Endgame for Policing

I am sure by now that most of you will know what many of us knew a few days ago, that Gerry Adams has called an Ard Chomhairle meeting tomorrow to seek a special Ard Fheis on policing.

I was told that this was coming a few days ago when we were told that MI5 had been removed from the policing equation so it doesn't come as any great shock.

At that stage only a time frame for the transfer of Policing and Justice powers was outstanding.

In order for an Ard Fheis to be called Gerry will need 2/3 of the ruling 46 member Ard Chomhairle to agree. That however is academic as Gerry would never have made the announcement unless he was sure of the numbers he needed.

Gerry said

"I will put a motion to the Ard Chomhairle asking it to convene a special Ard Fheis on the policing issue. If the Ard Chomhairle agrees to that motion and others including the two governments and the DUP leadership respond positively, the Ard Fheis will go ahead in January."

"In the run up to this Ard Fheis there will be an intensive period of discussion within the party which will be led by party Chairperson Mary Lou McDonald. In addition Sinn Féin will engage in a series of meetings with the wider republican and nationalist community across the island, including the families of our patriot dead and victims of state murder and collusion."

"Given the history of repressive and sectarian policing in the Six Counties, I don't want to underestimate the difficulties that this issue presents for many nationalists and republicans."

"However, the achievement of a new beginning to policing, as promised in the Good Friday Agreement would be an enormous accomplishment. And I believe that we have now reached the point of taking the next necessary step."

"I am certain that an initiative of this kind is in the interests of all our people. It is the right thing to do. If it succeeds it will advance the struggle for equality and the search for a just and lasting peace on the island of Ireland."

When the Ard Fheis is called the leadership will need at least 2/3 in order to avoid a split, it will also need to be backed by the Northern membership. That is not being partitionist it's just being honest.

I have yet to see the "meat on the bones" of this deal and so I will not be making any rash judgements. That said I still have many difficulties with the current proposals and I know many other Republicans do as well.

I hope that every Republican will use this upcoming consultation period to voice their opinions, now is the time to stand up and have your say.

UPDATE: Ard Chomhairle agree to call a Special Ard Fheis on policing, it is scheduled for January.


Beannachtaí na Nollag

It's that time of the year again, it's Christmas and it's Balrog's second one. I have been quiet this last couple of days, there are quite a few reasons for this but for the sake of simplicity let's just say it was because I was drinking.

I am almost back to where I started with Balrog in the fact that I am now, bar Adelante's occassional blogs, the sole blogger. My comrades have different reasons for being unable to blog but most of them boil down to work pressures.

I intend to take the bull by the horns in January, I intend to bring in some fresh blood and a female voice of reason if I can. I don't want this blog to go stale.

Christmas is a difficult time for many people, they have lost loved ones and many people find the money worries hard to take.

I view it as a time for family and friends. A time to remember those who are no longer with us, a time to relax and reflect on the year that has past.

I graduated this year and I am now almost half way through my LPC year, it now reads "Chris Gaskin LLB" .

What this means is that in about 6 months I will finally get a chance to practise in the profession that I have been longing to join since I was 12.

To all Balrog readers I wish a Merry Christmas, I wish you and your families a peacefull and safe holiday period.

Nollaig Beannaithe agus Athbhliain faoi mhaise daoibh


High Court stands by Institution of marriage

I was happy to learn that the Irish High Court has decided to stand by the institution of marriage and rejected an application for recognition of gay "marriage".

I am referring to the case of an Irish couple who took a case in the High Court in order to get their foreign same sex "marriage" recognised, I blogged this story before.

Katharine Zappone and Ann Louise Gilligan said that failure to recognise their marriage breached their rights. The two were "married" in 2003 in British Columbia, Canada, after that province legalised same-sex marriage.

The couple had argued that failure to recognise their "marriage" breached their rights under Bunreacht Na hÉireann and the European Convention on Human Rights.

The High Court ruled that the court was being asked to redefine marriage to mean something which it had never done.

"I do not think that it is a right which exists for same sex couples either under the Irish constitution or under the European Convention," said Justice Elizabeth Dunne

According to Ms Zappone "We took the case because we believed and we requested that the human right to marry is simply extended to us."

That is not the case at all, they are free to marry just not each other.

If they feel that they should be recognised as a married couple then they better return to Canada.

I have no problem with civil partnership, which I feel should be extended to all couples who want it on this island, regardless of sexuality.

My objection to gay "marriage" is, as most of you will be aware of, because of my religious beliefs. I believe marriage to be a religious institution and one which must be protected.

Gay couples are entitled to equal treatment under the law but marriage is a case for the various religions, government has no place interfering in religious affairs.

NB: It seems I am going against the party line on this one, oh well!

I agree with Aengus that we need civil partnership but that is not the same as gay marriage, a very different beast indeed.

Corporate Manslaughter

Sinn Féin TD Arthur Morgan has committed Sinn Féin to publishing corporate manslaughter legislation before the next election. This was in reaction to Bertie Ahern announcing that the Government had no plans to bring it in.

Arthur said

“Scores of people are dieing in their workplaces every year while their employers escape any serious punishment. In 2005 only 40 employers were prosecuted for breaches of Health and Safety law and the average fine was an insulting and truly pathetic €7,000. Hardly a deterrent, it serves more as a nod and a wink from this Government to workplace safety violations. No Irish employer has served a day in prison for criminal negligence resulting in the death of an employee.

“In the coming months, Sinn Féin will propose in the Dáil our own draft legislation on corporate manslaughter. We would welcome not just support from other parties and the broad trade union movement, but also constructive criticism of our proposals to ensure our proposals are strong enough, and the deterrents tough enough, to make a real difference in tackling the numbers of workplace fatalities.”

I agree with Arthur, this is a problem that needs to be tackled.

Too many employers play fast and loose with the lives of Irish workers. Perhaps if they were faced with a criminal charge and a hefty fine that might help focus their minds.

Even if any future law saved only one life, it would have been worth the effort.


Sinn Féin meet Orde

Sinn Féin officially met with Hugh Orde today for the first time to discuss the ongoing problems with policing.

Gerry Adams said

“This mornings meeting is about Sinn Féin intensifying our efforts to get policing right. That is about making sure the PSNI is held fully to account. It is our responsibility as public representatives to ensure that there are effective measures in place to catch and convict sex offenders, those who prey on the elderly, drug dealers and other gangs involved in criminality"

“It is also our responsibility to ensure an end to political policing, an end to collusion, to get MI5 out of civic policing and to see an end to plastic bullets and any other form of oppressive policing which has been the experience of citizens here."

“So what we need is a police service, not a police force. We need all-Ireland arrangements,, we need common sense, practical, transparent mechanisms of policing which ensure that the type of abuses people experienced here never happen again."

“And for those families who are victims of bad policing we need truth and we need closure. At the meeting today, which was a frank meeting, we raised all of these issues."

“It is our firm view that citizens need and have the right to transparent, accountable civic policing. The Good Friday Agreement promised a new beginning to policing and today’s meeting is part of our effort to achieve that.”

There is nothing in Gerry's statement that I would disagree with. We need proper policing and despite what the SDLP would have you believe we have not got it. The SDLP jumped too soon on policing, they sold themselves too cheaply (quelle surprise)

I did find it interesting that Hugh Orde said "I need to push my organisation"


Are their people in the RUC/PSNI who are rejecting and working against change?

Since the SDLP have joined the policing board how have they managed to keep the RUC/PSNI in line?

-Have they had plastic bullets banned? like they said they would!
-Have they investigated the cases of collusion? How many times did they raise it?
-Apart from licking the arse of the RUC/PSNI what have they done?

Even if we get the required changes I will never be supporting this police service, or any police service for that matter. I will be making sure they are held to account and that they do their job.

I may accept a police service in the future but I will never give it my support.

Trust needs to be earned!!


Cap in hand

I was shocked to find out via Slugger that the Policing board is to ask Dublin to pay £40 million towards the cost of a new policing college in the North.

The Policing Board has decided to send a delegation to meet the Irish government to ask if it will contribute to the cost of the college as part of its promised 1bn euro investment here to support the St Andrew's Agreement.

I am not shocked by the "sponger" mentality but I am surprised that they choose Dublin, even as a last resort. It's just another example of how economics are erasing partition, one inch at a time.

When London says no, which will happen a lot more when Brown become Brit PM, it seems that Dublin has become the only other and acceptable alternative.

I think that under the correct circumstances the Irish government should pay towards it, however it should have a say in its running and have the option of training Gardaí there as well.

A surprising and welcome development that can't help but remind me of my favourite Proclaimers song.

DUP strife heats up a notch

It seems that the DUP, yes the DUP, has been accused of quashing internal debate and stiffling opinion over the St Andrews proposals.

A group calling itself the Voice for Democracy Umbrella Group said Unionists were disappointed by Ian Paisley`s warning at the weekend that internal dissent would only encourage the DUP`s enemies.

"These claims are just not true, cannot be sustained and any attempts by the DUP to confuse or bully the unionist electorate into unquestioning submission in order to vote terrorists into government at the ballot box on the proposed March 7 election must, in the interest of true democracy and for the welfare of all the people of Northern Ireland, be resisted at all costs," the group said.

"We have over the past few weeks made every attempt possible to engage quietly with DUP representatives at MP, MLA and councillor levels to highlight the deep concerns and confusion, created deliberately or by accident, by the party since the St Andrews negotiations but to no avail."

"Instead the responses have been, and no doubt will continue to be (as with their predecessors in the UUP), to threaten `do you want Sinn Fein/IRA to be the largest party? Do you want Plan B?` etc."

"Such responses to Christian people, people with integrity, intelligence and intellect, people from all walks of life, all of whom who put their trust and confidence in the DUP at the 2005 election will not be accepted nor will they to be used as `fodder` for the advancement of the position, power or financial gains of the few."

"Until that objective is reached the Voice for Democracy will not be silenced by threats or persuasion in whatever forms they may take,"

It seems the DUP have really pissed off the hardcore bigots with their public stance on powersharing.

It also appears that these dissenters are "not going to go gentle into that good night, they are going to fight against the dying of the light"

The only question is whether the DUP will be able to bring their people along with them, at the momemt that answer would seem to be



Death of a Dictator

I see that former dictator General Augusto Pinochet is dead. He led the military junta to power in 1973 through a coup d'état, deposing the democratically elected President Salvador Allende.

He was the declared president of the Republic of Chile from 1974 to 1990 and was a close firend and ally of Tory despot Margaret Thatcher.

Hugo Gutierrez, a human rights lawyer involved in several lawsuits against Pinochet, lamented that “this criminal has departed without ever being sentenced for all the acts he was responsible for during his dictatorship”.

Chile’s government says at least 3,197 people were killed for political reasons during his rule.

Pinochet’s son, Marco Antonio, has said that his father asked to be cremated to avoid desecration of his tomb by “people who always hated him”.

It is hard to believe that this man is to get a military funeral, that said the flames at his cremation will quite possibly be a precursor for his afterlife.

Equality--It is new strung and shall be heard!

As a follow on to my earlier post on the DUP's latest homophobic nonsense I am glad to inform Balrog readers that the bigots have been defeated today on a tied votes, equality rings through!

In what was a split vote of 39:39 DUP sources claimed the vote was tied because Sinn Féin was "able to use the vote of a deceased asssembly member".

West Belfast assembly member Michael Ferguson died in September. The St Andrews Agreement Act enables parties to use the vote of an assembly member who has died but has not yet been replaced.

I am sure Michael would greatfull that his "vote" was able to further equality, he was a furverant believer in equal rights.

According to DUP homophobe Jeffrey Donaldson this equality legislation would discriminate againt Christians.

"All six of the world`s major religions are opposed to homosexual practice. Judaism, Islam and Christianity all teach that homosexual practice is sinful."

"Not all Honourable Members may agree with that, but it is a sincerely held view by Christians and people of other faiths. The regulations will interfere with the freedom to manifest to one`s religion because these are new restrictions."

All these regulations will do is to stop bigots and homophobes discriminating against law abiding members of the community whose only "crime" is to be gay.

The days of discrimination are over, it's about time that the DUP and Unionism realised that. Hardly surprising that it was the Nationalist MLA's who supported the equality measures and Unionism which opposed it.

Some of these "Christians" should read the bible more and start with parts like "Love thy neighbor as thyself" (Matthew 5: 43)

"Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart: thou shalt in any wise rebuke [reason with] thy neighbour, and not suffer sin upon him.Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the Lord.

Leviticus 19: 17-18"

My own personal favourite is Matthew 25:31-45, which basically goes “In as much as you have done it for the least of my brothers, you have done it unto me.”

This is a simple case of bigots trying to hide behind religion, everyone is entitled to equality no matter who they are.

Childhood, the lost age of innocence

I was horrified to learn that two 13 year old boys have been charged with a brutal rape of a woman in Belfast.

One of the boys is charged with rape, attempted rape and grievous bodily harm in a city park on Monday 4 December.

The other is charged with attempted rape, aiding and abetting rape, grievous bodily harm and making threats to kill.

Both accused, who cannot be identified, are charged with robbing their alleged victim of £40 with a kitchen knife. Belfast youth court was told on Monday that when charged with rape, the accused boy made no reply.

The boy charged with attempted rape said: "I didn't rape nobody."

What is running through the minds of two 13 year old boys when they decide to brutally rape a woman?

When I was 13 I was out playing with my friends, building huts in the fields, playing swords with sticks and riding on our bikes.

Society is going to hell in a shit sandwich!

Music Review

Just thought I'd write a music review for any Tiocfaidhs out there who don't know what to get their other half, parents, siblings, dog or cat for Christmas. Shebeens newest compliation 'Jackets Green' is a truly amazing CD and features tracks performed by many other renownwed rebel bands and balladers. The title track is smartlt performed by 8 different artists performing a verse of this old rebel number and all singing the last verse. Shebeen do an amazing rendition of Blood Stained Bandage, whilst them belting out the rousing Belfast Brigade is a pure joy. Other great tracks include possibly the best rendition of Viva La Quinte Brigada that you are ever likely to hear, as magnificently performed by ex POW Terry 'Cruncher' O' Neill. Another track worth a mention is 'Streets of Gibraltar' performed live by the Irish Brigade, whilst Shebeen have performed two of the finest ballads ever penned about Ireland's patriot dead namely Tow Williams and Kevin Barry. Check it out yourself here for a full track list and more details. Other rebel links that may be of interest are as follows:
Padraig Mor, Gary Og , Adelante and Spirit of 67


Word games won't work!

Paisley is, yet again, trying to play word games with the process. He has said that Sinn Féin must humble itself by endorsing the RUC/PSNI.

This sounds a lot like his "sackcloth and ashes" speech of the recent past. That speech didn't work and neither will this.

He is trying to create division with Republicanism as his own party is split in more places than a Terry's choclate orange. The prospect of Republicans in government with the DUP is enough to give your average DUP voter a coronary embolism.

The DUP is scared that Sinn Féin will call their bluff and show them up for what they are, sectarian bigots!

This is a time for Republicans to stand as one and take those tough decisions together. The policing issue is quite simple, it hasn't went far enough yet.

The party has already said that unless there is significant movement from the Brits there will be no special Ard Fheis called. Even when one is called it is up to the Sinn Féin membership to decide what is acceptable.

Given all that Sinn Féin members and Republicans in general should have nothing to worry about.

It is the DUP who are on the ropes, let's keep them there!


Catholic bishops are not amused

The Church has attacked the new proposed education reforms and described them as a "serious threat to the right of parents to choose a Catholic education"

The nine Northern bishops said the changes would "radically undermine" the Catholic education system.

Some of the proposals include an attempt to limit the power of the CCMS, which I don't believe is a bad thing.

The bishops said "The proposals will radically undermine a long-cherished Catholic education system which has been recognised for the strength of its distinctiveness and the richness of its tradition and diversity as contributing to the raising of school standards and the promotion of a culture of tolerance and understanding"

Now I am strong advocate of Catholic education, there is none than can rival it. A lot of my English friends attended Catholic schools because of their high standards even though they were not Catholic.

It is no coincidence that the best Grammar schools in the North are Catholic, it provides a rich diverse education that places the pupil at the centre.

All that being said the bishops need to accept some change. Education needs to be accountable to parents and pupils not to the local bishop. I do believe that the main fear of the Church is that they may lose some of their power.

We have all seen the danger that is posed when the Church has too much power, abuses of that power.

If these proposals really do undermine Catholic education they I will oppose them, if they merely stop the local bishop from carrying out his many whims then I will not.


St Paul's tomb found

I see that Vatican archaeologists have unearthed a sarcophagus they believe contains the remains of the St Paul.

The sarcophagus, which dates back to at least 390AD, had been buried beneath Rome`s second largest basilica, St Paul Outside the Walls basilica.

Giorgio Filippi, the Vatican archaeologist who headed the project at St Paul Outside the Walls basilica had this to say.

"Our objective was to bring the remains of the tomb back to light for devotional reasons, so that it could be venerated and be visible,"

I think this is excellent news for all Catholics and indeed all Christians.

When I was in Rome perhaps my favourite memory, apart from the Sunday blessing from the Holy Father, was standing above the remains of St Peter at his altar in the basilica.

It's a weird but beautiful felling when you find yourself standing above the remains of the founder of the Church.

I am sure it would be a similar experience with St Paul.

Bigots raise ugly head again

I see that the DUP are trying to stop equality legislation from being passed that would stop landlords and hotels refusing people on the grounds of sexual orientation.

A motion tabled by DUP Assembly members Jeffrey Donaldson and George Dawson is urging the British government to withdraw its Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations until a fully restored Assembly can take a decision.

Sinn Féin MLA Caitriona Ruane hit out at the DUP stance and pledged to lead opposition in a debate at Stormont next week.

"The DUP know that this motion not only undermines the equality and human rights agenda but will also stir up the type of homophobic sentiment that leads to discrimination and violence. "

"That they appear determined to do so for political gain is outrageous.

"That any political party, particularly one that would share the leadership of the Office of First and Deputy First Minister which is responsible for such issues, would seek to make political gain out of bigotry is a disgrace."

"People in the gay and lesbian community should not have to take this bullying alone, it is essential that across political and civic society and human rights groups that we stand together to protect and promote the rights of all."

"This motion from the DUP is clearly homophobic in intention and retrograde in nature because the outlawing of discrimination in goods and services against people because of their sexual orientation should be a shared objective."

I agree with Catriona

It reminds me about the times when the signs read "No Dog's, No Black's, No Irish"

In this day and age people are entitled to equal treatment under the law. I know that the DUP constantly hark on about Sinn Féin being unfit for government however I would beg to differ

It is the bigoted DUP who are unfit for goverment!

There is no London in Derry

I see that Derry city council have taken a judical review to have the cities offical name recognised as Derry rather than the bastarised colonial name of "Londonderry"

There has been some suggestion that the council would need to petition the English Queen in order to change the name.

In court today, Michael Lavery, QC, for the Council said the Royal Charter is now subject to local government legislation and no such petition is needed.

"when the name of the council changed to Derry in 1984 the name of the city established by charter changed and therefore it is unnecessary to petition the Sovereign in order to do so."

There is some precedent for this in case law

It is and always has been Derry, that English King never had the authority to change the name.

I wish the people of Derry all the best in their attempt to remove this slur from their proud city.


Collusion is not an illusion!

The Oireachtas Justice committee has said what Republicans already knew, namely that successive British governments knew of the widespread collusion between its security forces and Unionist death squads.

The committee’s conclusions in relation to successive British governments are its gravest. It refers to a meeting in 1975 attended by British Prime Minister Harold Wilson and Tory leader and despot Margaret Thatcher.

She was told the RUC were not to be trusted, elements in the RUC were close to the UVF, and the reserve force, the UDR was heavily infiltrated by Unionist paramilitaries who could not be relied upon in a crisis.

Republicans have been saying this for years. The issue of British state collusion is not a case of a "few bad apples" as several deluded Unionists would have you believe. The Brits through FRU and other agencies directed State sanctioned murder against the Nationalist and Catholic people of the six counties.

It has also emerged that the highest ranking RUC man to have been killed in the Troubles, Superintendent Harry Breen, was complicit in acts of collusion between RUC men and Unionist death squads.

Breen and his RUC colleague Bob Buchanan were shot dead by the South Armagh brigade of the IRA in March 1989. They were returning from a meeting with the Gardaí in Dundalk when their car was ambushed on the Edenappa Road in Jonesborough.

Former RUC officer John Weir said Breen was present when meetings with unionist paramilitaries took place and collusion was "laughed and joked about".

Weir claims Breen had connections with unionist paramilitaries, was well aware of other RUC officers colluding with unionist killers and approved rather than took action against collusion.

Weir also claims Breen was present at meetings with unionist paramilitaries during which weaponry was handed over to the death squads.

Weir's testimony was recently authenticated by a panel of international experts investigating British collusion in 76 killings carried out by the notorious Glennane gang in the 1970's.

This is the same Glennane Gang, some of whose members Willie Frazer would have you believe were "innocent Protestants", which was responsible for a whole host of atrocities.

To give a clear picture I will list them below.

04.01.76 O'DOWD FAMILY
05.06.76 ROCK BAR, KEADY
16.08.76 STEP INN, KEADY
25.02.77 Sgt JOE CAMPBELL

Weir has also implicated a former head of Special Branch, Brian Fitzsimmons, who died in the 1994 Chinook helicopter crash in Scotland. According to Weir, Fitzsimmons was well aware of the extent of RUC collusion with unionist death squads but did nothing to curb it.

A former senior member of the British army has also claimed that his military career in the North was ended after he raised objections to the killing of a Catholic man in County Armagh involving British collusion.

A Lieutenant Colonel in the British army, Nigel Wylde had been in the North of Ireland in the 1970's. According to Wylde a sectarian killing had taken place after the British army passed intelligence details to a unionist death squad. After the killing Wylde raised objections and was transferred within days.

Wylde, an explosives expert, also believes unionist paramilitaries involved in the Dublin Monaghan bombings did not have the capability to make such devices and the most likely source was the British army.

Just the tip of the iceberg and quite clearly not just "a few bad apples"

Time to give the families closure

I see that Vera McVeigh has had a meeting today with Ian Paisley in order to try and recover the body of her son Columba.

Columba McVeigh was killed by the IRA in 1975 after confessing to being a British army agent with instructions to infiltrate the IRA.

Ian Paisley has today called for anyone with any information about the whereabouts of his remains to come forward.

I agree with him

I have a serious problem with the way the "Disappeared" have been treated by the Republican movement. I wasn't alive in 1975 and so will not pass judgement on any of the Volunteers involved in this incident.

That said in all good conscience I can't condone the denial of a Christian burial to these people. He may have been a tout however his family was still entitled to mourn him and lay his body to rest.

I believe Gerry Adams when he says that he will do everything in his power to ensure his remains are returned for burial.

The issue of the "Disappeared" is a blight upon Republicanism and one which needs rectified, the families deserve some measure of closure!


Split! What split?

It seems that the DUP PR team have been working overtime to try and deny what the rest of us already knew, the DUP is split down the middle.

A section of the Party (Robinson and Co) would sell their granny never mind their principles for Power while the Hardliners (Dodds, Allister and Co) would rather chew glass than share power with Nationalists AKA Catholics.

According to Paisley his party had now "got over this" and members had a better understanding of where they were going.

Which means what exactly?

It would seem that Paisley is determind to turn powersharing into a game of chicken between his party and Sinn Féin, this is a very silly and dangerous game.

Paisley believes that by placing the blame for the collapse of any future powersharing executive at the door of Sinn Féin he will be able to avoid the nasty "Green element" of Plan B.

Not going to happen big man!!

Republicans are in this for the long haul and we will not be deflected by rejectionist Unionism. I have no doubt that the DUP will split. When Paisley retires/dies his party will crumble quicker than Tito's Yugoslavia.

The Robinson faction may well join up with a section of the UUP and the Hardliners will go it alone. The rest of the UUP's "garden centre prods" will be absorbed by "Unionist Lite" (The Alliance Party)

I would advise Paisley not to play chicken with Sinn Féin and the Republican community, he will get roasted!


I smell a rat, the Securocrats!

I see that Michael Stone, the butcher of Milltown, has been up to his old tricks again. Stone tried to storm the Assembly chamber yesterday with the intention of assassinating Gerry Adams, Martin McGuinness and god knows who else.

According to reports today he was found in possession of a hatchet, explosives, nail bombs and a handgun.

Only for the brave actions of security guards this could be a very different day today. This was not only an attack on the Sinn Féin leadership and democracy, it was also an attack upon the Peace Process.

I don't for one minute believe that this ignorant cretin acted alone. When he attacked Republicans at Milltown the RUC ferried him there and rescued him afterwards. I am convinced that he received similar assistance yesterday.

I was up at Stormont last week and I was stopped so many times it was unbelievable, yet Michael Stone is allowed to casually walk up to Stormont and spray paint over the walls and then attempt to storm the building fully armed?

I don't think so! This smells like securocrats!

Let's just put this in context

Paisley was on the verge of a deal and then we had the Northern Bank, the only money ever recovered was found on RUC premises. Yesterday we had Paisley about to accept Martin McGuiness as Deputy First Minister and then this happens.

It is also interesting when you see just how divided the DUP are on the issue of Power Sharing. 12 of their Assembly members, including 4 MP's, issued a statement against Power Sharing and in defiance of their Party Leader's position.

I see that Stone has been charged with five charges of attempted murder and other related charges, I wonder will they stick?

Will Stone end up the same way as Ken Barrett? William Stobie?

I smell a rat and that rat is the Securocrats!


Manchester Martyrs, bring them home!

I would like to echo the sentiments of Bandon Sinn Féin Councillor John Desmond who has welcomed reports that the Irish Government may be about to join the campaign to return three of Irelands patriot dead.

John has spent the last 6 years researching the possible return to Ireland of the Manchester Martyrs.

The year was 1867 and Michael Larkin, William Phillip Allen and Captain Michael O' Brien were executed by the British for their rescue of Colonel Thomas Kelly and Captain Timothy Deasy. Earlier that year Captain Kelly had been declared Chief Executive of the IRB and as such the head of the Irish Republic.

At their trial each of the men made speeches before the court. William Allan declared,

"I'll die as many thousands have died, for the sake of their beloved land and in defense of it. I will die proudly and triumphantly in defense of republican principles and the liberty of an oppressed and enslaved people."

These men do not belong to any one political party, their spirit belongs to the long Republican tradition on this island which looks upon these men as brothers.

These men are Irish Patriot dead and form a line of brave Irishmen who have went to their grave before they would sully the Republic, James Connolly, Sean Sabhat and Bobby Sands are other such men.

I hope that these men can be laid to rest in Ireland, a final tribute for their selfless acts made in support of liberty.

Bhoy, Oh Bhoy!!!!!

What a night in Paradise on Tuesday as Celtic not only outclassed and out manoeuvered the best England had to offer (Man who???) but qualified for the next round of the Champions League proper for the first ever time.

They could not have picked a better year, the 40th anniversary of the glorious triumph in Lisbon on 27th May 1967!! Great European nights guaranteed once more at Parkhead with Willie Maley and Bhoys against Bigotry ringing out.

Occasions like this make me so proud to be a Tim and I know that despite what others think I made the right choice when I decided to join the legions of die-hard, life long Hoops fans. After the match the song Raised on Celtic as Celtic got revenge for being robbed of a rightful and deserved point at Old Trafford in September.

I know Gaskin and November Rain are United supporters, much for their sins, but even they must admit Stracho strategically outclassed Fergie and Celtic were worthy winners. People might say it doesn't matter Celtic can't win the Champions League anyway. I say this is true in the same way others said Greece couldn't win Euro 2004 and we all know what happened then!!!

Stracho has built the core of a team fit to build on past progress in Europe. Hesselink and Miller have formed a deadly strike partnership, Caldwell (with the exception of the away game to Benefica) has been solid, Gravesan is the link the Hoops so often missed in the past and Lee Naylor, to his credit has allayed tradition Celt fears over the left back berth. Jarosik and Sno have both pleased when used. Granted its a far cry from when we had world beaters like Jinky, Murdoch, Mc Neill, Gemell and Chalmers at our disposal but the futre looks green The share prices rose by 15% after the game and Peter Lawell has promised the revenue from Europe will go towards strengthening the squad.

Gone are the days when Mc Cann gave us a shoe string budget and gone are the nightmares of bankrupcy that plagued us in the 1990's. With our new training complex at Lennoxtown in the pipeline go out and celebrate because




Justice!! What justice?

I was angered when I heard that a cowardly wife-beater only get three years, with two years suspended, for abusing his wife.

It seems that the only thing this woman did wrong was to be impolite towards her estranged psycho husband.

This "man" kicked and punched his estranged wife to the ground and then threw a car battery at her because he didn't like how she answered a question, Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard today.

Judge White said the court found it particularly difficult to understand how such a vicious assault could be perpetrated in the context of a couple who had married.


There is a long history of many Irish women being used as a punching bag for cretins like the one mentioned. Just because a couple is married does not mean that he won't hit her, in most cases it doesn't happen until they have married.

It's not surprising that we have judicial attitudes like this, Blackstone believed that a husband had the right "to keep an unaccommodating wife in order by means of domestic chastisement"

My only hope is that while he is doing his couple of months in prison, because that is all he will do, is that he gets seven bells knocked out of him each and every night.

He should be whipped in the public square like the dog that he is!

An the leader was a Limerick man...

Sorry for my lack of blogging, I had exams all last week and had to return home this weekend for some pressing business.

A Comrade has asked me to point out a date for all Republicans diaries.

This year marks the fiftieth anniversary of Sean Sabhat and Feargal O hannluain. Republicans annually commemorate this date at the spot where they were captured/killed.

This year a national event is being planned. Interviews have been taken from some of the participants in the raid on Brookborough Barracks and also from local people.

All the information is being published shortly in a booklet. The booklet is a treasury of previously unpublished information.

On New Year’s Day a parade to the monument will take place and the guest speaker will be Gerry Adams. Fermanagh Republicans have a lorry of the type used in the attack and a team are in the process of renovating it. (The original lorry was buried under tonnes of rock in a quarry about twenty years ago.)

The parade will be followed by a presentation to the members of the Pearse Column in Derrygannon Community Centre, where an exhibition of items from the time will be displayed.

As Republicans we have a long history of commerating our fallen dead, none are worthier than the two Republicans mentioned.

This is an event that I hope to attend myself and would encourage other Republicans to do likewise.

Malcolm X has a quote that symbolises the character of those two brave Volunteers

"Nobody can give you freedom. Nobody can give you equality or justice or anything. If you're a man, you take it. "



Today marks Remembrance Sunday when many people will remember all dead British soldiers, nothing wrong with that per se.

What is wrong is for people to delude themselves and others into believing that the poppy is only for those who fought in both World Wars.

The Butchers Apron, smeared with the blood of the innocent men it sent to their death on the basis of Rule Britannia

From the Royal British Legion I took the following in relation to Remembrance Sunday and the poppy.

"But we also mourn and honour those who have lost their lives in more recent conflicts. Today, with troops on duty in Iraq, Afghanistan and other trouble spots around the world,"

That means those troops who fought in Ireland, Afghanistan and Iraq, where they were oppressing freedom with the British jackboot rather than fighting for it are remembered as well.

Nothing wrong with that as long as you are aware of what you are supporting but please save us from these bullshit clichés of "lest we forget"

We won't forget and neither will the Iraqi people!

Neither will the families of the victims of Bloody Sunday, the Miami Showband, Fergal Carragher, the Dublin and Monaghan bombings, Seamus Ludlow and countless other victims of British Imperialism.

I am an Irish Republican, I would not sully my coat with a poppy. It is quite rightly red, soaked in the blood of thousands upon thousands of people who died because of British Imperialism.

Vincent Browne has an excellent article in today’s SBP about the nonsense that surrounds this day of remembrance.

My own great grandfather, for his sins, fought in the first world war in the hope that this would secure Home Rule. When he came back he was disgusted at what had happened while he was away.

He and thousands of other Irishmen were fooled into believing that this "sacrifice" would help secure democracy and equality in Ireland. Fooled by armchair early stoops like John Redmond and others.

He rejoined his comrades in the newly established 4th Northern Division of the IRA and fought the British in the War of Independence.

I remember my grandfather telling me how he took the side of De Valera in the Civil War, even though most of the 4th Northern remained neutral, and helped to blow up Dundalk prison in order to free his captured Republican comrades who had been imprisoned by Free State traitors.

While he later regretted his part in the civil war, because of the idiocy of Irishman fighting Irishman, he said he had no other choice because he was a Republican.

He was an out and out Fianna Failer in his later life (I do hope he sought confession for this before he died) but he was a Republican when Fianna Fail still had some semblance of Republicanism. In the days of Charlie Haughey and Neil Blanney, days long since forgotten.

I never met him and that saddens me but I did see his medals from the War of Independence.

The poppy does not represent him, nor does it represent thousands of other Irishmen like him.

So-called Nationalists and Republicans should remember that before they pin that blood soaked poppy upon their coat.

Remember how thousands and thousands of young men were sent to their death at the behest of their Imperialist masters.

I won't forget but neither will I tarnish their memory with the poppy.


America regains its soul

I was delighted this week with the election results from the American Midterms. The Democrats have regained control of both houses for the first time in over 12 years.

A massive blow to George Bush's "Republican party" who have been plagued with sex and money scandels all the way through these elections.

It would seem that many Democrats believe that this is a first step towards taking back the Whitehouse in 2008.

I am not really too enamoured with either of the political parties in America, neither would represent my views fully. That said I do loathe the bible belt Republicanism of Bush and Co.

The quest for full Independence in this country has always be a bi-partisan approach with Sinn Féin having supporters in both political parties.

Peter King, a Republican Senator from New York, is perhaps one of our biggest supporters and while I would disgree with a lot of his domestic and foreign policy he has been a staunch ally in the most difficult of times.

I do however hope that Hillary Clinton, who seems like the heir apparant for the Democrat nomination, does not get elected as President in 2008.

I was very supportative of Bill Clinton when he was President, he was very good on the GFA and the Irish question in general. There is just something about Hillary that I don't like, I can't quite put my finger on it but it's there.

That said I do believe that the Republicans will maintain control of the Whitehouse with the nomination of John McCain and Rudy Giuliani .

If Scorcese directed Sesame Street

A very different Sesame Street from what I remember ;)


Sloppy Journalism!

Jesus, the standard of journalism in this country really isn't up to much. Take todays statement from Sinn Féin regarding the St Andrews agreement.

According to Breaking News

"Sinn Féin members approve St Andrews Agreement"

Was there an Ard Fheis and someone forget to tell me?

"Sinn Féin was mandated by its members today to fully support the St Andrews Agreement"

What utter crap! Only an Ard Fheis can mandate the leadership.

If they had bothered to read the statement they would see that we are a long way from being able to support the St Andrews agreement in full.

Here is the full text of motion passed by Sinn Féin Ard Chomhairle, I have highlighted the important bits.

“The Ard Chomhairle notes the report on its consultation process and onrecent discussions between the party negotiation team and the two governments.This includes the concerns raised, the progress made and the work still ongoing.

We believe that the process set out at St. Andrews has the potential to deliver the full implementation of the Good Friday Agreement and to bring about the restoration of the power-sharing and all-Ireland political institutions.

However, there are elements in the document set out by the two governments,which require further work to keep them in line with the Good FridayAgreement.

There are ongoing negotiations in relation to a number of core issues which have yet to be resolved.

Subject to delivery of these issues the commitments set out in the governments’ St. Andrews statement could represent a way forward.

The Ard Chomhairle mandates the party President and national Officer Board to pursue all of this and to report back to the Ard Chomhairle.

We reiterate our view that the issue of policing and justice is a matter for the two governments and all the political parties. Issues to be agreed include a timeframe for the transfer of powers and a model for the department on policing and justice.

Sinn Fein is committed to bring an end to decades of repressive and sectarian policing.We reject any role for MI5 in Ireland or in civic policing.

We want to see democratically accountable civic policing and we will continue to work until we achieve this.

I would agree with the statement from the Ard Chomhairle and to paraphrase another political party.

A lot done, more to do!


Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam

Many of you may have heard about the very bad accident that occurred last weekend in Newry, it claimed the lives of two men. One of these men was 24 year old IRA Volunteer Gerry Fearon from Dromintee.

Gerry was buried on Monday in Dromintee in what was a very sad day for the entire community. His coffin was draped in the National flag with beret and gloves placed on top and was flanked by a Republican Guard of Honour.

Over 1,000 mourners attended Gerry's funeral. He was a man who was highly respected in the South Armagh community as well as among his comrades in Óglaigh na hÉireann.

He played football for the Dromintee B team, the same team as my younger brother, and his father Peter is the Chairman of the local GAA club.

Local Sinn Féin councillor Anthony Flynn said, "Gerald was well known in the area and will be missed by all who knew him, especially his family".

The graveside oration was delivered by South Armagh Republican Seán Hughes, also from Dromintee, who said that Gerry was a quiet and unassuming young man who got things done with little fuss. He said that when his comrades came together in recent days to reflect on Gerry, what stood out was that he was always there.

He was in the middle of everything and was eager to do more. No challenge was too great or too small.

Gerry was a member of the same Cumann as myself, he was a valued member of the Jim Lochrie Cumann Dromintee.

I would like to extend my deepest sympathies to all of Gerry's family and his girlfriend Aoibheann, you have been in my thoughts and prayers since this terrible accident occurred.

A nicer man you could not have met, a more dedicated Republican there wasn't.

So long Mo Chara, it was a pleasure to have know you!


No support without influence

That was the message from Sinn Féin's Policing and Justice spokesperson Gerry Kelly. He was reacting to claims from the DUP that the devolution of Policing and Justice powers would not happen within two years of the restoration of devolution.

According to Nigel Dodds it would take longer for unionists to trust Sinn Fein to take responsibility for security.

"It is certainly not a target date for us. As far as we are concerned, there will be no devolution of policing and justice for a very long time. I have no evidence whatsoever to suggest that that is likely to happen within a political lifetime."

Gerry Kelly responded by saying that it was "crazy" for the DUP to ask his party to sign up to policing and justice and then deny them any influence on the issue for years to come.

"They should not be able to demand that Nationalists sign up to this issue of policing and justice and then say that you won't have any influence on it for a generation,"

This is one of the reasons why I will be rejecting the St Andrews proposals, in their current form, as it has an inbuilt Unionist veto on Policing and Justice powers.

Let's be quite clear that while the DUP would like to get its hands on these powers they are more than happy to live with the status quo.

This is not a situtation that will be tolerated by Republicans, the status quo is not an option.


Papal visit may annoy DUP, I say tough!

It seems that the DUP are none too pleased with the idea of a Papal visit to Ireland and specifically a visit to the North.

Archbishop Sean Brady revealed yesterday that he has invited Pope Benedict to visit Ireland - and there is speculation that it could take place in April shortly after the final deadline for devolution.

According to DUP sources this may place Big Ian in a difficult spot as he might have to meet the Holy Father as First Minister.

Here's a suggestion, DON'T GO IAN!

It would certainly make a difference from the last time you met a Pope.

Pope Benedict is the head of the Catholic Church, the majority of Irish people are Catholic. As such Ian Pasiley and his gang of bigiots are in no position to decide if he can or can't come.

As the direct decendent of Saint Peter and the head of the one true Catholic and Apostotic Church I would greatly welcome the Holy Father to Ireland, as will many others.

I was also extremely encouraged by his recent comments about child abuse within the Church.


Enemy of the Empire

Balrog is not going to take over the BBC, we are going to start our own version.

The Balrog Book Club is starting up. I and my co-contributers (very thin on the ground at the moment) are going to start giving our readers book reccomendations.

It will not just be about political books, it will cover all fields.

I would like to make our contributers a part of this as well. If anyone wishes to reccommend a book all they have to do is e-mail me and I will happily oblige.

To start the ball rolling I would like to reccommend a book called "Enemy of the Empire".

It is a book written by a Senior South Armagh Brigade Volunteer, a first of it's kind in Republican circles.

What's more is that this book is written with the full approval of the South Armagh Brigade, Oglaigh Na hÉireann.

Described by the CIA as the chief technical officer of the IRA, Eamon McGuire was involved in undercover activity for over twenty years. He is the only person ever extradited from the 26 counties to the USA for political activities.The exotic, colourful and secretive life of the CIA's most-wanted IRA man.

I would reccommed this book to anyone with an interest in the subject area, well worth a read.

Tommy Tiernan

I am a big comedy fan so in order to lighten the tone I have decided to highlight my favourite comic, Tommy Tiernan.



Colonists against progress

I see that the last relic of the British Empire (Unionism) has come out against the two governments plans for a "joined up economy" i.e. All-Ireland economy on this island.

Both Unionist parties are opposed to the two governments plans of a major cross-border initiative on economic co-operation.

While no specific projects are mentioned yet it understood that the Irish government is planning to contribute up to £700m on a major spending package in the 6 counties.

This may include upgrading the Derry to Aughnacloy Road, helping to provide radiotherapy facilities at Altnagelvin Hospital in Derry and co-funding the construction of the new north-south electricity interconnector.

All of these projects have benefits for all the people of Ireland, North and South.

It is hardly surprising that Unionism would oppose this, they have always had their heads up their own arses.

Most people however will see this as a chance to develop a strong All-Ireland economy that we will all benefit from.

There is no reason why the Celtic Tiger should stop at the Armagh/Louth border.


Think of the children

I am starting to get slightly miffed with the whole McCartney marriage affair. I don't know which side is telling the truth and to be honest I don't care. My only concern is that of the children involved in this whole debacle.

Do Paul and Heather really think that tearing strips off one another in the gutter press will help their daughter?

I have no time for most family law solicitors; most of them are vultures that escalate these types of situations for financial reward.

I firmly believe that Solicitors have no positive role to serve in these types of situations.The problem is that one of a Solicitors core duties is to act in the best interests of his/her client. Now what is in the father’s best interests and the mothers best interests is not necessarily in the child’s best interests.

I am well aware of the effect that break-ups can have on children and it is for this reason that I believe that the court should appoint someone to act for the child’s best interests.

While Mammy and Daddy are busy ripping their throats out in public the child is forgotten and that is the only person worthy of sympathy


Ard Chomhairle discuss St Andrews

I see that the Ard Chomhairle will meet this afternoon to get briefed on the Governments proposals from St Andrews. The Ard Chomhairle will also decide on the consultation which will take place in the party during the coming weeks.

I have yet to fully make up my mind on the deal but I am leaning towards rejecting it as the reforms of the RUC/PSNI do not seem to have went far enough.

There are not too many other Republican blogs in Bloglaigh Na hÉireann but Wednesday seems to be leaning the same way as well.

I was reassured though by the words of Gerry Kelly, our Policing and Justice spokesperson, on Spotlight when he said that

"We wanted to get to the point where we could put a proposition to an Ard Comhairle - we have not reached that.”

That would suggest that the party is aware that the strand of the deal that affects policing has not went far enough in order for Republicans to support the RUC/PSNI.

Republicans are not against law and order, far from it. We realise that policing is too important an issue to get wrong. The SDLP accepted less and we all saw what happenned to them. The Nationalist and Republican people of the six counties have entrusted Sinn Féin to work in their best interests. With that mandate comes a responsibility, a responsibility to make sure that any new start to policing must be acceptable to all.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin put it best when he said

"Again let me be very clear about Sinn Féin’s position on policing. Sinn Féin is for proper civic, democratic and accountable policing. What we are against is bad policing and bad law and order. What we are against is political policing, counter-insurgency policing, policing as a weapon of war, which has been the norm in the Six Counties for generations. Sinn Féin is about changing all of this and we have made huge progress in recent years. The issue before is whether policing in the Six Counties has reached a stage where it can enjoy the support of all the community. Our job is to resolve all of the outstanding matters and to create a proper policing service. It will be the PSNI’s job to prove themselves to the community. But we want to see rapid progress made on this issue. We believe such progress is possible. When this happens, and in the right context, Uachtarán Shinn Féin Gerry Adams will go to the party’s Ard Chomhairle to ask them to call a special Ard Fheis on the matter"

The bit of his speech that is most important though was his last line

"It will then be the membership of Sinn Féin that will decide our position."

I have been saying this for almost 2 years, that it will be the grassroots who will decide our position. This is why I don't think the leadership will go to the membership with these current proposals because from the members that I have being speaking to they will not get the desired response.

Now is not a time to accept less than what is required!

UPDATE: The Ard Chomhairle have met and set up a group to assess the feeling from Republicans on the ground. Mary Lou McDonald, Martin Ferris and Conor Murphy are amongst this group.

I am encouraged by the words of Gerry Adams

"There was a consensus at the meeting that work needed to continue to resolve outstanding issues which continue to block progress towards creating a policing service which is democratically accountable and free from the sort of political control which has blighted policing in the north for generations. We remain determined to reach that point and discussions with the governments will continue in the weeks ahead."


Deal or No Deal

Jesus, you go away for a few days and the world turns upside down. I see that the two governments have outlined their proposals for the restoration of devolution. The parties have until the 10th of November to accept these proposals.

I have read these proposals and there are bits that I like and bits that I dislike.

The bits that I like

1. Advancement of the Irish language with an Irish language act.

2. Advancement of the North South agenda with a North South parliamentary forum , North South Independent Consultative forum and checks and balances to ensure that these groups are accountable to the Oireachtas and the Northern Assembly.

3. Further progress on equality, social, economic and ex-prisoner issues.

Bits that I dislike

1. Academic Selection

2. Policing

The policing issue will be the most crucial issue for Republicans. I do not like, nor do I think I could support, any new policing arrangement that gives Unionism an automatic veto over the devolution of Policing and Justice powers.

Most people will know that Unionist's like Robinson etc are power hungry, they would sell their Grannies for a slice of Political pie. That said, no matter how much they would like to wield the powers of policing and justice they would far rather not if it meant denying us the chance to access the same powers.

I don't know yet what kind of assurances that the leadership got in relation to Policing, what changes that the Brits promised etc.

If however it is "what you see is what you get" in relation to this document then I do feel that the leadership would be foolish to approach the membership at a special Ard Fheis and ask them to support the RUC/PSNI.

I think that Gerry Adam's statement today was the right one

"So far no one has agreed to these proposals except the British Prime Minister and the Taoiseach. Issues of this importance, with such major implications, require careful study. They need comradely debate and thorough discussion. Our leadership will consult with our party membership and the wider republican community to see if these proposals contain the potential to resolve outstanding issues and deliver the full implementation of the Good Friday Agreement.

We need to do this calmly and with political maturity but critically, if Sinn Fein is to respond positively to these proposals they must have the potential to deliver equality, accountable civic policing, human rights and the full restoration of the institutions."

This is a time for debate, Republicans should use this opportunity to let the leadership know exactly what it thinks of these proposals. This is not a time to accept less than what is required.

Do these proposals give us enough in order for Republicans to support the RUC/PSNI?

I don't know but my initial reaction is No.

Only time will prove me right or wrong


Liar, Liar, Pants on fire!!

It seems that Brit Secretary of State and Umpa Lumpa look-a-like Peter Hain has been telling tall tales. According to Hain the RUC/PSNI are now accepted in South Armagh.

This is bullshit!

I come from South Armagh, Peter Hain has never been in South Armagh in his life, except perhaps flying over it in a British Army helicopter.

This is a slur against the people of South Armagh and is baseless!

All of the evidence points to the contrary, that the people of South Armagh do not support the RUC/PSNI. The local DPP tried to hold a public meeting in Forkhill, not a part of South Armagh that is noted as a Republican stronghold, and the locals acted against it. They managed to get 99% of the people of Forkhill to sign a petition opposing the meeting.

The DPP then had to cancel the meeting.

South Armagh is a Republican stronghold, the vast, vast majority of people in South Armagh vote for Sinn Féin.

I am a bit sick and tired of all this baseless bullshit from the likes of Hain.

Where is his evidence that the people of South Armagh support the RUC/PSNI?

The people of South Armagh, like Sinn Féin, will support the police service when we get one. We have always had and continue to have a police "force" that looks down its nose at the people of South Armagh and other Nationalist and Reublican areas. That is unacceptable and while the PSNI continues to walk, talk and act like the RUC then it will continue to be the RUC even if it has a new name and uniform.

Sinn Féin, unlike the SDLP, is not prepared to accept less. We will not be taking whatever a Brit minister decides to give us, which is what the SDLP did as they got down on their hands and knees and kissed their asses.

Republicans will not support policing structures until we get the required changes, the Nationalist and Republican community know that. That is why they removed the SDLP as the leading voice of Nationalists in the 6 counties.


Doc and Bishop have tea!!!

I see that Big Doc has had tea with Archbishop Sean Brady. The reaction of the media has been exageratted and blatantly over the top. While I'll admit it does represent a massive development from the man who was ejected from the EU parliament for heckling the Pope, but in the end its really just a comestic exercise. My views on the RC hierarchy are well documented on this blog, so therefore I am devoid of even one shred of respect for Sean Brady and Paisley did not meet someone who represents me. A much more worthwhile 'development' would be if he sat down andtalked to the people I democratically elected to represent me!!! Then he could ameliorate this be forming an all inclusive executive with those the vast majority of the Nationalist/Republican community's elected representatives!!!! No one buys Ians minor cosmetic PR stunts. Truth is if he'd met Brady and the likes in the late 1960's, instead of spleening his venom on the Shankill and stirring up a frenzy in Divis we would not have had to suffered half as much as we have!!


Hamas will never recognise Israel

That was the message from Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh. In an address to a rally which contained tens of thousands of supporters Mr Haniyeh ruled out any notion of compromise. He also rejected any attempt to remove the democratically elected government of Palestine.

“There are new scenarios, such as an emergency government, a technocrat government, or early elections,” Mr Haniyeh told the crowd in a packed soccer stadium. “They all aim at one thing, getting Hamas out of the government.”

Before the last Palestinian election I had hoped that Fatah would win again, I have always supported the party of Yasser Arafat. That said the Palestinian people have spoken and any attempt to get rid of the democratically elected government is an attack upon democracy itself.

“Our bodies can get tired, but our soul will not, and we will not stop our steadfastness,”

I wish them well in their quest for freedom and independence. If they choose not to recognise Israel then that is a matter for them and their people.


Unionist death squad recieves a medal

The UDR/RIR sectarian militia have been awarded the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross at a ceremony in Belfast. Now how Britain chooses to honour its state sponsored death squads is a matter for them.

That said I did find it a bit sick when Elizabeth Windsor spoke about these scumbags in such glowing terms.

According to Ms Windsor "Your (UDR/RIR) contribution to peace and stability in Northern Ireland is unique,"

I'll say, unique in so far as the UDR/RIR sectarian militia never ever sought to uphold peace and stability anyway. They were more interested in the sectarian murder of Catholics.

Their members were responsible for the Miami Showband Massacre (In fact their members were actually in uniform when they carried out this attack), the Dublin Monaghan bombings and countless other attacks.

"Today you have cause to reflect on the fine achievements, while remembering the suffering,"

Indeed they do, they have the blood of enough innocent Catholics to make this a proper Loyalist shin dig. Perhaps if the relatives of those they murdered passed on mass cards they might be able to reminisce about how Mervin wasted that "Fenian" and Billy sorted out that "Taig".

Great craic all together

Enjoy the medal lads, I hope it's red to match your hands!


Adam and Eve, not Madam and Eve

I see that the row about same sex "marriages" has led to a case being brought before the High Court. Lesbian couple Dr Katherine Zappone and Dr Ann Louise Gilligan are taking an action against Ireland’s Revenue Commissioners after it refused to treat them the same as heterosexual married couples for tax purposes.

They married under Canadian law in Vancouver in September 13, 2003. Michael Collins, senior counsel for the pair, said they wanted the High Court to recognise the status of their marriage or allow them to marry in Ireland.

They may well have "married" under Canadian law but they are now living in Ireland and are therefore subject to Irish law.

I have spoke on this issue before and received some angry responses, not that angry responses have ever bothered me before.

I am not homophobic, I am comfortable enough in my own sexuality not to be concerned by any one else’s. That said I am a Catholic and I do believe that a marriage is the union between a man and a woman under God.

I always found it surprising that any homosexual couple would want to be affiliated with a heterosexual ceremony. Most gay couples would like gay marriage to be legal because they believe that it will lead to an acceptance of their relationship by society in general.

It is not a case of financial concerns because there is civil partnerships for that, or at least their will be at some point. No, those who are not happy with civil partnerships and want marriage believe, rather foolishly, that marriage will give their relationship in this heterosexual dominated society.

It won't!

We need to address the root causes of homophobia, we need to educate children at a young age that gay people are no different to you or me. They are someone’s son, daughter, brother, sister etc

My aversion to gay marriage is because the entire concept is oxymoronic, you can not have a marriage with two women or two men.As far as I am concerned the Government should ban all marriages not conducted within a religious institution because marriage is a religious union, they should shut down registry offices.

The way to create equality is to apply the rule equally, remove religion from government and by association marriage as a religious institution.

All couples should be referred to as civil partners, whether heterosexual or homosexual. A married couple should have the same rights as a gay couples and vice versa.

That way you ensure equality and preserve the institution of marriage

Ahern apologises to the Nation

I see that Bertie Ahern has apologised to the Irish people for accepting "loans" and "gifts" from rich Businessmen while Finance Minister in the 1990's.

"Nobody is infallible or perfect," he told the Dáil.

Fine Gael, Labour and the Greens launched a blistering attack on the Taoiseach claiming "This Taoiseach is still the great evader, still the great evader."

Blue Shirt leader Enda Kenny said the Taoiseach's combined apology and defence harked back to a culture espoused by disgraced politicians such as late Taoiseach Charlie Haughey and former minister Ray Burke, whose careers foundered after they were found to have taken payments from big businessmen.

"Does this sound familiar?" Kenny asked, before quoting Mr Burke`s speech to the Dáil in 1997 where he denied receiving payments.

"I'm taking this opportunity to state unequivocally that I have done nothing illegal, unethical or improper"

"They are the words of Deputy Burke in this house on September 10 1997. Same words, same standards, different application. I thought that this country had moved on from that period. I thought we had moved away from the Haughey era of the 80s, but apparently Fianna Fail resurrects the same old standards in the same old way."

I would like to think that Bertie's apology was sincere but the words of Charlie still echo in my ear, "the most ruthless, the most devious, the most cunning of them all"

That said all the polls show that as far as the country are concerned the prospect of having Ultra Blue Shirt Kenny and Stickieus Maximus Rabbitte in charge is about as popular as a dose of the clap.

I personally believe that this issue has caused Bertie some real harm, not in the short term perhaps but I do feel that he will be got in the long grass of the next election.


Terrorism Tourism???

It was with much amusement that I read an article in the paper yesterday in which a DUP councillor berated the 'terror tourism' of an Ogra Sinn Fein demil weekend. Is the guy for real? The thing that appears to have caused umbrage to the irascible Mac Farland is Ogras intented republican tour of West Tyrone. With West Tyrone renowned as a basstion of republican militarism it is only likely that some sort of tour appeared on the itineary of events. Mac Farland has his orange sash in a twist because the tour apparently incorporates visiting the scene of many 'IRA attacks against the security forces' and the spot were 'many IRA members were shot by the security forces'. Maybe all the war museums in Vietnam should be shut, US Veterans day cancelled and Mac Farland and his orange chums should cancel their visits to Flanders, the Somme etc. if he takes offence to this tour. Maybe Irish History should be removed from the cirriculumn as well? Its time the DUP realised the value of republican history and accept it!!!


Oh, well that's all right then

I see that Bertie Ahern has moved to repay the brown envelopes/"loans" that he received when he was Minister for Finance in the 1990's. It seems that in the world that is "Bertie" repayment somehow makes everything all right.

It doesn't!!!

It would not matter whether Bertie received £5 or £5 million, the fundamental problem, which some find hard to grasp, is that as Minister for Finance Bertie knew or should have know that accepting such "loans" would be unacceptable.

They create the impression of impropriety and considering what all the tribunal’s have being revealing about those dark days of cronyism and cute-whoreism that impression has an awful lot of substance.

It is unacceptable for any Minister for Finance to accept any kind of "loan" (I thought loans had to be paid back?) from a businessman.

It's political rule 101, no sleaze in politics. A rule that Fianna Fail still fail to grasp.

I know that 64% do not want Bertie to leave as Taoiseach and considering the realistic alternative (Blue shirts and Stickies) at the moment I don't blame them.

I do have the feeling though that if the Government doesn't collapse, and it won't because McDowell would sell his granny for any class of political power, Fianna Failers will view this as a let off.

I am of the view that this repayment is just more attempts to gloss over the real issue of sleaze that lies at the heart of most of the establishment parties.

Let's not forget that Bertie also said he "searched up every tree in Dublin" to find sleaze on Ray Burke.

He obviously didn't look too hard!

It doesn't surprise me that Ahern thought of it, he's living up to the mantra that his predecessor gave him as "the most ruthless, the most devious, the most cunning of them all"

I do hope that in time ordinary working-class Fianna Fail voters will examine their party of choice more closely.

Do they wish to be represented by a party that only pays lip-service to its Republican credentials?

As Conor Murphy said, Fianna Fail may be a Republican party but their Republicanism stops at the British imposed border.

Do they wish to be represented by a party embroiled in sleaze, brown envelopes and cronyism?

Instead of looking after the interests of the working-class they are more interested in selling themselves to the highest bidder in the corporate tent at the Galway races.

Look who they let run Health and Justice, you may as well just let Göring and Höss lead two of the most important Government departments.

They should think about being represented by a genuine Republican party. A party which places the needs of the most vulnerable over those of corporate businessmen. A party whose principles are not up for auction to the highest bidder. The only party untainted by sleaze.

Sinn Féin is that party!

They never learn

It seems that the Church authorities have learnt nothing from the last couple of years. I am of course referring to tonight’s Panorama programme which accuses the Church of repeating policies in the developing world that allowed priests to abuse children in Ireland over the past 40 years.

'Sex Crimes and the Vatican', which is being aired on BBC's Panorama programme tonight was partly made by Irish anti-child abuse campaigner Colm O'Gorman. He claims thousands of children across the developing world have been abused by priests because of the Church's failure to confront child abuse.

Mr O'Gorman has claimed that even today, the Church is continuing to protect itself over the interests of children in the developing world.

You would think thought that the Church would have learnt from its mistakes but instead of begging forgiveness for the terrible crimes that were inflicted upon children they seem to want to bury their heads in the sand.

This is not going to go away and they more they try to hide the sick bastards who do this the more they damage the Church.

I had hoped that our new Pontiff would put a stop to this. It does seem that old habits die hard within the Catholic Church, especially the "hear no evil, see no evil policy" that was all to prevalent in our last Pontiffs reign.

As the successor of Peter Pope Benedict should be ashamed of himself.