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November 08, 2004

News 11/08/04 - DUP Urged To Back Power-Sharing

News about Ireland & the Irish

IT 11/09/04 DUP Urged To Back Power-Sharing – V
IT 11/09/04 Leaders Are Ready To Press Ahead
SF 11/08/04 McGuinness Holds Talks With Dermot Ahern
UT 11/08/04 Brother Of Murdered Man Blames UDA On Attack
UT 11/08/04 DUP Stands Firm On IRA Demand
EX 11/08/04 IRA Gun Photo Row Blocks Peace Talks
BB 11/08/04 Kabul Hostages 'Treated Well'
NL 11/08/04 Police Officer May Be Victim Of Hit-And-Run
SF 11/08/04 Mayor's Response To Attack Criticised As "Minimalist"
UT 11/08/04 Row Over Portadown Racism
UT 11/08/04 Row Over IRA Memorial
UT 11/08/04 de Brun To Resign Assembly Seat
TO 11/08/04 McAleese: A Way Out Of Violence For The Irish Leader
PL 11/08/04 AOH: A Night O' Irish
UT 11/08/04 Northern Lights Visible In Ireland
UT 11/08/04 Orphan Seals Rescued From Island
UT 11/08/04 Gardai Visit Island Where Seals Killed – V

QA 11/08/04 Is The Panel Worried About Bush's Election Victory?
RT 11/08/04 US Actor And Singer Howard Keel Dies Aged 85

See Question & Answer - John O'Donoghue, Minister for Arts, Sport
and Tourism Róisín Shortall, Labour Party Spokesperson on Transport
Mary Van Lieshout, American nutritionist, writer and opponent of
the war in Iraq Liam Griffin, hotelier and former Wexford hurling
manager Stephen O'Byrnes, former PD General Secretary and now
Public Relations Consultant - Is The Panel Worried About George W
Bush's Election Victory?

US Actor And Singer Howard Keel Dies Aged 85 - Vivienne Traynor
looks back at the life and career of Howard Keel


See Taoiseach addresses TCD on North process - David McCullagh,
Political Correspondent, reports on Taoiseach Bertie Ahern's speech
on the Northern peace process in Dublin's Trinity College

See Tommie Gorman, Northern Editor, assesses the ongoing efforts to
advance the peace process in Northern Ireland

DUP Urged To Back Power-Sharing - V

Arthur Beesley, Political Reporter

Concessions on offer from the Provisional IRA raise the question
of whether the DUP is "genuinely" prepared for partnership
politics, the Taoiseach, Mr Ahern, has said.

Mr Ahern said last night current negotiations offered the real
prospect of an historic end to paramilitary operations by the IRA
and the rapid completion of decommissioning.

However, he said the finalisation of the offer from the IRA was
available only if the DUP fully accepted partnership within
Northern Ireland and in the North-South bodies.

With the talks now within two weeks of the latest deadline for
agreement, Mr Ahern said the Irish and British governments will put
forward their final proposals in the coming days.

He stressed that the DUP had an unprecedented opportunity to
consolidate peace and political stability in the North, but warned
that this opportunity might be lost if unrealistic demands were
made of the IRA.

"It would be tragically ironic if the prospect of ending IRA
activity and capability was lost because it did not meet
unrealistic thresholds of visibility," he said.

Addressing students in Trinity College, Dublin, the Taoiseach
called on the DUP to take part in the power-sharing institutions
and to devolve policing and justice powers to the power- sharing

"These raise challenging questions for the DUP, specifically,
whether they are genuinely up for partnership politics or not," he

Any attempts to "hollow out" the power-sharing provisions and
protections of the Good Friday agreement will not be acceptable and
will not work, he said.

Mr Ahern said the Government needed to ensure that decommissioning
had the confidence-building impact required within the unionist

He recognised that some additional elements of transparency may be
required and said that it ought to be possible to agree "reasonable
steps" if there is a will to reach an agreement.

However, he said that any unreasonable demands that carried a
resonance of humiliation would be entirely counter- productive and
will not work.

Mr Ahern stressed there was only a narrow opportunity for agreement
but "very few" issues were outstanding.

"Both governments now believe that there exists a real prospect of
definitively ending IRA paramilitary activity and rapidly
completing the decommissioning of IRA weapons.

"The achievement of that prospect would transform the political
environment in Northern Ireland and we are determined that it will
be secured," he said. Failure to achieve an agreement would see the
Irish and British governments finding a different way to move the
process forward within the context of the Good Friday accord.

"We will work together on an even closer basis with our British
partners to advance the agreement in every way possible."

Mr Ahern said leaders on all sides must be prepared to take risks
for a final agreement but he did not believe that such risks were
unmanageable for any party.

"For our part, we are prepared to accommodate changes to the
operation of the Good Friday agreement so long as they are not at
the expense of the fundamentals of the agreement," he said.

"If there is a will on all sides to finish this once and for all, I
believe sincerely that it can be done. That requires movement from
both sides to close the gaps on the key outstanding issues,
including the question of acts of completion by the IRA."

© The Irish Times


Leaders Are Ready To Press Ahead

Gerry Moriarty, Northern Editor

The Irish and British governments appear determined to press
ahead with an initiative to break the political deadlock in the
coming two to three weeks if the current stalemate persists.

The DUP, however, insists that it will not sign up to any agreement
that does not conform to its bottom-line demands.

The Taoiseach, Mr Ahern, said in Dublin yesterday that people would
be "amused" if they understood what was holding up agreement.

Mr Ahern said it would be an "enormous tragedy" if attempts to
restore devolution had to be postponed to 2006 when the governments
and the parties were now so close to a deal.

He said the two main issues delaying agreement were ensuring the
stability of the Belfast Agreement institutions and IRA
disarmament. Reports that the IRA was prepared to fully
decommission by the end of December were "very near the mark".

The governments in the absence of agreement in the next two weeks
must decide whether to put "take it or leave it proposals" to the
parties, or to postpone any further attempts to end the logjam
until 2006.

"We are within a fortnight of making a decision to crack the
outstanding points and do it successfully and comprehensively, or
decide that having almost got there for the third time in a two-
year period that we haven't got enough, and then to leave it
aside," said Mr Ahern.

A senior British source told The Irish Times last night that the
British Prime Minister, Mr Tony Blair, agreed with the Taoiseach
that the governments could not indefinitely defer taking action.

In Brussels on Friday Mr Ahern indicated that the governments were
set to propose the phased re-establishment of the Northern
Executive and Assembly in return for an end to IRA activity and
decommissioning. However, such a proposal would appear problematic
if the DUP did not endorse or at least acquiesce to the
governments' proposals.

Last night a DUP spokesman said issues relating to matters such as
ministerial accountability and the timing of the transfer of
responsibility for policing and criminal justice to the Assembly
were still not resolved.

"When the right deal is there the DUP will have no hesitation in
signing up to it. And while there has been considerable progress
since the Leeds Castle talks, the right deal is not there yet,"
said the DUP spokesman.

The DUP position has prompted suspicion among Sinn Féin and SDLP
politicians in particular that it has no real intention of
finalising agreement until after the next British general election,
expected in the spring or early summer.

Mr Ahern suggested such a position would be tactically wrong. "I
fear that some people think there's some tactical advantage to be
gained by long-fingering thisBut my personal assessment, because
I'm so long dealing with this, is they're wrong..."

© The Irish Times


McGuinness Holds Talks With Dermot Ahern

Published: 8 November, 2004

Sinn Féin Chief Negotiator Martin McGuinness MP this afternoon held
talks with the Irish Foreign Affairs Minister Dermot Ahern in

Mr McGuinness said: "This afternoon I met with the Irish Minister
for Foreign Affairs Dermot Ahern in Dundalk. It was the latest
meeting in an intensive series of engagements over the past number
of months aimed at achieving a comprehensive deal which would see
the political institutions restored and the outstanding aspects of
the Good Friday Agreement implemented.

" At present the DUP refuses to share power with nationalists and
republicans. Until a time when unionists are prepared to work
alongside the rest of us as equals, the two governments as the
defenders of the Agreement must drive the process forward." ENDS


Brother Of Murdered Man Blames UDA On Attack

A Shankill man has blamed the UDA on an attack on a car outside his
Belfast home.

Kenny McCullough, whose brother Alan was murdered by the
paramilitary group, says it`s just another incident in a campaign
of intimidation against the family.

Twenty-one-year-old Alan McCullough went missing after leaving his
west Belfast home in May in the company of members of the loyalist
Ulster Freedom Fighters.

The UFF later claimed it had murdered Mr McCullough.

His murder was part of an ongoing feud between the leadership of
the organisation and supporters of Johnny Adair, who were forced to
flee their lower Shankill power base in February.

The feud claimed four lives.


DUP Stands Firm On IRA Demand

Democratic Unionists tonight pledged to stick to their demands for
an end to all IRA activity.

By:Press Association

North Antrim Assembly member Mervyn Storey told party colleagues in
Strangford that the DUP could not sign up to a half- baked deal to
restore devolution.

And he also stressed that the party was not prepared to dilute its
key demands that all association with paramilitaries must end if
parties are to qualify to participate in a power-sharing

"As a result of the clarity and certainty of DUP policy, the
spotlight in this process is very much on Sinn Fein/IRA and the
necessity to achieve complete decommissioning in a manner that is
credible, verifiable and transparent," Mr Storey said.

"We are determined to ensure that the representatives of armed and
active terrorism are never again able to enter government in
Northern Ireland.

"Unlike (Ulster Unionist leader) David Trimble, the DUP will not be
diluting its requirement to have a complete end to all IRA
activity, whether terrorist or criminal."

Earlier today Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern said Northern
Ireland parties had been agonisingly close to a deal in recent
weeks and he confirmed that reports that the IRA was prepared to
fully disarm by the end of this year were "very near the mark".

The Taoiseach said it would be an enormous tragedy if parties could
not bridge the gap between them over the next two weeks and he
urged them to embark on an all-out effort to reach agreement.

But he added: "I fear some think there is some tactical advantage
to be gained by long-fingering this."

At the end of talks in September, British Prime Minister Tony Blair
said he believed the IRA was close to resolving the thorny issues
of disarmament and paramilitary activity.

However a move from the Provisionals has been put on hold because
of a row between unionists and nationalists over future power-
sharing arrangements.

Sinn Fein and the SDLP have objected to a DUP attempt to change the
arrangements for the joint election of First and Deputy First

They have also accused the party of trying to water down and limit
the extent of cross-border co-operation between a future Stormont
Executive and the Irish government.

Nationalists say the DUP is trying to secure a veto over the work
of other parties` ministers.

Mr Storey insisted that the days of spin and capitulation in talks
processes had long since passed.

"The whole community wants paramilitarism to be confined to
history. Those who attack us for not accepting a half- baked deal
serve only to offer support to reluctant and hesitant republicans
who drag their heels on doing what is needed in a convincing and
conclusive manner.

"I can understand the frustration of those accustomed to dealing
with the pushover variety of unionists found in the UUP now having
to deal with firm and determined unionists who are resolved to
ensure any deal done capable of lasting and gaining support across
the community.

"However only a deal that is acceptable to unionists and
nationalists will stick."

Sinn Fein chief negotiator Martin McGuinness met Irish foreign
minister Dermot Ahern today.

After their meeting, the Mid Ulster MP repeated his party`s call
for the British and Irish governments to press ahead with the
implementation of the Good Friday Agreement and move on without
unionists if the DUP were not prepared to sign up to a deal.

****************************************** TF0UpwltUsgdL11Zs5FWAE.asp

IRA Gun Photo Row Blocks Peace Talks

By Fionnán Sheahan

A ROW over taking a photograph of IRA guns being destroyed is the
latest stumbling block threatening to crash the North's peace

The DUP want the documentary evidence of the IRA's arms
decommissioning, but Sinn Féin feels unionists will only use
photographs to humiliate Republicans, according to sources close to
the talks.

Yesterday the Taoiseach was believed to be alluding to the dispute
when he said he thought the public would almost be amused if exact
details of some of the talks on decommissioning were divulged.

Giving his strongest indication the IRA is set to decommission its
weapons by the end of the year, Mr Ahern said it would be an
enormous tragedy if a breakthrough in the peace process was not
made within the next fortnight.

Speaking last night, Mr Ahern said he recognised that, due to the
mistrust in the past, some additional elements of transparency
might be needed to close the gap on the sensitive issue of
decommissioning. Going further, as he addressed the Philosophical
Society in Trinity College Dublin, Mr Ahern said if the will was
there to make an accommodation, it ought to be possible to agree
steps to maximise public confidence in putting arms beyond use.

"On the other hand, if people make unreasonable demands that carry
a resonance of humiliation for any side, these will be entirely
counter-productive and will not work.

"It would be tragically ironic if the prospect of ending IRA
activity and capability was lost because it did not meet
unrealistic thresholds of visibility."

Appealing to the DUP in particular, Mr Ahern said there was no
tactical advantage in putting matters off until 2006, which would
be the next opportunity for coming to a settlement.

"After so many decades of conflict and turmoil, the outstanding
issues, while difficult, are very few indeed. I hope the parties
grasp the opportunity and move forward together towards a fully
inclusive society, respecting diversity, based on equality and
partnership," he said.

Meanwhile, Sinn Féin's Bairbre de Brún will not be a member of the
power-sharing Government if it is restored in the North.

The former Minister for Education last night resigned from the
Northern Ireland Assembly.

Sinn Féin said Ms de Brún wanted to concentrate on her work in the
European Parliament and is expected to be replaced as a West
Belfast MLA by Councillor Sue Ramsey.

Also yesterday, the Taoiseach met with US civil rights campaigner
and Democratic Party politician, the Rev Jesse Jackson.

****************************************** /2/hi/uk_news/northern_ireland/3993767.stm

Kabul Hostages 'Treated Well'

Militants who claim to be holding a Northern Ireland woman and two
others hostage in Afghanistan have said they are suffering the
effects of the cold and a poor diet.

Annetta Flanigan from County Armagh and her United Nations
colleagues, Filipino Angelito Nayan and Kosovan Shqipe Habibi, were
seized in Kabul on 28 October.

However, the militants, who call themselves the Army of Muslims,
have said they are treating the hostages well.

They have said they held weekend talks with government and UN
negotiators and demanded the release of 26 Taleban members.

The militants said they had agreed to a government request for two
days to locate the prisoners and that a second round of talks would
start on Tuesday.

The UN and Afghanistan's government have refused to confirm the

Mullah Sabir Momin, one of several men claiming to speak for the
kidnappers, was quoted by the Reuters newsagency on Monday.

He said the hostages were not well, but added: "We are treating
them well, we have brought them bottled mineral water and good-
quality biscuits."

Momin told Reuters the kidnappers had reassured the hostages that
they would be released and allowed to go home.

He said the group was willing to show that the hostages were being
treated well, via photographs, video tapes or telephone
conversations, if the UN made a formal demand for such proof.

The BBC's correspondent in Afghanistan, Roland Buerk, said in the
past the Afghan Government had agreed to release prisoners in
return for hostages.

But, he said, the hostages were suffering from 12 days in

"They've been living on a diet of biscuits," he said.

"They do say that Annetta Flanigan, in particular, is struggling to
hold up under the immense strain.

"The United Nations has said to the kidnappers that if the hostages
are ill, they should release them and allow them to be treated in

The Army of Muslims (Jaish-al Muslimeen) has said it was behind the
kidnapping of Ms Flanigan and her colleagues in broad daylight in a
Kabul street.

Ms Flanigan, from Richhill, had been helping to organise last
month's presidential elections in the country.

A video was sent to the BBC and other broadcasters showing the
three hostages slumped against a wall.

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.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2004/11/08 19:29:31 GMT


Police Officer May Be Victim Of Hit-And-Run

By Ed Carty
Monday 8th November 2004

A POLICE officer found lying in the middle of the road with serious
head injuries may have been the victim of a hit-and-run.

The off-duty policeman, named locally as John Beaney, was found
near a railway station in Holywood, north Down, in the early hours
of Friday.

He suffered severe injuries to his head, face and arm.

Mr Beaney, thought to be in his 40s, had been drinking with friends
in a local pub earlier that night before he was found at the town's
Esplanade. He was transferred to the Royal Victoria Hospital, five
miles away in Belfast, for emergency treatment.

A spokeswoman for the hospital said he remained in a critical

A police spokeswoman stressed, however, with Mr Beaney so seriously
injured, that they could not say for certain what had happened to
him at this stage.

She said a number of lines of inquiry were being examined,
including the possibility of a road accident.

Mr Beaney was an officer with almost 20 years' service. His father
Daryll, now retired, had a distinguished career in the force and
held the role of Assistant Chief Constable.

The highly respected former officer was one of the first policemen
in Northern Ireland to obtain a law degree.

The area where Mr Beaney was found was sealed off for a number of
hours after the attack for forensic examination.

Speculation had been rife in the town that Mr Beaney had been the
victim of a ruthless attack by a loyalist paramilitaries in a
dispute over the removal of paramilitary flags from the area.

Sources in Holywood claimed loyalist graffiti naming a PSNI officer
had been daubed in the town.

The incident also prompted calls from local councillors for better
policing at night time in the town.


Mayor's Response To Racist Attack Criticised As "Minimalist"

Published: 8 November, 2004

Sinn Féin Cllr John O'Dowd has described as "minimalist" the
response by the DUP Mayor of Craigavon, David Simpson, to the
racist petrol petrol-bombing of the Portadown home of a Portuguse
woman and her two year old child on Saturday night.

Cllr O'Dowd said: "This morning David Simpson appeared on BBC TV in
his capacity as Mayor of Craigavon. When asked what the Council
reponse to this latest attack would be, Cllr Simpson stated that
the Council would be holding a multi-cultural event next year.
Furthermore, his response also Implied that young people were
probably behind this and other attacks. This minimalist response
from the Mayor of Craigavon will give liitle comfort or succour to
those members of the migrant worker community in Portadown who are
being threatended and intimidated now.

"Many people are aware that the UVF is behind a whole series of
racist attacks in Portadown which has forced people from their
homes, and has also seen people assaulted and, in one case, stabbed
and seriously injured. The reported cases of intimidation are only
the tip of the iceberg of a sinister campaign by the UVF in and
around Portadown which is centred around a protection racket
organised by members of that organisation. David Simpson is
ignoring this fact.

"This racist campaign needs to urgently confronted and stamped out.
The Mayor of Craigavon should be taking the lead on this, not by
talking about a multi-cultural event next year, but by calling the
party leaders within Craigavon Council together immediately to
organise a Council-sponsored anti-racist rally in Portadown


Row Over Portadown Racism

A Democratic Unionist mayor today defended his response to racial
attacks in his area after he was urged to take a stronger line.

By:Press Association

Craigavon Mayor David Simpson disputed Sinn Fein claims that his
response to a petrol bomb attack on a Portuguese family in
Portadown on Saturday night was minimalist.

And he also called on republicans to go to the police if they had
any evidence of loyalist paramilitary involvement in racial
intimidation and violence.

The home of a Portuguese woman and her two-year-old child sustained
scorch damage to a front window and wall in the attack which
occurred on the Armagh Road at around 8.20pm.

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

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

Sinn Fein Assembly member John O`Dowd criticised Mr Simpson after
he said a multi-cultural day was being planned in the council for
young people to tackle racist attitudes.

Mr O`Dowd said it was widely known that members of the Ulster
Volunteer Force were behind racial attacks and unionist leaders
should immediately confront the problem head-on.

"This minimalist response from the Mayor of Craigavon will give
little comfort or succour to those members of the migrant worker
community in Portadown who are being threatened and intimidated
now," the Upper Bann MLA argued.

"Many people are aware that the UVF is behind a whole series of
racist attacks in Portadown which has forced people from their
homes and has also seen people assaulted and, in one case, stabbed
and seriously injured.

"The reported cases of intimidation are only the tip of the iceberg
of a sinister campaign by the UVF in and around Portadown which is
centred around a protection racket organised by members of that

Mr Simpson said the multi-cultural day had been planned for a long
time and was not a response to the latest attack.

The DUP mayor, who is also an Upper Bann MLA,

replied: "John O`Dowd says the UVF is involved in racial attacks in
this area.

"I think the onus is on him to put any evidence he has before the
PSNI, so police officers can investigate it.

"As for criticism of my handling of this issue, firstly the multi-
cultural day has been planned for some time. I referred to it at a
recent trade union event and is not a response to this incident.

"I am also holding a meeting today with local residents in the area
where this attack occurred and the family. So we are taking this
very seriously.

"But I have to say, I normally take what John O`Dowd says with a
pinch of salt."

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.

Mr O`Dowd, who leads Sinn Fein`s group on Craigavon Council, said
today the campaign of racial harassment in the area urgently needed
to be confronted and stamped out.

"The Mayor of Craigavon should be taking the lead on this, not by
talking about a multi-cultural event next year, but by calling the
party leaders within Craigavon Council together immediately to
organise a council-sponsored anti-racist rally in Portadown


Row Over IRA Memorial

A row has erupted over the construction of a memorial to two IRA
members, erected in a County Tyrone village in the run- up to
Remembrance Sunday.

The monument in Pomeroy is currently covered in plastic.

It commemorates Patsy Quinn and Seamus Woods, who died in separate,
unsuccessful IRA attacks on the village`s police station.

The Ulster Unionist chairman of Cookstown Council, Trevor Wilson,
said the monument was a sickening sight.

However, Sinn Fein Assembly member Francie Molloy said he was
surprised by the controversy.


de Brun To Resign Assembly Seat

A former Sinn Fein minister today confirmed she was quitting
Northern Ireland's assembly to concentrate on her new role as an

By:Press Association

Bairbre de Brun, who won her party`s first European Parliament seat
in Northern Ireland in June, resigned as an Assembly member for
West Belfast to make way for her party colleague Sue Ramsey.

The MEP said: "It has been an honour to represent people of West
Belfast in the Assembly and I will continue to work hard for this
constituency in my new role.

"However, given the amount of time which is required to effectively
represent people across the Six Counties (Northern Ireland) in the
European Parliament, I now feel that the only realistic option is
to concentrate my time fully on that task."

Ms de Brun has served as an Assembly member of West Belfast since

During the previous Assembly, she also served as the Stormont
Health Minister.

de Brun sparked controversy when she decided to locate a new
maternity hospital at the Royal Group of Hospitals in her

As health minister, she also decided to site a hospital for the
west of Northern Ireland in Inniskillen, disappointing campaigners
in Omagh.

The Sinn Fein MEP said she had thoroughly enjoyed her time at
Stormont, where there had been many high points.

But she added: "An obvious regret is that the opportunity to bed
down political process through the institutions was squandered by
the British government at the behest of the leadership of political

"Direct rule is bad for the Six Counties. Time and again since the
suspension of the political institutions this has become obvious.

"When allowed to work at all, power-sharing, the equality agenda
and the all-Ireland institutions worked well."

Ms Ramsey served in the last Assembly as a West Belfast MLA.

She was the party`s chief whip at Stormont until she lost her seat
in last November`s election.

Sinn Fein Assembly group leader Conor Murphy said: "It has been a
privilege working alongside Bairbre, particularly during the time
she spent as the minister for health, social services and public

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People by Andrew Pierce

A Way Out Of Violence For The Irish Leader

Mary McAleese, the Irish President, has disclosed that she turned
her back on a possible life of violence after her father stopped
her making petrol bombs as a teenager.

The incident is recalled in her biography, The Road from Ardoyne:
The Making of a President, which was launched at her official
residence in Phoenix Park, Dublin. The author Ray Mac Manais tells
of the fears of the President as a loyalist mob went on the
rampage, attacking residents in Ardoyne, Belfast, where she grew

The 18-year-old Roman Catholic schoolgirl ran into the house and
collected an armful of milk bottles, intent on making petrol bombs.
She was stopped in her tracks by her father, Paddy Leneghan, who
told her "in a voice that could cut stone" to put them back where
she got them.

McAleese, a barrister and former professor of law, said she was
rooted to the floor as she considered what her father had said. As
she walked to the kitchen to return the bottles, she realised "she
was turning her back on more than the front door".

A spokeswoman for the Presidsent said: "It was the event which made
Mrs McAleese decide to turn her back on violence."


A Night O' Irish

By Melissa Meinzer
Monday, November 8, 2004

You don't need to be Irish to have a good time -- but it helps.
Saturday night saw the Irish Centre of Pittsburgh completely jam-
packed with revelers young and old, Irish and Irish at heart, for
Allegheny County Irish Night, sponsored by the Ancient Order of
Hibernians. They came for the food, the drink, the music and the
revelry, and they came in droves.

"It's a big success tonight," said Michael Lamb, Allegheny County
Prothonotary, mayoral hopeful and Ancient Order of Hibernians
member, of Mt. Washington. He was taking in the fun with his wife
Jill. "It's a nice night out," he said.

Jim Flanigan of Brentwood, president of the Allegheny County board
of the AOH, served up history, beer pitchers and tales.

"Did you get enough blarney, or do you need more?" he quipped. He
said that the evening was a great way to raise money for charity,
and having The Wild Geese and Mike Gallagher, local Irish music
favorites, helped bring in the impressive crowd. There also were
Irish step dancers early on in the evening.

"They put the dancers on early, the little kids," said Bill O'Neil,
of Greenfield, and a member of the Order since "a hundred years

"They'll get to the serious drinking and dancing later," he said.

In the main hall, old folks, children and everyone in between
enjoyed the music and sat at green tables groaning under the weight
of the food and drink.

"That's alcohol abuse!" said Loren Burlew of Mt. Lebanon, as a
reveler bumped him in the elbow and sloshed some beer out of his
pitcher. He and his friend Troy Lynn of Dormont came out to have a
good time and hear The Wild Geese.

Kim Button of McMurray may not technically be Irish, but she knows
how to enjoy herself. "I'm having a great time," she said. "I like
the culture, it's very eclectic, very social."

Her friend Cheyenne Warriner of Squirrel Hill is Irish, and wasn't
really considering dancing.

"Depends on how much alcohol I have," she said.

Mary and Jack Haggerty of Green Tree have lots of family
connections with the Order, so it only makes sense they'd be out
enjoying the night. Mary is a member of the Oakland division of the
Ladies' Ancient Order of Hibernians, same as her mother, who came
from Ireland and settled in Oakland.

Jack says the order is "a lifetime thing."

"I always have a good time," he said of AOH events.

"Is it too early to make a toast?" called out Daithi Finnegan, lead
singer of The Wild Geese and son-in-law to Mary and Jack Haggerty.

"To your coffins that we build from a hundred-year-old tree that we
plant tomorrow. Slainte!" he shouted over the sea of raised cups in
the hall.

Robert Thaw of Sewickley isn't Irish -- at least not most of the
time -- but it doesn't stop him from coming out.

"At least once a year you can be Irish."

Melissa Meinzer can be reached at .


Northern Lights Visible In Ireland

A spectacular display of the Northern Lights is expected over
Ireland tonight.

The display been caused by a huge explosion on the sun, which has
sent material hurtling towards the earth.

David Moore of Astronomy Ireland says an aurora is usually only
visible over the North and South poles.

But tonight, people in Ireland should be able to see it with the
naked eye.


Orphan Seals Rescued From Island

A humanitarian effort is underway to remove any remaining orphan
seal pups from the Blasket Islands in County Kerry.

Last week, up to 60 seals were killed on Beginish Island.

The slaughtered grey seals, which are a protected species, were
mostly pups just a few weeks old and their mothers.

Post mortem examinations on three of the seals indicated that one
had been shot, one had an instrument driven through one of its
eyes, while one had been bludgeoned to death.

A garda investigation was launched and an appeal by Ireland`s
National Parks and Wildlife Service received little response over
the weekend.

It`s thought the pups may have been slaughtered by fishermen, who
see the mammals as a potential threat to their industry.

The Irish seal sanctuary has gone to the island to assess the
orphan seals.

One pup is known to have already died.

The sanctuary is appealing to the public to support the rescue


See Begginish:

Gardai Visit Island Where Seals Killed - V

Anne Lucey

A large team of gardaí and wildlife officers yesterday visited
Beginish Island, one of the Blasket Islands off west Kerry where
over 40 grey seals and their pups were found dead last week.

The seals were mostly shot, gardaí believe. Initial claims of
disembowelling and sadistic-type slaughter have been strongly

The investigators combed the scene on the foreshore in an effort to
find evidence that might lead them to the perpetrators, Sgt Mossie
O'Donnell of Dingle Garda station said.

Most of the shootings are believed to have occurred on Monday of
last week and fishermen and others who may have been in the
vicinity of the Blaskets that day and who may have seen something
were asked to come forward.

As nobody lives on the Blaskets, and as the island is some way from
the mainland, it may be difficult to find witnesses to the slaying
of the seals, investigators said.

A small number of fishermen are suspected of the killings. Seals
are known to interfere with nets and also to eat into scarce salmon
stocks. The fishermen have called for culls for a number of years.

Sgt O'Donnell said a thorough investigation was continuing. He also
said the fishing community in general, who were honest and hard
working, did not condone the killing of the seals.

It is an offence to hunt and kill seals under the Wildlife Act,

Dúchas regional manager Paddy O'Sullivan said they were helping
gardaí to trace the perpetrators and urged people with any
information to telephone Dúchas in Killarney on 064 31440.

© The Irish Times

Jay Dooling (
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