Saturday, 18 January 2014



    Friday-Thursday, 10-16 January, 2014

2.  Belfast talks turn sour
3.  Outrage over Ireland's spongers and crooks
4.  'Guantanamo Granny' defiant in jail
5.  Student spooked by post-exam 'gift' from MI5
6.  Stormont's treatment of Irish language slammed
7.  Feature: Stories of ordinary volunteers in the Easter Rising
8.  Analysis: Ulster Says NO to Haass



 After almost four years in jail without charge, Irish prisoner of
 conscience Martin Corey was released from custody on Wednesday -- but
 only on condition that he stay away from the media and his home town
 or face being returned to jail.

 Mr Corey was hidden from members of the press who had gathered outside
 the Maghaberry jail on Wednesday night. He was taken out in a
 blacked-out prison van directly to a train station where he was
 released to his lawyer.

 A British official said: "The Parole Commissioners have decided to
 release Martin Corey on a licence that is subject to conditions which
 are designed to manage the risk they assess him to pose."

 Two of those conditions are that Mr Corey is forbidden to give media
 interviews and also that he must not live in or near his home in
 Lurgan, County Armagh.

 The 63-year-old has been in prison since he was ordered to be interned
 by the then British Direct Ruler Shaun Woodward, in April 2010, on the
 basis of "closed material".

 His lawyers had been preparing a challenge to his detention in the
 European court on the basis that he was unable to defend himself against
 'secret' allegations. The Parole Commission considered his case late
 last year and had been due to reveal its decision before Christmas.

 He has never been told why he was detained or what, if any, evidence
 there was against him. It was reported the Lurgan man was only told on
 Wednesday that he would be freed within hours.

 Although still officially denied, his imprisonment is widely seen as a
 an example of the modern use of internment without trial by the British
 Crown forces.

 Cait Trainor from the Release Martin Corey Campaign welcomed his release
 but said the manner in which it took place spoke volumes.

 "It is clear the continued imprisonment of Martin Corey was a political
 embarrassment to the Northern Ireland Office and he was released in a
 way that would ensure minimum publicity," she said.

 "The British government, secretary of state and all those involved in
 the internment of Martin Corey showed contempt for human rights and were
 involved in a despotic policy of ruling by decree."

 Other conditions believed to have been imposed on Mr Corey include
 restrictions on his attendance at certain public and social events.

 The Parole Commissioners are protected by legislation which ensures the
 public are prevented from scrutinising the parole process. But Brian
 Gormally, director for the Committee on the Administration of Justice,
 said the commissioners should explain the process and make public their
 reasons for imposing the release conditions.

 The CAJ is awaiting the outcome of a judicial review, having challenged
 the commissioners for refusing to allow its members to act as
 independent observers during parole hearings.

 "If indeed there has been a blanket ban on speaking to the media about
 the determination that seems a clear infringement on the right to
 freedom of expression," Mr Gormally said.

 Sinn Fein Assembly member for west Belfast, Jennifer McCann said the
 case has jeopardised the public's trust in the justice system.

 "He was held without any due process, he has never been questioned from
 being arrested about any specific incident and indeed his lawyers have
 never been able to challenge any of the secret evidence that was bought
 before the parole commissioners," she said.

 "I believe if they had anything to charge Martin Corey with that they
 would have done it."

 She said Sinn Fein had consistently raised the issue, and she was glad
 he was now free to return to his family.

 "There are very clear lessons which present themselves to the British
 government," she said.

 "The arrest and detention of people without any evidence being presented
 cannot be justified in any terms."


>>>>>> Belfast talks turn sour

 Sharp exchanges between Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness and DUP leader
 Peter Robinson have confirmed the failure of the Haass talks and the
 continuing difficulties within the Six-County power-sharing regime.

 On Monday, a Sinn Fein motion calling for the implementation of
 proposals tackling sectarian marches, the flying of flags and dealing
 with the past conflict was rejected by the North's built-in unionist

 A subsequent meeting of the five party leaders was described as
 "useful", but Sinn Fein said that the party was still looking for
 implementation and described a plan for the establishment of a new talks
 working group as "time wasting".

 The DUP is seeking a full renegotiation of the current draft proposals,
 which were drawn up by US talks mediator Richard Haass before talks
 collapsed before the New Year.

 Fortunately, tensions on the streets are relatively low.  A flags
 protest march from central Belfast on Saturday saw only 300 loyalist
 protesters, despite claims that 10,000 would turn out. The march left
 city hall an hour late, at 1pm, in apparent defiance of the Parades
 Commission rulings, but passed off peacefully.

 However, the blame game over the collapse of the process is
 intensifying. Mr McGuinness said that over course of the last 18 months,
 unionist parties had been "dancing to the tune of extremists within
 their own community". after it emerged that the DUP had received
 briefings from high-profile loyalists Willie Frazer and Jamie Bryson.

 He also said the the anti-Catholic Orange Order had been "acting as one"
 with the loyalist paramilitary Ulster Volunteer Force in scuppering the
 talks. And in an unusually frank statement, Mr McGuinness said the
 elephant in the room was "whether or not unionist political leaders are
 prepared to confront the extreme elements within their community who
 they are letting set their agenda on Haass to date and former members of
 the RUC and other Crown forces lobbying the DUP and the UUP to prevent
 truth recovery processes which are victim-centred".

 In response, DUP MP Nigel Dodds accused Sinn Fein of "wallowing in the
 filth of murder", in reference to a commemorative parade last summer for
 fallen IRA Volunteers in Castlederg, County Tyrone.

 And on Friday morning, in the harshest statement yet, the DUP leader
 Peter Robinson accused the Sinn Fein man of "acting like a dictator" and
 being in "political denial". He also claimed Mr McGuinness had a
 "visceral hatred" of the Orange Order.

 "He [McGuinness] speaks as if he is not one of the parties but rather
 the controller and dictator of how the process will operate. He appears
 to believe it is everyone else's duty to reach an agreement on his
 terms," he said.

 In a further sign of mounting tension between the two most powerful
 Six-County politicians, the DUP leader added: "Sinn Fein will not
 dictate the rules of engagement. They do not own the process. They do
 not control how it will function or what it will (or will not) consider,
 nor will they prescribe the timing."

 "As the largest party in Northern Ireland, we will not be shepherded
 into any structure that restricts our ability to conclude agreement on
 deal imperatives.

 "If Sinn Fein or any other party does not want to be part of a process
 that seeks to resolve outstanding issues they can walk away, but that
 will display a lack of leadership on their part."

 But Mr McGuinness held out hopes that the US government would push a
 deadline for a resolution of the Haass talks -- St Patrick's Day, March
 17. "Every year we are invited to the White House to meet with the
 president, they've taken a huge interest," he said.


>>>>>> Outrage at spongers and crooks

 The 26-County public is turning against the state's corrupt elite as
 never before following revelations of secret payments at a state-funded
 clinic and runaway spending by the new water board, Irish Water.

 It emerged this week that some 742,000 euro (over $1m) worth of
 charitable donations to the Central Remedial Clinic was used to fund a
 retirement package for former Chief Executive, Paul Kiely, when he left
 the service in June.

 The clinic operates to provide care services to disabled children, but
 since late last year has been mired in a payments and nepotism scandal
 involving previous Fianna Fail governments and 'crony' circles of
 medical administrators.

 The Dublin parliament's Public Accounts Committee (PAC) heard this week
 that the lump sum retirement payment of Kiely, a friend of former
 Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, was far greater than he had claimed when he
 appeared before them in December.

 The revelation shocked and electrified the Public Accounts Committee, a
 function of the Dublin parliament in which officials normally discuss
 accounting details in polite and subdued exchanges.

 But Fine Gael TD Kieran O'Donnell described the new information as "pure
 dynamite", while all sides insisted that Mr Kiely reappear before the

 Under questioning, Brian Conlon, who replaced Mr Kiely as CEO of the
 CRC, said he was not aware of the payments being agreed to or made.
 "This is completely new to me, I am surprised as anybody," he said, to
 general astonishment.

 He also suggested information on the payments may have been shredded.
 "There are no files in the office that would give reference to any of
 this being agreed," he said.

 Sinn Fein's Mary Lou McDonald, who is a member of the PAC and closely
 questioned Conlon, described the saga as "a tale of two CEOs - one who
 misled a Dail Committee and one who attempted to stonewall and frustrate
 efforts to get to the bottom of the scandal".

 The developments at the PAC were broadcast and rebroadcast online and
 drew a furious public response, forcing Health Service Executive
 officials to consider involving the Garda police -- the ultimate taboo
 for Ireland's wealthy elite.

 "To the average person the notion of any senior manager working in the
 disability sector receiving a lump sum payment of 200,000 euro paid from
 monies gathered from charitable donations is hard to swallow," said Ms

 "To then discover that Mr Kiely had in fact received a pension package
 to the tune of 742,000 euro really beggars belief. That could pay for a
 lot of therapy and support for children with disabilities."


 Meanwhile, Sinn Fein has called on Minister Phil Hogan to resign over
 his handling of Irish Water after it emerged that its administrative
 set-up costs are expected to be an incredible 180 million euro,
 including 85 million euro in consultancy fees.

 Many of the fees involve back-room software deals not put to public
 tender. None involve the improvement or maintenance of Ireland's water
 network, but were made only to facilitate new billing and payroll
 arrangements and the 'rebranding' of local council water supply as a
 national consumer commodity.

 With families set to receive water bills of up to a thousand euro a year
 from next year, there have been demands for more information as to the
 nature of the spending by the secretive new organisation's highly paid
 executives, many of whom have already accorded themselves 'top-up

 Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams TD said the affair showed that a lack of
 transparency and accountability is a hallmark of the Fine Gael/Labour

 "The current debacle surrounding Irish Water shows how this government
 has implemented a broad programme of stealth charges and cuts while
 actively obstructing transparency and accountability in public

 "A lack of debate around the establishment of Irish Water played a key
 role in creating this scandal. The government is responsible for that.

 "Irish Water must be made compliant with the Freedom of Information Act
 and move speedily to ensure all relevant information about the
 establishment of the company is accessible and available to the public."

 When Environment Minister Phil Hogan insisted he hadn't been told about
 the profligate spending by the Irish Water, and that it is "not his
 business to micromanage semi-state companies".

 Mr Adams said that it wasn't acceptable for a minister to admit he
 hasn't been watching where public money is spent.

 "By failing to answer repeated questions, from Sinn Fein TDs and others,
 on the cost associated with establishing Irish Water, Minister Hogan and
 his department have shown contempt for the Dail, its members and the
 citizens they represent," Adams said today.

 "He is incompetent. He has been involved in too many debacles. Minister
 Hogan should resign immediately and the government should abandon its
 regressive policy on water provision."


>>>>>> 'Guantanamo Granny' defiant in jail

 There have been nationwide demonstrations over the imprisonment of
 79-year old feminist and peace activist Margaretta D'Arcy for her
 repeated protests against the use of Shannon Airport in international

 Ms D'Arcy, who suffers from Parkinson's disease and is undergoing cancer
 treatment, was arrested at her Galway home on Wednesday morning after
 she refused to sign a bond to keep away from unauthorised zones at

 Her son Finn Arden, said that he had spoken to his mother by phone from
 Limerick. "She said she understood she was going to have to serve the
 full three months," he said.

 Shannonwatch spokesman John Lannon said it was a "travesty of justice
 when the peace activists end up in prison, while there is no
 investigation of war criminals using the airport".

 "While protesters at Shannon have been arrested before, and have been
 before the courts, all have been acquitted to date," he pointed out.

 Ms D'Arcy, who was married to the late playwright John Arden, has been
 an activist since joining the anti-nuclear Committee of 100 led by
 Bertrand Russell in 1961.

 She was a member of the Greenham Common Women's Peace Camp, and spent
 time in prison in the North in the early 1980s. She is also a lifetime
 member of the Aosdana arts body.

 Last month, Ms D'Arcy clashed with a judge who she accused of being
 complicit in illegal acts at Shannon Airport by ignoring Articles 28 and
 29 of the Irish Constitution. She received a three-month suspended

 "So long as I observe crimes that are going on in Shannon from the
 outside I don't go to jail but if I try and stop war crimes inside the
 airport I will be locked up for three months", she said then.

 In prison today, she remained defiant, asking that protestors demand not
 for her own release but the release of Shannon airport from the

 In an open letter Irish artists Dylan Tighe and Donal O'Kelly said the
 treatment of their colleague was "grossly inappropriate and shameful".
 They said it was "all the more shocking" because the state has refused
 to jail any of the politicians or bankers responsible for the "near
 collapse of the state, yet seeks to jail an elderly artist for standing
 up for integrity and human rights."

 They said they were "in complete solidarity with her actions, applaud
 her bravery in a time of tremendous cowardice, and call for her
 immediate release."

 Protests were held in Dublin, Limerick, Galway and Derry, demanding her

 Niall Farrell, who protested alongside Ms D'Arcy at Shannon Airport but
 was not arrested, spoke at the Galway demonstration today.

 "Margaretta should not be in jail," he said. Margaretta should be given
 the freedom of Galway, the freedom of Dublin, the freedom of Shannon and
 the freedom of the country, for standing up to the human rights abuse of
 these spineless individuals that we have running this State."


>>>>>> Student spooked by post-exam 'gift' from MI5

 A young student activist who was returning from a morning exam was this
 week the target of the latest MI5 approach in the north of Ireland.  It
 involved a feeble #50 and a quote from Karl Marx.

 Stephen McCourt, a student from Newtownabbey, County Antrim, said an
 envelope was given to him this month as he was making his way home by
 train after sitting an exam at the University of Ulster in Coleraine.

 The history and education undergraduate said he fell asleep and was
 woken by a tap on the shoulder from a man as the train reached Ballymena
 station. A man with an English accent handed him an envelope and said
 "letter for you" before getting off the train.

 Mr McCourt said that inside he found a typed Marx quotation, #50 in cash
 and a blank postcard.

 The quotation is believed to have been taken from a letter Marx sent to
 his father. It read: "History calls those men the greatest who have
 ennobled themselves by working for the common good."

 Mr McCourt said he was 'spooked' by the incident.

 "I feel harassed by it and it has left me paranoid too. It has left me
 feeling that they are watching me," he said.

 "Karl Marx would probably be my political inspiration," he noted. "In my
 university bag there was a copy of the Communist Manifesto written by
 Karl Marx.

 "They must be watching what I am reading, what I get out from the
 university library."

 Mr McCourt said he believes he will be approached again. "I don't feel a
 threat for my life but I feel under threat that they are going to
 approach me again," he said.

 "There was no contact number and that would suggest they are going to
 contact me again."

 The approach to Mr McCourt matches the modus operandi of two known MI5
 operatives who usually call themselves 'Brian and Julie'. In the past,
 this team have openly introduced themselves to people as being 'from
 MI5\0x00 and have sent both cards and letters to political activists which
 insinuate that they have a deep insight into their personal lives and
 inviting their targets to collaborate with them in some way.

 It is believed that MI5 agents such as 'Brian and Julie' are now turning
 their sights to the next generation of republicans and socialists in the
 Six Counties.

 Republican Network for Unity West Belfast representative Tommy Doherty
 condemned the approach and called on youth and student organisations to
 speak out against such tactics.

 "Stephen is a politics student who has studied Marx as a part of his
 degree.  He is also a dedicated Socialist and Republican who played a
 key role in the recent student protests at Coleraine University aimed at
 opposing privatisation of student services and calling for free
 education," he said.

 "The fact that a young student, committed to legitimate political
 activity can be stalked, targeted and pressurised in such a devious way
 by unaccountable spooks, must be of concern to those who claim to stand
 for free speech and youth welfare in this country. I am calling on the
 NUS [National Union of Students] and the University of Ulster to come
 out in support of Stephen and to demand that British Military
 intelligence back off and allow him to carry on with his studies in


>>>>>> Stormont's treatment of Irish language slammed

 The Council of Europe has accused the Stormont administration of
 blocking the growth and promotion of the Irish language in the north of

 It said hostile attitudes by government officials were preventing its
 use in the courts and in education, and warned that Stormont was also in
 breach of a charter of rights because of delays and attempts to block
 requests for bilingual street names.

 One unionist councillor in county Fermanagh recently described the Irish
 language as 'foreign and gnomish' and, in a leaked e-mail, vowed to
 fight the "introduction" of Irish to Enniskillen -- a town whose name
 was anglicised in the 17th century from the Irish 'Inis Ceithleann'.

 The European review of minority languages also said the British
 government has not been able to justify banning the use of Irish in the
 courts, or allowing people to take citizenship tests through the

 The Council of Europe criticised attitudes to Irish in some official
 circles and what it said is the Stormont Assembly's "persisting hostile

 Caral Ni Chuilin, Minister for Culture, Arts and Leisure who is
 responsible for overall promotion of the language, said she hoped this
 would change.

 But she pointed out any change to policy on languages in the north of
 Ireland requires the agreement of the Executive and Assembly, ands is
 therefore subject to a unionist veto.

 "I hope that all supporters of the Irish language will work together to
 convince the Executive, the Assembly and all our people of the merits of
 supporting an Irish Language Act," she said.

 The review team hit out at the lack of the long-awaited Irish Language
 Act, originally agreed as part of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement;
 Irish-medium pre-schools; primary education in Irish; and free school
 transport for Irish language schools, despite a recent judicial review
 case against the Department of Education on the issue.


 Meanwhile, in the 26 Counties, a nationwide campaign to address the
 Dublin government's failure to provide ongoing support for the Irish
 language is due to be launched in the coming weeks.

 Over 200 people attended a public meeting in Dublin recently organised
 by Conradh na Gaeilge in response to the resignation last month of an
 Commisineir Teanga Sean O Cuirreain.

 The meeting heard that Mr O Cuirreain quit his position in protest at
 the failure by the Dublin government to implement legislation designed
 to improve services to the public through Irish.

 "Sean O Cuirreain's resignation has really galvanised people - there is
 a real sense of crisis that needs to be addressed," said Conradh na
 Gaeilge general secretary, Julian de Spainn.


 And in a bizarre development, a Glasgow private hire driver refused to
 allow visitors to speak Irish Gaelic in his car -- even though Gaelic is
 also a native language in Scotland.

 The man, who has not been named, reportedly threw the Donegal visitors
 out at the side of the road at 2am after they objected to his demand
 that they stop speaking in Irish.

 Kathleen McAleer, a local mental health nurse, said her cousins were
 talking to each other in Gaelic, which is their first language. "The
 taxi driver turned around and said to them 'Stop speaking in that
 language'. We didn't really know how to take it. He said: 'When you are
 in Britain, it is English you speak.'

 "I said to the driver 'Excuse me', shocked that somebody would say that
 to them. I said: 'That is out of order'. He then said: 'If they want to
 speak in that language they can get out of my taxi.'  So we got out and
 said we wouldn't pay."

 The driver is currently under investigation under hate legislation.


>>>>>> Feature: Stories of ordinary volunteers in the Easter Rising

 A new collection of personal stories contained in the Military Service
 Pensions Collection has now been published online.

 Available at, the documents are opening a new window
 on the 1916 to 1923 period in Irish history.

 Many of the prominent leaders of the independence movement describe
 their activities in great detail in their pension applications but the
 real treasures in the collection are the stories of ordinary volunteers
 and civilians caught up in the tide of history.

 It will take years for historians and researchers to mine the 300,000
 files contained in the archive. They include all of the 82,000 pension
 applications even though only 15,700 of them were successful.

 The first launch comprises approximately 452,000 images relating to
 almost 3,000 individuals.

 As well as providing information about themselves, the applicants also
 give fascinating details about the events in which they participated and
 the role played by others be them fellow volunteers, civilians,
 policemen or soldiers.

 The first batch of files released today covers those who were involved
 in the 1916 Rising. Most of them continued their involvement in the
 national movement until 1923, so their account of what happened during
 the whole period is also included.

 Many leading Fianna Fail politicians including Sean Lemass, Sean
 MacEntee, Frank Aiken, Oscar Traynor and Thomas Derrig were awarded

 Mulcahy files

 The often overlooked activity in north Dublin, Wexford and Galway is
 also outlined in the first batch of files. Richard Mulcahy, later
 chief-of-staff of the IRA and a prominent political figure for decades,
 detailed his service beginning with the attack on the RIC in Ashbourne,
 Co Meath, in 1916.

 Another volunteer who qualified for the maximum pension was Peter Paul
 Galligan from Enniscorthy who was on the staff of Thomas MacDonagh and
 was sent to his home town to promote the Rising there.

 Leading figures involved in the IRA campaign in the War of Independence,
 such as Tom Barry and Dan Breen, qualified for full pensions. Barry
 engaged in a furious correspondence with the Department of Defence when
 he was not given the maximum pension as the rules specified that 1916
 service was required.

 Barry was in the British Army in 1916 and so did not qualify for the
 full pension but the then Taoiseach Eamon de Valera intervened to ensure
 that he got it.

 Many of claims outline the difficult personal and financial straits to
 which people had been reduced by the 1920s or 1930s. A good number of
 those who took part in the campaign were forced to emigrate. Claims came
 in from all over the world but ironically most of those who left went to
 live in England whose forces they had fought against at home.

 A letter from one 1916 veteran, Thomas Lynch, who was living in
 Birmingham in 1936, stated: "I am sorry the years are not dealing kindly
 with me. I have done no work for 5 years." He had run out of all
 benefits had a wife and four children. The eldest had just started work
 at 14.

 Some of those wounded or injured in the hostilities gave accounts of the
 straitened circumstances to which they had been reduced and the trauma
 they had endured. However, some found the experience of taking part in
 the military campaign invigorating.

 The 'Terror'

 Writing in support of the claim by Albert Rutherford, of Camac Place in
 Dublin, his commanding officer, Joseph O'Connor, stated: "He was always
 very good humoured and quite undisturbed in the face of danger. He was
 an efficient section commander and afterwards a capable and popular
 officer. He carried out his duties no matter how irksome without a
 murmur and took all the risks attendant on being an active volunteer
 from the first to the last. It is no exaggeration to say he seemed to
 enjoy the 'Terror' and always volunteered for extra patrol work in 1920
 and 21."

 Some of the claims illustrate the complexity of Irish history. Patrick
 Dalton and Michael McCabe took part in the 1916 Rising as 16-year-olds,
 were captured but released early on account of their age. They
 subsequently joined the British Army and fought in the first World War
 but later took part in the Civil War - Dalton in favour of the Treaty
 and McCabe against it.

 McCabe, who was part of the Four Courts garrison was captured by the
 Free State Army and interned. On his release in 1923 he rejoined the
 British Army and saw service in North Africa during the second World

 Claims from volunteers who served in Scotland and England during the
 period are also included in the files. One of them, John King, joined
 the Liverpool unit of the Volunteers in early 1914 and he travelled to
 Dublin in January 1916 to take part in the Rising. He served in the GPO
 and was wounded in the retreat to Moore Street.

 Bulfin abroad

 Another overseas volunteer was Eamonn Bulfin, who spent his youth in
 Argentina. He served in the GPO and was deported to Argentina in 1919.
 While there he acted as the Dail envoy to that country until 1922 when
 he returned to Ireland. His father William Bulfin had edited the
 Southern Cross newspaper which catered for Irish emigrants to Argentina.

 The claims and the supporting documents in the first release of files
 are available on line from today at

 The full release of all the documents in the archive will take place
 between now and the anniversary of the Rising in a little over two
 years' time.


>>>>>> Analysis: Ulster Says NO to Haass

 By Gerry Adams (for Leargas)

 The Good Friday Agreement marked a historic shift in politics on the
 island of Ireland and put in place a firm foundation from which it is
 possible to continue building the peace process. For the first time
 since partition, almost 100 years ago, there is an international
 agreement involving the Irish and British governments, as well as
 nationalist, republican and unionist parties on a way forward. This
 includes power sharing political institutions which have the support of
 the overwhelming majority of citizens.

 The GFA tackles constitutional issues, political and institutional
 matters, policing, weapons, justice and equality, and more. Subsequent
 agreements at St. Andrews and Hillsborough built on this progress.

 However, not all aspects of the Good Friday Agreement have been
 implemented and outstanding issues like flags and emblems; the legacy of
 the past; parades; equality and the status of the Irish language, as
 well as culture and identity issues have continued to bedevil the

 This time last year Belfast witnessed rioting as loyalists attacked the
 PSNI, the nationalist Short Strand area; and held illegal demonstrations
 demanding the right to fly the Union flag whenever and wherever they
 wanted. This issue and protests over orange parades have placed a
 significant strain at times on the political institutions.

 For that reason and because all of these difficult issues are not going
 to go away the First and Deputy First Ministers - Peter Robinson and
 Martin McGuinness - invited U.S. diplomats Richard Haass and Meghan O
 Sullivan to come to the north and to chair an All Party Group to
 'consider and make recommendations on matters including parades and
 protests; flags, symbols, emblems and related matters; and the Past'.

 Just before Christmas the negotiations entered an intense phase. The
 Sinn Fein Ard Chomhairle met on December 23rd and authorised our talk's
 team to conclude an agreement with the other parties to be considered by
 a subsequent meeting of the Ard Chomhairle.  In the last plenary
 session, in the early hours of Christmas Eve morning, the Sinn Fein
 negotiators told the other delegates that 'we believe there is the basis
 for an agreement on the mechanisms proposed to deal with the three
 issues under consideration.'

 But despite a succession of amended draft proposals from the two US
 Diplomats the talks failed to reach agreement.  There was a real sense
 of public disappointment at that outcome, which Sinn Fein shared.
 Progress had been made and the Sinn Fein negotiating team believed that
 agreement could be reached.

 Unionists indicated that they had serious problems with important parts
 of the proposals.

 However, Richard Haass and Meghan O Sullivan agreed to return for one
 last push between Christmas and New Year. The negotiations recommenced
 only to conclude after 5 am on December 31st without agreement. By that
 stage we had reached the seventh draft of the Haass proposals. Some in
 the media interpreted this as an abject failure. It wasn't. The process
 has not concluded.

 The Haass proposals have now to be brought to each of the five party
 leaderships by their negotiating teams. It is up to those leaderships to
 decide whether the proposals offer another step forward and what should
 happen next.

 In my view significant progress was made and in particular on two of the
 three issues - Parades, Select Commemorations and Protests; and
 Contending with the Past and the proposals produced by Dr Haass and
 Meghan O'Sullivan do provide the basis for an agreement.

 Of course, like every negotiation the document that has been produced is
 a compromise position. Sinn Fein would like to have seen some aspects
 strengthened and improved further. However agreement on everything was
 not possible. This is particularly the case on the Flags issue. Like
 others we have little confidence that the proposed Commission on
 Identity, Culture and Tradition will resolve these issues. We
 nevertheless welcome the potential of this process for further
 mainstreaming parity of esteem and equality.

 I was also disappointed that issues like Acht Na Gaeilge and the
 development at Maze/Long Kesh which were part of previous agreements,
 were not advanced. They remain to be resolved in the time ahead. These
 issues are not going away. Much more work is required on parity of
 esteem, equality and respect for all cultures and identities.

 Sinn Fein has consistently advocated direct meaningful dialogue as the
 best means of resolving the few remaining parading disputes. In the
 absence of dialogue or a failure to reach agreement over contentious
 parades there is an obvious requirement for a robust regulatory body.
 The proposals contained in the Haass paper meet that demand.

 And over a decade ago Sinn Fein proposed the establishment of an
 Independent International Truth Commission. In our view that remains the
 best option. But a basis for compromise on this issue has been proposed.
 That is what the majority of our people want. Closure for victims and
 survivors is the real benchmark against which this proposition will in
 time be judged.

 It is a fact that the issues of parades, flags and emblems and the
 legacy of the past cannot be ignored. They are too important. There is
 an onus on the Irish and British governments and all of the parties to
 maintain the momentum that was created in recent weeks and to build on
 the progress achieved.

 To this end I called for all of the parties not to fudge their response
 to the Haass proposals. I called for clear statements of support.
 Regrettably the Ulster Unionist Party and the DUP have decided not to
 support the proposals. The difference between these two parties is
 purely tactical. The DUP said more work needed to be done to the
 proposals and called for an all-party working group to be established
 while the Ulster Unionist Party has rejected the Haass proposals as
 neither 'viable or acceptable'. Two slightly different ways of Ulster
 Saying No! With Peter Robinson taking a slightly more nuanced position
 than Michael Nesbitt. Beag an difir.

 Irish Republicans have stretched ourselves in the negotiations and we
 are up for the challenge the Haass proposals contain. The Sinn Fein Ard
 Chomhairle of the Party will meet this Saturday to review the outcome of
 the talks process, and agree our response.

 This is a time for political leaders to lead. Unionist leaders are
 failing their constituents and ignoring the clear desire by the vast
 majority of citizens who want to see agreement on these outstanding

 The Haass paper can aid this project. I would urge anyone interested in
 the future to access it online, and read and consider the proposals it

 * The proposals are online at

Paisley: PAEDO BBC buckles under DUP ORANGE ORDER onslaught with last-minute changes made to interview

Last-minute changes made to TV interview

01OF 2

Ian Paisley's TV interview offered the right of reply to unionists, but no one else

Fears are growing that the BBC is caving in to the DUP following its concerns over the content of an interview with Ian Paisley.

The second part of the controversialPaisley: Genesis To Revelation – Face To Face With Eamonn Mallie is due to be shown on Monday when it is expected the former First Minister will be highly critical of others over the circumstances of his retirement from public life.
But the Belfast Telegraph has learned that a number of concerns about the content have been raised by the DUP.
It is understood that the BBC has given the DUP and the Free Presbyterian Church a right of reply to many of the more controversial claims contained within the Paisley interview.
A media screening of the second part of the interview was cancelled at short notice this week. The official explanation was that the programme was still in production. The interviews were carried out by journalist Eamonn Mallie in the latter part of 2012 and the first months of 2013.
The second programme is understood to deal in detail with Mr Paisley's retirement from politics in 2010 and his stepping down as Moderator of the Free Presbyterian Church.
In the first programme, Mr Paisley referred to "being kicked to the gutter" by the church which he helped to found.
Sources have told the Belfast Telegraph that the DUP has raised a number of objections to the content of the second part of the programme.
It is also understood that letters have been sent to a number of individuals within the Free Presbyterian Church for a right to reply over claims made by Mr Paisley.
But Ulster Unionist leader and former journalist Mike Nesbitt warned against any interference in the editorial process of the BBC.
He said: "You would not expect the DUP to have any editorial rights in a programme made about Ian Paisley by Eamonn Mallie for the BBC."
The Belfast Telegraph also understands the DUP was not offered a right of reply to comments made by the former First Minister in the first part of the interview, broadcast earlier this week.
But a late change was made to the content of that broadcast after Mr Paisley used the programme to launch an attack on his successor as First Minister, Peter Robinson. The peer claimed that Mr Robinson's infamous 1986 invasion of Clontibret "should not have been done".
The version that was shown to the media last week was altered slightly to what was broadcast on Monday night to include a reply by Mr Robinson over the matter.
The DUP would not comment on claims that it had raised objections to some of the charges made in the interview.
A BBC spokesman said: "The programme is still in production."
The first programme attracted 135,000 viewers. In contrast, the Nolan Show attracts around 180,000 viewers.

Comments (31)

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GEF321's avatar - Go to profile
From a political viewpoint the UUP are just lapping this up. Other than that who cares who organised the1986 invasion of Clontibret? Only Peter Robinson who became the silly billy of that year. But it never spoilt his chances to becoming leader of the DUP and First Minister of Northern Ireland for the last 5 years.
What's the big deal? 
Ian Paisley is trying to rewrite history to justify his actions. 
The DUP want the right of reply, what's not to like? 
There's nothing like a bit of washing dirty linen in public. I'm looking forward to it!
My Uncle was a cameraman for the Beeb. He told me that there is a lot of work done to actual footage before it is screened. He left to become a freelance and then to direct programmes for television broadcast. He told me it was the only way he could tell the story as he saw it and not that what a select audience wanted it to be seen as.
BBC: Buckling Betrays Credibility 

DUP: Disputes Utterances of Paisley
3 replies · active 7 hours ago
Really! Is this what I pay my TV license for? 
Rosieroop's avatar - Go to profile
Paisley is only interested in justifying his past compliance and involvement with terrorism. Robinson is terrified of what will be revealed about him and the DUP. This is the problem with insisting that everybody else's dirty washing is hung up for all to see. Other people tend to hang your dirty washing alongside it.
Well the cat is truly out of the bag with Ian's previous confessions in last weeks interview and further revelations are going to make certain sects of the population feel like they were puppets having their strings pulled by the elite while they and there family and victims suffered horrific consequences and the public would be correct. Whilst Ian and his children where being fed from the silver spoon in the comfort of safety and privileges both sides of the population were being played of against each other by this right wing, apocalyptic, hate preacher. Serious lessons for the public to learn for the future in order to behave and don't be taken in by the rhetoric of 'do as I say and not as I do'. He has finally realised that what he said and done in the past was morally wrong and is worried about his judgement with the Big man in the sky come the moment he meets St Peter at the pearly gates (which is not too far away). This is considered his death bed confession and he wants to redeem himself.
Paul1157's avatar - Go to profile
Welcome to 1984, Big Peter is watching you! 

And I have to fork out £145 a year for this?
1 reply · active 12 hours ago
Surely they are not serious. The DUP, and Paisley have held this Country back long enough with their religious Dogma. Peter Robinson is still seething at the BBC for all the embarrassment they caused him. I don't think I need to go into detail. 

We are entitled to know what all our Elected Parties get up to and any shenanigans that are involved. How can we trust them if they jackboot the media. This programme must be Aired in full.
Anyone remember the 'Yes Minister' episode when Humphrey had been a little indiscreet on a taped interview, and the BBC Director General insisted to Jim Hacker they wouldn't cave to 'political pressure to prevent transmission'! You couldn't make this up, well, come to think of it, you could...
1 reply · active 13 hours ago

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The DUP and an abject Irish media

The DUP's Peter Robinson marching alongside arms dealer Noel Little

“The Ulster Protestant Volunteers were a loyalist and fundamentalist Christian paramilitary group in Northern Ireland. They were active between 1966 and 1969 and closely linked to the Ulster Constitution Defence Committee (UCDC), established by Ian Paisley in 1966. The UPV launched a bombing campaign to destabilize the Northern Ireland government. It also took part in most of the counter-demonstrations organized by Paisley in response to the Catholic civil rights marches of the late 1960s. The motto of the UPV was "For God and Ulster". Many of its members also belonged to the Ulster Volunteer Force.”

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Ian Paisley, now Lord Bannside

14 JANUARY 2014
And lo, it came to pass – the old, self-regarding poseur gave perhaps his last hurrah for the cameras on From Genesis To Revelation. But that's enough about Eamonn Mallie.

And what better subject for the broadcaster to confront than IanPaisley, fellow narcissist and a man breathtakingly incapable of finding anything approaching fault within himself?

It's about time, too, as there have been so many dunderheaded Dad's Army-style acolytes over the years (such as, oooh, Peter Robinson) to take the hit for Paisley's heady combination of incompetence and hate-mongering.

Robinson, in fact, was one of the leading scapegoats last night for the ageing bigot-cum-elder-statesman's latest tranche of evasive and self-justifying blather.

The Irish people were also berated for bringing the Monaghan and Dublin bombings, in which 33 people died, upon themselves by simply voting, and we learned he had supported the civil rights movement – a surprise to anybody who heard him fling out his ludicrous but intoxicating vitriol.

But, really, the promised revelations weren't that surprising, were they? Was it a shock to discover Lord Bannside, for all his media rehabilitation, still held some rather unpleasant views, and was also a dab hand at the old volte face when it suited him?

Some unkind wags had billed this as the clash of the windbags.

But while Mallie in full flow could still generate enough hot air for a turbine to power every TV in Belfast, the wind in Lord Bannside's sails hasn't blown hard for a long time.

Nor, as the programme demonstrated, has he particularly revised his take on how blame-free he finds himself after six decades in the public eye. As he sat there beaming and slightly crumpled, like a cuddly uncle you might let your kids take a sweet from, the thought occurred that he was just loving being the centre of attention again. Mallie went about asking the questions we already knew the answers to.

Paisley is a man who didn't learn from his mistakes, because he doesn't believe he made any, but there was little forensic insight into this side of his character.

He did show occasional glimpses of the casual chutzpah of those who answer to a higher power – in Paisley's case, the Lord God Almighty that is his swollen ego. When Mallie suggested he might be accused of "taking the soup" by sitting with the President of Ireland, he replied: "If the soup is good, why not take it?"

He also quickly became forgetful when the topic got a little unsavoury, even for him, such as his oft-quoted line about Catholics breeding like vermin or rabbits or some such. Then, he became just that little bit more strategically doddery.

"I don't recollect saying that," he mumbled, and so we'd go on.

Mallie, you sensed, felt something of the hand of history, or at least the fingernail of posterity, on his shoulder. Paisley, I suspect, was wondering if he'd doled out enough faux-controversial flannel to steal headlines from his much-loathed political successors.

"You're well reported, sir," retorted Mallie triumphantly at one point, to a further Paisley denial of hate-speech. And really, the 'exposés', such as they were, left us with nothing new about this rather unpleasant man who wouldn't support a cause if he couldn't lead it, and had stirred impressionable others into horrific deeds that he – to this day – wipes his hands of.

As with most latter-day Paisley interviews, there was a combination of the sinister and the avuncular. Like most decrepit bullies, he likes to trade on a little of his human side in his later years to either dampen or muddy the view of previous unpleasantness.

The 'good' reverend didn't break sweat once as he cheerfully let Mallie – his critical lance sharpened and his charger of truth galloping at full pelt – rake over not-so-hot coals of his time consorting with the likes of the UDA godfather Andy Tyrie.

He didn't miss a beat when blaming rioters for the violence that followed his blood-curdling speeches, and admitted he had a bit of a chuckle to himself when he was described as an oafish bully and poisonous bigot by the NI Secretary of State Roy Mason.

Be it the Third Force, the Anglo-Irish Agreement, the Ulster Workers Strike or his remarkable U-turn over sitting in government with Sinn Fein when he got a sniff of power, there was nothing revelatory to be gleaned from Big Ian. He knew he was right, even when he was wrong. We knew his real god was power, even when he spouted Old Testament fire and brimstone.

Mallie, meanwhile, must content himself with the knowledge when given the opportunity to poke the devil, like so many before him, he could only get close enough to tickle him under the chin. As the Big Man himself said: "I don't need to define myself. I'm already known."

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decclaws-75p· 3 days ago
paisley never got his way at the end of the day.sein fein did.ha ha.
Reply8 replies · active 2 days ago

belfastbugsy80p· 3 days ago
..but lets not forget the thousands upon thousands of Ulster people who voted for this man year in and year out endorsing his hatred, bigotry and contradiction. The people who voted his hatred as far as the European stage in Brussels and hung on every word he said, the people who now join in line to kick their past hero simply because it's the popular thing to do now, in these days of so called 'peace & forgiveness'

This mans opinions are alive and well and sit at the back of many a mind in Ulster.... it's just not a popular thing these days to display such open bigotry in public, mind you as Mr Haass is discovering, nothing changes in good old Ulster

Now for all you usual ULTSER blood and thunder fire breathers, hit that vote down button with a vengeance on this comment, because how dare anyone confront the truth in NI.
Reply19 replies · active 2 days ago

Easynow2193p· 2 days ago
I recorded the interview and watched it this evening, it was striking to me how much he avoided the quotes which could not be defended, avoided the questions he did not want to answer and changed the emphasis and meaning of those he did accept.

But what really struck me was how he actually seems to believe his own rhetoric.

The choices human beings make...


ArthurM194p· 2 days ago
Did anyone notice his favourite answer to any question that had any reference to loyalist paramilitary murder/illegal activities/sectarian hatred was? I can't be held responsible for that.............."? Reverse gear and sink the boot, Ian!


BillyMcKee97p· 2 days ago
Now we see that besides all despicable things paisley was he was also a moral coward.


DubBren91p· 3 days ago
I take it he didn't accept his responsibility for starting the troubles then...
Reply5 replies · active 2 days ago

armac11p· 2 days ago
I must say - Paisley aside - this is possibly one of worst pieces of journalism I have ever read in the Belfast Telegraph. I was under the impression it was a newspaper, not a distasteful tabloid. Perhaps I am mistaken. Ulster would undoubtedly shout that proverbial "no."


Cnrboy113p· 3 days ago
A right wing Protestant, extremist, fundementalist ,
He fully believed his to be the one true righteous path & all others be damned,
A man who spread a message of hate ,
Truly one of the greatest of all sectarian hate mongers ,
Founder of the DUP - who are still pushing the politics of this cowardly bully,
He has failed unionism by reducing it to a blinkered sectarian ,tribalist sect , one that thrives on fear & division.
Reply1 reply · active 2 days ago

DarwinisGod108p· 2 days ago
To the posters who are either too young to remember or too blinkered to admit Paisley's role in the troubles, can I recommend that you spend a few hours watching the excellent Peter Taylor documentary 'Loyalists' (or better still read the accompanying book). The documentary is available in full on youtube, episode 1 is at