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West Belfast Festival ‘Biggest And Best Ever’
By Joanne Lowry
Wednesday 30th June 2004
FANS of Christy Moore will be rushing to pick up one of the hottest tickets in town this summer as the Irish singer headlines this year’s west Belfast festival.
Feile an Phobail yesterday announced its line-up for the carnival, now in its 17th year. Festival director Carol Jackson said this year’s programme was “the biggest and best ever – as usual”.
For the first time, Feile has organised an event outside west Belfast: Loudon Wainwright III will bring his honest humour and engaging stage persona to the Lyric Theatre on Saturday, July 31.
Other festival highlights include a concert by London-based urban act Big Brovaz, a hip-hop and R&B dance night with Radio One DJ Tim Westwood, and a comedy night with some of the best names in the business – Rich Hill, Adam Hills, Tara Flynn and Eddie Bannon.
On the literary front, there will be readings by Roddy Doyle and the carnival parade is sure to be another crowd-puller on August 1.
Full details of the festival programme, which runs from July 30 to August 8, can be found on the Feile website www.feilebelfast.com.
DUP DEAL TERMS ‘UNACCEPTABLE’
Gerry Adams said Ian Paisley’s DUP was ‘on holiday’
The Democratic Unionists’ terms for a devolution deal for Northern Ireland are unacceptable to republicans, Sinn Fein’s Gerry Adams has warned.
Mr Adams said on Wednesday that the talks process was on hold because the DUP were “on holiday”.
The political institutions have been suspended since October 2002 amid allegations of IRA intelligence gathering at the Northern Ireland Office.
The Sinn Fein president said the DUP showed “no sign whatsoever” of political will to reach a deal.
He dismissed the notion that republicans would be tested for a period of months before power-sharing could be resumed.
“I’ve made it very clear that the terms that the DUP have publicly expressed are not acceptable,” he said.
“How could they be acceptable? We have just refreshed our mandate and we respect the DUP’s mandate.
“The periods of decontamination, or of a verification or of being tested – all of that has long since passed.”
Meanwhile, Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern admitted the DUP’s refusal to talk to Sinn Fein was causing difficulty, but he believed Northern Ireland’s parties were “up for” a deal.
Mr Ahern added on Wednesday that he believed the DUP was prepared to work towards a consensus, and were “quite advanced” on his previous perception of the party.
In the Commons, Ulster Unionist leader David Trimble challenged the government to close down the Stormont Assembly if no deal was reached in September’s talks.
Mr Trimble said the government should make clear to those parties who he claimed had been “dragging their feet” that it will put in place alternative arrangements.
Northern Ireland Secretary Paul Murphy told Mr Trimble that the government understood the issues which have to be dealt with, and that it was right they should be decided in September.
MEP — Next SF leader could be from south
Sinn Féin’s next president could be from the Republic as its support
base continues to grow across the south, the party’s new Dublin MEP
Mary Lou McDonald, the Dublin-based politician who is due to join
Bairbre de Brun at the European Parliament next month, told the Irish
News that a successor to Gerry Adams could be found in the Republic.
Mr Adams (56), who featured prominently in the party’s recent
European election campaign on both sides of the border, has acted as
party president since 1983, making him one of the longest-serving
party leaders in Irish history.
In an interview in today’s Irish News, Ms McDonald said that she
could “see no reason” why the party should not be led by someone from
the south in the future.
“Gerry Adams is a fantastic party president. Sinn Féin is the kind of
party that is making room for younger people, who bring in new issues
and perspectives,” she said.
Ms McDonald added that it “might make more sense” at some point in
the future for the all-island party to be led by a representative
from the south.
She also indicated that Sinn Féin could lead a left-wing coalition
into government in Leinster House, if support for the party continued
She said the party would first concentrate on the mandate given to it
by voters to push forward the peace process but added that it would
be “looking to build a broad progressive coalition”.
“Obviously we would want to work with others on the left,” she said,
suggesting that Labour could make a viable candidate for coalition at
some point,” she said.
“All things are possible, but it will eventually depend on the
ability of the respective parties to offer a coherent alternative to
what’s there at the moment,” she added.
“People are saying that it’s time for change and Sinn Féin would put
equality and the national question at the centre of any coalition.”
June 29, 2004
Group In U.S. to Highlight Collusion
By Christine Hickey
MEMBERS of the Irish organization Firinne are in the U.S. spreading
the word about collusion in Northern Ireland. The group is made up of
Irish families whose family members have been killed, they believe,
by direct action of the British government sharing information with
Loyalist death squads.
Members of Firinne (Gaelic for truth) feel that collusion is a
British state policy in Northern Ireland that has been carried on for
over 30 years. The group wants to highlight the stories of Catholics
who have been murdered in the North, without any subsequent
investigations into the circumstances or arrests.
John Davey was elected as a representative for Sinn Fein in the
Magherafelt District Council in 1985. On February 14, 1989, Davey was
driving home from a council meeting when he was shot to death,
Davey’s daughter, Pauline Davey-Kennedy told the Irish Voice during
an interview on Monday.
Davey’s death came two short days after the murder of Pat Finucane,
whose case became the best known of the campaign against collusion.
Prior to his murder, Davey had been harassed by the RUC on a daily
basis, his family claims. The Daveys also claim that a security file
on John Davey made its way into the hands of Loyalists.
The Davey family was never informed of an investigation into John’s
murder. “We were led to believe that they never actually did an
investigation because we were never told that one had opened or
ended,” Davey-Kennedy expressed.
“We have suffered, and we know there was collusion. The British
government will try to minimize it and try to make people believe
that it didn’t happen, but it’s not over. It’s never over,” she said.
As a Sinn Fein representative, Davey campaigned for many community
and equality issues, including ending discrimination in the
workplace. “He was a strong and vigilant man who was highly respected
by the community, and he became a threat to the British
establishment,” Davey-Kennedy remembers.
Following his death, opponents used his title as representative to
legitimize the murder of a Sinn Fein activist. Some alleged victims
of collusion, however, have never been involved in politics.
Kelly Hamill was only three years old when her father, Pat Hamill,
was shot four times in front of her, her mother, and her sister on
September 9, 1987.
“He was a Northern Ireland heavyweight champion. That was the only
thing he was interested in outside the family; he was a real family
man,” Kelly Hamill recalls. “Sometimes you felt that being Catholic
was enough (for them to kill you). You were automatically a target,
and you couldn’t feel safe.”
The Hamills lived just off of Springfield Road in Belfast. “It was a
real flashpoint area, there was such a strong military presence every
day. But on the day of his murder, not one RUC member was to be
seen,” Kelly recalls. “It took three minutes for an ambulance to
arrive, but 55 minutes for the RUC to get there.”
Not only was there an absence of police presence oh the day of both
John Davey’s and Pat Hamill’s murders, but the families were never
given any further information about their deaths or any ensuing
The Hamill family was again in the spotlight at the end of 1995, when
Kelly’s little sister Catherine Hamill met President Bill Clinton
during his first trip to the North. Catherine poignantly spoke about
her father at an event Clinton attended, and her words brought tears
to his eyes. Catherine and her family later traveled to the U.S. at
the invitation of the Clintons.
Firinne represents over 200 families just like the Daveys and the
Hamills. The organization is on a campaign to expose collusion in the
So far, they have been to Dublin, London, Philadelphia, New York and
Washington D.C. to bring their cause to the attention of government
officials. “We want the British to stand up and accept
responsibility, to say, `This is what happened and this is why it
happened,'” said Davey-Kennedy.
Real IRA ruling overturned
The Real IRA is an illegal terrorist organisation, the Court of Appeal in Belfast has ruled.
Wednesday’s judgement overturns last month’s ruling that the Real IRA – which carried out the Omagh bomb atrocity in August 1998 – was not listed under section 3 of the Terrorism Act 2000.
During the case, Mr Justice Girvan cleared four men of being RIRA members, saying that under current legislation, an organisation was proscribed only if it was listed or operated under the same name as a listed organisation.
The men were eventually cleared of a dissident republican plot to murder police and soldiers on Tuesday.
This latest judgement does not affect their acquittal, as the Attorney General referred the case to the Appeal Court purely on a point of law.
The Lord Chief Justice, Sir Brian Kerr, sitting with Lord Justices Nicholson and Campbell, said that when the Terrorism Act 2000 was passed, parliament was well aware of the existence and activities of the ‘Real’ IRA.
He said that quite apart from the notoriety of the Omagh bomb outrage, the organisation was specified under the NI (Sentences) Act 1998 before the passing of the Terrorism Act.
“In our judgement it is inconceivable that the legislature did not intend that the ‘Real’ IRA should be proscribed and that its members should be liable to prosecution for belonging to a proscribed organisation,” said the Lord Chief Justice.
“Given the manner in which various groupings of the IRA had been proscribed historically, we consider that it should have been apparent to any member of the ‘Real’ IRA that he was guilty of an offence under these provisions if he continued his membership or professed it.”
The Real IRA was behind the 1998 Omagh bombing, in which 29 people died.
A defence lawyer applied for leave to appeal to the House of Lords, and Sir Brian said they would give a decision next week.
IRSP ADDRESS BODENSTOWN 2004
Delivered by IRSP Ard-Comhairle member, Gerard Foster
Friends and Comrades, in 1966, Seamus Costello, founder and leader of the IRSP and the INLA, stood on this very spot, the most revered grave in Irish Republican history. He delivered one of the most prophetic orations ever delivered here in Bodenstown; we make no apology for revisiting his oration here today. 38 years ago Costello said of the six-counties;
In the North, the destinies of one and a half million of our countrymen are controlled by a puppet regime whose existence for some 45 years has depended on the support of British armed forces. This regime has found to its apparent delight that one of the simplest ways of ensuring its continued existence is by the furtherance of bigotry and sectarianism. Ample evidence of this policy can be found in the recent antics of a certain reverend agent provocateur.
These then are the means by which the British imperialists intend to maintain the people of the North in perpetual slavery. These are also the means by which the working classes are divided against their own material welfare.The pro-British capitalist classes who control the economy of the North know very well that, when the people reject those who foster sectarianism, their next step will be to demand a just share of the wealth, which they create. These are the real reasons why one section of the community are led to believe that it is in their interest to discriminate against another section. Never are they told that the standard of living which they enjoy, at the expense of their victimized neighbors, is theirs by right – rather are they tricked into believing that these natural rights are a reward for their support of the regime. These tactics serve to ensure that a large section of the population of the North remain loyal to the regime and at the same time do not insist on having a bigger share in the wealth.
Costello was highlighting how Britain maintained its rule in Ireland by sectarian division and social division. Of course Britain could not only have done this by force of arms alone. There are native capitalist classes both North and South of the border that have facilitated British rule because it allowed them to profit. They serve no master but money. They have been a constant block to the Republic.
No matter what guise they went under, or what Republican name they choose
to call themselves-such as Fianna Fail-Soldiers of Destiny- so long as they
were in defence of existing property relations they were and are a block to
the Republic. In every generation there have been those who have
compromised their principles, endeavouring to partially liberate Ireland
from the yoke of the British through negotiation that first required the
concession of equity instead of social equality.
We regard the Good Friday Agreement as one such effort. Sinn Fein have
reaped electoral rewards as a result. They are now the largest nationalist
Party in the North and have built a base in the South that seems
impressive. But in so doing they may well have forgotten the lessons of
history. The Workers Party once had similar success in the South. Where are
they now? When a political movement ditches it¹s principles it may well
have short-term electoral reward but in the long term it will be no longer
what it was.
It would be remiss of us at Bodenstown not to highlight that Wolfe Tone
over whose grave we stand, believed in Liberty Fraternity Equality.
Liberty includes the freedom to express your views without fear or favour.
We call on all who call themselves Republicans to recognize the right to
dissent, the right not to agree- the right to articulate minority views.
And we call on all Republicans to condemn anyone or any organization that
tries to stifle political opinions they don¹t agree with. We in the
Republican Socialist Movement have endured bitter times in the past. We
have learnt that the way to resolve differences is not to take up the gun
against our opponents but to respect their views while not agreeing with them.
We have strong differences with other republicans over such issues as the
Good Friday Agreement, abstentionism, armed struggle and so on. But we must
not allow those differences to embitter us or to demonise our political
opponents. If we call for the unity of the working class so also should we
call for the unity of republicans on issues on which we can agree? That is
why we welcome the growing openness among all shades of republicanism to
sit down together and discuss issues. We have long called for a broad
front. A few years ago we pushed the idea of a republican forum where
republicans could discuss differences in an open and fraternal way and
debate how best to move towards the Republic.
Therefore we can but only welcome calls for Republican Congress. This
movement will play a constructive role in helping to bring that about.
But what is unique about our analysis of the political situation is that we
assert that the Republic will not emerge under capitalism. Unless the
working class as a class take the leading role in the national struggle
fighting for social freedom then the end result will be a neo-colony in
thrall to international capital. The forging of links between the different
sections of the working class is critical to the successful struggle for
socialism in Ireland.
As republican socialists we support the continuing dialogue with sections
of the unionist working class. However, that dialogue must be an
exploration and examination of working class communities’ views, fears and
most importantly politics. LIBERTY, FRATERNITY AND EQUALITY for PROTESTANT,
CATHOLIC AND DISSENTER are principles, which remain the cornerstone of
republican socialism. They also represent the best formula for uniting our
Seamus Costello recognized in an article that engagement with unionist
working class was and is important but equally so there can be no exclusion
of republican socialist politics from any agenda concerned with working
class politics such as that practicised by the Socialist Environmental
Alliance in the North¹s European election; Costello wrote;
Connolly was totally in opposition to this approach. He categorized them as
gas and water socialists. Today in Belfast we have what we call ring-road
socialists. They are exactly the same type of people. They are, in fact,
the leadership of the Official republican movement in Belfast.
We maintain that any co-operation with the Protestant working class must be
on the basis of a principled political position. It must be on the basis of
explaining fully to the Protestant working class what all our policies are,
not just our policy on the ring road.
We must try and politicize them, simultaneously with conducting a political
campaign to get rid of Britain. It will be primarily an educational
function, or an educational campaign directed towards Protestants in the
hope at least that some significant section of the Protestant working class
In reaching out to all sections of the working class including the recent
arrivals to our country fleeing economic or political oppression we must
not be afraid to face up to issues. We are told by the administrations in
DUBLIN, BELFAST and LONDON and we are also told by some Republicans that
the failed Belfast/Good Friday/Stormont agreement some how will provide not
only a pathway to peace on the island but is also a stepping stone to a
democratic socialist republic. Like Saddam¹s weapons of mass destruction
this is hogwash.
We are being asked to believe in a new Republican slogan, LIBERTY,
FRATERNITY AND EQUITY.
Equity means fairness. It does not mean equality. Equity is not part of my
definition of republicanism.
EQUITY CAN NEVER LEAD TO EQUALITY. At its very best equity will maintain
the status quo of discrimination of rich over poor, Protestant over
Catholic, white over other ethnic groups. And so will the Good Friday
Agreement. Importantly, for republican socialists the current political
dispensation will maintain, nurture and propagate the divisions in the
working class. Irish Republican Socialists will never endorse any political
settlement between Ireland and Britain, which has at its heart the
destruction of Irish working class unity and the promotion of greed and
As republican socialists we reject this process as flawed. Already in the
North we have major funders of community infra structure charged with
Targeting Social Need talking about a ‘benign apartheid reward’ (Urban 2
Inner North Belfast, Community Empowerment Partnership, 9th June 2004).
This is at the behest of reactionary unionism led by the DUP and
unchallenged by supposedly progressive unionism within the loyalist
‘Benign apartheid’ like ‘secondary discrimination’ is a direct result of
the sectarian social equity being delivered by the Good Friday
Agreement. Supporters of the status quo would have the working class
believe this is acceptable because the apartheid and discrimination that
results from equity is not the primary motivation but merely an unavoidable
secondary outcome of the process. In other words, northern working class
Catholics still remain twice as likely to be unemployed and homeless as
they were ten years ago! But, that¹s ok as in the bad old days of unionist
domination discrimination was direct and intentional; today discrimination
is merely a benign by-product of a flawed political process. So that¹s OK then!
Meanwhile today, working class Catholics are twice as likely to be
unemployed and homeless!! We are asked to accept that this secondary
discrimination is benign. If this is the case where is the strategy to
combat secondary discrimination?
Discrimination either primary or secondary can never be benign or harmless;
it can only deliver the continuation of inequality and division. Both are
anathema to republican socialists.
James Connolly referred to ‘gas and water’ socialists, Seamus Costello
referred to ‘ring road’ socialists in the 1970s and today we have the
‘equitable’ socialists or ‘stepping stone’ republicans. The titles may
change but the politics remain the same. All the above require unacceptable
compromises of basic republican principles.
The core values of republicanism as articulated by Wolfe Tone and the
United Irishmen that of liberty, fraternity and equality were then and
remain now the most progressive form of political thought and one that we
in the IRSP fully endorse and principles that we hold dear. We remain
determined to insure that republican socialism will be a core plank of any
progressive agenda that sets as its goal the liberation of our class, our
country and common humanity.
In his 1966 oration Seamus Costello laid out the path to the socialist
This in effect means that we must aim for the ownership of our resources by
the people, so that these resources will be developed in the best interests
of the people as a whole. Some of you may feel that these aims are
impossible to achieve until such time as we have an independent all-Ireland
government. It is certainly true that some of these aims will not reach
fruition until such time as we have an all-Ireland parliament. However, in
the meantime, you as republicans have an extremely important part to play
in the furtherance of this policy.
“It is your duty to spearhead the organization of a virile co-operative
movement among the farming community. It is also your duty to use your
influence as trade unionists to organise a militant trade union movement
with a national consciousness. In short, it is your duty to become active,
hard working members of each and every organization that is working for the
welfare of all the people and towards the reunification of the country.
As it was in 1966, so it is today.
Comrades and friends here today get out there and work for the liberation
of your class and your country.
BODENSTOWN STATEMENT OF THE IRSP INTERNATIONAL DEPARTMENT
The United Irishmen formulated their programme in response to the specific
contradictions they confronted in Ireland in their own times, but they drew
inspiration from the Republican revolutions that had taken place in America
and France. They turned to France not only for inspiration, but also for
material and military aid. We all know that this aid was too little and
came too late to enable the success of the United Irishmen’s attempted
revolution, but it is important to recognise that they sought it out.
In 1848, when Young Ireland rose, it turned to Irish émigrés for support
and it leaders, like Stephens and Mahoney sought refuge in France, where
they were active in the Republican and Socialist circles of the day. The
Fenian Rising was being organised for, both an American and Irish
organisation were established to build for the insurrection.
When Connolly was seeking support, he traveled to both Scotland and America
raising funds. He was actively involved in the formation of the SLP in
Scotland and in establishing the IWW in America. When the Spanish Republic
defended itself against a fascist insurrection, Irish Republicans formed
the Connolly Column to join in the fight there. In earlier times, the INLA
sent volunteers to fight along side of the revolutionaries of the MPLA in
Angola, trained in the PFLP’s camps in North Africa, and secured weapons
through armed revolutionaries in Europe, such as Action Direct and the CCCs
Irish revolutionaries have long understood the importance of both receiving
and providing international solidarity and support, in terms of
inspiration, morale building, and material aid.
Today, the IRSP has established the Irish Republican Socialist Committees
of North America and more recently the Federation of Irish Republican
Socialist Committees Abroad, the first chapter of which was formed in
Sweden and which is drawing support from elsewhere in Europe, Australia,
New Zealand, Latin America, and beyond. The party has been active in
support for revolutionaries in Turkey and the Resistance in Iraq. It has
participated in international conferences in Puerto Rico, Italy, the
Netherlands, and Germany. It has contributed to African Liberation Day
celebrations around the world. And, the IRSP has issued statements of
solidarity with struggles around the globe.
In continuing to uphold a tradition in Irish Republicanism which dates all
the way back to the United Irishmen, the IRSP today remains mindful that
our class is in struggle around the world and that all workers gain from
the successes of workers in other nations and are obligated to defend and
provide solidarity with workers’ struggles wherever they may occur. As we
stand at this grave side today, I bring to you greetings of solidarity from
the comrades of the IRSCNA and FIRSCA. In addition, I bring to you
greetings of solidarity from the many socialist and anti-imperialist
organisations with which the IRSP has forged relations over the past
Today, as in the days of Tone and the United Irishmen, Irish
revolutionaries continue to seek and extend solidarity to like-minded
activists around the world. We are stronger for the assistance receive, but
stronger too are we for the assistance we provide.
PALESTINIAN TEENAGER SHOT DEAD BY ISRAELI TROOPS IN SOUTHERN GAZA
GAZA CITY (AFP) – A 14-year-old Palestinian was shot dead by Israeli troops in the southern Gaza Strip town of Khan Yunis, Palestinian medical and security sources said.
Ahmed Abu Eid was standing on the roof of his house feeding pigeons at the time, the sources said. He was hit in the chest by shots fired from an army post just outside the Jewish settlement of Neve Dkalim.
An army spokeswoman initially denied the incident, but an Israeli military source later said troops had fired at a suspicious figure standing on the roof of an abandoned building and “identified a hit”.
“This was an abandoned building which is used by terrorists to shoot at army positions and at settlements,” the source said, adding that militants had fired an anti-tank missile from the building on Monday.
The boy’s death brings the overall toll since the September 2000 start of the Palestinian intifada, or uprising, to 4,136, including 3,141 Palestinians and 923 Israelis, according to an AFP count.
On Sunday night, an Israeli soldier was killed and five injured when Palestinian militants set off a massive explosion in a tunnel they had dug underneath an army post near the Gush Khatif settlement bloc and Khan Yunis.
WE WILL RETALIATE
INLA’s chilling warning if trouble erupts during marching season
28 June 2004
ARMED INLA terrorists last night vowed to patrol the streets of Belfast’s interface areas, over the marching season.
A spokesman for the terror group – blamed for this month’s murder of drug baron, Kevin McAlorum – told Sunday Life it will “retaliate” if trouble erupts at flashpoint areas in the city.
The warning was issued after senior security sources told us the renegade republican group has received permission from the IRA, to target loyalist gunmen if nationalist communities come under attack, next month.
Although leading Provos will continue to “monitor” interface areas during parades, the terror group’s members have been warned not to get involved in sectarian violence, because of the ongoing peace process.
But the INLA spokesman claimed its members had the weapons to “protect” nationalist communities, and warned leading members of the UDA and UVF they would be targeted if trouble flared.
Sources claimed the terror group has just received a consignment of weapons from English-based crime gangs.
Said the paramilitary leader: “We hope there will be a peaceful summer, like last year – but we won’t stand idly by, if nationalist areas come under attack from loyalists.
“We think it is important to have our men on the ground over the marching season, because we have a duty to protect vulnerable nationalist areas.
“We will be trying to keep our people restrained, but we won’t need permission from anyone to protect our people if they come under attack.”
This latest development comes after hopes of a peaceful marching season suffered a setback, after a gang of parade hangers-on went on the rampage at a north Belfast hospital, last week.
Up to 40 youths, who had been following the flashpoint Tour of the North parade, were involved in disturbances at the Mater Hospital, after breaking away from the march.
We also revealed last week how a senior UDA brigadier told Sunday Life it had no plans to engineer street confrontations over the summer.
The brigadier said the organisation would probably agree to send members to ‘police’ Orange Order parades over the marching season.
“We don’t want to see our areas engulfed in violence over the summer, despite what some people have been reporting,” he said.
“We are hoping that there’ll be a peaceful summer this year, and that parades are allowed to go ahead and pass off peacefully.”
MURDER SOLDIERS SHOULD BE SACKED: WATCHDOG
29/06/2004 – 07:19:10
Army chiefs were wrong to allow two soldiers convicted of murdering a Belfast teenager back into the ranks, an independent watchdog said today.
Jim McDonald, assessor of military complaints procedures in the North, insisted that the decision to let Scots Guardsmen Mark Wright and James Fisher back in dealt a major blow to the forces’ reputation.
He said: “When the army are dismissing young men for smoking pot, the fact that it has failed to do anything with these two guys undermines its credibility. They should not have been reinstated.”
Wright and Fisher were found guilty of killing 18-year-old Peter McBride.
The Catholic father of two was shot as he ran away from a military checkpoint in the New Lodge district of north Belfast in 1992.
Claims by the soldiers that they opened fire because of suspicions that Mr McBride was carrying a coffee jar bomb was rejected and they were sentenced to life imprisonment for murder.
After they served three years behind bars, they were released and allowed to return to the army.
Amid nationalist fury at the decision, Mr McBride’s family has mounted a tireless campaign to have the pair thrown out.
Their case was aided by a Court of Appeal ruling that an Army Board which brought Wright and Fisher back in had not produced the exceptional circumstances needed to justify the soldiers’ retention.
But with no judicial order for the Ministry of Defence to act against them, the British government has resisted all demands for the authorities to intervene.
In his latest annual report, Mr McDonald said the row has attracted adverse publicity across the political divide “and thus undermines the credibility of Army employment policy”.
“I realise that the longer this case goes on, the more difficult its resolution would appear to be, but a resolution remains necessary in the interest of justice.”
A retired high court judge could head up an outside tribunal to deal with such sensitive issues, he suggested.
Appointed by the British government under the terms of the Terrorism Act, Mr McDonald’s report also slates military authorities for unacceptable delays in sorting out public grievances.
Overall complaints, such as low-flying helicopters and road-checks, rose slightly from 534 to 551 in 2003.
But while the overwhelming majority settled informally, none of the eight cases involving formal proceedings were resolved within the four-week target.
He said: “I am concerned that the military may not be giving quite the priority to replying to these complaints which such matters deserve.”
Blaming staff changes at Army headquarters in Northern Ireland, Mr McDonald added: “There’s no excuse for this.
“Eight cases is the smallest number we have had for a long time. If there had been 108 it could have been understood.
“But I know it will be put right in the current year because I have already had words with those people in administration at HQNI.”
**Sorry, a day late
1922 – The Provisional Government of the Irish Free State bombards the Four Courts in Dublin, and the Civil War begins
Army defuses pipe bomb
Paddy Murray said he had been targeted before
Army bomb experts have defused a pipe bomb in County Down.
The device, which police described as “viable”, was found at about 1120 BST on Monday in the Oriel Drive area of Downpatrick.
People from a number of houses had to be evacuated while it was made safe.
Police said they were keeping an open mind as to who was responsible for the attack.
Several items have been taken away for forensic examination.
Officers have appealed for anyone with information concerning the incident to contact them.
Meanwhile, a man whose home in Antrim was targeted in a pipe bomb attack has blamed loyalists.
The device exploded at about 0400 BST on Monday at the Rathenraw estate area.
Paddy Murray, his wife and their 16-year-old son escaped injury in the attack.
The letterbox was damaged at the house in Norfolk Street.
Mr Murray said he had been targeted before.
“I got out of jail under the Good Friday Agreement in 2000, and since then, I have been a target for loyalist hate mobs,” he said.
“I am also a community worker, and I do a lot of work on the estate.
“We would come out and argue against what’s going on in Antrim town, which leaves me as a target.”
Pupils injured in bus attack
Last Updated: Monday, 28 June, 2004, 20:21 GMT 21:21 UK
A number of Catholic primary school children have been left badly shaken after being attacked in north Belfast.
A Citybus carrying pupils from the Edmund Rice Primary School stopped near Ligoniel and was approached by youths.
The children were struck as they got off the bus, but none of them was seriously injured.
Sinn Fein councillor Eoin O’Brin said the attack was sectarian.
However, a police spokesman said there was nothing to suggest that this was the case.
…but this time by the Orange Order
By Alan Murray
28 June 2004
THIS year’s controversial Drumcree parade could be axed – by the ORANGE ORDER!
The incredible move – to stop Portadown No 1 District Lodge parading to Drumcree Parish Church next Sunday – was approved by the order’s all-powerful Grand Lodge at a special meeting last week.
And only a technical hitch prevented a motion suspending the entire Portadown district being implemented after delegates voted overwhelmingly to censure it for sending officers to a Parades Commission-sponsored forum in South Africa.
It’s understood that the Grand Lodge voted 75 votes to two in support of a motion backed by Grand Master Robert Saulters to suspend Portadown District and stop it parading over the summer.
But before the suspension could be endorsed, Armagh County Grand Lodge first had to hear the complaint against Portadown under internal Orange Order rules.
The move has stunned the Orange Order in Portadown, which was unaware of the move to suspend them.
It’s understood the order’s Grand Master, Robert Saulters, led the move against the district during Thursday’s special delegate meeting, after reading newspaper reports about the South Africa visit in February.
Those reports alleged contacts between Portadown District officers and members of the Parades Commission.
His backing for the suspension was endorsed by an overwhelming majority at the meeting – and is certain to split the order down the middle.
Between now and next weekend’s parade, efforts will be made to convene a special meeting of the Armagh County Grand Lodge to hear the complaint against Portadown District and forward a decision to Grand Lodge.
If the County Armagh Grand Lodge endorses the view of Grand Lodge, Portadown District could only parade to Drumcree if it defies both its county lodge and Grand Lodge.
No officers from Portadown District were prepared to comment last night on the extraordinary development.
Deputy District Master David Burrows and District Secretary Nigel Dawson attended the February conference in South Africa, but didn’t meet representatives from the nationalist Garvaghy Road Residents Association, which refused to participate.
The official policy of Grand Lodge is to have no dealings with the Parades Commission on any issue – although all lodges, districts and county lodges file standard ’11/1′ forms to the commission seeking permission to parade.
Since 1995, the annual Drumcree parade has been banned from returning to Portadown town centre via Garvaghy Road, except for one year – 1996 – when then Chief Constable Hugh Annesley reversed his decision because of fears of widespread public disorder.
For the last three years, the scale of protest at Drumcree has been greatly reduced, with virtually no trouble last year.
A ban is expected to be imposed again by the Parades Commission this year.
But leading Orangemen are amazed Grand Lodge has moved against the Portadown District, effectively making the Parades Commission’s ruling irrelevant.
One leading Orangeman – who didn’t want to be named – told us: “If you had told me that the hierarchy of the institution was planning this, I wouldn’t have believed it – nor would the membership, nor would the Orangemen participating in the Whiterock Parade.
“There was no hint that Thursday’s meeting was being specifically called to achieve this.
“It is incredible to think that the hierarchy is about to shoot the institution in the foot.
“They are on the brink of making Portadown No 1 District go away – something Brendan McKenna and Sinn Fein couldn’t achieve.”
Sunday Life contacted a spokeswoman for Mr Saulters yesterday, but she refused to comment.
She would only say: “Grand Lodge business is conducted in secret and should remain secret.
“The Grand Master makes no comment on Grand Lodge matters.”
Ex-RUC man keeps links to sex industry
Former Sergent back in Philippines despite earlier deportation
By Kathy Marks in Angeles, Phillippines
28 June 2004
A FORMER RUC man from Larne was today accused of remaining at the heart of the Philippines sex industry by running a string of bars for tourists seeking underage girls.
Richard Agnew – who moved to the Philippines 11 years ago, leaving behind a trail of angry investors in a time-share company that he set up after leaving the RUC – has a hand in a number of bars and clubs in Fields Avenue in Angeles, a seedy city north of Manila, catering for sex tourists.
Despite being arrested last year and deported, he is back in the Philippines, operating the same businesses with apparent impunity.
On a recent Saturday night, several of the bored-looking dancers in Nero’s Forum nightclub looked no older than 12 or 13. It was a similar story at the Blue Nile Executive Club next door, where men scanned the dance floor before paying a “bar fine” – a fee for taking the girl of their choice away for sex.
Mr Agnew (44) was nowhere to be seen and staff at the Tropicana Hotel, which he owns, said he was in Thailand.
Reliable sources say, however, that he is in Angeles, keeping a low profile after returning to the Philippines soon after being deported in October last year.
“Richard owns all the clubs around here,” said the floor manager at Nero’s Forum.
Mr Agnew’s business partner, Steve Baker, from Cambridge, was equally forthcoming.
“Richard and I run all these clubs with an Irish guy,” he said.
Those statements might surprise local police, who arrested Mr Agnew last August after raiding one club, the Blue Nile, and discovering six girls aged between 11 and 13.
The former police sergeant swore that he did not own the clubs. He was imprisoned, but a few weeks later police dropped the charges for lack of evidence. His name did not appear on the clubs’ official documents.
Agnew, who once ran a flopped timeshare company in Northern Ireland, has previously angrily denied claims he owns clubs where minors are exploited for sex. He previously told the BBC’s Spotlight he is just a consultant to clubs and is not involved in hiring staff.
Although local police have been alerted to Agnew’s return to Angeles, they have declined to take action, saying they still have no evidence that he owns the clubs – 17 in total, according to one estimate.
Others are less indulgent. Father Shay Cullen, an Irish priest who has been fighting child prostitution in the Philippines for two decades, said: “He (Mr Agnew) is into clubs and bars, and minors are found inside, so let a court of law decide.”
At the Preda Foundation, the refuge that Fr Shay runs near Angeles, Mr Agnew is a familiar face to one girl, Roxanne.
Shown a photograph, she said: “That’s Big Daddy” – the term for a sex-club owner.
She added: “We always had to smile nicely when he was around.”
Ecpat, a global network that campaigns against child prostitution, estimates that 300,000 sex tourists from Japan alone visit the Philippines every year. Many others are British.
SF lashes Parades Commission U-turn
28/06/2004 – 11:49:42
Sinn Féin’s Gerry Kelly has accused the Parades Commission of caving into unionist pressure by reversing its decision to re-route a contentious Orange Order march in Belfast.
The parade was originally routed away from the nationalist Springfield Road due to breaches of the commission’s guidelines at previous marches and the Orange Order’s refusal to speak to local residents.
However, this decision was later reversed.
Speaking about the matter this morning, Mr Kelly said he feared the decision to allow the parade onto the Springfield Road was sparked by unionist warnings about potential violence.
He also said the commission’s U-turn would give unionists and loyalists the impression that they could get other decisions overturned by further threats of violence.
“People are now worried that, if that’s all that has to be done by loyalists and unionists, there’s going to be similar U-turns and very bad decisions like this throughout Belfast and elsewhere,” he said.
IMMIGRATION COURT RULES AGAINST FERRY PLEA
By Ray O’Hanlon
An immigration appeals court has confirmed a lower court ruling denying political asylum in the U.S. to former IRA man Ciaran Ferry.
The Virginia-based Board of Immigration Appeals dismissed not only Ferry’s appeal against the bar on asylum, but also his application for a full adjustment of status hearing and a “redetermination” of his custody status.
Ferry has been held in a Colorado prison since Jan. 30 of last year.
“The Board point-blank refused to consider the question as to whether or not Ferry is being unconstitutionally detained,” Ferry’s attorney, Eamonn Dornan, said this week.
Last November, a Colorado immigration judge, James Vandello, ruled that Ferry, whose wife and daughter are American citizens, was ineligible for asylum because of a past conviction for a “serious nonpolitical crime” in Northern Ireland.
Ferry was detained when he turned up for a green-card interview accompanied by his wife, Heaven Ferry.
In reaching his ruling, Judge Vandello referred to a previous asylum case involving another onetime member of the IRA.
Peter McMullen — also known as “Pete the Para” because he had served in the British army’s Parachute Regiment — failed in his bid for asylum and was ultimately extradited from the U.S. in the spring of 1996.
Vandello also ruled against Ferry’s asylum plea on the basis that he had filed his plea too late.
” He has not shown changed circumstances nor extraordinary circumstances relating to the delay,” he said.
The BIA, in its ruling, said that it concurred with Judge Vandello’s finding that Ferry had failed to submit his application for asylum in a timely manner and had failed to establish “changed or exceptional circumstances to excuse his delay in filing a timely application.”
When he appeared for his green-card interview in January 2003, Ferry was questioned about a prison term he served in Northern Ireland for IRA-related activities in the early 1990s.
Ferry was arrested in Belfast in 1993 after two guns and ammunition were found in a car in which he was a passenger. He was sentenced to 22 years but was released in 2000 under the terms of the Good Friday agreement. Ferry did not reveal that he had been in prison when he first entered the U.S.
Ferry, who is 32, was detained at the green-card interview by immigration officers. His asylum plea, heard by Vandello in August, was a legal counter move against a deportation order that followed his arrest.
Ferry’s initial detention was specifically based on a charge that he had overstayed his U.S. visa. His legal team has countered that he had in fact obtained labor authorization and was permitted an extended stay in the U.S. pending his green card interview.
The Ferrys have a 3-year-old daughter, Fiona. The couple had lived in Belfast for a time but decided to settle in Arvada, Colo., after Ciaran Ferry’s name was found by police on a loyalist death list.
During the August asylum hearing, Ferry stated that the FBI had offered to have him freed from jail if he gave information, but that he had declined in part on the grounds that such a move would endanger his relatives in the North.
Part of Ferry’s plea for asylum is based on loyalist death threats and seeks protection under the international Convention Against Torture.
The BIA found that Ferry had failed to meet his burden of proof to establish eligibility for relief under the convention because the United Kingdom government “indicate that they have attempted to protect persons included on the ‘death list.’ ”
A separate writ of habeas corpus has also been filed on Ferry’s behalf but this was a “different tack,” according to Dornan.
This story appeared in the issue of June 23-29, 2004
Residents get choppy over copters
By Sunday Life Reporter
28 June 2004
THE Secretary of State is to be asked by the SDLP to intervene, to curtail late night Army helicopter flights, at one of Northern Ireland’s biggest security bases.
Villagers in Dundrum, Co Down, are angry over unprecedented levels of military chopper activity to and from the nearby Ballykinlar base.
The manoeuvres, in which helicopters have been hovering for up to five hours, have been designed to train frontline soldiers for potential disorder, during the forthcoming marching season.
Residents’ claim that in a 13-day period, this month alone, they have had to endure helicopters hovering over the village for periods of up to five hours up until 11pm.
One resident said: “In the past fortnight, the helicopter takes to the air around teatime, and remains there almost constantly until at least 10pm and sometimes as late as 11pm.
“The Army at Ballykinlar has shown little consideration to local residents.”
Now the SDLP’s MLA for the area, Margaret Ritchie, is to ask Paul Murphy to investigate.
Miss Ritchie claimed it is “unreasonable” for residents to continue enduring such high levels of activity, late at night.
An Army spokesman said the flights are to assist soldiers with public order training and take place annually.
He revealed the flights had been taking place over a three-week period, in June, but are now at an end.
By Stephen Breen
28 June 2004
Like boxers before a title fight, UDA chiefs and Johnny Adair have been trading threats and insults ahead of the deposed warlord’s release from jail in 2005. Stephen breen found adair eager to up the ante, and apparently hellbent on returning to the shankill.
“BRING it on” was Johnny Adair’s defiant message, as he set about taunting UDA bosses Andre Shoukri, Jim Gray and Jackie McDonald.
Adair branded the trio “cowards”, as he sneered at the latest threat from the UDA to kill him, in revenge for the killing of south east Antrim brigadier, John Gregg.
From inside his jail cell, the ousted Shankill UDA boss was chomping at the bit to respond to the threat, issued last week, by one of the UDA’s senior brigadiers.
The terror boss had publicly warned Adair, that he would be hunted down and killed, if he didn’t get the first flight out of Belfast on his release next year, saying: “Johnny, you’re a dead man walking and, if you come to Belfast, you’ll not be walking very far, or for very long.”
Adair, who is now spending his time in the punishment block, at Maghaberry, following the closure of the women’s wing, insisted he was going back to the Shankill Road, following his release.
And he goaded the UDA leaders by referring to the murder of John ‘Grug’ Gregg, and the attempted killing of Jim Gray, in east Belfast.
Said Adair: “Look what happened the last time these gangsters and double agents issued threats against me – one of the brigadiers ended up getting killed, and another (Jim Gray) was very lucky to remain alive.
“I would like to tell these so-called brigadiers, that actions speak louder than words, and I will not be intimidated by cowards, who are masquerading as loyalists – I’m still going home.
“The best terrorist organisation in the world, the Provies’, tried to kill me on numerous occasions, and they failed, but not for lack of trying, so why should I be worried about these mafia mobsters?
“They want revenge for Grug, but they didn’t even avenge the death of John McMichael or Ray Smallwoods.
“I’ve heard all this bravado before, and I’m not at all concerned about it.
“Talk is cheap – actions speak louder than words. I have said all along that I’m going home, and this is still what I intend to do.”
Adair also claimed that he has had a number of “nasty” telephone exchanges with former pal, and suspected UDA double agent, Jim Spence, in recent weeks.
Pipe-bombed Sinn Fein man ‘taped by loyalists’
By Nevin Farrell
28 June 2004
VIDEO footage of a leading Ballymena Sinn Fein activist – who was recently targeted by pipe-bombers – has been shown in loyalist bars in the Co Antrim town.
But defiant Sinn Fein man, Mickey Agnew says the move won’t succeed in driving him, or his party, out of Ballymena.
Pictures of Mr Agnew, captured by camcorder during a recent loyalist band parade in Ballymena, have been shown to bar audiences, sources have claimed.
One source claimed the video showed Mickey Agnew “egging on” protesters who blew whistles at the parade.
Mr Agnew said: “If loyalists video me and show it around bars trying to isolate me and threaten me, it’s not going to work.
“If they think they can isolate one person to do away with Sinn Fein in Ballymena, it is a very silly thing.
“This is the ongoing undertone that is happening in Ballymena.
“The loyalists see me as a threat because I’m a leading Sinn Fein member, and already they have attacked my house.
“My views on the band parades are well known. There are around 100 loyalist marches a year in Ballymena, and we find a couple are contentious.
“Instead of going down William Street or Market Road, they could go down Parkway, and we are only looking for a bit of consideration.”
It is claimed the video was taken as the loyalist band parade passed close to All Saints’ Catholic Church in Ballymena on Saturday, June 5 – just two days before a pipe-bomb was placed under Mr Agnew’s van in the town’s Dunfane area.
But it is not believed to have been shown in the pubs until after the attack.
Mr Agnew has become a prominent Sinn Fein spokesman in Ballymena, which has made him a loyalist hate figure.
Police said they had no “first-hand knowledge” of a loyalist video in Ballymena depicting any individual, but warned that showing such pictures in a public places could be illegal.
Said a PSNI spokesman: “It may be an offence to show such a video with a view to encouraging others to commit criminal acts on a person.”
Some marchers still flaunted paramilitary trappings
Loyalist bandsmen flaunted Parades Commission guidelines by displaying paramilitary symbols at Saturday’s controversial Orange Order Whiterock parade, the Andersonstown News can reveal.
A Monkstown band marched with the crest of the UVF’s junior wing – the Young Citizen Volunteers – on each of its 20 members’ tunics.
This open display of paramilitary bravado came less than 24 hours after the loyalist Parades Forum guaranteed there would be absolutely no terror emblems on show.
The Parades Commission had originally banned loyalists from passing by nationalist Springfield Road homes because of the UVF banners and symbols displayed at the 2003 Whiterock parade. But it dramatically reversed this decision last Friday after the Parades Forum guaranteed this year’s march would be different.
And although most bands ensured their UVF flags stayed furled and taped over paramilitary badges on their tunics, the Monkstown YCV refused to hide its paramilitary insignias.
Photographs of bandsmen marching with YCV emblems on their tunics will now be used as evidence by Springifeld Road residents hoping to see an Orange Order July 12 march along the same route banned.
“The Parades Commission must take this breach into consideration when ruling on any future parades along the Springfield Road,” said residents’ spokesman Sean Paul O’Hare.
“Loyalist bands have once again broken Parades Commission guidelines. If the Orange Order is allowed to march along the Springfield Road on the Twelfth it will come as another slap in the face to residents.
“Can we really be expected to endure any more of these naked sectarian displays?”
Defending the bandsmen, Shankill Ulster Unionist councillor Chris McGimpsey said he was satisfied the Whiterock march did not promote paramilitarism. And in reference to the Monkstown YCV he accused nationalists with complaints about their badges of “nit-picking”.
“The flags and banners that remained furled throughout the parade made historical, World War I references to the UVF,” said Mr McGimpsey. “The same applies to the Monkstown YCV’s badges. I’m quite satisfied that there was no paramilitary presence at the Whiterock parade and I’m hopeful that Orangemen will be allowed to walk the same route on July 12.”
Chris McGimpsey sits on the loyalist Parades Forum that pressured the Parades Commission into reversing its decision to ban the Whiterock parade from the Springfield Road. In a document obtained by the Andersonstown News – and which was sent to the Parades Commission and which was signed by a member of the Greater Shankill Community Council – it confirmed that some of the members of the North and West Belfast Parades Forum represented the UDA, UVF and Red Hand Commando. However Chris McGimpsey denies meeting the Parades Commission in the company of paramilitaries.
“I went to the meetings with Hugh Smyth from the PUP and Frank McCoubrey from the UPRG, there were definitely no paramilitaries at any of the Parades Commission meetings I attended,” added Mr McGimpsey.”
With the Orange Order planning to march along the Springfield Road again on July 12 the Parades Commission has a number of crucial decisions to make within the next two weeks. A feeling of betrayal among Springfield Road residents will not help matters, but despite this the Parades Commission remains confident of progress.
A spokesman said that talks between residents and the Parades Forum prior to the Whiterock parade indicated a willingness to constructively address the issue of parading in a sensitive area.
He added that the commission expects and is confident that guarantees of continued local talks would be honoured.
Residents’ groups now fearful after Springfield decision
Spokesmen for nationalist communities threatened by loyalist marches have warned that the decision to allow Orangemen to parade along the Springfield Road has brought about a “climate of fear” in their areas.
Garvaghy Road Residents’ spokesman Breandán MacCionnaith and the Lower Ormeau Concerned Community’s Gerard Rice are now fearful that loyalist parades could pass through their areas during the summer months.
Both men are fearful that after the Parades Commission’s Springfield Road U-turn their communities may have to endure loyalist marches during the coming weeks.
“I have never had 100 per cent faith in Parades Commission decisions,’ said Breandán MacCionnaith.
“I don’t think the Orangemen will get down the Garvaghy Road, but I can’t be certain.
“I was on the Springfield Road on Saturday and it reminded me a lot of Portadown in the mid 1990s. In 1996 and 1997 we were given assurances that Orangemen would not march through our area. But after loyalists started making threats the government gave in, the same happened with the Springfield Road.”
The Lower Ormeau’s Gerard Rice says that in the wake of the Springfield Road Parades Commission U-turn he is now re-assessing his position working with loyalists on interface networks.
“I don’t want to be caught in the position where the Parades Commission can say that I’ve been talking with loyalists so its then okay to allow a march to go down the Lower Ormeau,” explained Gerard Rice.
“That’s what they did with Springfield Road residents who they used and abused. Local representatives had been working with loyalists to keep the interface quiet, they weren’t talking about parades until last Friday. But the Parades Commission used this to justify giving the Whiterock march the green light. It was a shocking way for the commission to behave and it destroyed its new mature and reasonable image.”
Journalist:: Ciaran Barnes