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 22, 2004

News 10/22/04 - Peach Could Be Within Grasp

News about Ireland & the Irish

EX 10/22/04 IRA Move - Peace Could Be Within Our Grasp
IO 10/22/04 £300,000 Assets Frozen In Anti-Smuggling Operation
BB 10/22/04 Man Denies Army HQ Attack
IO 10/22/04 Two Cases Of BSE Reported This Week
UT 10/22/04 Bank Holiday: Roads, Airports, Stations Crammed

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http://www.examiner.ie/pport/web/opinion/Full_Story/did-
sgn7s9JwRFBA6sgdq-nXlDAyFE.asp

IRA Move - Peace Could Be Within Our Grasp

IT would be hard to exaggerate the importance for the peace
process, North and South, of today's Irish Examiner exclusive that
the Provisional IRA could stand down next March, taking the gun out
of Irish politics once and for all.

Having for years 'talked the talk' about decommissioning its
weapons, Sinn Féin's private army is finally set to 'walk the
walk', and may wind up completely in five months, our Political
Editor, Harry McGee, reveals.

Significantly, this dramatic news could create a new window of
opportunity for the British and Irish Governments to break the
logjam currently blocking restoration of the North's power-sharing
Assembly.

It would also be a welcome Christmas bonus for the North's
beleaguered citizens, desperately desiring peace and normality for
themselves and their children.

Already, a marked reduction in IRA activities has been noted by the
PSNI, the North's police, though punishment beatings are still
widespread among loyalists.

With Ian Paisley's DUP firmly opposed to sharing power with Sinn
Féin, or even speaking to them, while weapons are still out there,
an IRA stand-down would be crucial.

Politically, the March deadline would give Sinn Féin a mighty
electoral boost before the British elections in May. It would also
provide a breathing space for beleaguered British Prime Minister
Tony Blair as the Labour government faces a tough election over
Britain's role in Iraq.

Symbolically, the onset of St Patrick's Day is a time when the
international media looks to Ireland for stories and so the March
disbandment deadline would be a publicity coup for the IRA's
finely-tuned PR machine.

The modern IRA was formed in the winter of 1969-70 when the North
was torn by conflict. A split in Sinn Féin was engineered by Fianna
Fáil with the aim of wresting 'true' republicanism from its left-
wing socialist leadership.

When money was offered to enable the breakaway faction go it alone,
the Provisional and Official wings of the IRA went their separate
ways. Thus opened the bloodiest chapter of the Troubles as the
Provos took on the British Army, the RUC and militant loyalists in
a war that cost the lives of thousands of innocent civilians.

Ironically, when the organisation is wound up, some IRA men could
yet end up joining PSNI. Furthermore, disbandment would see the
highly active IRA intelligence unit being subsumed into the wider
republican movement where it would gather political rather than
military intelligence.

A chronic lack of trust between unionists and nationalists was
central to the collapse of the recent Leeds Castle bid to break the
Assembly stalemate. Tactically, the DUP entered a new phase,
demanding that ministers be accountable to the Assembly for their
executive decisions. Nationalists strongly resisted this move,
seeing it as a ploy to change the fundamentals of the Good Friday
agreement, giving unionists a veto on power-sharing.

As the search goes on for an elusive formula of words acceptable to
all sides continues, the vexed proposal to grant immunity to IRA
suspects on-the-run is likely to be added once a deal is secured.

Controversially, following an agreement, the Irish Government could
also release the killers of Garda Detective Jerry McCabe by the
back door.

If things go according to plan, Sinn Féin will look for an overall
package just before the British elections. The climax will be a
March stand-down of the IRA, a historic move that would be welcomed
the length and breadth of Ireland.

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http://212.2.162.45/news/story.asp?j=52044868&p=5zx45y7x&n=52045248

£300,000 Assets Frozen In Anti-Smuggling Operation

22/10/2004 - 08:36:10

Luxury homes and cars have been seized in an offensive against a
family running an alleged international smuggling operation, it
emerged today.

More than £300,000 (€434,731) was frozen by the British Assets
Recovery Agency (ARA) as it took control of four businesses, one
based in the Canary Islands.

Investigators secured High Court Orders in Belfast to move against
three business people based in Carrickfergus, Co Antrim, who are
also suspected of selling counterfeit goods, cigarette fraud and
illegally importing fireworks from China.

The Agency's Northern Ireland boss, former police chief Alan
McQuillan, said organised crime links were being examined.

He said: "In this case it's part of our case to the High Court that
there are business links from these individuals to China and to
Egypt and to other places in the rest of the UK.

"It just shows that this isn't just crime issues that happen within
Northern Ireland. There is an international dimension as well."

A receiver appointed after premises in Carrickfergus were searched
yesterday took control of an apartment and house in the area.

Three Northern Ireland-registered companies, as well as companies
in Leeds and the Canary Islands were also frozen.

Three top of the range BMW cars were taken away.

The latest ARA operation comes weeks after more than £1m (€1.45m)
in cash and property belonging to a murdered loyalist paramilitary
boss was seized.

With Mr McQuillan under pressure to produce results, the agency was
granted the first civil recovery order of its kind in the UK to
take over the estate of Jim Johnston.

Johnston, 45, a top member of the outlawed Red Hand Commando, was
shot dead at his home in Crawfordsburn, Co Down, in May 2003 during
a bitter terrorist feud.

Although Mr McQuillan did not believe paramilitaries were running
the latest crime operation, he confirmed the suspects named in
court papers were associated with top loyalists.

He also reckoned that the value of the seizures could rise
considerably.

"We have said those assets have a minimum value of £320,000
(€463,620). That relates solely to property in Northern Ireland,"
the ARA chief said.

"We haven't put any value on the companies and we haven't put any
value on other properties and interests in Spain."

Mr McQuillan added: "It's not part of our case for the High Court
that this activity has been carried out on behalf of any
paramilitary organisation.

"But it's also fair to say that some of the individuals involved do
have personal and perhaps business links to some senior loyalists."

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http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/northern_ireland/3944677.stm

Man Denies Army HQ Attack

Michael Rogan appeared in court in Lisburn

A man has appeared in court charged in connection with the bombing
of the Army headquarters in Northern Ireland.

Michael Rogan, 44, whose address was given as Culnaraith, Omeath,
is charged with causing explosions at Thiepval Barracks in Lisburn
in 1996.

He also faces two charges of collecting information about prison
officers and the security forces likely to be of use to terrorists.

Lisburn Magistrate's Court heard on Friday that he replied: "Not
guilty" when charged.

He has been remanded in custody to appear in court again on 19
November.

One soldier, Warrant Officer James Bradwell, 43, was fatally
wounded and 31 others were injured in the attack on the Army base.

Mr Rogan was arrested last Monday in Playa de las Americas, in
Tenerife and subsequently extradited back to northern Ireland.

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http://212.2.162.45/news/story.asp?j=99964740&p=999653zx&n=99965349

Two Cases Of BSE Reported This Week

22/10/2004 - 09:43:28

Two cases of BSE have been reported this week.

They were discovered in 10-year-old cattle in Counties Tipperary
and Kilkenny.

This brings the number of cases so far this year to 104.

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http://www.utvinternet.com/newsroom/indepth.asp?id=51926&pt=n

Roads, Airports, Stations Crammed For Weekend

The October bank holiday is one of the busiest of the year in the
Republic, and bad weather has exacerbated the usual travel
difficulties.

Roads, railway and bus stations, ferryports and airports are all
expected to be crammed with travellers over the course of today and
continuing into tomorrow.

Poor weather and last-minute rushing by thousands of motorists mean
that traffic around the Republic is already heavy, with warnings to
motorists to keep their lights on and bear in mind that most main
roads will be busier than usual.

Cork, Dublin and Shannon airports are all predicting an increase in
passengers numbers as people head away for short breaks or late
sunshine holidays - the long weekend coincides with half-term for
schools and families are taking advantage of the week`s freedom for
short breaks and winter sun-holidays.

All travellers have been advised to leave plenty of extra time for
all journeys, whether by car, bus, train or airplane.

Rail restrictions are in place, and reservations will be needed for
those planning on travelling to Cork for the Guinness Jazz Weekend
from Dublin. Cork city itself is gearing up for the influx, but
ongoing works in the city centre are likely to create extra
problems as thousands flock to hear musicians from all over the
world.

--- News


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