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24th April 2014

On this day...

  • 1913 - UVF gun-running in Larne
  • 1916 - Irish Republic declared; Easter Rising began
  • 1940 - IRA Volunteer Seán Martin killed in accidental explosion
  • 1993 - City of London devastated in IRA bomb attack




"Believing that the British Government has no right in Ireland ...

... never had any right in Ireland, and never can have any right in Ireland. The presence in any one generation of Irishmen - of even a respectable minority -
ready to die to affirm that truth makes that government forever a usurpation and a crime against human progress."



" ..... I am a casualty of a perennial war that is being fought between the oppressed Irish people and an alien,
oppressive, unwanted regime that refuses to withdraw from our land.

"I believe and stand by the God-given right of the Irish nation to sovereign independence,
and the right of any Irishman or woman to assert this right in armed revolution. That is why I am incarcerated, naked and tortured."




Today's News and the Week in Review


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Criticism of those who wear ‘convict uniform to toast Queen’
The Impartial Reporter 24/04/14

The deaths of prominent Republicans Jim Murphy and Patrick McManus have been remembered during commemorative events in Derrylin and Swanlinbar, organised by the 1916 Sean MacDiarmada society.

On Easter Sunday, a piper played at the graveside of Mr. Murphy in Derrylin, with Independent Councillor Bernice Swift chairing the proceedings, on the 40th anniversary of his death.

During the commemoration, wreaths were laid by the Murphy family, his former comrades, victims’ group Firinne and the Sean MacDiarmada and Matt Fitzpatrick Societies.

And members of the McManus, Martin, Maguire and Reihill families placed an Easter Lily on the graves of their loved ones, too.

Colm Lynagh, the brother of IRA leader Jim Lynagh who was killed in Loughgall in May 1987, was the guest speaker and used his address to pay tribute to the the Murphy family and all those gather each year to remember his death.

He told the crowd: “In 1916 the provisional Government declared an Irish Republic from the steps of the GPO in Dublin and it was this great insurrection and strike for freedom against the British empire that inspired men like Jim Murphy and countless others in every generation since 1916 to continue the fight for independence and sovereignty.

“Sadly freedom is as far away today as it ever was and it is why we as proud Irish Republicans are gathered here today at the grave of Jim Murphy to remember him and all those who died for Irish freedom and to rededicate ourselves to continuing the struggle.”

Mr. Lynagh added: “Today there are those who would tell us partition is to be accepted and we must make the best of it, that British rule isn’t that bad, and the plight of the working class cannot be avoided. These are the people who would don the convict uniform of tails to toast the Commander and Chief of the British Army the Queen of England and bend the knee in submission to a foreign and illegal power.”

“These people have no interest in the freedom of Ireland or the rights of the ordinary people, but I say here today, that they have not the right and never will have the right to surrender you or your children’s right to be free,” he said.

On Easter Monday, members of the 1916 Societies then remembered Patrick McManus as wreaths were laid at his grave by his sister Mary Kate McManus, former comrades, and the Sean MacDiarmada and Matt Fitzpatrick societies,

Just like last year, Peadar Neary from Ballyconnell gave the main oration, telling the crowd that the aims and objectives of 1916 had “still to be achieved”.

“Ireland is still partitioned and called on all those present to stay true to the cause of Irish freedom. Irish men like volunteer Patrick McManus and countless others had died trying to remove an occupying force from our country and we cannot and will not settle for anything less than a 32 county united Ireland.

“Irish Republicans must remain true to the 1916 proclamation and what it stood for, we will not be fooled by those who wine and dine with the British Queen. Concluding with a quotation from 1916 Leader and signature of the proclamation Sean MacDiarmada: ‘damn your concessions England we want our country’”.




DUP election candidate brands Alliance ‘scum’
Newtownabbey Times 24/04/14

A DUP council election candidate has been asked to withdraw a comment he made on social media referring to the Alliance Party as “scum”.

Commenting on the appearance of Alliance election posters in Ballyclare over the weekend, one Facebook user referred to them as “offensive anti British election placards”.

Adding his comment to the post on Tuesday (April 22), Ballyclare DUP council candidate Jordan Greer wrote: “alliance are a united ireland party. scum.”

One Alliance Party supporter who contacted the Times described Mr Greer’s comment as “bigoted” and “utterly ridiculous.”

Alliance Councillor Pat McCudden, who has been championing non-sectarian politics in the town since 1977, questioned the wisdom of Mr Greer’s comment.

“For someone who is standing to be an elected representative for Ballyclare I think the use of this sort of language is highly irresponsible and doesn’t help the situation.

“If that is his contribution to promoting Ballyclare in the new Antrim-Newtownabbey Council then I wouldn’t be terribly impressed,” he said.

Alliance leader David Ford appealed to Mr Greer to withdraw his comment.

“It is very worrying that a DUP council candidate is using this sort of intemperate language. It is the kind of language that has directly led to violence on the streets over the past 18 months,” the South Antrim MLA told the Times.

“Even in the enthusiasm of youth I would hope that he would reflect that this is not wise and he would withdraw his comment. I also hope that the DUP leadership locally would ensure that he acts in a more responsible way in the future.”

When contacted by the Times, Mr Greer (pictured), a Queen’s University student who works part-time in the DUP’s South Antrim constituency office in the town, didn’t deny posting the comment, but said that he would have to phone back to discuss the issue.

South Antrim DUP MLA Paul Girvan said that he didn’t condone Mr Greer’s comment, and stressed that the post has since been removed.

“These were Jordan’s own comments and not the view of the party. It’s not helpful calling people names and it’s not the type of politics I want to engage in,” he said.

The DUP press office was also asked for a response about Mr Greer’s conduct.

“It is important that all candidates and elected representatives use temperate language, and that should also extend to social media,” a party spokesman commented.

“The strong support for a united Ireland outlined by the Alliance Party’s European candidate, and her inference of unionists as ‘colonialists’ has deeply concerned many people. However, this does not justify any language which may also offend.

“All of the comments which related to this incident were quickly removed,” he added.

Meanwhile, it’s understood that a number of Alliance Party election posters were removed from lampposts in the Ballyclare area this week.




Martin McGuinness a 'traitor to Ireland' - masked CIRA man’s chilling speech
Belfast Telegraph 24/04/14

A masked dissident republican terrorist launched a chilling attack on Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness yesterday, calling him a “traitor to Ireland”.

Scores of hardliners gathered at a Lurgan graveyard to mark the Easter Rising, as spokesmen for Continuity IRA warlords warned they “will rid this country of the Brits, once and for all”.

In a speech watched by Sunday Life at St Colman’s Cemetery, the masked man paid tribute to “most noble” Ruairi O Bradaigh and Joe O’Neill, leaders of CIRA’s political wing Republican Sinn Fein who died within the past year, but there was no mention of expelled CIRA terror chief Tommy Crossan who was executed in broad daylight in west Belfast on Friday.

Yesterday, a mouthpiece for the terror group singled out former members whom he accused of “criminal activity perpetrated in the name of the republican movement”. He also hit out at links made to the republican movement and gangland violence.

Minutes earlier, Continuity IRA members marched in formation with supporters and two flute bands from the Kilwilkie estate to St Colman’s in full military dress. At the same parade last year there

was a small explosion near St Colman’s which sources said was designed to act as a “show of strength” attempt to kill police officers patrolling in the area.

This year, there was no security force presence at the parade.

After wreaths were laid, a spokesman for Republican Sinn Fein then also launched a vitriolic rant against Martin McGuinness to claps and cheers from supporters.

Labelling the Deputy First Minister an “agent” and “traitor” he said: “It seems to me that Martin McGuinness is everything that’s wrong with Ireland.”

He also criticised Mr McGuinness for dining with Queen Elizabeth earlier this month.

“Watching McGuinness on TV, the images of him dining at a state banquet were in stark contrast to the pain of the hunger strikers,” he said.

Another Republican Sinn Fein speaker hit out at the police, who he said had “stolen” dissident uniforms.

“Last week in Lurgan the RUC backed up by their military colleagues broke into two houses in Craigavon and stole military uniforms belonging to Republican Sinn Fein.

“If this is the only weapon they have in their entire arsenal to beat the republican movement, they have failed miserably and they will continue to fail because republicanism will never be defeated,” he said.

The spokesman also paid tribute to republican “prisoners of war” in Maghaberry jail. “People who treat them as criminals do so at their own risk,” he warned.

In a chilling vow to “rid Ireland of Brits”, he said: “Sinn Fein propose British rule in Ireland, and we oppose it.

“We will continue to oppose British rule in Ireland in whatever shape or form.

“With our comrades in the Continuity IRA, we will rid this country of the Brits once and for all.”

The CIRA was responsible for the brutal 2009 murder of Constable Stephen Carroll in Craigavon.




Northern Ireland activist fears for his life after helping convict loyalist
The Guardian 23/04/14

Raymond McCord says Ulster Defence Association may try to kill him for testifying against man accused of Finucane murder

An anti-paramilitary campaigner in Northern Ireland has said he fears the Ulster Defence Association may try to kill him after he gave evidence that helped convict a loyalist accused of killing the Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane.

Raymond McCord, who has fought to expose the violence of loyalist terror groups since his son was murdered in 1999, was the state's chief witness against William "Mo" Courtney, a UDA veteran named in reports as the gunman who shot Finucane dead at his home.

"I would not be surprised if they did have a go at me," McCord told the Guardian.

"But I have never backed down from people like that in my life and I can't now. It would set a very bad example to the next generation if I, as a victims campaigner, did not stand by other victims and be prepared to stand up and be counted.

"Maybe it will encourage more people now to lose their fear and come forward to give evidence against characters like Courtney. I'd be an idiot to say that I don't think they would ever strike back, but I am not afraid of them."

Courtney will be sentenced next month after he was found guilty of threatening to kill McCord. The court heard that the threats were made this year when McCord was with Tracey Coulter, a mother of four who had confronted Courtney in the summer after the death of a cousin from an overdose. Courtney was later found guilty of assaulting Coulter.

McCord's testimony was unusual because most victims of repeated paramilitary violence in Northern Ireland are still, even after two decades of ceasefires, too afraid or intimidated to give evidence in court against leading figures in terrorism.

Since the start of the loyalist paramilitary ceasefires 20 years ago, McCord has campaigned to expose how the UVF and UDA breach ceasefires with violence mainly directed at those who cross them in their own communities.

McCord's son, Raymond Jr, was beaten to death in 1997 by a UVF gang from north Belfast. McCord was later able to reveal via the first Northern Ireland police ombudsman, Dame Nuala O'Loan, that a number of figures connected to his son's murder were special branch agents.

Courtney was named in reports as the gunman who fired fatal shots at Finucane, who was killed in front of his family in their north Belfast home in 1989. He has been quoted protesting his innocence.

It later emerged that 29 UDA members from west and north Belfast, who were either directly or indirectly involved in the solicitor's murder, were state agents working for special branch, MI5 and an army intelligence group called the Force Research Unit.

McCord said: "Hopefully Courtney's conviction and the fact that I was prepared to stand up in court and give evidence signals the end of agents being immune from justice.

"I stood up to the UVF killers of my son and now I've done the same with a leading member of the UDA. I am not naïve and will have to be very careful about my movements, about where I socialise, about where I go.

"The UVF tried to blow me up and I have no doubt the UDA will try to get me, if they can get away with it."




75 killings and still no inquests
Belfast Telegraph 23/04/14

Inquests into 75 of Northern Ireland's most controversial deaths are still outstanding - including cases which date back more than four decades.

Many of the killings were carried out by the security forces in circumstances which are bitterly disputed, or involve allegations of State collusion with paramilitaries.

In some cases relatives have gone to their graves without knowing the full circumstances of their loved ones' deaths.

The average wait for so-called legacy inquests to be concluded now stands at 20 years and seven months.

Earlier this year Northern Ireland's Senior Coroner admitted he was embarrassed at the length of time some hearings were taking.

It has also been claimed that the Government could be breaching European law by not holding timely inquests.

In most cases the delays are caused by legal disputes over the disclosure of sensitive files.

While families want full disclosure, security forces have generally requested that key details are blacked out.

Figures released by the Coroners Service show that 46 inquests relating to 75 deaths in Northern Ireland remain outstanding.

About half were opened shortly after the deaths, but then adjourned and never concluded.

Others were reopened in recent years at the direction of John Larkin, the Attorney General.

The oldest outstanding case relates to the death of Bernard Watt, who was shot by soldiers in Ardoyne in early 1971.

In February Senior Coroner John Leckey criticised the time some inquests were taking.

It came after a preliminary hearing was told full inquests into the deaths of republicans and police officers killed in disputed circumstances in Mid Ulster 30 years ago may not begin for months or even years.

"Looking at how difficult inquests have been held in England I feel embarrassed - the London bombings, Princess Diana, we all know these big inquests," he told the hearing.

"They have dealt with similar issues and the inquests have been held."

Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights commits member states to carrying out independent, transparent and timely investigations into the deaths of citizens.

In 2012 the European Court of Human Rights ruled the Government had violated the rights of two families by failing to hold an inquest into the deaths of two IRA men for 22 years.

Dessie Grew and Martin McCaughey were shot dead by the SAS near Loughgall in October 1990. However, it was 2012 before their inquest finally took place.

European judges warned that police and soldiers responsible for killings here could "benefit from virtual impunity" because of the length of the delays.

SDLP MLA Alban Maginness, who is the party's justice spokesman and a barrister, said European law dictated that relatives had a right to know how people died.

"Under Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights, the State must take all reasonable efforts to investigate the deaths of people, particularly if they have been involved in them," he said.

"Therefore, there is a legal obligation for the Government to assist the Coroner's Court in making sure that these investigations are satisfactory."

Mr Maginness said that where governments do not make every effort to assist the court, they could be in breach of Article Two.

"There is a very heavy burden on the State to carry out proper investigation and part of that is the inquest process," he added.

However, unionists fear the system could be manipulated to create a new narrative of the past.

The Ulster Unionist Party's paper on dealing with the past warns that historical inquests "run the risk of establishing a narrative of actions by security force personnel, without a reciprocal narrative concerning terrorist motivation and activity, or any due attention to the security and political context of the time".

Earlier this year the Belfast Telegraph revealed the Department of Justice was pushing for the Haass-proposed Historical Investigations Unit to be established now.

A paper from the department outlines a plan for a possible new Legacy Inquest Unit at an estimated cost of £30m.

Innocents whose relatives are being denied justice


Ten Protestant workmen were shot dead by a group calling itself the Republican Action Force in January 1976.

The men were taking their usual route home from a textile factory when their bus was stopped. The gunmen asked the men to identify their religion. The only Catholic was told to leave.

The others were lined up and shot. One man, Alan Black, was hit 18 times but survived.

Last August the Attorney General ordered the coroner to open a new inquest. John Larkin said new evidence had emerged through the HET investigation.

At a preliminary hearing in February, Senior Coroner John Leckey said part of the inquest's role was to try to identify who carried out the shootings.


Roseann Mallon was shot dead by loyalist gunmen who opened fire on a house at Cullenrammer Road outside Dungannon in May 1994.

The 76-year-old pensioner was shot multiple times in the attack, which was carried out by the UVF.

It later emerged that the Army was conducting a surveillance operation on a nearby house owned by her nephew.

An Army surveillance camera was found close to the scene.

An inquest opened in April 2002 and more than a dozen hearings took place over the next 18 months before proceedings ground to a halt.

A full inquest finally started last November, but was adjourned and is due to reopen on May 7 -- almost 20 years to the day of Miss Mallon's death.


Loyalist gunmen walked into the family butcher's shop in Moy in January 1992 and opened fire.

Kevin McKearney, who had been working in the shop for 10 years, died instantly.

The gunmen continued firing at his 70-year-old uncle Jack, who was fatally wounded and died in April.

Before his death, two of Kevin McKearney's brothers were killed while taking part in IRA operations. Protestant student Robin Farmer had earlier been shot dead by the INLA in his own family shop in Moy.

The shooting at the McKearney business premises was believed to be a reprisal attack.

In September 2012 a report by the Historical Enquiries Team concluded the RUC did not do enough to prevent the McKearneys' murders.


One of the oldest outstanding cases, 11-year-old Francis Rowntree was killed in April 1972 after being struck by a rubber bullet fired by the security forces.

The schoolboy, who was from the Falls area of west Belfast, died after being fatally injured in disputed circumstances near Divis Flats.

He was hit by a rubber bullet fired by soldiers on April 20 during rioting in the area, and died two days later.

Controversy surrounds the shooting, with disputed claims about whether the young boy was fired on directly, or hit by a ricochet, and if the bullet had been altered to potentially cause more injury.

The inquest was reopened on the orders of the Attorney General.


Eleven people -- including a Catholic priest and a mother-of-eight -- were shot dead in Ballymurphy over a three-day period following the introduction of internment.

Although inquests were held a year after the August 1971 shootings, they were branded a sham by relatives.

The original inquests had returned open verdicts.

In November 2011 Attorney General John Larkin ordered new hearings.

The inquest into one of the 11 who died, Pat McCarthy, will not reopen. His case will remain closed with the finding that he died of a heart attack after being intimidated by troops.

A preliminary hearing was held in March and a further hearing is scheduled for early next month.

The 46 separate cases left in legal limbo with grieving families no nearer truth

1. Rosann Mallon
Died: May 8, 1994
The pensioner was shot dead when loyalist gunmen opened fire on a house near Dungannon.

2. Jack McKearney and Kevin McKearney
Died: January 3 and April 4, 1992
Kevin McKearney and his elderly uncle Jack were shot dead at their family butcher's shop in Moy by the UVF.

3. Neil John McConville
Died: April 29, 2003
Shot dead by the PSNI - the first fatality since the organisation replaced the RUC - following a chase near Lisburn.

4. Daniel Doherty and William Fleming
Died: December 6, 1984
The two IRA men were killed in the grounds of Gransha Hospital in Londonderry by an undercover Army unit.

5. Gareth Paul O'Connor
Died: June 11, 2005
He disappeared on his way to Dundalk Garda station where he was due to report for bail. His body was recovered from Newry Canal two years later.

6. Daniel Stephen Osvaldo McColgan
Died: January 12, 2002
The 20-year-old Catholic postman was murdered by the UDA as he arrived for work in Rathcoole.

7. Michael James Ryan, Anthony Patrick Doris and Laurence McNally
Died: J une 3, 1991
The IRA trio - who were on "active service" - died in a hail of gunfire after being ambushed as they travelled through Coagh in a stolen car.

8. Gerard Martin Slane
Died: September 23, 1988
Father-of-three was shot dead by the UDA at his west Belfast home, leading to claims of collusion between loyalist paramilitaries and the security forces.

9. Samuel James Marshall
Died: March 7, 1990
Sinn Fein member was shot dead as he was walking to his home in Lurgan's Kilwilkee estate after signing bail.

10. John Quinn, Allan McCloy and Paul Hamilton
Died: October 27, 1982
The three RUC officers were killed by an IRA landmine near Lurgan as they passed in an armoured police car.

11. James Gervaise McKerr, Eugene Toman and John Frederick Burns
Died: November 11, 1982
The three died when the RUC opened fire on their car, which police claimed failed to stop at a roadblock, near Lurgan.

12. Michael Tighe
Died: November 24, 1982
The teenager was killed by the RUC at a hay shed near Craigavon where rifles were being stored.

13. Roderick Carroll and Peter James Martin (Seamus) Grew
Died: December 12, 1982
The INLA men were shot when the car they were driving in was fired on by the RUC near Armagh.

14. Gerard Laurence Casey
Died: April 4, 1989
The IRA man was shot by the UVF as he slept at his home outside Rasharkin.

15. Gerard Lawlor
Died: July 22, 2002
The 19-year-old was returning home from the Bellevue Arms to the Whitewell area of north Belfast when he was shot by loyalists.

16. Seamus Patrick Dillon
Died: December 28, 1997
He was gunned down outside the Glengannon Hotel near Dungannon by the Loyalist Volunteer Force hours after the murder of Billy Wright at the Maze.

17. Liam Paul Thompson
Died: April 27, 1994
UDA gunmen opened fire on a car containing two Catholic men, killing the 25-year-old and wounding his friend.

18. Richard Jameson
Died: January 10, 2000
The businessman - the commander of the Mid Ulster UVF - was shot dead at close range by a lone gunman as he drove to his home outside Portadown.

19. Patrick Daniel Vincent, Sean O'Farrell, Peter Paul Clancy and Kevin Barry O'Donnell
Died: February 16, 1992
The four IRA men were ambushed by the SAS at Clonoe Chapel after an attack on Coalisland RUC barracks.

20. Sean Patrick Brown
Died: May 12, 1997
He was abducted by loyalists as he locked up the Wolfe Tone GAA club at Bellaghy, shot multiple times in the head and his body dumped 10 miles away.

21. Raymond McCord
Died: November 9, 1997
The 22-year-old, a former RAF man, was beaten to death and his body dumped in a quarry in Newtownabbey.

22. Francis Patrick Bradley
Died: February 18, 1986
The 20-year-old was shot dead in disputed circumstances by the SAS near Toomebridge.

23. Father Hugh Mullan
Francis Joseph Quinn

Died: August 9, 1971

24. Joan Connolly
Daniel Teggart
Noel Phillips
Joseph Murphy

Died: August 9, 10 and 22, 1971

25. Edward Doherty
Died August 10, 1971

26. John Laverty
Joseph Corr
Died August 11 and 27, 1971

27. John James McKerr
Died August 20, 1971
The killings took place in the Ballymurphy area of west Belfast over a three-day period. A priest and a mother-of- eight were among the civilians shot by the Parachute Regiment.

28. Bernard Watt
Died: February 6, 1971
Soldiers shot him in the chest near his home in the Ardoyne area a short time after a military personnel carrier was hit by nail and petrol bombs.

29. Francis Rowntree
Died: April 22, 1972
The 11-year-old was hit by a rubber bullet fired by a soldier in west Belfast.

30. Manus Deery
Died: May 19, 1972
The 15-year-old was shot in the Bogside. The Army claimed a soldier in a lookout post fired at what appeared to be a gunman, missed, and the ricochet struck the teenager.

31. Kevin Anthony McAlorum
Died: June 3, 2004
The former prisoner was shot dead in his car as children arrived for classes at a primary school in Derriaghy.

32. John Coulter and Robert Mahood
Died: August 21, 2000
The men were shot on the Crumlin Road as they sat in a Land Rover outside a bookmaker's shop during a loyalist feud.

33. Henry Thornton
Died: August 7, 1971
Shot by the Army when the van he was driving past Springfield Road barracks in West Belfast backfired.

34. John Bryans
Robert Chambers
Reginald Chapman
Walter Chapman
Robert Freeburn
Joseph Leemon
John McConville
James McWhirter
Robert Samuel Walker
Kenneth Worton

Died: January 5, 1976
The 10 were all textile factory staff who were shot when an IRA gang ambushed their minibus near Kingsmills, Co Armagh.

35. Marion Brown
Died: June 10, 1972
Shot by loyalists at Roden Street in Belfast moments after kissing her boyfriend goodbye.

36. James (aka Seamus) Bradley
Died: July 31, 1972
The 19-year-old was shot in Derry as thousands of soldiers launched a major military operation, Operation Motorman, to retake the 'no-go' areas of the city.

37. Kathleen Thompson
Died: November 6, 1971
The mother-of-six was shot in the garden of her Creggan home in 1971 during an Army raid on the estate. She was found by her 12-year-old daughter.

38. Daniel Carson
Died: November 1, 1973
The 29-year-old Catholic shopworker was shot by the UVF as he left the Shankill Road.

39. Terence McDaid
Died: May 10, 1988
The 29-year-old Catholic died from gunshot wounds to the head after loyalist gunmen broke into his home off the Antrim Road in Belfast.

40. Fergal McCusker
Died: January 18, 1998
Abducted by the LVF as he left a bar in the centre of Maghera, shot and dumped behind a youth club.

41. Craig McCausland
Died: July 11, 2005
The father-of-one was shot by the UVF at his home in north Belfast. He died later in the Royal Victoria Hospital.

42. Joseph Parker
Died: December 11, 1972
The 25-year-old was shot in disputed circumstances when soldiers opened fire at a community centre in Ardoyne during a disco two weeks before Christmas.

43. Elizabeth McDonald
John Gerald McGleenan

Died: August 16, 1976
The pair died in the UVF bombing of the Step Inn in Keady, Co Armagh, in August 1976.

44. Thomas Friel
Died: May 22, 1973
The 21-year-old was hit by a rubber bullet in Creggan after returning from a night out. He died four days later.

45. Charles Fox
Teresa Fox
Died: September 6, 1992
The husband and wife were shot by the UVF at their home near Moy.

46. Leonardo Anthony Norney
Died: September 13, 1975
The 17-year-old, from west Belfast, was shot by the Army.




Gerry Adams accused of giving IRA orders by ex-IRA man Peter Rogers
BBC News 23/04/14

An ex-IRA man has made new allegations about Gerry Adams, in which he raises questions about the Sinn Féin leader's claim to have never been in the IRA.

Peter Rogers has alleged that Mr Adams and his Sinn Féin colleague Martin McGuinness ordered him to transport explosives to Great Britain in 1980.

Both Sinn Féin men declined interviews but their party issued a statement saying the allegations were untrue.

Mr McGuinness is on record as saying he left the IRA in the early 1970s.

Mr Rogers, now 69 years old, is a former IRA prisoner who escaped from the Maidstone Prison Ship in 1972.

'Bombing campaign'

Eight years later, he was jailed in the Republic of Ireland for the IRA murder of a Garda (police) officer.

Detective Garda Seamus Quaid was shot and killed after his police patrol stopped a vehicle in County Wexford on 13 October 1980. Another officer was injured in the attack.

Mr Rogers has claimed that during the same year as Garda Quaid's murder, he was summoned to a meeting in Dublin with Mr Adams and Mr McGuinness, because of his reluctance to move explosives to England for a bombing campaign.

He had complained that the liquid explosives were "unstable" and feared he would either be killed in a premature explosion or caught by police in possession of the substance.

"When I met with them, Gerry wanted to know what the delay was," Mr Rogers told the BBC.

He claimed that Mr Adams and Mr McGuinness listened to his concerns and held a brief conversation out of his earshot, before coming back to him with a decision.

"Gerry said 'look Peter, we can't replace that explosive, you will have to go with what you have and as soon as you can get it across, the better', so as far as I was concerned, I was given a direct order," Mr Rogers said.

Death sentence

He added that a short time after the alleged meeting in Dublin, detectives in the Republic of Ireland stopped his van in Wexford, while he was transporting the explosives.

Mr Rogers said he killed Garda Quaid in the ensuing gun battle.

He was originally sentenced to death but it was commuted to a 40-year jail term for capital murder.

Nine years into his sentence, which he served in Portlaoise prison, County Laois, Mr Rogers left the republican movement and the republican wing of the jail.

He was later released from prison under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement.

He wrote letters of apology to the families of Garda Quaid and his injured colleague, but his apologies were not accepted.

Earlier this year, Garda Quaid's family objected to Sinn Féin's decision to stage its ard fheis (annual conference) in Wexford Opera House.

The family requested that a plaque erected in tribute to the murdered officer be removed from display at the venue.

At the time, Mr McGuinness said Garda Quaid was an innocent victim of the Troubles and that if the family wished to speak to him, he would be willing to meet them.

Mr Adams, who has led Sinn Féin since 1983, has consistently denied that he was ever a member of the IRA.

In 2003, Mr McGuinness testified about his IRA membership when he was called to give evidence to the Bloody Sunday Inquiry in Londonderry.

He told the inquiry that he was second in command of the Provisional IRA in Derry on Bloody Sunday in January 1972, but said: "I left the IRA in the early part of the 1970s".

A longer version of Shane Harrison's interview with Peter Rogers will be broadcast on BBC Radio Ulster shortly after 08:00 BST.




Peaceful start to Northern Ireland's marching season helps to ease tensions
Belfast Telegraph 22/04/14

The marching season got off to a peaceful start as the Apprentice Boys Easter demonstration passed off without incident.

The main parade took place in east Belfast, however the chief concerns were around how small splinter parades in Ardoyne and past a Catholic church in Donegall Street would pass off.

Amid a heavy police presence these feeder parades proceeded without incident.

Carrick Hill Residents Group spokesman Frank Dempsey said if all parades passed like yesterday, he would advise residents not to stage protests at Donegall Street.

The Shankill Star band accompanied the Faith Defenders Clifton Branch from Belfast Orange hall along Donegall Street yesterday at 11.20am and returned at around 2.45pm amid a heavy police presence.

A single drumbeat was sounded as the parade passed St Patrick's Church – the scene of unrest in previous years when a loyalist band played a sectarian song.

While around 20 protesters turned out, Mr Dempsey said if the Apprentice Boys had issued a statement saying they were going to abide by the Parades Commission ruling, they would not have staged the protest.

The return parade yesterday afternoon breached a Parades Commission ruling by taking place at 2.45pm, when it should have happened at 2pm.

However, just a single drumbeat was played while passing St Patrick's Church as instructed.

Mr Dempsey praised the morning parade as "perfect", querying why it couldn't happen like that every time.

He did, however, express disappointment at the lateness of the return leg.

"I am pleased at how it went, but they need to do this all the time," he said.

"Let's hope it is not just a gesture. If they want to send a message to the nationalist community and to the parishioners of St Patrick's Church, why don't they just issue a public statement and clearly state we will do this all the time? If they do that, we're gone. We don't want to be standing here – but don't be coming down here with gestures.

"It's something positive we're looking for, make a statement to say 'this is us in future'."

Mr Dempsey also criticised the heavy policing, saying it curtailed activities by local people.

SDLP councillor Nichola Mallon also praised the peaceful proceedings.

"I am always pleased when it passes off peacefully," she said.

"There is an opportunity to resolve this and I would urge people to enter into talks."

On July 12, 2012 locals were outraged when a loyalist band played the sectarian Famine Song while passing St Patrick's. This caused tensions during subsequent parades.

A morning parade by the Ligoniel Walker Club along the Crumlin Road and past the Ardoyne shops also passed off peacefully.

The main Apprentice Boys Easter parade took place in east Belfast yesterday.

Today the Junior Orange Order will stage its annual Easter parade in Larne. The main parade will leave Circular Road at 12.30pm and proceed through the town centre to Sandy Bay Park.

Members and accompanying bands will commence the return parade at 3.30pm.

The parade is being held in Larne this year to mark the centenary of the UVF's anti-Home Rule gun-running episode in the town.




Seven arrests and Police Ombudsman called in after public disorder in Belfast
Belfast Telegraph 21/04/14

Police arrested seven people when they were called out to deal with outbreaks of public disorder in south and east Belfast on Easter Monday.

A PSNI spokesman said: "Disorder occurred in Castlereagh Street, Ormeau Park and Central Train Station and a number of arrests have been made."

Six men were arrested in Ormeau Park, south Belfast, on suspicion of a number of public order related offences.

There were disturbances at Central Station where a large crowd had gathered.

A man and a woman were reportedly bitten by a police dog during the ruckus at the city train station. Police said the matter would be reported to the Police Ombudsman's office.

The crowd later dispersed with no reports of any arrests

Meanwhile, a man in his 40s was arrested in Castlereagh Street.

Officers remained in the areas affected to monitor the situation on Monday night.




Martin McGuinness criticised by republican dissidents for toast to Queen
The Guardian 21/04/14

Former Real IRA prisoner denounces Irish deputy first minister's attendance at Windsor Castle banquet

Republican dissidents have launched a bitter attack on Martin McGuinness after he toasted the Queen at Windsor Castle during the Irish presidential visit to Britain.

Gary Donnelly, a former Real IRA prisoner and independent republican election candidate in Derry, said the deputy first minister's attendance at the state banquet was "hardly part of a strategy building towards a united Ireland".

Donnelly told a rally to mark the anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising that real republicans would never toast or shake hands with the Queen.

Several hundred hardline republicans attended the rally organised by the 32 County Sovereignty Committee – the political allies of the New IRA. The crowd clapped and cheered when Donnelly denounced McGuinness.

After the commemoration, Donnelly said that if he was elected to Derry city council in the May local elections he would continue to justify the "armed struggle" of the New IRA and other organisations opposed to the peace process.

"I believe in the fundamental right to resist British rule, it is in the 1916 proclamation and it is black and white. I believe you have the right to fight for your national sovereignty. Didn't the British send a taskforce to the Malvinas to defend their so-called sovereignty?" he said.

Donnelly gained more than 600 first-preference votes in the local elections three years ago in the republican Creggan and Bogside wards of Derry.

The former republican prisoner said he hoped that anger among grassroots republicans over McGuinness attending the royal banquet would boost his vote in May.

Donnelly, who is also a member of the Creggan Community Collective, said his campaign would also focus on rising poverty levels in Derry.

He is among up to 20 independent republican candidates standing in the local elections in Northern Ireland. The contest will be an indicator of whether republican dissidents command any support within the nationalist community.




Adams opposes royal presence at Easter Rising centenary event
The Evening Herald 21/04/14

Gerry Adams has voiced opposition to the proposed attendance of British royals at the Easter Rising commemorations in 2016.

The Sinn Fein president said he would "need to be persuaded" of the merits of the plan.

During President Michael D Higgins' state visit to Britain, Queen Elizabeth promised that a member of her family would participate in the centenary celebrations of the 1916 Rising.

And it is believed the Government would now like Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, to attend.


However, Louth TD Mr Adams said it is beyond him as to which event would be appropriate for the royals, though he admitted that Sinn Fein "can't object" to their presence.

Mr Adams said the idea of British royalty attending "was floated first of all without any consultation whatsoever by the Tanaiste (Eamon Gilmore)".

He added: "We need an event which is citizen-owned, we need an event which is about poetry and drama and learning the lessons and pointing forward.

"The Government has said it is going to look for an appropriate event at which the British royal family would be able to attend. It's beyond me what event would be appropriate."

Asked if he thought it would be appropriate for a British royal to attend the main centenary event at the GPO, Mr Adams said: "No, I don't. I would need to be persuaded of that."

Mr Adams was speaking outside the national monument 14-17 Moore Street, at the location of the last headquarters of the provisional government in 1916.

Sinn Fein yesterday launched proposals for a "revolutionary quarter" that would see the entire terrace – numbers 10 to 25 Moore Street – preserved and restored.

Mr Adams' opposition to the participation of the royal family is at odds with a descendant of proclamation signatory Sean MacDiarmada.

Deirdre Ryan Ives, a grand-niece of MacDiarmada, said she "thinks it's fine" if one of the royals is present for the event.


"I'm glad relations are improving," she added. "It's a sign of progress."

She was speaking outside the GPO yesterday at the annual 1916 Commemoration Ceremony, attended by the Taoiseach and President Higgins.




Legal bid to recover murdered Denis Donaldson's journal
BBC News 21/04/14

Lawyers for the family of Sinn Féin official and republican informer Denis Donaldson have said they would take legal action to secure his journal.

They warned they would act if police in the Republic of Ireland (Garda) did not hand over the diary Mr Donaldson was writing shortly before he was killed.

He was shot dead at a remote cottage in County Donegal in April 2006.

The Police Ombudsman is investigating allegations that PSNI officers may have contributed to his death.

Mr Donaldson's family believe the journal may hold clues about what happened to him.

However, the Garda have refused to make it available to investigators.

Denis Donaldson fled to his family-owned cottage in Glenties, County Donegal, after being told by the police that the media were going to expose the fact that he had been working as an informer for the police and MI5 for 20 years.

As part of their investigation into his killing, Garda detectives removed a journal he had been writing in the weeks before his death.

His family have claimed that PSNI officers who knew about his secret life may have contributed to his exposure as an informer and his death.

They believe the journal could contain potential clues.

Police Ombudsman Michael Maguire is investigating those claims, but the Garda have refused to give him access to the journal.

They have also refused to return it to the family, despite an assurance that they would do so.

Lawyers acting for Mr Donaldson's family have now written to the Garda asking for the journal, or a copy of it, to be immediately made available to the ombudsman.

In the letter, solicitor Ciarán Shiels claimed the ombudsman's investigation was being impeded by the refusal to make the journal available.

He also said that such a refusal constituted a breach of the family's right to a fully independent investigation into the killing, as set out in the European Convention on Human Rights.

If the Garda refuse to hand it over, Mr Shiels said he would seek a judicial review in the Dublin courts.

The Donaldson family has also criticised the Garda after an inquest into the killing was adjourned for the 13th time.

In a statement, they said they did not accept that there was a bona fide basis for a further adjournment, and accused police of "stringing along the coroner's court and the family with bogus claims".




Apprentice Boys parade: Statement 'could stop march protests'
BBC News 21/04/14

A nationalist residents' group has said it would hold no more protests against loyalist parades if march organisers made a statement confirming they would abide by Parades Commission rulings.

Carrick Hill Concerned Resident's Group made the remarks as an Apprentice Boys feeder parade passed a north Belfast flashpoint without incident.

One band marched to a single drum-beat past St Patrick's Catholic Church.

The Donegal Street flashpoint was the scene of disorder and arrests in 2012.

On Monday, there was a heavy security presence in the area as the band passed the church on both its outward and return route to the main Apprentice Boys Parade in east Belfast.

The Parades Commission had placed restrictions on the Apprentice Boys of Derry Faith Defenders Clifton Branch, ruling that "only sacred music" should be played as the band passed the church.

However, the band played no music and instead marched to a single drum-beat on that part of its route.

Members of the Carrick Hill Concerned Resident's Group staged a small protest against the march, in line with the Parades Commission's determination.

The residents welcomed the Apprentice Boys' move but were critical that they had not been told in advance.

Chairperson Frank Dempsey said there would be no need for protests in future if determinations were abided by.

"If they want to send a message to the nationalist community and to the parishioners of St Patrick's Church, why don't they just issue a public statement and clearly state we will do this all the time," he said.

"If they do that, we're gone. We don't want to be standing here, but don't be coming down here with gestures, it's something positive we're looking for, make a statement to say, this is us in future."

Chris McGimpsey from the Apprentice Boys said they would "need to think about" Mr Dempsey's request, but said they have not ruled out the possibility of providing assurance that they will abide by Parades Commission's determinations in the future.

"We have been behaving like that at all of our parades in the Apprentice Boys, and nobody in our club has caused any offence whatsoever.

"Indeed, not so long ago the parish priest wrote to us and congratulated us on our deportment," Mr McGimpsey added.

The Apprentice Boys staged the main part of their annual Easter parade in east Belfast, with a number of other feeder parades throughout the city.

Meanwhile, more than 100 people attended a republican commemoration in the city cemetery in Londonderry.

It was held to mark the 98th anniversary of the Easter Rising rebellion.

In previous years, the Derry event has been addressed by masked dissident republicans, but there was no paramilitary statement this year.

Speakers criticised Northern Ireland's Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness for his attendance in London during the first UK state visit of Irish President Michael D Higgins.

Mr McGuinness, a former IRA leader, was invited to receptions at Windsor Castle as a guest of the Queen and Mr Higgins earlier this month.

One of the speakers at the Derry commemoration described the Sinn Féin MLA as a "pawn in someone else's strategy".




'Unionists need to acknowledge hurt'- dFM
UTV News 21/04/14

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness has called for unionists to acknowledge the hurt they have caused and to reach out to republicans in order to "participate in the process of reconciliation".

The Sinn Féin MLA made the comments in Monaghan as part of the Irish state's commemoration of the 1916 Easter Rising.

Mr McGuinness said that "shared hurts need to be acknowledged, lessened, and if possible healed".

He made the remarks after he and several senior members of his party met with the Queen as part of the first Irish state visit to Britain.

The MLA for Mid Ulster said: "Republicans are committed to a genuine process of national reconciliation and this means reaching out to the unionist community in a spirit of generosity and understanding.

"Earlier this month a confident and united Sinn Féin leadership decided that republican representatives, including myself, should participate fully in the Irish President's state visit to Britain.

"Our party leadership took this decision in the context of republican objectives, and as an initiative to further strengthen the process of change and reconciliation.

"Republicans have shown in words and deeds that we are absolutely committed to this process of reconciliation.

"But unionists must also participate in this process.

"They need to reach out to republicans. The conflict was long and bitter. Many people were hurt on all sides.

"No one has a monopoly on suffering."

He added: "It is time to begin discussing how shared hurts can be acknowledged, lessened and, if possible, healed.

"Republicans fully acknowledge the hurt that we inflicted in the course of the conflict.

"Unionists also need to recognise the hurt they have created.

"They need to turn their back on the inequality and repression that marked 50 years of one party rule in the north.

"They need to challenge rejectionist unionists. They need to show positive leadership."




Thoughts and descriptions of Easter 1916
Jude Collins blogspot 21/04/14

Paul McCartney doesn’t seem a natural bed-fellow for George Bernard Shaw but on one matter they do link. In his famous song Give Ireland Back to the Irish (banned by the BBC), McCartney poses a question:

Tell me how would you like it
If on your way to work
You were stopped by Irish soldiers
Would you lie down, do nothing?
Would you give in or go berserk?

Shaw, writing at the time of the Easter Rising in 1916, made a similar point: “An Irishman resorting to arms to achieve the independence of his country is doing only what Englishmen will do if it be their misfortune to be invaded and conquered by the Germans in the course of the present [1914-18] war”.

Shaw’s response to the 1916 executions pinpointed Britain’s clumsiness in dealing with the rebels: “It is absolutely impossible to slaughter a man in this position without making him a martyr and a hero, even though the day before the rising he may have been only a minor poet…The military authorities and the British Government must have known that they were canonizing their prisoners.”

You would think so but they probably didn’t. W B Yeats, meanwhile, looked back in old age and worried that his literary work might have created the Rising: “Did that play of mine send out/ Certain men the English shot?” It’s fair to say he over-estimated the power of his words and underestimated the determination of the rebels.

Anyone who has done the tour of Kilmainham Jail will remember the chill of the Stonebreakers’ Yard, where the leaders of the Rising were executed. Here is a description of the last minutes in the life of Sean Heuston, told by a Capuchin priest Fr Albert:

“At about 3.45 am a British soldier knocked at the door of the cell and told us time was up. We both walked out together down to the end of the large open space from which a corridor leads to the gaol yards. Here his hands were tied behind his back, a cloth tied over his eyes and a small piece of white paper about four or five inches square, pinned on to his coat over his heart. Just then we saw Father Augustine with Com. M. Mallin come towards us from the cell where they had been.

We were now told to be ready. I had a small cross in my hand, and though blindfolded, Sean bent his head and kissed the crucifix; this was the last thing his lips touched in life. We now proceeded towards the yard where the execution was to take place. My left arm was linked in his right, while the British soldier who had handcuffed and blindfolded him walked on his left. As we walked slowly along we repeated most of the prayers that we had been saying in his cell. On our way we passed a group of soldiers. These I afterwards learned were awaiting Com. Mallin who was following us.

Having reached a second yard I saw there another group of military armed with rifles, some of them were standing and some sitting or kneeling. A soldier directed Sean and myself to a corner of the yard, a short distance from the outer wall of the prison. Here there was a box (seemingly a soap box) and Sean was told to sit down on it. He was perfectly calm and said with me for the last time, My Jesus, mercy. I scarcely had moved away a few yards when a volley went off, and this noble soldier of Irish freedom fell dead.”




Arrest Sinn Fein chief Gerry Adams over Jean McConville murder, says republican
Belfast Telegraph 21/04/14

Unionist politicians are calling for Gerry Adams to be arrested over Jean McConville's murder following claims from a former republican prisoner that he alone was in a position within the Provisionals to order the mother-of-10's brutal killing.

Evelyn Gilroy, an ex-internee from west Belfast, expressed her anger that six "low-level republicans" had been arrested this month about the 1972 murder while police hadn't even questioned the Sinn Fein president.

"Police have lifted people who were 15 and 16 at the time of the killing, yet Gerry Adams remains untouched," she said.

"The police should stop chasing those who were never in a position in the republican movement to order Jean McConville's execution and instead arrest the only person who was in that position – Gerry Adams."

Ms Gilroy was a member of the republican movement along with Mr Adams in the 1970s. She was active in Divis where Jean McConville was abducted. Mr Adams has always strongly denied any involvement in the horrific abduction and murder of Mrs McConville.

TUV leader Jim Allister said: "With even a former colleague in the republican movement, Evelyn Gilroy, now calling for Gerry Adams to be arrested over Jean McConville's murder, the police's inaction is becoming unsustainable. Continuing to treat Adams as an untouchable, in the face of such exposure, brings policing into disrepute."

Ulster Unionist minister, Danny Kennedy, said: "The increasingly compelling evidence against Gerry Adams cannot be ignored. It is beyond the time that he should be arrested and questioned. The PSNI must act now and it is in the public interest that they do so."

DUP MP Gregory Campbell said: "The comments about Gerry Adams from a republican active at the time of Jean McConville's abduction and murder have credence.

"They are the latest in a series which can't be easily dismissed by Sinn Fein.

"The police should question Gerry Adams as a matter of urgency. If charges are appropriate they should follow irrespective of the fact he is a TD."

Last month, Mr Adams told his solicitor to contact police to see if he is wanted for questioning over the murder. He said he is willing to meet the PSNI.




Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams 'most popular leader in Republic of Ireland' despite difficult year
Belfast Telegraph 21/04/14

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams has been named as the most popular political leader in the Republic.

According to an opinion poll carried out by a Sunday newspaper, support for the republican party president has risen nine points in the past two months in the south.

The survey also found that the party now commands almost identical levels of support to Ireland's traditional largest parties, Fine Gael and Fianna Fail.

Sinn Fein's popularity is up two points to 20% and it is now the most popular party in Dublin, ahead of the local and European elections on May 23.

The Sunday Times/Behaviour & Attitudes poll shows Fianna Fail is up one point to 20%, Fine Gael is down nine to 21%, the Labour party is unchanged at 9%, while independents picked up five points to 26% and the Green Party is up to at 4%.

Although Sinn Fein didn't capitalise on Fine Gael's losses nationally, it is now polling 23% in Dublin, beating its nearest rival Fianna Fail by six points.

That puts the party's EU candidate for Dublin Lynn Boylan in a strong position to take one of the three seats in the election.

Having secured 48%, Gerry Adams sees his popularity soar to near his all-time high of 50% during last September/October 2011. He is three points ahead of Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin, while Enda Kenny, the Taoiseach, is at 40% and Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore is at 37%.

The poll was conducted from April 6-16, the time of the state visit to Britain of Irish president Michael D Higgins. Gerry Adams' (left) increasingly popularity may come as a surprise to some of his critics after a difficult year for the controversial republican politician.

Indeed, commentators said there were major questions hanging over his political leadership following the conviction of his brother Liam for child sexual abuse. By not informing Sinn Fein of the sexual abuse allegations against his brother when he was first told them in 1987, Mr Adams broke his own party's rules.

There were also suggestions that his reputation as party leader could have been compromised after a television documentary, The Disappeared, linked him to the murder of Jean McConville.

The Louth TD has always strongly denied any responsibility for her death.

First Minister Peter Robinson recently blamed Mr Adams for the problems he has working with Sinn Fein in Northern Ireland. He told the Belfast Telegraph he worked well with Martin McGuinness on issues where Mr Adams' input was not required.


Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams is a former MLA and MP for West Belfast and currently a member of the Dail for Co Louth. Mr Adams was a key actor in the peace process, which saw an IRA ceasefire in 1994, leading to talks chaired by Senator George Mitchell that concluded with the Belfast Agreement, signed on Good Friday 1998. This agreement paved the way for the end of the IRA's armed campaign in 2005 and a power-sharing government. Mr Adams has had a tumultuous year – facing questions over the death of Jean McConville as well as his handling of his brother's sex abuse crimes.




Man freed in Crossan murder probe
Belfast Telegraph 20/04/14

A man arrested by detectives investigating the murder of former dissident republican leader Tommy Crossan has been released without charge.

Crossan, 43, was shot dead in west Belfast on Friday.

The 26-year-old man was detained by police yesterday in connection with the killing of the father-of-six, who was a one-time senior member of the Continuity IRA (CIRA).

He was released from custody tonight.

Crossan, who also had five grandchildren, was gunned down at a fuel depot in the grounds of an industrial complex in full view of surrounding houses on Friday afternoon.

He was once the CIRA's Belfast leader but was believed to be the subject of a death threat and had been expelled from the group some years ago after a fall out.




Tommy Crossan killers 'just criminals masquerading as republicans'
Belfast Telegraph 20/04/14

Dissident terror gangs have been described as criminals masquerading as republicans after the execution of a former paramilitary leader.

Tommy Crossan, a former chief of the Continuity IRA, was shot twice in the head and several times the body in the Good Friday gun attack in west Belfast.

The father-of-six, from the Falls Road, is believed to have been killed by former republican associates he had fallen out with.

His life was under threat after he was accused of stealing CIRA cash and being an informer.

At an Easter Rising commemoration at Milltown Cemetery yesterday, Sinn Fein MEP Martina Anderson hit out at the "small minority" of dissident factions trying to derail the peace process.

She said Crossan's murder was a senseless action, adding those responsible should go away.

"They are criminals masquerading as republicans no matter what names they attach to themselves," she said. "Their actions sully the name of republicanism.

"And as we prepared to gather at Easter time to commemorate our patriot dead, one of these small groups took the life of Thomas Crossan in this city."

It has been reported Crossan was building a new republican terror faction in recent months.

He was said to have been at the helm of the Irish Volunteers grouping, said to be behind a series of security alerts across Belfast in the past year.

A 26-year-old man was arrested by police on Saturday in connection to the murder and remained in custody last night. The detective leading the hunt for Crossan's killers said investigators were pursuing a number of leads to identify the gunmen.

The shooting happened just after 5pm on Friday on the busy Springfield Road. He was shot by up to three men, who fired through the window of an office he was in.

It is understood the shooting happened minutes before Crossan's daughter drove into the middle of the scene of his killing.

The day after the murder, masked terrorists launched a verbal attack on Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, calling him a "traitor to Ireland".

The CIRA split in 2010 amid the allegations against Crossan and close friends. He had been one of the terror faction's highest-ranking members.

In 1999 he was jailed following a gun attack on Woodbourne RUC station.

Following his release he became involved in CIRA activity again. In 2008 he and another man were convicted of trying to extort £50,000 from a Dungannon businessman. Crossan received a suspended sentence, while the other man, Martin Overend, was sentenced to nine years.

Crossan's former paramilitary allies launched scathing criticism of Mr McGuinness at an Easter Rising commemoration in Lurgan the day after the killing.

A spokesman for Republican Sinn Fein said: "It seems to me that Martin McGuinness is everything that's wrong with Ireland."


Dissident republican Tommy Crossan was shot dead while he sat in an office.

A 26-year-old man was arrested in connection with the killing of the 43-year-old father-of-six who was a former senior member of the Continuity IRA.

He was gunned down at a fuel depot in the grounds of an industrial complex in full view of surrounding houses.




Easter Rising commemorations held in Northern Ireland
BBC News 20/04/14

A number of events have been held in Northern Ireland to commemorate the anniversary of the Easter Rising.

The main republican parade in Belfast, made its way from Beechmount Avenue in the west of the city to Milltown cemetery.

Republicans honoured the dead of previous conflicts, but the murder of former dissident leader Tommy Crossan on Friday, also featured in Sinn Féin MEP, Martina Anderson's address.

He was shot dead in west Belfast.

"There is another minority in our community who are attempting to derail any progress in the peace and political processes" Ms Anderson told the crowd.

"One of these small groups took the life of Thomas Crossan in this city. The only thing they have succeeded in doing is leaving a family bereaved. The republican community does not want them."

The annual Easter commemorations are a key event in the Republican calendar.

Hundreds attended the event in west Belfast - a similar number gathered in Londonderry.

Sinn Féin's vice president Mary Lou McDonald called for the Haass proposals to be supported and for social and economic inequality to be addressed.

During the Irish President's state visit to the UK two weeks ago, the Queen said "her family and her government" would stand alongside Ireland in marking the centenary of the Easter Rising in two years' time.

The military ceremony in Dublin was led by the Irish president Michael D Higgins, along with Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Justice minister Alan Shatter.

Thousands attended, while around 170 members of the army, navy and reserve forces took part in the ceremony.




Easter commemorations face PSNI harassment
Irish Republican News 19/04/14

Colour party uniforms belonging to Republican Sinn Fein due to be used during an annual Easter commemoration in Lurgan this Saturday have been seized during police raids in Craigavon.

It is understood as many as 18 uniforms were taken from a house in the Drumbeg estate last week. The uniforms were bought to replace two sets previously taken by the PSNI and they are regularly used during events organised by the traditional republican party.

The same set of uniforms is believed to have been used by a guard of honour at the funeral of Co Donegal republican Joe O’Neill who died last year.

The items recovered included trousers, jumpers, boots, scarves and berets.

While it is not clear why they were seized it is understood a number of people arrested in the north armagh area recently have been questioned about images that appeared in a calendar produced by republican Sinn Fein. RSF spokesman Martin Duffy condemned the PSNI operation, claiming it was “heavy handed.”

“This happens the same time every year when republican Sinn Fein is holding a commemoration,” he said.

“It’s just harassment to try and stop it but they won’t stop it.”

‘Retrograde’ policing

Sinn Féin in Omagh has also condemned the PSNI after a party activist was arrested and another cautioned while promoting the sale of the Easter Lily in the town.

The Easter Lily is traditionally worn by Irish republicans to remember Ireland’s Patriot Dead and to commemorate the 1916 Easter Rising.

It is understood that the incident happened on Wednesday night at Gortmore Park in the town.

The chairperson of the town council, Sinn Fein’s Marty McColgan, condemed the police action, which he described as “retrograde political policing”.

“We have the crazy situation, where I officially launched the Easter Lily in the Council Offices yesterday, yet today the PSNI are arresting and cautioning republicans for promoting it.

“Following a long litany of complaints against the PSNI in Omagh, this latest action will further reinforce the collapse of public confidence in the PSNI locally.

“We will be challenging the PSNI to ensure that political policing like this is ended. We will be raising this incident through our Policing Board members.”

Parade inequity

Meanwhile, the organisers of an independent republican Easter commemoration march have been ordered by the Parades Commission not to play music in a nationalist district of north Belfast - although a loyalist parade in the same area has been cleared to do so just two days later.

The republican parade, which is organised by Carrick Hill Friends of Erin go Bragh Flute Band, is due to take place through the nationalist district at 2.15pm on Easter Saturday.

Organisers reacted angrily last night after it emerged that no restrictions have been placed on a loyalist band taking part in an Apprentice Boys parade along Clifton Street on Easter Monday.

Parade organiser Emanuel Conway described the Parades Commission decision as “illogical” and confirmed the Parades Commission will be asked to carry out a review.

“The parade will not be touching on any interface but according to the Parades Commission they received oral representations which, we must assume led to this decision being made,” he said.

“The members of the Parades Commission must be ignorant of the geography of the area.

“The road which is Carrick Hill is a populated area with houses and flats/apartments on both sides of the road.

“The determination therefore would make it illegal for anyone to come out of their home to await or follow the band.”

North Belfast Sinn Fein councillor JJ Magee hit out at the ruling.

“This determination makes no sense. This parade is by some of the residents of Carrick hill and is not being held by people from outside the area as is the case with loyal order parades,” he said.

“The parade should not be restricted in this way as it is non- contentious and the determination is illogical.”

Dundalk says no

And Sinn Fein has been ordered by Dundalk Town Council to remove Irish tricolour flag erected in the town’s main square. The council wrote to the party after members had put up flags in Market Square in preparation for Sunday’s commemoration of the 1916 Easter Rising.

Sinn Fein counillor Kevin Meenan criticised the stance of the council, describing it as “mental.”

He said that every year members of the local commemoration committee put up several flags along a route that takes marchers from the square to the republican monument at St Patrick’s Cemetery.

The march takes place on Easter Sunday afternoon and the flags are removed by the evening of Easter Monday.

Mr Meenan said that on foot of the council’s communication, flags were removed from the square but the others were left flying.

“People are just wondering why our national flag had to be taken down at all. This is a flag that causes no offence to anybody down here [in the 26 Counties],” he added.




Tommy Crossan murder: 26-year-old man arrested
BBC News 19/04/14

Police in Northern Ireland have arrested a 26-year-old man over the murder of former dissident republican leader Tommy Crossan.

Mr Crossan, 43, was shot dead at a fuel depot off Springfield Road in west Belfast.

The killing of the former senior member of the Continuity IRA was condemned by Northern Ireland's first and deputy first ministers.

The suspect was arrested in west Belfast.

Mr Crossan was killed just after 17:00 BST on Friday.

It is believed he had been expelled from the Continuity IRA some years ago after falling out with other dissidents.




Fianna Fail attacks plans for royals to join 1916 celebrations
Irish Independent 19/04/14

Fianna Fail has hit out at the Government's plans to invite the British royal family to the 1916 Rising centenary celebrations.

Senior party member Billy Kelleher branded the decision to invite Prince Charles and Camilla for the 100-year commemoration as "superficial" and "done without thought".

Mr Kelleher said decisions on who should attend the "most significant event in recent Irish history" should not be made without the consultation of all political parties.

"I think before we start issuing invitations on a casual basis, almost without thought, we should sit down as a parliament, and as a people, and discuss it," he said.

Mr Kelleher said he "cringed" when he read reports that the Government was hoping to invite Prince Charles and Camilla to the centenary celebrations in 2016.

"It is nothing against the British monarchy, but the primary purpose of this commemoration is to celebrate the 1916 Rising," he added.

"There are a lot of complexities in Irish history and before we start inviting heads of state from around the world, let's have our own discussion."

The 'Sunday Independent' revealed that the Government was keen to have Charles, heir to the throne, and the Duchess of Cornwall take part in the celebration of the declaration of the Irish Republic. There is also a suggestion the darlings of the British media, William and Kate, could also attend.

Eamon Gilmore first mentioned the Coalition's intention to invite the British royal family and the UK government to the commemorations in September last year.

During President Michael D Higgins's state visit to Britain, Queen Elizabeth implied the monarchy would attend the commemorations.

Speaking at a banquet in Windsor Castle, she said: "My family and my government will stand alongside you, Mr President, and your ministers, throughout the anniversaries of the war and of the events that led to the creation of the Irish Free State."

Taoiseach Enda Kenny was quick to welcome the queen's comments and said the Government would "work out" how a royal visit would factor into the commemorations.

However, he said some of the commemorative events were "quite sensitive" and should be dealt with properly.

Mr Gilmore was more forceful in his comments, saying the British and Irish Government were "very conscious that we should do this together".

Historian Diarmaid Ferriter criticised the Government for inviting the royals without first consulting the expert advisory group it established to advise on the 1916 celebrations.

Writing in the Irish Independent, Mr Ferriter, who is on the advisory panel, said a distinction should be made "between history and current politics".

"Having royals at the table of all the State's commemorations will begin to look like the State desires some kind of British approval, which smacks of a post-colonial inferiority complex," he added.

President Higgins's state visit to Britain was seen as a major milestone in Anglo-Irish relations and followed Queen Elizabeth's trip to Ireland in 2011.

Former president Mary McAleese was instrumental in building ties between the two nations. Ms McAleese, along with President Higgins, is likely to play a role in the Easter Rising celebration in two years.

However, there are doubts over whether the Coalition will still be in Government when the commemorations take place.

In 2016, Easter falls early in March and a general election is due to take place in the same month.




Tommy Crossan: Dissident republican's killing condemned
BBC News 19/04/14

Northern Ireland's first and deputy first ministers have condemned the west Belfast killing of a prominent dissident republican.

Tommy Crossan, 43, was shot dead at a fuel depot off the Springfield Road.

Once a senior figure in the Continuity IRA, it is believed Mr Crossan had been expelled some years ago after falling out with other dissidents.

Detectives are examining the possibility that dissidents were involved in the shooting.

It happened just after 17:00 BST on Friday when the area was busy with people.

A red BMW car was found on fire nearby. It is thought three gunmen carried out the attack.

A local priest gave the last rites to Mr Crossan.

First Minister Peter Robinson warned that murder "can never be justified in any circumstances" as he urged those with information to come forward.

He said: "The small minority of people who want to continue terrorising the community need to understand that they will not be allowed to drag Northern Ireland back to the dark days of the past.

"They must be hunted down and brought to justice."

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said those responsible for Mr Crossan's death "are criminals and will further no cause through this shooting."

He added: "Dialogue not destruction is the way forward and while there may be a small minority of people who are trying to promote division and heighten tensions, let's be very clear, they will fail.

'Brutal murder'

"The peace process is rock solid and all right thinking people across the community oppose and reject the actions of the people behind this murder."

Northern Ireland Secretary of State Theresa Villiers said she condemned "this brutal murder which has left a family bereaved".

David Ford, Northern Ireland's justice minister, said: "Those responsible for this cowardly act will be pursued by the authorities and I would urge anyone with information to pass it to the police."

Belfast's lord mayor, Máirtin Ó Muilleoir of Sinn Fein, tweeted: "Shame on those who bring death to Belfast streets at Eastertide. They represent no-one but themselves and have no place in our great city."




Tommy Crossan: Dissident republican shot dead in west Belfast
BBC News 18/04/14

A prominent dissident republican has been shot dead in west Belfast.

Tommy Crossan was shot at a fuel depot off the Springfield Road. It is understood he was shot several times.

Mr Crossan was once a senior figure in the Continuity IRA. It is believed he had been expelled from the group some years ago after falling out with other dissidents.

It is also understood that he had been informed that threats had been made against his life.

The attack happened late on Friday afternoon when the area was busy with people. A local priest gave the last rites.

A red BMW car was later found on fire at Beechmount Grove close to the scene of the attack.

A section of the Springfield Road, between the Falls Road and Elswick Street, has been closed to traffic.

'Sense of shock'

Colin Keenan, a councillor for the nationalist Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), said it was a horrific scene, with the dead man lying in the grounds of the industrial estate and exposed to view from surrounding residents' windows.

Relatives at the scene are devastated, he added.

Mr Keenan said: "I condemn this murder completely and in doing so I reflect the view of all of the community.

"There is a real sense of shock that this has happened.

"We have long hoped that the shadow of death had been lifted from west Belfast.

"Today's event is a terrible, tragic reminder of the violent conflict of the past."

Sinn Féin MLA for West Belfast, Jennifer McCann, said: "This killing was in broad daylight in a very busy part of the Springfield Road.

"Those behind it had no consideration for anyone in this community except themselves and their own criminal agenda.

'Appalling crime'

"This community does not want them. They need to listen to this community, stop these senseless actions and go away."

David Ford, Northern Ireland's justice minister, said the murder should be condemned by all.

Mr Ford said: "I condemn this appalling crime and offer my sympathies to the family.

"Those responsible for this cowardly act will be pursued by the authorities and I would urge anyone with information to pass it to the police."

Belfast's lord mayor, Máirtin Ó Muilleoir of Sinn Fein, tweeted: "Shame on those who bring death to Belfast streets at Eastertide. They represent no-one but themselves and have no place in our great city."

A member of the Policing Board said the shooting "was a sad night for Belfast".

The Alliance Party's Chris Lyttle said: "We had all hoped we had left this type of violent behaviour firmly in the past and my thoughts are with the victim's family and friends and the wider community as they come to terms with this shocking incident."

A Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) spokesman said: "Police are investigating a fatal shooting in the Springfield Road area of west Belfast this afternoon.

"One man has been shot dead in the vicinity of the Peter Pan centre."




Daughter to sue police and state over loyalist murder of Dinny Mullen in Moy
Tyrone Times 18/04/14

The daughter of an SDLP activist who was murdered by loyalist gunmen outside Moy nearly 40 years ago, has launched High Court proceedings against the Chief Constable of the PSNI, the Ministry of Defence and the Secretary of State.

Denis, or ‘Dinny’ Mullen as he was known, died in a hail of gunfire at the home he shared with his wife Olive and two young children.

Mr Mullen had recently been appointed to the post of Ambulance Controller at South Tyrone Hospital, and was a well known SDLP activist who campaigned for civil rights along with his wife.

His daughter, Denise, and representatives of another Mid Ulster family, have served High Court Writs on the authorities, alleging that the British government and its agencies, “facilitated or otherwise sanctioned ‘collusion’” in the murders of their loved ones by the notorious Glenanne Gang.

The loyalist murder gang has been associated with the killings of up to 120 people in a terrorist spree which spanned a five year period in the late 1970s across Mid Ulster.

The family of Aughamullan man, Patrick Falls, who died in a gun attack on Falls’ Bar on November 20, 1974, is also pursuing legal action, which is being taken on their behalf by KRW Law Human Rights Lawyers.

Kevin Winters, KRW Law spokesman, explained: “A total of 32 families have agreed to take part in the mass litigation which will allege that the British Government and its agencies, the Police, the military and the Northern Ireland Office facilitated or otherwise sanctioned ‘collusion’.

“The law suits lodged in the High Court in Belfast claim damages for personal injuries, distress and post traumatic stress by reason of misfeasance in public office, negligence, assault, battery, conspiracy to perform an individual act and breach of statutory duty.”

According to the families’ lawyer, “The failure of the PSNI to sanction an overarching, thematic HET Report linking all of the atrocities together and the recent collapse of the Haass proposals on The Past has left many families with little alternative but to take legal action”.

The test civil action has been supported by some findings made by the Historical Enquiries Team (HET) together with archive researching by the Pat Finucane Centre (PFC) as set out in Lethal Allies - British Collusion in Ireland, concluded the legal representative.




Clearing away the mush and gush of the State visit
Nuzhound 18/04/14 (The Irish Times)

By Eamonn McCann

Opinion: Irish elite were celebrating their acceptance into a particular layer of society

‘Oh Irish men forget the past/ And think of the day that’s coming fast/When we will all be civilised/Neat and clean and well-advised/Won’t Mother England be surprised/Whack fol the diddle all the di do day.”

The day dawned last week and thank god we didn’t let ourselves down. Spick and span and all at ease in the knowledge that anybody who sniggered at the sight of us would instantly be anathematised as a backwoodsperson and an opponent of peace. The thought surely popped into others’ minds, too: why don’t we break entirely with the attitudes of the olden days and get down on our knees?

Is there anywhere else on Earth where splicing a quail’s egg with Queen Elizabeth can be seen as a symbol of leaving quaint habits behind? There are places, of course, where she is regarded as the newsworthy head of a celebrity family or a tourist attraction or a harmless reminder of an imagined past. But a banquet in the gilded surrounding of Windsor Castle as a cutting-edge event? Dear god.

There is an island in the south Pacific whose people adhere to a cargo cult and – so it’s said – regard the queen’s husband as a god. We are not there yet, but it’s early days.

Gush and mush

As gush and mush engulfed the land last week, Prof Roy Foster surfaced to give us his expert opinion that relations between the British and Irish ruling classes were now so intimate as to be “nearly as good as sex”. What sad, limited lives some of these academics lead.

Michael O’Leary found himself in a spot of bother a couple of weeks back for making a joke about having sex with the queen. Extremely offensive, spluttered specialists in etiquette. But some of us found the remark among the least offensive of O’Leary’s oeuvre, certainly less offensive than Foster’s sleeveen intervention. A matter of taste, I suppose.

Actually, the professor didn’t use the phrase “ruling class”. Far too old-fashioned when dealing with the House of Windsor. But, objectively as we used to say, that’s what his words meant.

The propaganda that came pulsing through the media for the duration of the visit told that the meeting between the queen and President Michael D Higgins and Martin McGuinness will have facilitated reconciliation between the British and Irish people. But the vast majority of us have no need of the queen’s involvement to achieve reconciliation with our British neighbours. Like many others once corralled within the empire we have long managed to combine a distaste for imperial power with congenial friendship towards the British people.

Cementing relations between the peoples of these islands is not what the “monstrous stupidity” was about. It was about the Irish elite celebrating their acceptance into a layer of society they have long wanted to be part of. They believe they have now been liberated from any need to pretend dislike for the flummery and pomp which deep down – not all that deep, as a matter of fact – they have envied and aspired to. In this sense at least, the feast in the castle was truly historic.

One lesson to be learned from “the hideous, revolting and vulgar tomfoolery” (English republican William Morris again) is that nationalists, irrespective of how long they fight or at what cost, are merely applying for membership of the club. It is well to recall that Sinn Féin founder Arthur Griffith thought it demeaning to the nation that while Britain, France, Germany, etc, had colonial possessions to plunder, distressful Ireland remained empty-handed.

It has been an implicit demand of nationalism down the decades that Irish people should not be exploited by foreigners when there are Irish people available to do the job themselves, a perspective summed up in the phrase – which de Valera never said, but should have – that “labour must wait”.

‘See the Conquering Hero Comes’

Which brings us to the threat of a royal presence at ceremonies marking the centenary of the Rising. It’s said Prince Charles will be the family’s representative. Would it be practical for McNamara’s Band to make a comeback for the occasion? McCarthy on the old bassoon while Doyle the pipes will play? Hennessy Tennessee tootling the flute? They might greet the commander-in-chief of the Parachute Regiment as he waves his way along O’Connell Street with a rousing rendition of See the Conquering Hero Comes. Makes your heart swell just to think on it.

Rejecting the pleas of Dublin business people and parliamentary leaders in 1911 that all should welcome George V so as to consolidate the prospect of Home Rule, James Connolly observed the British royal family “has been notorious in history for the revolting nature of its crimes, murder, treachery, adultery, incest, theft, perjury – every crime known to man.” (Why he had adultery in there I don’t know.)

Wouldn’t get away with saying the like of that these days, would he? Whack fol the diddle all the di do day.




€20m of fake notes seized after major sting on dissidents
Belfast Telegraph 18/04/14

Police in the Republic of Ireland have seized up to €20m in counterfeit cash following a big operation against dissident republican associates.

Officers found the fake notes when they raided a lock-up premises in the Baldoyle area of north county Dublin yesterday.

They arrested a 52-year-old man from Coolock, following searches in the Coolock and Artane areas and he was being held for questioning last night.

He is detained at Coolock garda station under section 4 of the Republic's Criminal Justice Act and can be held without charge for up to 24 hours, excluding rest periods.

During the searches carried out by the Garda Special Branch, printing and computer equipment was also found.

One officer said last night: "This is a huge haul and the seizure has prevented a lot of damage being done financially around the country. The forgery operation appears to have been well planned and it produced sophisticated counterfeit notes.

"These searches follow very detailed intelligence gathering by officers over the past couple of months," he added.

The garda raid followed an investigation in February when gardai smashed a major "fund raising" plan by the dissidents.

That resulted in the seizure of more than €2m in counterfeit money, most of it found at a printing press in a rented premises located between Clonee and Summerhill in county Meath.

Gardai initially seized fake notes, worth €20,000, in an operation at North Circular Road in Dublin.

But the Meath search revealed four boxes, with each containing €500,000 worth of counterfeit €50 notes, in various forms of completion.

Officers recovered a total of €110,000 in completed notes, which were described as very high quality fakes.

They differed from genuine notes in the watermarks, which had been superimposed on the fakes rather than embedded in them during their manufacture.

The full extent of the dissident scheme was emerging last night as detectives counted the number of notes found in the latest search. Gardai said they were concerned that notes of that quality were being manufactured.

One officer said: "To the untrained eye, they would pass quite easily, particularly if they were being distributed in pubs or nightclubs where money is exchanged very quickly.

"We're asking business people, in particular, to check their stock of €50 notes and look at what money they have.

"If they come across any suspicious notes, they should contact the gardai immediately," he added.

Gardai pointed out that if large amounts of the money had been flushed into circulation nationally, they could have damaged the reputation of the State and financially disadvantaged those, who had inadvertently taken receipt of the notes.

In the county Meath premises, gardai also seized two large industrial sized printing presses along with a cutting machine to carve out single notes from overall blocks of four, and computers to impose the graphics on the notes.