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October 18, 2004

News 10/18/04 - Deal Can Only Happen In The GFA

News about Ireland & the Irish

SF 10/18/04 Deal Can Only Happen In Line With GFA
SF 10/18/04 British Should Stop Engaging In Spin And Hype
IT 10/19/04 US Military Planes May Use Airport, Says Cullen –V
EX 10/18/04 FF May Have To Seek SF Support, Says Rabbitte
IT 10/19/04 Labour Party Opens Branch In North
IT 10/19/04 Sources Say NI Talks At 'Critical' Stage
IO 10/18/04 United Ireland Will Precede Tory Revival - Sinn Féin
BB 10/18/04 IRA's 'End Game' Edges Closer
IO 10/18/04 Post Boss Pays Ransom As Family Held Hostage
IO 10/18/04 Thieves Burgled Lawyers Before Firing Listed Building
IO 10/18/04 Pressure On Buttiglione Over Single Mums Jibe
IT 10/19/04 Crowds Attend Funeral Of Drowning Victims


Deal Can Only Happen In Line With Good Friday Agreement

Published: 18 October, 2004

Sinn Féin Chief Negotiator Martin McGuinness MP today said that
while republicans are up for doing a deal which would see the
political institutions re-established and outstanding elements of
the Good Friday Agreement implemented.

Mr McGuinness said:

'Sinn Féin has grave concerns about the position of the two
governments on possible changes to the institutional arrangements.
In addition the DUP is seeking changes to the Agreement which are
not acceptable.'

"Progress was made at Leeds Castle. That was over 4 weeks ago. The
two governments and the parties now need to bring this work to a
speedy conclusion.

"The fundamentals of the Agreement, including the checks and
balances which are of such crucial importance to nationalists and
republicans, will not be bartered or negotiated away by Sinn
Féin.Demands for a unionist veto over Ministerial Executive
authority or the institutions, or a return to unionist rule will
simply not happen.

"Progress will only be made on the basis of the framework laid out
in the Good Friday Agreement. There is no other way forward." ENDS


British Should Stop Engaging In Spin And Hype

Published: 18 October, 2004

Sinn Féin Chairperson Mitchel McLaughlin responding to remarks by
British Secretary of State Paul Murphy in Wales this afternoon

"It would be more helpful if the British Secretary of State
fulfilled the British Government's commitments to the Agreement
rather than engaging in unhelpful hype and spin. We need to see
substance. We need to see the British Government applying itself to
fulfing its obligations under the Agreeement

"The British Secretary of State is more than a commentator. After
all he suspended the political institutions, he penalised the Sinn
Féin electorate and he refused to co-operate with the Barron


(See RTE Video at )
LEN.html )

US Military Planes May Use Airport, Says Cullen -V

Liam Horan

There will be no change in Government policy on US military
aircraft landing at Shannon Airport, the Minister for Transport Mr
Cullen, said yesterday.

The Minister was speaking in light of the news that 120,000 US
soldiers have passed through Shannon so far this year, the same
figure that passed through in all of last year.

The practice of American military aircraft stopping off in Shannon
has been a source of major controversy in the past year. But Mr
Cullen is adamant that the Government will not be changing tack.

"In terms of refuelling facilities at Shannon, that has always been
the position of the Government and we do it for many different
countries," Mr Cullen told reporters when he visited Mullingar to
turn the sod on a new N52 Mullingar bypass.

"That position hasn't changed. If those facilities are required,
the Government has always facilitated them."

Asked if there was an upper limit on the numbers of soldiers who
could pass through Shannon - if, say, a million soldiers could pass
through - he replied: "Well, if we could take [ that] many, people
in Shannon [ in] terms of business would be delighted to have them.

"Let's keep this in context. These are simply planes landing in
Shannon, refuelling, and moving on."

© The Irish Times


FF May Have To Seek SF Support, Says Rabbitte

By Harry McGee, Political Editor

PAT RABBITTE yesterday implied that Fianna Fáil may be forced to
seek the support of Sinn Féin to form a Government after the next
general election.

Responding to comments by junior Foreign Affairs Minister Dermot
Ahern about a possible SF role in a future Government, the Labour
leader said it was "a fairly frank admission that FF will not be
able to rely on the support of the PDs alone to form a Government
after the next election".

He said that for him and for his party, the question of SF being
made welcome at the Cabinet table did not arise.

"I have always sought to respect the democratic mandate, but I have
often wondered whether a democratic mandate is something to which
Sinn Féin itself pays little more than lip service."

Mr Rabbitte was addressing the Northern Ireland Government Affairs
Group in Belfast yesterday.

He said that as things stood, "most people would be rightly
sceptical of any claim Sinn Féin might make to a place in
Government as a coalition partner".

Turning to the peace process, Mr Rabbitte said there were "good
indications" that the IRA will make some sort of commitment to
peace before Christmas.

He said if the commitment was total, it could well form the basis
for the restoration of institutions in the North and the resumption
of the Good Friday Agreement's North-South dimension.

Mr Rabbitte was also in Belfast to launch the Northern Ireland
Labour Forum. The forum is intended to provide a platform for those
on the centre left to broaden political debate beyond what Mr
Rabbitte described as its "current narrow confines".


Labour Party Opens Branch In North

Gerry Moriarty Northern Editor

The Labour Party leader, Mr Pat Rabbitte, has opened up what he
described as a "de facto" branch of the Irish Labour Party in
Northern Ireland.

Labour effectively now has elected representatives in the Republic
and in Northern Ireland but, said Mr Rabbitte, it had no intention
of putting forward candidates to run under the Irish Labour banner
in the North.

Mr Rabbitte travelled to Belfast yesterday to formally launch the
Northern Ireland Labour Forum which will send delegates to the
Labour Party conference and whose members will be able to vote in
internal Labour elections, including the election of the party's
ruling executive.

There are about 50 members in the Labour Forum, two of whom are
elected councillors. These are Mr Mark Langhammer, on Newtownabbey
Council, and Mr John McLaughlin, on Omagh Council.

Under current numbers, the Northern Ireland element of the Labour
Party would not have sufficient strength to elect one or more of
the party's 22-member executive but it could influence the outcome
of executive elections.

Mr Rabbitte envisaged the Forum, which he saw as a "third strand"
of centre left politics in Northern Ireland - "neither unionist nor
nationalist" - as growing in numbers and influence on the broad
Labour Party.

He did not expect the creation of the forum to trigger any strains
between Labour and its fraternal party, the SDLP.

This was confirmed by the SDLP leader, Mr Mark Durkan, who said he
had no objections to the forum and had been consulted about its

Mr Rabbitte said people could be members of the forum as well as
members of other parties such as the SDLP.

He did not totally rule out eventually running candidates in the
North but made it clear that were that to occur it would not be
until quite some time into the future, and at a time when Northern
politics was radically restructured.

"We did not establish this forum to be electorally focused. It
will, in a society increasingly polarised on communal lines, seek
to create space for debate on the centre left," he explained.

"At another level, whilst it may be too early to speak of radical
political realignment across the island, we are looking to create a
structure which could respond quickly to any political fluidity or
change in the future," added Mr Rabbitte.

He indicated that he expected the Forum to have influence within
the party.

"Recent changes to the Labour Party constitution have allowed
people resident in Northern Ireland to become members.

"The Northern Ireland Labour Forum is, de facto, a Labour Party

It has the same constitution, rights and obligations as other
Labour branches, including rights to submit resolutions to
conferences, and to stand for party office," he said.

"It will have a public presence, will encourage its members to take
up public appointments, will respond to relevant consultations and
will develop and publish political policy positions. Socialist
education will be an important part of the forum's work," the
Labour leader added.

Mr Durkan said he did not view the forum's creation as a threat to
the SDLP.

He primarily saw the move as one seeking to accommodate those
Northern members of Democratic Left who effectively were
disenfranchised when Democratic Left merged with the Labour Party.

© The Irish Times


Sources Say NI Talks At 'Critical' Stage

Gerry Moriarty, Northern Editor

Intensive work behind the scenes involving the British and Irish
governments and the Northern parties to reach an agreement that
would see the restoration of the Northern executive and Assembly
has now reached a "critical" stage, according to senior talks

Over recent days, the Minister for Foreign Affairs Mr Dermot Ahern,
and the Northern Secretary Mr Paul Murphy, have raised expectations
of a political breakthrough within the next two weeks.

Talks sources confirmed that British and Irish officials and the
Northern parties are engaged in detailed, high-level negotiations
that "over the coming days could go either way". One source said
the talks were at a "sensitive" stage and it was "just impossible"
to call how they would conclude.

They said Dublin and London were still striving to devise a formula
that the parties could endorse, rather than being forced to publish
"take it or leave it proposals" that in a benign scenario the
parties would acquiesce to or in a worst-case scenario would be
outrightly rejected by one or more of the parties.

The governments are still publishing their "best read" of the way
forward but ultimately might shy away from such a move if they
believed it would have no chance of success.

There were indications, too, that some of the intensity of focus
may have shifted from issues such as ministerial accountability and
how to elect the first and deputy first minister to matters such as
policing. Sources said these matters remained to be resolved but
that there appeared to be a stronger concentration now on policing
and other issues crucial to republicans.

Said one senior Sinn Féin source last night: "There is still a lot
of work to be done in respect of matters such as policing and the
role of the British and Irish governments in terms of implementing
the Good Friday Agreement." He confirmed the talks had reached an
"urgent" pitch but refused to go into the detail of the
discussions. He said there was still a possibility of a deal but
the "watchword should be caution".

The Sinn Féin chairman, Mr Mitchel McLaughlin, meanwhile downplayed
the comments from Mr Murphy in Wales yesterday suggesting a deal
could be accomplished in coming weeks.

"It would be more helpful if the British Secretary of State
fulfilled the British government's commitments to the agreement
rather than engaging in unhelpful hype and spin. We need to see
substance. We need to see the British government applying itself to
fulfilling its obligations under the agreement," he said.

Sinn Féin's chief negotiator Mr Martin McGuinness said his party
"had grave concerns about the position of the two governments on
possible changes to the institutional arrangements. In addition the
DUP is seeking changes to the agreement which are not acceptable.".

"The fundamentals of the agreement, including the checks and
balances which are of such crucial importance to nationalists and
republicans, will not be bartered or negotiated away by Sinn Féin.
Demands for a unionist veto over ministerial executive authority or
the institutions, or a return to unionist rule, will simply not
happen," insisted Mr McGuinness.

The DUP MP Mr Nigel Dodds last night rejected claims by the SDLP
leader Mr Mark Durkan that the DUP was seeking to achieve an
effective return to unionist majority rule in any restored

"The SDLP are flogging a dead horse in calling for no change
whatsoever [ to the Belfast Agreement]. Instead of engaging in
stunts, the SDLP would be better served engaging seriously in the
talks process and working with us to find a new agreement that is
fair to everyone in Northern Ireland," he added.

In Belfast last night, the Labour leader Mr Pat Rabbitte said there
were "good indications that before Christmas this year, the IRA
will finally have made the sort of commitment to peace that many of
us despaired of hearing in our lifetimes".

"All of us, I know, hope that that commitment will indeed be total,
that we will be told that they have decided their war is over, and
that they are ready to ensure that all arms are decommissioned in a
sufficiently transparent way to inspire confidence throughout the

© The Irish Times


United Ireland Will Precede Tory Revival - Sinn Féin
2004-10-18 17:50:02+01

Ireland will be united before there is a Tory government in
Britain, it was claimed today.

Sinn Féin's Arthur Morgan told the British Irish Inter-
Parliamentary Body meeting in Wales that he was pessimistic about
the Conservative Party's chances in future general elections.

"We'll have a united Ireland before the Conservatives get back into
office in Britain," he told the meeting.

Meanwhile, the 68 British and Irish parliamentarians heard that
extremist elements in the DUP may be involved in the intimidation
of a former loyalist councillor.

Harry Barnes, MP for North East Derbyshire, condemned a number of
attacks on the home of former Ulster Democratic Party member and
Lisburn councillor Davy Adams.

Mr Barnes told the meeting that it appeared that loyalists had
targeted Mr Adams because of his independent stance.

"One of the serious crimes in some people's eyes is that he became
a member of the District Policing Partnership and furthered the
cause of the Belfast Agreement," he told the gathering in Chepstow,

Mr Barnes, who is president of the cross-party peace group, New
Dialogue, said a severed pig's head had been placed on the
passenger seat of Mr Adams' wife's car, his dog had been killed and
an attempt had been made to block the chimney of his home.

He said Mr Adams had suggested that extremist elements of the DUP
were involved in the intimidation.

While Mr Barnes conceded that extremist elements could attach
themselves to many bodies, he added: "These things have to be
closely monitored."


IRA's 'End Game' Edges Closer

Brian Rowan
BBC Northern Ireland security editor

In the business of deal-making in Northern Ireland, the latest talk
is that this "may be a week to watch".

That said, it is being emphasised that it is not a deadline - there
is no certainty about outcomes, no certainty of success.

But in the background, in private negotiations - out of our vision
and out of our earshot - there will be another effort to close the
gap between republicans, the governments and Ian Paisley's
Democratic Unionist Party and to bring closer a once unthinkable

"Things are still going in the right direction," one talks insider
said, but he was still not sure "if it will all come together".

In all of this, there have been big hints about what republicans
are prepared to do.

The most senior figures in the Sinn Fein leadership, including
Gerry Adams, have indicated that the IRA would make an
"unprecedented and historic" contribution in the context of a
"comprehensive" deal being reached.

Before and during the recent talks at Leeds Castle, the British and
Irish Governments were given an outline of what was possible, not
in writing from the IRA but in a spoken assessment given by Mr
Adams and Martin McGuinness - two men in positions to know how that
organisation thinks and acts.

Now, four weeks on from those talks, the governments are thought to
have an even clearer understanding of what the IRA contribution
would be, although they still have no "text" from the republican

We are moving ever closer to the IRA's end game and ever closer to
that once unthinkable deal involving republicans and Ian Paisley's

The hints we are getting suggest the IRA would order an end to all
activities, that General John de Chastelain and Andrew Sens would
have their busiest period of work in the decommissioning process
and that the republican organisation would "melt away".

Sens is in Ireland at present, while Gen de Chastelain is in
Canada, but is due back in Northern Ireland soon.

Whether they will be needed in the short term is still not clear.

All of that depends on a "comprehensive" deal.

But, if things work out, there are hints that Gen de Chastelain
could be freed from a "confidentiality" agreement with the IRA, and
will be able to say and report more about any future acts of

Nothing, however, is being said by republicans - certainly not yet
- to suggest that the DUP demand for some "visual aspect" will be

All of this will be enormously problematic for the IRA and all of
it will be hugely difficult to manage within the republican

And we know too that if there is a deal, then the republican
"bluff" will be called first.

The DUP is not prepared to rush into government with Sinn Fein and
is insisting that a gap is left in order to assess the IRA

This pause - before devolution is restored - would be to wait for
confirmation that IRA activities have ended and that the arms
process has been completed.

And how that gap - of some months - is described and filled will be
an essential element of any agreement. Republicans are not going to
wait around to be "democratised" by the DUP.

That party now knows that if a deal is to be done before the next
Westminster election, then its preference for a six-month gap will
have to be squeezed down into something smaller - possibly an
interval of four to five months.

"They (republicans) will want all of it (all elements of the deal)
before the election or all of it after the election - not something
that straddles the election," a senior DUP source told BBC News

This is the party's way of saying that it accepts that the IRA is
not going to make its moves this side of an election if a power-
sharing government involving the DUP and Sinn Fein is going to have
to wait until afterwards.

And that is why, in the course of the next week or so, the
background negotiations will intensify in an effort to get this
deal across the line.

Transfer of powers

The preference is still to try to do all that needs to be done
before the next Westminster election rather than wait until
afterwards, but there is no certainty that it can be achieved.

There is still work to be done on the arrangements for
accountability within the political institutions.

Republicans believe the present government proposals "nod" too much
in the direction of DUP demands, and Martin McGuinness has said
this is causing his party "grave concerns".

Then there is the huge issue of policing and justice - how and when
powers will be transferred to local politicians.

For Sinn Fein, progress on this is essential, and crucial in terms
of the party leadership being able to make and win an internal
argument that says republicans should endorse the new policing
service and structures in Northern Ireland.

That debate - whenever it comes - will take several months to
complete, and it will be one of the things that will fill the "gap"
between point A and point B in any new deal.

Another issue is demilitarisation.

Republicans want to know how quickly senior police and Army figures
are prepared to move to radically reduce troop numbers and security

So, there is a lot to be done - and in terms of a pre-election deal
- there is not much time left in which to do it.

But maybe an indication of the type of progress being made came
from the DUP Deputy Leader, Peter Robinson, last week, when he
spoke of the possibility of a dialogue with loyalists and of not
wanting "to leave anybody behind".

Would he talk out loud on such a difficult and controversial issue
if progress was not being made on other fronts? The answer is:
Probably not.

There have been recent hints too that republicans are becoming more
confident that the DUP is interested in doing business in the short

So, whatever happens, whether an agreement is possible soon or
whether it has to wait until after the Westminster election, it
seems we are moving ever closer to the IRA's end game and ever
closer to that once unthinkable deal involving republicans and the

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2004/10/18 15:45:48 GMT


Post Boss Pays Ransom As Family Held Hostage

18/10/2004 - 18:35:03

Armed robbers held a terrified family hostage until a Post Office
boss handed over tens of thousands of pounds in ransom money, it
was revealed tonight.

A gang of four or five men burst into the house in the Old Park
area of Belfast last night.

They seized a man and two children and took them to a house in
Antrim, about 15 miles away, where they were kept captive

The youngster's mother, who works at a nearby Post Office branch,
was ordered to empty the contents of a safe before they would be

A police spokeswoman said: "This morning the woman was forced to go
to her place of work and remove a substantial amount of cash. The
three other family members were subsequently released."

It is understood they were freed on a stretch of road just outside

Police were unable to confirm suggestions that splinter republican
paramilitaries carried out the operation.

The hostage-taking comes weeks after terrorists carried out a £1.2m
(€1.7m) cigarette heist at a tobacco warehouse in Belfast.

The gang behind that robbery held a family from the Ardoyne
district, a republican stronghold, while the father was forced to
go to the Gallaher plant where he worked.

Chief Constable Hugh Orde has said republican paramilitaries
carried out the raid, but refused to say whether the IRA planned

With unionists demanding a halt to all Provisional violence and
crime before agreeing to revive the Stormont power-sharing
administration, a report has been sent to the Independent
Monitoring Commission ceasefire watchdog.

Their next assessment, expected within weeks, will be crucial to
attempts to rescue the Northern Ireland peace process.


Thieves Burgled Lawyers Before Firing Listed Building
2004-10-18 19:00:07+01

Arsonists who destroyed one of Belfast's showpiece office blocks
had burgled a top firm of solicitors before setting fire to the
building, it was revealed tonight.

Laptop computers and mobile phones were found dumped after crews
moved in to tackle one of the biggest blazes to hit the city since
the blitz.

Millions of pounds worth of damage was caused to the listed Queen's
Building when flames swept through the four-storey structure.

As police confirmed it was started deliberately, McCann and McCann
Solicitors, whose premises were ruined by the fire, disclosed some
of its equipment was stolen.

Pearse MacDermott, a partner in the firm which represented some of
the Bloody Sunday families, said: "It clearly looks like our office
has been burgled.

"We are horrified to have been targeted like this and then to have
had the place destroyed."

More than 120 firefighters battled for over 15 hours to halt the
raging blaze after it broke out on the top floor last Thursday.

The ferocity of the fire on Royal Avenue brought mayhem to the hub
of Belfast's commercial district.

Suspicions that it was started deliberately intensified when three
laptops, two mobiles and personal items belonging to the solicitors
were found scattered on nearby Rosemary Street.

A Police Service of Northern Ireland spokesman said today:
"Officially we are now treating it as arson."

Forensic scientists waiting to comb through the burned out
Victorian building have been delayed for days amid fears it could

A Waterstones' bookstore, a jewellers and the Press Association
news agency's Belfast bureau were located in the building and all

As well as smoke and flame damage, water also flooded down through
the floors, ruining thousands of books and wiping out other
valuable stock.

Horrified conservationists also feared the Victorian edifice built
in 1883 would be demolished.

City council surveyors' initial assessment was that it would
survive, despite major structural damage.

But further police forensic examinations have been delayed until
urgent safety measures are carried out.

A council spokesman said: "On the advice of our surveyors the
police are employing a structural engineer to design a support
mechanism for a section of the third floor where the roof has

Like other businesses in the 120-year-old edifice, McCann and
McCann has been forced to relocate.

But with back-ups to all legal documents damaged in the fire, and
staff set to move into new offices, Mr MacDermott insisted clients
would not suffer.

He added: "Despite this setback we are hoping to be in new city
centre premises and open for business in the next few days."


Pressure On Buttiglione Over Single Mums Jibe

18/10/2004 - 17:19:39

Italy's blunder-prone Rocco Buttiglione was under increasing
pressure today to spare himself the sack and step down voluntarily
from his new job as European Commissioner in charge of civil

Heroic efforts by his boss, Commission President Jose Manuel
Barroso, to stand by the man dubbed "anti-gay" and "anti-working
women" have been undermined by the latest attack on Mr Buttiglione
- as "anti-single mum".

Mr Barroso meets senior Euro MPs in Brussels tomorrow in a bid to
head off an embarrassing "no" to his new Commission team in a final
European Parliament vote next week.

The trouble was triggered by the Italian's frank admittance during
a job-vetting hearing with MEPs that he thinks homosexuality is a
"sin" - although it should not be a crime - and that he believes
the primary role of women is "to have children and be protected by
their husbands".

But this weekend things got worse when Mr Buttiglione, a staunch
Catholic and close friend of the Pope, was reported as declaring
that single mothers were "not very good people".

Mr Buttiglione insists he has been quoted out of context over a
remark at a convention in northern Italy that children who only
have a mother and no father are "the children of a not very good

He claims to be a victim of a hate campaign because of his honesty
in expressing personal views he says will not affect his Commission
job running Europe's civil liberties, justice and home affairs
policies for the next five years.

Today Commission officials insisted that Mr Barroso was still
standing by his man.

"I'm sure Mr Barroso's team will be approved by the European
Parliament," said one spokesman - although it was not clear whether
that team would now include Mr Buttiglione.

Tomorrow the leader of the Socialist MEPs, Martin Schulz, will warn
Mr Barroso that he risks his whole team being voted down unless he
either strips Mr Buttiglione of responsibility for EU civil
liberties policy or moves him to another Commission dossier

European Socialist vice-president Hannes Swoboda said: "These
latest offensive remarks by Mr Buttiglione simply confirm that we
were right in our first judgment of him.

"He is not suitable for this job - and he is not making life easy
for Mr Barroso."

But after a warning from the Socialists, Mr Barroso will receive
reassurances from the leader of centre-right Euro-MPs, Hans-Gert
Poettering, that Mr Buttiglione should keep his job.

The threat to the whole 25-strong team of Commissioners is because
MEPs can only vote out the lot and not pick on individuals.

The question remains whether a majority will use the "nuclear
option" just to get rid of Mr Buttiglione.

Chris Davies, leader of the British Liberal Democrat MEPs,
commented: "The latest outburst from Buttiglione confirms the very
worst fears of MEPs.

"There is now not the slightest possibility of the European
Parliament backing down.

"President Barroso is facing a crisis and must either move
Buttiglione to a job where he can do no harm or the European
Parliament will reject the Commission in its entirety when MEPs
vote on October 27.

"The longer this goes on the more questions will be asked about Mr
Barroso's judgment in nominating Buttiglione to a job where he is
supposed to protect and promote equal opportunities."

Sinn Féin Dublin MEP Mary Lou McDonald said Mr Buttiglione must
step down voluntarily.

"Many people will be dismayed by Buttiglione's latest comments, the
most recent in a long litany of disgraceful comments.

"To question the integrity of single mothers, many of whom struggle
to cope financially and socially, is another outrageous comment
from a man who is not fit to be EU Justice Commissioner."


(See Video at )

Crowds Attend Funeral Of Drowning Victims

Gerry Moriarty, Northern Editor

A large crowd of mourners congregated at the Sacred Heart Church
in Cloghogue on the outskirts of Newry, Co Down yesterday for the
funeral of the two young boys who drowned in a disused swimming
pool on Friday.

A joint requiem Mass was held in the church for four-year-old Shea
Laverty and two-year-old David Smith who died while playing
together near their home at Ardaveen Mews in Newry.

Amid distressing scenes, the mourners processed behind two hearses
carrying two white coffins to the church where they heard the
parish priest, Rev Richard Naughton, speak of the "heartbreak and
suffering" the boys' families were enduring.

Both families, who live two doors from each other, had recently
moved into the area.

Shea Laverty, who would have been five next week, his younger
brother who was unhurt, and David Smith found their way into a
neighbour's house which has a disused private pool. It is
understood that the pool was drained but the children drowned in
rainwater that had gathered in the pool.

David Smith's father, Brian, discovered the two boys around 5 p.m.
on Friday. He contacted the emergency services and on their
instructions tried to give them mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

The boys were brought to Daisy Hill Hospital in Newry but were
pronounced dead at 7 p.m.

Father Naughton told the mourners how Brian Smith desperately tried
to save the boys and when he realised his efforts were futile gave
farewell kisses to David and Shea.

"Brian, father of two-year-old David, who had jumped into the
water, and with a child under each arm, brought them out of the
water. Having given many farewell kisses to his own child, Brian
went and gave a farewell kiss to little Shea," he said.

Father Naughton said the tragedy was every parent's greatest fear.
"It is the fear of every parent that some danger might befall their
child. When such a tragedy does occur people's heartfelt sympathy
goes out to the parents and their prayers are that the parents may
get the strength to cope and to go forward in life," he added.

To the grieving parents the priest said: "You have little angels in
heaven who will always be seeking blessing upon blessing for you
and your families." Father Naughton paid tribute to the emergency
services and to the staff at Daisy Hill Hospital who were involved
in trying to revive the two children.

He said that the doctors, nurses and paramedics "saw in these boys
their own children and grandchildren and used all of their
professional know-how in the hope of bringing the precious gift of
life back into their bodies. It was not to be".

Bishop Gerard Clifford said the entire community was praying for
the families.

David was buried in the cemetery beside the chapel and Shea was
buried in a family plot in Coalisland, Co Tyrone.

© The Irish Times

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