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Tony Blair could face public inquiry over on-the-runs deal

Former Prime Minister Tony Blair. Credit: PA

Former prime minister Tony Blair could be called before a parliamentary inquiry to explain a 'secret' deal he made with Sinn Fein during the Irish peace process, the Sunday Telegraph reported.

The deal saw 200 letters of assurances sent to fugitives known as 'on-the-runs' telling them they were not wanted by the police in the UK.

However, it did not rule out future prosecutions if new evidence emerged.

MPs on the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee are investigating the collapse of the case against John Downey, who was wrongly assured he was not wanted, when in fact Metropolitan Police were looking for him in connection with the 1982 Hyde Park bombings.

The Committee may now seek Mr Blair to give evidence as his role in orchestrating the deal is coming under increasing scrutiny.

OAP assaulted after photographing Gerry Adams mural

A 74-year-old man believed to be photographing a new mural hailing Gerry Adams as a peacemaker, has been assaulted.

The mural in the republican Falls Road area of West Belfast depicts the Sinn Fein president beside the words "peacemaker, leader, visionary" and was a response to his arrest.

The new mural depicting Gerry Adams, in the Falls Road area of Belfast. Credit: PA

The photographer suffered cuts and bruises during Sunday's attack, a Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) spokesman said.

"It was reported that a 74-year-old man was taking photographs of murals when he was approached by three unknown males. The males assaulted the man and stole his camera."

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness launched the new mural at the weekend, which sits alongside one commemorating 1981 Maze prison IRA hunger striker Bobby Sands.

Hundreds of political paintings were created around Northern Ireland in republican and loyalist areas during the 30-year conflict.


Sinn Fein to 'monitor and review' relationship with PSNI

Sinn Fein assembly member Alex Maskey seen with Gerry Adams in 2010. Credit: Paul Faith/PA Archive

Sinn Fein assembly member Alex Maskey has said his party will not withdraw support for policing after Gerry Adam's arrest and detention but will continue to "monitor and review" its relationship with the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI).

Mr Maskey said the people he represents are "scathing in their anger" at the PSNI, who he accused of losing the respect of the local community by holding Mr Adams in connection with the 1972 murder of Jean McConville.

He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "We have a small element of people involved in policing who are politically motivated, who have a hostile attitude to our party, who have been taking very retrograde steps in relation to how they deal with policing."

Sinn Fein's Kelly: Adams arrest 'is political policing'

Senior Sinn Fein Stormont assembly member Gerry Kelly said the arrest and continued detention of Mr Adams was deliberately timed to coincide with the elections in three weeks' time.

He added:

This is political policing at its most blatant.

Sinn Fein will not be intimidated by the action of a small cabal in the PSNI who are opposed to the peace process and political change.

Tebbit says he 'hopes' McGuinness is 'shot in the back'

Lord Tebbit has come under fire after suggesting he hoped Sinn Fein politician Martin McGuinness would be "shot in the back".

Lord Tebbit speaking in the House of Lords Credit: PA/PA Archive/Press Association Images

The former Conservative chairman, who was himself injured in the 1984 Brighton hotel bombing, suggested Mr McGuinness' presence yesterday at a state banquet with the Queen might anger hardline Republicans.

"There's always the possibility that a member of the Real IRA will be so outraged by Mr McGuinness bowing to the Queen that they might shoot him in the back for it. We can but hope," he said.

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams expressed outrage at the comments, saying:

"To publicly advocate the assassination of Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness is a shocking throwback to a violent past from which we are seeking to move on."

Adams: There does not appear to be an agreement

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams said there does not appear to be an agreement on outstanding peace process issues in Northern Ireland after days of negotiations.

Talks between Stormont's five main political parties on flags, parades and dealing with the legacy of the Troubles continued into the early hours of this morning.

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams speaking this morning. Credit: APTN

Speaking at press conference, Mr Adams said: "I'm sure there will be a lot of disappointment as various people come to terms with the fact that there doesn't appear at this point to be an agreement.

"This compromise is far short of what we were proposing, but we think that the vast majority of people will want to see it embraced and that's why we have taken up a positive attitude towards it."


Liam Adams abused daughter when she was a child

The paedophile brother of Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams has been sentenced to 16 years in prison after being found guilty last month of a string of sexual assaults against his daughter.

Aine Dahlstrom has waived her right to anonymity. Credit: Julien Behal/PA Archive

Liam Adams was found guilty of 10 offences against his daughter Aine Dahlstrom, who has waived her right to anonymity, when she was a child in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

The abuse was committed over a five-year period between 1977 and 1981, when she was aged between four and nine.

Adams' convictions have heaped further pressure on his brother to explain why he did not alert authorities to the abuse allegations when he first learned of them.

During a first trial earlier this year, which collapsed, the Sinn Fein leader claimed he first heard of the sex abuse claims in 1987 and, 13 years later, his younger brother admitted his guilt to him.

Gerry Adams to attend west Belfast parade

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams said he will attend a parade in west Belfast later today to "support the families of the Ballymurphy massacre".

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams . Credit: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Ahead of the march, Adams said he believes an independent panel should be appointed "to examine all of the documents relating to the context, circumstances and aftermath of the deaths" of 11 people during the Troubles.

Lord Mayor 'punched' by loyalists in Belfast

Lord Mayor Máirtín Ó Muilleoir was heckled by loyalist protesters Credit: UTV News

Belfast's Lord Mayor, Sinn Fein's Mairtin O'Muilleor, has been attacked by loyalist protesters at the re-opening of a children's park in north Belfast.

Mr O Muilleoir, 53, required a police escort to evade angry protesters at the re-opening of a park in the staunchly unionist Woodvale area.

The high-profile businessman and city councillor said he was kicked and punched during the altercation. Police said nine of their officers were injured during the incident, although none required hospital treatment.

Community tensions are high in Woodvale after recent loyalist rioting over a decision to prevent three protestant Orange Order lodges parading past the nearby nationalist Ardoyne area.

Loyalists have accused Sinn Fein of waging a cultural war against their community.

Watch UTV's video of the incident: Police shield SF mayor from protesters

Adams: Thatcher 'did great hurt to Irish and British people'

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams has criticised Lady Thatcher, saying "her Irish policy failed miserably":

Margaret Thatcher did great hurt to the Irish and British people during her time as British Prime Minister.

Working class communities were devastated in Britain because of her policies.

Her role in international affairs was equally belligerent whether in support of the Chilean dictator Pinochet, her opposition to sanctions against apartheid South Africa; and her support for the Khmer Rouge.

Here in Ireland her espousal of old draconian militaristic policies prolonged the war and caused great suffering.

Margaret Thatcher will be especially remembered for her shameful role during the epic hunger strikes of 1980 and ’81.

Her Irish policy failed miserably.

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