March 31, 2004

South-east and midlands are new poorest regions

The counties of the midlands and the south-east are now the most disadvantaged areas in the 26 Counties, with household income in the midlands and south-east below 85 per cent of the national average for household income.

Sectarian attacks continue

Tension has risen in north Belfast after a series of loyalist attacks.


An Irish parliamentary committee has called for another investigation by an international judge on the 1974 Dublin and Monaghan bombings after it concluded hearings on a previous inquiry by Ireland's Justice Barron.

British Military Intelligence - Double edged sword

An extract from Bombed and Abandoned - The experience of the bereaved and maimed of the Dublin and Monaghan Bombings, originally published in 1999.

Review becoming a `farce' - Adams

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams has described the review of the Good Friday Agreement review as ``now little more than a farce'' after the British and Irish governments cancelled talks for two weeks.

Republican Fianna Fáil?

Fianna Fáil has denied a report that it has dropped `the Republican Party' as part of its name.

Pressure for uncensored Cory report

The families of four people killed with the collusion of the British state have received their copies of the Cory Report into the killings.

Government has failed ex-prisoners

So far this has proved barren ground but it's worth turning it over every few months because eventually it's going to bear fruit. It's one of the many aspects of the Good Friday Agreement which the two governments have not implemented. The difference with this one is that while Dublin and London either lie or puff out a smokescreen to cover their failures in, for example, equality and human rights here, on the issue of former prisoners they remain silent.

March 29, 2004

Unionists refuse to lower flag at City Hall

Sinn Féin has threatened court action after unionists dismissed a legal warning about the permanent flying of the Union Jack flag at Belfast City Hall.

Trimble strengthens hold on UUP leadership

Ulster Unionist party leader David Trimble won 60 per cent of the vote in the latest leadership contest for the still-divided party on Saturday.

Smoking ban divides Ireland

Irish culture underwent a culture shock today as a complete ban on smoking in pubs, restaurants and other workplaces came into force.

Human Rights Commission chief to quit

The head of the scandal-plagued Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission has confirmed he is to leave the post.


A new leader of the unionist paramilitary UVF is suspected of ordering last week's murder of Andrew Cully in County Down.


You'll often hear it said by people, even those without a word of Irish, that TG4 produces some fabulous television programmes. On Saturday night past we saw one of those programmes screened as part of the Belfast Film Festival.

Death of Harold Gracey

Harold Gracey, the Portadown Orange leader during the Drumcree disputes, has died following a long illness.

SF response to US envoy

Sinn Féin has revealed its response to criticism by US envoy Mitchell Reiss of its New York Times advertisment on policing in the North of Ireland.

The following, taken from an IAIS report, contains the points made in the NY Times advertisement in quotes, followed by Sinn Féin's defense of their claim.

March 26, 2004

UUP defections predicted if Trimble stays

The Ulster Unionist Party could face `meltdown' if, as expected, party leader David Trimble comfortably defeats a challenge to his leadership tomorrow.

Irish-America blasts `undiplomatic' Reiss

Irish-American groups in the US have attacked US envoy to Ireland Mitchell Reiss over his accusation that Sinn Féin told ``massive untruths'' in a New York Times advertisement about policing.

Real IRA case collapses

The trial of four men charged with membership of the breakaway `Real IRA' has collapsed after documents were mislaid by a senior garda police detective.

IRA disbandment possible despite loyalist violence - SF

The IRA will cease to exist if there is an ``irreversible'' political process in the North, a Sinn Féin source has said.


Five tonnes of weapons-grade plutonium and thousands of gallons of contaminated sludge have been discovered at the bottom of a pond at Sellafield, Britain's nuclear waste treatment facility.

Irish, in the wrong place, at the wrong time

By Breandán Morley (for the Blanket)

Amidst the current focus on the continued activities of paramilitaries in Northern Ireland, I recently had a very personal experience of the extent to which the British police remain unaffected by the peace process when dealing with Irish people travelling to the UK.

Loyalists may have planned festival carnage

A car bomb abandoned by unionist paramilitaries near Belfast city centre last week was destined for the city's St Patrick's Day carnival, it is believed.

Awaiting `No' to planned breach of Agreement

By Eamonn McCann

Could it be racism which has discouraged northern outrage at the plans of the Dublin Government to change the Belfast Agreement without consultation with parties in Northern Ireland?

March 24, 2004

Justice seen possible in Glengormley

Two men have been convicted for the brutal sectarian murder in 2001 of Glengormley man Trevor Lowry, who was killed because he was mistaken for a Catholic.


The PSNI police chief, Hugh Orde, has infuriated nationalists by insisting that the mainstream IRA must permanently disband before any moves are made to reduce the British military garrison in Ireland.

Ireland and post-colonial theory

Edited by Clare Carroll and Patricia King
Cork University Press, 2003

Postcolonial theory has recently emerged as one of the most influential modes of socio-cultural analysis currently shaping Irish studies. It is a school of thought inspired largely by the work of Edward Said, Frantz Fanon, and Indian Subaltern Studies. The ``post'' means ``since colonialism began'' rather than ``after colonialism ended''.

British spin on Cory dismissed

Speculation that four reports on collusion by the British forces in murders in the North of Ireland will be published on April 1st has been described as a premature April Fool's Day joke.

Colombia VP `has no understanding of human rights'

The international observers who travelled to Colombia to observe the trial of the three Irishmen currently detained in Colombia met with Colombian Vice President Francisco Santos in Dublin on Tuesday.

`Casement Three' man faces deportation from U.S

One of the men known as the `Casement Three', jailed for alleged involvement in the 1998 killing of two British soldiers, faces deportation to Belfast despite being freed under the 1998 Good Friday Agreement.

British spy seeks asylum in U.S.

A British Army agent threatened with jail for his allegations of Crown force collusion is seeking political asylum in the United States.

Government `vocabulary' must change

By now you'll have read the studiously bland communique from Hillsborough that Irish and British officials agreed before Bertie Ahern and Tony Blair met yesterday.

March 22, 2004

Pawn stalks for knight in latest UUP intrigue

An apparent `stalking-horse' has emerged in the bid to oust David Trimble from the leadership of the Ulster Unionist Party.

Sinn Féin must reconsider PSNI - Reiss

George Bush's new envoy to Ireland has clashed with Sinn Féin over the party's refusal to support the PSNI policing in the North.

No conviction over potential UVF atrocity

The only person charged in connection with an attempted mass murder at a busy fair in County Antrim was acquitted yesterday.

John Kerry blasts British failure on Cory reports

United States presidential candidate John Kerry and six other leading U.S. senators have demanded Tony Blair immediately disclose the long-awaited Cory reports on allegations of collusion by the British government in four notorious murders in the North of Ireland.

Hamill case struck out

The family of murdered Portadown Catholic Robert Hamill have expressed shock and anger after charges relating to an alleged attempted cover-up were suddenly withdrawn on Friday.


A series of meetings are to take place tomorrow in Belfast in the latest attempt to resuscitate the peace process in the North of Ireland.

Tongue of my father

Dhúchas. This word is frequently translated into English as heritage. A word that is full of death and stasis. But to an Irish speaker, it means one's native place, a shared tradition, a collective soul, a kindred affection, a natural affinity.

145 Divis Street

IT wasn't supposed to be like this, thought one of Ian Paisley's lieutenants as he looked out across the front lawn of the City Hall. Above him the Union Jack flew, but before his eyes were thousands of St Patrick's Day revellers; dancing and singing; children on their fathers' shoulders applauding Girls Aloud. A sea of green - but worst still were flags coloured green, white and orange: the hated Tricolour. What had gone wrong?

March 19, 2004

Workers intimidated for assisting Catholics

Protestant workers at a County Antrim company are being intimidated by unionist paramilitaries for offering lifts to Catholic colleagues.

St Patrick's Day events targeted

A largely successful St Patrick's Day festival was marked with a bomb alert in University Street in Belfast.

McGuinness denies Scappaticci allegations

Sinn Fein's chief negotiator Martin McGuinness has denied allegations by Alfredo Scappaticci, the west Belfast man who has denied that he is the IRA informer known as ``Stakeknife''.

Man held over 1992 INLA killing

A man accused of the murder of a British soldier killed in Derby in 1992 is today being held without bail in England.


In a week in which key Irish politicians visited the United States to continue talks in Washington on St Patrick's Day, a prominent newspaper advertisement placed by Sinn Fein drew attention to the continuing failure to enact policing reform in the North of Ireland.

St Patrick's Day messages

The annual St Patrick's Day message by the Irish President, Mary McAleese.

Terrorism Defined and Exemplified

The web site for the Christian Science Monitor ( provides a very instructive tutorial on terrorism. Strangely enough, it begins with a photo of Irish revolutionary leader, Michael Collins, and this voiceover:

Ahern criticised over shamrock exchangr

Irish peace campaigners have condemned the Irish Prime Minister over his traditional Saint Patrick's Day meeting with the U.S. President amid increasing opposition in Ireland to the war in Iraq.

March 10, 2004

Referendum on Irish citizenship announced

The Dublin government is to hold a constitutional referendum to remove the right to Irish citizenship for all children born on the island of Ireland.

John Taylor retiring from politics

Former Ulster Unionist MP John Taylor announced yesterday that he intends to retire from active politics.


Two thirds of Chinese families have been forced out of a south Belfast neighbourhood where unionist racists have mounted a hate campaign, it has emerged.

Belfast Patrick's Day carnival

Support is being urged for the Belfast's St Patrick's Day carnival after a major source of funding has been cut off by the North's Government-funded events body.

DPP member targeted by dissident device

The breakaway `Real IRA' has been blamed for a letter bomb attack on the home of a member of a local policing board in Strabane, County Tyrone.

Last submissions to committee on Barron report

Lawyers representing those injured and bereaved by the 1974 Dublin and Monaghan bombings made their final submission yesterday to a Dublin parliamentary committee, which is considering the findings of the Barron Report on the attacks.

Blame the Provos, not us - Murphy

British Direct Ruler Paul Murphy was today challenged to a public debate with Sinn Féin about paramilitary activity as talks on the non-implementation of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement were cancelled.

Kerry takes `line' on Cory from Kennedy

If John Kerry does succeed in becoming the 44th President of the United States, there will be a Kennedy standing close by him on the inauguration stand next January.

March 8, 2004

UUP leadership drama goes on

Ulster Unionist Party leader David Trimble has survived a vote on a letter criticising his leadership, with 11 of the party's Assembly members voting against him.

Surfers shocked as chopper crash-lands

An British Army helicopter came down on a crowded beach in County Antrim on Saturday after a suspected engine fire.

Sectarian attacks follow Celtic success

Houses and cars of Catholic residents in north Belfast were attacked last night in disturbances linked to a soccer match in Glasgow.

Man charged after PSNI harassment

The owner of a Bed & Breakfast on Antrim Road in north Belfast said he could not believe that he was being prosecuted after PSNI intimidated and harassed him in his own home.


An escalating dispute between Sinn Féin and the Dublin government is threatening the already weakened peace process.

Finucane widow wins right to demand inquiry

The widow of murdered Belfast defence lawyer Pat Finucane has been granted permission to challenge the British government's failure to set up a public inquiry into the killing.

Happy birthday, Bobby


Bobby Sands could have stepped aside.

Big EU is watching you

The Blair's government's decision to make citizens of Britain carry ID cards is unnecessary and outrageous. It should induce democrats and everyone concerned about civil liberties to contact their MPs and tell them on no account to support it.

March 5, 2004

UDA blamed for threat to housing workers

Home repair workers in north Belfast have walked out after unionist paramilitary threats to staff. The threats were made in an attempt to force the housing authority to allocate properties to certain individuals.

Summit planned as Ahern demands end to violence

The British Prime Minister Tony Blair, and the Irish Prime Minister, An Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern are to hold talks on the worsening political situation in the North before St Patrick's Day, it has emerged.


Dramatic allegations of corruption and blackmail are being made against members of the governing Fianna Fil party at the Mahon Tribunal in Dublin.

Naming Bobby Sands Street

Shortly after revolution of 1979, Iranians were busy changing names. Names of thousands of streets, buildings and even cities that had been named after the Shah, his family or others close to the former regime needed to be changed and replaced by new idols and symbols of the revolution. Perhaps the most prominent was Tehran's major thoroughfare going from Pahlavi St. to be named after regime's renowned adversary, Dr. Mohammad Mossadegh.

Sinn Féin criticised by IRA veteran

A storm has arisen after IRA veteran and former Sinn Féin assembly member John Kelly criticised the actions of some in the party who he said had attempted to silence and sideline him.

Families accuse committee of 'breach of faith'

Relatives of the 1974 Dublin and Monaghan bomb victims were on the verge of walking out of a committee investigating the attacks on Wednesday night after what they said was an incredible breach of faith.

Canada excludes former political prisoners

Academics in Canada are questioning why that country denied entry to five Irish activists jailed as political prisoners after they were invited to talk about the peace process at the University of Ottawa and Concordia University this month.

Turned to the IRA

When Tony Blair was expressing outrage that he was being spied on by republicans (remember, IRA Spy-Ring at the heart of government?) there he was, according to Clare Short, cheerily spying away at the heart of international government.

March 3, 2004

`Stakeknife' case adjourned after mystery appeal

A High Court action by the man who denies he was the British spy `Stakeknife' was adjourned in unusual circumstances yesterday.

British Army occupation continues in South Armagh

An increased level of British army activity in south Armagh and the continuing refurbishment of military bases has angered residents who continue to live in the most militarised area in western Europe.


The crisis in the political process has deepened following the withdrawal of Ulster Unionist leader David Trimble from the formal review of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement in Belfast.

Evidence of collusion demands public inquiry

The Justice for the Forgotten group writes that a public tribunal into the 1974 bombings in Dublin and Monaghan is essential following the evidence of collusion by British forces and Garda police in the attacks presneted at parliamentary hearings in Dublin.

Ahern appoints quango to oversee e-vote

The Irish Prime Minister, Bertie Ahern came under strong presure from the opposition parties over his government's electronic voting plans in the Dail today.

Hearings told of Cabinet fears, secret sub-committee

The final hearings before the Dublin parliamentary committee on the Barron report into the 1974 Dublin and Monaghan bombings took place today at Leinster House.

Tragic death of sports hero

The sudden death of one of Gaelic football's brightest stars, Tyrone's Cormac McAnallen, has shocked his native county and the country as a whole.

The path of least resistance

The default position of the British administration here is the status quo. Put another way, that means when faced with any opposition or even controversy about a policy issue, their proconsul chooses the way of least resistance. In short, he does nothing. The default position should be the opposite.

March 1, 2004

Segregation at Maghaberry prison underway

Moves to permanently segregate loyalist and Republican prisoners in Maghaberry jail are starting today.


Amid ongoing turbulence in the peace process, Sinn Féin held a confident annual conference at the weekend, defiantly attacking the two governments and the unionist parties for their failure to secure the peace in the North.

Death of Ciaran Mac An Aili

Former Sinn Féin assembly member John Kelly has led tributes to what he described as the ``driving force'' of the civil rights movement, Ciaran Mac An Aili (McAnally), who died in Dublin last week.

Bush to visit Ireland

Anti-war activists say they will mount a massive protest for the visit of US President George W Bush to Ireland in June, which was announced last week.

British legal manouevre delays Cory ruling

The British government today succeeded in delaying court action which aims to force it to publish reports on murders in which it is accused of playing a role.

Five Men in a Van

One night last week gangs of men went into Cliftonpark Avenue, Cliftondene Gardens and Ciftondene Crescent in North Belfast and attacked seven homes: four with bricks and paint bombs and three with petrol bombs. In Clifton Park Avenue, among the petrol-bombers' targets were a four-month-old baby and her 18-month-old sister, Caitlin Morgan.

Adams was in IRA - Ahern

Bertie Ahern has directly disputed Gerry Adams's claim never to have been in the IRA.

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