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By Scott Millar
Irish Examiner
Monday, August 31, 2009

AN IRA member has broken his silence to confirm that Irish government ministers organised the delivery of large amounts of weaponry to republicans at the outbreak of the Troubles.

Former leading Official IRA member Bobby McKnight, 71, breaks his 40-year silence in a new book on the organisation published today.

Belfast man McKnight, who in 1969 was a member of the IRA command staff, states that along with another man he drove to Dublin Airport in September 1969. There he met then minister for finance Charles Haughey’s brother, Jock, and took delivery of several cases of weaponry, which filled his pickup truck, these were then transported to IRA members in Dublin.

In The Lost Revolution – The Story of the Official IRA and the Workers Party, written by Irish Examiner journalist Scott Millar and historian Brian Hanley, McKnight confirms his role in the arms plot which resulted in the major political crisis of the 1970 Arms Trial.

He is the first persondirectly involved in the transportation of arms shipments organised by government ministers to the IRA to confirm the existence of the plot.

McKnight confirms there were contacts between the IRA and Fianna Fáil representatives even prior to the outbreak of widescale violence in Northern Ireland in August 1969.

The book also reveals the extent of government fears about a resurgent IRA south of the border and plans to split the organisation along left/right lines, a strategy which aided the creation of the Provisional IRA.

A Department of Justice cabinet memo, dated March 18, 1969, whose contents are revealed for the first time, states: “In different parts of the country units of the IRA (and Sinn Féin) are uneasy about the new left-wing policy of their leadership and about theviolent methods that are being adopted in the destruction of private property.

“Their uneasiness needs to be brought to the surface in some way with a consequent fragmentation of the organisation. It is suggested by the Department of Justice that the Government should promote an active political campaign in that regard.”

The memo indicates that Jack Lynch’s cabinet was discussing plans to split the IRA at least five months prior to the outbreak of major violence, and the death of civilians, in the North.

Within nine months the IRA had split into socialist Official and more traditional Provisional factions.

GENEVIEVE CARBERY
Irish Times
30 Aug 09

www.census.nationalarchives.ie

A new database for Irish genealogy and research was yesterday released online by the National Library of Ireland.

The free searchable version of the April 1911 family census contains information from the 32 counties and is searchable using any combination of name, surname, age, sex and place

It gives access not only to a database of information but to images of the original census forms which would have been handwritten by the head of the household.

The project, which has so far taken three years of work, has information which is much more personal than the online census release by the CSO earlier this year.

In June, the results of every census conducted in Ireland from 1926 to 1991 were made available online to the public for the first time.

It detailed the statistical tables put together by the CSO rather than any of the census forms or identifying information.

The CSO census forms are too modern for details to be released and family forms filled out in the census remain completely confidential until about 100 years afterwards, said National Archives of Ireland special projects co-ordinator Caitríona Crowe.

The 1911 census is available just shy of the usual 100 years.

It was the last census completed until 1926 because of the Civil War and the War of Independence.

Apart from name, sex, gender, town, age, the scanned family census forms contain a wealth of information.

Categories include relation to head of household, religion, occupation, literacy, marital status, county or country of origin, Irish language proficiency, specified illnesses, and child survival information.

From the end of September all of these extra categories will be available as search terms in the database. This means for example researchers will be able to find out how many married Protestant butchers lived in Co Offaly.

The National Archive hopes to get the 1901 census online by late spring 2010, Ms Crowe said. 1911 has been prepared first because the film is better quality than that for 1901.

The new database may allow people to find previously untraced ancestors, according to Ms Crowe because you can search for all residents such as servants and visitors.

For example, the family returns for Viscount Powerscourt at Powerscourt Demesne in Co Wicklow reveals the details of six visitors and four servants.

Some 15 dock labourers staying at a lodge on Patrick Street in Cork city can now also be traced.

It is also possible to find details of people and businesses that occupied every house in a particular town using the house and building return form.

Ms Crowe hopes to expand the project to eventually use Google maps to compare contemporary street maps with what would have been in each building in 1911.

Online test: how the service can work for you

A SEARCH for relatives from April 2nd, 1911 can be found with very little information. A combination of one or more details such as name, surname, age, town, county may be all that is needed.

Looking for information on my ancestors proved fruitful. My maternal grandmother’s maiden name was Dundon and she was from Co Carlow.

A search using these two details uncovered a record of my great-grandfather Edward Dundon in Borris, Co Carlow.

Opening up the scanned image of the census form to reveal the handwriting of my great-grandfather from 1911 was striking.

It revealed that Edward Dundon (27) was a Roman Catholic general practitioner who was born in Co Limerick and was listed as single. Also on the form were his sister Eileen Dundon (38) and their servant 23-year-old Mary Ryan.

My maternal grandfather was an O’Leary from Co Kilkenny. Searching with these details produced a family census for 26 Main Street, Graiguenamanagh.

Thus my great-grandfather John O’Leary (43) was a Catholic baker who could speak Irish and English.

His wife Johanna O’Leary (26) was a shopkeeper. They had been married for three years and had two children, Eliza aged two and Mary aged one. My grandfather was not born yet.

Also living with them were John O’Leary’s single sister Kate (55). It shows that she also worked in the bread and grocery shop, along with two nieces Margaret Dowling (20) and Joan Dowling (16) . There were two 18-year-old domestic servants living in the house.

A search for my paternal side proved more difficult. My great-grandfather’s name was Daniel Carbery and he lived at St John’s, Athy, Co Kildare. A combination of some and all of these terms produced no results.

This is where the other parts of the census proved useful. I searched for the street of St John’s in Co Kildare. This linked to a housing and building returns form which details the occupants and purpose of all buildings in the area. At number nine is a house listed as owned by Daniel Carbery with eight occupants, with seven buildings or outhouses, 12 rooms and eight front windows.

These searches don’t reveal the whole story but a snapshot of information lost through generations. Like that my great grandparents ran a shop together or that my GP great-grandfather had handwriting as hard to read as most doctor’s prescriptions .

To begin a free search go to www.census.nationalarchives.ie

TOM CLONAN
Irish Times
Monday 31 August 2009

The Defence Forces’ plans to invade Northern Ireland, which were drawn up 40 years ago as violence there erupted, display a mixture of enthusiasm and naivety that would have provoked massive retaliatory action from the British . . . had they been implemented

FORTY YEARS ago, in August and September of 1969, intense rioting and civil unrest prevailed throughout Northern Ireland.

As the violence reached fever pitch the then taoiseach, Jack Lynch, made a televised speech to the nation on RTÉ in which he used the now immortal and much misquoted phrase: “We will not stand by”.

For almost 40 years, historians and political pundits have argued over the precise meaning of this provocative – and yet somewhat ambiguous phrase. Had Jack Lynch intended to convey the possibility of an Irish Army invasion of Northern Ireland – ostensibly to protect nationalists from sectarian attacks?

Unlikely as it may seem today, the Irish Army did indeed draw up secret plans to invade the six counties.

In a secret Irish Army document, drawn up in September 1969 and entitled Interim Report of Planning Board on Northern Ireland Operations – the Irish military authorities explicitly outlined their concept for “feasible” military operations within the six counties.

In its opening paragraphs, the military document – seen by The Irish Times – predicts with considerable understatement that “all situations visualised [in this document] assume that military action would be taken unilaterally by the Defence Forces and would meet with hostility from Northern Ireland Security Forces”.

In other words, due to the prospect of confronting far superior forces and being exposed to “the threat of retaliatory punitive military action by UK forces on the Republic”, Irish military operations would of necessity commence unannounced – with no formal declaration of war.

The document sets out various attack scenarios whereby the Irish general staff would seek to exploit the element of surprise to launch both covert unconventional or guerrilla-style operations against the British authorities, along with conventional infantry attacks on Derry and Newry.

Before elaborating in detail on the precise nature of such offensive operations within Northern Ireland, the authors of this secret document provide a health warning of sorts to their political masters.

At paragraph 4, a statement is made that “The Defence Forces have no capability of embarking on unilateral military operation of any kind . . . therefore any operations undertaken against Northern Ireland would be militarily unsound”.

However, despite this caveat, the document goes on to outline “accepting the implications of subparagraph 4a . . . conventional military operations on a small scale up to a maximum of company level and unconventional operations could be undertaken by the Defence Forces” – subject to such action being of short duration.

At paragraph 4, sub-paragraph g of this extraordinary document, the Irish Army goes on to identify the towns of “Derry, Strabane, Enniskillen and Newry” as most suitable for infantry operations “by virtue of their proximity to the Border” – and also by virtue of their predominantly nationalist demographics.

At sub-paragraph h, the Irish military authorities identify the BBC TV studios in Belfast as a primary target for destruction along with “Belfast airport, docks and main industries . . . located in the northeast corner”. The document observes that due to their “distance from the Border . . . any military operations against these (targets) should preferably be of the unconventional type”.

The remainder of the 18 pages of secret documents dealing with “Northern Ireland Operations” and “Planning for and conduct of Border operations”, also seen by The Irish Times , deal with the steps necessary for the execution of specific – albeit limited – military operations against Newry, Derry and major infrastructural targets in Belfast.

The document outlines at paragraph 23b the requirement for four infantry brigades to be brought up to strength and trained intensively to “operate in company groups” against urban targets – in other words, company-sized attacks on RUC, B Special and British Army elements in Derry and Newry.

At paragraph 23c the document also outlines the requirement for three motorised cavalry squadrons to be fully equipped and brought up to strength – presumably for armoured reconnaissance and lightning strikes on Northern Ireland security forces located in urban areas such as Derry and Newry.

At paragraph 23d, the document recommends the establishment of “a Special Forces Unit, prepared for employment, primarily on unconventional operations”.

At the time that this document was drafted, in September 1969, the Irish Army was seriously under-strength, with a total of 8,113 personnel. While individual troops were relatively well armed with FN 7.62 automatic rifles – purchased for service in the Congo – the Irish Army was severely lacking in transport and other support elements necessary for combat operations, however limited in scale.

At one point in the military document, it is suggested that “CIÉ buses” would have to be commandeered to get Irish troops into action against Border targets. The Irish did have some artillery support – mainly 120mm mortars and second World War vintage 25-pound field guns.

However, the Irish had little or no air support – the Air Corps possessed approximately a half dozen serviceable De Havilland Vampire jets in the autumn of 1969. These aircraft would have been of little use against RAF Phantom and Harrier jets, stationed at that time within a very short flight time from Northern Irish air space.

In terms of ground forces, in September 1969, the British army presence in Northern Ireland was already on high alert and consisted of almost 3,000 heavily armed troops of the 2nd Queens Regiment, the Royal Regiment of Wales and the Prince of Wales’s Own Regiment based in Belfast, Omagh and Derry. These units had – unlike their Irish counterparts – considerable experience and training in conventional large-scale combat tactics as part of Nato’s UK 16 Para Brigade.

Many of these units had just recently rotated to Northern Ireland following deployment as part of Europe’s Nato Northern Flank Mission.

Armed with Humber armoured personnel carriers – equipped with Rolls Royce six- cylinder engines – along with Saracen armoured fighting vehicles and overwhelming air superiority, the British army presence in Northern Ireland in the autumn of 1969 would have been more than capable of dealing decisively with any Irish Army incursion north of the Border.

Irrespective of the element of surprise, the Irish Army would have been subject to a massive British counter-attack – probably within hours of their initial incursion. Irish casualties would have been high as the British would have sought to swiftly and indiscriminately end the Republic’s unilateral military intervention – which would have had the potential to completely destabilise Northern Ireland, leading perhaps to the type of sectarian violence and ethnic cleansing seen in central Europe just two decades later.

In the final paragraph of the document, the Irish military authorities warn of the doomsday scenario that the aptly named Operation Armageddon might bring about for the Irish Republic – if launched by Lynch’s government.

“Sustained operations of this nature would demand the total commitment of the State . . . Should the operation miscarry, the consequences could be very grave for the State and the people it is intended to assist.”

Luckily for the Irish Republic – and the people of Northern Ireland – Lynch’s declaration not to stand by never translated into a declaration of war.

Dr Tom Clonan is Irish Times Security Analyst. What if Lynch had invaded? – a documentary on the consequences of an Irish invasion of Northern Ireland in September 1969 – will be screened tomorrow on RTÉ 1 television at 9.30pm

Belfast Telegraph
Monday, 31 August 2009

Military documents declassified by the Irish government show that the Irish army planned to launch guerrilla attacks in Belfast in 1969.

According to the details revealed in the Sunday Times, among strategic locations to be targeted were the BBC’s television studios, the docks, airport and key industries.

According to the documents declassified in 2004, the guerrilla plot, codenamed Exercise Armageddon, was designed to draw Northern Ireland security forces away from border towns, allowing Irish troops to be established there.

In a TV documentary, presenter Tom Clonan, a security analyst, says the proposed guerrilla forces would have been Irish soldiers trained for special forces operations.

The documents show that a special board set up to look at the Republic’s response to the Troubles outbreak, ruled out a conventional military operation.

The strategy was to use an unconventional plan to defend nationalists living in Northern Ireland.

The papers reveal 2,817 troops were needed for the operation, but only 2,136 were available.

Mr Clonan said the papers tell of how army strategists drew up military plans after then Taoiseach Jack Lynch said in August 1969 that the Irish government would not stand by and watch innocent people being hurt.

The historic October 1969 document noted the majority of vital installations — such as Belfast city airport, the television studios, docks and main industries — are located in the north-eastern part of the province, some distance from the border, and suggested operations should be unconventional.

Mr Clonan said the second part of the plan was about launching two infantry-company attacks, with about 120 troops, into Derry and Newry. He said, according to the document, the operation would have to be unilateral — with no declaration of war.

It would be an attack without warning.

In the document, military planners say an attack would leave the south exposed to the threat of retaliatory punitive military action by UK forces on the Republic and concluded any operations undertaken against Northern Ireland would be “militarily unsound”.

Apparently, lack of morale was a problem facing the Irish army.

Military officials also planned for soldiers being cut off in Donegal, if British forces broke through between Belleek and Ballyshannon.

However, details of the deliberations at the time reveal that planners said because of the vulnerability of the county of Donegal, plans should be prepared to provide for the continued existence there of the Republic’s units, should the area be isolated by British action.

By Brian Rowan
Belfast Telegraph
Monday, 31 August 2009

Senior UDA leaders are to hold separate meetings with decommissioning general John de Chastelain, in a move described by one loyalist as further evidence of a split within the paramilitary organisation.

The group’s inner council leaders from Belfast will meet the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning today, but the north Antrim/Londonderry brigadier Billy McFarland will not be with them. He plans his own talks with the general.

“This is a split,” a senior paramilitary figure admitted.

It is understood the UDA found out about the McFarland talks from a source outside the organisation. Up to this point, loyalists have been attempting to paper over cracks.

Suggestions of a split first emerged after a statement from the UDA-linked Ulster Political Research Group in north Antrim/ Londonderry, which withdrew support for the police and the political institutions.

And since then sources inside and outside the organisation have been questioning McFarland’s future commitment to the decommissioning process.

General de Chastelain arrived in Ireland yesterday and is due to begin a series of meetings today before making a report to the British and Irish governments.

That is expected later this week — and will detail progress on loyalist decommissioning by the UDA, UVF and linked Red Hand Commando. There are no plans for the general and the other commissioners — Andrew Sens and Brigadier Tauno Nieminen — to speak publicly.

But key to their report will be the assessment of the likely next steps by the UDA.

Last week, Secretary of State Shaun Woodward told this newspaper that February 2010 is the final deadline for weapons to be put beyond use.

Asked last night about McFarland’s decision to meet General de Chastelain, a loyalist source said: “It’s rather complicated.”

It was then he revealed the plan for separate meetings with the IICD — one involving the Belfast leadership of the UDA and the other McFarland’s brigade.

He added McFarland had not expected the UDA to move to put weapons beyond use. “He just didn’t think this was going to happen,” the source said.

BELFAST DIVIDED BACKS STILL TO THE WALL 40 YEARS ON

By Allison Morris
Irish News
28/08/09

The euphemistically named ‘peacelines’ are as old as the Troubles themselves – originally makeshift structures erected by Catholic communities to stave off sectarian attacks in 1969, they were intended to be temporary safety measures. However, by the early 1970s the British army set about building more permanent divides to separate the two communities as violence escalated on the streets.

BEHIND ENEMY LINES: The largest of the peace walls stretches the length of the Springfield Road, keeping the predominantly nationalist west Belfast separate from neighbours in the Shankill area (Photo: Pacemaker)

There has been much debate as to when and how they might eventually come down but more than a decade after the signing of the Good Friday Agreement the walls remain.

The majority are in Belfast – with 42 official peacelines, it is still very much a city divided by bricks and mortar. There are also five security divides in Derry, five in Portadown and one in Lurgan. In recent times the walls have became an unlikely tourist attraction, with murals, artwork and graffiti adorning the base of many of the structures.

Fear of what might happen should the walls come down ensures they continue to exist with the backing of both communities. British army engineers erected the first major peaceline across the Crumlin Road in north Belfast June 1970.

Today the largest of the walls stretches the length of the Springfield Road, keeping the predominantly nationalist west Belfast separate from neighbours in the Shankill area. With several access gates, the wall -–which is made up of over one million bricks – has been a focal point for violence over the years, in recent times centring mainly around the Orange Order Whiterock parade.

And while its purpose was to save lives by forming a buffer zone, the wall has been used as a crossing point for loyalist assassins over the years.

In April 1994 Paul ‘Topper’ Thompson was shot in Springfield Park by UDA gunmen just yards from the giant peaceline which divides the Catholic Moyard from the loyalist Springmartin estate. Earlier that day a female resident had reported to the RUC and the Northern Ireland Office that a hole had been cut in the security barrier.

It was through this hole that the loyalist gunmen entered the Catholic area and made good their escape after murdering 25-year-old Mr Thompson.

The majority of Belfast’s peacelines are interspersed across the north of the city, the most recent of which was built following the 2001 Holy Cross blockade.

The demographic of north Belfast means that communities continue to live back to back with the walls acting as a visible buffer zone.

By Patrick Murphy
Irish News
29/08/09

Is the devolution of policing aimed at arming the assembly? It is described by Britain as an essential part of the new Stormont but the emphasis on policing reflects British policy in 1922, when the two new Irish states were armed for the security of the political institutions rather than equipped for social and economic development.

In opting for power over policing rather than, for example, control of social welfare payments, politicians at Stormont have revealed their priorities.

But with an increasing display of armed strength by the Continuity and Real IRAs, is the assembly capable of defending the security of Northern Ireland?

It apparently has no access to MI5 intelligence on the level of threat to the state and, like the old Stormont, it is trying to blend civil and political policing within one police body. Do MLAs really know what they are doing?

The argument for devolved policing in a divided society is that support for the police generates political loyalty to the state. To date, the anti-devolution case has focused on each sectarian camp fearing the other’s gaining control of an armed force. But the real argument is that no matter how well armed, the assembly is no more capable of handling security here than the old Stormont.

Party political ambitions have already reduced the PSNI to an ineffective bureaucracy by setting political rather than policing targets. (Never mind the muggings, Sinn Fein is on board.)

While unionists have an understandable wish to control security, it is surprising to see the SDLP placing itself in the political firing line. Sinn Fein’s approach is not just surprising. It is decidedly odd.

It might have been expected to propose parking the policing issue under the control of an international body. It could then have claimed that its ministers were merely administering British rule and not acting as London’s political agents.

Instead it has opted, unionist-style, for hands-on control of policing. This means that it must confront the armed men in Meigh, south Armagh, imprison them and presumably deny them political status.

The party may also have to support killing them in certain situations. It is not where you would expect to find republicans in terms of Irish history or contemporary politics. Such behaviour would, of course, be perfectly legal. (British guns have always been legal in Irish history. Only Irish guns were outlawed.)

The argument for their position is the valid view that paramilitaries must disappear. Sinn Fein’s hunger strike commemoration in Galbally, which looked paramilitary, has been dismissed as street theatre. But if Galbally was theatre, Meigh was a documentary.

Having avoided a post-ceasefire split, the party now risks (some would even say relishes) a significant confrontation with the RIRA/CIRA.

It is unclear whether hands-on policing was part of the republican plan for power in Stormont or whether the Northern Bank robbery led the British government to force the issue. (Westminster could not allow government supporters to be accused of robbing a bank, particularly since it believes that banks should rob the government.)

An armed assembly will win any violent confrontations. But the Irish have always applauded dying more than killing.

Short-term military victory will not harm unionism but it may inflict long-term damage on Sinn Fein.

(It could be argued that hanging Charlie Kerins in 1944 did not damage Eamon de Valera. But Fianna Fáil was not in coalition with the DUP at the time.)

The British have a fine record of shooting people in this country. They have an even better record in getting Irish people to do their shooting for them.

After 25 years of study in Long Kesh, did Sinn Fein members not foresee this day?

What may have confused them was the PIRA’s decision to claim victory. Republicans have no experience of victories, especially those which fall short of victorious.

Sinn Fein’s blushes may be spared by successful unionist opposition to devolution of policing.

Unionist foot-dragging lies in their fear that a devolved PSNI will be the PIRA in drag.

A Conservative victory in the Westminster election as early as March might halt devolution, if it has not already occurred. Once again, the result of a British general election may have as much impact in Ireland as it has in Britain.

In this case it may determine whether Ireland’s second civil war among republicans gets off the ground.

An internal Irish war is nothing new.

The Irish have always been willing to face each other in the boxing ring.

Not surprisingly, the British have always been willing to act as boxing promoters.

By Alan Murray
Independent.ie
Sunday August 30 2009

The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) is increasing helicopter patrols over south Armagh in an effort to combat the growing threat from dissident republican groups and to protect its officers.

A show of strength at an illegal roadblock in Meigh, just outside Newry, Co Down, last Friday night has heightened concerns that police officers will be killed in a rocket attack or in heavy machine-gun fire by Real IRA elements.

The PSNI confirmed yesterday that it has hired a second helicopter to assist in its efforts to combat dissident republicans who are posing an increasing threat, the outgoing Chief Constable Hugh Orde has admitted.

Without British Army support his officers are virtually powerless to take on heavily armed terrorists and they retreated from the small village of Meigh last Friday night after a patrol car crew spotted the masked and heavily armed Real IRA members stopping cars just about 200 yards away.

The decision to withdraw has both angered and alarmed the North’s Policing Board, which is driving the policy of Community Policing to the top of its agenda, with the full support of Sinn Fein and the SDLP.

It emerged last week that while officers who witnessed the Real IRA stunt, as Hugh Orde described it, had access to rifles in their vehicles, not all had been trained to use the weapons.

There is now a perception in Unionist circles that South Armagh has again become a no-go area for the police.

A victims’ campaigner who lives in South Armagh, Willie Frazer, said the Meigh incident underlined the growing confidence of the Real IRA in the area and the limited security presence.

Mr Frazer, who was told on Thursday that his application to hold a licensed firearm to protect himself had been refused, said that people living in the area now felt more vulnerable following the Meigh incident.

“They won’t allow me to have a gun to defend myself but they’re telling me that they can’t protect me and they can’t even protect their own officers because they’ve no back-up available.

“What a joke security situation this is,” he said.

Local people said the Real IRA group in Meigh carried a rocket launcher and rifles and may have had a high-powered machine gun stolen from an IRA arms dump in 1994.

There is particular concern that the terror group has a Russian belt-fed 12.7mm machine gun, a DShK, two of which were used in the downing of a British army helicopter in the area in 1990.

The leaflets handed out by the Real IRA group warned motorists not to pass on information to the police.

Anyone who comes to their attention regarding the passing on of information to the PSNI, gardai, MI5 or Sinn Fein will be dealt with in the appropriate manner, it warned.

By Claire Simpson
Irish News
29/08/09

POLICE have rejected claims made by Traditional Unionist Voice leader Jim Allister that rifles and explosives had been found during a search of a house in south Co Derry last month.

Mr Allister alleged that a search in the Ashgrove area of Magherafelt on July 24 had uncovered “one handgun, a number of rifles and explosives” in an attic.

Jim Allister – ‘jumping the gun’

He claimed the cache also included T-shirts relating to Sinn Fein and the IRA, which he said “would certainly suggest [the weapons and explosives] belonged to mainstream republicans”.

He reiterated his claims earlier this week and challenged police to explain exactly what they had found during the search.

Police confirmed yesterday that “no explosives or automatic rifles were found on the property”.

A police spokesman criticised Mr Allister’s comments, branding them “unfounded” and “unhelpful” [**how about ‘LIES’?]

“Police deal in facts and evidence, not speculation, and where appropriate we will aim to provide the public with as much information as possible without jeopardising an ongoing investigation or future court proceedings,” he said.

By Allison Morris
Irish News
29/08/09

THE family of a Catholic man murdered by loyalist Brian Robinson just minutes before the killer was shot by an undercover British army unit have branded as ‘distasteful’ a mass band parade to be held in his honour.

Thousands of loyalists will take to the streets of west Belfast next Saturday to mark the 20th anniversary of the UVF killer’s death.

Ardoyne man Patrick McKenna (40) was shot 11 times as he walked along the Crumlin Road on September 2 1989 in a random sectarian attack carried out by Robinson.

PARAMILITARY PARADE: A flute band carrying UVF banners marches past a mural in Disraeli Street, Belfast which honours Brian Robinson. The UVF killer murdered Patrick McKenna in 1989 but was then thought to have been double-crossed by the UVF and shot dead by a British army officer. (Photo: Niall Carson)

Minutes later a motorbike that was carrying the gunman, being driven by a second UVF man Davy McCullough, was rammed off the road by a covert British army unit.

Robinson was shot twice in the back of the head by a female army operative in what was the only so-called shoot-to-kill incident involving a loyalist paramilitary.

When told of her son’s death Robinson’s mother Margaret suffered a heart attack and died. The two were buried on the same day.

It was later to emerge that a UVF agent had been part of the murder team, with allegations that Robinson had been set up by associates within the paramilitary organisation.

The annual band parade in his honour through the Shankill area has attracted criticism in the past because of its paramilitary trappings.

However, to mark the 20th annivesary of Robinson’s death the parade is expected to be twice its usual size. Up to 75 bands with 2,500 participants and several thousand supporters are expected at this year’s loyalist commemoration.

Speaking yesterday Gerard McKenna, a nephew of Patrick McKenna, said the continued glorification of the UVF killer 20 years after his death was in poor taste.

“To be honest I have no hard feelings against Brian Robinson. As far as I’m concerned he was a victim of the Troubles as well, a victim of the circumstances he was born into,” he said.

“What I can’t understand is why after it became clear that he had been set up by his own people in the UVF why his family continue to allow them to organise this parade year after year.

“It seems very hypocritical and it’s in very poor taste.

“I really don’t understand why his family would want any part of it. My uncle Paddy was a harmless fella. He liked his football and a bet and that was more or less it. He was no threat to anyone, a totally innocent victim.”

Mr McKenna said that the murder had a great effect on his father.

“Paddy’s murder affected him badly. He held his brother as he died, shot 11 times for no reason. It was very sad and very hard to see my father suffer like that,” he said.

Saturday 19 September 2009, Dublin

Indymedia.ie
30 Aug 2009

Hi!

–From ‘An tÉireannach Aontaithe – The United Irishman newspaper, November 1958

“One of the largest public rallies seen in Dublin for years was held by Sinn Féin at the GPO on the eve of the All-Ireland Football Final. Headed by a Colour Party and a pipe band, a parade of more than 2,000 people marched from Parnell Square through the main city thoroughfare as a protest against the continued unjust imprisonment of Irishmen without charge or trial.

Contingents from all over the country took part and many carried banners and placards including groups from England and Scotland. In the Ulster section was a strong representation of the Derry supporters who thronged the capital city for the Final. One placard they carried asked – ‘ Why are Six-County Nationalists interned in the Curragh…?’

The Annual Eve Of All-Ireland Rally will be held this year on Saturday 19th September: those attending are asked to assemble at the Garden of Remembrance in Parnell Square at 1.45pm from where the parade will leave for the GPO.

Thanks!

Sharon
1169 and Counting…

By Bernie Wright
Indymedia.ie
29 August 09

Whats behind kennel doors? — PANIC over Dog Breeding Regulations by those involved in hunting and other blood sports

Apparently the blood sports fraternity encompassing shooters, fox hunters, hare coursers and greyhound breeders are terrified of having their establishments checked by officials of the Dept of the Environment when the dog breeding regulations are incorporated into legislation shortly. The Hunting Association of Ireland can be heard saying the Minister is going to ‘hang hunting’.

The AOHS would like to know what have these people got to hide? What have blood sports enthusiasts got hidden in their kennels? Why has panic been whipped up as a response to a simple bill that will make regulations to control commercial dog Breeding establishments which are simply defined as anywhere that keeps five or more breeding female dogs. This will obviously include hunt kennels and others who breed dogs. It’s simple!

Transportation, kenneling, exporting and identification are all part and parcel of any industry involving large numbers of dogs. These are part of the proposed regulations. No breeder is alienated from these aspects of dog management.

• The Greyhound Industry breeds an estimated 30,000 dogs annually in Ireland, thousands of these are drugged, drowned, mutilated or just plain killed in knackeries when their running days are over. Dog pounds are dumping grounds for many of these straying animals. Many kennels have been uncovered with neglected dogs, and drugs also are a well documented aspect of the racing Industry. A greyhound that breaks a leg is usually killed behind the screen at the track. With this mentality towards dogs, government inspection and regulation is vital.

• Hunters discard or kill fox harriers and beagles that become no good for hunting and a well known vet in County Meath was recorded as saying he killed 30 hounds for each of two local hunts annually as routine. This makes a death toll of thousands due to hunting alone, considering there are hundreds of packs of hounds in every county in Ireland. Currently, no records are kept. No one check any aspect of hunting or kennelling. Hunting is totally self-regulatory.

• Shooters also engage in seasonal training of gun dogs and not all of these make the grade. Again many rescues can confirm the flow of strayed and malnourished ex-gun dogs especially In March each year, the end of the shooting season. Many of the shooters’ pedigree dogs suffer from mutilations like tail docking and being confined to trailers and from shooting accidents. These areas all need inspection and regulation as none exists at present.

• Muzzled coursing dogs fare no better with injuries sustained in the pursuit of hares. The Bill was originally called for as a response to dog breeding for the pet trade, the horrendous conditions that have been exposed again and again by authorities. Many of these kennels, being more exposed to outsiders, were discovered mainly by the public visiting to buy dogs.

‘The general public do not usually visit hunters, shooters, or greyhound breeders kennels so who knows what is behind kennel doors. By the reaction so far I fear a lot of abuses could be exposed by Inspectors, if not what is the panic all about?’

‘In a country with tens of thousands of dogs surplus, to demand these regulations is more vital now than ever before. To the hunt, racing and shooters’ fraternity, dogs are but a tool in their so called sport. These dogs in many cases are needed by hunters to kill other animals for sport and entertainment.

Logically,why would this fact alone not make regulations of their breeding establishments mandatory?’

The AOHS and anyone either working with rescued animals — or simply people with the welfare of animals at heart — will welcome these much-needed regulations. They have been long overdue. No exemptions to any breeders need apply.

Bernie Wright
Press Officer AOHS

Phone 087 2651720

• Mr Gormley, Minister for Environment, has power under Section 31 of the Control of Dogs Act 1986 to make regulations by way of Statutory Instrument. These of course would have to include a comprehensive set of statutorily enforceable standards for the operation of dog breeding establishments and provision and for inspections by local authority officers for transportation, export and identification.

Related Link: http://www.huntsabsireland.org

Independent.ie

The UDA’s most senior figure in Derry has told the organisation’s controlling inner council that he can’t deliver on weapons decommissioning.

Informed sources in the Londonderry/North Antrim UDA brigade say that Billy McFarland, who is known as the Mexican, travelled to Belfast a fortnight ago and confirmed to fellow UDA brigadiers that he couldn’t decommission the weapons under his control.

He is understood to have told Jackie McDonald and other senior figures in the organisation that the rank and file in his brigade were firmly opposed to decommissioning their arsenal.

This new WordPress location houses most everything I posted in the news during the years 2003-2006. I brought it over from the old Blogspot location as a back-up.

The current posts for SAOIRSE32 are here:

SAOIRSE32

There are many more links there as well. If you need any help, please email me.

EDIT: If there is anything specific you want to search for or save from the Blogsome site, please do so now as on 7 December 2011, Blogsome will be permanently closing its doors. I am a bit uncertain about the success I may have importing all 18,000 posts, and I’m not sure if all the posts are at the other 2 locations. :/

micheailin

(Image from Conánn FitzPatrick)
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Republic ‘faced a Bay of Pigs’ if Jack Lynch had sent in troops as Troubles erupted in 1969

Henry McDonald, Ireland Editor
The Observer
Sunday 30 August 2009

The BBC’s Belfast HQ and the city’s international airport were to be blown up as part of an Irish invasion in response to the eruption of the Troubles in Northern Ireland, a TV documentary reveals. But troops sent by the government in Dublin to take over Newry across the border would have been annihilated by the UK army responding to the invasion.

Although an incursion into Northern Ireland never happened in August 1969, the programme claims that forces inside Jack Lynch’s government tried to push for a military intervention. He came under tremendous pressure to respond militarily, especially from hardline nationalists inside his Fianna Fáil party. Des O’Malley, Lynch’s parliamentary secretary and later founder of the Progressive Democrats, said cabinet hard-liners such as Kevin Boland and Neil Blaney pushed for an armed invasion.

“Boland was the most vocal, and Blaney was not far behind him, I think…their attitude was that the Irish government should take a very belligerent stance,” O’Malley said. “They wanted overt military activity.”

Many unionists, including Northern Ireland’s prime minister, James Chichester-Clark, also thought the Irish army would try to seize nationalist majority towns such as Newry and the west bank of Derry. On the programme John Taylor, then junior home affairs minister and later deputy Ulster Unionist leader, says: “James Chichester-Clark believed that the Irish army was going to invade Northern Ireland. I was very anxious, very worried, because I knew it depended on me advising the prime minister to what exactly was going on.”

Taylor ordered the mobilisation of 8,000 part-time B Specials to repel a possible invasion. He claims Lynch’s TV broadcast on 13 August, warning the Republic would “not stand by” while northern nationalists were injured in clashes with the Stormont police force, only inflamed the situation. Now Lord Kilclooney, Taylor calls Lynch’s remark “one of the most irresponsible” in the past 40 years.

However, TK Whitaker, Lynch’s key adviser on Irish government policy on Northern Ireland in 1969, defends him, claiming that the taoiseach was unsure how his cabinet would vote.

“I think the challenge [for Lynch] was to dissuade the hotheads, the republicans in his cabinet, from insisting that we go to the aid… [of nationalists in Northern Ireland]. I think it was a very terrifying period for him because he knew that he couldn’t rely on support from major colleagues… It was hard to discern who was for peace and who was for invasion.”

Former Irish soldiers mobilised during the August 1969 crisis admit their equipment was obsolete and unable to match the British army’s. One retired Irish general, Vinnie Savinho, tells the documentary he was relieved that the invasion order was never handed down.

Military and political experts on the programme describe the idea for an invasion of the north as a potential “military fiasco” and “Ireland’s Bay of Pigs”. It would have also isolated Lynch’s government internationally and set back the Republic’s entry into the EEC.

The Boston Globe
August 29, 2009 02:58 PM

My name is Ted Kennedy Jr., a name I share with my son, a name I share with my father. Although it hasn’t been easy at times to live with this name, I’ve never been more proud of it than I am today.

Your eminence, thank you for being here. You grace us with your presence.

To all the musicians who’ve come here, my father loved the arts and he would be so pleased for your performances today.

My heart is filled — and I first want to say thank you — my heart is filled with appreciation and gratitude. To the people of Massachusetts, my father’s loyal staff — in many ways, my dad’s loss is just as great for them as it is for those of us in our family.

And to all of my father’s family and friends who have come to pay their respects, listening to people speak about how my father impacted their lives and the deep personal connection that people felt with my dad has been an overwhelming emotional experience.

My dad had the greatest friends in the world. All of you here are also my friends, and his greatest gift to me. I love you just as much as he did.

Sara Brown, the Taoiseach, President Obama, President Clinton, Secretary Clinton, President Bush, President Carter, you honor my family with your presence here today.

I remember how my dad would tell audiences years ago, “I don’t mind not being President, I just mind that someone else is.”

There is much to say, and much will be said, about Ted Kennedy the statesman, the master of the legislative process and bipartisan compromise, workhorse of the Senate, beacon of social justice and protector of the people.

There is also much to say and much will be said about my father the man. The storyteller, the lover of costume parties, a practical joker, the accomplished painter. He was a lover of everything French: cheese, wine, and women. He was a mountain climber, navigator, skipper, tactician, airplane pilot, rodeo rider, ski jumper, dog lover, and all around adventurer. Our family vacations left us all injured and exhausted.

He was a dinner table debater and devil’s advocate. He was an Irishman and a proud member of the Democratic Party.

Here’s one you may not know: Out of Harvard he was a Green Bay Packers recruit but decided to go to law school instead.

He was a devout Catholic whose faith helped him survive unbearable losses and whose teachings taught him that he had a moral obligation to help others in need.

He was not perfect, far from it. But my father believed in redemption and he never surrendered. Never stopped trying to right wrongs, be they the results of his own failings or of ours.

But today I’m simply compelled to remember Ted Kennedy as my father and my best friend. When I was 12 years old I was diagnosed with bone cancer and a few months after I lost my leg, there was a heavy snowfall over my childhood home outside of Washington D.C. My father went to the garage to get the old Flexible Flyer and asked me if I wanted to go sledding down the steep driveway. And I was trying to get used to my new artificial leg and the hill was covered with ice and snow and it wasn’t easy for me to walk. And the hill was very slick and as I struggled to walk, I slipped and I fell on the ice and I started to cry and I said “I can’t do this.” I said, “I’ll never be able to climb that hill.” And he lifted me in his strong, gentle arms and said something I’ll never forget. He said “I know you’ll do it, there is nothing you can’t do. We’re going to climb that hill together, even if it takes us all day.”

Sure enough, he held me around my waist and we slowly made it to the top, and, you know, at age 12 losing a leg pretty much seems like the end of the world, but as I climbed onto his back and we flew down the hill that day I knew he was right. I knew I was going to be OK. You see, my father taught me that even our most profound losses are survivable and it is what we do with that loss, our ability to transform it into a positive event, that is one of my father’s greatest lessons. He taught me that nothing is impossible.

During the summer months when I was growing up, my father would arrive late in the afternoon from Washington on Fridays and as soon as he got to Cape Cod, he would want to go straight out and practice sailing maneuvers . . . in anticipation of that weekend’s races.

And we’d be out late, and the sun would be setting, and family dinner would be getting cold, and we’d still be out there practicing our jibes and spinnaker sets long after everyone else had gone ashore. Well one night, not another boat in sight on the summer sea, I asked him, “Why are we always the last ones on the water?” Teddy, he said, “Well, you see, most of the other sailors we race against are smarter and more talented than we are. But the reason why we are going to win is that we are going to work harder than them and we will be better prepared.”

And he just wasn’t talking about boating. My father admired perseverance. My father believed that to do a job effectively required a tremendous amount of time and effort.

Dad instilled in me also the importance of history and biography. He loved Boston and the amazing writers, and philosophers, and politicians from Massachusetts. He took me and my cousins to the Old North Church, and to Walden Pond, and to the homes of Herman Melville and Nathaniel Hawthorne in the Berkshires. He thought that Massachusetts was the greatest place on earth. And he had letters from many of its former senators like Daniel Webster and John Quincy Adams hanging on his walls, inspired by things heroic.

He was a civil war buff. When we were growing up he would pack us all into his car or rented camper and we would travel around to all the great battlefields. I remember he would frequently meet with his friend Shelby Foot at a particular site on the anniversary of a historic battle, just so he could appreciate better what the soldiers must have experienced on that day.

He believed that in order to know what to do in the future, you had to understand the past. My father loved other old things. He loved his classic wooden schooner, the Mya, He loved lighthouses and his 1973 Pontiac convertible.

My father taught me to treat everyone I meet, no matter what station in life, with the same dignity and respect. He could be discussing arm control with the president at 3 p.m. and meeting with a union carpenter on fair wage legislation or a New Bedford fisherman on fisheries policy at 4:30.

I once told him that he accidentally left some money, I remember this when I was a little kid, on the sink in our hotel room. And he replied “Teddy, let me tell you something. Making beds all day is back breaking work. The woman who has to clean up after us today has a family to feed.”

And that’s just the kind of guy he was.

He answered Uncle Joe’s call to patriotism, Uncle Jack’s call to public service, and Bobby’s determination to seek a newer world. Unlike them, he lived to be a grandfather, and knowing what my cousins have been through I feel grateful that I have had my father as long as I did.

He even taught me some of life’s harder lessons, such as how to like Republicans. He once told me, he said, “Teddy, Republicans love this country just as much as I do.” I think that he felt like he had something in common with his Republican counterparts: the vagaries of public opinion, the constant scrutiny of the press, the endless campaigning for the next election, but most of all, the incredible shared sacrifice that being in public life demands. He understood the hardship that politics has on a family and the hard work and commitment that it requires.

He often brought his republican colleagues home for dinner and he believed in developing personal relationships and honoring differences. And one of the wonderful experiences that I will remember today is how many of his republican colleges are sitting here, right before him. That’s a true testament to the man. And he always told me that, “Always be ready to compromise but never compromise on your principles.” He was an idealist and a pragmatist. He was restless but patient.

When he learned that a survey of Republican senators named him the Democratic legislator that they most wanted to work with and that John McCain called him the single most effective member of the U.S. Senate, he was so proud because he considered the combination of accolades from your supporters and respect from your sometime political adversaries as one of the ultimate goals of a successful political life.

At the end of his life, my dad returned home. He died at the place he loved more than any other, Cape Cod. The last months of my dad’s life were not sad or terrifying, but filled with profound experiences, a series of moments more precious than I could have imagined. He taught me more about humility, vulnerability, and courage than he had taught me in my whole life.

Although he lived a full and complete life by any measure, the fact was he wasn’t done. He still had work to do. He was so proud of where we had recently come as a nation, and although I do grieve for might have been, for what he might have helped us accomplish, I pray today that we can set aside this sadness and instead celebrate all that he was, and did, and stood for. I will try to live up to the high standard that my father set for all of us when he said “The work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die.”

I love you dad and I always will. I miss you already.

(Image: C.J. Gunther/Getty)

By Diana Rusk
Irish News
28 August 2009

FIRING SQUAD: Fr Joe Mallin, right, in the yard at Kilmainham Jail where his father, Michael Mallin, second in command of the Irish Citizen Army, was killed by firing squad in 1916 after the Easter Rising. He is pictured with Fr Joe McVeigh (Photo: Oistin MacBride)

THE last surviving child of any of the leaders of the 1916 Easter Rising has returned to the spot where his father was executed.

Now a 96-year-old Catholic priest, Fr Joseph Mallin was just two years old when his father Michael was shot dead by a firing squad in the grounds of Dublin’s Kilmainham Jail.

He was accompanied to the prison – now a tourist attraction – with fellow priest Fr Joe McVeigh in a rare visit to Ireland from his home in Hong Kong.

Michael Mallin was the second-in-command of the socialist Irish Citizen Army under James Connolly and one of 15 rebel leaders executed in May 1916.

The father-of-four, whose wife was pregnant with a fifth child at the time, had occupied St Stephen’s Green with Countess Constance Markievicz.

Michael Mallin

Fr Mallin visited the spot in 2006 when he was at a wreath-laying ceremony with then taoiseach Bertie Ahern to mark the 90th anniversary of the rising.

Mr Ahern read an extract from the condemned prisoner’s last letter to his wife in which he forgave the police and soldiers.

In the letter, he had also written about his children: “Una, my little one, be a nun; Joseph, my little man, be a priest if you can”.

His children met his requests and Una Mallin became a member of the Loreto order in 1925 and lived her life in a Spanish convent, while Joseph Mallin became a Jesuit priest.

Fr McVeigh said it was the elderly priest’s first time visiting the scene since the 90th anniversary commemorations.

“He is not an emotional type of person and did not get emotional about his father’s execution,” he said.

“Instead he pointed out that the British were very foolish to execute them all.

“He reminisced about his family and of course he doesn’t remember very much about that time being only two and a half years of age although he told how he was brought to see his father the night before.

“It was amazing for me to visit the yard with him and the plaque with Michael Mallin’s name.

“It was very moving and the whole experience brought to life to me this living connection to a seminal time in Irish history.”

Fr McVeigh said the elderly priest was returning to Hong Kong this week but planned to visit Ireland again in four years for his 100th birthday.

By Maeve Connolly
Irish News
28/08/09

A PRO-CROMWELL historian from Co Louth has launched an attack on a Drogheda autumn school which will examine the aftermath of Oliver Cromwell’s 17th century invasion of Ireland.

Tom Reilly, who describes himself as a ‘Cromwell apologist’, argues that the English military leader did not kill Irish people, only soldiers.

He also claims that they did not send them as slaves to Barbados.

Mr Reilly has taken issue with the line-up of academics invited to address the annual John O’Reilly Autumn School.

INFAMOUS: Oliver Cromwell

There is a belief among historians that between 40,000 and 100,000 people were transported to North America and the West Indies to work on tobacco and sugar cane plantations.

Next month’s one-day ‘school’ is organised by the Old Drogheda Society.

It has ‘To hell or Barbados, the Cromwellian sack of Drogheda and its aftermath’ as its theme.

Cromwell’s army laid siege to the Co Louth town in 1649 and killed some 3,000 people who were fighting for the Catholic monarch King Charles I.

Mr Reilly has said it is an “an outrage” to suggest Drogheda citizens were among those executed or enslaved.

Writing in the Drogheda Independent newspaper Mr Reilly, who is the author of Cromwell – An Honourable Enemy, said historians of 17th century Ireland “sit in their ivory towers and patronise”.

Among those addressing the school is Dr Micheal O Siochru of Trinity College Dublin, author of God’s Executioner: Oliver Cromwell and the conquest of Ireland.

He is also the presenter of an RTE TV series of the same name.

Also included in the line-up for the school are Dr John Cunningham of NUIG and Dr Nini Rogers of Queen’s University Belfast.

Sean Corcoran, chair of the Old Drogheda Society, said Mr Reilly had declined an invitation to speak at the event.

By Marie Louise McCrory West Belfast Correspondent
Irish News
28/08/09

ALMOST 40 years after they were first erected to keep Catholics and Protestants apart a new ‘peaceline’ has been constructed in west Belfast.

Essentially an extension of one of the largest and longest barriers at the Springfield Road, the new section has been erected as a response to ongoing sectarian rioting and stone throwing.

The eight-foot-high steel fence, which was erected this week, runs between the Springfield and Ballygomartin Roads for approximately half-a-mile.

It is believed to be the first new peaceline since a barrier was put up in Ardoyne eight years ago following the Holy Cross dispute.

The Northern Ireland Office (NIO), which has responsibility for security matters, denied that the fencing is a new peaceline and described the work as “repair and maintenance”.

However, The Irish News understands that the decision to construct the fence was taken following a series of meetings between representatives from both communities and the NIO.

Despite concerted efforts by community workers, the area has become a hotspot for spontaneous sectarian rioting in recent years, with one young man suffering serious injuries at the interface in April.

While a number of other solutions were pursued a decision to erect a new fence was taken.

The new barrier comes just days after departing police chief constable Sir Hugh Orde called on politicians and others to do more to bring the two communities together.

“There are real issues, social issues, that need to be addressed by all communities and all institutions if we are to move on and understand why people just still don’t get on in the routine of their daily lives. Why we still have segregated communities, why we still have peace walls,” he said.

A resident said the area around the new peaceline had long suffered tensions.

“This year it kicked off in April when groups of youths from both sides were attacking each other,” he said.

“Community workers and the PSNI were on the scene every night trying to restore calm but it was only a matter of time before someone got hurt.

“People on both sides were trying to come up with a solution but in the end it seems the peace wall has had to be extended.”

“It is quite sad for this to go up but it will protect people on both sides.”

An NIO spokeswoman said: “The NIO is in regular contact with both sides of the community.

“Any work being done is purely repair and maintaining the existing fences.”

Derry Journal
28 August 2009

The Sinn Fein chairperson of Limavady District Policing Partnership (DPP) was heckled by dissident republican protesters as she hosted a meeting of the body in Dungiven this week.

It was the first time Limavady DPP held a public meeting in Dungiven and, according to the dozen or so Republican Sinn Fein protesters, it should never have been held there.

Despite a brief protest by a small number of hardline republicans, the meeting at the sports pavilion went ahead as scheduled. The protesters say they achieved what they set out to do: “making sure the “RUC/PSNI” know they are not welcome in Dungiven.”

As DPP Chairperson and Sinn Fein councillor Brenda Chivers opened the meeting protesters streamed into the hall, forming a line at the back. Each time she addressed attendees, protesters blasted chants of “SS RUC”, “traitor” and “British Sinn Fein”.

When Colr. Chivers invited protesters to participate in the meeting they shouted: “You’re all touts. It’s a disgrace.”

A police officer videoed the five to 10-minute protest before the dissidents filed out of the hall.

Chairman of Republican Sinn Fein in Dungiven, Michael McGonigle said the short protest was effective.

“We made our point. I’m only interested in a 32-county All Ireland police force. I have no time for the RUC/PSNI. They’re not doing their job here in Dungiven and we don’t want these meetings in Dungiven. As far as Republican Sinn Fein are concerned they are not welcome here. Take the meeting to Limavady and keep it there.”

Colr. Chivers said the dissidents were entitled to protest and said holding the meeting in Dungiven was in response to local concerns.

“They had their protest and that was it. They are entitled to do that,” she told the ‘Journal’. “If the protesters have concerns about the PSNI they should come in and let us know and let the PSNI know how they can make it a better community for everyone.”

She added: “There are a lot of issues in Dungiven that people want to speak to police about and I think that was reflected by the number of people here tonight.”

East Derry Sinn Fein MLA Francie Brolly said what struck him was the youth of most of the protesters.

“I’m just wondering if they understand where we have been and where we have got to. I doubt if they do and I think they would be well advised to sit down with someone like myself and ask ‘Where are we going?’ What are we doing? Do we need police and how different is this police force from the RUC?’ All these questions would ease their minds about whatever difficulty they have.”

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