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October 31, 2004

News 10/29/04 - Irish Vote Not Key For US Election

News about Ireland & the Irish

BT 10/29/04 Irish Vote 'Not A Key Factor'
UT 10/29/04 Voters Know The Value Of SDLP, Says Durkan
BT 10/29/04 Prayers For Ulster Hostage Held By Taliban
UT 10/29/04 No Dilution Of GFA, Says Adams
BT 10/29/04 Drug Raids Resulted In IRA Threats Told Court
BT 10/29/04 Huge Weapons Cache Seized
BT 10/29/04 Unarmed Guards At Police Bases Storm
BT 10/29/04 Boyne Battle Over Incinerator Plant
BT 10/29/04 EU Allowance Plan Excessive, Says De Brun
FW 10/29/04 Triptych - Irish Women Are Full Of Life, Lust & Power
BT 10/29/04 Top Dublin Street Joins World's Elite
BT 10/29/04 Sea Dog Disputes Titanic Iceberg Theory
BT 10/29/04 Hopes For Papal Visit Look Slim

RT 10/29/04 Weather: Hopes For Papal Visit Look Slim –VO
RT 10/29/04 Weather: Reports On The Latest Efforts To Limit Damage
RT 10/29/04 Ship Is Successfully Refloated In Cork -VO

See 1 News: Damien Tiernan reports live on the Latest Developments
In Clonmel

See 1 News: Damien Tiernan, South-East Correspondent, Reports On
The Latest Efforts To Limit Damage

See Ship Is Successfully Refloated In Cork


Irish Vote 'Not A Key Factor'

Ancestry has little influence in election

By Ben Lowry in Boston
29 October 2004

The US presidential election is looking so tight that it may be
decided by just a few thousand votes as in 2000, yet even in these
circumstances the Irish-American vote seems likely to be of no

Of the millions of US citizens who can claim Irish ancestry, only a
minuscule number let it influence their vote.

Kevin Cullen of the Boston Globe, who has covered Northern Ireland
for more than 15 years, says that the ethnic mix doesn't matter in
his city.

"There are people who are passionate about Irish politics but I
have never seen any empirical evidence that significant numbers
vote on how the White House handles Anglo-Irish policy," said

Because of the winner-takes-all aspect of America's complicated
electoral college vote system, candidates do not waste time
campaigning in states that they cannot win.

Less than a dozen states are still in play and none of those have
powerful Irish lobbies.

And Irish-Americans are as likely to be an immovable Bush supporter
in Arizona as a Kerry backer in the north east.

However, old party loyalties are becoming more complicated, so that
a chunk of the traditional Catholic Irish vote could be steered
away from their pro-Democratic roots.

Some conservative elements of the Church have urged Catholics to
vote on five key moral questions, including abortion, stem cell
research and gay marriage.

President Bush's strong opposition to all three is in line with
that teaching.


Voters Know The Value Of SDLP, Says Durkan

Voters will acknowledge the role the SDLP has played in the peace
process in next year's Northern Ireland elections, party leader
Mark Durkan insisted today.

By:Press Association

As the nationalist party prepared for a convention in Londonderry
next week which will see a radical overhaul of its constitution
ahead of the elections, Mr Durkan said the party would fight hard
for Westminster and local government seats.

"There are four particular constituencies in Westminster - three of
which we hold in Foyle, South Down and Newry and Armagh and another
in South Belfast - where we will be marshalling a strong effort,"
he said.

"I think we have demonstrated the value of our three MPs - not just
in the work they have done at Westminster but also in their
constituency offices.

"I also think in the Westminster and local government elections,
people will see the value in having a strong SDLP backbone in any
nationalist representation.

"Recent events have shown the value of the SDLP in the
negotiations, holding people to the Good Friday Agreement.

"We have been a consistent force in the process. We do not duck,
weave or dodge our responsibilities. We do not turn our policies
inside out or our principles upside down.

"Even if we are not electorally dominant, people still come back to
us for a key read on what is going on in the process."

The SDLP has suffered a number of electoral setbacks in recent
years falling behind Sinn Fein under John Hume`s leadership in the
2001 general and local government elections in the popular vote.

In last November`s Assembly Election, Sinn Fein consolidated its
position as the leading nationalist party with 24 Stormont seats
while the SDLP saw its representation at Stormont fall to 18 MLAs.

Mr Durkan is expected to face a stiff challenge at the next general
election for his mentor John Hume`s seat in Foyle from Sinn Fein
chairman Mitchel McLaughlin.

Sinn Fein`s Conor Murphy is strongly fancied to capture former SDLP
deputy leader Seamus Mallon`s Newry and Armagh seat following his
decision to stand down at the next election.

South Down MP Eddie McGrady also faces a stronger Sinn Fein machine
in his constituency.

The SDLP is targeting South Belfast as a possible gain, although
this would require a significant split in the unionist vote.

Party strategists hope their tough stance in negotiations on future
power sharing arrangements will reap rewards.

The party has attacked the DUP over its commitment to power sharing
and has accused the British and Irish governments and other parties
of indulging the Rev Ian Paisley`s party.

Mr Durkan said voters would also react next year to attempts by the
DUP and Sinn Fein to turn Northern Ireland into a two-party state.

The Foyle Assembly member said: "I think the electorate know there
are two parties who want to reduce Northern Ireland to a two-party
system - the DUP and Sinn Fein.

"(DUP deputy leader) Peter Robinson has made no secret that the
type of party politics he would prefer is a two-party system
featuring his party and Sinn Fein.

"It is also very clear that not only does Sinn Fein want to surpass
the SDLP but it wants to remove us altogether.

"I think the electorate will see through that.

"There is an appreciation out there that there is a distinct and
necessary role for the SDLP.

"The feedback we have got back, not least in recent weeks, is that
we have played a diligent and effective role in upholding the Good
Friday Agreement and have been alert to the shifting and shifty
conditions around the Agreement."

Mr Durkan said his party would also stand on its track record in
negotiations, which he contrasted to other parties such as Sinn

The SDLP leader said: "I think people have been reminded that we
have clear and honest judgment and that we are actually better
negotiators than some people would suggest -especially those who
make out that they are the best at negotiating.

"If you look at the Joint Declaration last year, what we got was
two annexes - one setting up the Independent Monitoring Commission
and one on on-the-runs (OTRs - paramilitary fugitives from

"This enabled Sinn Fein and the Ulster Unionists to play a game of
structural evasion, with Sinn Fein claiming it negotiated the OTRs
but not the monitoring commission and vice versa for the UUP.

"But what really happened? Sinn Fein went into talks claiming any
mechanism which imposed sanctions on them was a deal breaker as far
as they were concerned.

"At the end of the day, (UUP leader) David Trimble got the IMC set
up and legislation for sanctions which could be imposed on Sinn

"Sinn Fein did not even get any legislation for the return of the

"If we had negotiated that sort of package, Sinn Fein would have
been out there crucifying us."


Prayers For Ulster Hostage Held By Taliban

29 October 2004

Residents in the tiny Co Armagh village of Richhill were in turmoil
today as they waited for news of a local taken captive by the
Taliban in Afghanistan.

Annetta Flanigan, who was born in the village and worked in nearby
Portadown as a solicitor before travelling the world with the UN,
was captured along with two UN colleagues in the Afghan capital
Kabul yesterday.

Nato troops and Afghan forces were involved in the hunt to find Ms
Flanigan, who was seized at gunpoint sparking fears of Iraq-style

US military chiefs said its soldiers were ready to help "locate and
if needs be to rescue these individuals when they are found".

A man claiming to speak for a Taliban splinter group, Jamiat Jaish-
al Muslimeen, said it was responsible for the kidnappings.

Ms Flanigan's family were today said to be "gravely concerned" for
her safety.

Neighbours in Richhill said Ms Flanigan, aged in her 30s, had not
been home for years but was planning to return with her Spanish
husband to the village at Christmas time.

The grey-brick terrace where she was brought up and where her
elderly mother Esther still lives was dark today, and earlier a
friend said they did not wish to speak about the crisis.

Esther's deceased husband Russell ran a furniture business, which
the family still have, which is situated beside their home on Irish
Street, the main village thoroughfare.

The village was swamped by camera crews and journalists, and people
living nearby said they were shattered by the news.

"Whenever you hear about hostage takings and it is so close to home
it really starts to hit you," said neighbour Allen Patton.

"I know the family well and you would have seen the kids about the
village whenever they were growing up.

"Our prayers are with her, you can only hope that she is OK. Her
father died at a funeral, it must be ten years ago. The family have
been there all the time I have been here."

Local councillor Freda Donnelly said the Flanigans were well
established in the village and added that Ms Flanigan had not been
home for at least ten years.

"They are a very quiet family, they go to church and are basically
upstanding citizens."

The Rector of St Matthew's Church of Ireland in the village, David
Coe, said he had visited the family and pointed out that they were
simply waiting for any news coming out of Kabul.

"Our prayers are with them at this time, the family are not making
any comment but we are just giving them what support we can," he


No Dilution Of GFA, Says Adams

Sinn Fein will not stomach any proposals to restore devolution
which erode the Good Friday Agreement, Gerry Adams warned last

By:Press Association

As British and Irish government officials continued to work on a
formula aimed at bridging the gaps between unionists and
nationalists over power sharing, the Sinn Fein leader again
insisted his party wanted to achieve a comprehensive and holistic

The West Belfast MP said: "We have made it clear that republicans
are prepared to face up to the challenges which this presents.

"But Sinn Fein is not prepared to countenance any dilution or
erosion of the Good Friday Agreement - that remains the objective
of the DUP."

Sinn Fein and the nationalist SDLP have clashed with the Reverend
Ian Paisley`s Democratic Unionists over changes they want to the
operation of the multi-party power-sharing government at Stormont.

The DUP has been pressing for mechanisms which would make power-
sharing ministers more accountable for their decisions to cabinet
colleagues and enable the Assembly to overturn unpopular decisions.

Nationalists have argued that what the DUP really wants is to
exercise a veto over the work of other parties` ministers.

They have also accused the DUP of trying to limit the scope of and
stymie the work of cross-border institutions involving Stormont
ministers and their Irish government counterparts.

Mr Adams said last night the British and Irish governments had to
understand in the current negotiations to restore power sharing
that there was no middle line between the Good Friday Agreement and
the anti-Agreement position of the Democratic Unionists.

"It is their responsibility to defend the core fundamentals and
principles of the Agreement and to make it clear that they cannot
be changed," he argued.

"Therefore, if there is to be a deal then the two governments need
to drive the process forward while making it clear that any deal
must be within the terms of the Good Friday Agreement.

"If the DUP do not accept this reality, then the pro-Agreement
majority, including the two governments, need to move on.

"The DUP cannot be allowed to paralyse the process of change."

Meanwhile, in a speech tonight to party colleagues in Bangor, North
Down, DUP Assembly member George Dawson challenged claims that his
party had shifted on to the policies once put forward by David
Trimble`s Ulster Unionists.

The East Antrim MLA told colleagues: "The DUP is determined that
the situation created by the Ulster Unionists is turned around.

"We are also seeing a remarkable turnaround of confidence amongst
the unionist community since the defeatists and the defeated of the
UUP were swept aside.

"Our policies have turned governments and other parties around. All
that is to be welcomed.

"In recent days much has been made of our statement that the
fundamentals of the Agreement, as outlined to us by the British
government, are not in conflict with DUP policy.

"Our opponents have seized on this and cried U-turn. But what is
the truth of the matter?

"Our opponents have strangely and conveniently forgotten that this
was not always the British government`s position.

"Once upon a time government, and the pro-Agreement parties` stance
was that we had to take the Agreement, the whole Agreement and
nothing but the Agreement.

"Northern Ireland, it seemed, possess the only constitution in the
world that was not able to be changed, they argued.

"That position has now noticeably changed. Now it is just the
fundamentals that remain."


Drug Raids Resulted In IRA Threats, Nightclub Owner Tells Court

By John Maddock
29 October 2004

Nightclub owner Frank Shortt told the High Court yesterday he had
closed his nightclub in Inishowen, Co Donegal, for a time "in the
hope of staying alive" after a Denis Bradley from Northern Ireland
had told him in September 1993 that the IRA had issued a threat
against him.

The IRA threat came after significant publicity about raids on the
Point Inn by a large number of gardai, and media articles saying
the raids were carried out as part of a crackdown on illegal drugs,
the court heard.

On the second day of a hearing to assess what compensation Mr
Shortt should receive arising from his wrongful conviction and
three-year sentence imposed in 1995 on drug charges, Mr Shortt said
that during the raids, in 1992 and 1993, many customers were
"violently and shockingly" treated by gardai.

On one occasion, one girl was made to stand spread-eagled in the
woman's toilets while a male garda shone a torch down her lower
waist area and a female garda put her hand inside the girl's
underwear, he said. Several young men were also told to lower their
trousers while torches were shone on their rears.

He said gardai also caused damage to his premises. They had used
sledgehammers to break down emergency doors although the main door
was open and chairs and tables were also damaged.

Immediately after the raids, he had written many letters of
complaint to senior gardai who supervised the searches in Donegal,
the Garda Commissioner, the chief executive of the Garda Complaints
Board and two Ministers for Justice about the "disgraceful conduct"
of the gardai, Mr Shortt said.

His parish priest had "referred to us by name" from the pulpit on
one occasion and congratulated the gardai. A number of people in
his community had come together to collect signatures for a
petition regarding his business.

Edward Comyn SC, for the State, said he would be resisting any
suggestion that there was harassment of Mr Shortt by gardai.

In proceedings against the Garda Commissioner and the State, Mr
Shortt (69), a married father of five of Redcastle, is seeking
several million euro compensation arising from his wrongful
conviction and three-year jail sentence on charges of knowingly
allowing the sale of drugs at the Point Inn premises.

The hearing continues.


Huge Weapons Cache Seized

Bladed knuckle dusters in haul

By Jonathan McCambridge
29 October 2004

Customs officers at Aldergrove have made their largest ever seizure
of potentially deadly weapons - including bladed knuckle dusters
and machetes.

In total 338 potentially lethal weapons were intercepted at the
International Airport yesterday on their way to Northern Ireland
from the US.

So far there has been no comment on the intended final destination
of the haul, which also included knives.

Customs' head of anti-smuggling in Northern Ireland Colin
McAllister said: "It is Customs' responsibility to prevent the
entry of all manner of weapons into the country as part of our
ongoing activity to monitor freight entering through our ports and

"This operation has stopped a substantial amount of potentially
harmful weapons reaching our streets and is the largest single
consignment of offensive weapons we have ever seized entering
Northern Ireland."

Inquiries are ongoing into the consignment, which arrived in the
province on a flight from New Jersey.

Antrim UUP councillor Adrian Watson welcomed the actions of the
Customs officials but said it was important that the eventual
location for the weapons was uncovered.

He said: "When you consider the nature of the weapons which have
been discovered, they are deadly and could have caused horrific
injuries or worse if they had ended up on our streets.

"There are already too many knives and offensive weapons on our
streets, so anything which disrupts this has to be welcomed."

"It also raises important concerns about where these weapons are
coming from and where they are going to and I hope customs
officials and police will be able to carry out a thorough
investigation into this."


Unarmed Guards At Police Bases Storm

Security disaster fears over Pearson revelation

By Jonathan McCambridge
29 October 2004

Serious fears have been raised today about security at Northern
Ireland's police bases after it emerged that unarmed civilian staff
are guarding almost 40 local stations.

In a written parliamentary answer Security Minister Ian Pearson
said that six stations in the province had all their external
security supplied by "unarmed independent security firms" while
another 32 had part of their security supplied by the guards.

In the wake of a gun attack on Randalstown police station this week
South Antrim MP David Burnside said the Chief Constable must now
rethink his decision on the future of the full-time Reserve, whose
officers provide the bulk of security cover at local stations.

He also said that the policy of scaling down security at stations
should now be reversed.

The Security Minister confirmed that there are currently 155 police
stations in Northern Ireland, of which 114 are externally guarded.

Seventy-six of the stations have all their external security
supplied by Reserve members.

However, of the remaining number, Mr Pearson said: "There are six
police stations externally guarded by unarmed independent security
firms and the remaining 32 by a combination of independent security
firms and full-time Reserve officers."

The Minister also revealed the cost of paying civilian guards to
provide security at police stations was £3.42 million a year.

Mr Burnside said: "What will happen when the full-time Reserve is
downsized? Will all the stations be guarded by unarmed security

"There should be no scaling down of security at any police station
until we have a totally normalised society and what happened at
Randalstown shows we have not yet achieved that. Nobody wants big
perimeter fences around police stations long term, but while we
have these armed organisations running around they must remain."

The UUP man described unarmed security cover at local police
stations as a "waste of time and money".

"This could be a security disaster. What good is an unarmed
security guard if someone is firing a gun at you from a passing

"There is a police station I know well in County Antrim which is
already being manned by unarmed security officers and recently I
was able to walk straight into it without being recognised; this
demonstrates that these people have no local knowledge whatsoever."

A police spokesman said: "The Chief Constable and his Senior
Management Team made an operational policing decision about the
future of the full-time Reserve based on a substantial security

"The decision will not take effect until April 2005, and at that
point, 680 officers will be retained for a further three years,
primarily for security reasons.

"Randalstown is a limited opening station and has never had a
permanent security presence."


Boyne Battle Over Incinerator Plant

Protests raised in fightback as plan advances

By Michael McHugh
29 October 2004

Plans for an incinerator close to the Battle of the Boyne site in
Co Meath moved a step closer today after it emerged that a draft
waste licence has been issued to the developers of the plant.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has granted the licence
to Indaver Ireland for the company's proposed waste incinerator at
Carranstown, County Meath.

The site is close to where the Battle of the Boyne was fought and
the Orange Order has campaigned vociferously against the plan,
arguing that it would damage the UNESCO-recognised world heritage

The EPA has imposed a number of conditions on the licence to
address health concerns about the plant, including action to deal
with waste gases produced by the facility and tightly regulated
dioxin and heavy metal gas discharges.

Plans to grant the licence are now open to a 28-day consultation
period during which objectors can have their say.

"The EPA is satisfied that operation of the facilities in
accordance with the conditions of the licence will not endanger
human health or harm the environment in the vicinity of the
facilities or over a wider area," the agency said today.

"The Office of Environmental Enforcement will monitor and enforce
these conditions through environmental audits, unannounced site
visits and systematic checks on emissions.

"The EPA will also conduct dioxin surveys on an annual basis to
monitor levels in the areas adjacent to the incinerators."

Mid-Ulster Assemblyman and Orangeman Billy Armstrong has led the
campaign against the plant and said he was disappointed by today's

"I have no problem with incinerators, my problem is with where they
are situated. I do not mind if they are sited in an industrial area
but they should not go in a tourist attraction area," he said.

"The Boyne Valley has a cement factory in it which is nearing the
end of its lifespan but now an incinerator is being put there and
it will be an eyesore in an area which could have recovered well.

"It is an area where we had a European battle which changed the
whole ethos of Ireland and they are going to build an incinerator
there when it could be sited somewhere else."

The General Manager of Indaver Ireland, John Ahern, said he was
delighted by the news.

"We are pleased that the EPA has satisfied themselves that
incineration facilities can be operated safely in Ireland under
strict regulatory control.

"We must now assess the conditions attached to our licences to
ensure that our facilities can be operated with maximum health and
environmental protection while providing an economically
sustainable solution for Ireland's waste," he said.

"Incineration, or waste-to-energy, is an important element of an
integrated waste management system which Ireland will require if it
is to develop a modern system for both hazardous and non-hazardous
waste, similar to regions with high environmental standards, such
as Sweden, Switzerland or Germany."


EU Allowance Plan Excessive, Says De Brun

By Simon Taylor in Brussels
29 October 2004

Sinn Fein's Euro MP is opposing plans to give MEPs an extra £17,000
a year to pay their secretaries.

Bairbre de Brun said yesterday that plans being discussed in the
European Parliament to increase allowances for secretaries and
administrative costs by £1,400 a month would further damage the
EU's already poor reputation for profligacy.

"There is a widespread perception that the EU is financially
exessive and squanders money," Ms de Brún said.

"There is no real mechanism to provide adequate transparency or
checks on how such money is used.

"While there are costs involved in running offices in Brussels,
Strasbourg and local constituencies, the increase is excessive."

She said MEPs' current allowance was "more than sufficient" for
operating within the EU institutions and from home.

MEPs voted yesterday to set aside the money for the increase while
waiting from an explanation from the European Parliament President
for the need for the increase.

EP President Josep Borrell wants the allowance increased to £10,000
a month to take account of MEPs' greater workload following the
EU's enlargement to 25 countries.

The move to increase the allowance comes even though efforts to
ensure that MEPs can only claim for genuine travel expenses are

At present, MEPs can claim for the price of a full fare airline
ticket between their home constituencies and the Parliament's
headquarters even if they find a cheaper ticket. Many MEPs take
advantage of this loophole to boost their salaries which are based
on the earnings of a national MP.

For Northern Irish MEPs the salary is around £56,000 a year.

Sinn Féin MEPs do not take their full salaries but receive the
average industrial wage with the rest being used for providing
constituency services.

The debate over increasing the allowance comes after the European
Parlia- ment forced new Commission President José Manuel Barroso to
withdraw his proposed team following opposition from Socialist and
Liberal MEPs to put controversial Italian Catholic Rocco
Buttiglione in charge of justice and home affairs.


In `Triptych,' The Irish Women Are Full Of Life, Lust And Power

Chicago Tribune

NEW YORK - (KRT) - Let us now contemplate Irish women.

Or rather, let us now contemplate how Irish writer Edna O'Brien
sees Irish women.

During her long career, the fiery, famous and intensely Irish
novelist and playwright has had nine books banned in her native
land for raw language and sexual attitudes.

I can imagine the same being demanded there for her new play,
"Triptych," now on stage at New York's Irish Repertory Theatre,
where, happily, such censorship is a total stranger.

O'Brien, 72, often writes of profanely sexual and powerful women
willing to employ any means to keep hold of their men, no matter
that the men can be as weak, unfaithful and despicable as they are
personally charming.

While the strength and determination are in concert with modern-day
feminism, the channeling of these virtues into the pursuit of males
is decidedly not.

In "Triptych," a charming rotter of a writer named Henry is the
object of the obsessions of three women: his attractive wife,
Pauline, played with Shakespearean relish by Irish-American stage
and screen actress Margaret Colin ("First Daughter," "Speaking in
Tongues"); his English actress mistress Clarissa, a wan wanton
oddly performed by movie and TV star Ally Sheedy; and his daddy's
girl of a daughter Brandy (Carrie Specksgoor, lately of Tennessee
Williams' "Five by Ten").

The character Henry never actually appears.

"By not having Henry on stage, the three of us can pick our own
image of him," Colin said. "Mine is Gabriel Byrne. He does have one
of those killer smiles and he's charming, and the films he's
created are not unlike this play. And the Irish thing is very

In contrast, Sheedy steers by the image of U2's Bono.

"Ally has a soft spot for rockers," Colin said.

The daughter of an Irish-American New York cop, Irish-American on
both sides of her family for generations and married to Irish-
American television actor Justin Deas, Colin knows something of the
world from where O'Brien is coming.

And, despite ethnic sensitivities to the contrary, it is a world
full of sex and hard language.

"Edna likes to use the C-word, and she likes to ruffle feathers,"
Colin said. "That's why she was banned in Ireland. She just boldly
goes there.

"I think she believes women live there (in that sexual world) and
she uses all the language for it that she can. She believes women
are about their vaginas and that they use it as a weapon as well as
a reproductive opportunity."

But the sex is combined with more identifiably Irish traits.

"A sense of humor," Colin said. "A sense of stoicism. What Edna
does and Brian Friel did and certainly what I was raised with and
is still a tradition for people of Irish heritage is (the figure
of) a very strong woman. Really, really strong. When the writers
write for them, they love them, even when they're doing something
as dark and hateful as in `The Beauty Queen of Leenane.' They're
very, very strong women of incredible passion and determination to
live or suffer grandly. There's nothing passive-aggressive about
them. And they also see the situation with a sense of humor."

The fictional Pauline undergoes therapy and jumps into the whiskey
jar with great frequency and abandon, but neither deters her from
her relentless, obsessive, manipulative and bullying course in her
almost manic effort to pry her husband away from Clarissa - or vice

With Pauline at one point employing even a kiss and (truncated)
lesbian seduction of her rival, she brings Clarissa to the point of

But much too late.

"Politically now, you ask, `Why are these women fighting over a
man?'" Colin said. "Why doesn't Pauline, in the year 2004, do
charity work or get a job of her own? Only she goes the other way
and I like it. It may not be a feminist pedestal to stand on, but
the I think the papers are filled with (stories of) women fighting
over their men."

Unlike Irish Rep's 2003 masterpiece, "Bedbound," its production of
"Triptych" is not much for Irish slang or accent. Colin and
Specksgoor speak straightforwardly but are believably Irish.
Sheedy's British accent is on a par with Arnold Schwarzenegger's.

"When I did `A Day in the Death of Joe Egg' with two British actors
on stage, I found you really have to put in a separate eight hours
of rehearsal to get an accent down," Colin said in her colleague's
defense. With Sheedy, "It wasn't really getting there, so they told
her they'd let her let herself up so she could enjoy being the
character without worrying about the accent. Anthony Hopkins in
`Nixon' didn't even try (an American accent) and everybody forgave
him for it."

Colin admits to feeling squeamish about some of O'Brien's words.

"I was reading the language to my husband and our nanny almost fell
over, saying, `I can't imagine you saying those words,'" Colin
said, "but I knew Edna's writing, and the opportunity to play one
of her women from that singularly literary mind was too good to
pass up.

"Edna doesn't welcome you with a familiar world. She welcomes you
with, `What's going on?'"


(Michael Kilian is a lifestyle columnist for The Chicago Tribune.
Write to him at the Chicago Tribune Washington Bureau, 1325 G St.
NW, Suite 200, Washington, D.C., 20005.)

© 2004, Chicago Tribune.


Top Dublin Street Joins World's Elite

By Clodagh Sheehy
29 October 2004

Dublin's Grafton Street's a wonderland - ranking among the top five
most expensive shopping streets in the world.

Only New York's Fifth Avenue, the Champs Elysees in Paris, Causeway
Bay in Hong Kong and Oxford Street in London have greater prestige.

The latest survey shows the top Dublin street has jumped from 10th
place to fifth, overtaking Sydney, Moscow and Munich as an
international shopping destination.

Grafton Street was chosen from 229 shopping locations in 45
countries around the world.

Dublin Chamber of Commerce says Grafton Street's rating is an
indication of growing Irish consumer wealth.

Cian Connaughton points to a consumer spend which is rising by 3%
year on year and says "Grafton Street is a very attractive market
for international retail outlets who want a slice of our 63bn euro
annual spend on goods and services."

The research by London firm Cushman, Wakefield, Healey and Baker
(CWHB) shows that rents on the premier street have soared by 46% in
just 12 months to an annual fee of 3,372 euro per sq m.

This compares with Fifth Avenue costs which are 8,020 euro per sq
m, on the Champs Elysees the cost is 6,118 euro while the cost on
Causeway Bay in Hong Kong is 4,900 euro. The Oxford Street costs
are euro 4,452.

Mr Connaughton says the rents reflect the huge number of retailers
trying to get into the Irish market and especially into Dublin city
centre where improved transport has made it very attractive.

He does not accept that consumers necessarily have to pay higher
prices for goods to offset the rental costs.

"For a lot of retailers its not so much to make money as to have a
presence on Grafton Street where on Saturday's 20,000 consumers
pass through the street each hour. It's huge advertising for their

David Hutchings, head of research for CWHB says the jump in Grafton
Street rents "reflects the health of the wider Irish economy".

"It shows not just the growth of general affluence but also the
growth of a specific affluent high-net-worth individual group
within the market."

Hugh Markey, head of retail at Lisney Estate Agents, also links the
rise in rents to Ireland's continued increasing affluence - now the
4th wealthiest OECD country.

"This has been recognised by the major international multiples who
have 'discovered' Ireland in more recent times," he said.


Sea Dog Disputes Titanic Iceberg Theory

By Ben Lowry
29 October 2004

A sailor who has spent decades navigating the North Atlantic claims
to have solved the mystery of what exactly caused the Titanic to
sink in 1912.

It is widely thought that the Belfast-built liner hit an iceberg on
its maiden voyage to the United States, but LM Collins has written
a book describing the true formation as "pack ice".

This is a floating mass of ice that drifts with the sea and
currents - a culprit that was "obvious to an experienced mariner".

Captain Collins points out that an iceberg was never found.

If correct, the Canadian's theory would clear many of those who
were accused of misconduct including the Titanic's master, Captain

"Human error was to blame, but not those who were traditionally
blamed," he concludes.

Captain Collins, who started work on cargo and passenger ships in
1947, was an ice pilot for many years. Now retired, he long doubted
the iceberg theory.

His newly published book, The Sinking of the Titanic: The Mystery
Solved, includes reproductions of original documents from the ship
and nautical maps and charts which are said to prove his
interpretation of the disaster.

Captain Collins has also examined witness statements and courts of
inquiry to analyse the evidence.

"The truth," he writes, "lies hidden in the statements given by
survivors of the Titanic's crew."

The liner was sunk 300 miles off the coast of Newfoundland, which
is where Captain Collins was born.

Dr Ian Adamson, an Ulster historian with an interest in the
Titanic, said: "It sounds like a reasonable theory. I have always
felt that Captain Smith, who was a very experienced mariner, had a
bad press."

The Sinking of the Titanic: The Mystery Solved is published by
Souvenir Press and is on sale for £14.99.


See 1 News: Orla O'Donnell, Dublin Correspondent, speaks to staff
and customers in the Grafton Street café

Bewleys café closures 'like part of city dying' -V

29/10/2004 - 11:31:10

The demise of Bewley's oriental cafés in central Dublin is "like
part of Dublin dying", their emotional owner said today.

The two remaining outlets on Grafton Street and Westmoreland Street
will stop trading before Christmas with 234 job losses.

Patrick Campbell of owners, Campbell Bewley Group described
breaking the bad news to the staff last night as "very emotional".

He said of the closure: "It's like a death in the family. It's part
of Dublin dying. It's a very sad morning for me and my family.
We're devastated."

More than €12m was invested in the two premises in the late 1990s
but theyhad since run up losses of €4m.

Bewley's, which got its "oriental" link from its tea importation
business, opened its first café on Georges Street in 1894.

The cafés – famous for their marble tables and stained glass
windows – were steeped in tradition and adored by city dwellers and

The cafés were frequented by writers James Joyce and Brendan Behan
who dined on the famous coffee and sticky buns.

The Bewley Campbell Group, which has owned the cafés since 1986,
said the whole coffee business has changed in Dublin.

Mr Campbell said: "The streets of Dublin are becoming homogenous
We're becoming a sterile (business) environment. It's a moment we
were hoping wouldn't happen. The tide was eventually running
against us."

He told RTE Radio: "The rents in Grafton Street are the fifth
highest in the world. We're not getting support from anywhere."

Although the Luas has increased pedestrian volume on Grafton Street
by 20%, Mr Campbell said the layout of his cafés meant he couldn't
capitalise on the extra business.


Hopes For Papal Visit Look Slim

By Eddie McIlwaine
29 October 2004

The Pope, who retains his sense of humour, was reminding friends
and staff in the Vatican today that reports of his imminent demise
had been greatly exaggerated exactly a year ago.

Alarm bells were ringing loudly in October 2003 when His Holiness
fell ill amid speculation that he wouldn't see Christmas.

But the 84-year-old Pontiff amazed his physicians by staging a
recovery - and arranging to go touring in his Popemobile once

"Religious commentators who had the white smoke puffing for a new
Pope were made to look silly," said a priest in St Peter's Square
today. "There were even rumours here in Rome this time last year
that he was already dead.

"However, this Pontiff is fiercely determined to fulfil a few
dreams before he dies. He wasn't ready to go in the autumn of 2003
and he isn't ready yet."

But the Pope, a former goalkeeper in his young days back in his
native Poland, is frail and has had to give up his daily
constitutionals in his favourite gardens by the Sistine Chapel.

A guide in the Chapel explained: "We used to see His Holiness out
in the gardens quite regularly. He liked to be there in the quiet
to contemplate. Now he only makes brief and rare visits to pause on
the lawns underneath the trees. And of course now he is in a
wheelchair and always accompanied by nurses and assistants."

In the Vatican the Pope has been discussing plans for another visit
to Malta, one of his favourite places and where he would have
little difficulty travelling to in spite of his frail condition.

Malta is largely Roman Catholic and the people adore the Pope and
have been pleading with him to return for what would be his third
visit to their country.

But although the Pontiff is anxious to see Ireland one more time -
he was first in the Republic in 1979 and called the Irish his most
loyal flock - the chances of him making the journey are slim.

There was speculation earlier in the year that Pope John would
accept an invitation from Irish Bishops and travel to Ireland 25
years after that earlier trip. Now the chances of a second Papal
visit are remote, say Catholic authorities.

"Pope John recovered dramatically from his illness last year - but
obviously he is not robust or strong," said the Vatican priest. "A
long, tiring journey to Ireland might be beyond him. Although it
has not been ruled out."

--- News

News 10/29/04 - Ciaran Ferry Update & Article

News about Ireland & the Irish

ID 10/29/04 Ciaran Ferry Update
CP 10/29/04 Ciaran Ferry: New Troubles


October 29, 2004

Ciaran Ferry Update

As supporters and media filled the courtroom yesterday, eagerly
awaiting a decision on Ciaran Ferry's habeas corpus petition, Judge
Nottingham determined that he would not make a public ruling that
day. Instead, he stated that he now plans to rule in a week or so.

Judge Nottingham would not permit Ciaran's legal team to present
any evidence or witnesses, and Ciaran was not able to speak on his
behalf. Ciaran's legal team had requested that they be permitted a
full evidentiary hearing, arguing that Ciaran's conviction in a
juryless Diplock court in Northern Ireland could not be recognized
under U.S. jurisprudence. Judge Nottingham indicated that he had
already drafted his opinion based on the written submissions and
had no need to hear witnesses or accept any further evidence.
Legal observers found this to be ominous and believe that Judge
Nottingham may rule that he has no jurisdiction to question the
Attorney General's decision in this case.

Ciaran's counsel wanted to know what was the government's position
on releasing Ciaran. The government representatives replied: "Mr.
Ferry holds the keys to his jail cell himself. If he wants to
return to the United Kingdom, he is free to do so where he isn't
under threat of bodily harm".

After the hearing, Ciaran's supporters stated that they were
confused and disappointed at the very brief 10 minute proceeding
which the Judge allowed on oral argument to discuss this case.
Ciaran has been waiting for a decision for over a year and a half
since the preliminary hearing on this matter.

Ciaran Ferry stated that he is in good spirits and wanted to extend
his appreciation to all of the supporters who sent letters of
support to him and his family and to those who attended the

The courtroom was overrcome with emotional when the U.S. Marshall's
permitted Ciaran to briefly hold his 3 year old daughter, Fiona for
the first time in two years and to embrace his wife, Heaven.
Ciaran has been on no-contact restrictions since his incarceration
over two years ago.

Heaven believes that her family's situation is now very precarious
"If Judge Nottingham does not challenge the government's illegal
actions in denying my husband his due process rights he will force
us to return with our 3 year old daugther to Belfast where my
husband is on a loyalist hit list".

Deanna Turner
Irish Deportees of America Committee


New Troubles

What the future holds: Awaiting final word on whether he can remain
in the U.S., Malachy McAllister also mourns his wife. Photo By:
Mike Mergen

A Philadelphia-based appeals court will define what "engaged in
terrorist activities" means.

by Mike Newall

On a cold Saturday afternoon in October, Malachy McAllister stands
outside the James A. Byrne U.S. Courthouse at Sixth and Market

It is the first time the 47-year-old Wallington, N.J., resident is
laying eyes on the building where his family's future will soon be
decided by the Third Circuit Superior Court of Appeals.

"This is where it will end," he says, appraising the plain, brick

For nearly nine years, McAllister, a thick-shouldered man, with
salt-and-pepper stubble and piercing blue eyes, has been fighting
to secure a life in America for he and his family. More than two
decades ago, McAllister took action against a British government he
deemed "oppressors." For that, the United States Justice Department
wants to deport the McAllisters back to Northern Ireland, a
homeland they fled 16 years ago, fearing for their lives.

In the eyes of the United States government, McAllister, a mason
and father of four, is a terrorist, a "threat to the security" of
the country.

Last month, the Third Circuit Court began reviewing the case of
McAllister v. Ashcroft. A decision will be handed down sometime
early next year. It will be a final determination of the
McAllisters' fate. The decision will also offer legal precedent
into what exactly it means to be a "terrorist."

"Whose purpose does it serve to see my family torn apart?" he asks,
buttoning up his suit jacket as the wind picks up. "What threat do
I pose to anyone?"

McAllister was raised Catholic in the Lower Ormeau Road section of
Belfast in the strife-torn Northern Ireland of the 1970s. He came
of age at the height of "the troubles"—the sectarian violence
between the Catholic minority opposed to British rule and the
Protestant majority loyal to the crown.

As Catholics, the McAllisters were second-class citizens. They had
few civil rights and endured daily humiliations at the hands of the
British occupationary forces.

As a child, Malachy witnessed his father being beaten at a civil
rights protest. Other times, he watched as family members and
neighbors were hauled off to government prison camps—often without

McAllister's neighborhood was known as the "Murder Mile" because of
how frequently the loyalist paramilitary squads visited.

He was 16 the first time he watched a friend die in the street. It
was Jim Templeton, his best friend, shot dead in a loyalist drive-
by outside The Rose and Crown, Ormeau Road's local Catholic pub.
McAllister was standing just a few feet away.

"Catholics were being murdered left, right and center,'" he says.
"We were in a full-scale civil war."

On one occasion, a gun was put to McAllister's head as he was
ordered off a work site in a Protestant neighborhood.

McAllister was 22 when he cast his lot with the Irish National
Liberation Army and helped plot two strikes against the Royal
Ulster Constabulary (RUC), Belfast's predominantly Protestant
police force, which often aided the loyalist paramilitaries in
their attacks against Catholic civilians. On a hot summer day in
1981, McAllister took part in an ambush on a RUC convoy traveling
down Ormeau Road. He served as a lookout for a shooter. One RUC
officer was wounded with a gunshot to the leg.

"I regret what I did," says McAllister. "But it was a time when you
were called upon to stand up and fight back."

A paid informant soon betrayed McAllister. Under interrogation,
British authorities told McAllister that his wife, Bernadette—a
strong-willed, blonde beauty he met along Ormeau Road—and their
growing family would be in danger if he didn't sign a confession.
Malachy spent nearly four years in the H-Blocks, the political wing
of Northern Ireland's notorious Long Kesh prison.

After his 1985 release, Malachy tried to put the resistance behind
him and took construction work to support his family. But the RUC
was not willing to forgive McAllister's past. In one particularly
brutal incident, members of the RUC forced Bernadette to watch as
they savagely beat her husband with the butts of their rifles.

On the night of Oct. 2, 1988, two loyalist gunmen disguised in
Halloween masks showed up at the McAllisters' home. An RUC contact
had provided them with the address. Malachy and Bernadette weren't
home that night, but three of their four children were inside with
their grandmother. The gunmen calmly pointed their AK-47s at the
front room and fired off 26 rounds. One of the gunmen spotted the
children through a bedroom window and turned his weapon on them.
Amazingly, the McAllister family escaped unhurt.

Three months later, the McAllisters fled Belfast—moving first to
Toronto, and then, in 1996, to New Jersey.

The family entered the country legally, immediately applied for
political asylum and went about creating a life in America. Malachy
began a masonry business, enrolled the kids in school and joined
the local parish. Gary and Jaime, the two oldest McAllister
children, married Jersey girls. Nicola, the third oldest, is now
applying to colleges. Sean, the youngest, is a standout receiver on
the high school football team.

In October 2000, after a lengthy trial, a federal immigration judge
ordered Malachy deported due to his past conviction in Belfast but
granted asylum to Bernadette and the children. The judge ruled that
the McAllister family had suffered "extreme persecution" and
endured a "constant campaign of harassment."

McAllister filed an appeal against his deportation, and the
government appealed the asylum granted to his family.

A bad omen came in July 2003, when John McNicholl, another former
member of the Irish National Liberation Army who had lived
peacefully with his family in Upper Darby for almost 20 years, was
seized and deported. At 5:30 a.m. July 17, McNicholl stepped out
his front door to head off to work when federal immigration agents
swarmed. He was put in handcuffs and thrown into the back of a van.
His son cried out in protest, but nothing could be done. Within
hours, McNicholl was hustled aboard a plane back to Ireland, in all
likelihood never to see Upper Darby again.

Last November, amongst friends and family, Malachy and Bernadette
celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary at a local pub in
Wallington. There was music and dancing, and the party stretched
into the wee hours. "We were so happy to have endured as a couple,
as a family, after all we've been through," remembers Malachy.

Days later, Malachy received a call he had been dreading. The Board
of Immigration Appeals (BIA), under the jurisdiction of the Justice
Department, had completely reversed the initial ruling.

Bernadette and the kids had 30 days to leave the country. Malachy
was considered a fugitive.

Twenty federal agents clad in jumpsuits descended on the McAllister
home on the morning of Nov. 21, 2001. Malachy wasn't there. Agents
camped outside for a week and, according to Malachy, repeatedly
taunted his wife and threatened the family with arrest.

The McAllisters' congressman, Democrat Steve Rothman, quickly fired
off a letter—co-signed by ten other members of Congress—to Homeland
Security Director Tom Ridge on the family's behalf.

"This whole case is a great injustice," wrote Rothman. "The
McAllisters fled violent, political persecution and found refuge
here in America. They should not be forced to return to Northern
Ireland, under any circumstances, where they might well face
further attempts on their lives."

When denying McAllister's plea for asylum, the BIA ruled that
conditions have improved in Northern Ireland enough that the
McAllisters would not be in danger if they were forced to return.
McAllister expressed disbelief. His enemies are waiting, he says,
and that his case has garnered a lot of publicity back home only
makes him more of a target.

"Belfast may have changed some," he says. "But the same people who
attacked my home in 1988 are still in power today."

McAllister also received broad support from Irish-Americans still
simmering from the McNicholl case. (On Monday, McNicholl's
attorneys plans to file a petition with U.S. Supreme Court
requesting judicial review.)

"Irish-Americans who have for so long been law-abiding citizens
have now become outlaws," says Ned McGinley, president of the
Ancient Order of Hibernians and former president of the
Pennsylvania chapter. "It is a misuse of Homeland Security
personnel and finance. It may help them bump up their statistics,
but it is not fighting terrorism."

Indeed, there has been, in the wake of 9/11, a widespread crackdown
on Irish immigrants with nationalist pasts, who for years have
enjoyed lax immigration standards, especially under the Clinton
administration, which was heavily involved in brokering the 1998
Good Friday Peace Accord in Northern Ireland.

"They have lumped us up with other groups," says McGinley.

When reached for comment on the McAllister case, Kerry Gill, a
spokesperson for the Newark office of Immigrations and Customs
Enforcement of the Department of the Homeland Security, declined to
answer any questions.

With Rothman's support, the McAllister family was granted a
temporary reprieve by the Homeland Security Department. This
January, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals agreed to review his
case, finding that it raised several constitutional issues.

The BIA found that McAllister had "engaged in terrorist
activities." McAllister's lawyer, Eamonn Dornan, is asking the
Third Circuit Court to clarify the exact definition of that phrase,
a legal exacting that could offer wide-ranging precedent in these
post-9/11 times.

"Our argument is that there is no clear, precise definition of what
"engaging in terrorist activities' actually means," explains
Dornan. "Because it is so overly broad, it becomes

Dornan argues that McAllister's actions should not be viewed as
terrorism since they took place during a political uprising, in
which the United States was neutral, and targeted combatants rather
than civilians. Even if the court finds McAllister did indeed
engage in terrorist activities, argues Dornan, that does not
automatically mean there exists, as the BIA ruled, "reasonable
grounds for regarding that person as a danger to the security of
the United States."

There is legal precedent supporting Dornan's argument that a one-
size-fits-all approach cannot be applied to terrorism.

"One country's terrorist," reads a 2003 federal appeals court
ruling, "can be another country's freedom fighter."

For his part, McAllister bristles at the label "terrorist."

"What have I done over the last 16 years," he asks, "besides raise
my kids, pay my taxes, be a good citizen and prove that I am no
threat to the United States?"

In April of this year, Bernadette McAllister was diagnosed with
ovarian cancer. She died six weeks later, on her 46th birthday.
Malachy was holding her hand.

More than 400 mourners showed up for her funeral Mass. A number of
politicians attended. Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, of New York,
sent a Mass Card. Malachy read a eulogy.

"You are free at last," he said. "I love you and I will always miss

Because of the uncertainity of the McAllisters' future,
Bernadette's remains were cremated after the Mass. Where her ashes
will rest permanently depends on the court decision.

"Every day without my wife is a struggle," he says now, outside the
courthouse, choking up. "She had to endure so much over the years,
just to try and raise her family in peace."

He pulls a memorial card from his suit jacket. It contains a
smiling photo of Bernadette, looking beautiful in a white gown.

"I'm still in shock," he says.

Sometimes, he says, he feels like giving up. He'd return to Ireland
in a moment if he could have her back, but he will fight on for his

"For Bernie and I, our struggle has always been to remain in
America so our kids could have a better life than we had. She'd
want me to keep fighting. And I will," he says, taking one last
glance at the courthouse. "I don't know what the future holds. But
there's still some hope."

--- News

October 30, 2004

News 10/28/04 - Grave Concern for New Irish Hostage

News about Ireland & the Irish

BB 10/28/04 Grave Concern For New NI Hostage - V
BT 10/28/04 Derry Mayor Names Remembrance Date
CD 10/28/04 Groups Want Removal Of Anti-Immigrant Provisions
CN 10/28/04 Ireland Asks Britain For Pardons
BT 10/28/04 Unionists Squabble As 'Deadline' Looms
BT 10/28/04 Terrorist Frictions Blamed For Gun Attack
BT 10/28/04 New Twist In Row Over Blast Police Informant
SM 10/28/04 Blair And Ahern Urged To Take A Back Seat –V
IO 10/28/04 Adams: No Dilution Of Agreement
BT 10/28/04 Ulster MEPs Welcome Commission Reshuffle
PW 10/28/04 George Harrison, Irish American Activist, 89
BT 10/28/04 Major New Derry St Patrick's Parade Will Get Funding
IC 10/28/04 Music: The Ordinary Boys - Ordinary They Ain't...
BB 10/28/04 Honour For 'Heroic Co Down Teenager'

RT 10/28/04 Honour For 'Heroic Teenager' –VO
RT 10/28/04 Mary Kelly, Has Been Found Guilty –VO
RT 10/28/04 Fr Horan Acquitted Of Indecency –VO

(Poster's Note: No one acquitted Fr Horan of being a fruitcake.

See 9 News: Annette O Donnell has the Details Of Flooding In Dublin

See the 52-year-old peace activist, Mary Kelly, Has Been Found
Guilty of causing criminal damage to a US military aircraft by a
jury at Ennis Circuit Court.

See Fr Horan, who disturbed the Olympic marathon, acquitted of
indecency act with child - Brian O'Connell, London Editor, reports
from the Old Bailey on the acquittal of Fr Neil Horan over charges
of an indecent act with a child in 1991


Ahern condemns kidnap of Irish woman in Afghanistan - Jonathan
Clynch reports on the kidnap at gunpoint of Northern Irish woman
Anetta Flanigan and two other UN election commission workers in

Nuala Haughey reports from Islamabad on how security was more lax
following the recent elections in Afghanistan

Northern Ireland UN election monitor taken in Kabul - Ken O'Shea
reports on the kidnappings in Afghanistan
---- /2/hi/uk_news/northern_ireland/3963145.stm

Grave Concern For New NI Hostage - V

The family of kidnapped Northern Ireland woman Annetta Flanigan are
gravely concerned for her safety, their minister has said.

She was one of three foreign election workers kidnapped in the
Afghanistan capital Kabul.

Mrs Flanigan is from Richhill in County Armagh.

It is understood she and her husband had planned to return home to
Northern Ireland for Christmas.

She was providing technical assistance for parliamentary elections
due to be held next April.

Mrs Flanigan's mother, Esther, is a member of the Mothers' Union at
St Matthew's Church of Ireland in Richhill.

The rector, the Reverend David Coe, said: "Obviously the family is
gravely concerned about the situation and what more can you say?

"The family just want time and space to try and come terms with

Mrs Flanigan, a graduate of Queen's University in Belfast, worked
as a solicitor in Portadown, County Armagh.

She has previously worked in Bosnia and Rwanda.

She carries joint British and Irish nationality.

Irish Foreign Affairs Minister Dermot Ahern condemned the
kidnapping and called for the immediate and unconditional release
of those taken.

Mr Ahern said he was following the situation closely, including
through the UN offices on the ground and through the Irish Embassy
in Tehran.

DUP assembly member Paul Berry said he was shocked to learn of the

"This is a very worrying development and I would call upon Tony
Blair and the British Government to do all in their power to try
and seek the release of the hostages," he said.

The BBC's Andrew North in Kabul says it is unclear if they were
targeted because of election links, or for being foreigners.

A group called the Army of Muslims says it is holding them outside

"There was indeed a kidnapping. The victims were international
staff with the electoral commission here in Kabul," UN spokesman
Manoel de Almeida e Silva told the Associated Press news agency.

Junior diplomat

He refused to speculate on a motive for the kidnapping and would
not reveal the names of the hostages.

Confirming one of the three - Mrs Flanigan - held dual British-
Irish nationality, UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said: "We are in
touch with the family."

The Philippines government said it was praying for the safe release
of one of its junior diplomats, Angelito Nayan, and his co-workers.

The kidnapping - the first of foreigners in broad daylight in Kabul
- has sent shock waves through the expatriate community.

Foreign aid workers and UN staff have been ordered back to their
compounds and told to remain there or in other safe havens until
further notice.

Observers say the fear is that foreign workers could now be targets
in Afghanistan in the same way that they are in Iraq.

The abducted workers are part of a joint United Nations and Afghan
government team that organised the election and has been conducting
the vote count since polling day on 9 October.

On Wednesday, with 99% of votes counted, the front runner and
interim president, Hamid Karzai, was far ahead of his rivals.

The Nato-led International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) said
that the workers were seized after being stopped by a four-wheel
drive vehicle near Karteh Parwan, a relatively affluent area of
north-west Kabul near the Intercontinental Hotel.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2004/10/28 17:11:15 GMT


Mayor Names Remembrance Date

By Brendan McDaid
28 October 2004

The Mayor of Londonderry today announced a date for a controversial
day of remembrance for all those who have died locally as a result
of conflict.

Sinn Fein Mayor Gearoid O'hEara will lead the commemoration to be
staged at Guildhall Square on Friday, December 10 from 1pm.

He said the event would be "totally inclusive and remember all the
people who died as a result of conflict either from or in this
district area".

The Mayor declared his intention to stage such an event during his
Mayoral inauguration speech in June.

Protestant church leaders and politicians, however, have since said
they did not envisage the unionist community taking part in any
celebrations which would commemorate those who had been killed
within the republican movement alongside security forces, civilians
and those who died in the World Wars.

Mr O'hEara said he has now met with hundreds of groups and
individuals since becoming Mayor to discuss his proposals.

He said: "One of the issues which has been used in the past to
foster division, is that of remembrance. But this is about everyone
who died."


OCTOBER 28, 2004
1:29 PM

CONTACT: American Civil Liberities Union

NYC Council, Irish-Americans Ask Congress To Remove Anti-Immigrant
Provisions, Limit Legislation To 9/11 Commission's Recommendations

WASHINGTON -- October 28 -- The American Civil Liberties Union and
New York Civil Liberties Union today welcomed letters sent by the
New York City Council and a coalition of Irish-American groups to
Congressional conferees, asking them to keep anti- immigrant
measures out of their final 9/11 reform legislation. Although the
conferees' attempt to reach a compromise before the election
failed, they are slated to continue working on a measure for
Congress to vote on during a lame duck session.

"If the Red Sox can win the series, lawmakers can put politics
aside to get this done right," said Laura W. Murphy, Director of
the ACLU Washington Legislative Office. "Controversial anti-
immigrant powers and Patriot Act expansions not even called for by
the 9/11 Commission deserve full and open debate - it is shameful
that the House leadership is attempting to use this legislation to
push through unrelated measures."

In a letter sent to the conferees, New York City Council Members
outlined their concerns, including the creation of a de facto
national ID, denial of basic judicial review over unfair or
arbitrary deportations, summary deportations, increased burdens for
asylum seekers, and the potential for individuals to be deported to
countries where they will be tortured.

"We in New York City still feel the impact of the attacks of
September 11th, and the City Council is taking the right step in
saying that Congress must not pass anti-immigrant legislation in
our name," said Donna Lieberman, Executive Director of the New York
Civil Liberties Union.

A coalition of Irish-American groups also wrote to conferees,
raising concerns over the court stripping and expedited removal
provisions. The letter notes that the House bill would allow Irish
immigrants, including permanent residents, to be deported simply
for defending the right of the Irish Republican Army to use weapons
against military targets.

The letter was sent by the Irish American Unity Conference, Irish
Deportees of America Committee, Irish Northern Aid, Irish National
Caucus, Ancient Order of Hibernians, and Lawyers Alliance for
Justice in Ireland.

Groups from across the political spectrum are urging lawmakers to
remove the anti-immigrant and law enforcement expansion provisions.
The inclusion of these measures in the House bill has prompted
opposition from groups as varied as the ACLU, families of 9/11
victims, Gun Owners of America, the National Council of La Raza,
the Mexican-American Legal Defense and Education Fund and the
conservative Cuban American National Foundation.

****************************************** ap.html

Ireland Asks Britain For Pardons

DUBLIN, Ireland (AP) - The Irish government called Thursday for
Britain to issue pardons to more than 300 British soldiers, among
them 26 Irishmen, who were executed for alleged cowardice,
disobedience or desertion during the First World War.

A report commissioned by the Department of Foreign Affairs was
delivered to the British government via Ireland's embassy in
London. It investigated the circumstances surrounding the courts-
martial and death by firing squad of the soldiers from Ireland,
which was part of the United Kingdom until 1922.

Foreign Minister Dermot Ahern said Ireland backed a pressure group
called the Shot at Dawn Campaign, which argues that the First World
War executions were unjust and that the men's supposed crimes must
be pardoned posthumously.

Ahern said pardons, even though more than 85 years after the
executions, "would not only be of great comfort to the families of
the men involved - which is our priority - but would also reflect
positively on the already close relationship between Ireland and
Great Britain."

Ahern accused the firing squads of discriminating against the
approximately 140,000 Irishmen who served in the British military
during the war. He noted that soldiers from Ireland - who were all
volunteers because Britain didn't impose the draft in Ireland -
represented two per cent of the British army, yet accounted for
more than eight per cent of the men executed.

Until the past decade of peacemaking in neighbouring Northern
Ireland, a British territory, the Irish government had paid scant
attention to the sacrifice of thousands of its countrymen slain
during the First World War. The moderate Irish leader of the day,
John Redmond, encouraged Irishmen to enlist in hopes it would
encourage Britain to grant Ireland home rule after the war. Redmond
lost his brother on the Western Front, and Ireland instead won
autonomy from Britain after a bloody 1919-21 rebellion led by
Redmond's hardline rivals in Sinn Fein.

Ignorance of the history of the First World War, particularly
Ireland's role in it, remains widespread in this neutral nation - a
fact illustrated in Ahern's own statement Thursday. He suggested
that Europe was about to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the
start of the war - but the anniversary was nearly three months ago.


Unionists Squabble As 'Deadline' Looms

By Noel McAdam
28 October 2004

Ulster Unionists have accused the DUP of living off its "hand me
down" policies as the prospect of early agreement on a deal to
restore devolution faded further.

With contacts continuing between London, Dublin and Belfast, the
DUP attacked the UUP as a party "on its back".

Ongoing unionist bickering became a sideshow, however, as
speculation mounted over the likelihood of any deal emerging this
side of the next general election.

Tony Blair and Taoiseach Bertie Ahern are set to meet next week and
the Government would then have to decide whether suspended Assembly
members should face a further pay-cut or be put on ice altogether.

Sinn Fein and the DUP have appeared to play down the prospect of
agreement as the latest mooted deadline of Halloween slips by.

Sinn Fein Assembly member Caitriona Ruane said: "We have been
working hard to try and achieve progress but the bottom line is
that the DUP need to accept that a comprehensive deal is not
possible short of the Good Friday Agreement."

But the DUP were intent on targeting the UUP, with Assembly man
Sammy Wilson saying: "They may claim that things are looking up for
them. I suppose that is the only way they can look now that they
are flat on their backs after two electoral trouncings."


Terrorist Frictions Blamed For Gun Attack

By Jonathan McCambridge
28 October 2004

Tensions among republican groups in Co Antrim were today being
blamed for a gun attack on a police station in the middle of

Detectives have linked the attack to a terrifying incident in which
a family were held hostage at gunpoint in their own home.

Local representatives have called for a heavier security presence
in the town following recent threats against police officers living
in nearby Ballymena.

At 8pm yesterday four or five masked men armed with a gun burst
into a house on the rural Craigstown Road.

They demanded the keys of a van before locking the couple and their
three children in a room.

Some of the men then left the house for a time before returning to
pick up the remaining members of the gang.

The family was were too distressed to talk today.

However, neighbours said they were well-liked in the area and
expressed shock at their ordeal.

At around 10.15pm a number of shots were fired at Randalstown
police station from a passing van. Four strike marks were today
clearly visible on the front gates of the station.

The van was later found burnt out on the Creggan Road.

Inspector Pat Foy said: "This was a totally indiscriminate and
reckless attack. "Police officers were in the station and there was
passing traffic and homes close by."

UUP Randalstown councillor Stephen Nicholl said there had been
suspicions for some time that an incident like this could happen.

"We all know that there have been threats against police officers
in Ballymena and it was only a matter of time before that spread

"The reduction in the number of police officers has meant we have
been left in a situation where these republican gangs can roam
freely and terrorise innocent families."

PUP councillor Ken Wilkinson said Continuity IRA graffiti had
recently appeared in the town.

"We could have had a fatality last night - when bullets hit a gate
they can ricochet anywhere."

SDLP councillor Donovan McClelland added: "This is a very worrying
development and you wonder what the purpose of it all is."


New Twist In Row Over Blast Police Informant

Omagh relatives still 'waiting for answers'

By Michael McHugh
28 October 2004

The row over the revelation of an alleged Real IRA informant who
warned police about the Omagh bomb took a new twist today when it
emerged that Omagh relatives are still waiting for responses to
urgent queries about his treatment.

Victims' spokesman Michael Gallagher wrote to the Secretary of
State, Home Secretary and Chief Constable after alleged bomb
informant Paddy Dixon was questioned by customs officials at
Cardiff airport last summer and released despite the fact that he
was wanted for questioning by the PSNI's Omagh investigator.

Mr Dixon was the agent for Garda detective John White who said he
passed his warnings about a bomb in Northern Ireland on to his
superiors and was told no action would be taken.

Tory Laurence Robertson (Tewkesbury) pressed the Government over
the Dixon case during Northern Ireland questions in the Commons and
Mr Gallagher said he needed prompt answers .

"I have still received no reply to the urgent questions I asked
about PSNI co-operation in August," he said.

"Questions need to be answered by the NIO about what pressure they
are putting on to have this man handed over and about the apparent
lack of co-operation between police forces.

"It is important that victims' issues are raised with the
Government. We are in our seventh year since the bomb and despite
the promises the Government has not delivered on this."

Sup Baxter has requested that the Garda produce Mr Dixon for
interview several times, to be told that the Garda without success.

Mr Dixon is on a witness protection programme operated by the Garda
and is believed to be living in Britain.

"The Chief Constable is well aware of the situation regarding Paddy
Dixon but the Northern Ireland Office has failed to intervene," Mr
Gallagher said.

Mr Dixon allegedly worked as a car thief for the Real IRA while
informing to the Garda.

He fled Ireland after his identity was discovered.

Yesterday Mr Robertson asked the NIO Minister Ian Pearson in the
Commons: "Can you explain why the Republic refused to hand over
Paddy Dixon who was wanted in connection with questioning with the
Omagh bombing?

"Can you also tell me if Paddy Dixon has been relocated to the
United Kingdom, because recently he was stopped in Cardiff by the

"He was found to have a great deal of cash on him. Why were the
Police Service of Northern Ireland not alerted to the fact that he
was in Great Britain?'"

Junior Northern Ireland Minister Ian Pearson replied: "There is a
good strong level of co-operation between the Police Service of
Northern Ireland and the Garda Siochana on a wide level of issues,
certainly including dealing with paramilitarities and dealing with
the issue of organised criminal activity.

"As far as the individual concerned that you mentioned, I will look
into that issue and get back to you."

Twenty-nine people died in the August 1998 bomb and relatives have
called for a public inquiry into handling of the bomb
investigation, which is one of the most complex in western Europe.


Ahern & Blair to discuss North at EU meeting - Tommie Gorman,
Northern Editor, reports on how the Taoiseach acknowledged today
that difficulties remain in seeking a way to restore power sharing
in Northern Ireland

Blair And Ahern Urged To Take A Back Seat -V

By Dan McGinn, Ireland Political Editor, PA News

Prime Minister Tony Blair and Irish Taoiseach Bertie Ahern were
urged today to consider leaving it to their ministers and the
Northern Ireland parties to find a way of restoring a power-sharing

As the British Government confirmed it had received the latest
report from the Independent Monitoring Commission on paramilitary
activity, nationalist SDLP leader Mark Durkan said Mr Blair and Mr
Ahern did not necessarily have to take the lead role over the
coming months in trying to piece together a deal which would
restore devolution.

And the Foyle Assembly member also dismissed suggestions that an
international third party might be needed to help bridge the gap
between political parties in the negotiations.

He told PA News: "I don't think we need to look for some other
eminent third party to move things forward because we are working
within the context of an agreement that was endorsed in 1998 in
referenda on both sides of the border.

"I do not think that we have to reinvent the wheel here and I also
do not think that we have to involve the two Premiers as often
enough as they have been drafted in.

"All of the material is there for us and we do not need a Wizard of

"And even then what would the Wizard of Oz do? All he did was tell
people what was already in themselves and urge them to draw those

Negotiations to restore power sharing at Stormont have stalled
because of differences between nationalists and the Reverend Ian
Paisley's Democratic Unionists over the future operation of the
political institution.

The dispute has held up moves from the IRA on disarmament and a
statement which will address the republican group's future.

Mr Blair and US President George W Bush's special envoy on Northern
Ireland, Ambassador Mitchell Reiss, have both gone on record since
last month's Leeds Castle talks in Kent as claiming the move from
the IRA represent a significant advance in efforts to remove the
gun forever from Irish politics.

The Democratic Unionists have been pressing for more accountability
in the power-sharing executive, with ministers answerable to their
Cabinet colleagues and with the Assembly able to overturn unpopular

However, the SDLP and Sinn Fein have accused the DUP of trying to
create a veto which it can use against other parties' ministers in
a future administration.

They have also criticised the DUP's approach to cross- border co-
operation between a Stormont executive and the Irish Government,
accusing them of trying to limit its scope and stymie its work.

Mr Durkan tonight again repeated his party's insistence that it
would not accept anything which watered down the Good Friday

With British and Irish officials still considering proposals aimed
at persuading unionists and nationalists to go back into
government, Mr Durkan warned: "We have been constructive in this
process and we have been honest and we will continue to do that.

"But when the emperor is running around short of clothes, we will
not be pretending that there are clothes."


Adams: No Dilution Of Agreement

28/10/2004 - 23:00:46

Sinn Féin will not stomach any proposals to restore devolution
which erode the Good Friday Agreement, Gerry Adams warned tonight.

As British and Irish government officials continued to work on a
formula aimed at bridging the gaps between unionists and
nationalists over power sharing, the Sinn Féin leader again
insisted his party wanted to achieve a comprehensive and holistic

The West Belfast MP said: "We have made it clear that republicans
are prepared to face up to the challenges which this presents.

"But Sinn Féin is not prepared to countenance any dilution or
erosion of the Good Friday Agreement – that remains the objective
of the DUP."

Sinn Féin and the nationalist SDLP have clashed with the Reverend
Ian Paisley's Democratic Unionists over changes they want to the
operation of the multi-party power-sharing government at Stormont.

The DUP has been pressing for mechanisms which would make power-
sharing ministers more accountable for their decisions to cabinet
colleagues and enable the Assembly to overturn unpopular decisions.

Nationalists have argued that what the DUP really wants is to
exercise a veto over the work of other parties' ministers.

They have also accused the DUP of trying to limit the scope of and
stymie the work of cross-border institutions involving Stormont
ministers and their Government counterparts.

Mr Adams said tonight the British and Irish governments had to
understand in the current negotiations to restore power sharing
that there was no middle line between the Good Friday Agreement and
the anti-Agreement position of the Democratic Unionists.

"It is their responsibility to defend the core fundamentals and
principles of the Agreement and to make it clear that they cannot
be changed," he argued.

"Therefore, if there is to be a deal then the two governments need
to drive the process forward while making it clear that any deal
must be within the terms of the Good Friday Agreement.

"If the DUP do not accept this reality, then the pro- Agreement
majority, including the two governments, need to move on.

"The DUP cannot be allowed to paralyse the process of change."

Meanwhile, in a speech tonight to party colleagues in Bangor, North
Down, DUP Assembly member George Dawson challenged claims that his
party had shifted on to the policies once put forward by David
Trimble's Ulster Unionists.

The East Antrim MLA told colleagues: "The DUP is determined that
the situation created by the Ulster Unionists is turned around.

"We are also seeing a remarkable turnaround of confidence amongst
the unionist community since the defeatists and the defeated of the
UUP were swept aside.

"Our policies have turned governments and other parties around. All
that is to be welcomed.

"In recent days much has been made of our statement that the
fundamentals of the Agreement, as outlined to us by the British
government, are not in conflict with DUP policy.

"Our opponents have seized on this and cried U-turn. But what is
the truth of the matter?

"Our opponents have strangely and conveniently forgotten that this
was not always the government's position.

"Once upon a time government, and the pro-Agreement parties' stance
was that we had to take the Agreement, the whole Agreement and
nothing but the Agreement.

"Northern Ireland, it seemed, possess the only constitution in the
world that was not able to be changed, they argued.

"That position has now noticeably changed. Now it is just the
fundamentals that remain."


Ulster MEPs Welcome Commission Reshuffle

By Simon Taylor in Brussels
28 October 2004

Northern Ireland's three MEPs have all welcomed the decision by the
incoming European Commission President to consider reshuffling his
team to avoid an embarrassing vote of no confidence.

On Wednesday, Commission President designate José Manuel Barroso
decided to withdraw a request to the Parliament for approval for
his 25-strong team.

Socialist and Liberal MEPs had threatened to reject the entire
line-up in protest over personal religious views on gays and women
held by Italy's candidate, Rocco Buttiglione.

Ulster Unionist MEP Jim Nicholson said Mr Barroso's decision to put
off a vote was the "best result around".

He said it was good for democracy in the EU that the Parliament had
made it clear that they would not put up with "incompetent

Mr Nicholson warned that the Parliament would take a close look at
some other Commissioners to see if they deserved the posts they had
been awarded.

Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún said her party welcomed the decision.

She said Sinn Féin was calling on Mr Barroso to "seriously reflect
on the events of recent weeks".

Democratic Unionist MEP Jim Allister said that the decision was a
"monumental failure" by Mr Barroso.

Referring to the ceremony of EU leaders in Rome on Friday to sign
the draft EU constitution, he said: "Friday should have been a
celebration but the EU has gone from celebration to crisis in one
small step."

"Such is the European way," he commented.

Commenting on the fact that the old Commission will carry on in
office until a new team is approved, the DUP MEP said he wanted to
know whether taxpayers were now paying for two.


George Harrison, Irish American Activist, 89

Author: Gary Bono
People's Weekly World Newspaper, 10/28/04 15:14

A capacity crowd filled the mid-town Manhattan auditorium of SEIU
1199, Oct. 20, to honor the memory of George Harrison, a lifelong
Irish Republican, anti-imperialist activist, socialist, and
People's Weekly World supporter. Harrison died on Oct. 6 at the age
of 89.

Although Harrison was involved in people's struggles since the age
of 15, he rose to international prominence in the early 1980s when
he and four other Irish-American activists were arrested in a CIA
frame-up for allegedly smuggling weapons to Irish Republicans
resisting the British occupation of Northern Ireland. The trial
took place during the murderous, anti-Irish policies of the
extreme-right British government led by then-Prime Minister
Margaret Thatcher. Because of the blatant nature of the frame-up,
the trial resulted in the acquittal of all five defendants.

Harrison was an activist's activist, who saw the cause of the Irish
people in the context of a broader struggle. Speaker after speaker
at the memorial spoke of Harrison's unwavering commitment to the
Irish struggle, anti-imperialism and the support of people's
struggles all over the world, from the Sandinista revolution in
Nicaragua to the African National Congress' struggle to free South
Africa from apartheid. "No task in the service of justice was too
small or trivial," said lawyer Mary Pike. "His rich legacy is how
to live a principled existence."

Newspaper columnist Jimmy Breslin said Harrison was also dedicated
to the Cuban people and their revolution. Harrison also admired
Cuban President Fidel Castro, Breslin said.

Spanish Civil War veteran Moe Fishman described Harrison's support
for the Spanish Republic during the 1930s and his leading role in
conceiving and financing a monument to Irish International Brigade
martyr Tommy Patton.

Irish radio show host Sandy Boyer said Harrison was the man who
tied the broad anti-imperialist movement together and that "George
hated racism every bit has much as he did British imperialism."

Speakers repeated a unified theme that the best way to honor
Harrison is to defeat Bush and the extreme right in November.

As the memorial ended and the crowd dispersed, people walked into
the New York City night, motivated and energized to do just that.

— Gary Bono ( )


Major New Parade Will Get Funding

Derry plans huge St Pat's Day party.
By Brendan McDaid

28 October 2004

Londonderry is set to stage the biggest St Patrick's Day parade the
city has witnessed in decades, it emerged today.

The Arts Council have now agreed to provide funding for a major new
cross- community and cross-cultural event to be staged in the city
in honour of St Patrick for 2005.

A new report from the Town Clerk and Chief Executive's office is
now in the pipeline, but the council today stressed plans were at
an early stage.

A series of workshops will now be held with venues across the city.

The plans will be debated at next month's Recreation and Leisure
Committee meeting.

The report is being compiled at the request of Sinn Fein, after
local representatives expressed embarrassment at previous
celebrations in the city.

Mayor Gearoid O'hEara said that the move had garnered support from
all sections of the community.

"One of the things I suggested is that we go along and have an
inclusive parade with all sections of the community involved,
including ethnic and racial minorities.

"The template officers have worked out could contribute to that

The Mayor said that the Arts Council had provided "substantial"
funding for a carnival and revealed that a new North West Carnival
group had been set up in anticipation of the event.

He added: "We would have to do a serious bit of negotiating to
create an atmosphere where everybody feels comfortable and not
excluded and insulted, but if we can get there we will have a far
more prosperous city."

His comments come after a row broke out between Sinn Fein and the
DUP over the use of Tricolour flags at the St Patrick's Day event.

DUP councillor Mildred Garfield said: "I have no problem with
people coming to celebrate St Patrick's Day in this town but the
use of the tricolour will alienate certain elements.

"St Patrick was not a nationalist or a republican, he belonged to

Her DUP colleague Willie Hay added: "I celebrate St Patrick's Day
every year and I don't believe we should be allowing the patron
saint to be claimed by one section of society.

"This can be celebrated in a way that does not cause offence to any
section of the community and if we get to that, we have achieved

Sinn Fein councillor Lynn Fleming took issue with the unionist

She said: "Any event at which republicans and nationalists want to
demonstrate their identity in this city is deemed unacceptable.

"Yet thousands of Loyal Orange marches have passed through this

"If we are looking at parity of esteem and equality, then we have
to look at celebrating our national saint and the pandering to
unionists on this council has to stop."


Music - Ordinary They Ain't...

Maybe someday set for Belfast

The Ordinary Boys are one of the most exciting bands to emerge from
the music industry in the last five years.

They are the voice of a suburban generation, and young enough to
understand the issues affecting them.

Their music is a blend of social analysis, hard hitting rock and
attitude that belies the title of anything 'ordinary'.

Debut single Maybe Someday and recent debut chart single, Week In,
Week Out, show The Ordinary Boys taking a raft of influences from
their early hardcore days through classic sixties pop, Tamla Motown
and the early eighties' Two Tone scene.

Debut album Over the Counter Culture distills this world view into
12 bursts of straightforward shots at the state of the nation and
the people of Belfast can hear this live in the Limelight on Sunday
October 31.

The four lads are from Worthing in England, and three have just
finished their A-Levels.

None of them have been to Ireland yet and this tip to Belfast will
be even the more poignant for lead singer Preston, whose
grandparents on both sides have Irish heritage.

"We haven't been to Ireland yet, even though it is such a short
distance away, but we're looking forward to the gigs in Belfast and
Dublin even more because of that.

"I think because my mum is Irish American, it'll mean a bit more to
me," said Preston.

The band, as Preston explains are very laid back and modest. In
fact they have known each other for ten years.

At the moment that stands for a large slice of their lives
considering band member William who plays guitar is a mere 19, as
is bassist James and drummer Charlie.

While lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist Preston is older at 22.

"As kids we had lots of bands," Preston remembers.

"We use lots of instruments and logos but no songs.

"As soon as talent caught up with our hearts that's when the whole
rumble started."

Their attitude to their relatively recent sky-rocketing success is
laid back too, despite the likes of pop legend Morrissey claiming
to be one of their fans, as well as Modfather Paul Weller.

"We take each gig as it comes, if we do well or we don't it doesn't
matter, as long as we get to play our songs," Preston says.

"When we got together we kind of ostracised ourselves.

"We never expected to be signed, or expected to gain success by
dragging on someone else's coat-trails. Success was a total fluke
for us.

"We sent a demo of our songs to someone and he sent it on and
that's it. We signed to Warner Brothers, a year ago."

The boys have had a phenomenal rise since then with sell out
concerts around the summer festival circuit and now their own
British and Irish tour, but they seem to have maintained a level

"Warners taking us on was a break. Total luck and coincidence," the
Ordinary Boys frontman explained.

"I'm sure there are plenty of bands writing great songs out there,
but they just don't get the break.

"We're all very down to earth. We take everything with a healthy
dose of irony. A bit like our songs.

"But we all are really delighted with our success, it has given us
a wonderful chance to see the world."

And from experience Preston explained, it's a world away from
selling double glazing over the phone – a job he carried out with
little to no gusto before the band made it.

"I was working at a computer, destroying my brain, selling double
glazing. It was so repetitive.

"You switched off your mind basically.

"You're the cold caller, you're the enemy, you're the baddie.

"It's terrible. People shout abuse at you, absolute strangers, but
you have to keep cool.

"You can't quit or else you won't have a roof over your head.

"Then when the working week was over you tried to cram all the fun
into Saturdays.

"I think that's really sad when you force yourself to have fun on a
dedicated day.

"And then you go through that sinking feeling about Monday

The Boys' second album is expected to be out before next summer.

It is a test of their worth Preston explained and they intend to
maximise their sound with more strings and horns.

With such a busy schedule it will hard to fit the time in, but the
band are determined not to be another flash in the pan.

Tickets for this show are on sale now from Katy Daly's, Virgin and
all usual Ticketmaster outlets.

****************************************** /2/hi/uk_news/northern_ireland/3962825.stm

Honour For 'Heroic Teenager'

A County Down teenager who tried in vain to save his friend from
drowning is to receive a prestigious bravery award.

David Hackett, 14, will be honoured for his attempts to rescue
Jordan Murdock in Killough in January this year.

The boys had been playing on the pier when Jordan fell into the

David jumped in after him and managed to grab hold of him several
times, but the boys were driven apart by the waves and Jordan

David was pulled to safety by his family.

The award is being made by the Royal Humane Society.

The society has described him as "a remarkable friend and hero".

In March, Jordan's parents presented a new lifeboat for the area in
his memory.

Jordan had moved to Killough with his family from south Belfast
last year.

Coastguards said the search for the teenager, which involved all
the emergency services, community volunteers and divers, was the
biggest ever of its kind in Northern Ireland.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2004/10/28 15:26:03 GMT

Jay Dooling (
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