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May 31 11 8:51 PM

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Tuesday, 08 March 2005, 14:11
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 DUBLIN 000286
EO 12958 DECL: 01/31/2015

....In Northern Ireland, Cowen said that a strong message from the U.S. Congress to Sinn Fein could help to advance a final resolution in the peace proces, as would Congressional hearings on criminality. Cowen also noted that Sinn Fein seems to be playing a “double game” -- taking a hard public line against criminality, but avoiding definitive action in order to retain maneuverability for final negotiations with unionists....
...On the Northern Ireland peace process, Cowen expected that Sinn Fein would “go off to sort itself out” following the party’s annual conference on March 4-6 in Dublin. He believed that, after the May Westminster elections, Sinn Fein would attempt to convince people of its seriousness about criminality through actions designed to back up the party’s recent positive rhetoric on the subject. Cowen related his impression that Gerry Adams was playing a “double game” -- taking a hard public line against criminality, but avoiding definitive action in order to retain maneuverability for final negotiations with unionists.

No surpises there

Ard Ceathrunach

"We have declared for an Irish Republic and will not live under any other law" (Liam Lynch)

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Jun 2 11 8:30 AM

@Ard_Ceathrunach and the others, i changed the titlw of the thread (original 'Wiki Leaks - Gerry speaks with forked tongue') to make it a general wikileaks one...

"Is sochraidiu lám ol-dó-sa" ol coss.

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Jun 2 11 8:31 AM

SF spooked by dissident ‘plot’ to kill McGuinness

By Adrian Rutherford
Wednesday June 01 2011

A DISSIDENT republican threat to kill Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness sparked serious alarm within Sinn Fein, leaked diplomatic cables reveal.

Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams told a senior US diplomat he was “particularly concerned” about the threat against Mr McGuinness in April 2009.

The threat was issued weeks after Mr McGuinness had branded dissidents as “traitors” following the murder of two soldiers at Massereene barracks.

While he vowed not to be deterred by the threat, the document reveals the unease it sparked behind the scenes.

According to a cable dated May 1, 2009, Mr Adams claimed attacks against Sinn Fein had increased, and were being taken “very seriously”.

The cable is classified ‘CONFIDENTIAL/NO FORN’, indicating it is not to be viewed by non-US citizens. It is based on a meeting between Mr Adams and the US consul general in Belfast, Susan Elliott.

Reporting back to Washington, Ms Elliott noted the Sinn Fein president’s worries about increased dissident activity.

“He was particularly concerned about a recent threat against the life of Martin McGuinness,” she noted.

During their meeting, Mr Adams also raised concerns about attacks on party offices and homes of senior members, including Mitchell McLaughlin.

He claimed some republicans were having difficulty accepting the republican movement had “entered a new phase” after Sinn Fein denounced the Massereene killings.

The cable adds: “Adams warned that the lack of political progress on issues such as Irish language and education reform was angering the republican grassroots and could lead to more support for dissident activity.”

Republican leaders were scathing in their criticism of dissidents after the Massereene attack. Mr McGuinness — a former IRA army council leader — branded them “traitors to the island of Ireland”.

Following the threat, he publicly vowed not to be deterred.

“What we have to do is continue to move forward,” Mr McGuinness insisted. “I am not going to be intimidated.”

"Is sochraidiu lám ol-dó-sa" ol coss.

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Jun 2 11 8:32 AM

WikiLeaks: Ian Paisley's DUP and Sinn Fein ‘in direct talks for years’

Parties were engaged in discussions as early as 2004, say leaked memos

By Adrian Rutherford and Liam Clarke
Tuesday, 31 May 2011

The DUP and Sinn Fein were engaged in “substantive, direct contact” nearly three years before they agreed to share power, according to leaked US embassy cables.

A series of classified documents released by the whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks refer to extensive discussions between the parties during a period in late 2004 — a time when the DUP insisted it would not talk to the republican party.

The revelations are contained within the “Northern Ireland Cables”, a series of confidential memos contained in a tranche of 1,900 US embassy dispatches obtained by the Belfast Telegraph.

Their publication today follows a lengthy investigation by this newspaper.

At the start of a series of daily extracts, it can be disclosed how substantive contact between the DUP and Sinn Fein was reported by US officials.

The DUP has always insisted there was no contact of any kind with Sinn Fein prior to the restoration of a power-sharing Executive.

Last night a spokesman said: “The party was not involved in any negotiations or direct meetings with Sinn Fein before the weekend of March 24 2007.”

But a series of leaked US cables, dating from July 2004 to November 2006, refer to various exchanges — both direct and indirect — between the parties.

The cables disclose:

Frustration at DUP reluctance to hold face-to-face discussions with Sinn Fein in 2006 — described as a “regression” from two years earlier when there had been “substantive, direct contact”.
Claims there had been “over 30 instances of quiet contact” between the parties during negotiations in December 2004.
Detailed plans for secret “proximity talks” in London which would involve senior government officials shuttling between party representatives.

The contact is said to have taken place in late 2004 — before the £26m Northern Bank raid and murder of Robert McCartney.

While there has long been speculation of secret discussions — as recently as December 2010 in a cable published by the Guardian — the documents obtained by the Belfast Telegraph provides the strongest evidence yet of direct contact between the two parties.

A cable written in the wake of the 2006 St Andrews Agreement, and referring to the “substantive, direct contact”, offers the clearest indication.

It reports on a meeting between Dermot Ahern, then Irish Foreign Affairs minister, and US Ambassador Thomas Foley.

While Northern Ireland's parties had been told to establish a power-sharing Executive by November 24 2006, Mr Ahern thought this deadline was unrealistic.

He noted various problems, including hard-balling by both the DUP and Sinn Fein.

The cable states: “He [Ahern] added that a further complication in negotiations was Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) reluctance to engage in face-to-face discussions with Sinn Fein on the policing/ oath hurdle.

“This reluctance was a regression from late 2004, when Sinn Fein and the DUP had substantive, direct contact in pursuit of a devolution deal at that time.”

A second, previously released cable, dated May 2006, also suggests contact was taking place around this time.

It quotes Bertie Ahern as telling diplomats there had been “over 30 instances of quiet contact” during the December 2004 negotiations.

“Since the collapse of those talks and the subsequent Northern Bank robbery and McCartney murder, engagement had ceased,” it adds.

“Ahern cited Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams' view that the IRA's July 2005 decision to decommission weapons should have merited renewed contact with the DUP at some level, not necessarily with DUP leader Ian Paisley.”

Another cable contains a detailed plan for “proximity talks” in London, which would involve senior officials from both governments shuttling between representatives from the parties.

The document, written by Deputy Chief of Mission Jonathan Benton, is dated October 14, 2004 and previews talks scheduled for the following day.

It states the Irish government wants to keep the talks secret, and will use the pretext of Mr Adams being in London for a separate reason as cover.

The cable also outlines what commitments are expected from either side.

It states: “Senior officials from the two governments will shuttle between Sinn Fein and DUP representatives.

“The Irish government wants to keep this out of the Press and believe they can, given that Gerry Adams has a separate reason for being in London.”

Key details of what is planned at the talks are contained in the cable.

“The Irish say it is time for both parties to show what is on offer, and then to see if they can come to terms on a comprehensive package, including modalities of decommissioning, DUP commitments on devolution and policing, and the issues surrounding how the institutions would work,” it adds. “Substance would be agreed first, then sequencing and a time line.

“Irish officials believe the elements of a deal are achievable, but caution that it always comes down to political will.”

The cable also states Sinn Fein officials in Dublin have told embassy staff they are “optimistic” about the London talks.

TUV leader Jim Allister — a former DUP MEP — said he believed contact took place.

“There must have been contacts but they always were vehemently denied to the point of great anger if anyone suggested that they occurred,” he said.

“I believe the 2004 discussions happened, I believe [a DUP official] was involved, I believe [another DUP member] had contacts in London in Quaker House but anytime you suggested that, people went down your throat.”

A DUP spokesman insisted there had been no contact prior to 2007.

“Prior to the St Andrews talks, the DUP participated in discussions with government ministers and officials who in turn met other parties. During these discussions papers were exchanged and shared with other parties. This was public knowledge.

“The party was not involved in any negotiations or direct meetings with Sinn Fein before the weekend of March 24, 2007. Furthermore, no individuals representing the party were engaged in meetings or discussions of this nature.

“The party at no stage sanctioned or had knowledge of any meetings between anyone from Sinn Fein and anyone from the DUP or anyone alleging to act on behalf of either party concerned.

“Furthermore, at no time was any third party acting on behalf of the DUP as an intermediary as has been alleged.

“All negotiations and discussions were conducted through the Government.”

Sinn Fein refused to comment on the claims.


Stormont remained suspended amid allegations of a republican spy ring.

In September 2004, intensive negotiations at Leeds Castle to restore devolved government ended without a deal being reached.

The British and Irish governments had tried – but failed – to smooth differences between the DUP and Sinn Fein.

Allegations that the IRA was responsible for the £26m Northern Bank raid in December 2004, and the murder of Robert McCartney, dealt a further blow to hopes of securing a deal.

"Is sochraidiu lám ol-dó-sa" ol coss.

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Jun 2 11 8:34 AM

WikiLeaks: BBC report prompted angry Orde to complain to the Prime Minister

By Adrian Rutherford
Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Sir Hugh Orde was so angered by a BBC news report that he contacted the Prime Minister directly to complain.

Leaked cables detail how the former PSNI chief reacted furiously to the report on special forces being redeployed in Northern Ireland.

The Special Reconnaissance Regiment was sent in to curb the growing dissident threat, amid warnings from MI5 of an imminent terrorist attack.

Within days of the threat level being raised, two soldiers were shot dead outside Massereene barracks.

In a briefing with consul officials following the murders, Sir Hugh (below) praised the US administration’s reaction to the attack.

He also referred to the BBC report, adding that he had complained to Prime Minister Gordon Brown about “inaccurate” claims that Chinooks and military patrols would be deployed as part of the operation.

The incident is referred to in a confidential cable written by Henry Bisharat, the Acting Consul General, and released by WikiLeaks.

“Orde also criticised the BBC for its inaccurate report of his use of a small number of military specialists to help obtain intelligence concerning dissidents,” it stated.

“The BBC had inaccurately asserted that military patrols and Chinooks would be used.

“Orde said he complained directly to Prime Minister Brown that morning about the BBC's unhelpful reports, and that Brown had agreed with him.”

The Special Reconnaissance Regiment is a highly secretive unit, and its operations are more strictly classified than those of the SAS.

It carries out surveillance and intelligence work, mainly in preparation for SAS operations.

All troops had been removed from active duty in Northern Ireland two years earlier as part of the peace process.

"Is sochraidiu lám ol-dó-sa" ol coss.

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#5 [url]

Jun 2 11 8:35 AM

US cable brands SDLP leader 'wooden'

Diplomacy was abandoned in a US cable which questioned the leadership of the SDLP's Margaret Ritchie and branded her "wooden", according to the latest WikiLeaks revelations.

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

The comments - made by current US Consul General in Belfast, Kamala Lakhdir, and circulated to the US embassies in Dublin and London, the State Department in Washington and the National Security Council - were published by the Belfast Telegraph on Tuesday.

Ms Lakhdir noted that the SDLP leader did not impress consulate officials and said she "does not possess the rhetorical skills of her predecessor Mark Durkan".

Margaret Ritchie was also considered to be "burdened with what some deem an unpleasant speaking voice" and lacking the "political muscle and business acumen" to rebuild the SDLP post-John Hume.

Ms Ritchie's party colleague and one-time leadership rival Alasdair McDonnell also came in for criticism, in correspondence between party insiders and US officials - with speculation he lost out in last year's SDLP leadership battle due to his "bull-in-a-china-shop" approach.

The revelations come in the wake of a disappointing election campaign for the party, which saw them lose two seats in the Northern Ireland Assembly.

But Ms Ritchie - whose damning indictment from US quarters was off-set with admissions she was "seen as an earnest and honest politician" - topped the poll in South Down.

Also among the files obtained from whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks are cables claiming the DUP and Sinn Féin were involved in direct talks three years prior to the restoration of power-sharing and details of the importance of the security situation in Northern Ireland to officials in the US.

While the latest leaks may make uncomfortable reading - and have prompted fresh denials from the DUP of secret talks with Sinn Féin - it is understood there are more to come.

In a statement, the US State Department said it doesn't comment on classified documents and that it takes its responsibility for the privacy of those it engages with very seriously.

WikiLeaks: NI Cables

Direct talks between DUP and Sinn Féin from 2004-2006, prior to St Andrews Agreement
Peace process fears after Massereene murders - US officials viewed footage within hours
NI still a security issue for Washington - analysts monitoring PSNI anti-terror ops
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton requested security briefings
Washington urged to encourage Sinn Féin support for police
White House briefed about Mary McAleese's talks with loyalist paramilitaries
US diplomats still acting as brokers between parties

"Is sochraidiu lám ol-dó-sa" ol coss.

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Jun 2 11 11:24 AM

WikiLeaks: Bertie Ahern ‘threatened to go back on Northern Ireland territory claim’

By Adrian Rutherford and Shane Doran
Thursday, 2 June 2011

Former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern threatened to reassert the Republic’s constitutional claim on Northern Ireland in a move which could have thrown the peace process into turmoil.

Ahern considered overturning a cornerstone of the Good Friday Agreement in an apparent hardball tactic aimed at pushing through a power-sharing deal.

His extraordinary proposal — labelled “stunning” by US officials — is disclosed in a confidential dispatch to Washington in early 2006.

The document — released by the whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks — is published on day two of the Northern Ireland Cables’ serialisation in the Belfast Telegraph.

It focuses on a meeting involving Mr Ahern, US Special Envoy Mitchell Reiss and Michael Collins from the Taoiseach’s office.

During the discussion, Mr Ahern revealed how he was ready to raise the stakes after losing patience with the DUP’s refusal to enter government with Sinn Fein.

According to the cable, he threatened to overturn the 1998 referendum that amended Articles 2 and 3 of the Irish Constitution if the DUP failed “to engage in the process”.

It provides an unprecedented insight into the fragile and highly-charged nature of the behind-the-scenes talks as the London and Dublin governments pushed for a deal.

The meeting took place on January 30, days after DUP leader Ian Paisley had declared there was “no prospect” of sharing power with Sinn Fein in the near future.

During the discussion, Mr Ahern insisted the Irish government would keep talking with the DUP, but warned they would “only play along so long”.

“Never in their life have the DUP made a positive decision,” Mr Ahern told officials.

According to minutes of the conversation, the Taoiseach was ready to take a radical step which could have thrown the whole process into crisis.

“The Taoiseach said that if the DUP did not engage in the process, he would consider giving a speech in which he reminded people that the Republic of Ireland had changed its constitution to relinquish its claim to Northern Ireland only on the basis of the promise of the Good Friday Agreement,” the cable reports.

“If that promise is not met, he said, he would indicate that Ireland could consider changing its constitution again.”

Mr Ahern indicated that he had discussed the dramatic proposal with British counterpart Tony Blair.

The Taoiseach’s comments sparked alarm with Jonathan Benton, deputy chief of mission at the US Embassy, and the author of the cable.

Reporting back to US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, he noted that the Republic relinquishing its constitutional claim on Northern Ireland was “a major change and a cornerstone of the Good Friday Agreement”.

He added: “The Taoiseach’s comment that he would consider suggesting Ireland could go back on that is stunning.”

While Mr Benton considered it “unlikely” the Republic would revisit the constitutional issue, he warned any speech even hinting at the prospect would have “major repercussions”.

Mr Ahern’s comments came at a highly sensitive time. Had his proposal leaked out, it would undoubtedly have sparked unionist uproar and set the peace process back months, possibly years.

The two governments later issued a stern ultimatum to the DUP and Sinn Fein that the Assembly would be disbanded unless both parties elected a power-sharing administration by the following November.

However, it was not until March 26, 2007 that a historic deal was finally struck.

"Is sochraidiu lám ol-dó-sa" ol coss.

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Jun 5 11 4:40 PM

WikiLeaks: British Government outed Denis Donaldson as IRA spy to send a message

By Adrian Rutherford and Tom Brady
Sunday, 5 June 2011

Denis Donaldson was outed by the British Government as a spy to send a message to the Provisionals that it had another, more valuable informant within its leadership ranks, the United States was told.

Denis Donaldson was outed by the British Government as a spy to send a message to the Provisionals that it had another, more valuable informant within its leadership ranks, the United States was told.

The astonishing claim from former Irish justice minister Michael McDowell came weeks after the former Sinn Fein official was shot dead by the Real IRA.

During a meeting with two senior US officials, Mr McDowell claimed Donaldson’s “outing” had been a “clear message” from the British Government.

His remarks are detailed in a confidential cable released by the whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks. It is published on day five of the Belfast Telegraph’s serialisation of the Northern Ireland cables.

The revelation in late 2005 that Donaldson — the former head of administration for Sinn Fein at Stormont — had worked for British intelligence rocked the republican movement.

It was seen as further proof of how the highest echelons of the IRA had been infiltrated by spies for many years.

However, during a meeting with then US ambassador James Kenny and Special Envoy Mitchell Reiss in May 2005, Mr McDowell said he believed there was another, more important agent.

“McDowell believed that the outing of Denis Donaldson as an informant was a clear message from the British Government that it had another, more valuable, source of information within the republican leadership,” the cable reported.

Three months later, in March 2006, Donaldson was tracked down to an isolated cottage near Glenties in Co Donegal.

The following month he was found shot dead inside the building.

In a separate meeting with Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, ambassador Kenny and Mr Reiss were told how Sinn Fein had seemed “surprised and shaken” by the Donaldson murder.

The cable said the party had supported calls for the re-establishment of Stormont — which was still suspended over allegations of a republican spy-ring — even more strongly as a result.

A post mortem later revealed Donaldson had died from a shotgun blast to the chest.

No-one has been charged in connection with his murder but the Garda investigation remains open.

In February 2009 gardai announced they had a new lead in the inquiry and, later in the year, the Real IRA claimed responsibility for his killing.

Two months ago, two men were arrested for questioning over withholding information about the murder. The pair were held at Letterkenny garda station and questioned before being released without charge.

Donaldson’s family had earlier raised concerns about the PSNI and Garda investigation into the murder, saying more could be done to probe the circumstances surrounding his death.

The family had previously issued a statement saying they did not believe that the Provisional IRA was responsible.

Among those under the Garda spotlight have been associates of republicans ‘shopped’ by Donaldson, maverick republicans who might have targeted him for personal reasons or those hard-liners who believe in killing all spies.

"Is sochraidiu lám ol-dó-sa" ol coss.

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Jun 20 11 10:10 AM

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 DUBLIN 000130



E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/19/2019


DUBLIN 00000130 001.2 OF 002

Classified By: Pol/Econ Section Chief Ted Pierce; Reasons 1.4(b/d)


¶1. (C) The Irish banking industry continues to weather the
fallout from the Anglo Irish Bank nationalization. While
there are no new developments in the Anglo Irish criminal
investigation, a fifth member of the "Golden Circle" has been
revealed, as have additional inappropriate dealings by former
Chairman Sean Fitzpatrick. The government has proposed a
series of reforms to its banking regulatory structure and
bank executive compensation, but has not yet finalized plans
for dealing with problem loans at Allied Irish Bank (AIB) and
Bank of Ireland (BOI). Economists fear that the property
market is considerably worse than originally expected and
that write-offs at all Irish banks will exceed the previous
worst case scenario. This situation, coupled with an S&P
downgrade of the Irish banking sector to group three, has led
some to predict a need for additional government funding.
Difficulties have spread to smaller banks and credit unions;
EBS Building Society recorded a large loss and at least ten
credit unions have been asked to cease lending activities.
We expect this weakness in the banking sector to contribute
to a further deterioration of the Irish economy. In light of
the government's handling of the banking industry, opposition
parties are expecting to gain ground in the European
Parliament election and Irish local elections in June 2009
and have hinted at the possibility of an early general
election. End Summary.

Anglo Irish: The Saga Continues

¶2. (SBU) Police continue to investigate alleged fraudulent
activities at Anglo Irish, but difficulties in agreeing on a
legal framework for the analysis of electronic information
has hampered the investigation. Fallout continues as Paddy
McKillen, property developer and Fianna Fail contributor, was
named as the fifth member of the "Golden Circle," a group of
ten individuals who borrowed funds from the bank to buy
shares in Anglo Irish and artificially inflated its share
price (reftel). Finally, Anglo Irish disclosed that it paid
Euro 31,500 (USD 43,000) per year to rent a London apartment
from former chairman Sean Fitzpatrick's family.
Fitzpatrick's family members were permitted to stay in the
apartment during this time.

Banking Sector: Problems Mounting

¶3. (SBU) The Irish government is moving ahead with a plan to
isolate problem loans from all Irish banks in a separate
toxic asset company. However, this would require sharp
write-downs far beyond the worst-case scenario originally
envisaged by the banks. For example, experts predict that
the value of residential development land in Dublin could
fall 70% from its peak. This has led some economists to
predict that government funding may not be sufficient.
Ireland's banks continue to respond to the crisis with
leadership changes. Following a loss of Euro 38.2 Million
(USD 43.7 million) in 2008, the EBS Building Society chairman
and finance director tendered their resignations. Finally,
regulators revealed that the Bank of Ireland loaned Euro 11.3
million (USD 15.4 million) to a business associated with one
of its directors, but did not disclose the transaction.

¶4. (SBU) In late February, the financial Regulator's
Registrar of Credit Unions, Brendan Logue, instructed at
least ten credit unions to cease lending to businesses due to
concerns about their financial stability. The regulator is
now working with these credit unions on a program of remedial
actions to stabilize their business.

¶5. (SBU) The market and ratings agencies have continued to
lose confidence in the Irish banking system. On March 16,
Standard & Poors downgraded the Irish banking system for the
second time in four months. Ireland is now listed in "group
three" due to the reputational fallout from the events at
Anglo Irish and weakened investor confidence in the framework
of bank regulation. Analysts have also been concerned by the
reluctance of the Financial Regulator to intervene. This
downgrade will impact all Irish banks' cost of capital and
could eventually contribute to a need for additional
government funding.

DUBLIN 00000130 002.2 OF 002

Regulatory Bodies: Broad Reforms Coming

¶6. (SBU) In light of the developing banking crisis, Minister
for Finance Brian Lenihan, announced on March 18 that he
would be proposing new measures designed to crack down on
"crony capitalism" in Ireland. Proposals include a reformed
financial watchdog with powers to restrict excessive bank
lending, a ban on senior executives holding directorships in
more than one bank, and a ban on bank chief executives from
becoming chairmen. Lenihan added that there is a problem in
all small countries with "too many incestuous relationships."
These changes are a direct reaction to the weaknesses
exposed by Anglo Irish Bank, where multiple
cross-directorships were in place. Lenihan hopes to
establish a central bank commission following the regulatory
model of Canada.

¶7. (SBU) Lenihan is pressing forward with plans to tie the
bank guarantee to an executive salary cap of Euro 500,000
(USD 683,500). This follows reports that AIB chief executive
Eugene Sheehy expected to earn Euro 690,000 (USD 943,000) and
that Brian Goggin, outgoing CEO of BOI expects to earn about
Euro 2 million (USD 2.7 million). A report by the Covered
Institutions Remuneration Oversight Committee (CIROC)
determined that base salaries of Irish bank executives
exceeded those in Britain and those of similar sized
companies in Ireland.

¶8. (C) Emboff recently spoke with Tony Woods, Head of Risk
and Compliance for Citibank Europe. He previously worked as
a regulator and indicated that much of Ireland's regulatory
woes can be attributed to the fact that, during the boom
years, the government simply could not compete with the
financial packages the private sector was offering. He and
many of his former colleagues were widely sought after during
the early-mid 1990s and he noted that "anyone with talent"
followed the money to the private sector. This had the
effect of hollowing-out a cadre of government officials who
would now be in senior regulatory roles.

Early Elections? Probably Not But...

¶9. (C) The growing banking problem is adding fuel to the
opposition parties' fire. While there are no calls for an
early election at the moment, neither Fine Gael nor Labour
appear to be ruling out the possibility. Emboff recently
spoke with Mark Garrett, chief advisor to Labour Party leader
Eamon Gilmore. Garrett believes that in the absence of a
"smoking gun" tying a government Minister to the
improprieties at Anglo Irish, the status quo will hold. He
does not believe that the Green Party will give up its
current power unless it is soundly defeated in the European
Parliament elections. Should that happen, he predicted, the
Greens would be forced to distance themselves from Fianna
Fail. (Note: If the speeches by party leaders at the Green
Party national convention (March 6-7, 2009) were any
indication, this distancing may already be happening. From
party leader John Gormley on down, the common theme was
rooting out corruption and cronyism. End Note) Garrett
stated "the next election could be in two weeks or two
years-we're preparing for both." Fine Gael officials have
told us much the same thing.


¶10. (C) The Irish economy will get much worse before getting
better and the banking sector woes, reflected in a dearth of
credit, will contribute to this decline. In the meantime, we
believe that the government -- absent evidence of corruption
-- will survive the Anglo Irish scandal, but its already
battered reputation continues to erode. In the next three
months the government will have to sell a new emergency
budget (April 7) designed to plug a Euro 4.5 billion (USD
6.15 billion) hole in the state's finances, monitor the
effectiveness of the Euro 7 billion (USD 9.6 billion) banking
recapitalization, and compete in the Irish local and European
parliamentary elections in June. This doesn't leave a lot of
room for reforming the financial regulatory structure -- a
priority if Ireland expects to regain the confidence of the
global financial community.

=======================CABLE ENDS============================

Ard Ceathrunach

"We have declared for an Irish Republic and will not live under any other law" (Liam Lynch)

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Jul 1 11 1:09 PM

Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
05DUBLIN657 2005-06-01 08:39 2010-12-12 23:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Dublin

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

Wednesday, 01 June 2005, 08:39
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 05 DUBLIN 000657
EO 12958 DECL: 05/31/2015
Classified By: Ambassador James C. Kenny for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)
¶1. (C) During Special Envoy Mitchell Reiss’ visit to Ireland May 19-22, the Irish government emphasized that the Good Friday Agreement and the December 8 joint communique must be the basis for forward movement in the peace process. They anticipate an IRA response to Gerry Adams’ call to leave the scene within 60 days; they believe the focus must be kept on the IRA but do not have a specific list of steps the IRA must take as pre-conditions to serious negotiations. They believe serious talks will begin in September, but it could take until early 2006 to put the pieces in place, especially since the DUP would require a long period to verify IRA good behavior. GOI officials uniformly expressed concern that the UK’s political interest in showing progress might lead the UK to be too soft on Sinn Fein. Other issues raised include Irish unhappiness with the UK’s inquiry into the Finucane murder; the importance of a non-violent marching season in Northern Ireland; and concerns about IRA criminality. Reiss briefed on his meetings in London and Belfast and informed them of the USG’s decision to refuse a visa to Sinn Fein member Rita O’Hare.
¶2. (U) Mitchell Reiss met with the Taoiseach, PM Bertie Ahern; Foreign Minister Dermot Ahern, Justice Minister Michael McDowell; Finance Minister Brian Cowen; and, UK Ambassador Eldon. The Ambassador, DCM, POL/ECON Counselor, and S/P Special Assistant accompanied him to all meetings. Reiss and the Ambassador also had a private lunch with President and Dr. McAleese. END SUMMARY
¶3. (C) GOI concerns about UK “softness” represent a role reversal. Usually, it is the UK that is concerned Ireland will be too accommodating to Sinn Fein. The GOI’s eventual position will depend on the Taoiseach. He is generally considered “softer” on the provisional movement than either the Foreign Affairs or Justice Ministers. However, he believes Sinn Fein leaders were aware of plans to rob the Northern Bank even as they negotiated with him last Fall. Publicly, he has been unprecedentedly critical of Sinn Fein and, until recently, greatly reduced private contacts as well. We are told that Adams prefers to deal directly with the Taoiseach and not with cabinet ministers. In deciding how to move forward, the Taoiseach is likely to look carefully at the IRA’s response to Gerry Adams, given strong public feelings against IRA crime and paramilitarism. He is expected to call elections in 2007 or sooner. Having a deal in place would serve his political interests best; however, more failed attempts to reach a deal would hurt him electorally, particularly if he were seen to have been played by Sinn Fein. End Comment.
¶4. (C) XXXXXXXXXXXX opened the meeting with an update of GOI actions. He said there had been very little GOI engagement with Sinn Fein since the talks broke down in December. He cited one meeting in January, one in March in Washington, and several private meetings between the Taoiseach and Gerry Adams. Significantly, he said the official feelings toward Sinn Fein had changed with all that has happened since December (Northern Bank robbery, money laundering, McCartney killing.) XXXXXXXXXXXX said the GOI is interested in the Good Friday Agreement and not in any “lesser models or deals.” Following UK elections, the pace was picking up, he said, and he outlined a series of expected contacts with all parties. He said the GOI was pleased at PM Blair’s re-election, and that Sinn Fein is aware that this is Blair’s “last lap.” That, he said, plays both ways. Sinn Fein knows that no successor is likely to be as engaged in the process as Blair, and that he represents their best hope of a deal. On the other hand, Sinn Fein also believes they could take advantage of Blair’s interest in getting a deal before leaving office. Special Envoy Reiss, referring to his talks in London, said it is never good in a negotiation to appear more eager than the other side. XXXXXXXXXXXX said the UK had offered Sinn Fein a package following the December 8 breakdown, but withdrew it after the Northern Bank robbery. (Note: Sinn Fein has frequently expressed anger at the UK for “going back on its word.” While never specifically mentioning a post-December 8 package, during the negotiations, Sinn Fein seemed confident that the UK felt Sinn Fein’s decommissioning offer was worth taking up even if a comprehensive deal with the DUP was not reached.)
¶5. (C) XXXXXXXXXXXX indicated the focus must be kept on the IRA. The GOI, he said, hopes for decisive action, followed by a “proving period” and leading to talks that restore the executive. He anticipated that it might take until late fall or early in 2006 to put all the pieces together; the IRA would need to do something definitive within two months, and the DUP would likely require a six-month testing period before agreeing to sit down with Sinn Fein. XXXXXXXXXXXX said there is little appetite within the GOI or the Irish public for going “round and round again.” He said GOI will not go about talks in a “headline way.” The credibility of the process and the players is in question, he said, and this time, talks must work. A deal is possible, he said, but will take time. Reiss responded by saying Gerry Adams had told him to expect an IRA response in a month, before the marching season. Reiss said Adams had stated that “the IRA must be taken out of the equation.” Reiss noted that public tolerance of accepting things at face value is gone. The IMC must confirm that the IRA takes any actions it promises. When the Taoiseach joined the meeting, he said that verification would have to include witnesses of decommissiong (probably clergy), in addition to the IICD, as layed out December 8.
¶6. (C)XXXXXXXXXXXX Reiss and the Ambassador agreed that tensions were high as marching season approaches, and it is vitally important that violence is averted. That message needs to be delivered to all parties. The Ambassador asked who is engaging with the Parades Commission; XXXXXXXXXXXX said there is a disconnect between the Parades Commission and the PSNI. All agreed that a violent marching season could set back prospects for political progress.
¶7. (C) XXXXXXXXXXXX and Reiss exchanged views on the DUP, following their big win in UK elections. The Ambassador noted that DUP is looking to flex its muscles, and should not be allowed to unwind existing mechanisms, such as the Policing Board, whose mandate expires October 18. XXXXXXXXXXXX agreed and said the GOI favors renewing the policing board in its current form.
¶8. (C) The Taoiseach joined the meeting, and layed out his vision of the way forward. Like XXXXXXXXXXXX he felt any deal was many months away, with talks not starting until September and a deal not likely until January. The Taoiseach then discussed what he felt was realistic to expect from the IRA. He said that no one can expect the IRA to agree to disband; rather, it could enter a new commemorative role. His own father, he said, considered himself to be an IRA man to the day he died in the 1990’s. IRA members, he said, consider themselves to be soldiers and their IRA membership is the center of their lives. They could, however, convert to a commemorative organization that visits graves and plans events to mark the anniversaries of atrocities. The Taoiseach said he had explained this to DUP leader Ian Paisley. By the same token, the Taoiseach said Sinn Fein knows that they have milked the process as much as they can. He said that “Gerry understands criminality must end”, even if he will not say that the IRA has been involved in crime.
¶9. (C) Reiss described changes in perception within the Irish-American community. Their conversations with the Taoiseach, and the IRA’s words and actions following the McCartney murder were giving them a more realistic view of the IRA. The Taoiseach agreed, but noted that it is still hard for much of Irish-America to accept that the IRA was involved in the murder. Reiss then informed the Taoiseach that the US had refused Sinn Fein member Rita O’Hare’s visa request.
¶10. (C) The Taoiseach raised the Finucane case, as did every other GOI official with whom Reiss met. Reiss briefed him on his talks in London, including with the head of MI5, who committed to turning over all evidence her agency has to the inquiry, but she was adamant that the inquiry will proceed using the new legislation. Reiss noted his concern that the Finucane case will become an irritant in Irish relations with the UK and get in the way of a deal. The Taoiseach said that the entire parliament was united in opposition to the UK approach. Parliament does not believe the UK will give all evidence because, in its view, the UK did not cooperate fully with the Barron commission’s investigation into the 1974 Dublin and Monaghan bombings. The Taoiseach said that the GOI wants the UK to provide evidence acknowledging its involvement in Finucane’s murder and it wants to know how high in the UK government collusion went. He said if the UK were to provide the information, it would only grab the headlines for a few hours because “everyone knows the UK was involved.” Other ministers made the same point and noted that the Taoiseach is particularly seized with the Finucane case and would have to personally approve any compromise to ease the dispute with the UK, such as Reiss’ suggestion of putting an Irish judge in charge of the inquiry.
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¶11. (C) FM Ahern said he liked Reiss’ public comments that the IRA should respond “sooner rather than later,” and he agreed with Reiss that the IRA statement must be clean, with no ambiguity, and that the three governments need to agree on what they want from the IRA. In the end, the DUP must also be on board in order for a deal to be struck. FM Ahern was adamant that the Irish government was interested in a comprehensive deal only, and was concerned that the UK might be open to Sinn Fein’s desire to cut a side deal with London. He said that such talks between the UK and IRA were underway in December between the breakdown of talks and the Northern Bank robbery. Such a deal, he said, would have allowed Sinn Fein to barter decommissioning for concessions. Moreover, he said, a bilateral deal between the UK and Sinn Fein would polarize the situation in Northern Ireland.
...Sinn Fein
¶12. (C) FM Ahern said that Sinn Fein knows serious negotiations cannot begin unless trust is re-established. On the other hand, he said, maybe that’s not what they want. (Note: FM Ahern is here referencing the theory that Sinn Fein finds engaging in the peace process in its interest because it softens the image of the party and gives them photo opportunities with prime ministers. According to this theory, the process is in Sinn Fein’s interest, but Sinn Fein is not actually interested in striking a deal.) FM Ahern also touched on the balance the GOI tries to strike in talking about and to Sinn Fein. He said PSNI and others told the GOI that its tough line on Sinn Fein since December had been helpful but no longer was, and they should “lighten up.” On the other hand, the GOI also is asked why it talks to Sinn Fein at all, given that the International Monitoring Commission reports that they are continuining their activities. He noted that it is difficult for the two prime ministers to say “no” when Gerry Adams asks for a meeting. He said Sinn Fein is insisting on working out details at the top level of government only. (COMMENT: This is tactically smart of Gerry Adams, especially if he, like others, sees the Taoiseach as less tough on republicans than the outspoken Justice Minister or quieter but equally firm Foreign Minister.)
...Parade Season
¶13. (C) XXXXXXXXXXXX said intelligence sources were worried that malcontents were planning to disrupt the marching season. He noted that the DUP and Orange Order were “playing games” with the Parades Commission, and repeated the view that PSNI and the Parades Commission were not connecting well. He said the GOI is particularly worried about the “walk back” -- after the parades and drinking, when marchers and hangers on walk back through republican areas. Special Envoy Reiss said that a violent marching season would play into the hands of those who believe that only the IRA can protect Catholic communities.
¶14. (C) FM Ahern raised the Finucane case, saying categorically that the UK was not complying with its 2001 Weston Park commitments. He said the GOI has lived up to its obligations and begun investigations into several cases. XXXXXXXXXXXX noted that the UK had pushed through its new Inquiries Act and that the Finucane family would not cooperate on that basis. ...Policing Board
¶15. (C) Special Envoy Reiss noted that the Policing Board was set to expire on October 18, and asked for Irish views, including on whether there were policy consequences of choosing to “continue” the board or to “reconstitute” it. FM Ahern said he had spoken to Northern Ireland Secretary of State Peter Hain about the issue. He said the GOI favors continuing the board, but the DUP wants to reconstitute it. He asserted that the DUP has no legal right to demand reconstitution on the basis of its electoral gains. FM Ahern also said he had raised IRA crime with Peter Hain, especially in the context of cross border cooperation between the Irish Criminal Assets Bureau and the Northern Ireland equivalent.
...International Fund for Ireland (IFI)
¶16. (C) As he has done publicly, FM Ahern talked about the importance of continuing IFI activities and the need to maintain donations from other governments. He said it is increasingly difficult to tap EU peace and reconciliation funds. FM Ahern talked about the need to reorient the board toward reconciliation and policing, and noted the board was considering a five-year strategy, ending in closure. He asked for U.S. views. The Ambassador noted that supporters of Ireland in the U.S. understand that the Ireland’s economic boom means that international contributions to IFI will end at some point. One difficulty, he said, is that unionists only recently have taken part, and will insist on getting their fair share of grants. Special Envoy Reiss said that the IFI’s new ideas for policing are likely to be acceptable under U.S. law.
Justice Minister McDowell focuses on the IRA
¶17. (C) Justice Minister McDowell, always the hardest hitting of the Irish cabinet, opened the meeting by saying that the Good Friday Agreement presumed the IRA would go out of business and it is still in business seven years later. He said the provisional movement (as he refers to jointly to the IRA and Sinn Fein) regards its arms cache as an embarrassment. Its semtex and kalishnakovs do not serve any useful purpose, he said, and the provisionals do not want to leave weapons in the hands of dissidents. He said the provisionals consider their arms stash a political liability that undermines their claim to be pursuing their goals through peaceful means only.
¶18. (C) Minister McDowell believes the provisionals want to close down the hardware side of their operation but to stay in business to fund national and international programs. He also said that the provisionals give no indication of loosening their grip on national areas in Northern Ireland where PSNI does not go. For that reason, he noted, the provisionals want to hold on to personal weapons.
¶19. (C) McDowell said some lessons have been learned about how to deal with the provisional movement. McDowell said that you only get concessions from the provisionals when you put your hand on their throat. When you play their propaganda game, they press for concessions. McDowell said he was “delighted” that Sinn Fein was not invited to the White House on March 17. Looking forward, he said, the GOI was not in appeasement mode, and should offer a cold shoulder to the provisionals. Sinn Fein, he said, is “asking for warm words” but governments should not offer them. He credited Sinn Fein with being “brilliant negotiators.” They create eagerness and a sense of partnership, as if to say, “let’s get together to sort out Sinn Fein problems.” What they cannot stand, he said, is skepticism. McDowell said he has warned Peter Hain against side deals with the provisionals, especially now that there is no center ground in Northern Ireland.
Finance Minister Brian Cowen
¶20. (C) In pursuing a political solution for Northern Ireland, the British and Irish Governments needed to address the economic dimension to the peace process, Finance Minister Brian Cowen told Ambassador Reiss in a May 20 meeting. Cowen cautioned against an approach that focused on establishing institutions of self-government, while neglecting equally urgent economic imperatives, such as improving social services and tacking unemployment. He expressed concern that HMG might wish to disengage from these challenges after a solution was reached. While the British Exchequer had made statements on the limits of UK financial support for the peace process, Cowen believed that HMG and the GOI could jointly foster a transition in Northern Ireland toward an economic system less dominated by the public sector. This cooperation could take the form of coordinating Ireland’s National Spatial Strategy with the North’s development plans; there was also the possibility of harmonizing tax rates and key commodity prices to spur cross-border investment. Ambassador Reiss agreed that it was important to avoid scenarios where economic difficulties would continue to fuel social tensions even after a political resolution was in hand.
¶21. (U) This cable has been cleared by S/P. KENNY

Ard Ceathrunach

"We have declared for an Irish Republic and will not live under any other law" (Liam Lynch)

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REF: STATE 120019

¶11. (U) Since May 2007 Northern Ireland has been governed by a power-sharing agreement led by Sinn Fein, political wing of the IRA, and the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP). Activities by dissident republican groups opposed to Sinn Fein's participation in the peace process and the current power sharing government are the main source of concern. In June the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Shaun Woodward stated that dissident republican activity was at its highest level in five years. Later in the year police raised concerns that a five-month impasse between Sinn Fein and the DUP over devolution of policing and justice could embolden dissident groups. The impasse was resolved in November, however, and the parties were working together toward devolution, which is expected to take place in 2009. Unionists raised concerns about devolution occurring while the IRA Army Council was still active. At the request of the British and Irish governments, the Independent Monitoring Commission (IMC) looked into the Army Council's operations and determined that there was no evidence that it was operational.

¶12. (U) In November a small dissident republican protest of a welcome home parade for troops returning to Northern Ireland from Iraq and Afghanistan took place in central Belfast without incident. Due to the lessening of tensions in Northern Ireland it was announced in December that the head of the British military in Northern Ireland would no longer be a senior general.

¶13. (U) The Independent Monitoring Commission, a four-person body established by the Irish and British governments in 2004, regularly releases reports on paramilitary activity in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Its report issued this year stated that the IMC had not observed a material increase in the number of dissident activists or an increase in their access to weapons. The IMC did note that the targeting by dissident groups of Northern Ireland police officers remained a serious concern. Various dissident republican groups, including the Continuity IRA and the Real IRA, were involved in attacks on police throughout the year.

¶14. (U) In December the British government announced that loyalist paramilitary groups had until February 2010 to decommission their weapons or face prosecution for illegal possession of illegal arms. The International Commission on Decommissioning (IICD) continued to work with the Ulster Defense Association (UDA) and Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) to complete this process. Visit London's Classified Website: XXXXXXXXXXXX

Ard Ceathrunach

"We have declared for an Irish Republic and will not live under any other law" (Liam Lynch)

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