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27 January 2005 Edition

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The 5th Column

Bank counter intelligence

IF PSNI Chief Constable Hugh Orde and Tony Blair really know who robbed the Northern Bank, perhaps they should tell police at Scottish ports serving Ireland.

Celtic fans travelling from Belfast to last Saturday's Scottish Premier League soccer match with Motherwell at Parkhead were quizzed about the Northern Bank raid by Scottish police, acting on the instructions of the PSNI.

A number of supporters told the Andersonstown News that they were stopped by Dumfries and Galloway Police while making their way to and from the match and questioned about the £26.5 million (€38 million) Northern Bank heist.

Scottish cops asked fans if they knew who was involved in robbery.

Republican ex-prisoner Eddie Higgins — a regular Celtic visitor to Parkhead with friends — said: "They asked one of us did we believe the IRA carried out the Northern Bank job, and we just refused to comment on it. It was ridiculous but they detained us for several hours."

Scottish folk group Shebeen, who were travelling back to Glasgow after playing two nights in West Belfast's Andersonstown Social Club and Roddy's, said the cops held them for four hours, took fingerprints and asked if they knew "anyone involved in the Peace Process" who had been involved in the robbery!

One band member — who had been playing in West Belfast, remember — added: "We were asked if we knew any republicans."

So that's the level of police intelligence Michael McDowell is relying on.

Criminal contempt

HANDS UP IF you've heard PD super-parliamentarian Michael McDowell on TV or radio giving out about the criminal actions of Tony Blair's government, the PSNI/RUC and MI5, who are refusing to co-operate with no less an august body than the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justicein the community has a lot to answer for.

Happy talk

A BBC POLL has found that old James Bond star Seán Connery, TV newscaster Trevor McDonald and Terry Wogan have the most pleasant voices, according to 5,000 people questioned for an online "accent map" of Britain and the Six Counties.

The British queen appeared in both the ten most pleasant and ten least pleasant lists.

But the most gratingly unpopular voice for the 5,000 belongs to DUP leader Ian Paisley.

They haven't heard of Mary Harney.

Another clean getaway

THE PSNI may not be hot on the scent of the Northern Bank robbers but there's an all-points bulletin out to find the gang behind the latest breath-taking heist — a few cans of Lynx deodorant snatched from a shop in Portrush last Saturday.

Crimestoppers have asked for anyone with any whiff of a clue to contact Coleraine PSNI.

Surely it would be easier to make the Peelers wash.

An Phoblacht Magazine


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