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19 June 2008 Edition

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Fifth Column

Saints above us

FRIDAY the 13th being unlucky might have been blamed by the ‘Yes’ camp as their votes were counted out the day after the Lisbon referendum but one of our more spiritual readers than myself pointed out that divine intervention may have had a hand in our victory over the dark forces.
Friday, 13 June, was the feast day of Saint Anthony of Lisbon.

Ferris: Indo’s role model

STRANGE HAPPENINGS also over at The Irish Independent. It has praised Sinn Féin TD Martin Ferris and said that Fianna Fáil TDs should follow his example.
Now before the Soldiers of Destiny start putting on their souwesters and loading up trawlers with tonnes of weapons and explosives, what the Indo said is that our hero behaved more honourably than Cork TD Christy O’Sullivan, who was arrested for drink-driving but defended having a few pints  and breaking the law before getting into his car.
Fellow Cork TD and Education Minister Batt O’Keefe went to bat for his beleaguered colleague, making excuses for squiffy Christy.
When he was stopped, Ferris fessed up, the Indo pointed out, even though he thought he was under the legal limit and scientific analysis at CSI Kerry proved this to be the case. Our man was innocent.
Nevertheless, the Indo opined that, while the verdict was still out, “Mr Ferris didn’t whinge about the plight of rural drinkers or bang on about us all being human.” Instead, the Sinn Féin TD said that if he was found to be guilty, “I’ll put my hands up,” not something Martin Ferris says lightly.

Police files

THREE RUC officers who illegally used police computer intelligence files for private investigations into insurance claims have been let off with suspended sentences or fines.
Ex-RUC man James Stewart (52), Ballynahinch, became a private detective in 1993 and worked for Royal Sun Alliance. Between September 2000 and February 2004 he bribed serving RUC officers Kevin Kelly (61), from Limavady, and William McAnally (52), also from Ballynahinch.
Kelly, who was paid £1,000, admitted at Downpatrick Crown Court 26 corruption and data theft charges; McAnally admitted 19 data charges. The court heard that information included details of criminal convictions, intelligence information, personal details and “suspicions that some may have had terrorist or criminal links”.
The judges said “mitigating factors” in Stewart’s case warranted a suspended sentence. The same was applied to Kelly, a former Royal Air Force serviceman who is a full-time carer.
Stewart and McAnally both received six-month jail terms suspended for two years.
Stewart was fined £2,100 for the data protection offences and Kelly was fined £2,080.
McAnally – said to have had “an exemplary police career” was handed a fine of £850. Because the crooked cop had been arrested just three days before retirement, he had to wait to receive his ‘Patten package’.

Thatcher’s safe house

MARK THATCHER, the millionaire playboy son of Baroness Thatcher, is hiding out in a luxury villa with 24-hour security and CCTV cameras in a dense forest on a mountain in southern Spain.
Thatcher is in fear of the ruthless president of Equatorial Guinea who wants to get his hands on the public schoolboy for his role (witting or unwitting) in a mercenary coup plot to seize the oil-rich African state.
President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo is claimed in some quarters to eat the testicles of his most hated opponents. There is, however, someone else who wants to grab Thatcher’s valuables first - his landlord. Multi-millionaire Thatcher has repeatdely stiffed his landlord for the rent. And he’s overstayed his welcome.
“Basically,” says Harrow public school chum Stephen Humberstone, “he just pisses me off. He is always late with the rent.
“Under Spanish law, I have to wait three months before I can take him to court and he presumably knows that and pays up after two months. We were in the same house at school – I can’t believe he is treating me in this shabby manner.”
On the other hand, President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo would love to see Mark Thatcher as a house guest. So would I.

Peculiar movements

SAS man Andy McNab has sussed the pen is a mighty more profitbale than the sword but he keeps his identity and movements under wraps in case anyone still bears him any ill-will. If you do, look away now.
McNab will be joining crime writers at the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival  at the Crown Hotel in Harrogate, Yorkshire, over the week of July 17 to 20. (Theakston Old Peculier is a local ale, not a randy Conservative aristocrat.)
The Yorkshire Post newspaper asks readers in a piece highlighting the event: “Do you rate a story by its tally of dead bodies?” Answer: you do if SAS man Andy McNab is one of them because you told Al-Qaeda where to find him.

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