$hame £ein council vice-chair accused of assaulting SDLP constituency worker

THE $hame £ein vice-chairwoman of a Co TTryone council has been charged with assaulting an SDLP constituency worker.

Strabane councillor Michelle McMackin, pictured above, and her brother Malachy Finbar McCrossan are accused of assaulting SDLP representative Daniel McCrossan. The pair are also charged with disorderly behaviour in the Farmers Home bar on Railway Road in the town on July 6 last year. Mr McCrossan (25), who is no relation to the defendants, is an active SDLP member and works as a personal assistant for the party’s West Tyrone MLA Joe Byrne. Neither of the defendants appeared before Strabane Magistrates Court last week. However, a defence solicitor said Ms McMackin (48), of O’Nolan Park, denies both charges. The solicitor did not enter any pleas on behalf of the councillor’s 57-year-old brother, and requested more time to look at police interview transcripts. The defendants are due to appear before the court on May 1 when a contest date will be set for Ms McMackin and pleas are expected to be entered by her brother. Michelle McMackin was elected as a councillor for Glenelly area in 2011 and last year became vice-chairwomen of Strabane District Council. She will not stand for election next month ( I wonder why lol) for the new Strabane and Derry council after announcing in October that she was standing down, citing work commitments.

With many thanks to: Brendan Hughes, The Irish News, Email address:



Statement from GARC’s spokesman and Independant candidate Dee Fennell

JUST back from observing another unwanted sectarian parade on behalf of Greater Ardoyne Residents’ Collective (GARC), this time carried out by the Apprentice Boys.


Several determinations broken, including the display of UVF flags and insignias. It was also interesting to see $hame £ein allenged Crumlin and Ardoyne Residents’ Association’s (CARA), banner which read “Resolution is Possible”, held by people that live on the Cliftonville and Newington. Anyone who witnessed one of the other individuals that held the banner may also be surprised that $hame £ein local election candidates would be pictured with them, or maybe not. Resolution is not possible without an end to sectarian parades through this area, an analysis shared by the vast majority of Ardoyne, Mountainveiw and Dales residents. No deal between $hame £ein and the UVF ( Willy Winston Irvine) by proxy will be accepted by the residents of this area.

With many thanks to: Dee Fennell, GARC’s spokesman.


 ‘Local pople have no faith in the RUC/PSNI’s willingness to deal with loyalist mobs breaking the law and increasing tensions - Deirdre Target.

PARAMILITARY flags have been placed outside a council run leisure centre in North Belfast in what is being seen as part of a campaign dissident loyalists vying for power in the Tigers Bay area.


Flags have been placed all along York Road and Shore Road with UDA and Union Flags placed outside the Grove leisure and well-being centre that is used by both sides of the community. A flags protocol was previously in place to prevent any emblems being placed in sensitive or interface areas as part of a voluntary aggreement. However, since the union flags dispute the protocol has not been adhered to. Meanwhile, in south Belfast Shame Fein and ex-republican assembly member Alex Maskey and councillor Deirdre Hargey yesterday met with senior police officers in relation to what they claimed was a failure to tackle a loyalist gang erecting paramilitary flags on the Ormeau Road. The loyalists also removed Shame Fein election posters from lampposts in the area. Mr Maskey said residents in the mixed community had felt intimidated by the loyalists, some of whom “had clearly been drinking”, “A gang of around 20 to 30 loyalists arrived on the Ormeau Road and took down legal Shame Fein  elecion posters  and began erecting flags, illegally on lamp posts. “Some of this gang clearly had been drinking alcohol and local residents said they felt very intimidated by their actions. “The RUC/PSNI were on the scene despite the gang committing a criminal offence and acting aggressively the RUC/PSNI failed to take any action”, Mr Maskey said. Mrs Hargey said local people felt frustrated that police did not take action against the gang she described as “bully boys”. “Local people have no faith in the RUC/PSNI’s willingness to deal with loyalist mobs breaking the law and increasing tensions in what is a shared community,” she said. “This type of aggressive sectarianism sets community relations back 20 years.”

With many thanks to: Allison Morris, The Irish News (For the origional story)

Traders ‘ordered to close shops for UVF gun-running march’

TRADERS in Larne have been ordered to close their doors to mark the 100th anniversary of the UVF gun-running plot next week, it has been claimed.

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Thousands of loyalists will take to the streets of the Co Antrim town to mark the anniversary of the arms smuggling plot, known as Operation Lion, which took place on the night of April 24 1914. Thousands of weapons were smuggled into the port town on the ship Clyde Valley before being distribued to UVF units across the North of Ireland as the Home Rule crisis deepened. Up to 80 bands and 12,000 participants are expected to take part in next Saturaday’s anniversary parade, organised by the Operation Lion 2014 Centenary Committee. While the committee is understood to be made up of people from different backgrounds, (no the UVF is not a racist organisation we love eveyone so long as you are White and not Catholic), the majority of those expected to attend the parade are thought to be supporters of the UVF’s political wing the PUP – which offers political advice to the to the modern illegal UVF. Earlier this month the RUC/PSNI accused the UDA of being on a “power trip” when 100 loyalists rioted in Larne. A spokesman for Larne Borough Council confirmed that it gave the organising committee £2,000 to found a “number of events and educational programme in relation to the history of Operation Lion”. The council is also “erecting a plaque on the monument to mark the centenary as it did on the 75th anniversary at an event which will take place on April 24″.


East Antrim Shame Fein MLA Oliver McMullan, pictured above, said traders had been told to close for the day. “One of the traders that told us he said ‘what can you do? You dare not go against it’,” Mr McMullan, said. “I hope no bother comes out of it as there is considerable tension in Larne at the minute.” Mr McMullan’s comments come just weeks after he claimed that several businesses in Larne were ordered to hand over £200 to help fund the commemorition. Larne PUP the political wing of the UVF represtative Jonathan Hodge dismissed claims that businenessess had been told to close. “The Operation Lion Cetenary event is a special occasion for Larne that will bring thousands of visitors to the town,” he said. “This is a family-oriented event with vintage vehicles and period costume, many activites and workshops for children and it will reach out to people from all community backgrounds (so long as they are not from a Catholic background). “It will be a very busy day for local businesses, providing a welcome boost in trade. The suggestion that anyone would ask them to close is rudiculous.”

With many thanks to: Connla Young, The Irish News.

Police UVF caculation and appeasement doesn’t really add up

 The PSNI has made a calculation of risk versus resources and decided it cannot take the Carrickfergus approach in east Belfast.

SO IT can be done. The RUC/PSNI has faced down loyalist rioting in Carrickfergus, thought to have been orchestrated as a warning against arresting members of the ‘bad’ UDA.


The RUC/PSNI has wiselyaking arrests in Carrickfergus while investigating a riot in Larne two weeks ago, also thought to have been orchestrated as a warning against arresting members of the bad UDA. The trouble in Carrickfergus broke out last Thursday evening, ironically just and the Queen had hosted a reception in Windsor Castle to celebrate all that is greet about the North of Ireland. Fifty masked men engaged in three hours of serious disorder, reportedly after a gun was found during a police search of a senior UDA man’s address. The RUC/PSNI responded robustly to this challenge to its authority, warning that further was planned for the following night then swamping the area to prevent it. Assistant Chief Constable Will Kerr identified the South East Antrim UDA as responsible and warned police will “disabuse” it of any notion it is “in control”. This does not appear to Eastny empty threat. Investigations into the Larne rioting have continued, with 16 arrests, 40 properties searched and 800 items seized as of the end of last week. “There will be consequences” for the Carrickfergus rioting as well, Kerr added. The line being drawn in Carrickfergus suggests a firm reversal of the appeasement policy that saw the RUC/PSNI apologise to “community representatives and others” for provoking UVF riots in the town three years ago. If so, it is a welcome devolopment but it raises the question of why an equally robust approach cannot be taken towards the bad UVF in east Belfast. Where are the arrests, searches and seizures targeting loyalist ring-leaders after three years of rioting there? Far too many damaging conspiracy theories have filled the void left by that lingering question. However, the simplest and likeliest explanation remains the one given, albeit obliquely, by the RUC/PSNI. Loyalism in east Belfsat is beleived by senior officers to be too big and dangerous to takle head on. This is why Cheif Constable Matt ( the maggot) Baggott repeats a mantra about the “right to life” and congratulated the PSNI/RUC for getting through the year of flag protests without any fatalities.

Other police statements about “public support” for loyalists and the need for policing to have “community consent” are similarly code for not provoking deadly violence. Despite the fashionable language and arcane backroom dealing there is no particular principle at work in the appeasement of the bad UVF. It is merely a problem of scale. The RUC/PSNI has made a calculation of risk versus resources and decided it cannot take the Carrickfergus approach in east Belfast. Once stated, this looks obvious but the point is that it is never openly stated. The RUC/PSNI is not telling the Policing Board or the Stormont executive to provide it with the resources to put the ‘bad’ UVF out of business. Instead, it is making excuses for itself that feed further official appeasement, such as the executive’s ‘social investment fund’ for loyalist-nominated projects or the Policing Board’s acquiescence of UVF-linked members of local Policing Partnerships. If the RUC/PSNI would admit to what is going on in east Belfast there would be less paranoia and just importantly there could be a proper assessment of the varibles. How much more dangerous is delinquent loyalism in east Belfast than in South East Antrim?21309_313953842071939_768221226_n Last week’s trouble in Carrickfergus was modest but the 2011 rioting was widespread, extraodinarily violent and organised almost immediately. Carricfergus also witnessed larger and more disruptive flag protests than east Belfast, with more loyalist input, at least initially. Yet existing resources, deployed promptly and wisely, appear to have loyalist brigadies in retreat. On the other side of the equation, is the the risk of tackling loyalism being offset against the risk of not tackling it? Over the past year the UVF in east Belfast has been linked to two attempted murders and and more than a dozen drugs-related deaths. The Human Rights Act places the right to life secondary to “quelling a riot” because it understands that all rights ultimately rest on the rule of law. We should have a new cheif constable by October. Even if he or she does not admit to making a loyalist calculation, they may reach a different answer. That just leaves the small matter of the ‘good’ UDA and UVF, who are apparently still among the things that are great about the North of Ireland.

With many thanks to: Newton Emerson, The Irish News, ( for the origional story).


GERRY (I was never in the IRA) Adam’s brother Liam a convicted paedophile has struck up an unlikely friendship with a a convicted loyalist UVF drug dealer being held in segregation for both their own safety’s.

East Belfast loyalist David McConnell (35), pictured above, is serving a six-month jail term for his involvement in a cannabis production factory. The UVF commander from Victoria Road, in Sydenham, pleaded guilty last month to possession of herbal cannabis with intent to supply and producing the Class B drug. A week later a charge of raping a woman who later took her own life was dramatically withdrawn. The Public Prosecution Service said the charge was withdrawn ‘without prejudice’ and the case could still be brought back to court at a later stage. When first charged with sex offences McConnell was granted anonymity amid claims of death threats from loyalist paramilitaries. Reporting restrictions were later lifted after a challenge by sections of the media on the basis that those intent on harming him already knew his identity. During a sentence hearing McConnell’s barrister handed into court a number of references, including one from east Belfast MLA Michael Copeland. McConnell is being detained at Maghaberry prison where Liam Adams is serving a 16-year jail term for five years of sexual abuse he inflicted on his daughter Aine. 1501026_514096412022597_1257752671_oThe West Belfast so-called republican, who forced his victim to give evidence during two trials, has indicated he intends to appeal the verdict and the sentence. Both men are being held in segregation at the high security Co Antrim facility. Adams, as a convicted sex offender with so-called republican links, is not permitted to associate with the main prison population for his own safety. McConnell has also been held in isolation because of information supplied to the prison service by the RUC/PSNI indicating he is under threat. Loyalists are protesting against the prison service refusal to move anymore prisoners into Bush House. McConnell, has not applied to be moved to the loyalist wing and instead is said to be willing to serve his short jail term in segregation. Prison sources say the two men have struck up an unlikely friendship after being shunned by other prisoners and have been spending time out of their cells with each other.

With many thanks to: The Irish News (for the origional story).

RUC/PSNI Police officers fail to secure anonymity

APPLICATIONS for anonymity in the case of two police officers facing charges of perverting the course of justice have been thrown out after a legal challenge by The Irish News and oElliss media.


Thomas Geoffrey Ellis (49) whose address was given as RUC/PSNI Cookstown is accused of two counts of perverting the course of justice, while co-accused Harry McMahon (45) of RUC/PSNI Dungannon and David Power (45) of RUC/PSNI Spruce -field each face one count. The charges are alleged to have occurred between July 22 and 25 at Cookstown Police Station and involve Mr McMahon and Mr Power removing the contents of a locker belonging to Mr Ellis. He in turn is accused of procuring Mr McMahon to commit the offence and conspiring to pervert the course of justice. Mr Power is accused of conspiring to pervert the course of justice in relation to the alleged removal of the locker contents. Dungannon Magistrates Court has never been told the nature of the ‘contents’ in question, or why it could be deemed illegal to remove them from Mr Ellis’s locker. Last week submissions were heard for Mr Ellis and Mr McMahon calling for a ban on the press naming the accused or publishing their images, claiming a risk from dissident republicans. A solicitor for Mr Power informed the court last week that he was withdrawing his appliction for anonymity. The court was told that risk assessments had been carried out on all three defendants and there was no increased threat either prior to or since media coverage. The Irish News, Belfast Telegraph, Sunday Life, Sunday World and BBC Northern Ireland, represented by Frances Lynch BL, instructed by Olivia O’Kane of Carson McDowell, made submissions opposing the applications in the interests of open justice and public interest. The ruling was adjourned for consideration and delivered yesterday. District Judge John Meehan opened his judgment by citing the five obligations of legal advocates, before issuing his final ruling. “Whilst I stopped short of including it in the judgment, I am drawn to the country and western song by Kenny Rogers, The Gambler - in which is stated: ‘You’ve got to know when to hold, and know when to fold. The applications are rejected,” he said. In an 11-page judgment, Judge Meehan noted that counsel for Mr Ellis and Mr McMahon “could offer no evidence that continued publicity would excite a real and immediate risk to life.” “Neither counsel was prepared to answer my question as to whether the application, if successful, would result in blanket anonymity for any police officer charged with a criminal offence in the courts,” the judge said. None of the accused attended yesterday’s hearing. A full-day hearing of the evidence will be held on April 29 which will determine if a trial is to proceed.

With many thanks to: The Irish News.

McCausland challenged over housing numbers

HOUSING minister Nelson McCausland has been accused of making misleading claims over the number of Catholics and Protestants on the waiting list in North Belfast.

SDLP deputy leader, Delores Kelly made the comment after figures provided by the DUP minister in February were contradicted by the Housing Executive, which answers to Mr McCausland, under the Freedom of Information Act. Mrs Kelly claimed the minister had made misleading claims regarding the “social housing crisis” in North Belfast. The Upper Bann assembly member also questioned the minister’s interpretation of housing figures. “In the assembly that day, the minister said, ‘there is no disadvantage. There is no discrimination’,” she said. “Mr McCausland said that in September 2013 there were 2,059 Protestants on the housing waiting list in north Belfast and 1,986 Catholics – roughly equal numbers in both communities in the area. However, the minister knows he is being misleading. “Figures obtained through a Freedom of Information Act, submitted to the Housing Executive by St Patrick’s and St Joseph’s Housing Committee on February 5 asking the very same question reveal – as of March 2013 – there were 1,261 Catholics on the housing waiting list in north Belfast compared to 545 Protestants.” Mrs Kelly said that in February Mr McCausland, pictured above, accused her of having “concocted ridiculous figures”. She now says the Department of Social Development minister must “clarify” his position. “The Housing Executive’s own figures are in stark contrast to the picture painted by the housing minister on February 3,” she said. “The social development minister must clarify if he believed the Housing Executive is wrong and has also ‘concocted ridiculous figures’ too? “[This is an] extremely serious issue that is affecting the lives of hundreds of people daily in north Belfast. He has urgent questions to answer.” Frank Dempsey, from St Patrick’s and St Joseph’s Housing Committee, said the Housing Executive figures are not surprising. “We have been saying this consistently year after year in relation to the housing figures in north Belfast,” he said. “Nelson McCausland can stand up in the assembly and say what he wants but he can’t argue with the figures, they are in black and white.” The Department for Social Development did not provide a response to Mrs Kelly’s comments when contacted.

With many thanks to: Connla Young, The Irish News.

North suffering under NON-RULE

If you go through all the hoops and hoopla required to cut a deal that enables you to govern together, then the very least we can expect is that you do, in fact, provide something that resembles government.


THE results of the assembly elections in November 2003 represented a turning point in the political process. Indeed, it could be argued that they represented the end of phase one of the Belfast Agreement and the beginning of phase two.


Once the DUP and Shame Fein eclipsed the UUP and SDLP in terms of votes and seats it became clear that further progress would be dependent on a deal between Ian Paisley and Gerry Adams. Some people beleived that such a deal would be impossible. That wasn’t my view. I had argued long ago as December 1999 (shortly after the Ulster Unionist Council had voted to set up an executive before PIRA decommissioning had begun) that if the DUP “finds a way of staying in an executive process which includes Shame Fein it will mean that they have abandoned the strategy of destroying the structures and institutions”. Well, they did find a way – they opted for rotating their ministers and committed themselves to reaching a “fairer, better agreement”. What followed between January 2004 and May 2007 was a very carefully orchestrated mating dance between two potential partners who beleived that the other was capable of biting off their head. All sorts of people acted as go-betweens and key figures in Tony Blair’s administration ensured that pressure was kept on both sides. Oh yes, there were some very rocky moments, particularly in and around the negotiations at St Andrews in October 2006, but there wasn’t ever much doubt that both parties were keen to cut the deal and get into government with each other. In March 2007 Shame Fein and the DUP won 64 seats in the assembly elections and took 56 per cent of the total vote.FECK OFF PAISLEY A few weeks later Paisley (pictured above) and McGuinness accepted the roles of first and deputy first minister. Phase two of the process had officially begun. What they signed up to was the co-equal governing of the North of Ireland through the assembly and the executive. Their task was to produce an ageed Programme for Government and a consensual blueprint for a ‘new era political process’. Their joint responsibility was to build a shared future and knock down the barriers which had kept us in our own us-and-them ghettoes for so long. They would, or so they said, be much better than the UUP, and SDLP because they had ensured the stability of the institutions and replaced Trimble’s ‘constructive ambiguity’ with certainty and clarity. Yet here we are, seven years later and relations between the parties are worse than they have ever been. Mitchel McLaughlin, Martin McGuinness, Declan Kearney and Gerry Adams are warning anyone who will listen that the process is in danger of collapse. S ammy Wilson, Gregory Campbell and Peter Robinson are hinting at chaos and ‘nuclear options’ if the present impasse over welfare legislation isn’t resolved pretty quickly. None of them can agree on health, education, a shared future or key environmental issues. The reform of local government has morphed into yet another carve-up, creating eleven mini-Stormonts, complete with inbuilt stalemate and mutual veto. What the hell did they think they were signing up for in May 2007? If you go through all the hoops and hoopla required to cut a deal that enables you to govern togeather, then the very least we can expect is that you do, in fact, provide something that resembles government. Government consists of making decisions, some of which will be unpleasant and unpopular. It doesn’t consist of kicking everything into the long grass, farming it out for consulation, killing it off with a petition of concern, or boring it intos submission with yet another dialogue of the deaf on The Nolan Show. We don’t have debate at the heart of government here. What we have is little more than wrestling in Jelly. And the parties don’t actually give a damn that no-one is watching the spectacle. The UUP, SDLP and Alliance complain about the stasis but not one of them has bothered coming up with a costed, thought-through alternative. The DUP and Shame Fein are happy to blame each other while chasing their usual orange and green votes. They thrive on polarisation and will continue to promote it. Meanwhile, nothing will change. Direct rule has been replaced with local non-rule as phase two withers and cracks and a new generation of DUP and Shame Fein representatives lifts up the old arguments and grudges. GOD HELP US ALL – is this really as really as good as it gets here?

With many thanks to: Alex Kane, for the (origional story), The Irish News.

Killer laughs at victim’s family

Killer laughs at victim’s family.


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