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October 29, 2004

News 10/28/04 - Talks Adjourn in London

News about Ireland & the Irish

RT 10/28/04 Northern Ireland Talks Adjourn In London
SF 10/28/04 DUP Should Come Clean On Loyalist Links
BT 10/28/04 Talks Will Put UDA To The Test
SF 10/28/04 SF Opposes Increases In MEPs Secretarial Allowances
BT 10/28/04 Peers Set For Hike In Expenses Limits
BT 10/28/04 'Abuses' In Women's Jails Under Scrutiny
BT 10/28/04 Patten Body Member In Student's Death Fury
UT 10/28/04 'Trauma Industry' Has Mushroomed
RT 10/28/04 2,000-Ton Ship Runs Aground Off Kinsale
BB 10/28/04 Astronomers Chart Asteroid Threat


Northern Ireland Talks Adjourn In London

28 October 2004 10:03

Talks between Irish and British government officials and two of
Northern Ireland's political parties, the DUP and Sinn Féin,
adjourned in London last night.

It is understood that while some progress was made, considerable
difficulties remain.

The Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, and the British Prime Minister, Tony
Blair, are expected to review developments when they meet on the
margins of a gathering of EU leaders in Italy this weekend.

It is the second time in the past ten days that senior officials
from both governments have tried to reach a breakthrough in the
North's peace process.

Because the DUP will not hold face to face discussions with Sinn
Féin, officials have shuttled between the two parties.

The deal they have been attempting to broker centres on a
guaranteed end to IRA weapons and activity in return for a DUP
commitment to share power.

It is thought the biggest single area of concern in the
negotiations centres on the intentions of the DUP.


DUP Should Come Clean On Loyalist Links

Published: 28 October, 2004

North Antrim Sinn Féin MLA, Philip McGuigan, has called upon the
DUP to come clean on their links with the Ulster Defence
Association. His comments follow the withdrawal yesterday of a
Westminster motion by a British Labour MP, which named a DUP member
who was involved in intelligence gathering for a UDA Commander in

Mr McGuigan said: "The UDA and the DUP have always had a good
relationship, especially in parts of my own constituency, such as
Ballymoney and Ballymena. If this motion had gone through the
British Parliament it would have only confirmed what the dogs in
the street already know, and that is that the DUP and the UDA
subscribe to the same sectarian program of intimidation, bigotry
and supremacism.

"Earlier this month DUP MLA, Mervyn Storey, enjoyed the pleasure of
sharing a stage with representatives of both the UDA and UVF to
celebrate 'Ulster Day' in Ballymena. It reminded me of the image of
William McCrea sharing a stage with, and therefore giving
credibility to, Billy Wright and the LVF in Portadown. There is
clearly common ground here, and I'm sure the backstage
conversations weren't about loyalist decommissioning either.

"One of the DUP's most recent recruits in Ballymoney was convicted
of the murder of a nationalist political activist and had
apparently 'repented' before joining the Democratic Unionists.
Well, he may have been 'born again' but nationalists in the Six
Counties weren't born yesterday. The DUP, UDA, LVF and Ulster
Resistance all come from the same Unionist Militant pool, and
always have done.

"Its time that the DUP, in the interests of conflict resolution,
told the truth about their loyalist family ties and started
tackling the gangster culture that loyalists have spawned in
working-class Unionist areas." ENDS


Talks Will Put UDA To The Test

By Noel McAdam, Political Correspondent
28 October 2004

The Government could seek to test the bona fides of the UDA at
crucial talks next week, loyalist sources insisted today.

As Secretary of State Paul Murphy confirmed the meeting, earmarked
or Tuesday, sources accepted any early recognition of a new UDA
ceasefire was unlkely.

The meeting could agree a series of steps that could lead to the
current specification of the UDA being brought to an end.

"That's about the best they can probably hope for, tests which they
will have to meet, but they are aware of that," a source close to
the Loyalist Commission - which is not involved in the Stormont
talks - said.

The assessment came amid speculation that the UDA's north Belfast
brigadier Andre Shoukri, released from jail earlier this year,
could be part of the delegation.

The Ulster Political Research Group that advises the UDA will seek
to persuade the Northern Ireland Office team that a reversal of the
'specification' is essential if the loyalist leadership can hope to
bring the organisation towards acceptance of a political deal.

The UDA's ceasefire was de-recognised by the Government almost
three years ago in the aftermath of a spate of sectarian murders
and incidents of street violence.

The UDA then announced a fresh cessation in 2003 and issued an
apology for the involvement of members in drug dealing.

The details of the latest report from the Independent Monitoring
Commission, that was being studied by government officials in
London, Dublin and Belfast today, will have a bearing on the

The report, which had been expected yesterday but seems to have
been delayed, is now expected to be released next week.

Sinn Fein chairman Mitchel McLaughlin said it was vital Mr Murphy
made clear that ongoing attacks on Catholics and members of ethnic
minorities had to end, along with drug dealing and "agitation" at
interface areas.


Sinn Féin Opposes Increases In Meps Secretarial Allowances - De

Published: 28 October, 2004

The European Parliament's Bureau is proposing to increase MEPs
secretarial allowances. MEPs currently receive an allowance for
secretarial costs and administrative staff of 12,000 euro per year.
The Bureau is proposing to increase this to 14,000 euro. Sinn Féin
is opposing the proposed increase.

Speaking today Ms de Brún said:

'MEPs currently receive an allowance which is more than sufficient
for the needs of operating within the EU institutions and from
home. The allowance covers staff salaries and other administrative
costs. Operating within the constituency and in Brussels and
Strasbourg involves a level of administrative costs. However, to
suggest an additional 2000 euro per year would be excessive.

'There is a widespread perception that the EU is financially
excessive and squanders significant levels of money. There is no
real mechanism to provide adequate transparency or checks on how
such money is used. Granting an increase to the allowance will only
reaffirm that perception.' ENDS

Note to editors: Sinn Féin MEPs do not take their full salaries.
All elected party representatives receive an average industrial
wage and the remainder of the salaries is used for providing
constituency services.


Peers Set For Hike In Expenses Limits

By David Gordon
28 October 2004

Peers from Northern Ireland and across the UK are in line for an
expenses hike, it can be revealed today.

House of Lords members, who include veteran Ulster politicians,
receive no salaries but can claim daily allowances of up to

An independent study has now proposed increasing these expenses to
a maximum of £290 per day.

Allowances paid to peers last year are now in the public domain,
along with those for MPs.

Ulster Unionist Lord Laird claimed the highest figure of the
Northern Ireland peers and was also one of the top attenders.

At present, peers can claim for daily subsistence expenses of up to
£64, when they attend sittings of the Lords.

The new report, by the Senior Salaries Review Body (SSRB),
recommends raising this allowance to a maximum of £75 per day.

The current limit for hotel expenses for peers is £128 per day, but
the SSRB is proposing that this should climb to £150.

The office costs allowance would meanwhile rise to a maximum of £65
a day from £53.50 - if the Review Body's proposals are accepted by

Listed are the sums claimed last year by prominent Ulster peers in

Their totals include payments for travel, office, and staffing
costs as well as overnight and daily subsistence.

What Ulster peers claim

Lord Laird: 152 days attended; £59,265 in expenses
Lord Molyneaux: 162; £53,567
Lord Glentoran: 141; £53,542
Lord Fitt: 164; £49,398
Lord Rogan: 105; £45,525
Lord Kilclooney: 124; £40,678
Viscount Brookeborough: 72; £35,168
Lord Maginnis: 78; £34,215
Baroness Blood: 65; £30,657
Lord Alderdice: 59; £21,973
Lord Eames: 28; £14,139
Lord Cooke: 32; £10,378


'Abuses' In Women's Jails Under Scrutiny

Watchdog to assess situation for himself

By Deborah McAleese
28 October 2004

Northern Ireland's prison watchdog is to investigate the
allegations of serious human rights abuses of female prisoners.

Kit Chivers, Chief Inspector of the Criminal Justice Inspectorate,
today admitted he was "deeply disturbed" by the alleged "endemic
failures" in the imprisonment of women in Northern Ireland, which
the Human Rights Commission recently claimed to have uncovered.

Mr Chivers said he intends to visit Hydebank Young Offenders
Centre, where female inmates were recently transferred from Mourne
House at the high security Maghaberry Prison, to assess the
situation for himself.

However, he said he cannot reveal what action will be taken to
address the alleged findings until he inspects the situation for

The Human Rights Commission last week demanded a public inquiry
into the treatment of women prisoners after it carried out an in-
depth investigation into the situation at Mourne House.

A subsequent report - The Hurt Inside; The imprisonment of women
and girls in Northern Ireland - described as "appalling" the
conditions faced by women and girls as young as 14 imprisoned at
Mourne House.

And it said the transfer in June this year of female inmates to
accommodation at the male young offenders' centre was "entirely

Among the issues Mr Chivers will look into is a serious concern
over the events leading to the deaths in custody of 19-year-old
Annie Kelly in September 2002 and Roseanne Irvine in March 2000.

He will also investigate allegations of inappropriate use of the
punishment block for suicidal and self-harming inmates and bullying
by prison officers of women with mental health problems and
suicidal tendencies.

Mr Chivers will then report his findings to criminal justice
minister John Spellar.

"I was very disturbed by the report. All I can do at this time is
visit Hydebank and look at what is happening there and report back
to the minister.

"I cannot say what action will be taken until I look into the
situation for myself," he said.

One of the report's authors, Professor Phil Scraton, of the
Institute of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Queen's University
said he was "taken aback by the extent and seriousness of the
problems in Mourne House."


Patten Body Member In Student's Death Fury

Pepper spray guns used after Ulster trip

By Sean O'Driscoll
28 October 2004

The Police Service of Northern Ireland has said that it does not
use controversial pepper spray guns that killed a Boston student
last week.

The PSNI made its statement after the Boston police chief said that
her force obtained the guns after travelling to Northern Ireland to
explore crowd control methods.

Police Chief Kathleen O'Toole, a former member of the Patten
Commission on police reform, said Boston Police Superintendent
Robert Dunford, made the decision to purchase the weapons in time
for the Democratic National Convention last July.

"'Bob Dunford travelled to Northern Ireland to explore different
options for crowd control," she told the Boston Globe. "We went
from plastic bullets, which could be damaging, to these

Last weekend, the Irish Council for Civil Liberties expressed grave
concern at the use of the weapons by the Garda Force Response Unit.

Ms O'Toole has pledged a full investigation after a journalism
student was shot dead while celebrating a historic Boston baseball
victory on Thursday morning.

She added that she would "firmly and emphatically accept
responsibilities for any errors" after 21-year-old Emory University
student, Victoria Snelgrove, was shot in the eye by a police

Police were seeking to disperse more than 80,000 revelers
celebrating the Boston Red Sox victory over the New York Yankees in
a historic comeback in the baseball world series.

Ms O'Toole has previously considered the pepper spray gun as a non-
lethal alternative to plastic bullets, after detailed exploration
of safe crowd control measures as a member of the Patten

Ms Snelgrove was shot in the face after tens of thousands of Red
Sox fans gathered at the team's Boston home ground to celebrate
their victory against the Yankees at a game held at New York's
Yankee Stadium. She was hit by a pepper-spray-filled plastic ball
at about 1.30 am on Thursday morning, 90 minutes after the Red Sox

Ms O'Toole, who has a security consultancy business in Dublin city
centre, pleaded a detailed investigation but blamed the disturbance
on a small number of "punks" among the revellers.


'Trauma Industry' Has Mushroomed

A multi-million pound trauma industry has mushroomed in Northern
Ireland since the IRA declared its first ceasefire, a sociologist
said today.

By:Press Association

Government-funded referrals for counselling have surged as peace
has taken hold over the last decade, according to Dr Chris

With ex-police officers among those seeking therapy to cope with
radical changes in their lives, the University of Ulster academic
put the expansion down to an increased medicalisation of society.

Dr Gilligan said: "Many people are unhappy, disillusioned, confused
or disgruntled as a consequence of the social and political changes
which have accompanied the peace process.

"Others are frustrated with the uncertainty which continues to
plague the future of Northern Ireland.

"Trauma counselling encourages people to interpret their unease in
terms of their own individual difficulty in dealing with
experiences they suffered during the Troubles.

"Often, however, the source of their unhappiness or distress lies
in the politics of the peace process."

As he addressed a research seminar at the University of
Strathclyde, Glasgow, he also issued a warning.

Promoting trauma counselling could undermine prospects for a better
society through encouraging people to view themselves as vulnerable
and in need of expert advice and assistance, delegates were told.

The growth in referrals for trauma counselling has continued
despite studies showing minimal changes in mental health indicators
either side of the IRA`s 1994 declaration, he argued.

The expert, who is based at the University of Ulster`s Magee campus
in Londonderry, cited a study of ex-police officers who had been
diagnosed as suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

For some, actions which had made sense to them in the past were now
robbed of meaning in the context of the peace process.

Delegates heard how some were horrified at seeing former
adversaries taking seats in government and were questioning their
life`s work, asking: "What was it all for?"

Describing those who suffered losses during the conflict as
traumatised often obscured the fact that most people had got on
with their lives, Dr Gilligan said.

With different ways of dealing with tragedy, he hit out at those
who try to cultivate a so-called `ideal victim` by neutralising
natural emotion.

He added: "Some people who have lost loved ones during the Troubles
express a desire for revenge.

"In the context of contemporary therapy culture, however, such
emotional responses are deemed unworthy. Innocence and passivity
are what are seen to be required from real victims."


2,000-Ton Ship Runs Aground Off Kinsale

28 October 2004 11:11

High winds and rough seas have forced a 2,000-ton cargo vessel onto
rock in Kinsale Harbour, Co Cork.

The Belize-registered Sea Brie ran aground as efforts were being
made to move it to a calmer location at around 6am this morning.

The ship, which is 82 metres long, is said to be damaged and there
is a smell of diesel in the area.

The coastguard has been informed and efforts are being made to
establish how much diesel is on board and if it is leaking.

Attempts are expected to be made to re-float the vessel at high
tide this evening.

The ship had discharged its cargo of animal feed in Kinsale


Astronomers Chart Asteroid Threat

A team of astronomers has stepped up a project which one day could
help to preserve the Earth from annihilation.

The team from Queen's University in Belfast is monitoring asteroids
in space to see if they are on a collision course with our planet.

Their crucial data will be fed into an international programme for
protecting the Earth from any future impact.

On average 30 to 40 Near-Earth Objects (NEOs) - asteroids or comets
on a path to Earth - are discovered each month.

High-performance telescopes

More than 3,000 NEOs have now been found so far.

Now a team of astronomers at Queen's will be tracking these objects
each week using large high-performance telescopes.

The UK Astrometry and Photometry Programme (UKAPP) for Near-Earth
Objects, based at the university, is using the Faulkes Telescope
North, which is physically located on the Hawaiian island of Maui.

At the end of this year they will also start using the twin Faulkes
Telescope South at Siding Spring, Australia.

The telescopes' mirror size of 2m allows astronomers to see fainter

Dr Alan Fitzsimmons, Reader in Observational Astrophysics at the
university and the project's leader, told the BBC's Good Morning
Ulster that it was likely that the Earth would be hit by an

"In fact, we know that an asteroid will hit us at some point in the

"Of course, these things are out there and they just randomly hit
us when the Earth gets in the way.

"However, generally it is not a 24-hour or even a 45-minute warning
that we get. It is normally timescales of years or even decades."

Dr Fitzsimmons said that his project was acting as an "early, early
warning system for the Earth".

Earth's atmosphere

He said that these long lead times gave scientists at the European
Space Agency time to develop a strategy for dealing with an
asteroid on a collision course.

Any object smaller than 50 metres across will not usually make it
through the Earth's atmosphere intact so Dr Fitzsimmons is training
his telescope on asteroids which are 50 to 100 metres across or

"We are looking at a series of asteroids two or three times a week
now with these telescopes in Hawaii and Australia," he said.

"There are 30 or 40 new objects discovered every month that we want
to keep an eye on.

"So we only concentrate on the ones that do pass particularly close
to us or are predicted to pass close in the next century or so."

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2004/10/28 09:33:04 GMT

--- News

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