November 30, 2004

UDA mob in court mayhem

A gang of UDA unionist paramilitaries were arrested as they were allegedly about to carry out a kidnapping and armed robbery this week.

SF man jailed for four years on IRA charges

Two men convicted on charges of membership of the Provisional IRA have been sentenced to four years in prison by a non-jury court in Dublin.

Ardoyne ‘Lundy Day’ parade rerouted

The Parades Commission has ruled that the Protestant Apprentice Boys organisation cannot march through the republican Ardoyne area of north Belfast this weekend. Instead, marchers will travel past the area on buses.


Ian Paisley has admitted for the first time that his party is seeking to humiliate the Provisional IRA....

Time to call it is now

A peace process - any peace process - is enormously difficult. But with determination and a preparedness to take risks and make compromises, a peace process can succeed.

Registered voters to stay on register

The British government is to scrap the practice of making voters in the North register every year for elections.

DUP has to swallow bitter pill

By Danny Morrison (for the Anderstownstown News, 29/11)

More details have emerged on the proposals to deal with the issue of trust which has bedevilled the peace process from the very outset. Talks sources suggest that by the end of December General John de Chastelain could report that he now has physical proof that the DUP has put all its sectarian bigotry ‘beyond use’.

Historic Sinn Fein meeting with police chief

Sinn Féin has described its historic first ever meeting with the chief of the British police in the North, Hugh Orde, as “useful”.

November 26, 2004

UDA attacks pensioner’s home

An attack on the County Derry home of an elderly lady by unionist paramilitaries has been described as “grotesque”.

Acrimony over Hill of Tara highway

The destruction of the Hill of Tara valley was “cultural vandalism akin to ripping a knife through a Rembrandt”, the Dublin parliament has heard during a bitter debate about a proposed new motorway.

Save the Hill of Tara

A petition to save Ireland’s major archaeological site, the ancient Irish capital of Tara, which is threatened by a motorway development.

Patrick Kavanagh

This weekend marks the culmination of a year of events marking the centenary of one of Ireland’s best loved poets, Patrick Kavanagh.

Will Grinch say ‘nevaar’ to new deal

At the end of 40 years of wrecking every political development, will Paisley’s sole achievement be to have postponed the inevitable by 30 years?

November 23, 2004

Voter registration reform planned for North - report

The British government is finally considering changes to the voter registration system in the Six Counties following talks with Sinn Féin, according to reports.

New UDA death threats

The newly-reaffirmed UDA “ceasefire” has been dismissed after threats were made against four republicans in the North using a recognised UDA codeword.

Special Criminal Court must go - SF

Sinn Féin TD Mr Aengus O Snodaigh has criticised as unsafe the conviction of a political associate who was jailed for “spying” on senior politicians in the 26 Counties.


Ian Paisley is facing a critical decision on a package of proposals by the British and Irish governments which could end the deadlock in the North’s peace process.

Eyes on the Prize

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams outlines the current state of play in the ongoing peace talks.

Bloody Sunday Inquiry ends

After 434 days, the Bloody Sunday Inquiry has ended with a closing statement by the inquiry’s counsel.

Call for Birmingham Six apology

The British government has been urged to apologise to the six men wrongfully convicted for the Birmingham bombings.

A Lie Nailed

by Danny Morrison

“The DUP’s satisfaction may be short-lived - and very dependent on the negotiating skills of the Sinn Féin leadership,” said Martina Purdy, the BBC’s political correspondent last Friday. She was referring to the initial and seemingly favourable response of the DUP to the proposals put to them in a document by the British and Irish governments on how to break the political deadlock and re-establish the Executive and Assembly.

November 19, 2004

Real IRA targets Belfast businesses

The Real IRA has claimed responsibility for planting a number of incendiary devices in Belfast city stores.

Mob assault in Portadown

A Portadown man was seriously injured in a vicious sectarian assault on Sunday.

Long Kesh development plan

Plans for the development of the site of the H-Blocks, where most of the prisoners in the conflict were once housed, are being finalised for the British government.


Sinn Féin leaders are meeting party members across Ireland as efforts continue to try to forge an historic deal involving the IRA and Ian Paisley’s DUP.

Letter calls for Finucane inquiry

U.S. Congressman Chris Smith has circulated a letter to be sent to British PM Tony Blair urging him to immediately hold a Public Inquiry in the murder of Pat Finucane.

Purse strings loosened as election looms

The Dublin government has been accused of launching its re-election campaign after its spending plans were published yesterday.

British stonewall second bombings inquiry

The British government has been strongly criticised by a senior 26-County judge for failing to co-operate with an inquiry into bombings in Dublin in 1972 and 1973.

Rewards for UDA thugs are misdirected

There’s one conclusion you can draw about the attitude of the British administration in the north to the UDA - it’s consistent.

November 16, 2004

SDLP man battles UDA after ‘ceasefire’

A nationalist councillor was forced to open fire to defend his home from UDA paramilitaries -- less than an hour after the group’s ‘ceasefire’ was officially recognised by the British government.

Shock at killing of Margaret Hassan

A video depicting the brutal death in Iraq of an Irish-born aid worker appears to confirm the worst.

Seamus Doherty cleared after case collapses

Derry man Seamus Doherty has been cleared of charges of having a booby trap car bomb, just 24 hours before a police informer was due to give evidence in the trial.


Controversial peace proposals discussed

The Irish and British governments are presenting their formula for a deal to the DUP and Sinn Féin later today [Wednesday] in the hope of striking a deal involving a return of power-sharing government in the North and a public move by the Provisional IRA to wind up its activities.

Provisionals ‘accepting British rule’

The president of Republican Sinn Féin, Mr Ruairi O Bradaigh, argues that any move by the Provisional IRA to decommission its remaining weapons would be akin to accepting British rule in Ireland.

The following is the text of Mr O Bradaigh’s address to his party’s annual conference at the weekend.

Families shut out of inquiries announcement

The announcement by the British government of the terms of three inquiries into collusion in the North of Ireland has been met with concern.

Bomb attack on family home

Unionist paramilitaries bombed the home of a Derry woman and her three children last night.

Leave messy voting to the working class

By Brian Feeney (for the Irish News)

The Taoiseach has let it be known that he and Tony Blair are thinking of a staged return to operating the Good Friday Agreement, starting with the assembly being resurrected in

November 12, 2004

SDLP concern over British censorship

The British government is trying to end public inquiries as we know them and replace them with ones that are state-controlled and censored, according to the leader of the SDLP.

Paisley defies change

DUP leader Ian Paisley is increasingly at the centre of a political battle over a possible deal to revive the 1998 Good Friday Agreement.

Orange Order linked to sectarian land grab

The anti-Catholic Orange Order has been linked to a company founded to prevent “property falling into nationalist hands”.

Jackson urges tolerance, peace

U.S. civil rights veteran Jesse Jackson visited Ireland this week and called on all sides to oppose the growth of racism.


The British government tonight again recognised the UDA to be abiding by its professed ceasefire, three years after it was declared meaningless.

Holy Cross: The Untold Story

extract from a new book. ‘Holy Cross: The Untold Story’ by Anne Cadwallader.

Palestine Greater Than Arafat

The Palestinian struggle for freedom and independence is larger than the late President Yasir Arafat.

November 9, 2004

Sinn Féin unveils plans for ‘day of reflection’

Sinn Féin mayors and council chairs are to take part in tree-planting ceremonies and civic events next month in memory of those killed in all conflicts, it has been revealed.

Vicious sectarian attack on kids

A brutal sectarian assault took place on two Catholic schoolboys in Derry on Thursday.

PSNI recruiting in Strabane

A 37-year-old man has revealed that PSNI Special Branch police offered to pay him an escalating sum of money to spy on suspected hardline republicans in the Strabane area of County Tyrone.


Hardline unionist demands for the Provisional IRA to undertake a public show of disarming is now the biggest stumbling block to the restoration of the Belfast Assembly at Stormont, it has been confirmed.

Fianna Fail moves North

Fianna Fail has decided to admit members from the North for the first time in its history. The move could lead to the party organising in the North or establishish an alliance with the SDLP.

The forgotten million

By Angelique Chrisafis (for the Guardian)

Con Scully lit a candle in the gloom of his decaying house in Coventry. There was no heating, electricity or natural light. The windows were boarded up against vandals and drug addicts.

De Brun gives up Assembly seat

Sinn Féin’s Member of the European Parliament for the Six Counties, Bairbre de Brun, has resigned as a member of the suspended Belfast Assembly.

A Politician to Watch

By Danny Morrison

“Ladies and gentlemen, we have a President who was voted into office by inbred, hillbilly, Bible-thumping, ignoramous hicks. We just happen to live in a country with 58 million of them. That’s why the rest of the world is so confused by us”.

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.

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.

IMC reports again

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


A report has endorsed a highly controversial police operation in Ardoyne on July 12th, when an Orange march -- including a mob of unionist paramilitary supporters -- was forced through three republican areas.

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.

CIRA death threat

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

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.

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?

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.

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.


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”.

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.

The Good Citizen

By Danny Morrison

Today, voters in the USA go to the polls.

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.

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.

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.

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