DUP’s Donaldson briefed Frazer during Haass talks

McGuinness claim comes as DUP admits briefing flag protester

DUP negotiator Jeffrey Donaldson briefed controversial loyalist Willie Frazer during the Haass talks on flags, parades and the past. The Lagan Valley MP confirmed to The Irish News that he discussed Richard Haass’s draft proposals with the high-profile flag protester as the end-of-year deadline approached.


However, Mr Donaldson said he did not speak to fellow loyalist Jamie Bryson and that nobody from the party had contact with him. Orange Order representative Mervyn Gibson, who was part of the DUP’s negotiating team, also insisted that he spoke to neither Mr Bryson nor Mr Frazer, who faces a series of charges connected to Union flag protests last year. Similar charges against Mr Bryson were dropped in November. The DUP has yet to give its verdict on Dr Haass’s seventh and final draft proposals. Senior party offices are expected to meet within days. Mr Bryson, Mr Frazer and fellow flag protester Jim Dowson were present at the Stormont Hotel talks venue during the days leading up to Dr Haass’s deadline. An outspoken critic of republicanism, Mr Frazer was a founding member of the Protestant Coalition party last year and made headlines in 2012 last year after confusing an Italian flag at a Co Tyrone primary school for an Irish tricolour during an online rant. It was reported on Monday that Mr Bryson also claims to have been shown Haass proposals by unionists as they sought to gauge loyalist opinion. However, the Ulster Unionists have also dismissed suggestions that they had contact with Mr Bryson – or Mr Frazer. “I know absolutely nothing about this claim,” UUP negotiator and former party leader Tom Elliot said. Mr Donaldson said it was a “matter for the parties” to decide who to consult with. He insisted that at no point did he share any draft documents with a third party. “Any discussions we had were of a verbal nature,” he said. “We would have had discussions about the issues contained in this Haass document.” Mr Donaldson said Mr Frazer did not have an effective veto on any of the document’s contents and that made its decision not to sign up to the deal” on the basis of its own assessment”. He said the negotiating team had heard the views of interest groups. On Monday night the UUP said the Haass propasals are “not viable and not acceptable” after a meeting of its executive. Party leader Mike Nesbitt said it was up to the first and deputy first ministers to “clear up the obvious mess that has been created” from the process they had initated. Shame Fein’s Martin McGuiness on Monday claimed that elements of the Orange Order and extreme loyalism were setting the parties agenda.

‘Adopting negotiating strategy which is driven by these negative elements is a huge mistake – Martin McGuinness.


The final Haass proposals were published on Monday in an abridged format on the Panel of Parties website. The full 40-page document has been available on the NI Executive website for the past week. “As political leaders we have a responsibility to all citizans to deliver,” Mr McGuinness said. “I have concern that the agenda for both unionist parties is being set not by this requirement but by the needs and demands of the Orange Order.” The Mid Ulster MLA said “elements of the Orange Order and extreme loyalism” did not wish to see agreement and that they were hostile to the idea of a shared future. “Adopting a negotiating strategy which is driven by these negative elements is a huge mistake,” he said. Mr McGuinness called for “political leadership” and said the vast majority of people in the north wanted to see progress. He said negotiations had concluded and that the only purpose in establishing an all-party working group wa to “ensure the implementation of the document as it stands”. An Orange Order spokesman said it had engaged positively with the Haass process and outlined its position through face-to-face meetings and separate submissions on parading, flags and emblems and the past. He said the issues discussed in the document were difficult to resolve and the order hoped a “fair and balanced resolution” could be found. “Despite losing 337 of our members as a result of terrorism, predominantly through violence orchestrated by the PIRA, we remain committed to playing our part in making the North of Ireland a better place for everyone,” the spokesman said. “In return, all we ask for is respect and tolerance for our culture and traditions.” The order spokesman said the deputy first ministers remarks were a “shabby attempt to deflect attention away from his own murky past”. “Mr McGuinness would be better served to come forward and tell the truth, for the sake of all innocent victims and the justice they deserve, regarding the heinous crimes inflicted by republicans,” he said. On Monday Dr Haass published the ‘fact sheet’ on his proposals. “The draft agreement would leave the people of the North of Ireland considerably better off than they are today by tackling the difficult issues that continue to divide society,” he said.

Conflict legacy proposals set out


(Very rare footage of Gerry Adams in 1969-1970 who claims he was never a member of the PIRA)

ARGUABLY the most complex issue facing the North of Ireland has been how it deals with the legacy of a 30-year-conflict, with competing narratives of what happened and victims demanding truth and justice after more than 3,000 unsolved murders.

New Year, same old problem as another city centre march is allowed

10,000 supporters expected says group

‘Continually organising parades is not going to advance any cause – Glyn Roberts.

LOYALISTS are to hold a mass parade down Belfast’s main shopping thoroughfare for the third time in four months. The first major loyalist march of 2014 comes days after talks held by senior US diplomat Richard Haass failed to reach aggreement on parades, flags and the past.


John ‘Dougie’ Lanigan

The Irish News can also reveal that the organisers, who say 10,000 people will attend, have been given Parades Commission perAlban  despite their application form being incomplete. The form was signed by the ‘organising committee’ rather than an individual. Following a similar parade along Donegal Place and Royal Avenue in November, the organiser John ‘Dougie’ Lanigan (pictured officeron right) was questioned by police in “connection with a breach of a Parades Commission determination”. He was later released pending a report to the Public Prosecution Service. Business leaders and nationalist politicians are concerned that a third city-centre parade to take place on Saturday of next week. Similar parades took place last September and November. Both broke the law after organisers ignored commission rulings. Glyn Roberts, chief executive of Northern Ireland Independant Retail Trade Association, urged loyalists to reconsider the tactic of holding such protests. “I would urge anybody considering parades to give the city centre a break,” he said. “I don’t think it’s very helpful. The people behind the parades could have their voices heard in the process. Continually organising parades is not going to advance any cause.” The organisers say the parade has been arranged to highlight “PSNI brutality, loyalist prisoners, the flag, civil rights and political policing”.

The latest parade, will take place on Saturday January 11, is to leave Belfast City Hall before passing through Donegal Place and up Royal Avenue – Belfast’s busiest shopping street. It will then make its way through the Shankill area before ending at Ballysillan Leisure Centre Car Park which is owned by Belfast City Council. Organisers wanted to start at 1pm, however, in one of its last acts the outgoing Parades Commission ruled it must be clear of Royal Avenue/North Street junction by 12.30. A spokesman for the council last night confirmed that it has not received any requests for the use of the leisure centre car park. Chief executive of the Northern Ireland Retail Trade Association Glyn Roberts said: “January is a key time in the retail calender. “I would hope if this parade is going ahead they should aim to be clear at the start of lunch time and it goes without saying keep it peaceful.” Mr Roberts said it was “disappointing with Haass” and urged loyalists to reconsider the tactic of holding city centre protests. “I would urge anybody considering parades to give the city centre a break,” he said. “I don’t think it’s very helpful…. Continually organising parades is not going to advance any cause.” North Belfast SDLP assembly member Alban Maginness slammed the latest parade plan. “It’s the same old thing that happened in 2013 and they are trying to repeat it in 2014 and I think that it is, to say the least, reprehensible and it’s certinly not going to lead to a resolution of any problems to do with parades,” he said. “As I said before they have made their point and there’s no value in them proceeding with such parades or demonstrations this year as it’s not going to go anywhere.” North Belfast Shame Fein councillor Gerard McCabe has called for the parade to be called off. “I would urge the organisers of this parade to rethink their position in order to give the political parties who are still considering the Haass proposals in an effort to reach a resolution to the remaining difficulties,” he said.

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

Organiser fails to sign form

PARADING law needs to be “urgently reviewed” after it emerged the organiser of a loyalist parade planned for Belfast next weekend failed to sign a form given notice of the event.


Despite this the Parades Commission has given the go-ahead for up to 10,000 loyalists and 30 bands to march through Belfast city centre on January 11. Under the law organisers of parades are required to fill out an 11-1 form at a police station which is passed on to the Parades Commission for consideration. It emerged last night that the 11-1 form for next week’s Loyal Peaceful Protesters parade through Belfast city centre has been signed by the ‘organising committee’ rather than an individual. In it’s determination for the march the Parades Commission noted that “the declaration and signature of the organiser is not that of a person but that of the organising committee”. The commission has referred the matter to the PSNI,” it said. A section of the 11-1 form must also be filled out by a police officer not below the rank of sergeant.

when contacted a spokesman for the PSNI said it was a matter for the Parades Commission. The development comes just weeks after both the PSNI and Parades Commission refused to publish the names of parade organisers for “data protection” reasons. Last month Antrim man John ‘Dougie’ Lanigan was questioned by police after a Parades Commission ruling was broken during Loyal Peaceful Protester parade through Belfast city centre in November. He was later released pending a report to the Public Prosecution Service. North Belfast SDLP assembly member Alban Maginness said: “By putting down the name of the organisation they are avoiding and evading any personal legal liability. “What this highlights is a weakness in the law in relation to the identification of the individuals personally responsible for organising parades as opposed to an organisation collective responsibility. “The whole area of parading law needs to be urgently reveiwed because it seems to me there are gaps in the law.”

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

IRA men were shot in the back by SAS soldiers

HET findings published as Haass talks break up without agreement -into ‘Shot-to-Kill’ policy’s in the North of Ireland.

TWO IRA men were shot in the back by SAS soldiers in Co Tyrone 30 years ago, a report has found. The families of Colm McGirr (23) and Brian Campbell (19) on Monday 30th December said they planned to sue the British government and wanted fresh inquests into their deaths.


The news came as US diplomat Richard Haass failed to make the party’s in the North of Ireland come to an agreement on dealing with the past, parades and flags. Among the issues holding up the progress have been mechanisms for giving evidence to Historical inquires by bodies taking over the functions of the PSNI‘s/RUC‘s Historical Enquires Team (HET) and the Police Ombudsman. The fresh report into the Co Tyrone killings was carried out by a forensic pathologist for the HET. It appears to contradict accounts given by the undercover soldiers who claimed the pair were shot dead while pointing weapons towards them. Mr McGirr and Mr Campbell, who were members of the Provisional IRA, were murdered by the SAS in a  field on Cloghog Road near Coalisland, Co Tyrone, on December 4 1983. A third man was injured but escaped. Their deaths fuelled claims of a ‘shoot-to-kill’ policy by the British government against IRA members.

Testimony from the soldiers had claimed that the men were removing weapons hidden in the field and on being challenged “Colm McGirr turned and pointed a shotgun towards one of the soldiers who then fired several shots at him”. Forensic pathologist Richard Shepherd reviewed the postmortem examination scene photographs and statements from four of the six soldiers prescent. He said he did “not believe Colm McGirr would have turned far enough to threaten soldiers” and “no shots had struck Brian Campbell from the front”. In his report, which the families have received, he concluded that because Mr McGirr was right handed, he did “not believe he would have turned far enough to threaten soldiers” if he was holding a weapon. “In my opinion therefore it is more likely that [Mr McGirr] received shots to his right side and back as he was facing into or towards the bush,” he said. The SAS also claimed one of the squad, known as Soldier A, then fired towards Brian Campbell who was holding an armalite rifle and had also turned and was facing them” However, Dr Shepherd concluded that “no shots had struck Brian Campbell form the front”. “I cannot exclude the possibility that the injury to the left upper back was inflicted as he lay on the ground,” he said, without ruling out the soldiers’ version of events in both cases. The IRA men’s families have now called for a fresh inquest into their deaths/murders. Solicitor Padraig O Muirigh, acting on behalf of the relatives said they would also take legal action against the British government.

“This report raises serious concerns in relation to the original soldiers’ statements,” he said. “In light of the disclosure of the Dr Shepherd’s report the families have made an application to the attorney general to direct a fresh inquest into the deaths/murders of Colm McGirr and Brian Campbell. “They will also be issuing civil proceedings against the minister of defence in relation to the unlawful actions of the soldiers.” Colm McGirr’s brother Brian (58), from Coalisland, claimed the British army discovered the arms cache three days earlier on December 1, but the weapons were not removed or disabeled. “We have no doubt that a carefully planned ambush was set by undercover British security forces that evening,” he said. “Through the 30 years that have passed we have sought the truth of what happened. We were led to bbelieve that the PSNI’s/RUC’s Historical Enquiries Team would make every effort to achieve the truth. “As part of this, a second pathologist has confirmed that the shootings could not have happened as described by security forces. Both men, Colm and Brian, were shot in cold blood in the back.” Mr McGirr said the families have been informed that the HSE investigation “is at an end and will proceed no further”. “We lived with a charade of an inquest in early years with no evidence of any sort offered as to what occurred. The McGirr and Campbell families will continue to demand that a new inquest is held to fully investigate all that occourred on that evening.” Reacting to the findings on Monday nnight, Dungannon Independent Republican councillor Barry Monteith said he was “not surprised” by the pathologist’s review and accused the British government of operating a ‘shot-to-kill policy in the North of Ireland. However, Dungannon DUP councillor Samuel Brush said he had no confidence in the HET. “There are dozens and dozens of murders around this area in South Tyrone that have not been looked at,” he said. “It baffles me that these things didn’t ccome to light then and can be turned up. “All we can do is work on reports as they come but is this report any better or any worse than the previous ones?”

With many thanks toto: The Irish News.

Related articles

Haass proposals doomed to failure

The reason the British handed over responsibilty to Haass for the contentious matters is that there is no answer to the questions which unionists will accept

THREE weeks to go to Richard Haass‘s self-imposed deadline of Christmas. Unless, of course, it’s a misunderstanding and he’s talking about a different Christmas. Do you give him any chance of coming up with agreed proposals on flags, parades and the past? No? Nor does anyone else.

Fly the Irish Tricolour from Belfast City Hall

There are several worrying consequences about the current process some of which have already been looked at here. First, even if Haass were miraculously to pull even one rabbit out of his hat, legislation would be required. To further complicate it, the matter’s he’s concerned with all involve UK legislation at least. In the case of deaths and injuries during the Troubles the Irish government would have to be involved too. With the unionist parties already jostling each other about European election candidates, will they support the necessary legislation during the election campaign? No. As the British coalition government sees the election scheduled for May 7 2015 rushing ever closer the DUP will become more important. The treacherous lily-livered Lib-Dems will finally start to break away and oppose some Conservative legislation, particularly on economic and EU matters. Together with the Labour party they might defeat the Conservatives on some issues.

This is where the eight DUP MPs come in. Last week they were able to help the Conservatives defeat a backwoods Tory rebellion on plans to recruit reservists to replace full-time soldiers in return for raising the cap on numbers of recruits from the north. Watch the DUP come to David Cameron‘s rescue in 2014-5 if he dangles a bauble in frount of them. Even if Haass came up with something the parties at Stormont agree on, don’t expect it to go through Westminster unscathed. However, don’t hold your breath. The reason the British handed over responsibility to Haass for the contentious matters is that there is no answer to the questions which unionists will accept. It’s perfectly obvious that on the flags issue unionist leaders are too weak, cowardly and hypocritical to support a rational solution to flags on public buildings. They took r Fleg!!! Their hypocrisy stares them in the face every day at Stormont. As for anything vertical in unionist districts, there is no solution. It would be a cat and mouse operation with the police running around after loyalist squads replacing flags the police removed. Unionists do not accept the concept of a neutral space. They want to own Norn Irn. After all, didn’t the British give it them? Now they’re asking them to share it with Fenians on an equal footing. Hah.

There are wider consequences. Past experience has shown that only Westminister-legislated change will bring unionists to heel whether it was the 1985 Anglo-Irish Agreement or the 1998 Public Processions Act. This time there’ll be no Westminster legislation because Cameron might need the DUP in the short term. It’s not the first time a British government has bolstered unionist intransigence and it won’t be the last. It dosn’t matter what colour the government is; it depends on the proconsul for the time being. Peter Hain had little to recommend him but at least his threats of joint rule with Dublin or carving Norn Irn into three sub-regions concentrated unionst minds. This present government’s detachment and the rudderless performance of the present proconsul is sending republicans a dangerous message that unionists have a veto on all change, that Stormont as presently constituted does not function as a vehicle for change. The establishment of Haass as arbiter is not only evidence of British (and Irish) disengagement but is proof that by default they encourage unionist intransigence.The plain fact is that if unionists don’t like what Haass proposes they will be allowed to reject it and Sinn Fein can do nothing about it. Haass is there only because of the failure of the two governments to confront unionist resistance to change and their continual refusal to live on equal terms with the rest of the people on this island by recognising the legitimacy of the symbols and Irish identity of those in the north. The appointment of Haass is further evidence of Sinn Fein’s inadequacy as negotiators and their failure to see the big picture. The DUP is running rings aroud them.

With many thanks to: Brian Feeney, The Irish News.

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