Monday, February 20, 2006


Teach Dáithí Ó Conaill, 223 Parnell Street, Dublin 1,
Phone: +353-1-872 9747; FAX: +353-1-872 9757; e-mail:
Date: 20 Feabhra / February 2006

Internet resources maintained by SAOIRSE-Irish Freedom

Irish Republican Information Service
THE body styling itself 'Limerick Republican
Information Service' is not connected with the Irish
Republican Information Service (IRIS), 223 Parnell
Street, Dublin 1, email and has not
been authorised either by IRIS or by the body that
sponsors IRIS, Republican Sinn Féin. Therefore it is
totally unauthorised and should be regarded as such.

In this issue:
1. Hunger Strikers honoured in Ballina
2. 'Display of solidarity with nationalist people of
the Six Counties'
3. Evidence that loyalist killer was RUC informer
4. Decision not to interview murder suspects
5. MI5 to replace RUC/PSNI Special Branch
6. Protesters prepared to take 'direct action' over
gas pipeline
7. British MPs ban 'glorifying terrorism'
8. 150 jobs go as two factories shut
9. SIPTU gives guarded welcome to Services Directive
10. Family anger with death in custody decision
11. Protesters block re-opening of pub near Stardust
12. Number of legally-held weapons in the Six Counties
13. M3 road through Tara challenged in court
14. Candle-lit Procession at McDowell's constituency


A LARGE crowd attended the Republican Sinn Féin
commemoration of the three Co Mayo hunger strikers -
Seán McNeela, Ballycroy; Michael Gaughan, Ballina and
Frank Stagg, Hollymount - in Ballina on February 12,
the 30th anniversary of Stagg's death.

The parade formed up at the 1798 Humbert Memorial and,
led by a piper from the Glens of Antrim and a colour
party bearing the National Tricolour, the Starry
Plough, the Fianna Éireann sunburst and the flags of
the four provinces marched to the Republican Plot in
Leigue Cemetery.

At the graveside of Republican martyrs Healy and Tolan
and Michael Gaughan and Frank Stagg, Ruairí Ó
Brádaigh, President, Republican Sinn Féin, presided at
the ceremony.

He recalled that Seán Ó Clérigh (Jackie Clarke) of
O'Rahilly Street was mainly responsible for the
erection of the memorial at the Plot in 1966, that
Dáithí Ó Conaill and General Tom Maguire gave the
funeral orations for Michael Gaughan and Frank Stagg

Seán Mac an Iomaire, Gaillimh, recited a decade of the
Rosary in Irish, following which wreaths were laid by
relatives of the dead hunger strikers.

Carmel McNeela, Dublin (sister-in-law), Joan Gaughan,
Ballina (cousin), Rosaleen Stagg Doyal, Navan (sister
and Seán Stagg, Hollymount (brother) placed floral
tributes oin the graves. Dr Seán Maguire, Castlebar
(son of Tom Maguire) laid a wreath on behalf of the
McNeela-Gaighan-Stagg Cumann of Republican Sinn Féin,
Co Mayo.

Than Dan Hoban, Newport, read the Roll of Honour of
hunger strikers who died for Ireland - 22 names in all
- from 1917 to 1981.

The first speaker was George Stagg, Co Meath, brother
of Frank Stagg. He called on people to honour the
memory of the hunger strikers by seeking to achieve an
Ireland free of the British Occupation Forces and the
British government.

Máire Harrington Uí Mhongáin, Dú Thuama, spoke next.
This was the centenary year of the death of the great
Land League leader fdrom Mayo, Michael Davitt. In
keeping with Davitt's struggle for the land was the
fight for the natural resources of Ireland for the
Irish people. She called for support for the Rossport
Five and their followers in their endeavours.

Finally, Brendan Magill of Lurgan, Co Armagh was
introduced as the comrade of Michael Gaughan and Frank
Stagg in England and the close associate of the Stagg

"There is continuity in our Cause and our fallen
comrades all had one thing in common. All from the
time of Wolfe Tone to the present day wanted an end to
English interference in our affairs," he said.

"They died, whether in a prison cell on hunger strike,
in a prison ship, an ambush or bombing operation or by
assassin's bullet, all made the supreme sacrifice for
Ireland the people of Ireland.

"To pay tribute to them means to play a part, no
matter how small, in getting rid of the British and
building a free, united Ireland, a better Ireland, a
New Ireland - ÉIRE NUA of the four provinces.

"If the hunger strikers of Mayo were alive today we
know what they would do. Do this in their name. In the
names of Frank Stagg, Michael Gaughan and Jack
McNeela, I ask you today:

"Help us in the reconquest of our nation, break the
connection with England. An Phoblacht Abú!," he

The parade then reassembled and marched back to the
forming-up point where all stood to attention for
Amhrán na bhFiann.


SPEAKING at Republican Sinn Féin's 85th anniversary
commemoration on February 19 of the Clonmult massacre,
in which 12 IRA volunteers were killed by British
Crown forces, on February 20 1921,in Midleton Co Cork,
RSF Vice-President Des Dalton outlined why Republican
Sinn Féin were leading the protest against the staging
of a loyalist march in Dublin.

"On Saturday, February 25, loyalists plan to march in
Dublin, with it appears the compliance of the
26-County administration. In allowing the
representatives of groups who have murdered innocent
uninvolved nationalists over the past 40 years as a
matter of policy, not for the first time the 26-County
political establishment have turned their backs on the
beleaguered nationalist people of the Six-Counties.
RSF have from the beginning led the campaign against
this march taking place.

"On the front page of SAOIRSE this month we spell out
clearly our reasons for doing so. Firstly one of the
groups sponsoring the march FAIR claims for Loyalists
a near monopoly on suffering. British-backed loyalist
death squads have murdered more than 1000 innocent
uninvolved nationalists. Of the 698 members of the
protestant community to be killed during the present
conflict, 340, or 49 % died at the hands of loyalist
death squads, it appears FAIR should be marching on
the UDA and UVF in Belfast.

"Secondly Republican Sinn Féin are opposing this march
to express our solidarity with the nationalist people
of the Six-Counties, be it in Dunloy, the Garvaghy
Road, the Ardoyne or other such areas, who have had
such marches imposed on them year after year. Homes,
schools and churches have been burned and attacked, by
those who would preach to us about tolerance. Even
a-political symbols of identity, such as GAA club and
county colours cannot be displayed in some areas of
the Six Counties for fear of attack.

"The question must be asked would nationalist parades
of whatever kind would be allowed through Portadown or
East Belfast? I think we all know the answer; British
forces would certainly block them. As the editorial in
SAOIRSE declares. Thirdly the reason for this loyalist
march is clear, it is part of a softening up process
for an official visit to Dublin by the Queen of
England, who claims ownership of part of Ireland, a
claim enforced by military for.

"The duty of Irish Republicans is clear, RSF are
calling on all who oppose this march to join with us,
under a banner declaring 'Unite Protestant, Catholic
and Dissenter'... 'To break the connection with
England', next Saturday from 10.00am at the Parnell
monument, at the top of O'Connell St, and make your
protest known. When the British government finally
leaves Ireland and Loyalist marches will no longer be
a question of supremacy of Unionists over
Nationalists, then all interests will be welcome and
free to parade wherever they choose."


It was one of the most disturbing images of the
Troubles - a loyalist killer maniacally laughing at
relatives of his victims in a display of naked,
sectarian hatred. Now an even more disturbing
allegation has emerged: that Torrens Knight, convicted
of 12 murders, was a police informer while a member of
a Protestant assassination squad in Northern Ireland.
He was involved in the machine-gunning of a Catholic
bar in Greysteel, Co Londonderry, in 1993, when eight
people died. He also took part in another attack in
which four Catholic workmen were shot dead.
The idea that such a notorious figure could have been
working for the security forces has deepened the
unease about the role of the Special Branch in the
underground "dirty war". According to unconfirmed
reports, Knight was paid £50,000 a year for passing on
The police say they will not comment on any
allegations about who might or might not have been an
informer. The Chief Constable of the Police Service of
Northern Ireland, Sir Hugh Orde, has said that
regulations concerning undercover agents have been
tightened in recent years.
But a series of unconnected cases have created
suspicions that, during the Troubles, the Special
Branch routinely concealed information from other
parts of the police.
Knight, who is now in his thirties, was convicted as
one of the members of the Ulster Defence Association
(UDA) who burst into a Catholic bar on Hallowe'en
night in 1993 to stage an attack in retaliation for an
IRA bombing. After one of the gang shouted "Trick or
treat", gunmen raked the bar, leaving its floor and
walls splashed with blood, while Knight, armed with a
shotgun, stood at the door. The eight people killed
included an 81-year-old man while 19 others were
Knight received eight life sentences for this,
together with four more for the murders of four
Catholic workmen killed seven months earlier in
Castlerock, Co Londonderry. He served seven years in
prison before paramilitary prisoners were granted a
general release under the Good Friday Agreement.
Unconfirmed rumours that Knight had been a police
informer had been in the air for some time. Suspicions
have been voiced by John Dallat, a campaigning
politician who is a member of the nationalist Social
Democratic and Labour Party. Mr Dallat, who says he
was in touch with police about Knight before the
Greysteel and Castlerock attacks, claims they might
have been prevented since it was known Knight was an
This week brought a piece of evidence that is seen as
strengthening the informer theory. In 2000, after his
release from prison, Knight is said to have attracted
the attention of staff at a bank where he was
withdrawing large amounts of money from an account
into which £50,000 a year was being paid. The bank's
concern was that Knight was "laundering" illegal
money, but, when police were contacted, an assurance
was given that everything was in order. The money
being paid in was said to be from a Scottish
engineering firm. However, the account was hastily
closed down.
If Knight was an informer, his role clearly did not
provide him with immunity for his killings since he
was charged and jailed for them.
In some cases informers have been allowed to commit
various offences but have been charged when they carry
out "unauthorised" acts such as murders. But the
appearance in this instance is that even his
convictions for 12 killings did not stop the Special
Branch paying him large sums of money after his
The further allegation made by Mr Dallat is that a
rifle used in the Greysteel incident was one of two
weapons found by anglers after the Castlerock
shootings but before the Greysteel attack took place.
The weapons were not recovered. Mr Dallat said he had
been telephoned by a member of the security forces who
claimed the guns were moved by a member of the Special
Branch who was protecting Knight.
Mr Dallat has referred the case to the office of the
Police Ombudsman, which is investigating the saga. He
said: "I hope the investigation team are successful in
gleaning why the UDA ran amok for so long before
finally being caught."
The Dirty War and informers
Denis Donaldson, a senior Sinn Fein administrator,
admitted recently that he had been a Special Branch
informer for up to 20 years, sending shockwaves
through the republican community.
Freddie Scappaticci, senior IRA "enforcer", was outed
as a security force informer in 2003, though he has
not admitted this. He is said to be living in Italy.
William Stobie, a loyalist charged with the murder of
solicitor Pat Finucane, sensationally revealed in
court that he had been a police informer. He was later
shot dead by his organisation.
Brian Nelson, a senior loyalist intelligence-gatherer,
was unmasked as an Army informer in 1990. He served a
prison sentence and has since died.
IT WAS one of the most disturbing images of the
Troubles - a loyalist killer maniacally laughing at
relatives of his victims in a display of naked,
sectarian hatred. Allegations have emerged that
Torrens Knight, convicted of 12 murders, was an RUC
informer while a member of a British-backed loyalist
death squad.

He was involved in the machine-gunning of a
Nationalist bar in Greysteel, Co Derry, in 1993, when
eight people died. He also took part in another attack
in which four nationalist workmen were shot dead.

According to unconfirmed reports, Knight was paid
£50,000 a year for passing on information. Knight, who
is now in his thirties, was convicted as one of the
members of the Ulster Defence Association (UDA) who
burst into a nationalist bar on Hallowe'en night in
1993 to stage an attack. After one of the gang shouted
"Trick or treat", gunmen raked the bar, leaving its
floor and walls splashed with blood, while Knight,
armed with a shotgun, stood at the door. The eight
people killed included an 81-year-old man while 19
others were injured.

Knight received eight life sentences for this;
together with four more for the murders of four
nationalist workmen killed seven months earlier in
Castlerock, Co Derry. He served seven years in prison
before being granted a general release under the
Stormont Agreement. Rumours that Knight had been an
RUC informer had been in the air for some time.

In 2000, after his release from prison, Knight is said
to have attracted the attention of staff at a bank
where he was withdrawing large amounts of money from
an account into which £50,000 a year was being paid.
The bank's concern was that Knight was "laundering"
money, but, when the RUC were contacted, an assurance
was given that everything was in order. The money
being paid in was said to be from a Scottish
engineering firm. However, the account was hastily
closed down.

Even his convictions for 12 killings did not stop the
RUC Special Branch paying him large sums of money
after his release.

The further allegation is that a rifle used in the
Greysteel massacre was one of two weapons found by
anglers after the Castlerock shootings but before the
Greysteel attack took place.

The weapons were not recovered. A local nationalist
public representative said he was telephoned by a
member of the British Crown forces who claimed the
guns were moved by a member of the RUC Special Branch
who was protecting Knight.


THE decision not to interview four key suspects in the
murder of a Dundalk forestry worker 30 years ago was
probably political, according to Justice Henry Barron.

A British-backed loyalist death squad, abducted Séamus
Ludlow, aged 47, including a member of the British
army's Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR) in County Louth
and shot dead on May 2, 1976, but THE 26-County police
never interviewed the suspects identified by the RUC
18 months later.

At the Joint Leinster House Committee on Justice, on
February 16, Judge Henry Barron was asked if this
decision had been taken because of the volatile
situation at the time. "I think the reality is that it
was probably political," he replied.

Committee member Senator Jim Walsh suggested that,
while he did not agree with it, one possibility was
that the 26-County Government did not want the
loyalist suspects interviewed because it might inflame
republican sympathies.

In his report into Séamus Ludlow's death, Judge Barron
said it was most probable the decision not to carry
out the interviews with the Six-County-based suspects
was made by former Garda Commissioner Laurence Wren,
then head of the Garda C3 security section.

The two garda detectives who received the information
from the RUC in 1979 never received authorisation from
C3 to travel across the border to follow it up,
despite the fact that two of the suspects were in
prison and readily available for interview.

Judge Barron told the committee he stood over his
report's conclusion, despite strong denials from
Laurence Wren that he had any involvement in the
decision. "It must have been made by the most senior
member and that was Mr Wren," he said.

The four suspects named in Judge Barron's report -
Paul Hosking, James Fitzsimmons, Richard Long and
Samuel Carroll - were arrested in the Six-Counties in
1998, but the Six-County DPP decided not to prosecute
them because of insufficient evidence. Judge Barron
said he would like to have seen the RUC files on the
Ludlow murder while compiling his report, but this was
not possible because he got no co-operation from the
British authorities.

Independent TD Finian McGrath asked if there were any
other avenues for the committee to investigate.

"It's an awful long time ago, that's the problem,"
said Judge Barron. "Everything seems to suggest that
four men were in public bars in the state (on the
night of Ludlow's murder). At the time, if photographs
were shown to people, they might have identified

The family of Séamus Ludlow, who have travelled from
Dundalk to attend each committee hearing, are calling
for a full public inquiry into his murder.

Judge Barron's fourth and final report, into bombings
in Dundalk in the 1970s, is within a week of
completion, but its publication may be delayed to see
if the names of those allegedly responsible can be


MI5 is moving to Palace Barracks, Holywood, Co Down as
it prepares to replace the RUC/PSNI Special Branch in
the Six Counties.

MI5 is due to take over the lead role in intelligence
involving British national security by the end of
2007. Until now, the RUC/PSNI Special Branch has had
overall responsibility. In future, while British
Colonial police handlers will continue to work with
individual informers they will, in some cases, report
back to MI5.

During the Troubles, MI5 were based at Stormont Castle
- their shift of premises coincides with a shift of
role. It is believed they will in the main be used
against Irish Republicans, as they are perceived to
pose the biggest threat to the British state and their
occupation of the Six Counties. The RUC/PSNI will
continue to have responsibility for loyalist gangs as
they are regarded in the main as criminals.

The current head of MI5, Eliza Manningham Buller, is a
former head of the organisation's so-called Irish
counter-terrorism desk.


ABOUT 60 people protested outside the Shell oil
company's offices in Dublin, on February 17 in
opposition to the Corrib Gas pipeline.

Members of the Shell to Sea Campaign chained bicycles
across the entrance to the offices on Adelaide Road,
in what they said was a symbolic precursor of planned
blockades of Shell installations in Mayo.

The protests were mirrored by pickets at Shell offices
in the Netherlands and Britain and Shell filling
stations in the west of Ireland.

Co-ordinator of the protest Tadhg McGrath said the
campaign was frustrated "by Shell's lack of a plan B
or any alternative and believed the oil company would
press ahead with construction of the Corrib Gas
pipeline in March.

But he said the campaign was prepared to take "direct
action" to prevent the construction work going ahead.
"We have heard that Shell has block-booked hotels and
guesthouses in Mayo for an Italian construction crew.
But at the end of this month the Shell to Sea camp
will be up and running again in Mayo and we are
prepared to blockade their work."

Tadhg McGrath said funds had been raised
internationally over the winter and members had
travelled abroad, visiting protest camps and amassing
equipment necessary to mount a "Greenham Common" style

The protests were part of a weekend of events, which
continued in Ireland, Britain, the Netherlands and
Sweden on February 18.

A highlight of the weekend's events was a protest as
Bertie Ahern addressed an Ógra Fianna Fáil convention
in the West County Hotel, Ennis, on February 18.

The five men jailed for 94 days last year over their
opposition to the pipeline again called on the
26-County Environment Minister Noel Dempsey to clarify
recent comments which led to the men's decision to
suspend mediated discussions with Shell. He had
"unilaterally changed the format of mediation", the
five said. Time, space and confidentiality were
required to reach agreement, but the 26-County
minister had "removed that possibility" and had either
"consciously misled us or reversed his September


THE British House of Commons voted on February 15 315
votes to 277 to ban 'glorifying terrorism' sending it
back to the British House of Lords, which had struck
down the term "glorification" earlier this year,
saying it was dangerously vague. The two chambers must
reach agreement for the measure to become law.

Tony Blair said the vote sent a "signal of strength"
and would help authorities counter those who espouse

He said the bill would allow authorities to prosecute
demonstrators such as those he said carried placards
espousing violence during recent London protests
against a Danish newspaper's publication of cartoons
of the Prophet Muhammad.

Blair suffered a major Commons defeat on security last
year and needed the win on glorification to
demonstrate he had reasserted control over rebels in
his Labour Party.
In November, the British House of Commons rejected his
plan to allow terrorist suspects to be held for up to
90 days without charge.

Critics said the ban on 'glorifying terrorism'
threatens civil liberties.

In January, the British House of Lords voted 270 to
144 to remove the word "glorification" from the
government's anti-terror bill and replace it with
language that would outlaw describing terrorism in a
way that encourages people to emulate it. Menzies
Campbell, leader of the Liberal Democrat party, said
the measure could threaten civil liberties.

"The law on glorification may well have unwelcome
implications for freedom of speech, but it will do
nothing to improve public safety," he said.

The proposal was part of the government's anti-terror
bill, which was drafted after the bombings on London's
transit system in July that killed 52 people and four

The bill also would outlaw training in terrorist camps
and encouraging acts of violence. Only the
glorification provision and several other amendments
were up for votes Wednesday, not the overall bill.

Opponents say the ban would be dangerous and
unnecessary, pointing out that extremists such as the
radical cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri have been convicted
in Britain under existing laws against incitement to
murder and racial hatred.

The British House of Commons also debated whether to
renew contentious powers that allow some terrorist
suspects to be detained indefinitely under "control
orders" - strict conditions that resemble house
arrest. No vote was taken.


IT was reported on February 17 that around 150 jobs
are to be axed over the next year with the closure of
two manufacturing plants in the north-west.

Cassette maker Saehan Media will end operations in
Sligo with the loss of 91, while more than 60 jobs are
to go at the renowned Magee clothing company after the
firm said high costs had forced it to make cuts.

Saehan Media Ireland Ltd, which makes video and audio
tapes, will shut its doors in April after making
losses of €10m last year. This was on the back of
losses of €2.4m in 2004.

Magee, a high quality clothing firm, will stop
manufacturing in Donegal by June 2007, but design,
marketing and administration staff will be kept on,
along with retail staff at the local store.

A spokesman for Saehan Media blamed the rapid increase
in demand for DVDs for the move. The market for
videotape and cassettes was in steep decline, he said,
with demand dropping by 30% last year and a further
drop of 40% expected this year.
Employees at the Hazelwood factory were told today
that the plant would close on April 28.

Management thanked staff for their contribution and
commitment to the factory over the past 15 years and
said negotiations would begin immediately on
redundancy packages.
Korean-based parent company Saehan Media, which has
had a presence in Sligo since 1991, is one of the
world's top suppliers of magnetic tape. At its height
it employed 500 people in the town.

Magee chairman Lynn Temple said the decision to end
production by June 2007 was due to the high cost of
manufacturing clothing in Ireland.

"The skill and experience of our staff has been a big
part of Magee's success and it has always been our
ethos to create employment at home in Donegal," she
said. "However, the economics of the marketplace means
that this is no longer possible in clothing

Magee will continue to base its administration, design
and marketing in Donegal Town, where it was founded in
1866, and the move will not affect the Magee weaving
operation, which employs 60 people, or the Magee

Magee will continue to employ around 130 people in
Donegal Town after the redundancies, including 30
people in its local retail outlet.

The losses bring to more than 550 the number of jobs
lost around the country so far this year, with the
manufacturing sector hardest hit.


THE largest trade union in the 26 Counties, SIPTU,
gave a guarded welcome to the outcome of the European
Parliament vote on the controversial EU Services

The measure aims to open up the services market across
the EU and remove the red tape that discourages
service-providers in one country from setting up in

Trade unions had expressed huge concern that aspects
of the new law would exacerbate the erosion of
employment standards, with companies from low-cost EU
states undercutting their rivals in wealthier

However, MEPs voted on February 16 in favour of a
range of amendments designed to protect workers' pay
and conditions.

SIPTU president Jack O'Connor said that the amended
directive approved by the parliament appeared to be a
major improvement on the original draft.

However, he said it was too early to give a definitive
assessment and SIPTU would be withholding its support
until it saw the full text of the new law.

He also said that, despite the vote, the onus still
rested with the 26-County government to ensure that
the pay and conditions for Irish workers are


IT was reported on February 17 that no one will be
prosecuted over the death of a Dublin man in police

Terence Wheelock, 20, from Summerhill, was found
unconscious in his cell in Store Street garda station
last June after allegedly attempting to hang himself
with the cord from his tracksuit bottoms.

He never regained consciousness and died on September
16 in the Mater Hospital.

At the opening of the inquest into his death, Mr
Wheelock's family heard that the Director of Public
Prosecutions will not be taking the case any further.

Speaking outside the court following the hearing,
which was adjourned, Mr Wheelock's brother, Barry,
said: "We do not believe Terence was responsible for
his own death. We do not believe it was suicide.

"The DPP's decision is not a surprise to us but it is
a disgrace to the memory of my brother.

"All we want is to know what happened and we want an
independent inquiry into his death."

Terence Wheelock's family, including his parents,
Laurence and Esther, are planning poignant protests at
Dáil Éireann next month to mark the dead man's 21st

Barry, 31, continued: "Terence would have been 21 on
March 23 but because we can't present him with a key
we will give it to the Minister of Justice instead."

The family is now determined to have Terence's
belongings returned - including clothing and the
alleged ligature - to be examined by forensic
laboratories in England.

During the hearing, Seán Gillane, representing the
Wheelocks, accused Minister for Justice Michael
McDowell and An Garda Síochána Commissioner Noel
Conroy of hindering their attempts to collect his
personal effects.

He said: "We have no axe to grind. We have openly
indicated our wish to have these items independently
examined. There are experts in England ready, willing
and able to do these tests.

"The Wheelock family cannot afford for these experts
to come here and have to make arrangements between
forensic laboratories here and England for the safe
transport of these items. The family want to assure
the court the best they can that their reasons are
legitimate and bona fide."

A police property application hearing is due to be
held at Dublin District Court on March 14 if both
parties do not come to an agreement before then.

Adjourning the hearing, Dublin City Coroner Dr Brian
Farrell offered his sympathies and condolences to Mr
Wheelock's family.

Outside court, Barry Wheelock slammed the Gardaí for
holding on to his brother's belongings for so long.

He accused the Gardaí of illegally taking the clothes
as the death had been considered a suicide.

"I personally believe some forensic evidence is on
them," he said. If they have nothing to hide, they
should hand them over. The longer we haven't got the
clothes, the more likely they are to be forensically

"Funding these tests is not an issue yet. Even if we
have to fund this, we will - we won't be letting this

The case will be mentioned again in the Coroner's
Court on March 7.


A PROTEST took in the Dublin suburb of Artane on
February 18 against the opening of a pub adjacent to
the site of the Stardust nightclub fire. bout 100
people protested against the re-opening of the Sliver
Swan pub which was destroyed in the blaze that killed
48 young people on Valentine's Day 25 years ago. The
pub was originally due to open on January 15 but was
postponed by angry protests from the families of
Stardust victims.


IT was reported on February 19 that the number of
weapons, including shotguns, held on licence in the
Six Counties last May was 144,554 - up by 5,634
(almost 4%) on the 2001 figure. It's undisputed that
the majority of licence holders are unionists.


A PLAN to build a motorway beside the hill where
ancient Celtic kings were crowned is currently being
challenged in court as campaigners fight to save a
monument described by W B Yeats as the "most
consecrated spot in Ireland".

Campaigners against the proposed M3 route past
Ireland's greatest national monument, the Tara
complex, claimed in a landmark legal challenge that
the Dublin Administration deliberately watered down
legislation governing the protection of national
monuments and failed in its constitutional duty to
protect Irish heritage.

The constitutionality of existing legislation on the
protection of national monuments is the subject of a
High Court case that may force the Dublin government
to rewrite legislation and ultimately re-route the M3
motorway planned to run through the Tara valley.

The High Court action was taken to alter the pathway
of the proposed M3 motorway, which breaches the
archaeological complex. Irish citizen, Vincent
Salafia, is suing the Minister for the Environment,
Meath County Council, the Attorney General and the
National Roads Authority.

Recognised experts of Tara, Conor Newman and Edel
Bhreatnach testified that the current route being
excavated will entail the demolition of over 10
archaeological monuments in the valley between the
hills of Tara and Skryne, at least two of which are
national monuments in their own right, and that the
motorway is damaging the national monument. Judgment
is March 1, 2006.

An appeal to the Supreme Court is anticipated by both
parties. For more information see: and

Join hundreds of academics and thousands of people
worldwide who are petitioning the 26-County Government
to stop the current archaeological excavations and
reroute the M3 motorway away from the Hill of Tara
archaeological complex, Ireland's premier national
monument. Please sign the online petition at:

In affidavits supplied to the court by leading Irish
archaeologists, it was claimed that the route of the
motorway runs directly through the series of national
monuments making up the Tara valley. However, the
government, Meath County Council, and the National
Roads Authority (NRA) argue that the national monument
is located at the Hill of Tara and that the
surrounding areas are not part of the monument.

The absence of legislation governing archaeological
landscapes has been criticised by groups such as the
Heritage Council, which argues that legislation in
other countries protects the landscape surrounding a
national monument and not merely the monument itself.

The Minister for the Environment, Dick Roche,
currently has sole discretion to define the importance
of national monuments, although he is obliged to take
advice from the Director of the National Museum, Dr
Pat Wallace.

Earlier this year Dr Wallace stated his belief that
the Tara Valley "constitutes an archaeological and
cultural landscape which deserves the fullest and most
generous protection". He said that the region was the
most important of its type in Ireland, "if not in

Thirty-eight archaeological sites have been identified
along the M3's route.

Tara's importance as a religious centre dates from
around 4,000 BC. The oldest visible man-made feature
is the Mound of the Hostages, which dates from the
third millennium BC.

It is traditionally associated with Cormac Mac Art,
the legendary Irish High King. Tara became a pagan
spiritual and political centre in the third century
AD. It has remained a potent symbol of Ireland's

During the rebellion of 1798 the United Irishmen
camped on the hill, but were attacked and defeated by
British troops.

In 1843, Daniel O'Connell, the Irish MP, hosted a
'Repeal of the Union' political demonstration at Tara
which attracted one million supporters.

High Court Justice Thomas Smyth will give his decision
on the M3 motorway case on March 1.


IN A statement on February 19 Cosantoiri Siochana -
The Peace Network said that a group of concerned
citizens, irate constituents and peace activists were
planning to hold a candle-lit vigil on Thursday,
February 23, at 5.30pm at The Diamond, Ranelagh,
Dublin in a bid to force Justice Minister, Michael
McDowell to implement the law regarding the searching
of all aircraft landing at Shannon Airport.

The statement said: "If possible, the group will also
congregate outside McDowell's constituency office
nearly before marching in single file to Rathmines
Garda Station, where they will hand in a signed letter
to the Superintendent commemorating both their concern
and their peaceful action.

"Despite substantial grounds for suspecting that
aircraft landing at Shannon are involved in torture,
Minister McDowell insists that the gardaí have no
right to mandatorially search aircraft. As citizens of
Ireland, we wish to complain of suspected grave
breaches of Irish human rights law. Section 4 (1) of
the Criminal Justice (UN Convention against Torture)
Act 2000 states:

" 'A person shall not be expelled or returned from the
State to another state if the Minister is of the
opinion that there are substantial grounds for
believing that the person would be subjected to

"Flight records for CIA-chartered planes from
September 2001-September 2005 show that six of these
planes have landed at Shannon more than thirty-five
times. These include a Gulfstream jet, N379P, involved
in the abduction of two men from Sweden in 2001, from
where they were 'rendered' to Egypt and allegedly
tortured; a 737 registered as N4476S, which had been
spotted at Shannon, and which took part in the
kidnapping of the German, Khaled-el-Masri, who was
taken to Afghanistan and tortured; and the plane
involved in the abduction of Abu Omar from Italy to
Egypt in January 2003, which Minister Martin Cullen
admitted made a 'technical stop' at Shannon during
that mission."



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