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November 07, 2004

News 11/07/04 - UVF Bullys Portuguese Families

News About Ireland & The Irish

IO 11/07/04 UVF Accused Of Bullying Portuguese Families
SM 11/07/04 Unionists Accused Of Missing Power Sharing Opportunity
BB 11/07/04 Kabul Kidnappers List Demands -V
IO 11/07/04 Seal Sanctuary Welcomes Prompt Slaughter Post Mortem


UVF Accused Of Bullying Portuguese Families
2004-11-07 18:20:02+00

Members of the Portuguese community in Northern Ireland are being
bullied into paying protection money to a loyalist paramilitary
organisation, it was claimed today.

Following the latest racist attack on a family in Portadown, Sinn
Féin Assembly member John O'Dowd alleged members of the Ulster
Volunteer Force were asking Portuguese families to stump up cash.

A petrol bomb was thrown at a Portuguese family's home in
Portadown's Armagh Road at 8.20pm last night, causing scorch
damage to the front window and wall of the house.

Witnesses saw a tall, thin man in dark clothing running away in
the direction of Armagh Road and Church Street Junction.

Police have appealed to other people in the area who saw anything
suspicious to come forward.

Mr O'Dowd described the attack as attempted murder and alleged
there was an ongoing organised campaign of intimidation by the

The Upper Bann MLA (Member of the Legislative Assembly) said: "The
Portuguese community in Portadown are facing physical attacks on a
weekly basis. This latest incident is the third attack in seven

"They are being forced to pay protection money if they do not live
in the right landlord's house and some of those providing
employment to the Portuguese in Portadown have been forced to hand
over thousands of pounds to known UVF members.

"Unionist politicians will have to face up to their
responsibilities and stop ignoring the elephant in the room. They
must not only speak out on this issue but they must be proactive
in bringing it to an end.

"Without the Portuguese members of the community in Portadown some
of the main employers in the town would not be there, the
Portuguese are hard-working members of and contributors to our
society. We must show our appreciation for them and actively work
to stop these attacks."

Portadown has a number of Portuguese families living in the town,
employed in local factories.

It isn't the first time the community has been targeted.

In August, the homes of two Portuguese families were targeted when
a number of people kicked and battered in the doors of their flats
in Moeran Park in an early morning attack.

Members of the Filipino and Vietnamese communities have also been
victims of racial attacks in the town.


Unionists Accused Of Missing Power Sharing Opportunity

By Ed Carty, PA News

The Democratic Unionist Party have failed to grasp a unique
opportunity to kick-start Northern Ireland’s devolved powers, it
was claimed today.

Martin McGuinness, Sinn Fein chief negotiator, said it was a shame
the DUP refused to engage directly with his party and commit to
sharing power.

“The DUP in the course of these last couple of weeks clearly have
shown that the major difficulty within this process resides within
themselves and the IRA are not the problem,” Mr McGuinness said.

The Sinn Fein MLA said Unionists should have grabbed the chance to
return to Stormont after the IRA put forward a “superb offer” in
order to restart power sharing in Belfast.

“It has now become clear that the Democratic Unionist Party even
in the face of what everybody concedes, and the Governments
concede, is an unprecedented and historic offer from the IRA
leadership that the DUP are not prepared to do the business,” he

“I don’t have any illusions whatsoever that the Governments doubt
that it was a very good offer and a very important offer and one
which the DUP should have seized on.”

“The Governments, both British and Irish have clearly indicated in
the course of the last number of weeks that they believe that
Republicans are up for a historic and unprecedented contribution
to breaking the logjam.”

Mr McGuinness told RTE radio it was a shame the DUP failed to
respect the views of Republican voters.

“We don’t have any problem whatsoever in engaging with the elected
representatives of the Unionist people, the difficulty resides on
the DUP side,” he said.

“If the DUP could bring themselves to recognising the importance
of respecting the Sinn Fein mandate then I think we could do the
business much more quickly.”

Mr McGuinness said there were no illusions about where the process
was heading.

“It’s matter of when, not if we are going to see an agreement,” he

The Sinn Fein MLA also said the Governments had to take
responsibility for driving the process forward until the DUP came
on board.

But he warned both British and Irish officials had to consider
dissolving the assembly if progress was not made.

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

Talks are ongoing on all sides to broker a new deal, but
paramilitarism, decommissioning and policing remain a bone of

After tough political talks at Leeds Castle in Kent last month,
Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern said the thorny issues of IRA
disarmament and paramilitary activity seemed to be resolved.

But the two governments have been unable to get the parties to
sign up to a deal over power-sharing after unionists and
nationalists clashed over future devolved institutions.


See video at:
------ /1/hi/world/south_asia/3990323.stm

Kabul Kidnappers List Demands -V

By Roland Buerk

BBC News, Kabul

Militants who claim they are holding three foreign hostages in
Afghanistan say they have handed over a list of prisoners they
want released.

The United Nations workers, including Annetta Flanigan from
Northern Ireland, were kidnapped 10 days ago in Kabul.

A man claiming to be a spokesman for the Army of Muslims said the
demand came during a meeting with government negotiators on

The UN and Afghanistan's government are refusing to confirm the

The militants have given the government two days to find and
release the prisoners, according to a man who called journalists,
claiming to speak for the kidnappers.

The spokesmen said the Army of Muslims had handed over a list of
26 names during a face to face meeting.

He added that they agreed to meet again on Tuesday, and until then
the hostages' lives are not in danger.

Jaish-al Muslimeen, or the Army of Muslims, says it was behind the
kidnapping in broad daylight in a Kabul street on 28 October.

A video was sent to the BBC and other broadcasters showing the
three hostages, who are from Northern Ireland, Kosovo and the
Philippines, slumped against a wall.

Deadline for demands

The group, which is believed to be a breakaway faction of the
Taleban, issued a series of conditions for the hostages' freedom,
including that foreign troops be withdrawn from Afghanistan.

Since then a series of deadlines for the demands to be met have
been set and passed.

In his call, the man who claims to be a spokesman for the group,
said he was optimistic agreement could be reached.

And earlier, Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai said he was
hopeful the hostages would be freed unharmed.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2004/11/07 17:50:15 GMT


Seal Sanctuary Welcomes Prompt Slaughter Post Mortem

07/11/2004 - 19:11:40

The Irish Seal Sanctuary has welcomed the prompt release of post
mortem results following the recent slaughter of 60 grey seals on
the Blasket Islands.

The results confirmed the initial findings on three different
causes of death. They indicated that seals were shot, bludgeoned
and killed with spikes through the head.

The Seal Sanctuary has welcomed both the statement from Minister
for the Environment, Dick Roche, and his commitment to see justice

The group has vowed to continue to work with the authorities to
bring the investigations into the incident to a successful

Jay Dooling (
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