Northern Ireland: Discussions aimed at rescuing Good Friday Agreement

By Steve James and Chris Marsden, 20 February 2004

Discussions have begun between all the major political parties in Northern Ireland and the British and Irish governments on a review of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement. The review will centre on the extent to which the far-right pro-British loyalist Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) of Ian Paisley can carry out its stated policy of excluding Sinn Fein from power in a revived Northern Ireland Assembly.

Northern Ireland loyalists turn to race violence

By Steve James, 6 February 2004

A series of racial attacks in Northern Ireland point to organised efforts by Ulster loyalist paramilitaries to purge Protestant areas of non-whites.

Ireland: Barron report confirms British collusion in 1974 Dublin bombings

By Steve James, 23 December 2003

The Irish government has approved the publication of a report into the origins of bomb attacks in Dublin and Monaghan in 1974. Thirty-three people were killed in the atrocity, the single most bloody event in the entire period of the “Troubles” in Ireland, and the lives of hundreds more were marred by injuries to themselves, friends and family members.

Irish budget hands millions of euros to business

By Niall Green, 11 December 2003

In his seventh budget as Minister of Finance, Charlie McCreevy continued the Fianna Fail/Progressive Democrat coalition government’s policy of offering tax breaks to big business while starving public services of investment. Increases in indirect taxation, which hit the poor hardest, have also been announced.

Northern Ireland: Unions derail opposition to Bombardier job cuts

By Steve James, 11 December 2003

A weeklong strike by workers at Bombardier’s Belfast aerospace plant, part of a months-long dispute, has been derailed by the combined efforts of the trade union bureaucracy and the Northern Ireland Labour Relations Agency (LRA).

Northern Ireland elections: Democratic Unionist Party and Sinn Fein gain support

By Steve James, 3 December 2003

Elections for the suspended Northern Ireland Assembly resulted in predicted gains in support for the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and Sinn Fein.

Northern Ireland election: An attempt to rescue the Good Friday Agreement

By Steve James, 26 November 2003

Today’s second election for the Northern Ireland Assembly is another desperate effort to resuscitate the constitutional arrangements established under the power-sharing Good Friday Agreement of 1998 (Agreement).

Northern Ireland: Adams offers to disband IRA as new elections are called

By Steve James and Chris Marsden, 7 November 2003

More than a year after the suspension of the Northern Ireland Assembly and six months after scheduled elections were cancelled, new elections have finally been called by the British government for November 26, 2003. It is highly unlikely that those elected will immediately take up their seats, as no clear Agreement has been reached between the various contending parties and governments to allow the assembly to be revived. Rather, the vote will be a trial of strength before the planned review of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement due to begin in December.

Deepening poverty and inequality in Northern Ireland

By Steve James, 24 October 2003

The 1998 Good Friday Agreement, which incorporated republican Sinn Fein and the IRA into the structure of British rule in Northern Ireland, was supposed to create a framework within which an era of “peace and prosperity” for all would dawn. Instead, five years later, a new report has been compiled revealing that poverty is more prevalent than either in the UK or in the Republic of Ireland, and both Catholics and Protestants are deeply affected.

Northern Ireland: Human rights redefined on sectarian lines

By Steve James, 20 August 2003

Underlying the tensions in and around the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission (NIHRC), are two conflicting conceptions of human rights. These in turn reflect the gulf between the hopes of working people initially attached to the Northern Ireland “peace process” and its essential divisive and sectarian content.

The “Steak Knife” affair and Britain’s dirty war in Northern Ireland

By Steve James, 9 August 2003

After months of claims, counterclaims, denials and fresh accusations, it now seems highly likely that the one-time second in command of the Provisional Irish Republican Army’s (IRA’s) internal security was for many years an agent of British intelligence.

Irish government prepares airport and transport privatisation

By Steve James, 30 July 2003

Ireland’s state-owned airport company, Aer Rianta, is to be broken up and eventually privatised.

Ireland: Health care cuts claim child’s life

By Steve James, 11 July 2003

Two-year-old Róisin Ruddle from Limerick died July 1 shortly after being sent home from Our Lady’s Hospital for Sick Children in Crumlin, Dublin because of a shortage of nursing staff.

Ireland: Ulster Unionist Party could split

By Steve James, 28 June 2003

David Trimble, leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) and First Minister of the suspended Northern Ireland Assembly, narrowly won a majority in his own party to avoid a rejection of the April 2003 Joint Declaration of the British and Irish governments. At a special June 16 meeting of the party’s leading body, the 860-strong Ulster Unionist Council (UUC), Trimble defeated his long-standing opponent Jeffrey Donaldson by 54 to 46 percent.

Hundreds of jobs cut in Belfast

By Steve James, 16 June 2003

Two of the Northern Ireland’s oldest and most famous manufacturing companies, Short Brothers and Harland and Wolff, have announced drastic cuts in their workforces.

Northern Ireland: “Dirty war” probe provokes conflicts

By Steve James, 13 June 2003

Sharp divisions have emerged in Britain and Northern Ireland over ongoing revelations regarding the role of British armed forces in orchestrating the assassination of opponents during the “dirty war” against the Irish Republican Army (IRA).

Stevens report on Northern Ireland

A glimpse into Britain’s dirty war on the IRA

By Steve James, 6 May 2003

Inquiries led by London Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir John Stevens into collusion between Protestant loyalist terror groups and British military intelligence in Northern Ireland have collected 10,391 documents and 16,194 exhibits, interviewed 15,000 people and taken 9,256 written statements over the last 14 years. Taken together the collection weighs 4.1 tonnes.

Ireland: Mass opposition to war vs. Iraq

By Steve James, 3 April 2003

Opposition to the US-led war against Iraq has drawn mass protests in Ireland. On Saturday, March 29, some 20,000 people joined an antiwar demonstration through the capital, Dublin, whilst thousands joined protests in Cork, Galway, Limerick, Waterford, Sligo and Derry.

Northern Ireland Assembly elections delayed

By Steve James, 21 March 2003

Elections to the currently suspended Northern Ireland Assembly have been put back four weeks by the British government. The Assembly was established as part of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, which set up a measure of devolved government for Britain’s oldest colony and established power sharing between the pro-British and Protestant Unionist parties and the Irish nationalist and Catholic parties, including Sinn Fein, the political wing of the IRA.

Ireland: Fianna Fail and SDLP float unity pact

By Steve James, 1 February 2003

Fianna Fail, the main establishment party in the Irish republic, is considering standing candidates in Northern Ireland’s upcoming general election. First suggested at the party’s annual conference last year, Prime Minister Bertie Ahern used a recent interview in the Sunday Business Post to give the proposal more impetus.

Britain: Conservative government considered "forcible resettlement" of Northern Ireland in 1972

By Steve James, 11 January 2003

The annual release of British state papers more than 30 years old has revealed that the 1972 Conservative government considered a plan to forcibly resettle some half a million Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland.

Northern Ireland: talks resume following suspension of Assembly

By Steve James, 29 November 2002

Talks convened on November 21 between the British government and parties represented in the suspended Northern Ireland Assembly, including Sinn Fein, the Ulster Unionists (UUP) and the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP).

Ireland: Social tensions deepen as the "Celtic Tiger" staggers

By Steve James, 7 November 2002

Ireland’s employers are seeking a general pay freeze for the country’s 1.7 million workers. With inflation running at around four percent, the “freeze” is in reality a pay cut.

Ireland: Yes vote in referendum on European Union expansion

By Steve James, 26 October 2002

The dominant sections of Irish business and the political and media establishment finally secured a yes vote in an October 19 referendum on the terms laid down in the Nice Treaty for European Union enlargement. Sixty three percent of the 1,442,000 people who voted supported the treaty, while 37 percent voted against it. Turnout was 49 percent.

Northern Ireland Assembly faces fourth suspension

By Julie Hyland, 12 October 2002

Northern Ireland’s power-sharing structures are facing suspension yet again amidst allegations of a Republican spy ring at the heart of government and countercharges of a Unionist/British security service smear operation.

Northern Ireland security force links to loyalist gunmen exposed

By Mike Ingram, 21 June 2002

In its June 14 edition, the Guardian newspaper cited leaked information on the long-awaited report by Metropolitan police commissioner, Sir John Stevens.

Irish elections: Ruling Fianna Fail vote increases, Sinn Fein win five seats

By Mike Ingram, 20 May 2002

With votes counted in 37 of the 42 constituencies, Bertie Ahern’s Fianna Fail had taken 74 of the 166 seats in the Dail (Irish Parliament). The party had achieved 41.5 percent of first preference votes, an increase of 2.2 percent on the last elections held in 1997.

Ireland: government attack on abortion rights defeated in referendum

By Julie Hyland, 13 March 2002

An attempt to impose further restrictions on the right to abortion was narrowly defeated by just 10,000 votes in Ireland’s referendum held March 7.

Sectarian tensions lead to riots and school closures in Northern Ireland

By Julie Hyland, 14 January 2002

Sectarian tensions caused serious rioting and led to the closure of several schools in north Belfast last week.

Sectarian divisions widen in Northern Ireland

By Mike Ingram, 7 January 2002

A report issued by the Royal Geographical Society finds that sectarian divisions have worsened since the so-called “peace process” began in Northern Ireland.

Northern Ireland: Just incompetence or police collusion in Omagh bombing?

By Mike Ingram, 21 December 2001

The publication of an official report into the police investigation of the 1998 Omagh bomb, which killed 29 people, has provoked a flurry of criticism from the media, politicians and the police.

Finucane murder suspect shot dead in Northern Ireland

By Mike Ingram, 15 December 2001

The chief suspect in the murder of Irish civil rights lawyer Pat Finucane was gunned down outside his house on Tuesday evening in north Belfast.

Northern Ireland: anti-Agreement unionists take legal action to force Assembly elections

By Mike Ingram, 10 November 2001

A judge has ruled that Ian Paisley’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) can proceed with a legal challenge to a decision not to call elections to the Northern Ireland Assembly before May 2003.

Northern Ireland: How the US told the IRA to begin decommissioning

By Mike Ingram, 31 October 2001

An article in last Sunday’s Observer newspaper gives a revealing insight into how the commencement of IRA weapons decommissioning came about.

Northern Ireland: IRA decommissions arms

By Mike Ingram, 25 October 2001

On the eve of today’s deadline for the suspension of the Northern Ireland Assembly and the possible collapse of the Good Friday Agreement, the Irish Republican Army (IRA) finally began decommissioning its weapons.

Political tensions increase in Northern Ireland

By Julie Hyland, 5 October 2001

Northern Ireland is currently witnessing the worst violence in 30 years. On September 28, Martin O’Hagan became the first journalist covering Northern Ireland politics to be killed by paramilitaries. O’Hagan, a reporter on the Dublin-based Sunday World, was shot dead as he returned from an evening out with his wife.

Northern Ireland: Catholic girls school becomes focus for sectarian violence

By Julie Hyland, 5 September 2001

Sectarian bigotry and violence over access to the Holy Cross Catholic girls’ school in north Belfast is continuing. The first day of the new school term on Monday witnessed ugly scenes, as Protestant protesters attempted to stop schoolgirls, some as young as four years of age, and their parents, entering the school by the contested Ardoyne Road entrance.

Northern Ireland: Allegations of British collusion in Omagh bombing

By Robert Stevens, 4 September 2001

Information has emerged that the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) may have been informed 48 hours prior to the event that the Real IRA was to plant the bomb in the town of Omagh on August 15, 1998 that killed 29 people and injured more than 200. Accusations have also been made that the bombing was the work of a British double agent within the Real IRA.

Unionist opposition threatens collapse of Northern Ireland Assembly

By Mike Ingram, 18 August 2001

The British government suspended the Northern Ireland Assembly last weekend, the second time it has done so since the formation of the Assembly in January of 2000.

IRA offers plan to put its weapons "beyond use"

By Mike Ingram, 8 August 2001

The Irish Republican Army (IRA) has made its most forthright statement to-date regarding the decommissioning of arms. It did so only hours before the parties that signed up to the 1998 Good Friday Agreement were due to respond to joint British and Irish government proposals aimed at rescuing the power-sharing Northern Ireland Assembly from collapse.

Riots hit Northern Ireland

By Richard Tyler, 14 July 2001

Loyalist marches in Northern Ireland have sparked some of the worst rioting in recent years. Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) units used water canon and plastic bullets, after being attacked with petrol bombs and other missiles. According to press reports, over 100 (RUC) officers were injured in clashes with loyalists and republicans.

Northern Ireland’s First Minister Trimble resigns

By Julie Hyland, 5 July 2001

A series of intensive meetings between the major political parties in Northern Ireland and the Irish and British governments are underway, following the resignation of Northern Ireland First Minister and leader of the pro-British Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) David Trimble on Sunday over the Irish Republican Army’s failure to decommission its weapons.

Sectarian riots in Northern Ireland

By Chris Talbot, 26 June 2001

A Protestant loyalist gang attacked Catholic homes in Belfast, Northern Ireland with paint bombs and stones on Sunday night. Elsewhere in the city, fireworks were thrown at a house and a petrol bomb was thrown at police, who also reported sporadic stone throwing throughout the Ardoyne area. The latest incidents follow three nights of rioting last week in north Belfast.

Record low turnout in Irish referendum returns "No" vote for European Union expansion

By Richard Tyler, 14 June 2001

By the narrowest of margins, in a record low turnout, Ireland has voted against endorsing the Nice treaty that opens up European Union membership to many Eastern European counties.

Fresh revelations on secret British terror organisation in Northern Ireland

By Robert Stevens, 15 May 2001

During the past three weeks, the Guardian newspaper has run several articles on the Force Research Unit (FRU), an undercover security operation financed and run by the British state in Northern Ireland for more than two decades.

Arms decommissioning central to election in Northern Ireland

By Mike Ingram, 12 May 2001

With all the talk of a Labour landslide in the June 7 general election, it would be easy to miss the fact that in Northern Ireland the result is much less certain—with potentially serious consequences on both sides of the Irish border.

European Court finds Britain guilty of human rights violations in Ireland

By Julie Hyland, 11 May 2001

The European Court of Human Rights has upheld complaints that British security forces in Northern Ireland were guilty of breaching the human rights of 12 people shot dead—mainly in the 1980s—including 10 IRA men.

Northern Ireland: High Court overturns ban on Sinn Fein ministers attending cross-border talks

By Julie Hyland, 2 February 2001

The Belfast High Court ruled Tuesday that Northern Ireland's First Minister David Trimble acted unlawfully last October when he barred Sinn Fein ministers from participating in official cross-border forums. These meetings, involving ministers from the North and their counterparts in the Irish republic, are integral to the Good Friday Agreement, aimed at establishing a more stable basis for international trade and investment throughout the island.

Northern Ireland: Eyewitness accounts of 1972 "Bloody Sunday" massacre indict British army

By Robert Stevens, 31 January 2001

The Bloody Sunday Inquiry has begun to take statements from eyewitnesses involved in the events in Derry on January 30, 1972. On that day, British army paratroopers fired upon a peaceful civil rights demonstration in the Bogside area of the city, killing 13 people.

Northern Ireland Sentence Review Commission agrees to continue detaining Loyalist leader

By Julie Hyland, 17 January 2001

The British and Irish media welcomed last week's announcement by the Northern Ireland Sentence Review Commission that Loyalist terror leader Johnny Adair will remain in detention.

President Clinton pledges clampdown on terrorism in Ireland

By Julie Hyland, 15 December 2000

Bill Clinton made his third and final visit as US President to Ireland earlier this week. The two-day tour had all the makings of a farewell celebration. Accompanied by his wife, daughter and mother-in-law, he addressed packed and enthusiastic audiences north and south of the border, many of whom see him as the major architect of the Northern Ireland “peace process”.

Row continues over police reform in Northern Ireland

By Julie Hyland, 6 December 2000

In Northern Ireland the row is continuing over the implementation of police reforms. Both the main Catholic and nationalist parties, the Social and Democratic Labour Party (SDLP) and Sinn Fein, are refusing to make nominations for the new Police Board. Efforts to find an agreement now focus on the three-day visit by US President Clinton to Belfast beginning on December 12.

New Northern Ireland Police Bill set to become law in weeks

By Julie Hyland, 22 November 2000

Last week, the Northern Ireland Police Bill completed its passage through the House of Lords, Britain's parliamentary upper chamber. But although the Bill is due to become law in weeks, political divisions over its contents remain.

Sinn Fein seeks judicial review against Ulster Unionist leader's exclusion order

By Julie Hyland, 18 November 2000

Northern Ireland's health minister, Bairbre de Brun, has begun legal proceedings against Ulster Unionist Party leader David Trimble's decision to exclude Sinn Feins ministers from cross-border bodies.

Northern Ireland's First Minister Trimble adapts to hardline anti-Agreement Unionists

By Julie Hyland, 2 November 2000

Northern Ireland's First Minister David Trimble survived another challenge to his leadership at a meeting of the Ulster Unionist Party's ruling council on October 28, but only by conceding ground to opponents of the Good Friday Agreement.

Row over policing reform in Northern Ireland continues

By Julie Hyland, 16 October 2000

Talks are continuing between British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Irish Premier Bertie Ahern, and the Unionist and Republican parties to try and resolve the row over policing reform in Northern Ireland.

Irish blood bank "knowingly" risked using contaminated products, Dublin tribunal told

By Julie Hyland, 10 October 2000

The Irish Blood Transfusion Service (BTS) knowingly risked treating haemophiliacs with contaminated blood products during the early 1980s, the official Lindsay Tribunal sitting in Dublin has heard. More than 200 Irish haemophiliacs were infected with HIV and Hepatitis C as a result, including young children. Seventy-five of these people have since died.

Ulster Defence Association leader arrested after intra-Loyalist violence in Belfast

By Julie Hyland, 24 August 2000

Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Mandelson has returned Ulster Defence Association leader Johnny “Mad Dog” Adair to prison after an internecine feud between rival Loyalist gangs claimed two lives on Monday. British troops also resumed general patrols on Belfast's streets for the first time in months.

Widespread disturbances in Northern Ireland sparked by hardline Unionists

By Julie Hyland, 13 July 2000

Violent disturbances in Northern Ireland continued yesterday for the eleventh consecutive day as the Protestant Orange Order held July 12 celebrations marking the victory of King William of Orange over the Catholic James II at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690.

Ulster Unionist Party resumes power-sharing with Sinn Fein

By Chris Marsden, 31 May 2000

The power sharing Executive of the Northern Ireland Assembly met Tuesday for the first time since Britain's Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Mandelson suspended the body on February 11. The meeting was made possible by the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) narrowly backing its leader David Trimble on Saturday and agreeing to retake their seats in the Assembly. The main pro-British Protestant party voted by 459-403 at Belfast's Waterfront Hall to resume power-sharing alongside the IRA-linked Sinn Fein.

Irish Republican Army promises to put weaponry "beyond use"

By Chris Marsden, 9 May 2000

The Irish Republican Army (IRA) has pledged to put its weaponry "beyond use" and permit its weapons dumps to be overseen by international monitors. The promise was made on Saturday, May 6, just 12 hours after British Prime Minister Tony Blair called for a commitment to decommission weapons in order to allow the power-sharing Northern Ireland Assembly to be reconvened on May 22. This is the second anniversary of the ratification of the Good Friday Agreement, which established the Assembly, in referendums held both sides of the Irish border.

Bloody Sunday Inquiry hears evidence suggesting deliberate "shoot-to-kill" policy by British Army

By Julie Hyland, 20 April 2000

Before the inquiry into "Bloody Sunday" adjourned last week, it heard evidence suggesting that the British Army had followed a deliberate “shoot-to-kill” policy. The Saville inquiry, now adjourned until May 8, concerns the events of January 30, 1972 in Derry (Londonderry), when British soldiers from the 1st Parachute Regiment opened fire on a civil rights march called to protest anti-Catholic discrimination in Northern Ireland. Thirteen demonstrators were killed on the spot, and 17 were wounded, one of whom died later in hospital.

Inquiry into "Bloody Sunday" opens in Northern Ireland

By Mike Ingram, 7 April 2000

On January 30 1972, British soldiers from the 1st Parachute Regiment opened fire on a civil rights march in Londonderry (Derry) in Northern Ireland. Thirteen demonstrators were killed on the spot and 17 others wounded, one of whom died later in hospital.

Ulster Unionist leader Trimble narrowly defeats leadership challenge

By Mike Ingram and Chris Marsden, 30 March 2000

The annual meeting of the Ulster Unionist Council on March 25 delivered a serious blow to Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) leader David Trimble.

Suspension of Northern Ireland Assembly reveals undemocratic nature of "peace process"

By Chris Marsden, 16 February 2000

Westminster's decision to suspend the nine-week-old Northern Ireland Assembly and reinstate direct rule from Britain has thrown a question mark over the future of the so-called “peace process”.

Libel case focuses on collusion between security forces and Loyalist paramilitaries in northern Ireland

By Mike Ingram, 29 January 2000

A libel trial began this week that will focus attention on the issue of collusion between security forces and loyalist paramilitaries in northern Ireland.

New evidence supports allegations of RUC collusion in murder of Irish lawyer

By Mike Ingram, 26 January 2000

A 17-member inquiry team headed by incoming Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir John Stevens has obtained new evidence supporting allegations of collusion between the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) and Loyalist paramilitaries.

British government to implement reform of Royal Ulster Constabulary

By Mike Ingram, 22 January 2000

There were forecasts of trouble for the recently formed Northern Ireland Assembly when Secretary of State Peter Mandelson announced his support for the reform of the Royal Ulster Constabulary. Speaking in Westminster, Mandelson said he would implement the vast majority of the 175 proposals made by former Hong Kong Governor Chris Patten in his report on reforms of the province's paramilitary police force, the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC), published September last year.

Power devolved to Northern Ireland Assembly

By Mike Ingram, 3 December 1999

More than 25 years of direct rule of Northern Ireland by the British government ended yesterday when the Queen gave her assent to the bill devolving power to the Northern Ireland Assembly.

Ulster Unionists vote narrowly for power-sharing deal

New Northern Ireland Executive to convene this week

By Mike Ingram, 30 November 1999

The Ulster Unionist Council voted in favour of entering a power-sharing Executive with Sinn Fein on Saturday. The slender majority should enable a devolved government with limited powers to be established in Northern Ireland by the end of the week.

Royal Ulster Constabulary awarded George Cross

By Mike Ingram, 26 November 1999

The decision to award the George Cross to the Royal Ulster Constabulary is a further attempt to placate Unionist opposition to the inclusion of Sinn Fein in the new devolved government for Northern Ireland. It follows a letter from the Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Mandelson promising that the concerns of Unionists would be taken into account when considering the Patten report on reforming the policing of the province.

Mitchell review of Northern Ireland Agreement proposes new formula to begin devolution

By Mike Ingram, 23 November 1999

Former US Senator George Mitchell left Northern Ireland last week following the conclusion of his 11-week-long review of the Good Friday Agreement. His review was an attempt to break the deadlock since this summer, created by the Unionist parties' insistence that the Irish Republican Army (IRA) decommission weapons prior to Sinn Fein taking up ministerial seats in the newly created Assembly.

Northern Ireland: Loyalist paramilitaries had security intelligence files

By Mick Ingram, 9 November 1999

A clampdown on loyalist paramilitaries carried out by the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) resulted in the discovery of some 300 security files in an Orange Hall in Stoneyford, Co Antrim.

Irish journalist wins court battle against police

By Mike Ingram, 1 November 1999

Ed Moloney, northern editor of the Sunday Tribune, has won his legal battle against a court order requiring he hand over interview notes he had made with a Loyalist subsequently charged with murdering civil rights lawyer Pat Finucane.

Irish nurses strike suspended pending membership ballot

By Mike Ingram, 29 October 1999

The first ever all-out strike by nurses in the Irish Republic was suspended after nine days on Wednesday following new recommendations by the Labour Court. The cross government, union and employer organisation made new proposals to address the central demand of the nurses for greater skill recognition within the health sector to bring them in line with other industries.

Irish hospitals hit by first national nurses' strike

By Mike Ingram, 21 October 1999

The Irish Republic was hit on Tuesday by the biggest strike in its history, as 27,500 nurses began indefinite strike action over pay and working conditions.

Irish civil rights activist targeted for smear campaign

By Chris Marsden, 20 October 1999

Last month saw the publication of two major articles directed against civil rights activist Vincent McKenna, head of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Bureau, in the US-based Irish Voice and the British Independent on Sunday. An investigation by the World Socialist Web Site points to their origin in a smear campaign against McKenna instigated by supporters of Sinn Fein. Strong evidence has also emerged indicating collusion in this campaign by the Southern Irish police force, the Garda.

Irish nurses set for first all-out strike

By Harvey Thompson, 5 October 1999

Over 27,000 nurses from across the Irish Republic are expected to stage their first ever all-out strike on October 19, after rejecting a government pay deal by a vote of 9 to 1.

Family of murdered Irish civil rights lawyer in libel action against Ulster Unionist MP

By Mike Ingram, 29 September 1999

The family of murdered civil rights lawyer Pat Finucane has issued legal proceedings against leading Ulster Unionist MP Ken Magginnis. In April this year Maginnis criticised calls for an independent inquiry into the killing and Geraldine Finucane's refusal to co-operate with an inquiry by John Stevens, deputy commissioner of the Metropolitan police, into the loyalist murder of her husband.

New charges of cover-up in murder of Irish lawyer

By Mike Ingram, 25 September 1999

A judicial review to decide whether Irish journalist Ed Moloney should hand over notes of an interview he conducted with a man accused of murder was adjourned for at least a month Thursday. Moloney was ordered to hand over his notes after writing an article for the Dublin-based Sunday Tribune in June. The article was based on interviews with murder suspect William Stobie, who had been arrested as a result of a new inquiry into the 1989 Loyalist murder of Irish civil rights lawyer Pat Finucane.

Bloody Sunday: New reports confirm British troops killed unarmed Irish civil rights protesters

By Mike Ingram, 20 September 1999

Almost three decades after British paratroopers opened fire on civil rights protesters in Derry, new forensic science evidence confirms that the demonstrators were unarmed.

Patten Report on reform of Royal Ulster Constabulary provokes Unionist outcry

By Chris Marsden, 17 September 1999

Proposals for the reform of the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) have met with outcry from Unionist politicians. The Executive Committee of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) unanimously rejected key aspects of the findings drawn up by the Independent Commission on Policing for Northern Ireland, under Christopher Patten, Britain's former Conservative governor of Hong Kong.

Punishment beatings and forced exile thrive in Ireland's "imperfect peace"

By Mike Ingram and Chris Marsden, 3 September 1999

Some 16 months ago in referendums held north and south, the people of Ireland voted to support the Good Friday Agreement. Their overriding concern was to end the daily killing and maiming on the streets of Northern Ireland.

RUC reform increases tensions in Irish peace agreement

By Mike Ingram, 27 August 1999

As the British and Irish governments embark on their review of the Good Friday Agreement, the Belfast Telegraph leaked the main contents of a report being prepared by Chris Patten into the future of policing in Northern Ireland.

New revelations in murder of Irish civil rights lawyer

By Mike Ingram, 25 August 1999

A court action brought against Sunday Tribune reporter Ed Moloney demanding that he hand over notes of interviews conducted with murder suspect William Stobie nine years ago has resulted in a devastating admission by a senior police officer.

Fissures widen in Northern Ireland Agreement

By Julie Hyland and Chris Marsden, 20 August 1999

The Northern Ireland Agreement has continued to unravel in the weeks since the British government was forced to announce its “parking” until next month. A review is set to begin in September, chaired by former US Senator George Mitchell. But Mitchell is said to have been taken aback by reports that Sinn Fein may not even participate. A tense meeting of Sinn Fein's ruling body is reported to have declined to give the go-ahead to the Sinn Fein negotiators.

Ulster Unionists boycott Assembly

Northern Ireland "peace process" in disarray

By Chris Marsden, 21 July 1999

Fifteen months after the Good Friday Agreement established the mechanism to devolve certain powers to an elected Northern Ireland Assembly, the "peace process" lies in disarray. On Monday, July 12, Britain's House of Commons began debating the devolution bill proposed by the Labour government. The intention was to rush this through Parliament, to be voted on the next day, and then receive the Royal Assent on Friday, July 16.

Sectarian violence continues in Northern Ireland despite the "peace process"

By Vincent McKenna, 7 July 1999

The following article was submitted by a correspondent in Belfast.

Blair fails to gain Unionists' backing

Talks confirm undemocratic character of Northern Ireland Agreement

By Mike Ingram and Chris Marsden, 6 July 1999

Five days of talks were held last week in an attempt to break the 14-month deadlock in the implementation of the Northern Ireland Agreement. British Prime Minister Tony Blair declared a "final deadline" of June 30 for the setting up of the Northern Ireland Assembly. He had hoped that this would coincide with the opening of the newly created Scottish Parliament and the Welsh Assembly, and crown the triumph of the Labour government's constitutional reforms.

RUC given advance warning of the 1989 murder of Irish lawyer

By Mike Ingram, 30 June 1999

Following revelations in a Belfast court last week that a man charged with the 1989 murder of Pat Finucane was an Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) agent, an article has appeared in the Sunday Tribune that claims to give the full story. Finucane, a civil rights lawyer, was shot in his north Belfast home by Ulster Defence Association (UDA) gunmen, acting on information from a British army intelligence agent.

Suspect arrested for murder of Irish lawyer claims he was an RUC agent

By Mike Ingram, 26 June 1999

Allegations of Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) collusion with loyalist gunmen were given further weight Thursday, when a man arrested for the murder of civil rights lawyer Pat Finucane claimed to have been working as an RUC informer at the time of the killing.

New evidence of RUC collusion in murder of Irish lawyers

By Mike Ingram, 24 June 1999

A BBC Panorama documentary, broadcast June 21, reinforced allegations that the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) has colluded in the murders of Irish defence lawyers Pat Finucane and Rosemary Nelson.

Irish document reveals suspicion of RUC collusion in loyalist killings

By Mike Ingram, 7 May 1999

According to reports in the Independent newspaper, a confidential 11-page document reveals strong suspicions in Dublin that elements of British intelligence were involved in loyalist murders in Northern Ireland.

Irish government sells off state telecom company

By Harvey Thompson, 3 May 1999

The Irish Minister for Public Enterprise, Mary O'Rourke, announced last week the privatisation of Telecom Eireann--the republics' main telephone and communications operator. Telecom Eireann (TE) dominates the Irish telecommunications sector, controlling 90 percent of the fixed-line market as well as 70 percent of the growing mobile-phone market. The TE flotation should make the company the fifth largest on the Irish Stock Exchange, with a valuation of around £4 billion (5 billion euros).

Ireland: Charges mount of police collusion in murder of civil rights lawyer

By Mike Ingram, 1 May 1999

An article in the Sunday Business Post last weekend claimed that the Royal Ulster Constabulary is preparing to charge two loyalists in connection with the car bomb murder of civil rights lawyer Rosemary Nelson.

Northern Ireland Agreement--What explains the continued deadlock?

By Chris Marsden and Julie Hyland, 29 April 1999

The implementation of the Northern Ireland Agreement continues to face deadlock. The most recent discussions involving the British Prime Minister Tony Blair, the Irish Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, the leaders of Sinn Fein, the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) and the Social and Democratic Labour Party have produced no settlement to the outstanding disagreements between the parties.

Ratification of Northern Ireland Agreement delayed once again

By Chris Marsden and Julie Hyland, 2 April 1999

Thursday's failure to reach a deal on the decommissioning of paramilitary weapons has forced a further delay in ratifying the British-Irish Agreement. British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Irish Taoiseach Bertie Ahern announced a 10-day adjournment in negotiations, after three days of intensive efforts were unable to bring the Unionists and Republicans together.

Ireland: Report cites Royal Ulster Constabulary hostility to murdered civil rights lawyer

By Mike Ingram, 31 March 1999

In the aftermath of the loyalist car bombing that killed civil rights lawyer Rosemary Nelson on March 15, attention has focused on allegations of Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) collusion in this and other murders.

Civil rights lawyer murdered in Northern Ireland

Crime reveals links between police and paramilitaries

By Mike Ingram, 17 March 1999

The brutal murder of 40-year-old lawyer and human rights defender Rosemary Nelson on March 15 has raised fresh allegations of Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) intimidation of lawyers in Northern Ireland and their collusion with Unionist paramilitaries.

Despite the promise of peace and economic prosperity, Northern Ireland has become a barren land

6 March 1999

A reader of the World Socialist Web Site in Belfast submitted the following comment.