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November 02, 2004

News 11/01/04 - Finucane Family Inquiry Call

News about Ireland & the Irish

UT 11/01/04 Finucane Family Inquiry Call
BB 11/01/04 Drugs 'Linked To Loyalists'
SM 11/01/04 Adams Urges Strong UN Response To Darfur Crisis
SF 11/01/04 Sinn Fein President To Visit US
BB 11/01/04 Parties Attempt To Bridge The Gaps
SF 11/01/04 Racist Attack Condemned
IO 11/01/04 SDLP Pushes Ballymena Unionists To Share Power
UT 11/01/04 Voter Registration System Slammed
SM 11/01/04 DUP Needs To Face Reality - Sinn Fein
IO 11/01/04 Paisley: 'Blair Must Honour His Word'
IO 11/01/04 Ervine Urges More Protestants Communities In NI
UT 11/01/04 SF Warning On Beef Safeguards
BT 11/01/04 Archbishop, The Secret Meeting & The Car Bomb
UT 11/01/04 Smoking Ban Pressure Increases
VC 11/01/04 Hockey Helping Ease Tensions In N Ireland
HC 11/01/04 Brosnan Says Colin Farrell Should Be Next 007


Finucane Family Inquiry Call

Tony Blair was under pressure tonight to guarantee that an inquiry
into the controversial murder of Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane is
held in public.

By:Press Association

Family of Mr Finucane, who was gunned down in his north Belfast
home in 1989, issued the call ahead of a meeting with the Prime
Minister tomorrow in Downing Street.

In September Northern Ireland Secretary Paul Murphy announced that
an inquiry would take place into allegations that members of
British army intelligence and the Royal Ulster Constabulary
colluded with loyalists paramilitaries in Mr Finucane`s killing.

However, the family, human rights organisations and nationalist
politicians have been concerned at suggestions that most of the
hearing could be held behind closed doors in the interest of
national security.

In a statement tonight Michael Finucane, the son of the murdered
solicitor, said: "My family is deeply concerned about the proposed
inquiry into my father`s murder.

"The recent announcement on behalf of the Government by Paul Murphy
that an inquiry is to be established is not sufficient because he
omitted a crucial word: public.

"He has not said anything since to reassure us that a proper public
inquiry is what the Government will establish because the focus has
been on new legislation that addresses national security concerns
and little else.

"We are very concerned that the new legislation proposed by the
British Government will restrict the scope of any inquiry to such
an extent that a proper public inquiry becomes impossible.

"This is completely unacceptable. It is therefore very important
that we discuss the matter with Mr Blair face to face and explain
why such an inquiry will not suffice."

The Government had been under pressure to hold the inquiry after
retired Canadian judge Peter Cory recommended one.

Judge Cory was appointed by the British and Irish governments after
the 2001 Weston Park talks to look into the cases for inquiries
into six controversial murders including Mr Finucane`s.

He also recommended inquiries into the murders of Portadown
Catholic Robert Hamill, Lurgan solicitor Rosemary Nelson and
Loyalist Volunteer Force leader Billy Wright.

The Irish government has also agreed to hold an inquiry into
allegations of collusion between the IRA and members of the Irish
police in the double killing of senior Royal Ulster Constabulary
officers Harry Breen and Bob Buchanan.


Drugs 'Linked To Loyalists'

Police believe they have uncovered a major loyalist drugs operation
in north Belfast, a court has been told.

A Crown lawyer made the claim on Monday at Belfast Magistrates
Court as she opposed bail for two men charged with possessing
ecstasy with intent to supply.

Mark McMahon, 26, of Whitewell Road and John David Robert Smith,
19, of Ballysillan Avenue, Belfast, denied the charges.

The court was told the Class A drugs had a street value of £80,000
and the charges related to police searches of a property in the
Flush Road area of north Belfast on 29 October.

The lawyer claimed that the men were found in an outhouse adjacent
to the property, close to them lay 6,000 in euros and bags of
esctasy tablets which appeared to be ready for distribution.

The lawyer said 10,000 ecstasy tablets were found in grounds to the
rear of the property.

She said police also found a quantity of figures with names
alongside, which police would link to drug dealing figures.

The lawyer said police believed they had found a major distribution
centre, organised by loyalist paramilitaries for the supply of
Class A drugs in north Belfast.

'Sophisticated system'

She said that "it was a highly sophisticated and developed system
with purpose-built hides in fields".

A detective constable told the court that the seizures were in
relation to a planned operation by the drugs squad.

A lawyer for Mr Smith said his client protested his innocence and
the sheds in question were pigeon sheds which Mr Smith had been
cleaning out when the police raid occurred

A lawyer for Mr McMahon said his client had fully cooperated with
the police and had denied any involvement.

The men were remanded in custody until 29 November.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2004/11/01 13:34:32 GMT


Adams Urges Stronger UN Response To Darfur Crisis

By Dan McGinn, Ireland Political Editor, PA News

The United Nations and European Union were urged today to muster a
more effective international response to the humanitarian crisis in
the Darfur region of Sudan.

As Sudanese rebels threatened to quit peace talks in Nigeria amid
reports that government forces had bombed villages in northern
Darfur, Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams said the international
community's reaction to the situation had been ineffectual.

The West Belfast MP, who is due to embark on a week long tour of
the United States from Wednesday, said the crisis illustrated the
need for a fundamental restructuring of the United Nations.

He urged the Irish Government to use its influence in the EU and UN
to forge a better international response.

"For almost two years the Sudanese government, through its
surrogates in the Janjaweed militia, has waged a brutal war against
the people of the Darfur region," Mr Adams said.

"Mass murder, the destruction of villages, food and livestock and
irrigation systems has been tolerated by the international

"50,000 have died and 1.2 million people were driven from their
homes and into hurriedly erected camps, ill-equipped to deal with
even their basic needs.

"The UN has proven ineffectual in influencing the Sudanese
government or brining an end to the behaviour of the Janjaweed.

"The resolutions passed by the UN reflect the economic self-
interests of key members of the Security Council rather than the
humanitarian needs of the people of Darfur.

"The Darfur crisis highlights again the need for a fundamental
restructuring of the UN.

"Too often in recent years governments have violated human rights
while the world stands by. The usual platitudes of shock and
horror, and concern have been made, but no action taken to
challenge the governments involved."

Talks aimed at ending the war between Darfur's local rebels and
pro-Sudanese government militias have been taking place in Abuja,
the Nigerian capital.

Over 1.5 million people have fled their homes because of the war in
Darfur and around 70,000 have been killed.

Aid agencies have been struggling to cope with demands for water
and food from refugees in the middle of the conflict.

The smaller of the two rebel groups represented at the
negotiations, the Justice and Equality Movement, has been pressing
for more political representation for Darfur at a national level in
government and more local powers for the region.

The Sudanese Government has offered to devolve powers to Darfur's
three states – including their own elected parliaments.

This has been dismissed by Justice and Equality Movement spokesman
Ahmed Hussain Adam as "empty statements".

The rebels have also been pressing for a scrapping of the Islamic
code in the area.

Non-Muslims have resisted attempts by the Sudanese government to
subject them to Islamic Sharia law which would require all women,
for example, to wear head dress in public.

Aid agencies evacuated workers from two towns in Darfur following
reports of attacks in northern Darfur.

More than 20 aid workers left the town of Zalengei by helicopter on
Sunday and others were also evacuated from the town of Nertiti in
western Darfur.

Mr Adams said today that with so many people dying, urgent action
was required from the international community.

"With an estimated 6,000 to 10,000 people dying each month in the
Darfur region significant and urgent action is needed," the Sinn
Fein president added.

"The Irish Government should use its international good standing,
diplomatic resources and political influences and take the lead in
pushing the international community, especially the EU and UN,
toward a substantial involvement which will quickly alleviate the
suffering of the people of that region."


Sinn Féin President To Visit US

Published: 1 November, 2004

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams MP will travel to the US for six
days later this week where he will meet with senior Congress
members, Senators and Governors and with Irish American
organisations to update them on the ongoing efforts to end the
impasse in the peace process. He will also attend a number of
functions organised by Friends of Sinn Féin.

Speaking prior to the trip a Sinn Féin spokesperson said:

"The US continues to be a vital component in securing the peace
process and the implementation of the Good Friday Agreement. Mr.
Adams will be taking the opportunity to urge all those in the US to
continue to play this important role." ENDS


Parties Attempt To Bridge The Gaps

By Martina Purdy
BBC Northern Ireland political correspondent

Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern's comments in Rome on the
political deadlock in Northern Ireland are illuminating.

He declared the deadline for a political resolution is 25 November
- putting a brave face on what effectively has been another failure
in the process.

The momentum around the Leeds Castle talks failed to achieve a
deal, but both governments pledged to keep on trying.

And the spin kept on coming: 'The next 10 days are critical',
'Halloween was the target for resolution', and then it was 'The
week to watch'.

Now the aim is to achieve a resolution to the deadlock over power-
sharing and paramilitarism before the first anniversary of the
Northern Ireland Assembly election that took place on 26 November
last year.

The past two weeks have proved disappointing for the governments,
with DUP demands for more visible decommissioning being rejected as
"humiliation" by republicans.

Other gaps include the time-frame for the assembly obtaining
control of policing and justice, and how accountable ministers
should be to the assembly and executive.

Nationalists claim "accountability" is a polite word for a DUP

In Rome, the taoiseach praised the DUP on the one hand, but
appeared to blame the party on the other - by suggesting it was
important Ian Paisley's party understood that "majoritarianism" was
not on the cards.

'Not been positive'

Bertie Ahern also talked about the DUP coming "late" to
negotiations and later still to compromise.

Sinn Fein - which some unionists suspect bluffed their way through
Leeds Castle with promises of unprecedented moves by the IRA -
appear to have escaped blame.

Instead there is plenty of speculation about what is really going
on in the DUP - fuelled by Mr Ahern's comments that there are three
camps: those that want a deal now, those who wanted to wait until
after the general election and those who do not want to negotiate
at all.

With the Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams departing this week for the
United States, there is no expectation of significant progress this

The DUP are dismissing this as nonsense.

There is also speculation that soundings from grassroots about a
potential deal have not been positive.

And then there are whispers - guesswork really - in political
circles that influential DUP North Belfast MP Nigel Dodds put the
brakes on a deal. He scoffed at the notion: "I treat it with the
levity it deserves."

The DUP say the focus should be on republicans. Assembly member Ian
Paisley Jnr said "seeing is believing" when it comes to

A republican source responded that DUP demands for decommissioning
to be captured on film were a non-starter.

"Peter Robinson has made a classic mistake of demanding something
he can't get," said the source.

'Examine paramilitary activity'

These arguments could go on for months yet.

With the Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams departing this week for the
United States, there is no expectation of significant progress this

But a republican source insisted there was still time "for one more
run at this" before election fever grips the process.

On Thursday and Friday, the prime minister and taoiseach are
expected to discuss the peace process on the margins of the
European Council in Brussels

A Sinn Fein source insisted the focus over the next few weeks will
be on getting the DUP to agree to what is on offer. But Ian Paisley
Jnr says his party "won't be bounced into a deal".

What is expected this week is that the report from the Independent
Monitoring Commission, set up to examine paramilitary activity,
will be published by the government on Thursday morning. This is
the commission's second report.

On Thursday and Friday, the prime minister and taoiseach are
expected to discuss the peace process on the margins of the
European Council in Brussels.

A spokeswoman for the Irish Government said everyone was working to
ensure momentum was kept up.

"We will have to wait and see what the next few weeks bring. People
are working to get it beyond the final stage," she said.

Mr Ahern in highlighting another deadline has also promised that
the governments will go into another phase if this one fails.

'Interests of inclusivity'

But UUP leader David Trimble suggests there are dangers in this
latest deadline.

"It will look as though the government is merely spinning things
out," he said.

All Mr Ahern seemed to guarantee was further cooperation between
London and Dublin.

The government has options, but it has so far avoided them in the
interests of inclusivity.

There was a time that the prime minister may have toyed with the
idea of calling the assembly back - with a six week pressure-cooker
deadline to get agreement.

That is unlikely to happen. Another option is to cut the salaries
of the MLAs from 70% to perhaps 50%. That is more likely.

Beyond that, the government is unlikely to do anything radical.
London's line is that the government is not contemplating failure.

But can it stop the drift this side of an election?

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2004/11/01 18:45:42 GMT


Racist Attack Condemned

Published: 1 November, 2004

Sinn Féin President, West Belfast MP Gerry Adams and local
councillor Tom Hartley have condemned the attack on a Philippine
couple in the Violet Street area of West Belfast.

Cllr Tom Hartley said: "This attack is a disgrace. It has left a
family very frightened.

"To the family affected I want to say that the community support
you 100%. To those who carried out this attack I want to say - your
actions have absolutely no support within this community.

"The ethnic minority community are part of the fabric of our
society. Particularly here in West Belfast there is widespread
appreciation of the contribution that the Philippine make both to
the local community and importantly to the health service.

Gerry Adams said: "This is a despicable attack.

"I call on those involved to stop immediately. I would also appeal
to the wider community to defend the rights, the safety and the
dignity of those members of our community who are vulnerable to
such appalling attacks.

"I also know that condemning racist attacks is not enough. We need
to actively work for the removal of racism from our society. This
requires action as much as words. I know that Sinn Féin
representatives and activists will work to tackle racism, whatever
quarter it comes from." ENDS


SDLP Pushes Ballymena Unionists To Share Power
2004-11-01 14:40:48+00

The SDLP is due to table a motion at Ballymena Borough Council
tonight challenging the town's unionist majority to share power
with nationalist councillors.

The party wants the DUP-dominated council to share out jobs like
mayor and committee chairmanships to reflect the overall
composition of the council.

At present, the jobs are all taken by unionists because they are in
the majority.

Last week, the DUP and other unionists on Castlereagh Borough
Council rejected a similar SDLP motion calling for the top jobs to
be shared among all the parties represented on the council.

The SDLP and Sinn Féin said the move showed that the DUP could not
be trusted to share power with nationalists at Executive level when
it was unwilling to do so on a local basis.


Voter Registration System Slammed

The downward spiral in the number of people able to vote in
Northern Ireland elections is becoming embedded because of a flawed
registration process, the Government was told today.

By:Press Association

After a meeting with Northern Ireland Office minister John Spellar,
Sinn Fein chairman Mitchel McLaughlin claimed the annual
registration of individual voters had damaged the electoral
process, removing almost 200,000 people from the register.

The Foyle Assembly member argued: "Year after year, in election
after election increasing numbers of people, who are eligible to
vote, are having their fundamental democratic rights denied.

"Sinn Fein`s primary focus has been to bring about changes to the
legislation that will make it easier for people to register and to
reverse the downward trend.

"We have suggested a number of ways that this could be done."

During September, Northern Ireland Electoral Office canvassers
visited homes across the province to ensure people had registered

Voters in Northern Ireland are required to register every year
under the Electoral Fraud Act 2002.

However parties have claimed this has resulted in a shredding of
the electoral register, with nationalist and unionist working class
communities the worst affected.

The legislation also requires people to provide photographic
identification in the form of a passport, driver`s licence, senior
citizen`s travel pass or a special electoral ID card at polling
stations if they want to vote.

Mr McLaughlin said among the improvements Sinn Fein had proposed

:: Replacing individual registration with household registration.
:: Registration should occur every year, with voters remaining on
the register for five years.
:: Both photographic and non-photographic forms of identification
should be acceptable.
:: The abolition of Electoral Courts - personal identifier
requirements supplied on the registration form should be a
sufficient proof of identification and validation of applications.
:: Registration should be allowed up to seven days before polling
:: The Electoral Office should continue to provide official
electoral identification.

The Sinn Fein chairman continued: "The Electoral Office has now
decided to make more registration forms available but while this is
welcome it falls far short of what is required.

"It is clear that the pattern of decline in the numbers on the
electoral register has been not been addressed by the annual
registration drive or the rolling registration procedure organised
by the Electoral Office.

"As highlighted in the recent Pricewaterhouse Coopers Report
commissioned by the Electoral Office `unless (this) is rectified,
the downward trend in the Register has the potential of embedding
itself structurally in the registration process`.

"Sinn Fein believes that this downward trend has been embedded in
the registration process and that only legislative change will
rectify the situation.

"The result has been discrimination on a massive scale. This is
unacceptable. People`s democratic rights must be restored."


DUP Needs To Face Reality - Sinn Fein

By Dan McGinn, Ireland Political Editor, PA News

The Rev Ian Paisley's Democratic Unionists were tonight told to
face the reality that the process of change in Northern Ireland
will continue.

Sinn Fein vice-president Pat Doherty warned the DUP that it would
not be allowed to veto the process of change ushered in by the 1998
Good Friday Agreement.

As British and Irish officials continued to focus on a way to
restore the power sharing government and Assembly at Stormont, the
West Tyrone MP said: "The majority of the electorate in Britain and
Ireland, the majority of political parties and the two governments
are for the Agreement.

"The simple truth is that there will be no deal accept on the basis
of the Good Friday Agreement.

"The DUP need to recognise this and if they won't or can't accept
that reality then the process of change must proceed.

"A rejectionist minority cannot be allowed to veto or paralyse a
process which is supported by everyone else.

"The primary responsibility for this rests with the two

Mr Doherty was commenting as Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams
prepared to visit the United States from Wednesday.

The West Belfast MP is due to meet US President George W Bush's
special envoy for Northern Ireland, Ambassador Mitchell Reiss
during his visit.

His week-long tour will take him to fundraising events in New York,
Philadelphia, Chicago, San Francisco and Washington.

Sinn Feinn chief negotiator Martin McGuinness will continue to
engage in talks with British and Irish officials while Mr Adams is
away, party sources said.

In September Prime Minister Tony Blair and Irish Taoiseach Bertie
Ahern came close to restoring devolved government in Northern

Mr Blair claimed he believed the issues of IRA disarmament and an
ending of all paramilitary activity could be resolved.

Both issues are seen as being key to the restoration of a power
sharing administration.

However, any move from the IRA has been on hold because of a
dispute between parties over the future arrangement for power

The DUP want devolved ministers at Stormont to be more accountable
to the Assembly and to their cabinet colleagues.

However, the Nationalist SDLP and Sinn FeinLondonderry have accused
the Democratic Unionist's of trying to secure a veto on the work of
other parties' ministers in a future Stormont executive.

Both parties have also hit out at suggestions that the First and
Deputy First Ministers could be separately elected by the Assembly
and they have also accused the DUP of trying to water down and
limit the scope of cross-border cooperation between the Stormont
executive and the Irish government.

Earlier today Democratic Unionist MP Gregory Campbell said recent
attacks on his party's negotiating position by the SDLP and Sinn
Feinn were triggered by a nationalist realisation that his party
was insisting on a level playing field.

The East Londonerry MP said: "One of the major stumbling blocks in
an overall sense is that nationalists and republicans have become
so used to having their own agendas met in previous talks

"They are having some difficulty in adjusting to the new reality
where those of us negotiating for unionists this time around are
insisting on a level playing field.

"This has caused consternation in the ranks of both the SDLP and
Sinn Fein.

"Nationalists and republicans have enjoyed an elevated status for
years, their demands responded to and met, while unionists endured
second class citizenship on many fronts. That day is over."

Mr Campbell's claim that unionists had been treated like second
class citizens was described as bizarre and ridiculous by SDLP
Assembly member Dominic Bradley.

Newry and Armagh MLA said: "To claim that unionists 'endured second
class citizenship on many fronts' is as valid as the claim that
there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

"What the Good Friday Agreement established was equality and only
equality between the parties and tradition in the North (of

"What European and other funding established was equality and only
equality in the allocation of state funds.

"To claim otherwise is turning history and truth on its head. It is
plainly ridiculous."


Paisley: 'Blair Must Honour His Word'

01/11/2004 - 19:18:22

Prime Minister Tony Blair was tonight told he must prove over the
next few days that he would stick to his word on securing full IRA

As British and Irish Government officials tried to concoct a
formula for reviving power sharing in Northern Ireland, the
Reverend Ian Paisley, leader of the Democratic Unionists, insisted
that there could be no fudge on the issue of IRA weapons.

With the DUP insisting that comprehensive arms decommissioning is
crucial for the restoration of devolved government at Stormont, the
North Antrim MP said: "Within the next few days Mr Blair has to
prove to the law abiding citizens of Northern Ireland that he is
going to keep his promise about the entire decommissioning of all
the IRA-Sinn Fein terrorist weaponry and that putting beyond use of
these weapons will be done in a way that will satisfy everyone.

"It must be totally transparent and visible to the people whose
lives are threatened by these weapons.

"From the outset of negotiations, the DUP has made it clear that
there can be no fudge on this issue."

At the end of talks at Leeds Castle in Kent in September, Mr Blair
said he believed the issues of IRA decommissioning and the winding
down of all paramilitary activity could be resolved.

A move from the Provisionals was put on hold while Northern
Ireland's parties became embroiled in a dispute over power sharing

Republican sources have insisted the IRA will only make its move in
the context of a comprehensive, holistic agreement.

Mr Paisley tonight observed that some Sinn Féin members appeared to
look on demands for visible IRA decommissioning as an attempt to
humiliate the IRA.

He said: "It matters not that families whose loved ones have been
murdered by the IRA have their bodies still held by the IRA in
graves prepared by the IRA.

"This is not evidently humiliating, but the murdering thugs who did
these dastardly deeds are to be excused by acts of decommissioning
in darkness from public gaze.

"The DUP is not in the business of accepting a fudge on the issue
of decommissioning.

"On this issue there will be no compromise.

"It is now over to Mr Blair. He can keep his word and rid us of the
IRA murder gang or he can produce yet another fudge, thus giving
the IRA the victory they are demanding."

Last week, during Northern Ireland Questions at Westminster,
Northern Ireland Secretary Paul Murphy and his Security Minister
Ian Pearson insisted that there had to be transparency in any
future disarmament move by the IRA.

The Provisionals have decommissioned weapons three times. But last
October, there was unionist anger that the head of the Independent
International Commission on Decommissioning, General John de
Chastelain, was unable to give more detail about the disarmament
act he had witnessed.

Transparency over decommissioning is seen as being critical to
securing unionist support for any peace process deal to restore

Some unionist sources have suggested the act could be filmed or

Mr Paisley tonight rounded on David Trimble's Ulster Unionists,
claiming they had done nothing to defend the Union in the current

The DUP leader said: "Rather, they are happier to be part of an
alliance with Sinn Féin/IRA and the SDLP, supporting not the review
of the Agreement but its reinforcement.

"The people of Ulster must stand united on this issue.

"On it rests their doom or deliverance.

"The next few days will prove whether the Prime Minister is an
honest broker, or whether he is again seeking to surrender to the
IRA ultimatum."


Ervine Urges Working Class Regeneration In NI
2004-11-01 12:10:03+00

The British government was urged today to set up task forces to
regenerate Protestant working-class communities in Northern

Progressive Unionist leader David Ervine, whose party is linked to
the Ulster Volunteer Force and Red Hand Commando, welcomed a
meeting he will have later today at Stormont with Northern Ireland
Secretary Paul Murphy about engaging loyalist communities in

As he prepared for the talks, the East Belfast Assembly member said
his party was going to tell Mr Murphy the best way to engage
Protestant working-class communities was to set up task forces on
education, health and the drug problem.

"We would like to see task forces working in the community which
would be directly answerable to the Secretary of State but would
also deal with issues on the ground," Mr Ervine said.

"We are also advocating a zero tolerance policy on drugs in
communities. The police would seem to be not as effective as they
should be in dealing with drugs problems in communities and I think
that is something we all need to address."

Mr Ervine's talks with the Northern Ireland Secretary follows hard
on an appeal by the PUP leader at his party's annual conference for
a route map to help loyalists out of the jungle of paramilitarism.

The image of loyalists, Mr Ervine said in his leader's speech last
month, had been distorted by media coverage of criminality in the

Loyalists, he argued, wanted to tackle deprivation in their
communities and needed to be empowered to do so.

Tomorrow Mr Murphy will also meet members of the Ulster Political
Research Group which provides political analysis to the largest
loyalist paramilitary group, the Ulster Defence Association/Ulster
Freedom Fighters.

Mr Ervine said the PUP would press at today's meeting for the
replacement of the Parades Commission in Northern Ireland with a
more effective body.

The East Belfast MLA said: "In our view the Parades Commission has
been a failure and is not the way to do business.

"Instead of resolving tensions around marches, it has actually
exacerbated them. We need some other mechanism to deal with the
difficulty of two different cultures living cheek by jowl."


SF Warning On Beef Safeguards

Northern Ireland's beef industry could be damaged if the Over 30
Months Scheme is phased out before the ending of the EU export ban,
the British Government was warned today.

By:Press Association

After a meeting with Department of Agriculture officials in
Belfast, Sinn Fein MP Michelle Gildernew said the ending of the
scheme should only take place within a timeframe close to the
ending of the EU ban.

The Fermanagh and South Tyrone MP, who is her party`s agriculture
spokesperson, claimed: "The removal of the OTMS without the ending
of the beef ban would cause considerable problems for the industry.

"Not only would there be serious problems in finding a market for
this product because the beef ban restricts the export of beef but
also the UK would be restricting beef of over 30 months.

"It is also clear that while any progress in gaining regional
status would have some benefits, the UK would continue to exclude
our OTMS beef."

European Union countries have banned beef exports from Northern
Ireland because of fears about mad cow disease in the UK.

Despite having a highly regarded computer traceability system, the
Northern Ireland beef industry has not been able to secure a
regionalised relaxation of the ban for Northern Ireland.

Ms Gildernew said today a clear plan of action was needed to secure
the ending of the ban.

"The European Food Safety Authority are fairly happy with the
protocols on traceability and the testing of animals which are in
place here," she noted.

"They are also content that the risk associated with beef from the
North (of Ireland) is about the same from other European countries.

"The biggest difficulties come from widespread criticisms of the UK
testing regime, particularly from the European Food & Veterinary
Office (FVO).

"However their report gives the North a fairly clean bill of
health. Both The Food Safety Authority and the European FSA are
content with our testing and monitoring."

Ms Gildernew noted Department of Health concerns about the amount
of tests on cattle.

"The Chief Medical Officers have some concerns based on UK risk
analysis and the testing regime," the Fermanagh and South Tyrone MP

"They believe that the comparative sample taken in the North
compared to the amount of animals tested within the UK is too low.

"This means that we need to ensure that a wider sample is taken.

"To meet any concerns about the sampling it is vital that the Six
Counties (Northern Ireland) has the required capacity in place to
test animals over 30 months.

"Clearly handing over control of the testing to the Food Safety
Authority is also something which should also be looked at."

Ms Gildernew said the beef industry in Northern Ireland clearly had
to make its own case for a relaxation of the ban, given poor
compliance in the UK.

The Sinn Fein MP and MLA said: "While it could take the UK anything
up to two years before they have all the necessary measures in
place I believe that we could put in place a strategy for progress
within a much shorter timeframe."


The Archbishop, The Secret Meeting And The Car Bomb

Starting today: Two-part exclusive extracts from the new biography
of Archbishop Robin Eames. From a young cleric working through the
dark years of the Northern Ireland Troubles through to a world
figure in Anglicanism, Robin Eames has played a pivotal role not
just in his own church but in our history.

01 November 2004

In 1976, shortly after Robin Eames arrived in Londonderry as Bishop
of Derry and Raphoe, both he and Catholic Bishop Edward Daly joined
other clergy in a walk across the city. This followed a series of
'tit-for-tat' killings.

Dr Daly recalls: "We decided to hold a silent procession of all
clergy and almost every clergyman took part.

"It was a very impressive turn-out, and the series of killings
stopped and never re-occurred. Whether or not that was a
coincidence I don't know, but the walk by the clergy from nearly
every church was a powerful statement against violence."

Both bishops were working in a situation of almost continual

"We were having to issue statements at every turn. We were so busy
addressing what had happened two hours ago, that it was very
difficult to take a long-term view on things."

The two men undoubtedly got on well together.

Edward Daly says: "A bishop can be quite isolated because of the
nature of his office and he might need to talk to someone. It was
reassuring to know that there was a man down the road who would
understand, and Robin and I could confide in one another
completely. We could speak a similar language, we were also able to
respect our differences, and we had a great deal in common.

"We were young bishops at the same time in the same place, both
learning our pastoral skills and both facing much the same

It was no surprise that Eames asked Daly's advice about visiting
Catholics in the Bogside area of the city.

"I said to Edward, 'Is there anything against my going there? Would
you be annoyed if I wandered about the place?' and he said, 'I'd be

"All I asked him was that he would not make formal arrangements, I
wanted to be free to walk about on my own. I decided, however, that
I would not go in there as a 'mate' dressed informally in an open-
neck shirt. I came to them as the Church of Ireland bishop who
wanted to get to know them."

The visits were well received.

"As a Protestant bishop I said to them, 'I want you to see that I
haven't got horns. I have come to Derry and I have inherited a
situation where I want to do something, because I represent a new
generation. I want to know what makes your worries as real as they
are, and I want to confirm to you the worries I am getting from my
own people, because I don't think you have been able to hear
anything beyond the rhetoric of the politicians.'"

The Catholics were also keen to put their points to the new
Protestant bishop.

"They would ask me questions like, 'Do all Protestants think like
Ian Paisley? Why can we talk to you at our fireside about things
like unemployment and outside loos, yet the unionist politicians do
not want to listen about those things?' I am sure that some of the
people I met had sympathy for the Provisional IRA. They did not
say, 'Johnny was out on a job last night,' but they did say that
the Provisionals were the only people who were doing anything for

"They also spoke with great respect for Edward Daly who was
expressing some of their inner worries."

These direct contacts with the Catholic community in Derry also led
to a secret meeting between Eames and a republican paramilitary and
the beginning of many years working behind the scenes with both

It was an important part of Eames' work, which he did not speak
about publicly, partly to retain the credibility and trust with his
contacts and partly because he knew that such meetings could easily
bring condemnation and misunderstanding from the Protestant
community at large.Eames had made it known during his meetings in
the Bogside that he would be prepared to meet anyone.

ONE night he received a late phone call asking if he would be
prepared to talk to a certain individual. "What about?" he asked.

The reply came, "It's in relation to your conversation in the

Eames knew that more likely than not it was a 'feeler' from the
Provisional IRA, and he agreed to a meeting in the Bishop's House.

Eames describes what happened. "A car was driven up to the house,
and a youngish man got out. I invited him into the house, and the
car sped away. The stranger and I talked for about two hours. He
never told me who he was, but he was obviously a member of the IRA.
He certainly knew a lot about what was going on."

The stranger wanted to talk in particular about a problem in south
Derry, which was part of Eames' diocese.

"He said that Catholic families had received threats that they
would be put out of their homes, and asked me if I could do
anything to prevent it. He asked me if I could get the message
through to loyalists in that area that the Catholic families did
not pose a threat, but that if the intimidation continued his
organisation was going to have to retaliate."

Eames replied that he would do what he could, but that he could not
guarantee miracles. He recalls: "This was the first time that I had
met a man from such a background, and I asked him, 'Are you on the
run?' He replied, 'Yes.'

"I asked him, 'Are you not afraid of being caught? You have no
guarantee that I did not tip off the security forces.' He said,
'I'm trusting you.'"

Eames could not work out why he felt so safe. Then the stranger
said something which has stayed with Eames ever since.

"He said, 'I know when it is safe to visit a house.' I asked him,
'Do you actually know when you are not likely to be accosted?' He
nodded: 'Yes.' I asked myself, 'Does he know the timings of the
security patrols on the road outside my house? Does this mean that
there are talks going on somewhere and that there is a safe passage
for some of these people?'

"In that two-hour conversation was I seeing a tip of the iceberg of
collusion with the authorities, in that this fellow was sitting in
the Bishop's House feeling safe, although he was on the wanted
list? I still don't know the answer, but it has always struck me as
very odd."

People might ask why Eames did not turn this man over to the law.
He says: "I felt that it was not my job to do that. I didn't know
what he had been accused of, or what he had done. I didn't even
know his name. If I had turned him in, or made it possible for him
to be arrested, it would have totally undermined my independence as
a Church man. I felt that the criminal aspect was a matter for the
police. This man had not come to me to confess to a murder or
anything like that. He had come to talk about a serious problem in
the community, and I was trying to reach out and to make a
practical contribution."

Nevertheless, if Eames were to tell his parishioners that he had
met a Provisional IRA activist and had had a two-hour conversation
with him, or if the news had leaked out, it would have caused an

Eames says: "I did not talk about what I had done, apart from
telling Edward Daly afterwards. He was not a party to what had
happened, but he was able to confirm that it had been a genuine
approach. Over the years there have been many things which I have
tried to do, things which would have been totally obliterated if
they had been talked about, so I have tended to play my cards close
to my chest."

Following the meeting in Derry, Eames visited his clergy in the
southern part of the diocese. "First I had the facts clarified and
I said to them: 'We have to get some assurance going here,
otherwise we are going to have a big problem.' Those clergy did
things on the ground, and I never heard from the IRA man again. The
rectors would have known the activists in the loyalist areas and
they made it known that things would be much better if the hassle
stopped. And it stopped."

This was the first tangible result of Eames' meeting with a
republican paramilitary. "It was the first time in my life that I
had met such a shadowy figure, and it was a world I did not know.
However, it was the beginning of something else, and to the present
day this has been a part of my life, talking to people on both

SOME three years before Eames went to Derry, an incident occurred
in the diocese which later led to suspicions about possible
collusion between the Government and the Catholic Church.

In July 1972 a Provisional IRA bomb in Claudy killed nine people,
including three children, and injured more than 30 others.

In late December 2002, a police review of the massacre indicated
that an unnamed priest - identified elsewhere as a Father James
Chesney, who has since died - was actively involved in terrorism at
the time.

A report in the Belfast Telegraph of December 20, 2002 claimed:

"Rediscovered documents show that Fr Chesney's apparent involvement
in IRA terrorism was discussed at the highest levels of the
Government and the Catholic Church, but the priest was never
questioned by police. Instead he was moved from a Co Londonderry
parish to Donegal after the case was discussed privately by the
then Secretary of State William Whitelaw and the Catholic Primate
Cardinal William Conway."

Following such claims in 2002, the Catholic Primate, Dr Sean Brady,
in a statement carried by the Irish Times of December 21, 2002,
expressed his horror at "the possibility of any such allegation
being true" and said: "... every effort must be made to find
answers to the yet outstanding questions. The Catholic Church will
obviously co-operate in that search."

As Bishop of Derry and Raphoe, Robin Eames visited Claudy, in 1975.
"The memories of the families who had lost loved ones were vivid,
and the hurt ran deep. A number of people claimed that a Roman
Catholic priest had been involved, or they claimed to know a good
deal about it.

"I treated such rumours at arm's length, but they persisted. I
gather that it was general knowledge, but that no one could prove
it. At the time I felt it was the sort of rumour which could easily
be spread but without foundation. When it was confirmed late in
2002 I was horrified to think back on what I had heard all those
years ago. 'Was such a thing possible?' I asked myself.

"The rumours were rife at the time, but nothing could alleviate the
depth of the sadness in that little village."

• Extracted from Nobody's Fool. The Life of Archbishop Robin Eames
by Alf McCreary. Published on November 18 by Hodder and Stoughton.
price £20. copyright © 2004 by Alf McCreary

• To order your copy of Nobody's Fool by Alf McCreary at the
special price of £16.99 including p&p (normal RRP £20), please call
0870 7552122 and quote offer code BSH159, or send a cheque payable
to Bookshop Partnership to: Nobody's Fool, Offer BSH159, PO Box
104, Ludlow, SY8 1YB. For postage rates outside the UK please call
01584 879776.


Smoking Ban Pressure Increases

Doctors in Northern Ireland are this week stepping up their
campaign to have smoking banned in public places.

By:Press Association

They are calling on Secretary of State Paul Murphy to use his
powers to introduce a ban ahead of any action the Government may
take for the UK as a whole.

They point to the success of the ban introduced in the Irish
Republic earlier this year and want it north of the border as soon
as possible.

At least 500 doctors - both GPs and hospital doctors - have written
to Mr Murphy, via the British Medical Association, calling on him
to introduce legislation for smoke-free public places.

A BMA spokesman said today: "We don`t have to wait for the rest of
the United Kingdom. The Secretary of State can sign an Order in
Council to introduce legislation here."

The letters will be delivered to Mr Murphy at Stormont on Thursday
and local politicians and healthcare organisations have been asked
to join the doctors.

The BMA spokesman said the SDLP and Sinn Fein were very much in
favour of the ban being introduced in Northern Ireland. "As far as
we are aware the DUP, UUP and Alliance party also agree but have
not been as vocal."


Hockey Helping Ease Tensions In Troubled Northern Ireland

By Bob Mackin

Rookie Vancouver filmmaker Linda Conway couldn't have wished for a
better time to release her National Film Board documentary, When
Hockey Came to Belfast.

North America's hockey lords won't talk with each other because of
money. But Northern Irelanders, who might not talk with each other
because of political or religious differences, are agreeing on a
newfound love for hockey.

Conway began her project three years ago, planning to focus on how
the European Super League's Belfast Giants were bringing Catholic
and Protestants together to watch hockey. She also found the Giants
were inspiring Catholic and Protestant youths to play hockey

One parent handed her a photograph of his 15-year-old son.

"He said, 'This is my son Paul, this is Andrew, my son's Catholic,
Andrew's Protestant, maybe you'd like to do a story on them?' Then
I knew."

Conway tells the story of Paul and Andrew as they celebrate their
similarities and differences, speaking frankly about living in
Belfast where a friendship such as theirs is brave. They're only
known by their first names in the film, for safety reasons. Their
schools and neighbourhoods remain nondescript and the film won't be
broadcast in Northern Ireland before Paul and Andrew turn 18.

"There is still tension that exists between the communities,"
Conway said. "That's the reality."

Paul and Andrew play for the same team at the Dundonald Ice Bowl
and are avid fans of the Giants, who play at the Odyssey arena in
central Belfast. Fans check their differences at the doors. The
only rivalry might be among which NHL team they support; it's
nothing like the Celtic/Rangers rivalry that can lead to riots.
There's a sea of jerseys at the Odyssey, Conway said. Many are
Wayne Gretzky replicas. Others are Toronto Maple Leafs jerseys
because of Belfast-born Owen Nolan.

When Hockey Came to Belfast debuts at the Amnesty International
Film Festival's opening night gala, Wednesday at the Ridge Theatre
at 9 p.m. Conway thinks it's an apt venue, because Northern
Ireland's peace process has been shuffled to the back pages since

Though Belfast is a safe city enjoying an economic boom, sectarian
violence has not disappeared and brick walls divide many. The
annual July Protestant parades to celebrate William of Orange's
1690 victory over Catholic King James tend to stir bitterness on
both sides.

"Life has gotten much better in Belfast," she said. "[But] you
can't go through a major conflict and legislate away centuries of

Conway is hoping to create a legacy by raising funds and donations
to buy hockey equipment. Prices here are high to a Canadian's eye;
Conway said she had sticker shock at the two Belfast-area hockey

"There's a lot of working class kids who want to play ice hockey,
but their parents can't afford it. That's the long-term thing I'd
like to see the film do, some sort of program that gets more kids
playing. Then you have kids from both sides engaging."

Peace is possible-one player at a time.


Brosnan Says Colin Farrell Should Be Next 007

DUBLIN, Ireland -- Pierce Brosnan, who played British agent James
Bond in the last four 007 films, says he thinks fellow Irishman
Colin Farrell would be his ideal successor.

Brosnan, 51, said several actors could ably fill his shoes as Bond,
which he began in 1995 with GoldenEye and concluded with 2002's Die
Another Day.

"But I'll give it to Colin Farrell. He'll eat the head off them
all," Brosnan said following an entertainment awards ceremony
Saturday in Dublin.

Farrell, 28, appeared with Tom Cruise in the 2002 sci-fi thriller,
Minority Report, and has the title role in Oliver Stone's upcoming

Brosnan didn't specify any other actors that he thought would make
a good 007.

He also said he was discussing a possible collaboration with
director Quentin Tarantino, who is considering making a film of the
Bond novel Casino Royale.

"We have discussed things, Quentin and I, but I don't know if it's
going to be that particular project," Brosnan said.

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