Despite overwhelming evidence there is still continuing reluctance from politicians to accept just how useless short prison sentences are

Heady days for the IRA

We have beaten the British Army. So Gerry Adams told a public meeting in Belfast last weekend. His claim derived a certain credibility from the place in which it was made. He was addressing an estimated 10,000 supporters outside Belfast City Hall. Sinn Fein had never been allowed to hold a meeting in the city centre before. Its presence there was an index of Sinn Fein's increasing acceptability to the authorities. And Sinn Fein means the IRA, a connection Mr Adams did not go out of his way, on this occasion, to discourage.

Life-savings theft

AN ELDERLY couple in Canterbury, Kent, had their life savings of pounds 6,000 - collected over more than 50 years together - stolen by two men posing as electricity board officials. Police said the 83-year-old man and his wife, 74, were 'distraught'.

Loyalists murder 'IRA informer': Caller to Ulster Television claims victim set up Protestants as targets

LOYALIST paramilitaries yesterday dumped the body of a Protestant man by a country lane in Northern Ireland. He was murdered because he was said to have been an IRA informer.

IRA activists cleared of murdering officer

Three suspected IRA members were acquitted of murdering a British Army officer by a German court yesterday.

Letter: Unitary councils: power to central government, loss of the citizen's role and a fight for jobs

Sir: I have read with interest the correspondence, for the most part from officers or elected representatives, about the desirability of unitary councils.

Murders may herald wider IRA campaign

THE IRA shot dead two Protestant men in the main street of a Co Londonderry village yesterday evening - the first civilian deaths it has caused since last October, writes David McKittrick.

No talks if killing goes on, IRA told

A SCIMITAR light tank of the Household Cavalry on the Heathrow perimeter road yesterday as the search continued for more IRA mortars. The Ministry of Defence said the tanks, based near by at Windsor, were there for driver training.

Soldier named

The soldier shot dead by an IRA sniper in Crossmaglen, south Armagh, on Thursday, was named as Guardsman Daniel Martin Blinco, 22, from Oswaldwistle, Lancashire.

Cost of justice

Court cases involving the Birmingham Six, freed in 1991 after serving 16 years in jail for an IRA bombing they did not commit, incurred more than pounds 2.7m in legal costs, the Lord Chancellor's Department disclosed.

Lilley seeks to calm lone parents storm: Benefit cuts 'will not stem numbers', but spending review goes on despite Cabinet leak

THE RISING numbers of one- parent families cannot be curbed by attacking their benefits, Peter Lilley, Secretary of State for Social Security, said last night as the Government came under fire over controversial options for cutting the cost of benefits, disclosed in a leaked Cabinet Office paper.

Soldier on patrol shot by sniper

(First Edition)

BOOK REVIEW / Death of an IRA choirboy's faith in the old lie: 'The Volunteer' - Shane O'Doherty: Fount, 4.99 pounds

'When I grow up, I want to fight and, if necessary, die for Ireland's freedom. Signed: Shane Paul O'Doherty.' So wrote the 10-year-old Ulster choirboy, in 1965. A decade later that very declaration was produced as evidence in a trial to implicate the author as a major IRA operator.

IRA target

John Gibson, 51, the latest victim of an IRA killing, was a director of a construction company which did work for the security services and had been the target of terrorist attacks for years.

Old device defused

(First Edition)

Letter: Positive aspects of an IRA victory

Sir: I feel inclined to agree with Conor Cruise O'Brien ('Drifting towards an IRA victory', 9 July) when he writes that Sir Patrick Mayhew, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, was manifestly wrong to maintain that the IRA are ultimately bound to fail. On the contrary, their campaign has become increasingly effective over the years. I suspect that Dr O'Brien may also be right to assert that eventually the British will withdraw. He writes that 'with increasing casualties and no solution in sight', a future British government would agree to the unity of Ireland.
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<b>Kathryn Williams</b>
When I was supporting Ray La Montagne I was six months pregnant. He had been touring for a year and he was exhausted and full of the cold. I was feeling motherly, so I would leave presents for him and his band: Tunnock's Tea Cakes, cold remedies and proper tea. Ray seemed painfully shy. He hardly spoke, hardly looked at you in the face. I felt like a dick speaking to him, but said "hi" every day. </p>
He was being courted by the same record company who had signed me and subsequently let me go, and I wanted him to know that there were people around who didn't want anything from him. At the Shepherds Bush Empire in London, on the last night of the tour, Ray stopped in his set to thank me for doing the support. He said I was a really good songwriter and people should buy my stuff. I was taken aback and felt emotionally overwhelmed. Later that year, just before I had my boy Louis, I was l asleep in bed with Radio 4 on when Louis moved around in my belly and woke me up. Ray was doing a session on the World Service. </p>
I really believe that Louis recognised the music from the tour, and when I gave birth to him at home I played Ray's record as something that he would recognise to come into the world with. </p>
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