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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'

2004-10-19 14:50:04+01


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 Féin 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

comprehensive package.


"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

power sharing.


"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 Féin 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 Féin, 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

for progress.


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

other parties.


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



By:Press Association


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

power sharing.


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-

Agreement face.


"Our message to the SDLP is plain.


"All of the changes we are proposing are to ensure workable and

fair government.


"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

Irish governments.


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

paramilitary violence.


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

last week.


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

coming weeks.


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





Government's Policy On Deportations Illegal Under EU Law


Published: 19 October, 2004


Sinn Féin spokesperson on Justice, Equality and Human Rights Aengus

Ó 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 Ó 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 Ó 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 Féin 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

discussed." ENDS




Sinn Féin 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 today‚s 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,

said :


"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 £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

goal. "






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

Northern Ireland.


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

this situation.


"I believe that a full and frank investigation is needed into this

whole affair."


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 £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 £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

it. "


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

Community Centre.




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

United States.


"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."


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