[Irish Republican News]
[Irish Republican News]

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Talks continue to restore Assembly

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams and Ulster Unionist leader David Trimble are meeting again today as part of a `network' of exchanges aimed at reviving the Good Friday Agreement.

Published September 25, 2003



Twelve arrests after huge bin tax protest

A crowd of up to five thousand marched on Mountjoy Prison last night demanding the release of the jailed TD, Joe Higgins, and his colleague, Clare Daly.

Published September 23, 2003



Play the European card

By Fr Des Wilson

It is difficult to see how democratic people can make any further concessions to the British government or its Irish representatives.

Published September 23, 2003



The Armed Peace

The Armed Peace - Life and death after the Ceasefires
By Brian `Barney' Rowan
Mainstream Publishing
£15.99 h/b

Of all the possible titles that Barney Rowan could have chosen for his second book about the peace process, `The Armed Peace: Life and death after the Cease-fires', the phrase, `armed peace' is a good summary of what exists in the Six Counties today.

Published September 23, 2003



10-day-old child caught in petrol bomb attack

A 10-day-old child escaped injury at the weekend after the homes of four Catholic families in Newtownabbey were petrol bombed.

Published September 23, 2003



Election tension mounts as talks continue

Politicians in the North of Ireland are bracing themselves for an election as the search continues in Belfast for a breakthrough to revive the 1998 Good Friday Agreement.

Published September 23, 2003



Interview with Caitriona Ruane

Caitriona Ruane of the Bring Them Home Campaign works on behalf of the Colombia 3, three Irishmen held in jail for over three years while on trial for aiding rebels in Colombia's civil war.

Published September 23, 2003



Schools targeted for sectarian attack

A fire which has devastated an Irish Language pre-school in Belfast is the latest in an escalating series of sectarian attacks on schools across the North of Ireland.

Published September 23, 2003



Killer British soldier promoted during investigation

Britain's Armed Forces Minister, Adam Ingram, has admitted that one of two soldiers convicted of the murder of Belfast teenager Peter McBride was promoted while an Army Board was still said to be considering the dismissal of the soldiers from the military.

Published September 23, 2003



Attorney General calls for Finucane inquiry

The 26-County attorney general, Rory Brady, has told a lawyers' conference in the United States that it would be "inconceivable" if the British government did not institute a public judicial inquiry into the assassination of Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane.

Published September 21, 2003



Speculation mounts on new peace deal

Adams seeks `inclusive' united Ireland

A dramatic political breakthrough in the North could be imminent as Sinn Féin and representatives of the Irish and British governments are engaged in a series of meetings this weekend.

Published September 21, 2003



How high are the flames?

If the images of unionist protest outside Carnmoney cemetery can tell us one thing it's this; anti-Catholic bigotry is not confined to the UDA and UVF paramilitaries. In the Irish News, the photographs show two inoffensive elderly Catholic women, one carrying an offering of flowers, being confronted by unionist protestors.

Published September 21, 2003



Joyful commemoration of famous jail-break

Senior republicans joined at the weekend to commemorate one of the most famous events of the conflict, the 1983 escape from the H-Blocks of Long Kesh.

Published September 21, 2003



Keeping their names ever green

Senior republicans joined at the weekend to commemorate one of the most famous events of the conflict, the 1983 escape from the H-Blocks of Long Kesh. On Friday night in Letterkenny, Gerry Kelly, Bobby Storey and Brendan ``Bik'' McFarlane reconstructed Europe's biggest jail break since the second world war in a gathering of over a thousand republicans.

On September 25, 1983, IRA PoWs took over a block in the H-Blocks and held it for nearly two hours, allowing 38 prisoners to escape.

The reconstruction involved video screens, maps and photographs, and anecdotal personal accounts of participants.

In typical republican style, black humour was the order of the day. But the importance of the escape, following the loss of ten republicans in the 1981 humger strikes, was lost on no-one.

There was a particular tribute to those who assisted the escape but who stayed behind and did not participate. ``They are the forgotten ones but they all played a part just as much as we did," said Bobby Storey.

The escape plan depended on the use of a `hobby' shop, where the prisoners were allowed to make harps and other craft items to sell on the outside.

One prisoner was told to make a wooden gun with a wooden silencer. ``Of course, it wooden work,'' said Storey. But the gun did play an important role, he pointed out, as Kelly wielded it to gain control of the van that would be used for the escape.

The planning was ad hoc, he said. Those chosen to escape were not even told until just beforehand. The prisoners identified the wardens who would be on duty on the morning of the escape so the uniforms they took off them would fit. The escape began at a signal from Storey.

``There were 30 of us on the block and only three of them, so that part was easy. We told them they were under arrest and we took it from there,'' he said.

Storey described how the prisoners gained control of a tally lodge just 30ft away from a British Army watchtower. A soldier looked on as the prisoners fought with wardens who had just come on duty.

``He must have been the stupidest of all the Brits they ever sent over here,'' Storey joked. ``He thought we were arguing about a football match or something.''

The screen behind the stage, which had been showing diagrams of the prison, switched to images of farmhouses and rivers as it was explained that although 19 prisoners were immediately recaptured, others escaped across fields.

``We were lying in a drain. Someone had seen us and there were RUC and army everywhere,'' Storey said. ``They were so close we could hear them talking. One said, `If I ever get my hands on Storey, I'll kill him' so it wasn't a great incentive to give myself up.

``Eventually they spotted us and ordered us out. It was the Lagan for God's sake and we couldn't swim so that was the scariest bit of the whole lot.''

Storey was pragmatic about the prisoners' motivation for the escape. ``I would love to say we realised its political significance but really all we were looking for was to get back to the struggle,'' he said.

The trio finished by thanking everyone connected with the escape, and there were presentations to the relatives of those who had died.

Published September 21, 2003



'Lost decade' for tackling poverty

A new Combat Poverty report published this week by Trinity College Dublin academic Virpi Timonen shows that we have a "low tax, low spend" policy when it comes to tackling poverty and disadvantage in Ireland. It means that the chances of redistributing wealth from the rich to the poor in Ireland are "relatively low".

Published September 21, 2003



Soldiers hostile to Bloody Sunday questions

The Bloody Sunday inquiry heard evidence last week from the soldier in command of the unit believed to have been responsible for killing up to eleven people on Bloody Sunday and wounding a further seven.

Published September 21, 2003



TD jailed after bin charge protest

An Irish parliamentarian has been jailed for a month over the escalating protests against the bin tax in Dublin.

Published September 21, 2003



Seanad reform proposals debated

The upper house of the Dublin parliament is undemocratic and elitist, according to Sinn Fein's leader in the Dail [the parliament's lower house] has claimed.

Published September 18, 2003



Direct rule a disaster

Direct Rule is a disaster - we have part time Direct Rule Ministers with remits over multiple departmental responsibilities and have neither the time, even if they possessed the hunger, to bring forward major initiatives to better the lot of people here. Apart from attempting to use the absence of the Assembly to push Water Charges and other revenue raising measures for the Exchequer, no one can be in any doubt that the Direct Rule Ministers are merely going through the motions.

Published September 18, 2003



British govenment to defy document ruling

The British government and the PSNI police are set to defy a coroner's ruling that they hand over unedited documentation relating to the killings of ten County Tyrone nationalists during the 1990s. After a delay of two years and 12 preliminary hearings, when the British Ministry of Defence (MoD) and the PSNI refused to produce all relevant material, coroner Roger McLernon has now ordered the MoD and PSNI to produce all intelligence documents relevant to the killings within 21 days so the inquests of Roseanne Mallon, Jack and Kevin McKearney and of seven IRA Volunteers can go ahead.

Published September 18, 2003

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