[Irish Republican News]
[Irish Republican News]


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IMC reports again

The third report of the Independent Monitoring Commission has been dismissed by Irish republicans.

Published November 5, 2004

Inquest hears of act of heroism

An IRA Volunteer guarding a republican social function at the Widow Scallan’s pub in Dublin was shot dead while trying to fend off a unionist paramilitary bomb attack, an inquest has heard.

Published November 5, 2004

Plan for inclusive remembrance ceremony

Councils across the Six Counties are to be called upon to back a controversial new remembrance day for all those killed in conflict in the North.

Published November 5, 2004

Direct rulers seem awfully camera shy

Sunday week ago on Diarmaid Ferriter’s RTE radio programme What If?, journalists Fintan O’Toole and John Waters discussed the question, what if there had been no Magill magazine?

Published November 5, 2004

Hail to the chief - Ahern

By Brian Feeney (for the Irish News)

Sunday week ago on Diarmaid Ferriter’s RTE radio programme What If?, journalists Fintan O’Toole and John Waters discussed the question, what if there had been no Magill magazine?

Very quickly the discussion came to focus on Vincent Browne, the brains and driving force behind Magill in the eighties and the role he has played and continues to play in Irish journalism.

The participants came to the conclusion that the Irish media ‘grew up’ in the eighties.

Their evidence for their conclusion was that the eighties were the time when journalists stopped being deferential to politicians and it was Browne who played a major part in ending deference and obsequiousness.

Browne’s refusal to give politicians an easy ride did not enjoy universal support. The example was cited of an election press conference called by Charlie Haughey where Browne repeatedly asked, “Where do you get your money from Mr Haughey? What is the source of your money?” Eventually other journalists present shouted at him to shut up. For them Haughey’s suspected corruption was not an issue.

They were happy to let Haughey control the press conference.

Browne wasn’t alone, however. Others were mentioned on the programme, like John Bowman who reminded a politician at a press conference that he was there to answer questions, indeed that as a politician he was obliged to answer questions - that was why he had put himself in front of the media.

What a contrast with here. When was the last time you saw our proconsul on UTV Live or BBC Newsline? Not on a video clip burbling from behind a lectern after some meeting with the Taoiseach or Dermot Ahern, or in a pre-recorded interview but in the studio, live, defending his lack of strategy, his pointless, hand-to-mouth stunts like meeting the UDA, his child-like trust in his officials’ belief that he can substitute activity for action.

Evidently he can and get away with it too, for no one can get him into a studio to explain himself.

Normally you couldn’t beat politicians out of a TV studio but not our direct rulers. It’s true there are no votes here for them and that, apart from the dreadful Spellar, they would be worried to parade their ignorance of local matters, perhaps name the wrong town, perhaps be unable to pronounce the right town.

Even so, as politicians they are obliged to explain themselves to people here. They don’t and are allowed a free ride.

Don’t let’s hear any nonsense about Norn Irn question time in the House of Commons either.

Oral questions on any topic in the British or Irish parliamentary system are a conspiracy by civil servants and ministers not to answer any questions. Besides, unionist MPs - and apart from Eddie McGrady it’s they who mainly ask questions - are more concerned with scoring points against each other than extracting straight answers from direct rulers.

The absurd position we’ve reached is that if BBCNI or UTV want to present information about the current state of play they have to interview Barney Rowan or Ken Reid to tell the viewers/listeners what’s going on and they do a better job of explaining than our proconsul. When was the last time you heard the anchor person say, as you hear on the Today Programme or Newsnight, “We asked for a minister to come on to respond to these points but the NIO would not put one up”?

Our present political impasse is a case in point. The NIO keeps setting so-called deadlines which the parties correctly and blithely ignore. Halloween was the last one. Now it’s November 25. How do we know? The Taoiseach told journalists in Rome last week.

Why November 25? It’s the anniversary of last year’s assembly elections. It is not: that’s November 26. Have you any idea why there should be a deal on or before November 25 rather than say November 30 or December 1? Who picked the date? Why? Why does no one ask our proconsul?

Too cosy with him, that’s why. The fantasy that our proconsul is a friend. Too many matey nods and winks instead of hard questions and sharp criticism of his obvious shortcomings, his complete failure as minister responsible, to make political progress in the last year. Worry that the next time they ask, the NIO will refuse to cooperate with a press conference or a briefing. Who cares when the press conferences and briefings are useless anyway?

The truth is the media, and therefore the public, have been excluded from inter-party negotiations for the last year.

It’s our proconsul’s fault for keeping everything under wraps and of our local parties for complying with his secrecy but it’s the fault of the media for letting them. Too much deference you see. Time to grow up.

Published November 5, 2004

CIRA death threat

The Continuity IRA ha expressed regret that it had not killed a west Belfast man it kidnapped last month.

Published November 5, 2004

Governments must call it

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams MP says the British and Irish governments should look to “formal institutionalised power-sharing at governmental level” if the peace process continues to be frustrated by hardline unionists.

He made the comments in an address to a fundraising dinner in New York.

Published November 5, 2004


The Irish Prime Minister, Bertie Ahern, has warned there are only 20 days left to break the current impasse in the North’s peace process or else it is in danger of “drifting out”.

Published November 2, 2004

PSNI harassment follows mother’s death

The PSNI police has been criticised for raiding the home of a north Belfast family as it was grieving the loss of their mother to cancer.

Published November 2, 2004

SF leaders to visit US, Auschwitz

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams MP will travel to the US for six days later this week where he will meet with senior Congress members, Senators and Governors and with Irish American organisations to update them on the ongoing efforts to end the impasse in the peace process.

Published November 2, 2004

No Justice in County Clare

By Harry Browne (for Counterpunch)

Peace activist Mary Kelly has been convicted of criminal damage to a US Navy 737 at Ireland’s Shannon Airport -- after the jury wasn’t allowed to hear evidence that she carried out her act “with lawful excuse”. Sentencing has been deferred for a week.

Published November 2, 2004

Bizarre twist in Olympic scandal

A break-in at the headquarters of of the Equestrian Federation of Ireland has followed the reported theft of part of a dope test of the horse ridden to an Olympic gold medal by Ireland’s only Athens medallist, Cian O’Connor.

Published November 2, 2004

British hold talks with UDA

British Direct Ruler Paul Murphy today met representatives of the unionist paramilitary UDA today in a bid to re-engage the violent pro-British organisation in the peace process.

Published November 2, 2004

The Good Citizen

By Danny Morrison

Today, voters in the USA go to the polls.

Published November 2, 2004

Finucane family meets Blair

British Prime Minister Tony Blair faced met the family of Pat Finucane to discuss the terms of reference for an inquiry into the controversial 1989 murder of the Belfast defence lawyer.

Published November 2, 2004

Ahern signs Euro constitution, launches referendum

The signing of the European Constitution in Rome today has brought a mixed reaction in Ireland, where it will be put before the people in a referendum within the next two years.

Published October 29, 2004

Unionists falling into the minority

By Brian Feeney (for the Irish News)

The leaks about the reform of local administration here are coming thick and fast. Let's hope most of them are correct. Why do we need more than one Education and Library Board? Come to think of it, why do we need any Education and Library Boards when there are two departments of education up at Stormont, the Department of Education, DENI, and the Department of Employment & Learning, DELNI, with thousands of civil servants staffing them?

Published October 29, 2004

Dissidents blamed for gun attack

Republican hardliners have been blamed for a gun attack on a County Antrim PSNI police base.

Published October 29, 2004

Irish immigrants threatened by US bill

A group of leading Irish Americans has issued a joint letter of protest concerning the plight of Irish immigrants living in the United States.

The letter -- a response to the ill-treatment of Irish immigrants following a change of security laws -- has been sent to representatives in both legislative houses, the Senate and Congress. It is published below.

Published October 29, 2004


The British and Irish governments may decide soon to present a document to end the stalemate in talks about restoring power-sharing political institutions in Belfast.

Published October 29, 2004


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