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October 31, 2004

News 10/29/04 - Irish Vote Not Key For US Election

News about Ireland & the Irish

BT 10/29/04 Irish Vote 'Not A Key Factor'
UT 10/29/04 Voters Know The Value Of SDLP, Says Durkan
BT 10/29/04 Prayers For Ulster Hostage Held By Taliban
UT 10/29/04 No Dilution Of GFA, Says Adams
BT 10/29/04 Drug Raids Resulted In IRA Threats Told Court
BT 10/29/04 Huge Weapons Cache Seized
BT 10/29/04 Unarmed Guards At Police Bases Storm
BT 10/29/04 Boyne Battle Over Incinerator Plant
BT 10/29/04 EU Allowance Plan Excessive, Says De Brun
FW 10/29/04 Triptych - Irish Women Are Full Of Life, Lust & Power
BT 10/29/04 Top Dublin Street Joins World's Elite
BT 10/29/04 Sea Dog Disputes Titanic Iceberg Theory
BT 10/29/04 Hopes For Papal Visit Look Slim

RT 10/29/04 Weather: Hopes For Papal Visit Look Slim –VO
RT 10/29/04 Weather: Reports On The Latest Efforts To Limit Damage
RT 10/29/04 Ship Is Successfully Refloated In Cork -VO

See 1 News: Damien Tiernan reports live on the Latest Developments
In Clonmel

See 1 News: Damien Tiernan, South-East Correspondent, Reports On
The Latest Efforts To Limit Damage

See Ship Is Successfully Refloated In Cork


Irish Vote 'Not A Key Factor'

Ancestry has little influence in election

By Ben Lowry in Boston
29 October 2004

The US presidential election is looking so tight that it may be
decided by just a few thousand votes as in 2000, yet even in these
circumstances the Irish-American vote seems likely to be of no

Of the millions of US citizens who can claim Irish ancestry, only a
minuscule number let it influence their vote.

Kevin Cullen of the Boston Globe, who has covered Northern Ireland
for more than 15 years, says that the ethnic mix doesn't matter in
his city.

"There are people who are passionate about Irish politics but I
have never seen any empirical evidence that significant numbers
vote on how the White House handles Anglo-Irish policy," said

Because of the winner-takes-all aspect of America's complicated
electoral college vote system, candidates do not waste time
campaigning in states that they cannot win.

Less than a dozen states are still in play and none of those have
powerful Irish lobbies.

And Irish-Americans are as likely to be an immovable Bush supporter
in Arizona as a Kerry backer in the north east.

However, old party loyalties are becoming more complicated, so that
a chunk of the traditional Catholic Irish vote could be steered
away from their pro-Democratic roots.

Some conservative elements of the Church have urged Catholics to
vote on five key moral questions, including abortion, stem cell
research and gay marriage.

President Bush's strong opposition to all three is in line with
that teaching.


Voters Know The Value Of SDLP, Says Durkan

Voters will acknowledge the role the SDLP has played in the peace
process in next year's Northern Ireland elections, party leader
Mark Durkan insisted today.

By:Press Association

As the nationalist party prepared for a convention in Londonderry
next week which will see a radical overhaul of its constitution
ahead of the elections, Mr Durkan said the party would fight hard
for Westminster and local government seats.

"There are four particular constituencies in Westminster - three of
which we hold in Foyle, South Down and Newry and Armagh and another
in South Belfast - where we will be marshalling a strong effort,"
he said.

"I think we have demonstrated the value of our three MPs - not just
in the work they have done at Westminster but also in their
constituency offices.

"I also think in the Westminster and local government elections,
people will see the value in having a strong SDLP backbone in any
nationalist representation.

"Recent events have shown the value of the SDLP in the
negotiations, holding people to the Good Friday Agreement.

"We have been a consistent force in the process. We do not duck,
weave or dodge our responsibilities. We do not turn our policies
inside out or our principles upside down.

"Even if we are not electorally dominant, people still come back to
us for a key read on what is going on in the process."

The SDLP has suffered a number of electoral setbacks in recent
years falling behind Sinn Fein under John Hume`s leadership in the
2001 general and local government elections in the popular vote.

In last November`s Assembly Election, Sinn Fein consolidated its
position as the leading nationalist party with 24 Stormont seats
while the SDLP saw its representation at Stormont fall to 18 MLAs.

Mr Durkan is expected to face a stiff challenge at the next general
election for his mentor John Hume`s seat in Foyle from Sinn Fein
chairman Mitchel McLaughlin.

Sinn Fein`s Conor Murphy is strongly fancied to capture former SDLP
deputy leader Seamus Mallon`s Newry and Armagh seat following his
decision to stand down at the next election.

South Down MP Eddie McGrady also faces a stronger Sinn Fein machine
in his constituency.

The SDLP is targeting South Belfast as a possible gain, although
this would require a significant split in the unionist vote.

Party strategists hope their tough stance in negotiations on future
power sharing arrangements will reap rewards.

The party has attacked the DUP over its commitment to power sharing
and has accused the British and Irish governments and other parties
of indulging the Rev Ian Paisley`s party.

Mr Durkan said voters would also react next year to attempts by the
DUP and Sinn Fein to turn Northern Ireland into a two-party state.

The Foyle Assembly member said: "I think the electorate know there
are two parties who want to reduce Northern Ireland to a two-party
system - the DUP and Sinn Fein.

"(DUP deputy leader) Peter Robinson has made no secret that the
type of party politics he would prefer is a two-party system
featuring his party and Sinn Fein.

"It is also very clear that not only does Sinn Fein want to surpass
the SDLP but it wants to remove us altogether.

"I think the electorate will see through that.

"There is an appreciation out there that there is a distinct and
necessary role for the SDLP.

"The feedback we have got back, not least in recent weeks, is that
we have played a diligent and effective role in upholding the Good
Friday Agreement and have been alert to the shifting and shifty
conditions around the Agreement."

Mr Durkan said his party would also stand on its track record in
negotiations, which he contrasted to other parties such as Sinn

The SDLP leader said: "I think people have been reminded that we
have clear and honest judgment and that we are actually better
negotiators than some people would suggest -especially those who
make out that they are the best at negotiating.

"If you look at the Joint Declaration last year, what we got was
two annexes - one setting up the Independent Monitoring Commission
and one on on-the-runs (OTRs - paramilitary fugitives from

"This enabled Sinn Fein and the Ulster Unionists to play a game of
structural evasion, with Sinn Fein claiming it negotiated the OTRs
but not the monitoring commission and vice versa for the UUP.

"But what really happened? Sinn Fein went into talks claiming any
mechanism which imposed sanctions on them was a deal breaker as far
as they were concerned.

"At the end of the day, (UUP leader) David Trimble got the IMC set
up and legislation for sanctions which could be imposed on Sinn

"Sinn Fein did not even get any legislation for the return of the

"If we had negotiated that sort of package, Sinn Fein would have
been out there crucifying us."


Prayers For Ulster Hostage Held By Taliban

29 October 2004

Residents in the tiny Co Armagh village of Richhill were in turmoil
today as they waited for news of a local taken captive by the
Taliban in Afghanistan.

Annetta Flanigan, who was born in the village and worked in nearby
Portadown as a solicitor before travelling the world with the UN,
was captured along with two UN colleagues in the Afghan capital
Kabul yesterday.

Nato troops and Afghan forces were involved in the hunt to find Ms
Flanigan, who was seized at gunpoint sparking fears of Iraq-style

US military chiefs said its soldiers were ready to help "locate and
if needs be to rescue these individuals when they are found".

A man claiming to speak for a Taliban splinter group, Jamiat Jaish-
al Muslimeen, said it was responsible for the kidnappings.

Ms Flanigan's family were today said to be "gravely concerned" for
her safety.

Neighbours in Richhill said Ms Flanigan, aged in her 30s, had not
been home for years but was planning to return with her Spanish
husband to the village at Christmas time.

The grey-brick terrace where she was brought up and where her
elderly mother Esther still lives was dark today, and earlier a
friend said they did not wish to speak about the crisis.

Esther's deceased husband Russell ran a furniture business, which
the family still have, which is situated beside their home on Irish
Street, the main village thoroughfare.

The village was swamped by camera crews and journalists, and people
living nearby said they were shattered by the news.

"Whenever you hear about hostage takings and it is so close to home
it really starts to hit you," said neighbour Allen Patton.

"I know the family well and you would have seen the kids about the
village whenever they were growing up.

"Our prayers are with her, you can only hope that she is OK. Her
father died at a funeral, it must be ten years ago. The family have
been there all the time I have been here."

Local councillor Freda Donnelly said the Flanigans were well
established in the village and added that Ms Flanigan had not been
home for at least ten years.

"They are a very quiet family, they go to church and are basically
upstanding citizens."

The Rector of St Matthew's Church of Ireland in the village, David
Coe, said he had visited the family and pointed out that they were
simply waiting for any news coming out of Kabul.

"Our prayers are with them at this time, the family are not making
any comment but we are just giving them what support we can," he


No Dilution Of GFA, Says Adams

Sinn Fein will not stomach any proposals to restore devolution
which erode the Good Friday Agreement, Gerry Adams warned last

By:Press Association

As British and Irish government officials continued to work on a
formula aimed at bridging the gaps between unionists and
nationalists over power sharing, the Sinn Fein leader again
insisted his party wanted to achieve a comprehensive and holistic

The West Belfast MP said: "We have made it clear that republicans
are prepared to face up to the challenges which this presents.

"But Sinn Fein is not prepared to countenance any dilution or
erosion of the Good Friday Agreement - that remains the objective
of the DUP."

Sinn Fein and the nationalist SDLP have clashed with the Reverend
Ian Paisley`s Democratic Unionists over changes they want to the
operation of the multi-party power-sharing government at Stormont.

The DUP has been pressing for mechanisms which would make power-
sharing ministers more accountable for their decisions to cabinet
colleagues and enable the Assembly to overturn unpopular decisions.

Nationalists have argued that what the DUP really wants is to
exercise a veto over the work of other parties` ministers.

They have also accused the DUP of trying to limit the scope of and
stymie the work of cross-border institutions involving Stormont
ministers and their Irish government counterparts.

Mr Adams said last night the British and Irish governments had to
understand in the current negotiations to restore power sharing
that there was no middle line between the Good Friday Agreement and
the anti-Agreement position of the Democratic Unionists.

"It is their responsibility to defend the core fundamentals and
principles of the Agreement and to make it clear that they cannot
be changed," he argued.

"Therefore, if there is to be a deal then the two governments need
to drive the process forward while making it clear that any deal
must be within the terms of the Good Friday Agreement.

"If the DUP do not accept this reality, then the pro-Agreement
majority, including the two governments, need to move on.

"The DUP cannot be allowed to paralyse the process of change."

Meanwhile, in a speech tonight to party colleagues in Bangor, North
Down, DUP Assembly member George Dawson challenged claims that his
party had shifted on to the policies once put forward by David
Trimble`s Ulster Unionists.

The East Antrim MLA told colleagues: "The DUP is determined that
the situation created by the Ulster Unionists is turned around.

"We are also seeing a remarkable turnaround of confidence amongst
the unionist community since the defeatists and the defeated of the
UUP were swept aside.

"Our policies have turned governments and other parties around. All
that is to be welcomed.

"In recent days much has been made of our statement that the
fundamentals of the Agreement, as outlined to us by the British
government, are not in conflict with DUP policy.

"Our opponents have seized on this and cried U-turn. But what is
the truth of the matter?

"Our opponents have strangely and conveniently forgotten that this
was not always the British government`s position.

"Once upon a time government, and the pro-Agreement parties` stance
was that we had to take the Agreement, the whole Agreement and
nothing but the Agreement.

"Northern Ireland, it seemed, possess the only constitution in the
world that was not able to be changed, they argued.

"That position has now noticeably changed. Now it is just the
fundamentals that remain."


Drug Raids Resulted In IRA Threats, Nightclub Owner Tells Court

By John Maddock
29 October 2004

Nightclub owner Frank Shortt told the High Court yesterday he had
closed his nightclub in Inishowen, Co Donegal, for a time "in the
hope of staying alive" after a Denis Bradley from Northern Ireland
had told him in September 1993 that the IRA had issued a threat
against him.

The IRA threat came after significant publicity about raids on the
Point Inn by a large number of gardai, and media articles saying
the raids were carried out as part of a crackdown on illegal drugs,
the court heard.

On the second day of a hearing to assess what compensation Mr
Shortt should receive arising from his wrongful conviction and
three-year sentence imposed in 1995 on drug charges, Mr Shortt said
that during the raids, in 1992 and 1993, many customers were
"violently and shockingly" treated by gardai.

On one occasion, one girl was made to stand spread-eagled in the
woman's toilets while a male garda shone a torch down her lower
waist area and a female garda put her hand inside the girl's
underwear, he said. Several young men were also told to lower their
trousers while torches were shone on their rears.

He said gardai also caused damage to his premises. They had used
sledgehammers to break down emergency doors although the main door
was open and chairs and tables were also damaged.

Immediately after the raids, he had written many letters of
complaint to senior gardai who supervised the searches in Donegal,
the Garda Commissioner, the chief executive of the Garda Complaints
Board and two Ministers for Justice about the "disgraceful conduct"
of the gardai, Mr Shortt said.

His parish priest had "referred to us by name" from the pulpit on
one occasion and congratulated the gardai. A number of people in
his community had come together to collect signatures for a
petition regarding his business.

Edward Comyn SC, for the State, said he would be resisting any
suggestion that there was harassment of Mr Shortt by gardai.

In proceedings against the Garda Commissioner and the State, Mr
Shortt (69), a married father of five of Redcastle, is seeking
several million euro compensation arising from his wrongful
conviction and three-year jail sentence on charges of knowingly
allowing the sale of drugs at the Point Inn premises.

The hearing continues.


Huge Weapons Cache Seized

Bladed knuckle dusters in haul

By Jonathan McCambridge
29 October 2004

Customs officers at Aldergrove have made their largest ever seizure
of potentially deadly weapons - including bladed knuckle dusters
and machetes.

In total 338 potentially lethal weapons were intercepted at the
International Airport yesterday on their way to Northern Ireland
from the US.

So far there has been no comment on the intended final destination
of the haul, which also included knives.

Customs' head of anti-smuggling in Northern Ireland Colin
McAllister said: "It is Customs' responsibility to prevent the
entry of all manner of weapons into the country as part of our
ongoing activity to monitor freight entering through our ports and

"This operation has stopped a substantial amount of potentially
harmful weapons reaching our streets and is the largest single
consignment of offensive weapons we have ever seized entering
Northern Ireland."

Inquiries are ongoing into the consignment, which arrived in the
province on a flight from New Jersey.

Antrim UUP councillor Adrian Watson welcomed the actions of the
Customs officials but said it was important that the eventual
location for the weapons was uncovered.

He said: "When you consider the nature of the weapons which have
been discovered, they are deadly and could have caused horrific
injuries or worse if they had ended up on our streets.

"There are already too many knives and offensive weapons on our
streets, so anything which disrupts this has to be welcomed."

"It also raises important concerns about where these weapons are
coming from and where they are going to and I hope customs
officials and police will be able to carry out a thorough
investigation into this."


Unarmed Guards At Police Bases Storm

Security disaster fears over Pearson revelation

By Jonathan McCambridge
29 October 2004

Serious fears have been raised today about security at Northern
Ireland's police bases after it emerged that unarmed civilian staff
are guarding almost 40 local stations.

In a written parliamentary answer Security Minister Ian Pearson
said that six stations in the province had all their external
security supplied by "unarmed independent security firms" while
another 32 had part of their security supplied by the guards.

In the wake of a gun attack on Randalstown police station this week
South Antrim MP David Burnside said the Chief Constable must now
rethink his decision on the future of the full-time Reserve, whose
officers provide the bulk of security cover at local stations.

He also said that the policy of scaling down security at stations
should now be reversed.

The Security Minister confirmed that there are currently 155 police
stations in Northern Ireland, of which 114 are externally guarded.

Seventy-six of the stations have all their external security
supplied by Reserve members.

However, of the remaining number, Mr Pearson said: "There are six
police stations externally guarded by unarmed independent security
firms and the remaining 32 by a combination of independent security
firms and full-time Reserve officers."

The Minister also revealed the cost of paying civilian guards to
provide security at police stations was £3.42 million a year.

Mr Burnside said: "What will happen when the full-time Reserve is
downsized? Will all the stations be guarded by unarmed security

"There should be no scaling down of security at any police station
until we have a totally normalised society and what happened at
Randalstown shows we have not yet achieved that. Nobody wants big
perimeter fences around police stations long term, but while we
have these armed organisations running around they must remain."

The UUP man described unarmed security cover at local police
stations as a "waste of time and money".

"This could be a security disaster. What good is an unarmed
security guard if someone is firing a gun at you from a passing

"There is a police station I know well in County Antrim which is
already being manned by unarmed security officers and recently I
was able to walk straight into it without being recognised; this
demonstrates that these people have no local knowledge whatsoever."

A police spokesman said: "The Chief Constable and his Senior
Management Team made an operational policing decision about the
future of the full-time Reserve based on a substantial security

"The decision will not take effect until April 2005, and at that
point, 680 officers will be retained for a further three years,
primarily for security reasons.

"Randalstown is a limited opening station and has never had a
permanent security presence."


Boyne Battle Over Incinerator Plant

Protests raised in fightback as plan advances

By Michael McHugh
29 October 2004

Plans for an incinerator close to the Battle of the Boyne site in
Co Meath moved a step closer today after it emerged that a draft
waste licence has been issued to the developers of the plant.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has granted the licence
to Indaver Ireland for the company's proposed waste incinerator at
Carranstown, County Meath.

The site is close to where the Battle of the Boyne was fought and
the Orange Order has campaigned vociferously against the plan,
arguing that it would damage the UNESCO-recognised world heritage

The EPA has imposed a number of conditions on the licence to
address health concerns about the plant, including action to deal
with waste gases produced by the facility and tightly regulated
dioxin and heavy metal gas discharges.

Plans to grant the licence are now open to a 28-day consultation
period during which objectors can have their say.

"The EPA is satisfied that operation of the facilities in
accordance with the conditions of the licence will not endanger
human health or harm the environment in the vicinity of the
facilities or over a wider area," the agency said today.

"The Office of Environmental Enforcement will monitor and enforce
these conditions through environmental audits, unannounced site
visits and systematic checks on emissions.

"The EPA will also conduct dioxin surveys on an annual basis to
monitor levels in the areas adjacent to the incinerators."

Mid-Ulster Assemblyman and Orangeman Billy Armstrong has led the
campaign against the plant and said he was disappointed by today's

"I have no problem with incinerators, my problem is with where they
are situated. I do not mind if they are sited in an industrial area
but they should not go in a tourist attraction area," he said.

"The Boyne Valley has a cement factory in it which is nearing the
end of its lifespan but now an incinerator is being put there and
it will be an eyesore in an area which could have recovered well.

"It is an area where we had a European battle which changed the
whole ethos of Ireland and they are going to build an incinerator
there when it could be sited somewhere else."

The General Manager of Indaver Ireland, John Ahern, said he was
delighted by the news.

"We are pleased that the EPA has satisfied themselves that
incineration facilities can be operated safely in Ireland under
strict regulatory control.

"We must now assess the conditions attached to our licences to
ensure that our facilities can be operated with maximum health and
environmental protection while providing an economically
sustainable solution for Ireland's waste," he said.

"Incineration, or waste-to-energy, is an important element of an
integrated waste management system which Ireland will require if it
is to develop a modern system for both hazardous and non-hazardous
waste, similar to regions with high environmental standards, such
as Sweden, Switzerland or Germany."


EU Allowance Plan Excessive, Says De Brun

By Simon Taylor in Brussels
29 October 2004

Sinn Fein's Euro MP is opposing plans to give MEPs an extra £17,000
a year to pay their secretaries.

Bairbre de Brun said yesterday that plans being discussed in the
European Parliament to increase allowances for secretaries and
administrative costs by £1,400 a month would further damage the
EU's already poor reputation for profligacy.

"There is a widespread perception that the EU is financially
exessive and squanders money," Ms de Brún said.

"There is no real mechanism to provide adequate transparency or
checks on how such money is used.

"While there are costs involved in running offices in Brussels,
Strasbourg and local constituencies, the increase is excessive."

She said MEPs' current allowance was "more than sufficient" for
operating within the EU institutions and from home.

MEPs voted yesterday to set aside the money for the increase while
waiting from an explanation from the European Parliament President
for the need for the increase.

EP President Josep Borrell wants the allowance increased to £10,000
a month to take account of MEPs' greater workload following the
EU's enlargement to 25 countries.

The move to increase the allowance comes even though efforts to
ensure that MEPs can only claim for genuine travel expenses are

At present, MEPs can claim for the price of a full fare airline
ticket between their home constituencies and the Parliament's
headquarters even if they find a cheaper ticket. Many MEPs take
advantage of this loophole to boost their salaries which are based
on the earnings of a national MP.

For Northern Irish MEPs the salary is around £56,000 a year.

Sinn Féin MEPs do not take their full salaries but receive the
average industrial wage with the rest being used for providing
constituency services.

The debate over increasing the allowance comes after the European
Parlia- ment forced new Commission President José Manuel Barroso to
withdraw his proposed team following opposition from Socialist and
Liberal MEPs to put controversial Italian Catholic Rocco
Buttiglione in charge of justice and home affairs.


In `Triptych,' The Irish Women Are Full Of Life, Lust And Power

Chicago Tribune

NEW YORK - (KRT) - Let us now contemplate Irish women.

Or rather, let us now contemplate how Irish writer Edna O'Brien
sees Irish women.

During her long career, the fiery, famous and intensely Irish
novelist and playwright has had nine books banned in her native
land for raw language and sexual attitudes.

I can imagine the same being demanded there for her new play,
"Triptych," now on stage at New York's Irish Repertory Theatre,
where, happily, such censorship is a total stranger.

O'Brien, 72, often writes of profanely sexual and powerful women
willing to employ any means to keep hold of their men, no matter
that the men can be as weak, unfaithful and despicable as they are
personally charming.

While the strength and determination are in concert with modern-day
feminism, the channeling of these virtues into the pursuit of males
is decidedly not.

In "Triptych," a charming rotter of a writer named Henry is the
object of the obsessions of three women: his attractive wife,
Pauline, played with Shakespearean relish by Irish-American stage
and screen actress Margaret Colin ("First Daughter," "Speaking in
Tongues"); his English actress mistress Clarissa, a wan wanton
oddly performed by movie and TV star Ally Sheedy; and his daddy's
girl of a daughter Brandy (Carrie Specksgoor, lately of Tennessee
Williams' "Five by Ten").

The character Henry never actually appears.

"By not having Henry on stage, the three of us can pick our own
image of him," Colin said. "Mine is Gabriel Byrne. He does have one
of those killer smiles and he's charming, and the films he's
created are not unlike this play. And the Irish thing is very

In contrast, Sheedy steers by the image of U2's Bono.

"Ally has a soft spot for rockers," Colin said.

The daughter of an Irish-American New York cop, Irish-American on
both sides of her family for generations and married to Irish-
American television actor Justin Deas, Colin knows something of the
world from where O'Brien is coming.

And, despite ethnic sensitivities to the contrary, it is a world
full of sex and hard language.

"Edna likes to use the C-word, and she likes to ruffle feathers,"
Colin said. "That's why she was banned in Ireland. She just boldly
goes there.

"I think she believes women live there (in that sexual world) and
she uses all the language for it that she can. She believes women
are about their vaginas and that they use it as a weapon as well as
a reproductive opportunity."

But the sex is combined with more identifiably Irish traits.

"A sense of humor," Colin said. "A sense of stoicism. What Edna
does and Brian Friel did and certainly what I was raised with and
is still a tradition for people of Irish heritage is (the figure
of) a very strong woman. Really, really strong. When the writers
write for them, they love them, even when they're doing something
as dark and hateful as in `The Beauty Queen of Leenane.' They're
very, very strong women of incredible passion and determination to
live or suffer grandly. There's nothing passive-aggressive about
them. And they also see the situation with a sense of humor."

The fictional Pauline undergoes therapy and jumps into the whiskey
jar with great frequency and abandon, but neither deters her from
her relentless, obsessive, manipulative and bullying course in her
almost manic effort to pry her husband away from Clarissa - or vice

With Pauline at one point employing even a kiss and (truncated)
lesbian seduction of her rival, she brings Clarissa to the point of

But much too late.

"Politically now, you ask, `Why are these women fighting over a
man?'" Colin said. "Why doesn't Pauline, in the year 2004, do
charity work or get a job of her own? Only she goes the other way
and I like it. It may not be a feminist pedestal to stand on, but
the I think the papers are filled with (stories of) women fighting
over their men."

Unlike Irish Rep's 2003 masterpiece, "Bedbound," its production of
"Triptych" is not much for Irish slang or accent. Colin and
Specksgoor speak straightforwardly but are believably Irish.
Sheedy's British accent is on a par with Arnold Schwarzenegger's.

"When I did `A Day in the Death of Joe Egg' with two British actors
on stage, I found you really have to put in a separate eight hours
of rehearsal to get an accent down," Colin said in her colleague's
defense. With Sheedy, "It wasn't really getting there, so they told
her they'd let her let herself up so she could enjoy being the
character without worrying about the accent. Anthony Hopkins in
`Nixon' didn't even try (an American accent) and everybody forgave
him for it."

Colin admits to feeling squeamish about some of O'Brien's words.

"I was reading the language to my husband and our nanny almost fell
over, saying, `I can't imagine you saying those words,'" Colin
said, "but I knew Edna's writing, and the opportunity to play one
of her women from that singularly literary mind was too good to
pass up.

"Edna doesn't welcome you with a familiar world. She welcomes you
with, `What's going on?'"


(Michael Kilian is a lifestyle columnist for The Chicago Tribune.
Write to him at the Chicago Tribune Washington Bureau, 1325 G St.
NW, Suite 200, Washington, D.C., 20005.)

© 2004, Chicago Tribune.


Top Dublin Street Joins World's Elite

By Clodagh Sheehy
29 October 2004

Dublin's Grafton Street's a wonderland - ranking among the top five
most expensive shopping streets in the world.

Only New York's Fifth Avenue, the Champs Elysees in Paris, Causeway
Bay in Hong Kong and Oxford Street in London have greater prestige.

The latest survey shows the top Dublin street has jumped from 10th
place to fifth, overtaking Sydney, Moscow and Munich as an
international shopping destination.

Grafton Street was chosen from 229 shopping locations in 45
countries around the world.

Dublin Chamber of Commerce says Grafton Street's rating is an
indication of growing Irish consumer wealth.

Cian Connaughton points to a consumer spend which is rising by 3%
year on year and says "Grafton Street is a very attractive market
for international retail outlets who want a slice of our 63bn euro
annual spend on goods and services."

The research by London firm Cushman, Wakefield, Healey and Baker
(CWHB) shows that rents on the premier street have soared by 46% in
just 12 months to an annual fee of 3,372 euro per sq m.

This compares with Fifth Avenue costs which are 8,020 euro per sq
m, on the Champs Elysees the cost is 6,118 euro while the cost on
Causeway Bay in Hong Kong is 4,900 euro. The Oxford Street costs
are euro 4,452.

Mr Connaughton says the rents reflect the huge number of retailers
trying to get into the Irish market and especially into Dublin city
centre where improved transport has made it very attractive.

He does not accept that consumers necessarily have to pay higher
prices for goods to offset the rental costs.

"For a lot of retailers its not so much to make money as to have a
presence on Grafton Street where on Saturday's 20,000 consumers
pass through the street each hour. It's huge advertising for their

David Hutchings, head of research for CWHB says the jump in Grafton
Street rents "reflects the health of the wider Irish economy".

"It shows not just the growth of general affluence but also the
growth of a specific affluent high-net-worth individual group
within the market."

Hugh Markey, head of retail at Lisney Estate Agents, also links the
rise in rents to Ireland's continued increasing affluence - now the
4th wealthiest OECD country.

"This has been recognised by the major international multiples who
have 'discovered' Ireland in more recent times," he said.


Sea Dog Disputes Titanic Iceberg Theory

By Ben Lowry
29 October 2004

A sailor who has spent decades navigating the North Atlantic claims
to have solved the mystery of what exactly caused the Titanic to
sink in 1912.

It is widely thought that the Belfast-built liner hit an iceberg on
its maiden voyage to the United States, but LM Collins has written
a book describing the true formation as "pack ice".

This is a floating mass of ice that drifts with the sea and
currents - a culprit that was "obvious to an experienced mariner".

Captain Collins points out that an iceberg was never found.

If correct, the Canadian's theory would clear many of those who
were accused of misconduct including the Titanic's master, Captain

"Human error was to blame, but not those who were traditionally
blamed," he concludes.

Captain Collins, who started work on cargo and passenger ships in
1947, was an ice pilot for many years. Now retired, he long doubted
the iceberg theory.

His newly published book, The Sinking of the Titanic: The Mystery
Solved, includes reproductions of original documents from the ship
and nautical maps and charts which are said to prove his
interpretation of the disaster.

Captain Collins has also examined witness statements and courts of
inquiry to analyse the evidence.

"The truth," he writes, "lies hidden in the statements given by
survivors of the Titanic's crew."

The liner was sunk 300 miles off the coast of Newfoundland, which
is where Captain Collins was born.

Dr Ian Adamson, an Ulster historian with an interest in the
Titanic, said: "It sounds like a reasonable theory. I have always
felt that Captain Smith, who was a very experienced mariner, had a
bad press."

The Sinking of the Titanic: The Mystery Solved is published by
Souvenir Press and is on sale for £14.99.


See 1 News: Orla O'Donnell, Dublin Correspondent, speaks to staff
and customers in the Grafton Street café

Bewleys café closures 'like part of city dying' -V

29/10/2004 - 11:31:10

The demise of Bewley's oriental cafés in central Dublin is "like
part of Dublin dying", their emotional owner said today.

The two remaining outlets on Grafton Street and Westmoreland Street
will stop trading before Christmas with 234 job losses.

Patrick Campbell of owners, Campbell Bewley Group described
breaking the bad news to the staff last night as "very emotional".

He said of the closure: "It's like a death in the family. It's part
of Dublin dying. It's a very sad morning for me and my family.
We're devastated."

More than €12m was invested in the two premises in the late 1990s
but theyhad since run up losses of €4m.

Bewley's, which got its "oriental" link from its tea importation
business, opened its first café on Georges Street in 1894.

The cafés – famous for their marble tables and stained glass
windows – were steeped in tradition and adored by city dwellers and

The cafés were frequented by writers James Joyce and Brendan Behan
who dined on the famous coffee and sticky buns.

The Bewley Campbell Group, which has owned the cafés since 1986,
said the whole coffee business has changed in Dublin.

Mr Campbell said: "The streets of Dublin are becoming homogenous
We're becoming a sterile (business) environment. It's a moment we
were hoping wouldn't happen. The tide was eventually running
against us."

He told RTE Radio: "The rents in Grafton Street are the fifth
highest in the world. We're not getting support from anywhere."

Although the Luas has increased pedestrian volume on Grafton Street
by 20%, Mr Campbell said the layout of his cafés meant he couldn't
capitalise on the extra business.


Hopes For Papal Visit Look Slim

By Eddie McIlwaine
29 October 2004

The Pope, who retains his sense of humour, was reminding friends
and staff in the Vatican today that reports of his imminent demise
had been greatly exaggerated exactly a year ago.

Alarm bells were ringing loudly in October 2003 when His Holiness
fell ill amid speculation that he wouldn't see Christmas.

But the 84-year-old Pontiff amazed his physicians by staging a
recovery - and arranging to go touring in his Popemobile once

"Religious commentators who had the white smoke puffing for a new
Pope were made to look silly," said a priest in St Peter's Square
today. "There were even rumours here in Rome this time last year
that he was already dead.

"However, this Pontiff is fiercely determined to fulfil a few
dreams before he dies. He wasn't ready to go in the autumn of 2003
and he isn't ready yet."

But the Pope, a former goalkeeper in his young days back in his
native Poland, is frail and has had to give up his daily
constitutionals in his favourite gardens by the Sistine Chapel.

A guide in the Chapel explained: "We used to see His Holiness out
in the gardens quite regularly. He liked to be there in the quiet
to contemplate. Now he only makes brief and rare visits to pause on
the lawns underneath the trees. And of course now he is in a
wheelchair and always accompanied by nurses and assistants."

In the Vatican the Pope has been discussing plans for another visit
to Malta, one of his favourite places and where he would have
little difficulty travelling to in spite of his frail condition.

Malta is largely Roman Catholic and the people adore the Pope and
have been pleading with him to return for what would be his third
visit to their country.

But although the Pontiff is anxious to see Ireland one more time -
he was first in the Republic in 1979 and called the Irish his most
loyal flock - the chances of him making the journey are slim.

There was speculation earlier in the year that Pope John would
accept an invitation from Irish Bishops and travel to Ireland 25
years after that earlier trip. Now the chances of a second Papal
visit are remote, say Catholic authorities.

"Pope John recovered dramatically from his illness last year - but
obviously he is not robust or strong," said the Vatican priest. "A
long, tiring journey to Ireland might be beyond him. Although it
has not been ruled out."

--- News

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