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October 23, 2004

News 10/23/04 - Plea For Kidnapped Irishwoman Meets With Silence

News about Ireland & the Irish

SM 10/23/04 Plea For Kidnapped Aid Worker Meets With Silence –V
SM 10/23/04 Black Watch Order 'A Mission Too Far' Says Tim Collins
GA 10/23/04 Lettermore Man Accused Of Bribery In Chicago
RT 10/23/04 Irishman Goes Missing In Paris –V
BB 10/23/04 U2 Lyrics Returned After 23 Years

RT 10/23/04 GAA News –VO
PT 10/23/04 Infrastructure Ignored On Estates -VO

See video of GAA News - Eamon Horan previews tomorrow's second test
in the International Rules series at:

See video - As construction of new houses soars provision of
infrastructure is neglected Ken O'Shea investigates the avenues of
redress for new home owners at:


See video at:

Plea For Kidnapped Aid Worker Meets With Silence

Charity workers were still facing an agonising wait for news of
Iraq aid worker Margaret Hassan tonight after a televised plea to
her kidnappers was met with silence.

At the end of another day of bloodshed in the country, there was no
further word from the hostage-takers who yesterday paraded a
tearful Mrs Hassan begging for her life in a videotape.

Earlier today a suicide car bomber killed at least 16 Iraqi
policemen and injured 40 other people at a police station near a US
Marine base near Ramadi, in western Iraq.

In Baghdad a roadside bomb exploded near an American military
convoy, injuring five soldiers.

And Iraqi militant group the Army of Ansar al-Sunna said it had
beheaded an Iraqi man it accused of collaborating with US forces
and posted pictures of the killing on the Internet.

Charity Care International`s plea for Mrs Hassan to be freed came
late last night and was read on the Arab television station Al-
Jazeera by the organisation`s secretary-general, Denis Caillaux.

Mr Caillaux said Mrs Hassan was dedicated to the Iraqi people and
called for her "immediate release".

The move came after the dual British-Iraqi national, who was born
in Dublin, was shown in a video on the channel begging Tony Blair
to pull out of Iraq and not to send troops to Baghdad.

Mrs Hassan, director of Care International in Iraq, sobbed as she
said she did not want to die like beheaded engineer Ken Bigley and
urged the British government not to move Black Watch soldiers to
the country`s capital.

Downing Street refused to respond to Mrs Hassan`s statement but
Foreign Secretary Jack Straw described the video as "extremely
distressing" and urged Iraqi people to join together and call for
her "immediate release".

Mr Caillaux said in his statement: "She is a naturalised Iraqi
citizen and always holds the people of Iraq in her heart. Care
joins with many of the people whose lives Mrs Hassan has touched
over her decades of service in Iraq in reaching out to her captors
to appeal to their humanity.

"We call on the people who are holding Mrs Hassan to understand
that she is an Iraqi and to release her to her family and the
people who love her."

In an interview with Fox News, Iraqi prime minister Ayad Allawi
called the Hassan kidnapping a "tragedy" but added: "Nobody is
going to go for their demands ...and give in to their demands.

"We have to to remain very strong and adamant that we should bring
the terrorists to justice."

Mrs Hassan was snatched by an armed gang in Baghdad on Tuesday.

On the video, she said: "Please help me. Please help me.

"This might be my last hours. Please help me. Please, the British
people, ask Mr Blair to take the troops out of Iraq, and not to
bring them here to Baghdad.

"That`s why people like Mr Bigley and myself are being caught. And
maybe we will die like Mr Bigley. Please, please, I beg of you."

Mrs Hassan, who has lived in Iraq for 30 years, looked tired and
distraught as she delivered her message.

The tape did not include any claim of responsibility and her
kidnappers were not pictured.


Black Watch Order 'A Mission Too Far' Says Iraq Hero

An Army hero says plans to send British troops to support United
States forces in Iraq is a mission too far.

The remarks by Colonel Tim Collins came as the British aid chief
held hostage in Iraq was shown in a new videotape pleading
tearfully with British Prime Minister Tony Blair not to send troops
to Baghdad.

Margaret Hassan, director of Care International in Iraq, sobbed as
she said she did not want to die like beheaded engineer Ken Bigley
and urged the government not to move Black Watch soldiers to the
country`s capital.

Col Collins, who came to prominence with a rousing speech on the
eve of battle, said the Black Watch should be back home training
other units.

An 850-strong battle group is being deployed as part of a US unit
tackling Iraqi insurgents.

But Col Collins, who was the commander of the 1st Royal Irish, said
yesterday it was a mission too far.

And he questioned whether they would be home by Christmas, as
promised by the Prime Minister.

"The Black Watch should be in the UK training other battalions," he

"They are the only thing left, and that is why they are in Iraq.
They are about to embark and they are on their third term of duty
in the last 18 months and that is overstretch by any definition."

Speaking on the ITV News channel Col Collins pointed to Army cuts
saying: "We are told that we have four extra battalions that we
don`t need any more and they are about to be disbanded.

"I think we should go and find whatever leisure centre they are
lounging about and invite them to go to Iraq. Because I think the
families of the Black Watch will believe they have done their

When asked if the Black Watch could expect to be home by Christmas,
Col Collins said: "It will all be over by Christmas has a certain
echo to it. Putting timescales on military operations is not a
sensible thing to do, it is disingenuous. These things take as long
as they take."

Col Collins was speaking after an announcement that the Government
had agreed to the US request for help.

Chief of Defence Staff, General Sir Michael Walker, said the troops
would retain their own rules of engagement.

But he said they would be under the "tactical command" of the
relevant American corps commander.

Gen Walker also repeated the government`s promise that the Black
Watch would be home by Christmas, saying that, even if they needed
replacing in Iraq, those resources already existed within the
multi-national force.

"This is all about capabilities not numbers," Gen Walker told the


Lettermore Man Accused Of Bribery In Chicago

By Declan Varley

A Galway-born businessman in the US has become the first person to
be charged with bribery in a contracts-for-bribes case that has
gripped political life in Chicago and led to the arrest of three
government officials.

Martin McDonagh (36), from Lettermore, and now living in
Naperville, Illinois, appeared in a Chicago court last week to
answer charges of lying to the FBI about bribes he allegedly made
to city officials in exchange for trucking contracts.

The investigation, which has escalated over the last six months,
has led to the arrests of three city officials, the resignation of
the director of the mayor's budget office, and compelled the mayor
to sack all 165 companies that provided dump trucks under Chicago's
Hired Truck Programme.

Mr McDonagh is accused of making 381 phone calls to a city official
he claimed not to know and of arranging to have his truck company
placed on the Hired Truck Programme after the city put a freeze on
new participants.

Three city employees - Mr Angelo Torres, who ran the Hired Truck
Programme; Mr Gerald Wesolowski, a senior water department
official, and Mr John Boyle, an engineer for the transportation
department, have been arrested in recent days for allegedly setting
up trucking companies with lucrative contracts in exchange for

Mr McDonagh's trucking company made $188,203 in 16 months from four
city departments that hired his trucks.

According to the indictment, Mr McDonagh told the FBI last July
that he did not know a Department of Transport official he is
accused of bribing.

The FBI claim Mr McDonagh wrote $19,700 in cheques to the same
official between May and August of last year, written in the name
of Mr McDonagh's other business, McDonagh Concrete.

In federal complaints accompanying the charges filed Wednesday,
officials said trucking company owners had told them they were
besieged for bribes and campaign money for unnamed candidates.

The charges are the latest allegations of corruption in the $38
million-a-year trucking programme, created to save the city money
by outsourcing such work as hauling materials to construction

The scandal in the Hired Truck Programme broke in January when a
Chicago Sun-Times investigation found that some of the trucking
companies hired to do city work did little but got paid while
trucks stood idle. The city ordered all 165 companies in the
programme to reapply if they wished to remain in the program.
Several were thrown out, declined to reapply or were rejected when
they did.

The former head of the programme was charged with extortion in

McDonagh was brought into court with his hands cuffed behind his
back. He was released on $4,500 bond by US Judge Magistrate
Arlander Keys and quickly left the courthouse, saying nothing to

Assistant US Attorney Gary Shapiro said after court that the case
should serve as a warning to trucking company owners and employees
that it would be "an enormous mistake" to lie about the burgeoning

Shapiro acknowledged that some people with knowledge of corruption
may fear retaliation.

"I want them to be more worried about us than their employers,"
Shapiro said. "Do they want us for enemies, too?"

Shapiro said Wednesday that the payoffs had continued in the
programme even after the former head of the $38 million-a-year
Hired Truck Programme was charged with extortion in January.

He said the government investigation would move forward quickly in
hopes that progress in uncovering corruption in the programme would
stem the flow of bribes.


See RTE video at:

Irishman Goes Missing In Paris

23 October 2004 20:06

An Irishman with a physical disability has gone missing on a Rehab-
organised trip to Disneyland near Paris.

French police have opened a missing persons search.

Brendan Brady, who is 42 and suffers from scoliosis, was part of a
group brought to the Disneyland theme park last Wednesday. As the
group was leaving the park it was noticed that he was missing. He
has not been seen since.

Mr Brady lives in the Palmerstown area of Dublin and is described
as very independent. He was one of eight Rehab clients accompanied
to Paris by two members of Rehab staff.

A spokesman for Rehab has said that a ratio of one member of staff
to four was well within guidelines and that staff had responded
extremely quickly when Mr Brady was found to be missing.

A search by Disneyland staff was also mounted but without success.

French police do not launch missing person campaigns until 48 hours
after the event, a matter which has caused some distress for Mr
Brady's family.


U2 Lyrics Returned After 23 Years

A briefcase full of lyrics and notes has been returned to rock band
U2 - 23 years after it was stolen.

It was taken at a US concert in Oregon in 1981 and contained lyrics
that were intended for their album October. Bono had to rewrite
some songs as a result.

At the World Affairs Council of Oregon on Wednesday, Bono said the
return of the notes was "an act of grace".

The briefcase was returned by Cindy Harris, 44, who said she found
it in the attic of a rented house in 1981.

Audience plea

Ms Harris said she did not know how to get in touch with the band
and did not realise the briefcase had been stolen from a Portland
nightclub until years later.

Her friend, Danielle Rheaume, spent the last year trying to contact
the band's managers to return it.

October included songs like Gloria, Fire and Tomorrow. After Bono
rewrote the lyrics in the recording studio, band members said it
was their worst recording experience.

Bono appealed for information about the briefcase when the band
returned to Portland a few years after the theft, and repeated the
question when they played there again in 2001.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2004/10/22 15:16:52 GMT

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