From Irish Political Review: June 2006

Editorial Commentary

DUP Ends Boycott Of British-Irish Body: …thus wrote the Irish News on 12th April. In fact the Party has not rescinded it refusal to participate in the British-Irish Interparliamentary Body, which also includes representatives of the Welsh and Scottish devolved assemblies as well as of the NI Assembly (when operational). Jeffrey Donaldson, Peter & Iris Robinson, and Nigel Dodds attended the Killarney Meeting of the body to make a presentation of their case for amending the Belfast Agreement to make it more democratic and less representative.
IMC: …Last month we said that the next IMC report would reveal whether Lord Alderdyce's 'IMC' was acting objectively or following Government instruction. Before the last report, the preliminary leaks were all anti-Provo. This time, with very little alteration in objective conditions, the leaks and reception of the new Report have all been the other way: IRA No Longer A Threat: IMC (22.4.06 IN); IMC Report Will State Loyalists Still A Risk (26.4.06 IN); IMC Report 'Most Positive Yet' On IRA's Dismantling and IMC Exposes Loyalist Threat (27.4.06 IN); Report A 'Foundation Stone' For Powersharing and IMC Has Given Unionists An Opportunity They Ought To Take (27.4.06 IT).
As to the issue of retained IRA weapons, which was blown up into a big story the last time in order to justify putting off action by the two Governments—that has now been buried: "The precise quantity of arms held on to by some republicans was unknown and their retention was “against the wishes of the IRA leadership”, it said (IN 27.4.06).
Now it is time for the DUP to be put under gentle pressure—of course, not under the onslaught formerly directed against republicans. Even Interior Minister Michael McDowell has shut up about 'criminality': he has hands full forcing garda to accept a new police reserve force. But the DUP under Paisley says "it will not be 'bullied' into settlement" (25.4.06 IT). Time will tell.
Denis Donaldson: …In last month's magazine we reported that this British agent had been debriefed by the IRA. However, Gerry Adams has said that he was "very unforthcoming about his activities. The party broke off all contact with him shortly after all this. He was told that if he wanted to make a full disclosure he should get in touch with us. He never did" (Village, 6.4.06). Significantly, the article is called Dead Men Tell No Tails.
Incidentally, Donaldson was the first Northern Republican permitted to carry a personal protection weapon by the PSNI. He had a 9 mm semi-automatic pistol and two licensed shotguns. Phoenix informs us that: "In some of the pictures published after his death a noticeable bulge can be seen under his left arm" (21.5.06). The magazine asks, Where Are Denis Donaldson's Guns? Perhaps it should ask, 'Why Didn't He Use His Gun? The magazine also says Donaldson was visited both by former RUC CID detective Colin Breen (associated with the Sunday World revelations about the 'hideout'—see last month's Irish Political Review) and another British spook:
"Few know that the renegade… was contacted by another British agent days before the Sunday Worst [sic] made contact. This man, now in semi-retirement in west Donegal, approached Donaldson to have a “friendly chat”. The agent (a former supergrass) had been familiar with the Donaldson cottage from the time years ago when IRSP member, the late Mary Reid, owned it. He is believed to have advised Donaldson that maverick republicans who believed he had betrayed them in the early 1980s (when he had access to IRA operational information, which he lacked in his later Sinn Féin years) were an imminent threat. Donaldson made plans to move to Dublin, but fatally delayed his departure by a week."
We therefore have two plausible theories—that Donald was killed by the British to prevent him giving away information about their Intelligence operations, or by mavericks. The two are not absolutely incompatible. Billy Wright was killed by the INLA while in the Maze Prison, but two years ago Justice Cory recommended a public inquiry be held to investigate allegations that the authorities colluded to make this possible. Wright was imprisoned on rigged charges and was threatening to spill the beans on collusion. As Gerry Adams says, Dead Men Tell No Tales.
Army 'Grooming': …"the British army in the north are to offer a prize fund for secondary schools to encourage them to participate in a competition under army auspices at Ballykinlar Camp" (letter, IN, 28.3.06, Brian MacGiolla Pheadair). The writer was shocked to see a girl from an Integrated School wearing battle fatigues. The competition is to promote fitness and initiative.
SDLP & Parades: …A couple of months ago this magazine pointed out that the SDLP was acting in a sectarian manner under the guise of defending nationalism. A reader asked for examples. The latest instance comes in the Party's High Court challenge to two nominations to the 7-man Parades Commission by Peter Hain, David Burrows and Don McKay, both Orangemen. The SDLP complaint was upheld by Justice Morgan in the Belfast High Court on the grounds that the appointments made the Commission one-sided, there being no equivalent appointments from the other side. Of course, there is no opposite number to the Loyal Orders: of its nature opposition to parades is very much locally-based. The Irish Times report noted—
"Mr Hain rounded on the SDLP in particular for mounting a campaign against Mr McKay and Mr Burrows. He contended that having Orangemen on the commission was designed to find a solution to the parades issue, and should at least be tested by nationalists as to whether it might work" (IT 20.9.06).
€1,800: …per person in the Republic is the price of Irish unity, according to UUP peer, Lord Kilclooney (II 26.4.06). We wonder what population figures he based this on? This figure will soon be history, what with immigration from Eastern Europe and the Northern 'peace dividend', which has seen Secretary of State Hain slashing the public sector and social services. The North is becoming more affordable every year! (Lord Kilclooney was John Taylor before his Ascension.)

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