Thursday, 31 December 2009

Is Carwyn Jones a Closet Nationalist?


There is reason to believe that Carwyn Jones, the new Chief Minister of the Welsh government, puts his country ahead of his party. For Rhodri Morgan, imbued in Welsh socialism in its heyday, it may have been a step too far, but now the time is right, with a General Election and a Referendum on the near horizon, to push towards national recognition for the powers which both Wales and Scotland so desperately need in order to advance their programmes of renewal and regeneration. It must be said that the system of LCOs foisted on the Assembly by the Wales Office and the government at Whitehall has been a dismal failure and a half-hearted attempt at placating the forces of change sparked by the advent of devolution throughout Britain.

It is right that the First Minister of a nation should put his country first, particularly as he is from a Labour background, as it is generally realised that Labour is known for putting its own interests as a party before everything else. Loyalty for New Labour socialists recalls the spectre of solidarity and comradeship of the workers (the joiniing of arms and the singing of the "Red Flag"), reminiscent of Communist totalitarianism in the countries of Eastern Europe. But the times are a-changing. New Labour has moved to the Centre, even to the Centre Right in politics in its avaricious desire to garner votes, and to that extent it has been successful over the past ten years and more, though at the expense of largely forsaking its socialist Bevanite principles. Former radical socialists have become Lords in an unelected chamber, advancing their own selfish interests and ambitions in their climb to power and high office and accruing considerable fortunes in the process. I name no names.

In the survey which Independence Cymru is currently conducting it appears that those who favour Plaid disassociating itself with Labour in the Assembly are running neck and neck with those who believe that the alliance should remain. There are distinct signs that Labour in Cymru is distancing itself from the recalcitrant Labour MPs in London who are adamantly opposed to the forces for change at work in their nation. They will be left behind, as "yesterday's men" (in the words of Adam Price MP), and their vain attempts to undermine progress towards independence for Cymru will not succeed. Thus, by putting his country first, with an eye on Scotland, concerning himself with the social, cultural and political welfare of the people of Wales, and maintaining a distance between Welsh Labour and New Labour, Carwyn Jones may be placing himself firmly on the path of national progress and renewal.

"Democracy that is not 100%  does not mean democracy". 
Aleksander Kwasniewski. President of Poland

Labour wastes taxpayers' money again:

Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Cymru's Claim to Freedom Begins Here in 2010

2010 is set to be one of the most important ever years – the next Westminster Election offers us our best ever chance of securing a Plaid Cymru MP for Llanelli; someone that will serve our communities, listen to our needs, and put Llanelli first. A win here in Llanelli will be a remarkable achievement and provide a boost for our campaigns across South and West Wales . A win in Llanelli will open up possibilities and opportunities in Neath, Islwyn, Cynnon and Merthyr… we could go on. Winning in Llanelli could mean the difference between coalition and governing our own country in 2011.

We wish you a very happy New Year, and look forward to working alongside you at this very exciting time.

Cofion gorau/ Best wishes,


Myfanwy Davies                                                                                 Helen Mary Jones
Ymgeisydd Seneddol/ Parliamentary Candidate                                    Aelod Cynulliad/ Assembly Member
Llanelli                                                                                              Llanelli

Natasha Cody
Trefnydd/Organiser - Plaid Cymru Llanelli


Government is running scared.....
What are they afraid of? ----- freedom of speech, democracy, transparency, referenda, media investigations, independence, headscarves, crosses, education, the internet, proportional representation.

Debate (sorry - no debate)

No television debates are planned to include the SNP and Plaid Cymru, only the three main British Union parties. Both nationalist parties are in government.

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

New Welsh Language Strategy

New Welsh Language Strategy

Welsh flag

The Assembly Government is currently reviewing its Welsh Language strategy, 'Iaith Pawb', which was published in 2003.
The review is needed because
  • there have been changes and developments since Iaith Pawb was published; and
  • it is also preparing a Welsh Medium Education Strategy and seeking legislative competence over the Welsh Language.

Key issues

The future of the language was discussed in a public forum organised by the Welsh Assembly Government, and attended by the Minister for Heritage, at the National Eisteddfod of Wales in Bala in August.

Officials have discussed Iaith Pawb, and the key issues that should form part of a future Welsh Language strategy, with the Welsh Language Board and organisations working to promote the use of the language.

And now we want your views.

How to take part

To take part, please follow the related link on the right to our consultation.

Meet the Minister

Alun Ffred Jones AM, Minister for Heritage, will be visiting different areas in Wales during December and January to discuss what should be in the new Welsh language strategy and the future of the Welsh language.
Please download the document below to find out more.

Related Links

Readers and software
Certain information on this site requires that you have the right software to view it. This page offers links to freely available viewers and readers.
New Welsh Language Strategy: have your say
We would like to hear your views on what should go into our new Welsh Language strategy.
Our vision for a bilingual Wales
Using Welsh in every area of daily life.

Siobhan Owen - Dark Iniseoghain - Adelaide Festival Theatre


Farewell Wales - Welcome Cymru

For many emigrants to the New World and afficionados of the game of rugby the word "Wales" must make the heart beat faster, but the word is derived from the Saxon word for foreigner. The native Britons of Celtic and indigenous stock, left to defend the island of Britain following the departure of the Romans, were depicted by Angle and Saxon invaders as foreigners ('wealas') in their own land. Conversely, the English invaders were named 'saeson' by the Britons (the word also meaning 'foreigner' or non-British speaker). The point is that "Wales"' and "Welsh" are names given to the native peoples of Britain by the invaders and the name "Cornwall" refers to the Welsh of the peninsular to which they were confined.

Thus, the people of Wales are foreigners in their own land, much as the Kurds are, in a land which they call home but which is subject to an invasive force which has imposed its alien culture on the inhabitants. Years of indoctrination and use have inured the people to the acceptance of a foreign name as their own, so much so that the heart beats quicker when this name is invoked, on the rugby field  or the Eisteddfod maes.  However, it so happens that the so-called "Welsh" have a proud name of their own as well as for their land, or the remaining land which was not usurped by the settlers from Germany. These lands comprise Cornwall, Wales and Cumbria. Strathclyde and Galloway are now a part of Scotland but were also home to the Britons. The name which describes the British tribes under Roman rule is the Cymry and their land is Cymru.

The Cymry settled in the lands now geographically described as Wales, Cornwall, Cumbria and Strathclyde. The remaining lands of Britain were overrun by the Norse invaders in Northumberland (originally home to the North Cymry) extending to Yorkshire and Lincolnshire, Norfolk (north folk) and Suffolk (south folk), while the plains of Mercia (the Midlands) were occupied by the Angles and southern Britain by the Saxons. (in Sussex,Wessex, Essex). Devon (variously spelled Dyfnaint/Dewnans/Deunans) was a Celtic homeland and the Brythonic language was spoken there during the "Dark Ages" following the invasions. Many Devon placenames remain as evidence (tor, combe, pen, lan, pol, etc.).

Presumably, following the declaration of independence, one of the first acts of the Welsh (Cymric) government will be to announce that the nation of Wales will forever after be named "Cymru". After so many years of use and custom it will seem strange to many inhabitants of Cymru to refer to their homeland by a different name but at least the name will be authentic as well as official. We are at the start of a new year, 2010, so it would seem appropriate for all of us, who care for the nation of which we are a part, to use the correct nomenclature from now on  and get accustomed to calling the nation and its people by the correct name. From henceforth, as far as "Independence Cymru" is concerned we will refer to "Wales" as Cymru, the people of "Wales" as the Cymry, and the "Welsh" language as Cymraeg.

From the archives: Place-names in Wales Cymru
Tuesday 14th August 2007

Should Britain refrain from interfering in other countries' internal affairs?

Monday, 28 December 2009

Thinking Out of the Box - Making the Difference Wales Needs

A Digital Democracy


Any suggestion that the Liberal Democrats would form an alliance with Labour in the event of a hung parliament would deter many people across the British Isles from voting Lib Dem at the General Election.

One Wales - Unwaith Cymru

One Wales, True Wales and a Rainbow Coalition are not the answer for Cymru.
They may, at a certain stage, be relevant for Wales, but not for Cymru.
But Wales has moved on and political movements across the nation are looking ahead to a General Election which will be upon us sooner than we realise. The time in which to make a difference is short. Wales is no longer a haven for Labour but neither is it a haven for Conservatives or Lib Dems. Tessa Jowell has rebuked Gordon Brown for his attempts to revive a class war, but Wales has always, from ancient times, been a relatively classless society. Class consciousness has no place in Wales as Welsh society is traditionally egalitarian. That is why the Conservatives will make considerable headway in England but not in Wales. The ravages of the Thatcher regime and their  effect on Wales are still fresh in the minds of the electorate of a certain age. Successive Ministers of State have done little to advance the nation and have served no useful purpose, acting in the interests of the Union rather than for the benefit of the nation they were supposed to represent. 

The One Wales Agreement has served to provide Plaid leaders with useful experience in the art of governance and dealing with the inherent problems of Welsh society, but now it may be tainted by association with a party which is still Unionist to the core despite its efforts at devolution which may be regarded as regional rather than national devolution in its intent. "True" Wales is no Wales at all, is inherently anti-Welsh, and is a vain attempt to turn back the clock and revert Wales into the clutches of the Union. The Rainbow Coalition, despite its attractive title, again proposed an alliance between incompatible forces, those of nationalism and those of unionism. All British parties are Unionist and the interests of Wales are not advanced by associating with them, unless the Welsh branch of these parties rejects their unionist adherence and embraces the cause of independence. This eventuality is hardly credible, however, as the Scottish Liberals stepped back from the edge and decided not to join with the SNP in the quest for absolute autonomy. Can the nationalist movement, weakened by association, stand alone and prove to the electorate that is is able to lead Wales towards its destiny as Cymru Fydd, and overcome the mighty forces of entrenched unionism? It is a testing time, but I am optimistic that it is now sufficiently united and inspired to make a difference - think different - think Plaid - think Cymru.

With the election approaching new strategies need to be adopted as "times they are a-changing".
The line it is drawn
The curse it is cast
The slow one now
Will later be fast
As the present now
Will later be past
The order is
Rapidly fadin'.
And the first one now
Will later be last
For the times they are a-changin'.

(Bob Dylan)

"At the end of 2009, those who want a 'yes' vote - and change the status quo - know one thing above all else: if they intend to hold a referendum and win it, then they must make the running, make the argument and make the country listen. " Betsan Powys

"Without Gwynfor Evans at the helm Plaid Cymru may not have survived to see electoral success in later years. His influence was felt beyond the confines of party politics. Wales would not be the nation it is today — perhaps would not be counted as a nation at all — if not for Gwynfor Evans." —Dafydd Iwan, President of Plaid Cymru.

Have your say:
y soc has left a new comment on your post "Thinking Out of the Box - Making the Difference Wa...":

The Welsh People have to recognise a basic truth about the UK and ask themselves a simple question: the truth is this: the UK is rapidly becoming a failed state; not unlike Somalia.

The question is this: is it in their best national interest to be a barnacle stuck to the bottom of this English Titanic?

Comment:  Obviously not!  (alanindyfed)
Another politician who failed Wales: see:
Another statue that deserves to be toppled is the one that may be in danger of being erected by the English establishment to the British Ceaucescuesque couple who forsook the valleys for gilded pastures elewhere.

Now read this:

Saturday, 26 December 2009

Nationalists Need to Think Different - Now More than Ever


"Welsh" Labour is not quite the same creature as its namesake at Westminster and Carwyn Jones is not in the same league as Gordon Brown and his advocacy of "Britishness", but Labour, whether in its Welsh or British guise, is still a Unionist Party dedicated to the perpetuation of the Union, and thus of the English Establishment which George Thomas and the Kinnocks and certain Welsh MPs embraced so enthusiastically. This is not in accordance with the recognition of Wales as a nation, or the future development of Wales. 

A General Election is looming. Labour is discredited and unpopular. Now is not the time to relax.

This is what I wrote in June 2009 (for the full text see here - "Departure from a Political Position"): 

Western Mail - June 4th, 2009

‘Time for Plaid to pull out of coalition with Labour’

A POPULAR Plaid Cymru blogger has told the party it should pull out of its coalition with Labour to avoid being tainted by association with its troubled partner.
Alan Jones, whose alanindyfed blog is widely read, sent an e-mail to senior Plaid politicians saying: “The time has come in my opinion for a re-evaluation of Plaid’s position in the political line-up at the Welsh National Assembly.
“Whatever the major parties in Wales may say to the contrary, they are British parties dedicated to the maintenance of the Union. Plaid Cymru, in this perspective, is the only party of Wales, a party formed for the aim of severing the connection with the United Kingdom and establishing an independent social and democratic republic as Ireland has done.
“In Northern Ireland the Unionists are in coalition with Sinn Fein. In the Welsh Assembly Labour is in coalition with Plaid. With a general election in the offing this is an unhealthy situation for both Sinn Fein and Plaid Cymru. The public will associate both nationalist parties with the failed and discredited policies of the Labour Government and these parties could well be damaged by the association.
“Therefore it would seem that the interests of Plaid and consequently the interests of the Welsh nation are not well served by remaining in coalition with Labour. It may be in the strategic interests of Plaid to pull out of the tenuous political association. Thus Plaid would be enabled to pursue its own unadulterated policies unencumbered by restraints and as a result would gain stature with the electorate.”
A Plaid Cymru spokesman said: “Due to the European election campaign, many Plaid supporters will be only too aware of the troubles that the Labour party are having. They are in serious decline, are facing meltdown at the polls and seem to be heading towards a very messy leadership election in Westminster.
“However, as part of the One Wales coalition, Plaid is driving forward an agenda of change in Wales. We have safeguarded the future of our district general hospitals, cut red tape for farmers, increased affordable housing, are steering the welsh economy through this recession and we’re gaining rights to legislate on the Welsh language. We are committed to delivering our agenda and providing stable government for Wales and avoiding the worst effects of the economic crisis.”

    Add a comment

So what do you think?
Would Plaid gain more respect by pulling out?
Poll results by 1st January 2010

From Mebyon Kernow

2010 is almost upon us and with it a General Election. Most people are predicting that the election will take place on Thursday May 6th. That gives us four months to make a real difference and show that there is a credible and better alternative to the London-based political parties.

Think Different

Friday, 25 December 2009

How to Think Different in 2010

A Christmas Gift to All our Loyal and Committed Readers. 
Merry Christmas and a Different New Year!

"Think different. Think Plaid."  However, thinking different requires a very different approach to memory, attitude and thought. It requires mental resilience, percipience and flexibility.
Here are some simple guidelines:

1) Do not take the status quo (things as they are) for granted
2) Do not believe you are powerless to affect change
3) Do not be afraid to be controversial
4) Do not become nostalgic for the past and former tradition
5) Do not be brainwashed by the authority of government or the media
6) Do not accept others' findings or beliefs as gospel
7) Do not pay attention to scaremongering tactics
8) Do not listen to those who say something is impossible
9) Do not accept the view that change will take years to achieve
10) Do not be held back by skeptics, cynics or doom-sayers

1) Think creatively and intelligently and be open to all possibilities
2) Be prepared to act on your opinions and question everything
3) Hold fast to your principles and do not be diverted
4) Act according to the situation that currently exists
5) Be always positive about the outcome of your aspirations
6) Be realistic about the obstacles blocking your way and  forces of opposition
7) Spread the word wherever you are even when it is disregarded
8) Remain firm in  your convictions and work steadily for the desired result
9) Stay focused on the matter in hand from moment to moment
10) Acquire an attitude of quiet confidence in the rightness of your actions

Seek allies but do not trust anyone  until you are sure that they are not infiltrators or backsliders.
Not everybody is as devoted to the cause as you are and may have a different agenda from your own
With British politics gearing up to a major election in the Spring there is a real opportunity to make a difference which will fundamentally change the face and direction of politics in the nations of Britain.

Predictions: The Conservatives (a Unionist party) will capture most of the seats in England, but will make less headway in the nations to the north and west.  Scotland will send more SNP members to Westminster.
Plaid Cymru has a unique opportunity to break Labour's hold on the Welsh valleys once and for all.
The Liberal Democrats will be squeezed by the polarisaing forces of Labour and Conservatives and will make vitually no headway anywhere in Britain. UKIP will gain support from those opposed to loss of sovereignty to Europe. The BNP will benefit from the government's disasterous immigration policies.


Something Celtic

Thursday, 24 December 2009

The Interdependence of Nations


Demise of Another Blog!

I would echo the thoughts of The Half Blood Welshman while bemoaning the demise of another  blog:

"This blog has mostly been about Labour. Labour in power, corrupt, inefficient, arrogant, brash, destructive and hubristic. Labour at large, too often complacent, rude, unable to advance society or politics, lacking in ideas, stuck in the mud, still desperate to fight the battles they lost so badly in the 1980s. Labour as government, Labour as party. Labour looking ever backwards in a bid to avenge their near-destruction at Thatcher's hands, rather than forwards to improve the lot of Britain and make the best of what she left."

To the remainder I would say that we are small in number and great in aspiration.
Meanwhile some of us, including Independence Cymru, blog on regardless until the goal is realised and all Welsh bloggers reside in a nation which has come into its own.

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

A Time for Rejoicing!

Let us all rejoice, for this is the last Christmas with New Labour in government in Britain.
May they remain in the Wilderness for all time.....

Message from the President

A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! 2009 has been an exciting year and 2010 promises to be even more exciting given that the Westminster election is now on the horizon. Let's all take advantage of however much holiday we have to relax and ensure that we're all full of energy and passion to support our great team of candidates for the upcoming election!
Together, we can make a difference.
Best wishes
Dafydd Iwan,  Plaid President

A Child's Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas (1/2)

Christmas in Wales

Years and years ago, when I was a boy, when there were wolves in Wales, and birds the color of red-flannel petticoats whisked past the harp-shaped hills, when we sang and wallowed all night and day in caves that smelt like Sunday afternoons in damp front farmhouse parlors, and we chased, with the jawbones of deacons, the English the bears, before the motor car, before the wheel, before the duchess-faced horse, when we rode the daft and happy hills bareback, it snowed and it snowed. But here a small boy says: "It snowed last year, too. I made a snowman and my brother knocked it down and I knocked my brother down and then we had tea."

"But that was not the same snow," I say. "Our snow was not only shaken from white wash buckets down the sky, it came shawling out of the ground and swam and drifted out of the arms and hands and bodies of the trees; snow grew overnight on the roofs of the houses like a pure and grandfather moss, minutely -ivied the walls and settled on the postman, opening the gate, like a dumb, numb thunder-storm of white, torn Christmas cards."

Dylan Thomas

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

A Democratic Wales?

Nadolig Llawen a Blwyddyn Newydd Dda

Nadelik Lowen ha Bledhen Nowyth Da

Who says we do not speak the same language?
One people - two nations - Cymru a Chernyw

Demarchy – can the people rule?

Saturday, 19 December 2009

People, Dragons and Sheep - Spotting the Difference

The difference is this: sheep follow the leader and go with the crowd.
Dragons are the leaders, unless they have yet to wake up to the fact that they are dragons, in which case they follow the leader and go with the crowd.
Human beings have a choice. They can be dragons or they can be sheep.
If they are sheep they follow the leader and go with the crowd.
Yet if they wake up to the fact that they are dragons they can change the world.
They have assumed their birthright, their dragon nature.

It is no accident that the dragon is the emblem of Wales and features on the Welsh flag.
Yet it is prone to slumber until aroused.
Then it is a force to be reckoned with.

Y ddraig goch y ddyry gychwyn

Red Dragon of Wales Y Ddraig Goch               

What magical powers do these mysterious creatures possess that was so important that we can find tales including rituals of sacrifice to the mighty dragons?
Celtic-DragonsTo invoke such reverence from the Celts, who were one of the most fierce and rugged ethnic groups in ancient times, they must have been much more than just fire-breathing beasts.
According to Trevor Mendham of Dragonorama, "Dragons were an important part of Celtic lore. The Celts were highly attuned to the land and dragons were believed to influence the land.... Areas frequented by dragons were believed to possess special power."
Dragons have always been associated with the Power of the Land. Even today, in many esoteric rituals, people believe that invoking the "Eye of the Dragon" will increase their personal power.
The ancient Druids believed the Earth itself was like the body of a dragon, and they built their sacred stone circles upon the "Power Nodes" of this body. They believed dragons connected us with the Earth's magnetism and healing waters.
Many of us have heard the mysteries of the "ley lines", especially in relation to the location of mystical sites such as Stonehenge and the site of many mysterious crop circles. What you may not know is that another way of saying "ley lines" is "Dragon lines".
Celtic-dragonsIn ancient Celtic Ireland, the "ley of the land" was not about the geographical, physical nature of one's surroundings. It had a much more powerful meaning than that.
To the ancient Celts, the "ley of the land" was a term describing how the Cosmic forces flowed through and influenced the area, as well as how the area itself affected those Cosmic forces. Celtic dragons were thought to have a tremendous influence on the "ley of the land", hence the term "Dragon lines".
But far from the terrifying creatures we see in films, Celtic dragons were more than fire-breathing beasts with the power to destroy.
The Anglo-Saxon word "dragon" is derived from the Greek word meaning "to see clearly". They believed dragons had the gift of vision, wisdom, and prophecy. Dragons were considered the guardians of all knowledge and wisdom.

Are you a dragon or a sheep?
Are you in denial of your identity?
See here.

Friday, 18 December 2009

Refusal of Entry Permission for Patagonian Welsh

Friday 18 December 2009

Patagonia - epetition response

We received a petition asking:
“We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to preserve Welsh links with Patagonia.”
Details of Petition:
“We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to make it absolutely clear to all the staff of the UK Border Agency that the United Kingdom consists of four nations and that the staff of the Agency should not damage Welsh links with Patagonia by refusing entry to people from Patagonia wishing to visit the Land of their Fathers.”

Read the Government’s response

Part of the government response......
The Government recognises the historical links between Wales and Patagonia.  The British Embassy in Buenos Aires, in particular, is actively engaged in fostering relations with Argentine Patagonia to which the greater number of Welsh Patagonians have emigrated.  We have fostered commercial links between Wales and Argentina, for example by working proactively with International Business Wales.  Our Embassy has sponsored studies in the United Kingdom by two Chevening scholars from the Chubut region of Patagonia, one of whom studied at the University of Wales.  The British Council administers The Welsh Language Project for Patagonia and organises a choir, the choristers of which include Argentines and a conductor from Chubut.  Upon appointment, one of the Ambassador’s first official visits was to the province of Chubut to help foster relations between Britain and Welsh Patagonia.
Consequently, the Government fully appreciates that people from that region of South America may wish to visit the United Kingdom in order to improve their Welsh language skills and learn English.  The United Kingdom’s Immigration Rules make ample provision for all legitimate non-European Economic Area nationals, including people from Patagonia, to gain entry into the United Kingdom provided they meet the published criteria.

If this is the case, why were applicants from Patagonia refused permission to visit Wales?

(believe me, there is no terrorist threat from Patagonian tourists)
In contrast, citizens of South American nations and the Philippines have long been admitted as visitors into Spain and can apply for Spanish citizenship after two years.



When Will They Ever Learn?"

Where have all the young men gone?
Long time passing
Where have all the young men gone?
Long time ago
Where have all the young men gone?
Gone for soldiers every one
When will they ever learn?
When will they ever learn?

By Jane Bretin

The threat posed by paramilitary groups in Northern Ireland is the highest it has been in six years, an independent watchdog said on Wednesday.
One senior police chief warned that Republican dissidents could even stage attacks on the British mainland, 15 years after a ceasefire by the Irish Republican Army (IRA). Militant splinter groups now pose a "very serious" threat to peace in the long-troubled British province, said the Independent Monitoring Commission (IMC), which reports every six months to the London and Dublin governments.
The report comes at a tense time for Northern Ireland, with the main Protestant and Catholic parties split over when justice and policing powers should be devolved from London to their shared Belfast administration. Northern Ireland has been largely peaceful since 1998 peace accords between the Protestant and Catholic communities. But the killings of two British soldiers and a police officer in March -- the first of their kind in about a decade -- has highlighted the renewed threat.
The Continuity Irish Republican Army (CIRA) splinter group claimed the police murder, while the Real IRA (RIRA) was behind the soldiers' deaths. Both groups are opposed to the peace process. "Our detailed analysis of the activities of CIRA and RIRA below shows that during the period under review the threat was very serious," the IMC said in its review of the six months from March to August. "The overall level of dissident activity was markedly higher than we have seen since we first met in late 2003".
The seriousness, range and tempo of their activities all changed for the worse in these six months. "During this period dissident republicans were violent and showed an intent to kill if the opportunity arose. The three murders in March were by far the most serious incidents but there were many others involving extreme ruthlessness".
Catholic Republicans want Northern Ireland integrated into the Republic of Ireland, while Protestant Unionists favour it remaining part of the United Kingdom. Catholic socialists Sinn Fein, the political wing of the now-defunct main Provisional IRA, now share power with the Protestant conservative Democratic Unionist Party in the Northern Ireland devolved administration. The watchdog said: "The violence of the dissidents over the six months under review is an attack on the peaceful political approach adopted by Sinn Fein and is designed to affect policing and to raise public fears about security".
Former Scotland Yard anti-terrorism chief John Grieve, a member of the watchdog, expressed concern about the capacity of dissident Republicans. "It bears no resemblance to the threat that (we) were talking about from the past," he said. "However it is serious. It is severe. It is something we should take seriously but it is not going to unravel the political process".
But asked if the dissidents could target the British mainland, he replied: "That's always possible". Reacting to the report in Dublin, Irish Justice Minister Dermot Ahern strongly criticised the ongoing activities of dissident groups. "These are a small hardcore of unrepentant criminals who have no support amongst the Irish people, North or South," he said.
At least 3,500 people were killed during three decades of conflict fought by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) and Protestant paramilitary groups, known as The Troubles.

Comment: The Irish Question has been festering ever since 1921 when the situation was left unresolved. There will be no peace until the 6 counties join together with the 26 counties of the Republic of Ireland in a United Ireland. Partition has never worked, whether in Kashmir, Cyprus, Ireland or Korea. The island of Ireland has been conquered, settled, colonised and plundered for generations and people do not forget. A northern Irish peace agreement can halt hostilities but will never quench the desire of those who seek, by whatever means, to be free to govern themselves. The Westminster government appears to think that Northern Ireland can be gradually devolved and become a semi-autonomous region of the British state. It is mistaken.