement was dead.
“There is still a majority of the population in favour of the Agreement,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
The BBC’s Ireland correspondent Mark Simpson said there could be little movement until DUP leader Ian Paisley and Gerry Adams of Sinn Fein got together to talk.
But, he said, Mr Paisley maintained his refusal at “all costs”.
“He wouldn’t even share a cup of tea with him, never mind share power,” said our correspondent.
Despite the governments’ firm line, the DUP said the election – in which it won 30 seats – had given it a mandate for renegotiation.
However, Mr Murphy said the fundamentals of the Agreement – such as the principles of power-sharing and consent of the people – could not be changed.
“Northern Ireland can only be governed by an accommodation between nationalists and unionists, and that accommodation over the last five or six years has been hugely successful,” he said on Saturday.
“I am not underestimating the difficulties, but I am not unhopeful that we can make progress,” he added, saying that power-sharing between the hard liners had already happened “whether they talked to each other or not”.
Sinn Fein secured 24 seats in comparison with the SDLP’s 18 – a direct reversal of the parties’ positions after the last election.
The Alliance gained six assembly places, while the three remaining seats went to a County Tyrone doctor standing on a single issue over hospital services, maverick unionist Robert McCartney and Progressive Unionist David Ervine.
The last assembly election in 1998 returned 28 Ulster Unionists, 24 SDLP, 20 DUP and 18 Sinn Fein MLAs.
Wild-Irish’s Tiocfaidh Ár Lá **Thanks to Maureen
Subject: URGENT ACTION: BEARING WITNESS TO MALACHY MCALLISTER’S DEPORTATION
THIS IS A VERY URGENT APPEAL – ON MONDAY, DECEMBER 1, MALACHY McALLISTER IS GOING TO TURN HIMSELF IN TO FEDERAL AUTHORITIES. THE FEDS WILL LIKELY DEPORT HIM AS SOON AS HE’S IN CUSTODY.
WHILE THE DETAILS ARE UNCLEAR, WE WANT TO GIVE PEOPLE A HEADS UP SO AS MANY AS POSSIBLE CAN BE THERE WHEN MALACHY TURNS HIMSELF IN TO BEAR WITNESS TO THIS TRAVESTY OF JUSTICE. THIS MUST BE A PROTEST AGAINST THE POLICIES OF THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION WHO ARE WAGING A VENDETTA AGAINST IRISH NATIONALS.
MALACHY WILL EITHER BE AT HIS HOME NEAR THE MEADOWLANDS ARENA OR HE WILL GO TO THE FEDERAL COURT HOUSE IN NEWARK. PLEASE SPREAD THE WORD TO AS MANY PEOPLE AS POSSIBLE IN ANTICIPATION SO THAT WE CAN GET AS LARGE A CROWD AS POSSIBLE. WHEN THERE IS MORE INFORMATION, IT WILL BE SENT OUT AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.
PHILADELPHIA, PITTSBURGH, CLEVELAND, NEW YORK, BOSTON, PLEASE ARRANGE CAR POOLS TO SHOW SUPPORT FOR MALACHY AND HIS FAMILY.
Irish American Unity Conference
Talks to begin after NI elections
Efforts to examine the way forward for the Northern Ireland peace process are to begin on Saturday after elections to the province’s Assembly.
The Democratic Unionist Party, which opposes the Good Friday Agreement, overtook the Ulster Unionists to become the biggest party.
However the DUP refuses to share power with Sinn Fein, which also made gains.
Northern Ireland Secretary Paul Murphy will hold separate talks with the parties over the executive’s future.
The assembly was suspended more than a year ago and the parties went into the election against the background of a deadlocked political process.
The British and Irish Governments insisted that the agreement remained the only viable political framework – and was not open to negotiation.
Despite the governments’ firm line, it is precisely a mandate for a renegotiation which the DUP says it has after winning 30 seats.
PARTY +/- TOT
DUP 10 30
SF 6 24
UUP -1 27
SDLP -6 18
AP 0 6
PUP -1 1
NIWC -2 0
UKUP -4 1
UUC 0 0
NIUP 0 0
Others +1 1
After 108 of 108 seats declared
Elected dissidents like Jeffrey Donaldson in David Trimble’s Ulster Unionist Party, which won 27 seats, agree.
Mr Murphy is expected to see delegations from Sinn Fein, the SDLP and the Ulster Unionists over the weekend.
These meetings will be an initial test of the new political realities in the province, BBC correspondent John Thorne said.
The DUP is expected to meet Mr Murphy early next week.
The election also saw Sinn Fein make gains.
It secured 24 seats in comparison with the SDLP’s 18 – a direct reversal of the parties’ positions after the last election.
FIRST PREFERENCE VOTES
Sinn Fein: 24%
Ulster Unionists: 23%
The Alliance gained six assembly places, while the three remaining seats went to a County Tyrone doctor standing on a single issue over hospital services, maverick unionist Robert McCartney and Progressive Unionist David Ervine.
Nigel Dodds of the DUP said the party “now speaks for the unionist community and now speaks for more people in the province than any other party”.
But Mr Trimble said the Democratic Unionists had “sold the people a false bill of goods”.
He added: “The DUP can’t deliver and that will become clear and it will become clear very quickly.”
The election count took two full days
Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams said it had been a good election for his party.
“There is a crisis within unionism that will need some patience for the rest of us to show in the time ahead,” he said.
Reflecting on his party’s showing, SDLP leader Mark Durkan said it had to “work with the hand that democracy deals us”.
Following the results, the British and Irish Governments said they would “seek a political way forward and to secure a basis on which the assembly can be restored and a functioning executive quickly established”.
They also promised to bring forward proposals in the new year for a review of the Good Friday Agreement.
The White House admitted it had some concerns over the outcome of the election.
However, US National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice said she hoped progress could continue to be made.
The turnout for the election was 63.84%, compared to 68.8% in the 1998 assembly election.
A total of 108 seats were contested in the election.
A power-sharing executive will not be re-established at Stormont immediately.
The last assembly election in 1998 returned 28 Ulster Unionists, 24 SDLP, 20 DUP and 18 Sinn Fein MLAs.
**DUP in a huff
‘Irish’ Lights Blow DUP Fuse Nov 28 2003
A SEASONAL war of words has erupted in Derry after Irish language Christmas signs were erected on the historic City Walls.
Doire le Duchas, a bilingual group based at An Gaelaras, launched its controversial signage initiative at a lighting-up ceremony this week.
The move has infuriated local DUP Alderman Gregory Campbell who had strongly objected to permission being granted by Derry City Council.
Mr. Campbell is also incensed that the Irish lights were officially switched on by Sinn Fein’s national chairperson, Mitchel McLaughlin.
Doire le Duchas said it was delighted to announce the initiative as it is the first time any signage in Irish has been seen on Derry’s ancient walls.
The festive greeting sign which has been erected reads ‘BeannachtaÌ na Nollaig (Merry Christmas) – Failte go Doire’ (Welcome to Derry).
Derry City Council recently granted permission for the signage to be erected despite angry objections from some unionist councillors.
Gregory Campbell, who led the opposition, claimed yesterday that the unionist community in Derry would view the event as “more of the same.”
Speaking to the ‘Journal’ he said: “There has been repeated attempts by nationalist spokespersons to say that the city centre is neutral territory.
“But our contention is that it is increasingly not a neutral area and this sort of thing only goes to prove it when you get an Irish language sign going up on the City Walls.
“I believe this will be looked upon by the unionist community as more cold house treatment, especially given the fact it was opened by a member of Sinn Fein, whose military wing has spent 30 years murdering members of the unionist community,” the DUP Alderman claimed.
“If the Orange Order was to ask for some sort of Ulster-Scots sign going up with someone who was associated with loyalist murder gangs opening it and that was put to the nationalist community, how would they feel?”
Mr. Campbell also claimed the erection of Irish signage ran contrary to the tradition of extending goodwill to all at Christmas time.
“The city centre ought to be viewed as an area which is made attractive to all communities and, if anybody thinks this makes it attractive for unionists they do not understand the feelings of the unionist community,” he added.
However, Development Officer for Doire le Duchas, Ms. Sorcha NÌ Mhonagail, said: “This is an historic and very proud moment for the Irish language community which has long sought recognition for the language and its culture.
“We believe that this is an important step towards our aim of bilingualising the city of Derry, an ongoing programme of work which began with the erection of Irish language street-name plates.”
Pointing out that this week’s launch was the first of a set of five Irish language Christmas signs to be erected, Ms. NÌ Mhonagail added: “Doire le Duchas would like to encourage the public to support our campaign to celebrate the Irish language as a marker of our cultural diversity.”
The launch ceremony held on the Walls was attended by representatives from local Irish language groups, pupils from Gaelscoil Eadain MhÛir and members of the public.
Election results settle Sinn Féin nerves
28/11/2003 – 17:14:22
A day before Northern Ireland’s Assembly Election, Sinn Féin candidates were getting twitchy.
“Our canvass returns are frighteningly good,” South Down candidate Caitriona Ruane confessed as she accompanied party leader Gerry Adams on a walkabout on Belfast’s Antrim Road.
“I’m amazed at the response we’re getting. We appear to be getting a lot of first preferences in what were previously SDLP homes.”
Sinn Féin strategists needn’t have worried.
This week’s election was yet another triumph for the party’s slick election machine.
Canvassers had knocked on doors for months in target constituencies, identifying waiverers and nurturing the vote.
They were working from a system devised by Sheena Campbell, a rising star who was gunned down in October 1992 by the Ulster Volunteer Force in the bar of a South Belfast hotel.
The ‘Torrent Strategy’ helped deliver Francie Molloy’s victory in a 1990 council by-election and has been a proven success over 13 years.
One party worker explained: “It’s a tried and tested system. We mark green for yes, yellow for maybe and white for no.
“That enables us to identify our vote and nurture it. It’s a system we have used on both sides of the border.”
As Sinn Féin left the SDLP stumbling in its wake, workers were entitled to feel proud as the party scooped up Assembly seats.
Former Belfast Lord Mayor Alex Maskey broke new ground in the south of the city, taking a seat from the Women’s Coalition’s Monica McWilliams.
Conor Murphy delivered three seats in Newry and Armagh while Gerry Kelly and Kathy Stanton both came through in North Belfast.
Folk singer Francie Brolly not only lived up to expectations by becoming an MLA in East Derry but the party managed to out-poll the SDLP for the first time in the constituency.
The party’s most sensational result was in North Antrim, where victims spokesman Philip McGuigan took a seat in the Rev Ian Paisley’s heartland from the Ulster Unionists.
Add to that near misses in Lagan Valley, Foyle and West Belfast where the party’s bid for five seats was thwarted by the Democratic Unionists and you have a party which could justifiably claim to be the major voice in nationalism.
With Sinn Féin making breakthroughs in SDLP strongholds such as South Down, the party will be confident of more electoral success, fortifying new seats and targeting new ones.
Nationalist SDLP members were putting a brave face on their disappointing showing.
SDLP leader Mark Durkan and his colleagues blamed a drop in the Assembly Election turnout but admitted the party needed to reorganise.
But as the SDLP looked to the next General Election, it was clear it was facing a tough battle to hold onto its slender 1,532 vote advantage over Sinn Féin in John Hume’s constituency of Foyle in this election and its 3,915 lead in Eddie McGrady’s South Down.
As he waited to see whether Raymond McCartney and Mary Nelis would join him in the Assembly, Sinn Féin chairman Mitchel McLaughlin believed a sea change had occurred.
“I think you could argue a baton has been snatched in this election by Sinn Féin from the SDLP,” the Foyle MLA said.
“In many ways it is reminiscent of the emergence of the SDLP in the 1970s at the expense of the old Nationalist Party.
“What we are also witnessing with the rise of the four big parties – the Ulster Unionists, DUP, SDLP and ourselves – is a new political phase where the national question is coming centre stage.
“People are voting for pro-Union or pro-united Ireland parties.”
Mr McLaughlin believed the rise in the republican vote was a reward for Sinn Féin’s efforts to deliver a lasting peace.
And with the Democratic Unionist Party emerging with increased clout, the Foyle Assembly member was disputing claims that the success of both parties spelt doom for the peace process.
“I think there is change occurring in the DUP – change in terms of the flagging control and dominance of the Big Man (Ian Paisley) over the party,” he said.
“Clearly the pragmatists and the progressive elements within the DUP leadership are beginning to make their presence felt and were able to sideline Ian Paisley during the election campaign.
“It looks like we may be entering the beginning of the end of the Ian Paisley era.
“Unionists and nationalists will increasingly focus on the constitutional future of this island and republicans will go into those discussions with confidence, strengthened by our mandate.
“There may be people in the DUP now who are saying they will not talk to Sinn Féin but they will.
“The Ulster Unionists once said no and ended up talking.”
Govts hope to restore NI devolution
28/11/2003 – 19:28:45
The British and Irish governments tonight confirmed they would begin efforts to try and restore devolution in Northern Ireland after hardline unionists and republicans triumphed in the Assembly election.
In a joint statement issued tonight, London and Dublin said they would contact parties over the coming days to “seek a political way forward and to secure a basis on which the Assembly can be restored and a functioning executive quickly established”.
However, they also insisted that the Good Friday Agreement remained “the only viable political framework” in Northern Ireland and they insisted it was not “open to negotiation”.
They vowed: “Working with the parties, we will do our utmost to achieve those objectives, mindful that any devolution must be stable and fully inclusive.
“In our firm view, the Good Friday Agreement remains the only viable political framework that is capable of securing the support of those communities in Northern Ireland.
“We are determined that its wide-ranging provisions will continue to be implemented.
“The Good Friday Agreement has been endorsed in referendums in both parts of the island.”
The two Governments said that with most of the election results processed, the people of Northern Ireland had spoken.
With the DUP emerging as the largest unionist party and Sinn Fein the largest nationalist party at Stormont, both Governments said they respected the mandates all sides had received.
They reminded the Provinces’ politicians that “with success comes responsibility.
“The vast majority of the people of Northern Ireland want to see devolved Government.
“The future of devolution now lies in the hands of those elected to the Northern Ireland Assembly.”
London and Dublin said that the in coming days they would ask parties to submit their views about how the four-year review of the Good Friday Agreement should be conducted and what its agenda should be.
They said they hoped to finalise and present proposals for the review early in the New Year after receiving responses from the parties.
“This is a review of the operation of the Agreement,” they said.
“It’s fundamentals are not open to re-negotiation.”
The British and Irish Government confirmed that the British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Itaoiseach Bertie Ahern would meet before Christmas to review the prospects for political progress after contacting the parties.
Blair and Ahern met in Cardiff this morning while counts continued in the Assembly election.
The joint statement concluded: “While the coming period present challenges for the process, it also represents the period of opportunity.
“We call on all parties to work constructively together and with the Government to consolidate and develop it has been made over the years.”
SF man in threat claims
Sinn Fein candidate Paul Butler at the Lagan Valley count centre
A Sinn Fein candidate claims he was threatened by loyalists at a count centre in County Down.
Paul Butler, who stood as a candidate in Lagan Valley, said loyalists entered the count at Dromore leisure centre on Thursday night and threatened him.
“What I can only describe as a loyalist mob made their way into Dromore leisure centre,” he said.
“They actually got in on the count and started threatening people, pointing at people like myself and other Sinn Fein members,” Mr Butler said.
“We left the building, other police came on the scene.
“But then we were attacked in the car park, this loyalist mob was allowed to got around my car, shouting sectarian abuse, trying to stop the car getting out of the car park.”
Mr Butler said the attack was an interference with the democratic process.
“If this happened somewhere else in the world, the British Government would be making a hue and cry about it,” he said.
Mr Butler said he had raised the matter with the electoral office and would also be in contact with the Police Ombudsman about the incident.
“I felt under threat, nobody was doing anything about it,” he said.
A PSNI spokeswoman said police had not received any report of intimidation and were not approached for assistance.
The Police Ombudsman’s Office said it had not received a complaint about the incident.
Thanks to Seán at ira2
And now the real fun can commence…
(Jude Collins, Irish News)
Well, that’s the yawn-a-day campaign over – tedious but instructive.
Of the four party leaders David Trimble, amazingly, had the best
campaign. When the UUP man’s back is up against a wall he becomes
strangely forceful, convincing and almost human. Gerry Adams was as
usual good-humoured and presidential. If he ever learns to stop
massaging his hands on-camera and saying “First of all”, he’ll be
Early in the campaign Mark Durkan’s foot got stuck on the verbal
accelerator, so that people didn’t so much listen to him as try to
avoid being run over.
As for Ian Paisley – ‘O what a fall was there’. When his studio
debate chair was filled by underlings, it looked bad. When he
appeared on camera in person, he looked terrible.
Equally instructive was the kind of outside help parties here
attracted. Beauties like Andrew Hunter, who crossed the Irish Sea to
offer his moth-eaten carcass as a DUP candidate. Lib Dem chief
Charles Kennedy, over to hold the hand – or was he feeling the
pulse? – of an ailing Alliance. The Greens had a man from Scotland
and Sinn Féin had several southern TDs up to add pizzazz on the
Top draw, though, was the SDLP. They got Fine Gael advisers, they got
Fianna Fail advisers, they got PD advisers, they got Pat Rabbitte
Labour Party advisers, they got Tony Blair Labour Party advisers.
They even got Brian Kennedy, who urged everyone to “put the ballot in
the box” – helpful advice, I expect, for those voters who had been
planning to put it somewhere else.
And what now? Well, the UUP will do better than predicted. Opera-
lover and street-fighter, man of intellect and man of action, the
Cunningham House contender has sent a shiver of delight through
Who would ever have thought the Garvaghy Road prancer had so much
guts in him?
The DUP insist that legions of former UUP supporters have flocked to
their banner but I think not. Distaste for the Big Man runs deep in
Ulster Unionist circles.
He may be a good laugh on Give My Head Peace; but the real thing,
roaring into a microphone that God is standing shoulder-to-shoulder
with him and unionism – oh dear. All right for a crowd of clod-
hoppers in a tent around Ballymena, but not in the more refined
environs of Stormont. Strong as their distrust of equality-for-taigs
talk may be, it’s not as strong as their distaste for Paisley’s dung-
on-the-boots yahooery. No, David Trimble’s post-election headache
will come from the UUP enemy behind him, not the DUP enemy in front.
But supposing the worst happened – the DUP passed out the UUP, became
the official voice of unionism. For months we’ve been assured that
this would result in political stalemate, especially if Sinn Féin
topped the nationalist poll, and that we’d be in for a period of
direct rule that could last months, maybe years.
Codswallop to the power of ten.
Sinn Féin have not come all this way – through so many physical and
political dangers – to allow such a vital bridge-head to be washed
away. They want an assembly and an executive – and they will have it.
As for Peter Robinson, after all those weary years enduring the
deafening roars and flying spittle of his master – Crown Prince Peter
will be wild to mount the first minister throne. The words ‘rat’
and ‘drainpipe’ and ‘up’ come to mind.
The truth is, our politicians like exercising local power. It’s like
a drug, and over the past five years all the major parties have
ingested some – UUP, SDLP, Sinn Féin, DUP. Nationalists won’t want
Westminster to step in and take away what makes them feel so good –
nor will unionists.
So even if the unionist electorate went mad yesterday and elected the
DUP to be their voice, fear not. By Easter at the latest, the Peters
and the Nigels and the Gregories, who insisted during the campaign
that they would never share power with Sinn Féin – they’ll put their
little heads together and
come up with a formula that will allow them to be true to their word
while at the same time sitting down in cabinet to work with Sinn Féin
and the rest. They’ll do it, given the chance, because even DUP top
men must have their fix.
But that scenario – the DUP wrestling with their conscience and
winning – is, as they say, strictly hypothetical.
Because the DUP will not speak for most unionists. For better or
worse that poor deformed creature known as the UUP will.
Anyway, goodbye tedium, hello fun. It’s count time.
November 28, 2003
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Gerry Adams, Gerry Kelly and Martin McGuinness elected
Published: 27 November, 2003
Sinn Féin’s Gerry Adams, Gerry Kelly and Martin McGuinness have been elected MLAs for West Belfast, North Belfast and Mid-Ulster.