- Name: Jay Dooling
- Irish Aires Home Page
- IA Houston Links
- IA Links Page
- IA News Links
- Irish Aires Archived
- IA Email Lists
- Irish Aires Blog
- October 2004
- November 2004
- December 2004
- January 2005
- February 2005
- March 2005
- April 2005
- May 2005
- June 2005
- July 2005
- August 2005
- September 2005
- October 2005
- November 2005
- December 2005
- January 2006
- February 2006
- March 2006
- April 2006
- May 2006
- June 2006
- July 2006
- August 2006
- September 2006
- October 2006
- November 2006
- December 2006
- January 2007
- February 2007
- March 2007
- April 2007
- May 2007
- June 2007
- August 2007
- September 2007
- October 2007
- November 2007
- December 2007
- January 2008
- February 2008
- March 2008
- April 2008
- May 2008
- June 2008
- July 2008
- November 2008
- December 2008
- February 2009
- April 2009
- May 2009
- January 2010
- April 2011
- May 2011
- June 2011
- July 2011
- August 2011
- February 2012
News about the Irish & Irish American culture, music, news, sports. This is hosted by the Irish Aires radio show on KPFT-FM 90.1 in Houston, Texas (a Pacifica community radio station)
October 19, 2004
News 10/19/04 - DUP Commitment Questionable
News about Ireland & the Irish
IO 10/19/04 DUP Commitment To Power Sharing 'Questionable'
UT 10/19/04 DUP 'Will Gain From UUP's Move To Opposition'
BT 10/19/04 Murder Led To IMC Being Questioned
SM 10/19/04 Third Belfast Suicide Spurs Adams Call For Action -V
BB 10/19/04 Dermot Ahern Hopes For NI Progress
SF 10/19/04 Govt's Policy On Deportations Illegal Under EU Law
SF 10/19/04 SF To Protest At Dublin Plastic Bullet Conference
BT 10/19/04 SF Urges Probe Into Flu Jab Delay
BT 10/19/04 Short Strand Women Using Skills To Boost Businesses
WD 10/19/04 Boston Irish Film Festival
RT 10/19/04 Irish-Born Aid Worker Is Kidnapped In Iraq
Irish-Born Aid Worker Is Kidnapped In Iraq - Jonathan Clynch
reports on the abduction of Margaret Hassan, who has spent more
than 30 years in Iraq
DUP Commitment To Power Sharing 'Questionable'
A question mark still hangs over the Democratic Unionists'
commitment to power sharing in Northern Ireland, it was claimed
As British and Irish officials continued to focus on how they could
restore devolved government at Stormont, Sinn FÃ©in chairman Mitchel
McLaughlin said it was essential the deadlock in Northern Ireland's
political process should be broken.
The Foyle MLA said in Dublin: "The two governments are not simply
facilitators or commentators on this process.
"They both have a crucial role to play particularly in honouring
their outstanding commitments, if we are to achieve agreement on a
"Four weeks ago there was progress made at Leeds Castle. However it
is crucial that this work is brought to a speedy conclusion.
"Republicans want to see a deal done. We want to see the political
institutions back up and running and the outstanding elements of
the Good Friday Agreement implemented.
"However the safeguards and protections in the Good Friday
Agreement cannot be diluted. There has to be democratic
accountability in policing.
"Both governments have declared their belief that the DUP is for
"There is no evidence thus far to support this and it flies in the
face of the DUP attitude in local councils where they have majority
Since last month's Leeds Castle talks in Kent, British and Irish
officials have tried to come up with a formula to which all the
parties can agree to kickstart the Assembly.
During the Leeds Castle talks, Northern Ireland's political leaders
came tantalisingly close to securing a deal which would have meant
the IRA giving up all its weapons and making a statement on its
future in return for a restoration of the institutions.
However, they could not agree a future model for power sharing.
The Reverend Ian Paisley's DUP will not go into government with
Sinn FÃ©in if the IRA remains active.
But they have also demanded significant changes to the Good Friday
Agreement to ensure devolved ministers are more accountable to
their cabinet colleagues and to the Assembly.
The nationalist SDLP and Sinn FÃ©in, however, have accused the party
of trying to create a veto on the work of other parties' ministers
in a future executive and also of trying to undermine cross border
co-operation under the Good Friday Agreement.
With the parties stalled on future power sharing, Northern Ireland
Secretary Paul Murphy on Monday appeared to set a two week deadline
He told a meeting of the British Irish Inter Parliamentary Body in
Chepstow, Wales that the finishing line in the peace process was in
"Anyone who understands Northern Ireland will know that trust will
not be established overnight. It will grow slowly, sometimes
"But I believe that within the next two weeks both sides have the
opportunity to take dramatic, decisive and unequivocal steps
forward which themselves will form the basis of a new
Mr Murphy is due to review the state of the talks in Dublin
tomorrow at a meeting with Minister for Foreign Affairs Dermot
David Ford, leader of the cross community Alliance Party, which has
backed calls for reforms to the power sharing system, has again
attacked the SDLP for refusing to countenance change.
The South Antrim Assembly member said: "The SDLP is not being
realistic about the choices facing Northern Ireland today.
"The choice is not between defending the Agreement precisely as it
stands and giving into the DUP demands.
"Instead, the choice is whether we make sensible reforms to the
Agreement or let it die.
"It is an old trick in Northern Ireland politics to scaremonger, to
build up a false threat that must be resisted.
"But the reality is that while the DUP has rightly pointed out many
deficiencies with the Agreement, their original proposals for
reform are not runners.
"It might have been easier if the last election had not thrown up
the balance of power that it did but we all have to deal with the
situation that exists today.
"If Northern Ireland people wish to take control of their own
future, rather than letting outsiders continue to impose decisions
upon us, that means creating the context for the DUP to buy into
the Agreement and work its institutions."
Mr Ford said he was disappointed by the lack of vision shown by
The Alliance leader now believed political progress would hinge on
any proposals brought forward by the two governments.
He said both governments were clear that the fundamental principles
of the Agreement were sacrosanct but that reforms were needed.
"It is unclear as to why the SDLP is so opposed to putting in place
measures to enhance collective responsibility and the
accountability of ministers," he said.
"Yes, the DUP have a poor record in local government. On previous
form, people are right to be wary of what they may do in
"Surely, the logic is to try to put in place as many safeguards as
"Are parties going to sit on their hands, or are they going to rise
to the challenge? I rather fear that the SDLP have chosen the
DUP 'Will Gain From UUP's Move To Opposition'
Democratic Unionists will gain more ministerial posts in the next
power-sharing executive in Northern Ireland if David Trimble's
Ulster Unionists decide to go into opposition, it was claimed
In his speech to DUP members in Lower Ards, East Antrim Assembly
member Sammy Wilson said his party had nothing to fear from any
tactical move by the UUP, not to go into government.
Mr Wilson said: "As far as we are concerned, it matters little
whether they enter government or not.
"Their refusal to enter an administration will give more
ministerial positions to the DUP and if they are as ineffective in
opposition as they were in negotiations and government, our
ministers are unlikely to fear being scrutinised by clueless Ulster
Mr Wilson was responding to recent speculation that David Trimble`s
UUP could refuse ministerial posts if devolution returns and
instead concentrate on being a party of opposition.
North Belfast UUP Assembly member, Fred Cobain, has advocated the
strategy but his leader, David Trimble, has yet to give his full
backing to the idea.
Nationalist SDLP leader, Mark Durkan, has also signalled that
during crucial peace process talks at Leeds Castle in Kent last
month, his party toyed with the idea of also refusing ministerial
seats if they felt that they could not sign up to a deal to restore
Ulster Unionist and SDLP tacticians have discussed the idea that
the DUP and Sinn Fein should be left to form a government together.
Mr Wilson said at the branch meeting in Ballywalter tonight that
Ulster Unionists were huffing and puffing about not entering an
But he said this did not square with the party`s willingness in the
past to sit in government with Sinn Fein while republicans remained
He also claimed the rival UUP were sniping from the sidelines at
every proposal in the current negotiations because they wanted the
talks to fail and did not want a deal which would see the DUP
achieving IRA disarmament and an end to paramilitary activity.
Mr Wilson also rounded on the nationalist SDLP for adhering to the
Good Friday Agreement as it stood.
"The SDLP have now found a niche for themselves as the defenders of
the Agreement," the East Antrim MLA said.
"Not a comma or full stop is to be changed.
"Even though they know that the Agreement has proven unworkable,
they would still cut off their political nose to spite their pro-
"Our message to the SDLP is plain.
"All of the changes we are proposing are to ensure workable and
"The benefits of any new agreement will not be experienced by a
narrow party political interest. They will affect everyone and
benefit the community as a whole."
Homeless Man Faces Life In Jail Over Killing
Murder Led To IMC Being Questioned.
By Chris Thornton
19 October 2004
A homeless man was facing a life sentence today over the murder
which led to questions about the International Monitoring
Commission's handling of intelligence.
Colin Martin Bell (30), admitted killing Michael O'Hare, a death
which plunged the ceasefire watchdog into a controversy over how
rigorously it assessed information provided by the British and
The IMC listed Mr O'Hare's killing as a paramilitary murder in its
first report, apparently on information provided by the PSNI.
The assessment was given despite the fact that a senior Government
law officer had cleared Bell's case for trial by jury - usually an
indication that a case has no terrorist connections.
The 38-year-old Bangor man died in a flat fire in the town on March
1, 2003. Bell admitted the murder yesterday, just as a jury was
about to be sworn to hear the case.
Two weeks ago IMC member John Grieve and PSNI Assistant Chief
Constable Sam Kinkaid apologised to Mr O'Hare's family for the
Alliance deputy leader Eileen Bell argued today that the IMC's
credibility has actually been enhanced by the way it dealt with the
Responding to a Sinn Fein attack on the ceasefire watchdog, Ms Bell
said it was rare that an organisation would go to the IMC's lengths
to set the record straight.
Her comments came as the IMC said it won't be commenting on the
blunder until after it publishes its latest assessment of
As the group prepares to issue its third report, Sinn Fein used the
mistake as an opening to attack the IMC's credibility in
independently assessing intelligence.
Sinn Fein had been forced to pay financial penalties for an IRA
incident highlighted in the first report.
Ms Bell said Sinn Fein's attack was "as predictable as it is
"The reaction of the IMC, in conjunction with the police, in
addressing the problems in relation to the way they documented the
tragic murder of Mr O'Hare actually enhances the credibility," she
"It is rare that an organisation goes to these lengths to deal with
mistakes and misunderstandings that have arisen. I appreciate the
steps that have occurred to engage with the family, and to give a
proper account to them, as they do, too."
Bell was remanded back in custody to allow for the preparation of
pre-sentence reports prior to sentencing. He faces a mandatory life
sentence although a tariff hearing must now be arranged to decide
upon the minimum time he will serve in prison.
Suicide rates for young Irish males - Jennifer O'Connell reports
that suicide is the cause of death for one third of people aged
between 15 and 24
Third Belfast Suicide Spurs Adams Call For Action -V
By Dan McGinn, PA News
The Government was tonight urged to tackle alarming suicide rates
in Belfast after a Sinn Fein Assembly member was left mourning the
death of his brother.
West Belfast MLA Fra McCann was returning from Amsterdam where he
had been on business for Belfast City Council after learning about
his brother Manuel's death.
It was the third suicide to be reported in West Belfast over the
Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams extended his condolences to the McCann
family following the suicide earlier today.
The West Belfast MP said: "We are all shocked and numbed at the
news that Manuel McCann, younger of West Belfast MLA Fra McCann,
today was found at his home after committing suicide.
"This is the second time in recent years that suicide has visited
the McCann family.
"Indeed today's death brings to three the number of suicides in
West Belfast alone in the past week.
"Three local families are now grieving and our thoughts and prayers
are with all these families at this difficult time."
Dermot Ahern Hopes For NI Progress
The Irish Foreign Affairs Minister has expressed hopes for an
improvement in the political situation in Northern Ireland in the
However, Dermot Ahern said he could not guarantee this would be the
He was speaking in the Irish Parliament on Tuesday, for the first
time in his new role.
Mr Ahern said the aims of both governments were to bring an end to
paramilitarism and to restore and stabilise the political
The political institutions in Northern Ireland were suspended in
October 2002 amid allegations of IRA intelligence gathering at the
Northern Ireland Office.
On Monday, Northern Ireland Secretary Paul Murphy said a
breakthrough in the political process could be just weeks away.
Mr Murphy said he thought the DUP was prepared to share power with
Sinn Fein and a major IRA decommissioning move could be imminent.
He told a meeting of the British-Irish Inter-Parliamentary Body in
Wales he was confident a deal could be struck soon to break the
The secretary of state said he was convinced that all the Northern
Ireland parties were determined to make progress as soon as
possible to restore the institutions at Stormont.
Fianna Fail Senator Paschal Mooney said he was in no doubt that the
IRA was poised to make a significant act in the coming weeks.
However, Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness said he had "grave concerns"
about the position of the British and Irish Governments over
possible changes to the institutions.
Mr McGuinness said that while Sinn Fein was still up for doing a
deal, the parties needed to work towards a speedy conclusion.
The SDLP leader, Mark Durkan, warned the governments against
imposing proposals on the political parties in the next few weeks.
Mr Durkan said this would be a recipe for "further problems" and
would not bring stability.
At the conclusion of intensive political talks at Leeds Castle in
Kent last month, Prime Ministers Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern said
the thorny issues of IRA disarmament and future paramilitary
activity appeared to be resolved.
However, the two governments were unable to get the Northern
Ireland Assembly parties to sign up to a deal over power-sharing
after unionists and nationalists clashed over future devolved
Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2004/10/19 16:29:25 GMT
(c) BBC MMIV
Government's Policy On Deportations Illegal Under EU Law
Published: 19 October, 2004
Sinn FÃ©in spokesperson on Justice, Equality and Human Rights Aengus
Ã Snodaigh TD has today called upon the Minister for Justice
Michael McDowell to 'move immediately to regularise the status of
the non-national parents of approximately 11,000 Irish citizen
children, as the Government's present policy would likely be found
illegal under EU law in view of the ECJ ruling on Chen'.
Deputy Ã Snodaigh made his comments after the European Court of
Justice ruled in favour of Man Levette Chen, the non-national
mother of a Belfast-born child EU citizen. The ECJ found that as an
EU citizen the infant has an equal right to reside in her country
of origin in the care and company of her parents.
Deputy Ã Snodaigh said:
"In light of the decision in the Chen case, I am once more calling
upon the Minister to move immediately to regularise the status of
the non-national parents of approximately 11,000 Irish citizen
children. Under the Government's present policy these Irish
children presently face either separation from their parents or
effective exile from Ireland. This is fundamentally unjust. They
have the equal right to remain in Ireland in the care and company
of their parents as do Irish children with Irish citizen parents,
and the ECJ has now confirmed this.
"This landmark decision calls into question the legitimacy of the
policy of this government in regards to deportations of these
parents, which may be illegal under EU law in view of the findings
of the European Court of Justice this morning.
"Sinn FÃ©in has consistently argued that the government's policy is
both regressive and inhumane. We now require a commitment from the
Minister for Justice to recognise the significance of this ruling
and to immediately grant residency rights to the non-national
parents of Irish citizens.
"I have submitted a motion to the Dail to move to adjourn normal
business so that this important and groundbreaking decision can be
Sinn FÃ©in To Protest At Dublin Plastic Bullet Conference
Sinn Fein has called for the immediate removal of plastic bullets
ahead of a conference being held today in Dublin by Jane's Defence
about the use of these and other weapons. Sinn Fein will join a
protest this evening at the "Less than lethal weapons" conference
which is being held in The Berkley Hotel, Ballsbridge, on Tuesday
19th and Wednesday 20th October.
Aengus O Snodaigh, TD, said that the
"Sinn Fein has consistently demanded that these lethal weapons are
withdrawn. There is no more debate required on this issue, only
action. It is a sad reflection on the thinking of those involved in
policing in Ireland today, that this conference is being held to
discuss the tactical advantages of plastic bullets and other
weaponry. Since the organisers do not want to listen to the voices
of human rights campaigners inside their event, then we are left
with no option but to make our voices heard outside todayÂs event.
Our message is simple: stop using plastic bullets against Irish
citizens. Plastic bullets have no role to play in policing in any
part of Ireland."
Gerry Kelly, MLA, Sinn Fein spokesperson on policing and justice,
"Plastic bullets are lethal weapons. They have no use in a human
rights-based, community policing service. 17 people have been
killed by plastic bullets, 8 of whom have been children, and many
more people have been injured. The Patten Commission supported the
call by human rights campaigners and community activists for use of
plastic bullets to be stopped immediately. Instead, the PSNI and
the Policing Board have continued to purchase these deadly weapons
over the last two years spending almost Â£1million on 120,000
plastic bullets. At Leeds Castle negotiations, Sinn Fein again
pressed the British government to honours it commitment to remove
plastic bullets from use. Alternatives to plastic bullets must be
found immediately and these must be non-lethal. There is no point
replacing the current plastic bullets with a new plastic bullet.
They must be banned once and for all. Sinn Fein, in solidarity with
human rights groups, will continue campaigning to achieve that
SF Urges Probe Into Flu Jab Delay
Health chief rejects call.
By Nigel Gould
19 October 2004
Sinn Fein today demanded a "full and frank" investigation into the
delay over the delivery of desperately-needed flu vaccine to
John O'Dowd, the party's health spokesperson, said levels of
concern had deepened and that an inquiry was necessary to make sure
such a delay did not happen again.
He said: "The confirmation which I have received from Angela Smith
that Chiron is the company responsible for the shortage of flu
vaccines in the North will serve only to deepen the levels of
concern which exist about the Department of Health's handling of
"I believe that a full and frank investigation is needed into this
But the calls have been rejected by the Department.
And in an interview today with the Belfast Telegraph one of the
Department's most senior doctors, Dr Lorraine Doherty, said
everything was done to secure additional vaccines as soon as it
became apparent there would be a delay.
"It is not our role to secure supplies but we had to step in. We
acted immediately and opened up negotiations with other vaccine
companies and got the vaccines we needed.
"There was no delay on our part. We moved quickly.
"We will have to sit down with doctors and others in looking at the
problems but there is no need for an inquiry.
"It was unfortunate and lessons have to be learned. But I believe
we have handled it very well."
She also revealed that no fewer than 80% of the total vaccine
supplies were due to come from Chiron - the company whose licence
was recently suspended pending an investigation.
In August, the Liverpool-based Chiron announced that Â£50m worth of
vaccine made in Liverpool for the US market was contaminated.
But Dr Doherty said that no vaccine had come into the province from
"Other vaccine manufacturers were secured and they acted at very
short notice," she said.
Dr Doherty said by tomorrow a total of 310,000 doses of vaccine
would be available. "There is more than enough vaccine now in the
province," she said.
Crafty Women Using Skills To Boost Local Businesses
By Marie Foy
19 October 2004
Enterprising women from the Short Strand in east Belfast are using
their creative skills to produce and market craftwork in a bid to
boost local businesses and encourage tourism.
Having successfully gained a grant from the EU Programme for Peace
and Reconciliation (Peace II) of nearly Â£209,000, and under the
direction of implementing body Training for Women Network, the
women have been preparing for their latest craft fair.
The scheme began six years ago when the Short Strand Partnership
employed a development worker to encourage women in the area to use
their interest in community arts to develop local businesses.
Shaun Henry, Peace II director, Special EU programmes body, which
manages the Peace II programme said, "Local economic initiatives
are central to the successful working of the Peace programme as
they help to develop the local area in response to real community
"This kind of project provides confidence building and real
business opportunities to those who have affected by the years of
conflict and I am pleased that Peace II has been able to support
Not only are the women making crafts for sale, they are also
participating in a number of cross-community projects which has
given them the opportunity, through the creative arts, to discuss
their role as women and participate in diversity training.
Norma Shearer, chief executive of TWN, said, "The Peace II
programme recognises the importance of women's development in
moving towards a more peaceful and stable society.
"This project is a shining example of creating innovative solutions
to assist both personal and local business development."
The craft fair will be held next month in the Short Strand
Boston Irish Film Festival
Not Just for Drunks and Religious Nuts Anymore by Matuya Brand
by Matuya Brand
"We no longer believe there is one vision of Ireland," said Peter
Flynn, co-curator of the Boston Irish Film Festival. Flynn, a
Dublin-born professor of Visual and Media Arts at Emerson College,
said that the BIFF recognizes not only the country's fledgling film
industry but also the pluralism of Irish culture for the new
millennium. "No bucolic hills or Catholic Nationalists who stay at
home with their mothers until they're 42. This festival opens up
what it means to be Irish."
Apparently that means Africa, cartoons and boy bands, if the
winners from this year's 25-plus screenings are any indication. The
winner for Best Film, Timbuktu, was largely filmed in Africa, while
the winner for Best Short Film/Animation is a cartoon from a series
done on RTE, Ireland's primary broadcasting network, bringing Oscar
Wilde's The Nightingale and the Rose to life. Spin the Bottle, an
off-the-wall comedy that won the Director's Choice Award, tracks
the adventures of an ex-con who wants to raise enough money to send
his obese aunt to Lourdes for a miracle cure by entering a
televised boy band competition. Cinegael Paradiso: Once Upon a Time
in Connemara is the traditionally themed Best Documentary winner,
focusing on the Irish language and film industry. The Special Jury
Prize for Best Debut went to News from the Church, which was based
on Frank O'Connor's short story of the same name that examines the
consequences of independent thinking in mid-20th century rural
The BIFF will also honor actor, producer, writer and director
Gabriel Byrne, known for his roles in movies such as Excalibur and
Miller's Crossing, with an Excellence Award on Monday, October 25
at the Brattle Theatre, 7:30pm, hosted by Brian O'Donovan (of
WGBH's The Celtic Sojourn).
The festival promises to be a feast for the Eire-phile: Beyond the
four winners, several other screenings replete with innovative
subjects and complex themes have been buzzing in the film industry.
Bloom presents a surprisingly accessible adaptation of James
Joyce's epic Ulysses, a book that had long been deemed unfilmable.
Headrush is a Trainspotting-like tale of two drug dealers'
misadventures between Dublin and Amsterdam. Scenes from a Tour: The
Hothouse Flowers is an intimate portrait of the US tour of a band
that Rolling Stone once called the "best unsigned band in Europe."
Beautiful Kid depicts Irish Americans in a NY production featuring
Angela's Ashes author Frank McCourt as a supporting actor.
Local documentarist John Michalczyk, a professor of Film Studies at
Boston College with whom Flynn taught last year, will be screening
his most recent documentary, Celtic Waves: The Flow of Irish
Emigration. The sole Boston filmmaker featured in the festival,
Michalczyk says the documentary is unique, as it takes an Irish
perspective towards emigration, avoiding the exhausted story of
Gangs of New York and other overdone narratives about how stoic
Irish folk planted themselves here despite the wishes of the US.
"There's a lot of psychological and physical hurt when people
emigrate," said Michalczyk. His 54-minute flick depicts Irish
emigration in phases, beginning with people leaving the motherland
to escape hunger and British oppression. Though Bostonians produced
the movie, don't anticipate a plethora of Southie-scapes; the bulk
of the filming was done across the pond in Cork, Cove, Dublin and
Northern Ireland, combined with stock footage from BBC, national
archives, and the rich landscape and waterscape taping in 16mm by
Robert Marshall of WGBH.
Michalczyk and his fellow producers at the Boston-based Etoile
Productions have a long legacy of portraying the Irish in their
work. Since 1995, they've produced Stars and Shamrocks: Boston's
Jews & Irish, studying the complex relations between two of
Boston's most prominent religious/ethnic communities; Out of the
Ashes, a documentary dedicated to the fragile peace in Northern
Ireland; and Unexpected Openings: Northern Ireland's Prisoners,
which features a series of high-profile Irish Republican Army and
loyalist paramilitary member interviews, suggesting that certain
prisoners evolved to become the best peacemakers.
Flynn founded the festival in 1999 and says he never considered
that it would become the annual success it is today. Past BIFF
screenings have included the world premieres of Patrick Bergin's
Some Other Place and the US premieres of Divorcing Jack, Rat, Wild
About Harry, In America and the Boston premiere of Bloody Sunday.
The BIFF is currently the largest festival of its kind in the
"People respond to the festival in different ways," Flynn said.
"The Irish enjoy the familiarity and feel a little homesick, and
the American people respond to the thrill of something new."