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October 25, 2004

News 10/25/04 - Bush's Stand on Ulster Under Fire

News about Ireland & the Irish

BT 10/25/04 Bush Stand On Ulster Under Fire
BT 10/25/04 Ireland 'A Long Way' From Sending In Troops
BT 10/25/04 Push To Restore Assembly 'On Track'
BB 10/25/04 DUP Anger Over Bradley
BB 10/25/04 Howard Urges Arms Transparency
BT 10/25/04 Howard's Way
BT 10/25/04 Sinn Fein MPs Claim £18,000 Each For London
BT 10/25/04 £100,000 Boost To Shankill Project
IO 10/25/04 Muslim Websites Debate Hassan Kidnap
BT 10/25/04 Briefing For MPs On Hate Crime Shame In Ulster
BT 10/25/04 Patrick Vincent Turley: Veteran Editor Dies
BT 10/25/04 Kevin Johnston: Distinguished Dentist & Prison Visitor
BT 10/25/04 Lavery & Mackintosh: Rare Art On Public Show
AB 10/25/04 Rick Steves: A New Morning In Northern Ireland

(Poster's Note: More about SF claiming reimbursement for actual
expenses. Sinn Fein PMs receive no salaries and are only
reimbursed for expenses supported by receipts. Are unionists
trying to divert attention away from sharing power with
nationalist? You would think that this was a run-up to an election
in Ireland. Jay)


Bush Stand On Ulster Under Fire

By Sean O'Driscoll
25 October 2004

The US-based monitoring group, Northern Ireland Alert, has called
on voters to back John Kerry for president.

The group, which has influential legal backers, made their
endorsement based on the candidates' knowledge of Northern Ireland

It released a report entitled "American Participation In The
Northern Ireland Peace Process" in which it reviews President
Clinton's track record on the Northern Ireland peace process and
how this had been followed through by both candidates.

The group finds President George W Bush administration "incapable"
of adhering to five key tactics employed by President Clinton in
negotiations leading to the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, including
personal commitment, communication with a special envoy; joining
with other countries, attention to arms decommissioning and peace
talks; and finally, an overall willingness to take risks for peace.

The group's editorial concludes that President Bush's reputation
gained from human rights abuses in Guantanamo Bay in Cuba and Abu
Ghraib prison in Iraq have greatly weakened his stand on Northern

The group also published a summary on the candidates' records on
Northern Ireland.

It concludes: "Senator Kerry has been an active follower of and
participant in Irish affairs. His actions to date hold great
promise that a Kerry administration would equal President Bush's
record on the Irish issue, with the good possibility that he would
surpass it in the areas of; (1) personal involvement; and (2)
restoring our relationship with Europe and Ireland to an extent
where our President's direct input into the peace process would be
on surer footing."

Those involved in drafting the report include Jim Brosnahan, a
well-known Irish-American lawyer and senior counsel with the
Morrison & Foerster legal firm. He has visited Northern Ireland
many times defending Republican prisoners facing deportation from
the US. He also defended "American Taliban" John Walker Lindh, a
Californian man who converted to Islam and fought for the Taliban
in Afganistan.


Ireland 'A Long Way' From Sending In Troops

By Gene McKenna
25 October 2004

Ireland was still "a long way" from deploying troops in Iraq,
Defence Minister Willie O'Dea said yesterday.

His comments came as the Green Party warned him against sending
Irish troops there.

The issue first arose when United Nations Secretary General Kofi
Annan was in Dublin recently and Mr O'Dea explained that Mr Annan's
proposal involved an international force of 1,500 troops which
could be rapidly deployed in trouble spots.

"If we signed up to this, we would be contributing some troops to
that group," said the minister.

"This would cover trouble spots all over the world, from one end of
the globe to the other, including probably Iraq when the situation
gets stabilised," he said.

"But that is a long way from actually deploying Irish troops in
Iraq." He added that the "triple lock" would come into play to
determine if Irish troops would be involved.

The Cabinet would first of all have to decide if Irish troops
should participate and that decision would be taken shortly, he

"Even if we did sign up for that concept, we would decide on a
case-by-case basis," he said on Today FM's Sunday Supplement

"Secondly," he said, "the Dail would have to sanction this and,
thirdly, the United Nations would have to make a request to us."

The main difference the new proposal would bring would be the much
speedier deployment of a rapid reaction force than exists at

"International troops would be trained and ready to go into action
whereas at the moment such a force is dependent on American
involvement," said Mr O'Dea.

Green Party chairman John Gormley said any move to deploy Irish
trops in Iraq would be "ill-advised" and would be strongly resisted
by them in the Dail.

"Our party would vote against sending Irish troops to Iraq. No
doubt George W Bush is now looking to the UN to provide him with a
convenient exit strategy from the mess he has created in Iraq.

"Ireland should not sully its international reputation even further
by assisting the US administration in this way. It is bad enough
that we continue to help the US war effort by allowing American
troops to land in Shannon," he said.

"It's time that the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for
Defence realised that this country is no longer seen as an honest
broker by many Islamic groups.

"Our neutrality has been severely eroded to the point where it has
become meaningless.

"The Green Party will continue to support those groups who are
protesting against the use of Shannon for troop transports and
against hostage transports to Guantanamo Bay," Mr Gormley added.


Push To Restore Assembly 'On Track'

By Gene McKenna
25 October 2004

Taoiseach Bertie Ahern has set the scene for a major push towards
the restoration of the Northern institutions in the next couple of

He has sent out conciliatory signals to both the DUP and Sinn Fein
as they approach the crunch stage of marathon behind-the-scenes
talks, two years after the institutions collapsed.

But he has also warned the parties that there can be no return to
"the old ways".

And, in an Irish Independent interview, he has underlined the Irish
and British governments' continuing commitment to the Good Friday
Agreement as the bedrock for achieving lasting peace.

As they try to narrow the gap between Sinn Fein and the DUP over
decommissioning and the accountability of ministers in a power-
sharing executive, Mr Ahern has underscored the importance of the
joint approach by the two governments.

Mr Ahern said the partnership between the Blair administration and
his own "has been and will continue to be a key driving force in
the peace process".

It is understood some progress has been made in the past week as
the governments intensified their efforts to encourage the parties
to resolve their differences once and for all.

He said last night: "We want to bring everyone with us. But we have
also been very clear that there is no going back to the old ways
and that the two governments are committed to the Good Friday
Agreement and our co-partnership of this process." The Taoiseach
said it was self-evident there could be no return to

The Good Friday Agreement, he said, was "an indispensable reality",
adding: "It is the basis on which the divided nature of Northern
Ireland society is being, and must be, addressed.

"It also makes really good sense for the island as a whole. That is
why the North-South mechanisms in the agreement are so important
and need to have strength," Mr Ahern added.

The Taoiseach said his Government had built up "a very positive
relationship with all shades of unionism, including most recently
the DUP, which I greatly value".

"The Good Friday Agreement is the foundation on which all these
relationships can be further built and strengthened.

"The positive relationship between the two governments is also a
profound and indispensable reality. "Together," he said, "we will
do everything in our power to make progress. We have a common
commitment and determination to bring these current efforts to a
successful conclusion and to make the Good Friday Agreement work."


DUP Anger Over Bradley

Unionists have demanded the removal of the vice chair of the
Policing Board after he warned about the impact of any dissident
republican attacks on the police during a political vacuum.

Denis Bradley said progress made on policing in Northern Ireland
was being threatened by the political vacuum.

He said nationalists may have to reconsider their involvement in
policing if the stalemate goes on.

Mr Bradley said if the political problems were not resolved within
two weeks, the governments should impose joint authority or another
mechanism other than direct rule.

He said republican areas in Londonderry and elsewhere were not
being policed properly because of the political deadlock.

"If a police officer was killed somewhere within the next couple of
months - within that vacuum - I think that policing could be set
back for a long period of time," he said.

DUP MP for North Belfast Nigel Dodds demanded the immediate
resignation of Mr Bradley.

Mr Dodds said: "First and foremost, it is not Dennis Bradley's job
to be making any comment whatsoever on the status of the political
process in Northern Ireland.

"We have heard for years how politics and policing should be
separate. Dennis Bradley ought to heed that advice."

DUP assembly member in Londonderry Gregory Campbell said his party
would not be pressurised into making a quick deal to reinstate

He said if Mr Bradley was throwing that down as "some sort of
gauntlet to try and push people into accepting a deal" it would not

"We had a mandate 12 months ago and that mandate was to get a fair
deal," he said.

"We are not going to be rolled over by anyone, be they a vice-
chairman of the Policing Board or anyone else.

"We have got to work until we get this deal right."

The DUP representative on the Policing Board, Ian Paisley Junior,
said he had written to the Secretary of State, Paul Murphy, to ask
him to decide whether Mr Bradley should remain on the board.

Meanwhile, Sinn Fein has welcomed Mr Bradley's comments claiming
they justified the republican argument that the current policing
arrangements are flawed.

The changes to policing in Northern Ireland came as part of
sweeping reforms to the service under the terms of the 1998 Good
Friday Agreement peace accord.

Sinn Fein has boycotted the new policing structures, insisting that
the government's policing reforms need to go further if they are
ever going to participate.

The Northern Ireland Policing Board handles some of the most
sensitive issues facing policing and holds PSNI Chief Constable
Hugh Orde and his senior officers to account.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2004/10/25 12:08:32 GMT


Howard Urges Arms Transparency

Michael Howard is making a one-day visit to Belfast

Any future decommissioning carried out by the IRA should be
transparent, Conservative leader Michael Howard has said.

He said if his party got into office at the next election there
would be no move towards joint authority with the Republic of
Ireland "by stealth".

Mr Howard said principles laid down by Irish Prime Minister Bertie
Ahern that the IRA must disband before Sinn Fein could join a
coalition in Dublin, must also apply in Northern Ireland.

He made the comments during a business breakfast in Belfast on

The institutions in Northern Ireland were suspended two years ago
amid allegations of IRA intelligence gathering at the Northern
Ireland Office.

Mr Howard said: "What we need is the clearest demonstration -
through deeds, not just words - that the republican movement has
completed the transition to 'exclusively democratic and peaceful

"That must include transparent decommissioning to an agreed
timetable, an end to the IRA as an active paramilitary group and a
clear acknowledgement that the so-called 'war' really is over."

In his first visit to Northern Ireland since becoming Tory leader,
Mr Howard said his party wanted to see the return of locally
elected, accountable ministers.

"Yet we also agree with those who say that devolution can only be
restored on a fully inclusive basis once the shadow of the gun and
the private armies have been removed for good," he added.

He said if direct rule continued under the Tory Party they would
maintain the "friendliest relations and closest co-operation" with
the Republic of Ireland.

"But under a Conservative Government there will be no question of
any moves towards joint authority or joint sovereignty - by stealth
or otherwise," he added.

Mr Howard is also expected to visit a school and a hospital during
his one day trip.

'Moving goalposts'

On Sunday, DUP Deputy Leader Peter Robinson insisted there must be
a visual aspect to the decommissioning of IRA weaponry.

He said his party's position on IRA disarmament and activity had
been "clear and consistent throughout the negotiating process".

He was responding to remarks by Sinn Fein that the DUP was seeking
to humiliate the IRA over its demand for visible decommissioning.

Sinn Fein's chairman Mitchel McLaughlin told the BBC's Inside
Politics programme that the DUP was "moving the goalposts" and
increasing the threshold in relation to an end to IRA arms and

Mr Robinson said the DUP had not moved the goalposts on the issue
of "building confidence regarding decommissioning and the need to
end all IRA activity whether terrorist or criminal".

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

The sticking points in the political process have included the
method of electing a first and deputy first minister, a date when
the assembly can control policing, and whether or not 30 assembly
members can challenge ministerial decisions.


Howard's Way

To mark his first visit to Northern Ireland as leader of the
Conservative Party, Michael Howard spoke to our London Editor Brian

By Brian Walker, London Editor
25 October 2004

By waiting a full year since his election as Conservative leader to
make his first visit to Northern Ireland today, Michael Howard is
raising the lowest of low profiles in the province by just a notch.

In unsentimental political terms, Northern Ireland and leaders of
the Opposition at Westminster have little to offer each other. For
him, there are no votes in it; for the province, all he can do is
offer criticism or encouragement.

In the often bizarre twists and turns of politics since the
Agreement, the old bi-partisan policy has fallen into disuse
without really being replaced. Labour routinely accuse the Tories
of sniping at them for making difficult calls over Sinn Fein and
the IRA without offering any real alternative themselves.

To be fair to the Tories, it's a thankless task to try to stake out
original firm ground in the shifting sands of the peace process;
and, as with so much else, Tony Blair has taken up most of the

Yet Michael Howard's thoughts matter because Northern Ireland has
the awful habit of hitting Prime Ministers unexpectedly between the
eyes. And, however much against the odds, he could be Prime
Minister in eight months time.

In a conversation in his Westminster office last week, I wanted to
find out something of his approach and try to test his judgment.

Without expecting a great deal, I was still surprised at how
quickly he fell back on the old Tory approach when they think about
Northern Ireland at all, of relying on the traditional standbys of
emotional support for the Union and the odd contact with unionists,
whose cause they did so much in government to undermine.

David Trimble could be seen applauding in the front row during the
leader's speech at the Conservative Party conference in
Bournemouth, and Howard has had a long talk with Ian Paisley at the
latter's request.

With the constitutional future now in the hands of the people in
both parts of Ireland rather than the people of Great Britain, I
asked him: in what meaningful sense do you remain a unionist?

He replied: "I am a unionist because I passionately believe that
Northern Ireland should remain part of the UK so long as the
majority wish it. I am a unionist because I passionately hope that
remains their wish".

Astonishingly, he has made no nationalist or republican contacts as
leader. The new world of British-Irishry and cross-community
consent has yet to touch him personally.

"David" (Lidington, his genial Northern Ireland spokesman and his
former Parliamentary aide) "has many contacts and keeps me in

He did meet Bertie Ahern when they were both local government
Ministers (that must have been fun) - and that's about the size of

He still wants Westminster office facilities and expenses to be
withdrawn from Sinn Fein MPs unless the IRA delivers.

"My door is always open" he said, but there's no sign of Gerry
Adams hammering on it or of Howard inviting him in.

On the surface of Howard's personality, the streak of obsession in
the tough law and order Home Secretary has been replaced by the
gentler, kinder but "straight talking" leader.

Tony Blair's "constructive ambiguity" made it possible for the
Agreement to get off the ground. Would Howard's " telling it as it
is ", have sunk it without trace, I wondered? Would he have done
anything differently in 1998?

"If you take the Good Friday Agreement to include the manuscript
document that the Prime Minister wrote, the answer is no. But I
would have done things differently in the way the Agreement was
implemented. The essential difference is that I would have phased
the release of the prisoners along with transparent
decommissioning. If that had been done, I think the politics of
Northern Ireland would have been very different."

Even though pressure from the prisoners is believed to have been
crucial in securing republican consent?

"I think the prisoners would have exercised similar pressure if the
release had have been phased. That was the great opportunity that
was lost."

In the present deadlock over a deal, does he believe Sinn Fein is
telling the truth that the IRA are ready to deliver? After a pause
he replied: " I don't know. I would not accept assurances that are
not completely clear. There shouldn't be any doubt about this. It
should be absolutely clear that guns and bombs have no part on any
democratic political system."

On the ups and downs of the guessing game about a deal, not
surprisingly he wasn't to be drawn.

"I don't know. The Government have information I don't have. I
cannot possibly judge."

Does he believe the DUP is sincere about a deal? "I think the
signals are that if Sinn Fein/IRA do what is necessary, the DUP are
in favour of an agreement."

On a key element of any revised deal, the devolution of justice and
policing, Howard is briskly pragmatic and is prepared to accept a
Ministerial role for Sinn Fein without obvious distaste.

"If we have the conditions fulfilled, Sinn Fein support the
criminal justice system and stop telling people not to join the
police, I see no problem."

Although "zero tolerance" policing in Great Britain is one of his
signature policies, he's unfamiliar with the issues and cautious
about translating it to Northern Ireland.

"I'm not commenting on policing in Northern Ireland because it's
one of the things I'll be taking to the Chief Constable about."

On one burning local topic, the fate of grammar schools, Howard is
prepared to jump in feet first to support them on a visit to
Belfast Royal Academy during the day.

I wondered if what he was really about here was invoking our
grammars to support bringing back the grammar schools system in
England, which many Tories yearn for.

"I believe in local choice and in the freedom of schools to run
things and be selective."

Even though in Northern Ireland the outcome might be deadlock
through the absence of cross community consent?

"But there is a clear majority in favour," he insisted.

Finally, if by some chance he held the initiative in a hung
Parliament after the general election, would he approach the
unionist parties for support and what would he offer?

No surprise here, he didn't play.

"You can conjure up a legion of scenarios over what might happen.

"I am thinking only of a Conservative victory with a working

Overall on Northern Ireland, Michael Howard is biding his time.

His approach may or may not have delivered the Belfast Agreement in
the first place, but he will not depart from it - hoping no doubt
for a settlement that will allow him to be the first Conservative
Prime Minister for a generation, not to have to search for a new
way through the political deadlock.


Sinn Fein MPs Claim £18,000 Each For London

By David Gordon
25 October 2004

Sinn Fein MPs are catching up with their Ulster party rivals in
terms of expenses claims, it can be revealed today.

The party's four MPs - Gerry Adams, Pat Doherty, Michelle Gildernew
and Martin McGuinness - became eligible for Commons allowances in
early 2002, despite not taking up their seats.

Their Westminster expenses in 2002/03 came to £342,456 - an average
of £85,614 each.

Within 12 months, their allowances had climbed to a total of
£439,452 - an average of £109,863 each, putting them some £5,000
behind the overall Northern Ireland average.

Last year's pay outs to Sinn Fein included around £18,000 per
member for London living and accommodation costs.

A number of Ulster MPs who do attend Commons sittings claimed less
than Sinn Fein for London living costs. Sinn Fein has stated that
all monies claimed from Westminster have been "used to finance our
constituency services and promote the peace process in England".

DUP politician Iris Robinson, meanwhile, had the highest expenses
of any Ulster MP in the three year-period from 2001/04, with a
total of £387,202.

Mrs Robinson has stressed that MPs' staff and other costs are paid
directly by Westminster, and the money does not come to the
politicians personally.

Her party colleague Nigel Dodds had the second highest total
(£385,874) for the three years, followed by Ulster Unionist David
Burnside (£369,595).

MPs are permitted to claim for mortgage interest payments on London
flats, though the living allowance can be spent on hotels or rental

Sinn Fein stated last week that its MPs do not own property in the
city. Husband and wife MPs are entitled to make separate claims for
London accommodation costs.

Mrs Robinson and her MP husband Peter have a property in the city
and received a total of £112,297 in the three-year period.


£100,000 Boost To Shankill Project

By Ashleigh Wallace
25 October 2004

A cross-community scheme located on Belfast's Shankill Road which
deals with the legacy of conflict has been awarded a grant of
£100,000 from the EU Programme for Peace and Reconciliation, it
emerged today.

The grant donated to the Shankill Stress and Trauma Group has
enabled the project to increase the number of community members in
training as well as the number of community hours.

The Group was established in 1987 and works to address the legacy
of trauma and stress that occurs as a result of years of conflict.
Based on the Ballygomartin Road, the Group now offers counselling,
training and therapeutic sessions to both sections of the


Muslim Websites Debate Hassan Kidnap

25/10/2004 - 08:47:43

The kidnap of Irish-born aid worker Margaret Hassan has sparked
debate on fundamentalist Islamic websites, with many contributors
urging that her life be spared given her decades-long service to
the Iraqi people.

The 59-year-old director of Care International's Iraqi operations
was seized on Tuesday in western Baghdad. On a videotape aired on
Friday by Al-Jazeera television, a terrified Mrs Hassan made a
tearful plea for her life, calling on Prime Minister Tony Blair to
withdraw troops from Iraq.

Mrs Hassan, who is married to an Iraqi and also holds British and
Iraqi citizenship, is the most prominent figure to fall victim to
the wave of kidnappings sweeping Iraq. As a woman who has spent
nearly half her life helping Iraqis, her abduction has stirred the
passions even of even those who have little sympathy for other
kidnap victims.

"Spare this hostage. She is a woman who dedicated her life to
supporting Iraq and its people. Is it religious that she is
rewarded with murder?" said one website contributor, writing under
the pseudonym "Hadeeth al-Zaman".

"Say the British government did this and that," he added. "Is it
right that we take our revenge on an innocent person who is not
involved with what her government does?"

Another contributor, writing under the name Nour Mohammed, said she
"pitied the poor woman when I saw her face (on television). I hope
they release her in respect for the poor woman's weakness".

The kidnapping and killing of civilians has traditionally been
rejected under the teachings of Islam. The Prophet Muhammad
enjoined his followers to treat captives with respect.

But Islamic militants have argued that civilians working for the US
military do not qualify as non-combatants since they are profiting
from the US war effort.

Mrs Hassan, who spoke out against United Nations sanctions imposed
on Iraq after Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait in 1990, is viewed by
many Muslims as a much more sympathetic figure.

"It is very hard to justify her killing using any Islamic argument
unless they come up with something like, 'She is a spy or an agent
for occupation'," said Mohammed Salah, a Cairo-based expert on
Islamic militancy.

"The fact that she is a woman, an aid worker, married to an Iraqi
and that she has lived in the country for quite some time primarily
contributed to stirring this debate."

The same argument was echoed by fighters on the ground. Yesterday,
the hardline clerics who run the main Sunni Muslim rebel stronghold
of Fallujah called on Mrs Hassan's kidnappers to release her unless
they could prove she was collaborating with the occupation.

Abu Saad, a member of the clerical Shura Council, said it was
"illegitimate" to kidnap her "because she has been dealing with the
Iraqis for several years, because she has been serving this country
and because her husband is Iraqi".

Militants have kidnapped at least seven other foreign women over
the past six months, and all were released. By contrast, at least
33 foreign male hostages have been killed, including three
Americans beheaded by their captors.

Still, some participants on the Islamic online forums have
questioned Mrs Hassan's work in Iraq and the intentions of Care
International, which has been working in Iraq since 1991.

One contributor who wrote under the name "Yanaam" condemned Mrs
Hassan's supporters and claimed that Care was interested in
converting Muslims to Christianity, a claim which Care denies.

"Are you crying for one who is after making Muslims convert to
Christianity?" he asked. "Do you think they were doing this out of
love for the Muslims?"

Despite such comments, Salah, the Islamic militancy expert, said
the online debate was "definitely in her interest".

"These people (militants) follow the media closely, and especially
the internet, and they care a lot about what is said about them by
Arab youth, whose sympathy they are after," he said.

But Magnus Ranstorp, another terrorism expert, said the debate
provided the militants with "greater leverage" because it
intensified the pressure on the British and American governments.

Ranstorp, director of the Centre for the Study of Terrorism and
Political Violence at St Andrews University in Scotland, said he
did not believe the kidnappers cared much about the debate.

However, he acknowledged that it could reduce the chances of her

"They want to have sympathisers," said Ranstorp.


Briefing For MPs On Hate Crime Shame In Ulster

By Jonathan McCambridge
25 October 2004

The Northern Ireland Affairs Committee will today visit Belfast
City Hall to hear the stories of local victims of racist and
homophobic crimes.

The committee is continuing its ongoing hearing into the growing
problem of hate crimes in the province.

The Government recently acknowledged the spread of hate crimes in
Northern Ireland when it introduced new laws to give the courts
power to hand out stiffer sentences to offenders.

Representatives from a number of ethnic minority and gay rights
groups will meet the committee today to talk about violence and
intimidation which they have suffered.

The number of racist and homophobic attacks has more than doubled
in Northern Ireland in recent years.

PA MagLochlainn, chairman of the Northern Ireland Gay Rights
Association (NIGRA), said: "We will be telling the committee about
the changes in Northern Ireland society and the implications.

"They will question us on the number of attacks and experiences,
what the police response has been and whether we believe the new
Hate Crime laws will be helpful."

The committee will hear submissions this morning from CoSO, the
Rainbow Project, NIGRA, Queer Space, Lesbian Line and Gay and
Lesbian Youth Northern Ireland.

Later on it will hear representations from the Chinese Welfare
Association, Northern Ireland Filipino Association, Traveller
Movement Northern Ireland, Anti-racism Network, Indian Community
Centre and Belfast Jewish Community.

The committee is made up of two Ulster Unionists, one DUP member,
one SDLP member and a number of Conservative and Labour members.


Patrick Vincent Turley: Veteran Editor Dies

25 October 2004

Patrick Vincent Turley (85), former editor of 'The Northern
Standard' died on Saturday at his home in Monaghan town.

The veteran journalist had strong republican convictions. He was a
supporter of Aontacht Eireann, set up by the late Kevin Boland and
became a strong advocate of Sinn Fein moving from its abstentionist


Distinguished Dentist And Prison Visitor

25 October 2004

Kevin Johnston, a former leading dentist who was chairman of the
Maze prison Board of Visitors during the 1981 hunger strikes, has
died. He was 84.

Mr Johnston, who passed away on October 6 after a long illness, was
born in Belfast but moved to Liverpool when he was 12.

He was educated at St Francis Xavier in Liverpool until he turned
18 and joined HM Customs and Excise.

With the outbreak of war in 1939, he enlisted in the Royal Navy,
where he served as a petty officer in the Pacific fleet.

He also served on HMS Series until it was blown up off Cape Town,
and as chief petty officer on HMS Manxman - a mine weeper which was
the first vessel to break the siege of Malta.

After the war ended, Kevin Johnston returned to Belfast where he
undertook a degree in dentistry at Queen's.

During his time as a student, he served in the position of
entertainments officer as well as being a member of the Student
Representative Council.

Following his graduation, he set up a practice in Lisburn and a
branch in Dromore.

He was also involved with the British Dental Association's Ulster
branch, acting as president in 1968, and also taught and acted as
an examiner in the School of Dentistry.

He was a member of the Liberal party when it was first esctablished
in Northern Ireland and when it folded he became a supporter of the

He also worked for St Vincent de Paul and acted as chairman of the
board of visitors in the Maze prison - a position he held during
the 1981 hunger strikes.

Married to Eileen in 1953, the couple lived for many years at the
Glen Road in Belfast, and in Cushendall.

It was in the Glens of Antrim that Kevin Johnston explored his
lifelong passion for the sea.

He first set sail in the Norfolk Broads in England aged just 14 and
in later years, became commodore of Cushendall sailing and boating
club. He instigated the annual exchange between Cushendall Sailing
and Boating Club and Campbelltown on the Mull of Kintyre.

Kevin Johnston's other interests included politics, nature and
local history, and he was a keen salmon and coarse angler.

He is survived by Eileen and their six children: Fiona, Henry,
Emer, Ciara, Niall and Sian.


Rare Art On Public Show

25 October 2004

A rare watercolour by world-famous Scots architect and artist
Charles Rennie Mackintosh and a previously unknown painting by
'Glasgow Boy' Sir John Lavery are going on public display for the
first time today.

Rennie Mackintosh's painting, A Hill Town in Southern France, and
Lavery's surprise work, The Goose Girls - which are expected to
fetch up to £420,000 between them - were going on display at the
Assembly Rooms in Edinburgh ahead of a sale on Thursday.


A New Morning In Northern Ireland

By Rick Steves

Oct. 25, 2004 -- Oct. 19, 2004 - Northern Ireland is best known by
Americans for its Troubles-- the once-violent clash between native
Protestants and Catholics--chronicled recently in movies such as
The Boxer and Some Mother's Son. Both films take place in Belfast,
a city that used to be notorious for its car bombs and hunger
strikers. While still edgy, the city is no longer a powder keg.
Travelers are returning to Belfast to explore its lively pedestrian
zone, old-time pubs, open-air museum, waterfront and even its
turbulent past.

This is the crux of the Troubles: Many Catholic residents want
Northern Ireland to become part of the Republic of Ireland, whereas
most Protestant residents want to remain part of the United
Kingdom. Extremists polarized issues, an increasingly violent Irish
Republican Army emerged, and the British Army entered the fray.
Belfast stood at the epicenter of the 25-year-long struggle.

Optimists hailed the breakthrough peace plan, signed in 1998, that
signaled the dawning of a new morning in Northern Ireland. Today,
although the Troubles still simmer, they've actually become a
tourist attraction. Cabbies take tourists on informative, narrated
driving tours through the most polarized neighborhoods with the
most political murals; figure on $40 for a one-hour tour. Many of
the drivers were originally former political prisoners in need of
work. You can use the cabs merely as transportation, too. Many of
Belfast's black cabs run bus-type routes, a service that originated
when city buses were hijacked for use as barricades in street
fighting years ago.

Belfast's 200-year-old Linen Hall Library, which welcomes guests of
all political persuasions, takes pride in being a neutral place.
Take a look at their "Troubled Images, " a historical collection of
engrossing political posters (also viewable at

Belfast's past has a lighter side, too. Across the street from the
library is the museum-like Crown Liquor Saloon. Built in 1849, it's
now a part of the National Trust. A wander through its mahogany,
glass and marble interior is a trip back into the day of Queen
Victoria (although the privacy provided by the curtained booths
allows for un-Victorian behavior). It's a good lunch stop after a
day of sightseeing.

Belfast's sights include its Botanic Gardens; the Ulster Museum,
focusing on the city's history; and the new Odyssey complex, which
has a hands-on science museum for kids. The Ulster Folk and
Transport Museum, an open-air museum in nearby Cultra, covers the
region's traditional lifestyles and growth in transportation from
ox carts to the Titanic (see sidebar) to a DeLorean car (with
accompanying info on the local adventures of John DeLorean).

Visiting Belfast, it's hard to believe that the bright, bustling
downtown once had checkpoints, security zones, and stores that
offered "bomb damage clearance sales." Partisan parades and the
political murals are reminders that the island is still split --
and some prefer it that way. But on my last visit, the children
dancing in the street were both Catholic and Protestant, part of a
summer-camp program giving kids from both communities reasons to
live together without strife. It's a fragile peace and a tenuous
hope, but it's a sign of how far Belfast has come.

Old Smoke and the Titanic

Belfast is the birthplace of the Titanic (and many ships that
didn't sink). While the rest of Northern Ireland remained rural,
the Industrial Revolution took root in Belfast with a vengeance,
giving the city its nickname: Old Smoke. Above the harbor, two
huge, mustard-colored cranes (the biggest in the world, nicknamed
Samson and Goliath) rise like skyscrapers. They stand idle now, but
they serve as a reminder of Belfast's former shipbuilding might.
Three times a day, the Titanic Tour cruise company provides tours
of the harbor with better luck than its namesake

Copyright © 2004 ABC News Internet Ventures

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