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Two Belfast men have been jailed for their part in the kidnapping of dissident republican Bobby Tohill.
Laganside court complex
Thomas Tolan, of Ballymurphy Parade, was sentenced to six and a half years while Gerard McCrory, of Dermott Hill Road, was jailed for seven years.
Both men had admitted being part of a four-man gang who took him from a Belfast pub in February 2004.
All four went on the run while on bail but McCrory and Tolan were re-arrested last month.
The two other men, Harry Fitzsimmons, 37, from Spamount Street, Belfast, and Liam Rainey, 33, from New Barnsley Crescent, Belfast, involved in the kidnapping remain at large.
Belfast Crown Court heard Mr Tohill had appealed for the two men not to be sent to prison.
However, the judge said he could not be sure a letter written by Mr Tohill which described the two accused as personal friends was written of his own free will on a voluntary basis.
Jailing the pair, Lord Justice Girvan said the defendants showed very little or no remorse.
02 February 2007
An umbrella group led by ex republican prisoners opposed to backing the PSNI is due to meet in the Gasyard Centre next Monday to plan a strategy ahead of the Assembly elections in March.
The recently formed ‘Ex-POWs and Concerned Republicans’ group have claimed that Sinn Fein’s endorsement of the PSNI has served only to “copperfasten British Rule in the six counties”.
Spokesman for the group, ex-IRA prisoner, Danny McBrearty, this week invited “like-minded” people in Derry and beyond to join them to agitate support for anti-PSNI candidates against Sinn Fein candidates ahead of the election.
“Gerry Adams has now said that the logical thing for young republicans to do is join the RUC/PSNI and for the nationalist/republican community to collude with the Historical Enquiries Team about events during the war. This means that anyone who ever had a history of helping any republican organisation in the past may now come under scrutiny from this group,” he said.
However, Mr McBrearty stressed that the new umbrella republican group has no problem with the PSNI solving “certain crimes” in the republican community. “We do not have a problem with our community using the RUC/PSNI force to solve certain crimes against them such as rape, death drivers, child molesters, drug pushers, assaults on our elderly and the vulnerable in our society.
“We are not anti-policing, the problem we have is in joining the British crown forces,” he said.
Mr McBrearty was also keen to point out that the new group is not aligned to any political party or indeed any other republican organisation. He also spoke out against the recent death threats made to members of Sinn Fein.
“We would like to distance ourselves from any so-called death threats or use of violence towards anyone.”
He added: “As a grouping in our infancy we call on all like-minded people to attend a meeting in the Gasyard Centre on Monday, February 5 at 7.30 p.m.
“As last weekend’s Bloody Sunday march proved, we have substantial support in our community.”
By Ian Cullen
02 February 2007
BRITISH PRIME Minister Tony Blair was “genuinely troubled” when presented yesterday with claims that British forces colluded in the murder of Sinn Fein councillor Eddie Fullerton, according to a Donegal County Councillor.
Speaking after meeting with Mr Blair at 10 Downing Street, Buncrana-based Sinn Fein councillor, Padraig Mac Lochlainn, said the hour-long talk in the company of his party leader Gerry Adams, and colleagues Martin McGuinness, Mary Lou McDonald and Conor Murphy was “frank and positive”.
Colr. Mac Lochlainn specifically raised the 1991 murder of the Donegal Sinn Fein councillor in Buncrana and presented Mr Blair with a letter from Eddie’s widow, Dinah.
“I raised the case of the murder of Eddie Fullerton in which we believe the British forces were directly involved in political assassination. Other cases were also raised in which we believe British forces were involved in covering up for killers including in the murder of Carndonagh man Henry Cunningham and Oliver Boyce and Breege Porter.”
Mr Blair was told of evidence to support the claim that two of the weapons used in the killing of Colr. Fullerton were used in 13 other loyalist murders, including the Greysteel Massacre on Halloween night 1993.
“That evidence only came to light during the course of the Fullerton family’s investigation late last year but could have been established much earlier with the co-operation of the British Government.
“I put it to Mr Blair firmly that what happened was unacceptable and has to be dealt with, and that he must show the same commitment as has been shown by Taoiseach Bertie Ahern to co-operating in investigations into collusion.
“He made an acknowledgement that it was something that genuinely troubled him greatly that the families had not had closure in relation to the killings of their loved ones.”
Colr. Mac Lochlainn said Mr. Blair was particularly concerned about the claims of collusion outside the British jurisdiction, namely the Dublin Monaghan bombings and the murder of Colr. Fullerton.
During the meeting the case of Henry Cunningham was raised Sinn Fein chief negotiator Martin McGuinness. Mr. Cunningham was shot dead by gunmen on the M2 Motorway outside Belfast on August 9, 1973 while on his way back to Carndonagh after working on a building site.
Robbie Cunningham has maintained that the RUC knew the identity of his brother’s killers at the time of the inquest into his death. “There were six boys pulled in for Henry’s murder and one of them had the gun. We are looking for answers, not just in Henry’s case, but in all the cases of collusion from the start of the troubles up to know.
Mr Cunningham is hopeful of getting to the truth about his brother’s murder through the Historical Enquiries Team.
Young couple Breege Boyce and Oliver Porter were found brutally slain on a rural laneway near Burnfoot in 1972 but no one was ever brought to justice for the loyalist killings.
DERRY SUPERGRASS Raymond Gilmour told the ‘Derry Journal’ last night: ” I want to come home. I’d love to return to Derry.”
The Creggan man, who worked as a RUC Special Branch agent inside both the INLA and the IRA in Derry in the 1970s and 1980s, says that, in spite of the “very real” dangers to his life, he yearns to return to his home town.
By Sean McLaughlin
02 February 2007
And in a direct appeal to Sinn Fein’s Martin McGuinness, Gilmour said: “Now that he and his colleagues have decided to co-operate with and help the police – something I was doing 25 years ago – perhaps it’s time they told me that I can come home. Can Martin McGuinness give me this assurance? If he can, I’d love to come back. It is my home after all. These are ties I can never lose.”
Gilmour – who hasn’t seen any members of his family, including his ex-wife and children for more than 20 years – was a Special Branch informer in Derry from his early teens.
He first came to the attention of the public on August 24, 1982, when the RUC, aided by British Army units, carried out a massive search and arrest operation in nationalist areas of Derry. More than 50 people were arrested during “Operation Ragwort”, the largest joint British Army/RUC action in Derry since Operation Motorman in 1972. Gilmour had left Derry the previous week with his then wife and two children.
Based on his information, 35 men and women were arrested and appeared in court in one of the North’s biggest supergrass trials. However, in December 1984, the case collapsed when the then Lord Chief Justice, Lord Lowry, dismissed Gilmour’s evidence as “entirely unworthy of belief”.
Last night, in a candid interview with the “Journal”, Gilmour said that, given that the security situation in the North had “changed beyond all recognition” in recent years, he was “curious” about the “chances of being able to come back to Derry.”
“I have to admit, I never thought I’d see the day when Sinn Fein would decide to support the police,” he said. “After all, they waged a war against them for decades and murdered hundreds of its members. And, now, it appears they’re going to be brothers in arms. Unbelievable.”
GIlmour insisted he would only return home if his safety was guaranteed: “In this apparent new era, is it possible for me to come back home? Now that the war is over and Sinn Fein are friends with the police, can I come back? Am I still a target? I want Martin McGuinness to tell me that it’s OK.”
Gilmour also revealed that he is anxious to find out what has happened to his family: “I haven’t seen or spoken to any of them since I left Derry.
“There’s been no contact whatsoever. This has been very, very difficult for me and has resulted in some serious problems. Imagine what it’s like to be living in permanent exile for so long.”
He again insisted that he had no regrets about working for the RUC. “If I had to do it all again, I would. The information I provided saved many lives. I’m not ashamed of this.”
01/02/2007 – 14:20:20
Gerry Adams today denied Sinn Féin was dancing to the Democratic Unionist Party’s tune on policing.
After a meeting in Downing Street with British Prime Minister Tony Blair, the Sinn Féin leader rejected claims by former party member Gerry McGeough that Sinn Féin’s move to endorse Hugh Orde’s Police Service of Northern Ireland had left the party open to capitulating to the insatiable demands of Ian Paisley.
The West Belfast MP also accused the DUP of juvenile posturing since his party’s historic endorsement of policing at a special conference in Dublin last Sunday.
“That is exactly what it is,” he said.
“The DUP will further undermine confidence in politics within unionism if they continue.
“Sinn Féin did what we did for republican reasons and for democratic reasons, not for the DUP.
“We did what was for the common good and what was in the national interest.
“The implications of our decision are twofold. We need to get genuine civic democratically accountable policing and the other is around the issue of political policing, where we need to address the fact that people involved in collusion may still be in the PSNI.
“The DUP, I think, are just play-acting around some of these matters. I think that thinking republicans and nationalists will not be unfocused by what is plaintive posturing.”
In recent days, Mr Adams has said, in response to DUP queries, that republicans should go to the police if they have information about the murder two years ago of Belfast father of two Robert McCartney, crimes such as rape, car theft, aggravated burglary and attacks on the elderly.
He also said Sinn Féin would not stand in the way of any republican who wanted to join the Police Service of Northern Ireland.
His party’s decision to endorse policing was backed by over 90% of the delegates who attended last Sunday’s special conference and was welcomed by the Irish and British governments, who believe it could pave the way towards power-sharing.
DUP leader Ian Paisley and his colleagues have been more cautious, recognising republicans have undergone a significant shift in their ideology.
However, the DUP has insisted it still needs to be convinced by actions on the ground that Sinn Féin’s public support for policing is being matched by actions within republican districts.
01/02/2007 – 16:23:14
The trial of a Cork chef accused of IRA membership continued today in the Special Criminal Court.
Don Bullman (aged 32) of Fernwood Crescent, Leghanamore, Wilton, Cork, has denied membership of an illegal organisation styling itself the Irish Republican Army, otherwise Óglaigh na hÉireann, otherwise the IRA, on February 16, 2005.
Bullman was arrested at Heuston Station during a Garda investigation into the funding of IRA activities. He was found in possession of a Daz box containing €94,000 wrapped in cling film.
The trial continues on Tuesday.
Thursday, February 01, 2007
Evil vandals have once again wrecked the grave of Real IRA bomb victim David Caldwell – just a day after his partner said the people targeting the monument are “worse” than the terrorists who murdered him.
A father-of-four, Mr Caldwell died on August 1, 2002, from multiple injuries after a booby-trapped lunchbox blew up in his hands at the Territorial Army base in Caw, where he was working as a digger driver.
At his inquest on Tuesday, his partner Mavis McFaul and her 18-year-old daughter heard harrowing evidence about the injuries he sustained – but then returned to his grave yesterday to find pots and flowers stolen and strewn around, in the latest of a series of attacks.
A stone bible was also moved, and today she has appealed to the police and members of the public to help stop the vendetta and let David rest in peace.
Speaking after the former UDR soldier’s inquest, Ms McFaul said that those responsible for the hate campaign – which she is adamant is not sectarian – had hurt her more than the paramilitary bombers.
Ms McFaul first broke her silence on the sustained attacks on the eve of the fourth anniversary of her partner’s murder last year, when she told the North West Telegraph how police had erected CCTV cameras around her remote home for 24-hour surveillance after a number of animals, including two baby lambs, were killed by human hands.
Mr Caldwell’s grave at Ballyoan Cemetery has been repeatedly targeted, with a Father’s Day wreath destroyed and a weed killer or fertiliser substance sprayed over the grass.
But after receiving closure at the inquest, Ms McFaul revealed that the culprits struck again later that night.
“Whatever I said, I stepped on someone’s toes, but I meant every word, the people who are doing this are worse than sick, they are evil and the police should be doing more to stop it,” she said.
“I was dreading going up to the grave and I was right. My daughter Gillian left flowers on Monday, carnations, and they were threw all over the place. She now won’t leave her room, she is crying all the time. She is just going downhill and it is horrible to watch.
“The last time I went to the paper there was a picture of me and her, but they scratched our eyes out and wrote ‘liars’ on it and posted it back through the door. We have no life, we don’t go anywhere, we don’t speak to anyone and our partner and father is dead. Do they not think we have suffered enough?
“David is in his grave and the people who killed him cannot hurt him anymore. But these people are hurting his wee girl, every day, and that is worse.
“I know he is not at the grave, but it is somewhere for Gillian to go, and for them to wreck it like this is evil. She can’t even lay flowers.”
Ms McFaul has urged the police and public to do more to help.
“I have had to insure the headstone and once a group of us guarded it for six weeks,” she said. “The police say they do not have enough evidence to charge people, and I don’t like complaining, but it has to stop, they have to catch these people.
“Even people coming in and out of the graveyard can help – it is a busy place, if someone sees something suspicious, they should ring the police.
“I just can’t hack this. I am not a bad person, but if someone has a problem with me they can come to me and tell me, not torture Davy’s wee girl like this.”
A PSNI spokesman said: “We are aware of Ms McFaul’s complaint. We are treating these incidents very seriously.”
By Noel McAdam
Friday, February 02, 2007
The main political parties at Stormont have clashed over the structure of a future justice ministry – but reached consensus on a number of other issues.
Both the DUP and UUP favour a single minister for the new Justice Department, while Sinn Fein suggests a ‘job-share’ – two ministers sharing equal status.
It is a proposal similar to the co-equal nature of the First and Deputy First Ministers office, which could see a joint DUP and Sinn Fein ministry, such as Policing Board member Ian Paisley jnr and Sinn Fein policing spokesman Gerry Kelly.
There is no agreement, however, on how a minister should be appointed, with Sinn Fein, the SDLP and the UUP supporting the d’Hondt system, while the DUP is in favour of the election of a minister by a 70% weighted majority of the Assembly.
Predictably, there was also no agreement on the sub-group over the timing of the devolution of policing and justice to the Assembly. The St Andrews Agreement target date is May, 2008.
Another group working on the controversial review of public administration and rural planning has called for even more unelected quangos to be axed.
Its report voices concern that the review, which reduces the number of councils from 26 to seven, “had not resulted in more significant cuts in the number of quangos and considers that further reductions should be made.”
With only Sinn Fein in favour of cutting the councils to seven, the report says the committee agreed it would be preferable for the parties to seek consensus on the number of councils.
The reports are designed to help shape priorities and policings so an incoming, power-sharing Executive – if it is formed – can hit the ground running.
Thus the RPA group report called on the incoming Executive to carry out a review of planning within Northern Ireland .
Similarly, the group probing the comprehensive spending review, including water reform and rates charges, called on the future Executive to ” consider again all the potential alternative models for reform”.
The conclusions come in the reports of the six sub-groups of the Programme for Government committee.
By Deborah McAleese
Friday, February 02, 2007
Northern Ireland’s only surgery unit for infants is facing permanent closure – despite Government reassurances three months ago that it would reopen in March – the Belfast Telegraph can reveal today.
Although the Royal Hospital Trust confirmed there will be no cuts to paediatric services, there were major concerns that the closure of the specialised unit could have an adverse impact on the level of care provided for the hundreds of babies admitted for surgery every year.
Staff at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children told the Belfast Telegraph they were informed by health chiefs last week that the unit, which was closed temporarily in September due to staff shortages, is unlikely to reopen.
The infant surgical unit provides a service for up to 400 sick infants every year, many of whom require highly specialised surgery and post-operative care.
The service is currently housed in the Royal’s burns and plastic surgery unit and was expected to move into a new dedicated unit following refurbishment.
In November, Health Minister Paul Goggins reassured MPs during parliamentary questions that a new unit would be ready for use in March. He told DUP MP Iris Robinson: “The unit was originally situated in one of the oldest parts of the [hospital] building. That ward has been temporarily closed, and patients have been relocated within other wards in the hospital.
“As part of a refurbishment within [the hospital], the infant surgical unit will reopen in new facilities adjacent to an existing children’s surgical ward. This will provide improved accommodation that can more appropriately meet the needs of ill babies and their families.
“It is expected that this new unit be ready for use in March 2007. These temporary arrangements have not led to any reduction in beds or diminution of the service.”
However, a member of staff with the Royal Hospital for Sick Children told the Belfast Telegraph: “We were told last week that the unit may not reopen and that a final decision would be made on February 6.”
The Royal Hospital’s Trust stressed that a “reconfiguration” of services has not led to any reduction in services provided.
By Brian Rowan
Wednesday, January 31, 2007
If it was the IRA it would be very different. But it’s not the IRA. It’s the loyalists on the Shankill.
On that road there is something happening that demonstrates the continuing control and power of the paramilitaries.
The police are monitoring the developing situation.
In the 31 pages of yesterday’s report by the Independent Monitoring Commission, there were the two stories we had expected.
The IRA is going away, but the loyalists are still out there – out there and up to all sorts of the usual activities, including the business of paramilitary justice.
In the IMC assessment, you’ll read that there are senior leadership figures trying to change things.
That’s right. There are.
I know them – know what they’re trying to do.
But I also know that’s not all of the story.
There was an incident last Friday – an incident that falls outside the reporting period of this latest assessment of the monitoring commission – but a story worth telling as an example of what’s still going on.
A senior figure in the UDA was “thumped” by a former Red Hand Commando prisoner.
It was between the two of them, and there’s a complicated explanation about the background to the incident.
But the point is not so much what happened, but what is now expected to happen.
At the highest level of the UDA and Red Hand Commando there has been contact.
The UDA wants the Red Hand Commando to “punish” or ” discipline ” the former prisoner who thumped ‘Mo’ Courtney, a one-time close associate of Johnny Adair.
And what does that tell us? It tells us that the business of paramilitary justice is still part and parcel of the loyalist playground.
The man who wants to even the score is the most senior figure in the UDA on the Shankill Road.
He was involved in recent talks with the British and Irish governments – talks about loyalists wanting to change, wanting to be part of the peace process, not wanting to be left behind.
But they still want scores settled – and settled in the old way.
This is the continuing reality of life on the loyalist street.
It is where the loyalists are stuck.
For all that it was trying to say yesterday about some within loyalism wanting to make things better, there was another message from the IMC.
On the loyalist side, “the pace of movement has been slow”.
It’s a gentle way of putting it.
The fact is they are a long way behind the IRA.
And this waiting for all the political i’s and t’s to be dotted and crossed, is to wait too long.
Why not do something to help the process – to make it work?
And what are they going to do if they don’t like the political outcome?
Is there a threat in the waiting?
The loyalist paramilitary focus needs to be on the bigger picture of the peace process, not on petty inter-organisational rows on the streets of the Shankill.
Those who can make things happen – who have the paramilitary rank to make a difference – need now to use that rank, that leadership.
If they wait much longer, they might find that any loyalist initiative has been so devalued to be dismissed as “so what?”
30 January 2007
“A gentleman, a true friend and a person of great integrity.” These were all words used to describe former Mayor of Derry John Kerr, who passed away peacefully at the Foyle Hospice on Saturday.
Mr. Kerr (73), was the city’s Mayor in 1995, was one of Derry’s most respected politicians and citizens.
John and Carita Kerr pictured with the letter they received from Bill Clinton
Leading the tributes, former SDLP leader John Hume said the death of John Kerr was a very sad occasion.
“I offer my deepest sympathy to his wife Carita and his family,” he said.
“No doubt they have the sympathy of the whole town, given the outstanding public service he and Carita gave.”
SDLP MLA Pat Ramsey described John Kerr as a true friend and colleague.
“John was a man of total integrity who showed he had great qualities of leadership in the way he conducted the business of the City Council,” he said.
“Through all that he did, the thing that shone through was his tremendous passion for education. He was a good friend to me and I will miss him.”
SDLP Leader and Foyle MP, Mark Durkan also paid tribute to John Kerr.
He said:”I know just how much John was loved by his family and appreciate how deeply they, in particular, will feel his loss.
“John will also be greatly missed by his many friends, including those of us in the SDLP who had the privilege of working with him over the years. He was a hard-working and highly respected councillor, who made a major contribution to life in our city and to public life more widely.
“He had a vision of Derry, not just as a city of learning, but as a city of culture as well. He worked tirelessly, both as a councillor and as Mayor, to advance the cultural life of our city.
“He always fought Derry’s corner and urged the Council to do so.
“He also fought his illness with dignity. He will be sadly mourned and sorely missed by all who knew him.”
Father Michael Canny, Administrator of St. Eugene’s Cathedral, said that when he heard of the death of John Kerr he felt a deep sense of personal and community loss.
“John was truly altruistic,” he said. “Always generously giving of his time and his talents for the good of the community. He was deeply involved in education and always worked tirelessly to ensure the best fabric and education for pupils.
“His sense of civic responsibility was visible for all to see in his work as a councillor and his year as Mayor showed him to be not only a very capable local politician but also a person who could take his place on the bigger political stage.
“Working for the good of the local community in any way he could was the hallmark of his life. Day and night he was available and willing to be of help.
“His life of service should be a source of encouragement to others to follow in his footsteps.
“I extend personal condolences and those of the local community to his wife Carita, sons Robert and James and daughter Marie-Louise. May he rest in peace.”
The Town Clerk and Chief Executive of Derry City Council, Mr. Tony McGurk paid this tribute: “John Kerr was a great ambassador not just for council but for the region and his passing is deeply regretted by members and staff of Derry City Council. We extend our condolences to his family.”
The Mayor, Councillor Helen Quigley added that John Kerr had made an instrumental contribution to the city’s progress over the past 30 years.
“John Kerr will be greatly missed by everyone who knew him and our sympathies are with his family at this time,” she said.
John Kerr’s funeral will take place this morning at 10 a.m. in St. Eugene’s Cathedral.
He is survived by his wife Carita, daughter Marie Louise, sons Robert and James, and grandchildren Evie Jane, Catherine and Charlie.
30 January 2007
The Museum of Free Derry in the heart of the city’s Bogside has now opened its doors and local people are invited to view it’s many fascinating artefacts with the museum offering free admission for one week only, until this Friday, February 2.
Based in the Bogside’s Glenfada Park, The newly renovated Museum of Free Derry has now established itself as a world-class exhibition space and will no doubt attract curious visitors from all over the globe.
Last Thursday’s launch attracted many distinguished guests, including the Mayor, Helen Quigley, Guantanamo Bay internee Moazzam Begg and lawyer for the Guilford Four and Birmingham Six, Gareth Peirce. Many Bloody Sunday relatives came to show their support as well as many other local people directly affected by the Troubles. Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams also called in briefly as proceedings began.
John Kelly, whose brother Michael was killed on Bloody Sunday, told the ‘Journal’: “The families are delighted, not just the Bloody Sunday families, but all the families connected with the Troubles are really delighted about the museum.
“We’re very, very pleased and very, very proud of it.”
Mr. Kelly said that Lawrence McElhinney, the last surviving parent of Bloody Sunday now aged 83-years-old, unveiled the plague which officially opened the museum. Mr. McElhinney’s son Kevin was murdered in the Bogside on Bloody Sunday, aged only 17-years-old.
Eamonn McCann, Chairperson of the Bloody Sunday Trust, addressed the guests and spoke of the importance of having such a valuable museum. Derry’s Mayor Helen Quigley gave a speech, welcoming the museum and praising all involved, and Guantanamo Bay internee Moazzam Begg also spoke at the launch.
Mr. Kelly went on: “The launch was packed with victim’s families, internees, funders and other individuals invited to the official launch and the museum was exceptionally well-received.
“The internees at the launch were actually interned at the time of Bloody Sunday. Which is quite symbolic, as the march on Bloody Sunday, was actually about internment,” he added.
Over 25,000 items, documents and unique artefacts make up the vast museum archive, with only a fraction of these on display for the first phase of the museum.
Opening hours are 9.30am until 4.30pm, Monday to Friday, with extended opening days planned during the summer.
In order to keep the museum open and independent, a small admission fee of £3 or £1.50 will be charged.
However, the museum offers free admission until this Friday, February 2, to give the people of Derry a chance to visit and learn more about their history of Free Derry.
There has been wide spread criticism of the rioting which followed Sunday’s annual Bloody Sunday march.
By Laurence McClenaghan
30 January 2007
John Kelly, whose brother Michael was shot dead by British paratroopers during the 1972 march, accused those young people responsible for the violent scenes “of tarnishing the memory of those who were killed in January 1972.”
Distrurbances were first reported to the PSNI at shortly after 4pm and continued for one and a half hours at Butcher Gate.
Police were called to the scene after numerous stone throwing incidents at the junction of Butcher Street and Nailor’s Row, one vehicle was damaged during the trouble while police arrested two males for riotous behaviour.
A number of petrol bombs were also thrown at police in the vicinity of Society Street and Butcher Gate.
A number of tourists who had marched on the annual parade, were also caught up trying to return to the City Hotel after the speeches had been delivered.
Speaking to the JOURNAL, John Kelly said: “I would prefer not to comment but these people must be informed that they have tarnished the memory of those who died on the original march. The march is a dignified and peaceful means of protest, violence is the last thing we require. We do not want anyone else getting hurt or killed. We are saddened to hear of the trouble and we believe that it undermines the family day out that the march has become.
“Some of the families are simply horrified at the violent scenes witnessed,” concluded Mr. Kelly.
Peter Anderson, Sinn Fein Councillor for the Bogside said: “That those youths who participated in throwing stones and petrol bombs in Fahan Street were not politically motivated.”
Councillor Anderson added, “That this group of youths have, over the past few years, engaged in serious anti-community activity in the Bogside area of the city. If they were not throwing stones in Fahan Street they would be attacking the Fountain or burning cars in the Bogside.
“There was no reason whatsoever for these young people to start bother and put the residents of Fahan Street and the surrounding area through another ordeal of sheer wanton destruction and vandalism.
“It was clear from the numbers who took part, that the vast majority of young people who attended yesterday’s commemoration did not or would not insult the memories of those who died by attacking the very community they came from.”
When asked what parallels he drew between the Sinn Fein Ard Fhies on policing and the community’s apparent disregard for the PSNI, Colr. Anderson was adament: “If anyone thinks that these actions were a reaction to the historic vote being held at the same time then they are sadly mistaken. These young people are void of anything remotely political and should desist from this type of action that only serves to cause hardship to their own community.
SDLP Councillor, Seana Hume, also slammed those responsible and echoed the calls made by Mr. Kelly: “The actions of those who rioted must be condemned, especially on such an important day for the city and the families bereaved on Bloody Sunday. It should be these people we are thinking of at this time not stone throwing youths.
“Further, these scenes are not the vision of the city we are trying to market to tourism, a number of tourists were caught up in the violence and what will they now think of our city.”
01/02/2007 – 08:02:12
PSNI officers came under attack in Derry last night while trying to break up sectarian clashes between rival gangs of youths in the Waterside area of the city.
Around 30 people were involved in the trouble, which saw stones thrown at police as they tried to keep the two sides apart.
One man was arrested, but there were no reports of any major injuries.
01/02/2007 – 08:10:15
Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams is due to travel to London today for talks with British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
The meeting is expected to focus on upcoming moves to restore devolution in the North following Sinn Féin’s decision to endorse the PSNI in the North.
Mr Blair says he has received commitments from the DUP that it will agree to share power with republicans as a result of the decision.
Also on the agenda at today’s meeting will be the issue of collusion between the British security services and loyalist paramilitaries, which was highlighted in a recent Police Ombudsman’s report.
Mr Adams says he wants to know what happened to 25 files sent to the North’s DPP after a previous inquiry by John Stevens into alleged collusion in the murder of Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane.
The DPP has still not made any decision on whether to bring charges in that case.