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BBC

Members of the UDA’s so-called ruling inner council have held talks with representatives of a break-away faction in north Belfast.

Tensions within the UDA are high following a weekend stand-off between rival factions and a public show of strength by its leadership.

Senior figures held talks with members of the organisation in north Belfast loyal to Ihab and Andre Shoukri.

They were expelled from the organisation last month.

Members of the inner council also met Protestant clergy men in the area who are acting as intermediaries in a bid to end the dispute.

Earlier, members of the Ulster Political Research Group, the UDA’s political representatives, held talks with government officials as concern grows about a possible feud within the organisation.


UPRG members held talks with government officials

In a statement issued on Saturday evening, the group’s so-called ‘inner council’ claimed that a crowd of 80 supporters of the Shoukri faction had attacked a number of homes.

It insisted that the organisation’s leadership wanted a “peaceful end” to the dispute and called on the police to deal with the situation.

But it said the organisation would respond if there were further attacks on its members.

On Friday night in north Belfast, police seized a shotgun, ammunition and petrol bombs following a stand-off between up to 80 members of rival UDA factions. One man has been charged.

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Irelandclick

By Francesca Ryan

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usThe 25th anniversary of the death of Andersonstown hunger striker Kieran Doherty occurs this week on August 2.

Known to most as ‘Big Doc’, Kieran was a dedicated republican and, by all accounts, a brave and outstanding soldier.

But to Terry and Michael Doherty, Kieran was their younger brother and, like most siblings, the brothers shared their ups and downs.

Born in October 1955, Kieran was the third of six children in the Doherty household in the Commedagh area of Andersonstown.

A very active youth, Kieran participated in a variety of sports and always met and excelled at any challenges that were set before him.

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usClick on CRAZYFENIAN’s mural photo of ‘Big Doc’ to view.

A hero, a son, a brother

“He was a determined wee kid,” said Terry, “anything he did, he did it full-belt.

“I remember we used to go swimming when we were younger. Before we went in he would always say ‘I’m going to swim X amount of lengths’, and he always did. Half the time he’d nearly drown to get them done, but he would always finish it.”

Kieran’s tall, athletic frame led him to play under-18 Gaelic football for St Teresa’s GAC at the tender age of 14. Playing alongside his older brother, Michael, Kieran was elated to pick up a minor championship medal aged just 15.

“Kieran played down the wing and he took no prisoners,” remembers Michael. “At 6’2″ he was a big fella and a great asset to the team.”

A reserved lad with a dry sense of humour, Kieran had a close circle of friends with whom he enjoyed a good laugh.

“He wouldn’t be the type to be holding court in a bar, he wasn’t that outgoing but he would always share a joke with his friends,” said Terry.

“He loved a good Guinness and we all used to go to the Ex-Servicemen’s Club, it was known as the Burnt Cabin, in South Link where we’d get a ‘crate on the slate’ and have a good dance. Don’t get me wrong,” he added, “myself and Kieran used to fight the bit out too, we shared a room so there was always a bit of sparring going on.”

Life was turned upside down for the Dohertys with the onset of internment in 1971, when the three brothers found themselves behind the bars of Long Kesh.

“The Brits were always raiding the house in the early 1970s, it was normally the Green Jackets. When they arrived my father used to have each one of us follow them into different rooms to make sure they didn’t plant anything,” said Terry.

“Kieran always stood up to them and never took any cheek,” added Michael. “I remember the Brits came to lift Kieran a few weeks before his 16th birthday, my daddy had to get out the birth certificate to prove he hadn’t yet turned 16.

“Of course they came back for him a few weeks later but we’d managed to get the news to him in time and he went on the run in Limerick.”

Kieran remained in Limerick for a few months but was eager to return to Belfast where he played an integral role in Na Fianna’s Andersonstown brigade.

“We saw less and less of him,” said Terry. “He was interned between 1973 and 1975 and when he was lifted again in 1976 he spent almost two years on remand at the Crum before going on the blanket in Long Kesh in 1978.

“He was a stubborn big fella and he always resisted when the screws tried to search him, he would never look at them when they spoke to him and he never complied with orders.

“There was one time they beat him so badly that he had to go to hospital. He never told us that, we found out from someone else.”

The criminalisation of republican prisoners, the brutality of the prison wardens and the five demands were the main topics of conversation in comms Kieran sent to his family in the late 1970s and 1980.

It came as no surprise, then, that Kieran was on the shortlist for the 1981 hunger strike headed by Bobby Sands.

“We knew he was on the shortlist but we didn’t know exactly where he was on the list,” said Michael. “I was walking home from work on the Falls Road on May 22, 1981 when someone told me that Kieran had replaced Ray McCreesh on the hunger strike.”

Making it clear to his grief-stricken family that he didn’t want to be taken off the strike, Kieran emphasised that he didn’t want to see anyone who didn’t support him.

“He kept saying ‘Promise me that you won’t take me off, if I lose my faculties, you have to promise you won’t take me off the hunger strike’,” recalls Michael.

In the first few weeks of the strike, the boys remember their brother sitting up in his bed chatting. “Once he’d asked about any political developments on the outside he would just start having the craic. He’d sleg me about the clogs I used to wear, he’d ask about different people in the area and always asked about the Go-Sun Chinese in Andytown,” laughed Terry.

As time went by the Dohertys remained hopeful that a breakthrough would arrive and Kieran could be taken off the strike. Hopes soared when the 25-year-old was elected TD for Cavan/Monaghan in June of 1981 with 9,121 first preference votes.

“We all thought that was it,” said Terry. “We thought that would turn things around, it even gave Kieran a bit of hope but there just wasn’t enough done. The Irish government could have put more pressure on Thatcher but they didn’t, they sat on their laurels.”

As the weeks went by and Kieran grew weaker, his family were summoned to Long Kesh 16 days before he died.

“He had such a big frame so it was terrible to see the pyjamas hanging on him,” said Terry. “He was extremely weak so we’d have to lift him to move him, even then he was making sure we wouldn’t take him off the strike if he went unconscious.”

An enduring memory for Michael was attending a Mass in the prison presided over by Fr Tom Toner.

“I was doing a reading and Kieran was too weak to attend the Mass but Micky Devine and Thomas McIlwee were there in their wheelchairs. It was just heartbreaking to see.”

Three days before his death, medical staff at Long Kesh told the Doherty family Kieran’s heart rate was up, a sign that death was imminent. They asked again if the family wanted to take Kieran off the strike, again they refused.

“We kept saying no because that was what Kieran wanted,” said Michael. “He and Kevin Lynch had lasted longer than the other hunger strikers and the screws would taunt us, asking what vitamins we were slipping him.”

Kieran died on August 2, 1981 after 73 days on strike. His mother, Margaret, his sisters, Roisin and Mairead, and Terry were there. His father, Alfie, and brothers, Michael and Brendan, were on their way to the prison at the time.

“It was strange to watch,” said Terry. “He would take a deep breath and then exhale, then there would be nothing for a while, his breaths got further and further apart, then they stopped.”

As the hearse brought Kieran’s body home to Andersonstown, the Dohertys got a glimpse of the support and sympathy that was to be visited upon their Commedagh Drive home in the weeks following his death.

“It was about 2am when the hearse was coming up Kennedy Way, there were literally hundreds of people lining the route to the house,” said Michael. “Of course the Brits were there too and began firing plastic bullets into the crowd. It didn’t deter the people from coming to my mother’s house.”

Messages of support from France, Iran and the US, to name a few, were delivered to Kieran’s home. “The house never stopped,” said Michael, “there was even a group of herdsmen who had travelled from Peru for the funeral and three members of the Iranian Revolutionary Parliament came with gifts. It was overwhelming and very emotional for all of us.”

Twenty-five years on and the memories of a man they were proud to call their brother are still as vivid for both Michael and Terry.

“It’s not something we’ll ever get over, some days are harder than others but it’s a slow process,” said Michael.

“With the anniversaries there is always something that will take us back to 1981, whether it’s meeting someone from Kieran’s campaign team or someone that knew him. I was at an event in Cavan only last month and there were people in their eighties coming up and saying they helped out in the campaign. It’s a nice feeling to have people remember him.”

Despite Kieran’s international status as one of Ireland’s bravest soldiers, for Michael and Terry he will always be their young brother.

“We remember Kieran as this big, strong and determined fella who had his own way of thinking, he was shy and reserved but wouldn’t be pushed around,” said Michael. “A brother is a brother you know,” added Terry, “and that’s what he was to us.”

Journalist:: Francesca Ryan

As posted on the 24th, the Pat Finucane Centre has an updated bibliography on MI5.

The link is >>here.

The Herald

WILLIAM TINNING
July 31 2006

A SCOT has been killed in Northern Ireland after being viciously attacked by a mob and thrown in front of an oncoming vehicle.
The man, in his 30s, who has not been identified, had been visiting friends and relatives in the area.
The assault occurred outside a nightclub, near Tobermore, County Londonderry, where a disco had been organised following an earlier Orange Order march two miles away in Maghera.
The man is understood to have attended the parade. Police believe the thugs involved deliberately shoved him in front of an oncoming vehicle.
The driver is believed to have stopped after the collision early on Saturday but took off again when he saw the size of the crowd.
The Northern Ireland Police Service last night confirmed that a man has been arrested in connection with the incident. Officers also carried out searches at a number of houses in the King William III estate in Maghera in connection with the inquiry.
The driver of the vehicle was also urged to come forward in a bid to identify the killers.
Police said a red car with a passenger on board may have been involved. A spokesman said: “Police urgently need to speak to the driver of the vehicle which struck the man as he or she may hold important witness information about the assault.”
Detectives do not suspect any sectarian motive for the attack.
Local politicians expressed their horror at the incident. Martin McGuinness, Sinn Fein Mid Ulster MP, said: “This is an horrific death.
“It appears that this man was very badly beaten and sustained serious injures before being deliberately left on the road and hit by a motorist.
“No matter who this man is, he was someone’s son, brother or father and his family will be mourning his loss.
“I am also sure that the motorist is traumatised by this,” he added.
Patsy McGlone, nationalist SDLP Mid Ulster MLA, said: “Whoever was responsible for this serious attack is dangerous and I would urge anyone who may have information on the lead up to this alleged murder, or anyone who may have witnessed the attack, to come forward without delay.
“My deepest sympathies are with the family of the victim, and I hope the police investigation provides them with answers to what exactly happened.”
Thousands of Scottish members of the Orange Order travel to Northern Ireland each year for the July 12 celebrations.
Meanwhile, it has been announced that the Orange Order in Scotland is to hold religious tolerance classes for children in an effort to combat sectarianism.
The Order will invite youngsters to anti-bigotry workshops, where they will learn about Islam and the Catholic faith, and encourage them to befriend people of different faiths.
The new initiative, to be launched later this year, is said to have been welcomed by the Scottish Executive, which will fund a pilot scheme for 20 youngsters aged eight to 16.
If successful, the scheme will be expanded and launched in the Orange Order’s 80 junior lodges.
Ian Wilson, grandmaster of the Orange Order in Scotland, said: “Some people believe the Orange Order is a contributing factor to the sectarian problem, and if there is a problem then we have a duty to confront it.”

:::u.tv:::

A former Sinn Fein councillor wounded along with Gerry Adams in a loyalist gun attack on their car in Belfast city centre 22 years ago has died after a battle with cancer.

By: Press Association
31/07/2006 12:06:37

Mr Adams led tributes to Sean Keenan, who came from a prominent Irish republican family in Derry.

Mr Keenan, a former housing spokesman for the party, served as a councillor in west Belfast during the 1980s.

In 1984, he was injured when an Ulster Defence Association gang opened fire on Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams` car after it left Belfast Magistrates Court where they had been appearing on a public order charge along with fellow republican Bob Murray.

The gang which launched the attack included John Gregg who later became the UDA`s South Antrim brigadier.

He was gunned down in Belfast`s docks area in 2003 – as he returned from a Glasgow Rangers match – during an internal loyalist feud with supporters of prominent loyalist Johnny Adair.

Mr Adams was hit five times during the 1984 attack, his driver Kevin Rooney sustained injuries and Sean Keenan was struck in the face and arm.

Mr Murray escaped unharmed.

A year later Mr Keenan was elected to Belfast City Council.

Mr Adams described him today as a gifted elected representative who worked hard for the people of west Belfast.

“He was particularly active around the housing issue and played a key role in the various housing campaigns which succeeded in achieving the demolition of Unity Flats, Divis Flats, Moyard, Turf Lodge and Springhill,” he said.

“Thousands of people live today in better housing because of Sean`s conscientious efforts on their behalf.”

Mr Adams recalled in addition to surviving the city centre attack, Mr Keenan survived another attempt on his life in his house.

The West Belfast MP recalled: “Throughout it all and including his long battle against cancer Sean never lost his sense of humour or his commitment and dedication to republicanism.

“It was through the efforts of Sean and the other Sinn Fein councillors elected in the 1980s and 90s that much of the bigotry and sectarianism in Belfast City Hall was successfully challenged.

“It was with great sadness that I heard the news this morning that Sean had passed away.

“I would extend my deepest condolences and those of republicans throughout Belfast and beyond to Sean`s partner Una and her family, his three children Colm, Nuala and Cillian and their mother Marian.”

Former Belfast Lord Mayor Alex Maskey described Mr Keenan as a deeply committed republican who braved personal risks to represent the party.

“I spent many hours over recent weeks with Sean and his family and he faced his illness with typical courage and fortitude,” the South Belfast Assembly member said.

“Sean Keenan will be remembered with great pride and fondness by the people of Belfast and in particular by the people of West Belfast who elected him as one the first Sinn Fein councillors to the City Hall.

“Republicans will remember him as a friend, comrade and activist and I would wish to offer my condolences to Sean`s family at this sad time.”

BN.ie

31/07/2006 – 16:06:15

The Director of Public Prosecutions failed today in his bid to have prison sentences increased on two men, including a man being sued in connection with the 1998 Omagh bomb, who were jailed after gardaí discovered a major bomb making operation near the border.

The DPP lost his appeal against the 10-year sentence imposed on Joe Fee and the six-year sentence given to Seamus McKenna, who is one of five men being sued by some of the relatives of the victims of the Omagh bomb in a £14m (€20.46m) lawsuit.

The Real IRA bomb attack claimed the lives of 29 people, including a woman pregnant with twins and injured over 300 others in August, 1998. The relatives civil action is currently “on hold” before the courts in Belfast.

The DPP had appealed against the “undue leniency” of the sentences, but the Court of Criminal Appeal refused the appeal and let the sentences stand.

Fee (aged 42) of Blackstaff, Inniskeen, Co Monaghan and Mc Kenna (aged 51) of Marian Park, Dundalk, Co Louth were jailed by the Special Criminal Court in December 2004 for the possession of an explosive substance with intent to endanger life at Thornfield, Co Louth on June 13th, 2003.

Fee had denied the charge and was convicted after a lengthy trial, while Mc Kenna had pleaded guilty to the charge.

The trial court heard that gardaí found Mc Kenna and another man mixing home made explosives at a remote farm in Co Louth and that 1,200 pounds of the explosive mixture had already been mixed and was in the final stages of completion for a massive bomb.

Fee was arrested after leaving the farmyard and gardaí found more explosives mixture in his van.

Counsel for the DPP Mr Brendan Grehan SC submitted that the trial court had failed to take into account the gravity of the offence, the potential of the explosives to cause injury and destruction, the motivation of those involved and the need for a deterrent sentence.

Mr Grehan said that the quantity of explosives discovered by gardaí would have made the bomb one of the biggest ever made and the court had heard evidence that it would have caused damage for 500 metres from its centre if it had exploded.

Ms Justice Fidelman Macken, presiding at the three judge appeal court, said that the maximum sentence for the offences was life imprisonment which showed the seriousness of the offences. The judge said that the DPP was appealing that the sentences imposed by the Special Criminal Court were “unduly lenient” and the onus was on him to prove that they were and that there had been a departure from the normal appropriate sentences.

The judge said that the court was satisfied that in Fee’s case a sentence of 10 years was one that took into account deterrence. She said that the court was not satisfied that the DPP had discharged the burden on him to prove that the sentences were unduly lenient and refused the Director’s appeal.

An Phoblacht

Kevin Lynch laid to rest in Dungiven

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usThe death on hunger strike of INLA Volunteer Kevin Lynch after seventy one days occurred on 1 August 1981, followed next day by the death of IRA Volunteer Kieran Doherty. They were the seventh and eight men respectively to die on the fast.
(Photo: Kevin Lynch and Kieran Doherty)

Kevin had been lapsing into frequent periods of unconsciousness in the last four days, having already lost his sight, hearing and speech. His family were at his bedside throughout the last days until the early hours of Saturday morning when he died.

His funeral took place the following Monday in his home town of Dungiven in County Derry. Between the return of his body to his home and the removal of the body for Requiem Mass on Monday afternoon, a constant stream of mourners queued outside the family home to pay their respects. The road was decorated with tricolours and black flags along with posters of Kevin lynch. The RUC and the UDR made every effort to disrupt the funeral, holding up cars and forcing buses to park so that the passengers would have to make their way on foot into the town. Ulsterbus in Belfast cancelled bookings at the last minute. Nevertheless mourners came in convoys of cars and black taxis. At midday the coffin bearing the Tricolour, Starry Plough, gloves and beret was carried to the nearby church. The procession was led by a lone piper and followed by the Lynch family, relatives of other hunger strikers and senior representatives of the IRSP and the broad Republican Movement along with the National H-Block/Armagh Committee.

Five British army helicopters flew overhead as the coffin entered the church grounds. Applause broke out momentarily as an eighteen-strong INLA guard of honour marched up to escort the coffin to the church door. The priest who celebrated the Mass, Fr John Quinn expressed outrage later when the INLA Volunteers escorting the coffin fired three volleys after the coffin had left the church. So enraged was he that he refused to wear his vestments at the graveside. This same priest had failed to refer to the suffering of the hunger strikers themselves and failed also to condemn British intransigence. He also tried to imply that the family had been opposed to the military funeral, an opinion later refuted by family members who criticised the press and those who had made unsolicited comments on their behalf. At the graveside the piper played I’ll Wear No Convict’s Uniform. The last post was played and wreaths were laid including ones from the both INLA and IRA Army Councils.

A uniformed INLA Volunteer then read a statement on behalf of the INLA Army Council stating regret at the death of Kevin Lynch and applauding his heroism. “Kevin Lynch has made the greatest sacrifice and he has done it in the face of the repressive machinery of British imperialism and in the wake of the greatest gesture of defiance against those who control the prisons and those who rule and ravage our country.”

A short oration was given by Councillor Sean Flynn from Belfast, vice-chairperson of the IRSP:

“Kevin epitomised all that is good in a young Irishman, playing our national sports of hurling and football. He excelled at both, and in 1972 captained his native county to win an All-Ireland medal at hurling.”

He went on to contrast Lynch’s Gaelic spirit with the performance of the Gaelic Athletic Association leadership off the field.”Yesterday the Derry county board and South Antrim County Board asked for a minute’s silence before the All-Ireland hurling semi-final between Limerick and Galway. It was no surprise to me when Croke Park refused. President MacFloinn last week declared that no clubs, grounds or units were to be used for H-Block activity as it contravenes rule 7.” He added that work would be done to encourage support for the five demands amongst the GAA.

On Kevin’s courage and determination Sean said “It must be remembered that if Kevin had conformed to the British authority he would be a free man today; but to Kevin, Kieran Doherty, Patsy O’ Hara, Bobby Sands, Francis Hughes, Raymond McCreesh, Joe McDonnell, Martin Hurson and the continuing hunger-strikers, they knew if the political prisoners were criminalised then the British government would attempt to criminalise the struggle on the outside.” He added that Kevin Lynch knew the consequences of going on hunger strike. “Deprived of every other means of defending his political integrity, he defended it with his life. Those who imply that he might have been ordered to do so, or could be ordered to cease to do so, fail to understand the depths or the personal integrity, the individual courage and the dedication to the principles he believed in, that made Kevin Lynch the person he was.”

Big Doc’s final journey

IRA Volunteer Kieran Doherty, TD for Cavan-Monaghan, died at 7.15pm on Sunday 2 August the day after Kevin Lynch’s death. Kieran joined the hunger strike one day before Kevin Lynch and survived a day longer.

Kieran Doherty embarked on the fast on the death of Raymond McCreesh. He managed, with difficulty, to be able to speak to his family almost to the end, though his sight had almost completely gone. Surviving for 73 days, Kieran, or Big Doc as his comrades affectionately called him, had a strong spirit of survival and this kept him conscious almost to the end. Kieran’s body was brought out of Long Kesh and through Andersonstown to his parents’ home in Commedagh Drive at two o’ clock in the morning. About a thousand accompanied the coffin and the crowds came out again on Monday morning, with thousands paying their respects. Again on Tuesday morning hundreds of stewards took position on the route of the funeral as Kieran’s coffin was carried out of his parents’ house, escorted by an IRA guard of honour. An IRA firing party came out of the crowd and, lining the side of the coffin, fired a volley of shots. As British army helicopters hovered overhead, the crowd cheered at the Brits’ inability to prevent the firing party from honouring their dead comrade.

The cortege then moved through Andersonstown led by two pipers. It will be recalled that during the hunger strike some of the clergy had set out to undermine the prisoners’ protest. In contrast to the attitude of the priest celebrating Mass at Kevin Lynch’s funeral Fr Hansen’s sermon demonstrated a fundamental understanding of the issues at the core of the hunger strikers’ protest. While the presiding priest at the Lynch funeral refused to wear his vestments at the graveside because a firing party had been present, the priest at Kieran’s funeral recalled having visited Doherty on the 13th day of his fast and remembered it to be a cheerful event. He went on to recount Kieran’s words when he asked him if he would consider coming off the hunger strike. Kieran replied; “Look father I could not give up. If I did I would go back to criminal status. I am not a criminal. I never was and never will be one.” Recalling those words at the funeral of Kieran Doherty, the priest said, “Basically, I had to agree with him.” He finished off saying “Kieran was very much his own man. He died quietly and very determined, serene and dignified.” Fr Toner, who was criticised by Bobby Sands in his diary, was in the congregation, listening but apparently unmoved by Fr Hansen’s words.

It was estimated that a crowd of about 20,000 attended Kieran’s funeral. Chairing the event Sinn Féin member Jimmy Drumm referred to the ongoing pursuit of the five demands. “The British government needs to be moved on the issues of work, association and segregation”. He finished by saying that with the basis of a just settlement “then we and the families will be spared the anguish and suffering of such funerals as this, and the prisoners who have suffered so much will be able to live in tolerable conditions.” Kieran Doherty was the eight man to die on hunger strike in 1981 and two more would follow.

The oration at Volunteer Doherty’s funeral was given by Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin, Kieran’s Director of Elections during the 1981 General Election. Ó Caoláin said that the people of Cavan/Monaghan had taken the 26 year old to their hearts and that they were proud to elect him as their public representative. Ó Caoláin criticised the Irish government’s handling of the Hunger Strike saying “Their gamesmanship for petty political scores has been a major factor in the continuing deaths in Long Kesh. The people of Cavan/Monaghan hold the present Coalition government directly responsible, through firstly their inactivity, and afterwards their open support for pressure to be placed on the hunger strikers and their families.”

Ó Caolain recalled all the other Irish hunger strikers who died as a result of British intransigence, three of them elected representatives, Terence MacSwiney, Bobby Sands and Kieran Doherty. Again of Doherty, he added that Kieran had taken his place amongst all those who fought for the three tenets of republicanism: “Equality as embodied by James Connolly, who struggled to achieve a classless society; liberty, the liberty of Patrick Pearse and the fraternity of Wolfe Tone.”
Liam McCloskey

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usLiam McCloskey from Dungiven, Co Derry replaced Kevin Lynch on the hunger strike and was 25 years of age in 1981. He was 16th man to join the fast. He and Kevin were neighbours, friends and cell mates. Liam McCloskey came from a staunchly republican family. He was among the civil rights marchers on Bloody Sunday when the British Army opened fire, killing fourteen people.

Liam was arrested in December 1976 and charged together with fellow INLA member Kevin Lynch. He was very severly ill-treated in Castlereagh before being taken to Crumlin Road jail where he spent a year on remand and was finally sentenced to ten years’ imprisonment. He immediately joined the blanket protest. Had he conformed to the corrupt prison regime he would have been released four months after he joined the hunger strike under the 50% remission system. But Liam was not for conforming. He was severely beaten by prison warders in September 1978 during a brutal wing shift. His nose was broken and he suffered a perforated eardrum.

Liam has been described as a quiet and dedicated County Derry republican. As a youngster he was remembered as a shy person who loved animals and fishing. Another of his hallmarks was his determination, a characteristic that displayed itself in his life as a republican and particularly during the three years he spent on the blanket and no-wash protests. His family were not entirely surprised when they learnt that Liam was going on the Hunger Strike in place of his comrade Kevin Lynch.

Liam’s mother decided to intervene should her son fall into a coma. On 26 September, after 55 days Liam’s hunger strike came to an end. His mother issued a detailed statement outlining the reason why her son came off the hunger strike; “My son reluctantly ended his hunger strike and only did so after I convinced him that I would not let him die. I told him that I would intervene if he lapsed into a coma and it was better for him to come off hunger strike now rather than run the risk of permanent damage to his eyesight or other vital organs.” She went on to state that she and her family fully supported the prisoners’ five demands and that she didn’t want her son and the other prisoners to live in the conditions that led to the Hunger Strike.
Pat Sheehan

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usOn 10 August 1981 Belfast man Pat Sheehan replaced another Belfast man Kieran Doherty as the seventeenth participant on hunger strike. At the time of the hunger strike he was serving a fifteen year sentence. Arrested in January 1978 he spent thirteen months on remand in Crumlin Road jail. He was charged with taking part in an IRA bombing of a warehouse in Belfast and found guilty on the perjured evidence of one witness whose account was hotly disputed. On arrival at the Blocks, Pat immediately joined the blanket protest.

Pat grew up on Isodore Avenue in the Springfield Road area of Belfast. It was a ‘mixed’ area and Pat’s playmates were largely Protestants. One morning in 1970 a gang of loyalist youths armed with bricks, cudgels and batons came to the door to threaten the family. Pat’s mother recognised one of the boys as he had been in the house on a number of occasions. She asked him why he was among this gang. He answered “because you have turned this place into an IRA den”. Pat would sometimes go to visit friends in the Clonard area. The British Army patrolled the street and Pat was regularly stopped. In 1972 he joined Fianna Eireann. According to a former comrade he was very eager and at the age of fifteen tried to pass himself off as older so that he would be accepted into the IRA. He was found out. At about the same period an assassination attempt was made on the family who decided to move and went to live on the Falls Road.

Pat was described as intelligent, politically aware and extremely calm as an operator. These characteristics were quickly noted while he was in the Fianna and when he reached the required age he joined the IRA. In 1979 Pat arrived in the Blocks, immediately joining the protest. Though he was a quiet person he, like Kieran Doherty (Big Doc) was singled out for beatings because of his self-confidence. On the twenty first day of his hunger strike Pat wrote a letter home. In it he described how he felt at that stage of the fast; “I’m still keeping okay and have no medical complaints so far, although I still have the constant craving for food.”

Pat Sheehan was fifty five days on hunger strike when the 1981 Hunger Strike ended on 3 October. He was by then having trouble with his eye-sight and weighed only seven stone. Pat was moved to an outside hospital for medical treatment.

Daily Ireland

Thousands of republicans mark anniversary of hunger striker’s death which occurs tomorrow

By Connla Young
31/07/2006

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us“A fascinating read” was how Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness described a new biography of the hunger striker Kevin Lynch at a book launch at the weekend.
Dozens of people turned up for the launch of Kevin Lynch and the Irish Hunger Strike at St Canice’s GAA club in the hunger striker’s home town of Dungiven, Co Derry, on Saturday.
The event was introduced by Limavady Sinn Féin councillor Cathal Hasson.
Mid-Ulster MP Martin McGuinness was the guest speaker. He spoke of the importance of recording the individual stories of each of the ten hunger strikers of 1981. The senior republican also commended the author Aidan Hegarty on his work.
“This is a very important year for Irish republicans. It’s the 90th anniversary of the Easter Rising and the 25th anniversary of the hunger strike.
“People who have studied 1916 know the focus is often placed on just a few of the leaders. That’s a mistake we should not make in terms of the Irish hunger strike.
“Bobby Sands led the hunger strike and was a writer himself and there’s a lot of attention placed on him. Each of the hunger strikers are as important as Bobby Sands and it’s right their stories are told by people who come from the same community.
“I read the book cover to cover and it is a fascinating read, a very easy read. Aidan Hegarty focuses on Paddy and Bridie Lynch and the families of the other hunger strikers and gives us an insight into what they went through.
“How would we know the pain and anguish they felt? The book is written from the perspective of Aidan Hegarty, an H-block activist and someone who was emotionally affected by the men’s deaths.
“The book is testimony to his integrity, commitment and desire to tell the story of the hunger strikers. I don’t have any doubt that people across the island who have an interest in history will have an interest in this book. This is a book which will be widely read and I will encourage people to buy it,” said Mr McGuinness.
Aidan Hegarty said he was honoured to have the chance to write the Kevin Lynch story.
“I wrote this book because it was something I wanted to do. I was privileged to write it, and it was always an ambition of mine to write it.
“When I went to Kevin’s sister Bridie Lynch, she said there was only one person who could write it and the rest of the family agreed. That was the incentive I needed.
“The book is dedicated to Paddy and Bridie Lynch. They are two people I have immense admiration for. It’s sad they are not here to pass judgment on the book themselves,” he said.
Kevin Lynch’s brother Gerald said his family was delighted with the book.
For more information on the book, write to aidanhegarty@hotmail.co.uk or call (028/048) 7774 1127.
Meanwhile, in Dungiven yesterday, thousands of republicans gathered to mark Kevin Lynch’s 25th anniversary, which occurs tomorrow.
Martin McGuinness spoke of the sacrifice made by the Dungiven man and his nine comrades. Several senior Sinn Féin figures, including party leader Gerry Adams and MEP Bairbre de Brún, listened as their party colleague spoke about the events of 1981.
Hundreds of people also attended the official opening of Kevin Lynch Park yesterday afternoon. Gaelic Athletic Association president Nickey Brennan and Ulster Council chairman Michael Greenan were on hand to help with the opening, along with members of the Lynch family.
The occasion was marked by a challenge game between the Kevin Lynch senior hurling team and the former all-Ireland club champions James Stephens from Kilkenny.
A number of buses will travel from Dungiven for the national hunger strike rally taking place in Belfast on Sunday, August 13 For more information call Clíona or Caroline on (028) 7774 2488.

Belfast Telegraph

31 July 2006

The Northern Ireland Policing Board has pledged commitment to an initiative to help improve community relations.

The board recently adopted the principles of the One Small Step Campaign, which strives to encourage everyone in Northern Ireland to play their own part in building a shared future.

One Small Step committee member, Mary McKee, director of the environmental regeneration agency Groundwork Northern Ireland, spoke of the importance of statutory bodies to have community relations principles at the heart of its organisation.

“The One Small Step Campaign aims to create awareness of the advantages of a shared future for Northern Ireland as well as the significant downsides if we continue to live in a divided society,” she said.

“In doing so, we strive to help people recognise that we all have a role to play in creating a more peaceful and stable community where we work together for our mutual benefit.

“The campaign has received support from hundreds of individuals, public figures, councils, community groups and statutory bodies.

“We are delighted that the Policing Board has endorsed the campaign principles and it is committed to working towards a more shared community and promoting good relations.

“All organisations in the public, private and voluntary sectors should recognise the importance of proactively working towards the creation of a truly inclusive future, as our economy and society will benefit significantly.”

BBC

Detectives are investigating a possible loyalist link to the murder of a man in County Derry at the weekend.


The man had been in a football club before he was attacked

Five people have been arrested over the murder of Ronald Mackie, 36, who was from near Stirling in Scotland.

Mr Mackie had watched a band parade in Maghera on Friday evening. He then went to Tobermore Football club.

He was attacked in the early hours of Saturday by a gang of men outside the club before being pushed onto the road, where he was then struck by a car.

Police initially thought they were dealing with a hit-and-run incident.

The attack, which happened on the Maghera Road about half a mile from the Glenshane Pass between 0145 and 0215 BST, was not believed to have been sectarian.

“We think that there was a verbal altercation in the club and the deceased, Mr Mackie, was involved in that,” Detective Superintendent Raymond Murray said.

“As a result himself and two of his friends made their way out onto the main Maghera Road and started walking in the direction of Maghera.

“We think that a group of people then assaulted Mr Mackie, that the assault started at the side of the road but continued onto the road and he was kicked and punched.

“We then think he was left on the road and he was struck by a car which was coming from the direction of Tobermore.”

He said the car carried the victim for “some distance” before stopping for a few seconds. The driver did not get out before driving off in the direction of Maghera.

Mr Murray said while the driver of the car may be “frightened and very apprehensive”, it was essential for him to contact the police.

Specialist police teams spent much of Sunday carrying out searches near the football club.

Officers have also searched surrounding fields for clues.

Sinn Féin

Published: 30 July, 2006

Sinn Fein MP for Mid-Ulster Martin McGuinness this afternoon addressed the annual Kevin Lynch commemoration in Dungiven. This year the commemoration was part of a weekend of events to mark the 25th Anniversary of the death on Hunger Strike of Kevin and his nine comrades.

On Tuesday and Wednesday of this week further events will be held to mark the anniversaries of Kevin Lynch and Kieran Doherty.

In the course of his address Mr McGuinness spoke of the inspiration which this generation of republicans has been given by the events of 1981 in Long Kesh and Armagh and of the obstacles which remain on our path towards Irish Unity and Independence.

Mr McGuinness aid:

“The prison struggle of the late 1970s and early 1980s were without any doubt a key moment in the Irish struggle for freedom and justice. And within that period the Hunger Strike of 1981 is of course the defining moment.

“The Hunger Strikers elevated the struggle for Irish freedom onto a level which even the British government of the time with all of its embassies and contacts across the globe could not compete with or contain. Thatcher truly believed that the republican struggle could be defeated within the H-Blocks and Armagh. But ultimately she went the way of all of her predecessors into a pretty inglorious retirement while the struggle for Irish Unity and Independence gathers pace and momentum with each day that passes.

“There are more republicans on this island today than there were in 1981. There is more support for our cause across the world now than in 1981. Both of these realities are direct results of what happened in Long Kesh between March and October of that year. Make no mistake about that.

“When the prisoners defeated Thatcher and her policies on the battleground that she chose a massive responsibility to drive forward the republican project passed to those of us on the outside. It was the men in Long Kesh and the women in Armagh who repopularised our struggle. In the midst of the anger and the sorrow of 1981 many people missed that fact. It was our task to harness that support and turn it into real political strength and leverage.

“The only monument worthy of the ten men who died and the 100s of others who endured the most savage and brutal of prison regimes in the years after March 1976 is to build the sort of free, just and independent country which will ensure that the injustices and inequalities of the past are banished into our history books forever. That is what our work is all about. The process of change as Thatcher found out to her cost in 1981 cannot be stopped by force of arms or by repressive and brutal laws. Neither can it be stopped by the opponents of change both inside and outside the system digging in now.

“Republicans know only one way and that is forward. We are not prepared to be diverted from the task at hand as we seek to advance our struggle in the face of many obstacles. But the lesson of 1981 is clear, no obstacle placed in the way of a well organised, disciplined and committed group of republicans is an obstacle that cannot be overcome.

“We in this leadership are about overcoming obstacles, overcoming obstacles on the path towards our objectives of a free, united, just and democratic country.”ENDS

RTÉ

30 July 2006 22:57

**See also 1996 Qana massacre

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usIt is reported that Israel is to suspend air strikes in south Lebanon for 48 hours while it investigates the killing of more than 60 Lebanese civilians in an Israeli air strike on a residential building.

The move was announced by an aide to the US Secretary of State, following talks between Condoleezza Rice and Israeli officials in Jerusalem.

The US official also said Israel would also coordinate with the United Nations on a 24-hour period of ‘safe passage’ for civilians that wish to leave southern Lebanon.

There has been strong international condemnation of an Israeli air strike on the southern village of Qana.

The United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan has urged an emergency meeting of the Security Council to condemn the attack – the deadliest single incident in Israel’s 19-day-old war against Hezbollah militants.

He again asked council members to put aside differences and call for an immediate ceasefire.

The US Ambassador John Bolton made it clear Washington would back only what it calls an ‘enduring’ negotiated ceasefire, not an immediate truce.

Israel’s Ambassador to the UN, Dan Gillerman, told the Security Council that it should not play into Hezbollah’s hands.

He said that Qana was ‘a hub for Hezbollah’ and that Israel had called on civilians to leave the area before this morning’s attack.

Earlier, the Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, expressed regret at the killing of civilians in Qana.

However, he was reported to have told Condoleezza Rice that Israel wanted to continue its offensive for up to two more weeks.

The displaced families who were killed in the incident had been sheltering in the basement of a house which was crushed after a direct hit.

Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora denounced what he called ‘Israeli war criminals’ and cancelled talks with Dr Rice that had been scheduled for today.

Mr Siniora has said he would not hold any talks on resolving the crisis until Israel declared a ceasefire.

Mr Siniora said: ‘There is no place on this sad morning for any discussion other than an immediate and unconditional ceasefire as well as an international investigation into the Israeli massacres in Lebanon now.’

Dr Rice, has said it is time for a ceasefire between Israel and Hizbollah militants.

Hundreds of Lebanese protesters staged a violent demonstration, ransacking the UN Headquarters in Beirut.

Taoiseach comments on deaths in Qana

The Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern has expressed his shock at the loss of life.

He said: ‘I am shocked and appalled at the news of the heavy loss of life in an Israeli airstrike on the village of Qana this morning. Reports indicate that the dead include a large number of children. I recall sadly that the people of Qana suffered a similar tragedy in 1996.

‘This event strongly underlines the clear message the Government has been giving out which is that an immediate ceasefire on all sides is urgently necessary. Military actions are only making a solution more difficult.

‘The Minister for Foreign Affairs will strongly represent Ireland’s views at an emergency meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels on Tuesday.’

Five Hezbollah guerrillas killed in south Lebanon

Meanwhile, Israeli soldiers killed five Hezbollah guerrillas during a new ground incursion into southern Lebanon this morning.

Tanks and troops exchanged fire with Hezbollah squads after crossing the border at the Israeli village of Metula in a search for guerrilla hideouts and rocket launchers.

RTÉ

30 July 2006 20:07

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usMany pilgrims climbing Croagh Patrick in Co Mayo have had to endure some of the worst conditions in recent years.

An estimated 20,000 people took part in the annual pilgrimage to the top of the mountain today.

Today saw the first scientific analysis of the pilgrims.

Civil Defence volunteers surveyed 11,000 of the pilgrims and found that two thirds were men, one third were women and that 5% of pilgrims came from outside the country.

220 people, which equated to 2% of the climbers, made the pilgrimage in their bare feet.

The pilgrimage started in difficult weather conditions, with high winds and torrential rain showers.

However, a steady stream of people made their way up the mountain from 6am to 3pm.

Archbishops Sean Brady and Michael Neary celebrated mass on the summit, with Dr Neary making a special appeal to parishes and communities around the country to reach out to Ireland’s immigrant families and show them support kindness and goodwill.

23 people sustained minor injuries or became ill and had to be taken off the mountain by stretcher or helicopter.

Two people were taken to hospital.

BBC


Hundreds attended a UDA show of strength

Representatives of the loyalist paramilitary UDA have met police and Protestant clergy in north Belfast to discuss a dispute within its ranks.

The UDA leadership said it wanted a peaceful resolution to its dispute with a “renegade faction”.

Several hundred people in the Shankill Road area attended a public show of strength by the UDA on Saturday.

It was in response to a stand-off between rival factions following the appointment of a new leadership.

On Friday, the UDA in north Belfast issued a statement saying it was replacing those who had remained loyal to Ihab and Andre Shoukri, who were expelled from the organisation last month.

Petrol bombs

In a statement issued on Saturday evening, the group’s so-called ‘inner council’ claimed that a crowd of 80 supporters of the Shoukri faction had attacked a number of homes.

It insisted that the organisation’s leadership wanted a “peaceful end” to the dispute and called on the police to deal with the situation.

But it said the organisation would respond if there were further attacks on its members.

On Friday night in north Belfast, police seized a shotgun, ammunition and petrol bombs following a stand-off between up to 80 members of rival UDA factions. One man has been charged.

More talks are believed to be planned for Monday.

BBC

Police are treating a fire which damaged a school classroom on the outskirts of north Belfast as arson.

Flammable liquid was poured through a window at Newtownabbey Community High School and set alight early on Sunday, a police spokesman said.

The fire caused extensive damage put at thousands of pounds to a music room and musical equipment.

Police have appealed for anyone with information about the incident to contact them.

Sunday Herald

Via Newshound

By Liam McDougall
30 July 2006

RANGERS football club is to resurrect a selection of “forgotten” non-sectarian songs from its past as part of an initiative to eradicate bigotry and hatred from the terraces.

The plan, to be introduced in the wake of threats from European football’s governing body Uefa that the club faces severe punishment if fans display sectarian behaviour, will include Rangers playing the songs over the ground’s PA system and issuing lyrics on match days.

It is hoped the move will provide an alternative repertoire for the club’s so-called “FTP Brigade”, whose continued chanting of anti-Catholic songs at matches has threatened Rangers’ participation in European competition.

The initiative will begin on Saturday – Rangers’ first home game of the new season – with the song Wolverhampton Town being played over the Ibrox public address system before the match.

It has been decades since fans at Ibrox have aired the song, which celebrates the club’s famous semi-final success against Wolves in the inaugural European Cup Winners’ Cup competition in 1961. More than 10,000 Rangers fans travelled to Molineux for the return leg.

It is understood the new measure was one of a number suggested by supporters’ groups during a series of pre-season meetings with Rangers chairman David Murray about how the club could tackle its sectarian element.

Other songs that fans are keen for the club to push this season include The Rangers Over Here and The Blue Sea of Ibrox. The supporters’ groups have also asked Rangers to encourage fans to sing the correct versions of long-standing songs, such as Follow Follow, that have been corrupted by a minority .

Stephen Smith, spokesman for Rangers Supporters Trust, which represents almost 3500 Ibrox shareholders, said the new initiative was about “offering people a positive alternative”.

Smith, whose organisation attended the meetings with Murray, added: “After the end of last season and the problems with Uefa we needed to address the issues that they raised.

“We sat round the table with Rangers, but instead of simply giving the message to fans ‘don’t sing this or that’ we wanted to say that here are good songs that celebrate Rangers’ proud history, so let’s give them a bash.

“Wolverhampton Town is one that will be resurrected this season. That’s one that my father and uncle used to sing.”

News of the initiative comes on the day that Rangers kick-start their league campaign. During the season Uefa have promised to scrutinise the conduct of Rangers fans.

In May, the club was fined £13,300 and severely criticised by Uefa after video evidence was presented at a hearing of Rangers fans singing The Billy Boys and chanting abusive slogans about the Pope.

Uefa officials have warned Rangers that further such behaviour could result in increased levels of punishment, including partial or full stadium closures to complete expulsion from European competitions.

On Friday, Murray appealed to supporters not to sing sectarian songs. If they did not, he said, their actions “jeopardised the future of the club”.

“We are creating initiatives for match days, we’ve been meeting supporters’ groups, we’ve been meeting editors of newspapers, we have been pleading with fans to show respect,” he said.

“If they don’t, be prepared for the consequences.”

Politicians and anti-sectarian groups welcomed Rangers’ initiative. Glasgow MSP Bill Butler said: “Both Rangers and Celtic have done their level best to tackle the problem of sectarianism. But it is not just a football problem.”

A spokesman for the anti-sectarian charity Nil by Mouth said: “It should be hoped the positive numbers amongst the Rangers support can have their voices heard above the sectarian element.”

Sunday Times

Via Newshound

Mark Macaskill
30 July 2006

THE Orange Order in Scotland is to hold religious tolerance classes for children under plans to combat sectarianism.

Youngsters will be invited to attend anti-bigotry workshops where they will learn about Islam and the Catholic faith and meet religious leaders.

Visits to Roman Catholic churches and mosques will also be organised to encourage young members to befriend people their own age and develop respect and understanding for other people’s beliefs.

The radical scheme, to be launched later this year, has been drawn up by senior Orangemen who are concerned that the movement has become synonymous with sectarianism in the west of Scotland.

They want their organisation to be seen as more inclusive by “throwing open” its doors to other faiths and grooming a new generation of more tolerant members.

Senior sources within the order say they have met Scottish executive officials who have welcomed the proposals and are prepared to fund a pilot scheme later this year for 20 youngsters aged eight to 16.

If the trial is a success, they intend to launch the scheme in the Order’s 80 junior lodges.

The Order, which comprises about 700 lodges based mainly in west Scotland, has about 2,500 youth members.

“I am keen to open doors on what some people see as a rather quaint, dated and bizarre organisation,” said Ian Wilson, the grandmaster of the Orange Order in Scotland.

“It’s part of our evolutionary process, we want to give our young people a much healthier outlook. Some people believe the Orange Order is a contributing factor to the sectarian problem and if there is a problem then we have to confront it ourselves.

“We need to reassess how we express ourselves in a changing multi-cultural society. Religion can no longer be defined in simple terms and the order has got to redefine itself. One of the hallmarks of democracy is to tolerate others’ beliefs. Tolerance comes from understanding and anything we can do to increase that is a good thing.”

The move follows mounting pressure to wipe out sectarianism which Jack McConnell, the first minister, has described as “Scotland’s shame”.

The problem is particularly acute in the west, where most of the Orange Order’s 50,000 members are based.

Historically, the marching season, when hundreds of Orange parades take place throughout Scotland, has been a trigger for sectarian violence.

Last year one of the largest Orange marches in Glasgow was overshadowed by 85 arrests for drunkenness and sectarian-related offences.

Sectarianism is also rife at Old Firm football matches. Both Rangers and Celtic face stiff fines this year from the Scottish Premier League if fans persist with discriminatory chants.

Last year a sectarian summit organised by the first minister was attended by representatives from the Old Firm, the Catholic church, the Church of Scotland and the Orange Order.

While liberal leaders of the Orange Order are keen to foster closer links with other faiths, the introduction of religious tolerance classes will antagonise grassroots members.

One, from Lanarkshire, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “For us to do this is to admit that in the past we were guilty of religious intolerance. This will not go down well with many members.”

However, Jim Slaven, national organiser for Cairde na hEireann, the Irish republican organisation which is based in Scotland, and who took part in last year’s sectarian summit, described the initiative as a significant step forward.

“The Orange Order has previously denied being guilty of religious intolerance but this is a recognition by them that there’s a problem within their support base. We welcome the idea, we need to have creative solutions and we need to target hard to reach people.”

David Alexander, vice- convener of the Kirk’s church and society council, said: “I am pleased to hear that the Orange Order is taking the issue of religious tolerance seriously.”

The Catholic church in Scotland said: “This is a welcome step forward by the Orange Order towards creating a more understanding society.

“Any chance to build bridges with people of goodwill must be seized.”

BBC

Several hundred people in the Shankill Road area of Belfast have attended a public show of strength by the loyalist paramilitary UDA.


Rival factions of the UDA clashed in Belfast on Friday

No trouble was reported at Saturday’s rally, which was held amid concerns about a possible feud within the UDA.

The UDA leadership accused a breakaway faction in north Belfast of attacking members and threatened to retaliate.

The display was in response to a stand-off between rival UDA factions in the Ballysillan area on Friday night.

The stand-off took place just hours after the UDA in north Belfast issued a statement saying it had appointed a new leadership.

Brothers expelled

It said it was replacing those who had remained loyal to Ihab and Andre Shoukri, who were expelled from the organisation last month.

In a statement issued on Saturday evening, the group’s so-called ‘inner council’ claimed that a crowd of 80 supporters of the Shoukri faction had attacked a number of homes.

It insisted that the organisation’s leadership wanted a “peaceful end” to the dispute and called on the police to deal with the situation.

But it said the organisation would respond if there were further attacks on its members.

On Friday night in north Belfast, police seized a shotgun, ammunition and petrol bombs following a stand-off between up to 80 members of rival UDA factions. One man has been charged.

Sunday Life

By Stephen Breen
30 July 2006

Pals of a hero Ulster soldier last night urged the Government to probe claims he was allowed to die to protect the identity of a Provo spy.

A petition has been launched in Carrickfergus by comrades of human bomb victim Cyril Smith QGM, after we revealed how a former Army officer said RUC Special Branch was aware of plans for the attack that claimed his life.

Although Police Ombudsman Nuala O’Loan is investigating the claims, the soldier’s friends want everyone in Carrick to back their campaign.

It’s been organised by John McKnight, who has known the Smith family for more than 20 years.

Said Mr McKnight: “A few of the boys were talking in the bar after the story about Cyril came out and we decided to do something.

“This sort of thing is new to us, but we thought that some kind of petition might be a good way for us to let the Government know they must not ignore these claims.

“We intend to distribute (the petition) throughout the area and we are sure that everyone – including all our politicians – will show support for the family.”

He added: “I knew Cyril from when he was a child and he was a very popular lad in Carrickfergus. We have never forgotten about him. The more names we have, the better.

“We were a bit surprised at the former Army officer’s claims, but, then again, this sort of thing has been going on for quite some time.”

The petition has been welcomed by the RIR man’s parents, Cyril and Bernie.

Said Mrs Smith: There is a lot of anger in Carrick about these claims and a lot of people have offered us their support.

“I’m very pleased with the petition and I hope it puts pressure on the Government to tell us the truth regarding my son’s murder.”

Cyril (21) died after an IRA bomb ripped through the permanent border vehicle checkpoint at Killeen, outside Newry, in October 1990.

He had just rescued James McAvoy (68), who was threatened that his sons would be shot if he did not drive the bomb to the checkpoint.

Cyril was running back to warn his comrades about the device when it exploded, killing him instantly.

He was awarded the Queen’s Medal for Gallantry.

No one has been charged with his murder and the case is currently being reviewed by the PSNI’s historical inquiries team.

Sunday Life

By Stephen Breen
30 July 2006

The man appointed by the UDA’s ruling ‘inner council’ to take control of north Belfast was once blasted in the leg by supporters of the Shoukris.

And Sunday Life can reveal the new ‘brigadier’ also escaped a kidnap attempt by the ousted leadership’s henchmen last Friday night.

A senior source said men loyal to the Shoukris and Alan McClean attempted to abduct the new leader in a bid to show the UDA leadership “they were going nowhere”.

But the kidnap plot was abandoned after cops flooded the area following the UDA’s announcement a new leadership was now in place.

We know the identity of the new brigadier, but cannot publish it for legal reasons.

Said the source: “McClean still thinks he’s in control and sent his men out to abduct the new leader to teach the inner council a lesson.

“I think they were just going to rough him up and tell him what would happen to anybody in the area who opposes them.

“They almost succeeded but the police were all over the area and they couldn’t do anything.

“If they had succeeded there could have been serious trouble because although the mainstream UDA are keen to avoid violence, they would have sent their men into the area.”

An inner council source told us the UDA would not “stand by” if opponents of the Shoukris were intimidated in north Belfast.

Added the source: “McClean is trying to hold his small group of supporters together after the formation of the new leadership and the defection of his one-time supporters to the mainstream.

“But if he thinks he can do this by intimidating UDA members loyal to the inner council then he is a very foolish man.

“The UDA leadership will not stand by while its members are intimidated and members from all over Northern Ireland are ready to show their support for their comrades in north Belfast.

“The UDA does not want to go down the road of violence and it is up to the police to stamp out this intimidation.

“Mainstream UDA members will not be leaving their homes in north Belfast and will stand up to this intimidation.”

The new brigadier was only allowed to return home last year after agreeing to be kneecapped.

He was exiled because of his links to Jim ‘the Bacardai Brigadier’ Simpson, who was an opponent of the Shoukris.

Tension still remains high in the Westland and Ballysillan areas and police are bracing themselves for attacks between rival factions.

Bobby Sands mural photo
Ní neart go cur le chéile

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'So venceremos, beidh bua againn eigin lá eigin. Sealadaigh abú.' --Bobby Sands