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News about the Irish & Irish American culture, music, news, sports. This is hosted by the Irish Aires radio show on KPFT-FM 90.1 in Houston, Texas (a Pacifica community radio station)
November 11, 2004
News 11/11/04 - Hassan in Fallujah / Flanigan Release Deal
News about Ireland & the Irish
BT 11/11/04 Negotiators Claim A Deal To Release Hostage Flanigan
RE 11/11/04 Afghan UN Kidnappers Await Release Of 26 Taliban
BT 11/11/04 Ahern Told Hostage Margaret Hassan May Be In Fallujah
SM 11/11/04 US Troops Find Three Iraqi Hostages In Falluja
BB 11/11/04 Arafat 'Great Friend To Ireland'
SF 11/11/04 Adams & SF TD Extends Condolences To Palestinians
BB 11/11/04 Jesse Jackson: NI 'Leap Of Faith' Urged
UT 11/11/04 Jackson Slams NI Race Hate
UT 11/11/04 Jesse Jackson In Belfast
NL 11/11/04 DUP: Dublin's Stance 'Could Scupper A Deal'
EN 11/11/04 'The Red Hand Is Not Sectarian'
SF 11/11/04 Sinn Féin To Attend Presidential Inauguration
BT 11/11/04 Loyalists's Feud Victim's Wife Denies Killer Claims
BT 11/11/04 Fishing Village's Vigil For Lost Men
RT 11/11/04 One Fisherman Found Alive In Co Down
BT 11/11/04 Meltdown: Arctic Wildlife On The Brink Of Catastrophe
BG 11/11/04 Bk Rev: Author's Sets Focus On Irish Dance Hall Era
BT 11/11/04 Bk Rev: Author Reveals Ards' Role In 1798
Negotiators Claim A Deal To Release Hostage Annetta Flanigan
By Daniel McGrory
11 November 2004
Negotiatators claim to have secured a deal to free Annetta
Flanigan, the kidnapped United Nations official, and her two
colleagues in Afghanistan.
Talks are continuing but intelligence agencies in Kabul have been
told to expect "an imminent release."
At their home in Richhill, Co Armagh, Ms Flanigan's family have
been told of the progress made in the past 24 hours but warned that
any deal could still go wrong.
A UN source in Kabul said: "Hostage negotiations are anything but a
precise science but we have been given strong indications the
kidnappers are ready to release all three captives.
"They are being held quite a distance from Kabul so there are
logistical questions about where the three will be freed. We have
been given every assurance that the captors have no wish to harm
The deteriorating health of the three, in particular that of Ms
Flanigan (38), has added to the urgency of negotiations.
Last night a spokesman for the kidnappers said the Kabul government
had caved in to their demands to free prisoners held in
Afghanistan. President Hamid Karzai's officials say they do not
want to get dragged into a public slanging match over what has been
The kidnappers are understood to have dropped their demand for the
release of Afghan prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay. UN officials
have pleaded for secrecy during the last round of talks between
Afghan government mediators and the kidnappers, expected later
Afghan UN Kidnappers Await Release Of 26 Taliban
Thu Nov 11, 2004 07:32 AM ET
By David Brunnstrom
KABUL (Reuters) - Kidnappers of three U.N. workers in Afghanistan
said on Thursday they expect the government to release 26 Taliban
prisoners in exchange for their hostages before the Muslim Eid
festival this weekend.
The kidnappers from a Taliban splinter faction have threatened to
kill Annetta Flanigan from Northern Ireland, Shqipe Hebibi from
Kosovo and Filipino diplomat Angelito Nayan unless the prisoners,
some of whom may be in U.S. custody, were freed.
"Intermediaries assured us that our prisoners will be released and
other demands will also be met before Eid," said Mullah Ishaq
Manzoor, one of several men claiming to speak for the Jaish-e
Muslimeen (Army of Muslims) militants.
The Eid al-Fitr festival that ends the Ramadan fasting month begins
at the weekend. Manzoor did not detail the other demands.
The government has declined to comment on efforts to release the
U.N. workers, who were abducted in Kabul two weeks ago after
helping to organize last month's presidential election won by U.S.-
backed incumbent Hamid Karzai.
A U.N. spokesman in Kabul, Manoel de Almeida e Silva, called for
the hostages to be freed before Eid.
"Eid is a time of happiness, compassion, forgiveness and friendship
among people," he said. "We hope that the spirit of peace and
understanding shown by all during Eid will be extended to Annetta,
Lito and Shqipe."
He declined to give details of efforts to free the hostages, but
said: "There is a lot of work going on, and we hope this work will
lead to the safe release of our colleagues."
Several deadlines for freeing the Taliban members have passed, the
latest on Wednesday.
Manzoor said no new one had been set. "The U.N. and the Afghan
government should resolve this issue as soon as possible because it
is in the interest of all of us," he said.
The government has in the past negotiated the release of several
kidnapped foreigners, some by paying ransoms.
Last year, militants freed a Turkish engineer they kidnapped and
held hostage for a month after the government freed two Taliban
prisoners to mark Eid.
On Wednesday, Karzai issued a decree ordering a traditional Eid
prisoner amnesty but a presidential official insisted the order did
not cover the prisoners the militants want freed.
U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage said on Wednesday a
deal should not be done with the kidnappers as this would only
encourage more hostage taking.
Another Jaish spokesman, Mullah Sabir Momin, said the group had
been told that 15 prisoners they want freed, who are thought to be
in southern Afghanistan, would be released within two days.
He said efforts were under way to free the remainder from
Guantanamo Bay, in Cuba, but he did not have exact information.
Jaish emerged in August as a breakaway Taliban faction that refuses
to recognize the authority of Taliban leader Mullah Omar.
It claims the support of about a third of Taliban fighters and
analysts say it has gained publicity from the kidnapping and will
add to its prestige even if it manages to secure the release of
only a few Taliban members.
On Thursday, a group of 20 Afghan women offered to take the place
of the hostages, saying they did not want to live in a "frightened
country." A similar offer was made at the weekend by four male
The kidnappers have said the three were suffering from cold and
poor food, but at least two were allowed to phone home on Monday
and said they were being well treated.
Ahern Is Told Iraq Hostage Margaret Hassan May Be In Fallujah
By Senan Molony
11 November 2004
Minister for Foreign Affairs Dermot Ahern has been given reports
indicating that Irish Iraq hostage Margaret Hassan is within the
besieged city of Fallujah.
Mr Ahern says these reports are worrying.
However, his department holds officially that it does not have
enough intelligence to say where exactly the hostage might be held
The family of Mrs Hassan is in contact every day with the
department's liaison staff.
They are understood to have relayed their personal anxiety that the
aggressive American action against the city of Fallujah is putting
Mrs Hassan's life seriously at risk.
Meanwhile, Iveagh House is maintaining a continuing silence over
the case of Afghan kidnap victim Annetta Flanigan, who is from
It is understood the United Nations has indicated to the
authorities here that efforts to secure the freeing of the three
abducted UN workers, including Ms Flanigan, are proceeding on a
softly, softly basis.
However, the Department of Foreign Affairs has noted that one of
the hostages taken in Kabul 13 days ago, Kosovar Shqipe Hebibi, was
allowed to make a phone call to her home town of Pristina.
In the call, Ms Hebibi said she was feeling well and that she hoped
to come home soon.
The development has raised hopes on behalf of Ms Flanigan and
fellow detainee, Filipino diplomat Angelito Nayan.
The three are being held by a Taliban splinter group which calls
itself Jaish al-Muslimeen, the Army of Muslims.
Minister Ahern is meanwhile due to fly to Rome on Friday to mark
the 75th anniversary of Irish diplomatic relations with the Vatican
The Vatican was recognised as the world's smallest sovereign state
by the Lateran Treaty of 1929 with the regime of Benito Mussolini.
Mr Ahern will be in Rome with a number of members of the Irish
hierarchy for ceremonies to mark the anniversary.
Events will include a gathering in the Irish College.
The Minister for Foreign Affairs also said he was "pushing an open
door" in negotiations for the funding of new Irish embassies in
some of the ten accession countries which joined the EU in May this
year during Ireland's presidency of the EU.
http://www.smh.com.au/news/After-Saddam/US- troops-find-three-Iraqi-hostages-in- Falluja/2004/11/11/1100131136465.html?oneclick=true
US Troops Find Three Iraqi Hostages In Falluja
November 11, 2004
US troops have found three Iraqi hostages in the basement of houses
in Falluja, handcuffed and starving, a marine officer said.
"We have found Iraqi hostages in basements, handcuffed by their
hands and ankles, starving, thirsty and tortured," said marine
Major P.J. Batty, adding that three hostages in total had been
Earlier, an Iraqi military official said that Iraqi troops had
found "hostage slaughter houses" in Falluja including CDs and
records of people taken captive in the way of kidnappings and
Major General Abdul Qader Mohammed Jassem Mohan, commander of Iraqi
forces in the battle, said the houses were in the northern part of
Falluja, where US officials had expected to meet their toughest
"We have found hostage slaughter houses in Falluja that were used
by these people (kidnappers) and the black clothing that they used
to wear to identify themselves, hundreds of CDs and whole records
with names of hostages," the general told reporters at a military
camp near Falluja.
He was unsure if the hostage records included the names of missing
British aide worker Margaret Hassan or missing French journalists
Christian Chesnot and Georges Malbrunot.
As of early November, more than 30 hostages have been executed in
Hassan, head of CARE International's Iraq operations, was kidnapped
in Baghdad on October 19.
Her nameless captors had threatened to hand her over to the most
ruthless band in Iraq, led by Islamic militant Abu Musab al-
Zarqawi, by a November 4 deadline unless Britain pulled its troops
out of Iraq.
Nothing has been heard since of the 59-year- old, who is married to
an Iraqi and holds dual Iraqi citizenship.
Chesnot of Radio France Internationale and Malbrunot of Le Figaro
newspaper were abducted on August 20 south of Baghdad, along with
their Syrian driver, Mohammed al-Jundi.
French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier said on Sunday that his
government knew that the hostages were "still alive a few days
ago", after a botched attempt in September to rescue them.
"We are continuing to work in difficult circumstances. We are
having to deal with extremely scattered, disparate groups with
different motivations," the minister added.
Hopes they would be released have been dashed several times, most
notably when French MP Didier Julia unwisely announced at the end
of last month that their liberation was imminent.
Arafat 'Great Friend To Ireland'
Yasser Arafat was a friend to Ireland and a great leader, Irish
Prime Minister Bertie Ahern has said.
Speaking after the veteran Palestinian leader died in Paris on
Thursday, aged 75, the taoiseach said he was a personal friend, who
would be sorely missed.
His body will go to Cairo in Egypt for a funeral attended by Arab
and other leaders before burial in Ramallah on Saturday.
People wept openly and the Palestinian Authority declared 40 days
"Throughout the life of the Middle East peace process, President
Arafat has always been a key symbol of national unity for the
Palestinian people," said Mr Ahern.
Mr Arafat had been an indispensable actor in the "til now
tragically frustrated" efforts to bring about a peaceful resolution
between Israel and the Palestinians, he said.
"It is perhaps the most tragic aspect of President Arafat's death
that he did not live to see the fruition of his ambition of a
Palestinian state, despite the early promise which attended his
election as president of the Palestinian Authority," the Irish
Irish President Mary McAleese said she had learned of Mr Arafat's
death with great sadness.
She had been impressed by his "unwavering commitment to the
Palestinian people and their future in the region".
"President Arafat has been a key figure in the efforts to bring
about a peaceful resolution of the Israel- Palestine conflict on the
basis of two states living in peace within secure and agreed
borders," said Mrs McAleese, who is being inaugurated as president
for a second term on Thursday.
YASSER ARAFAT: KEY DATES
1929: Born in Cairo (24 Aug)
1958: Founds Fatah
1969: Elected PLO chairman
1974: Addresses UN General Assembly
1982: Expelled from Lebanon by Israelis
1990: Supports Saddam Hussein during First Gulf War
1991: Marries Suha Tawil
1993: At the White House signs peace agreement with Israel
1994: Jointly awarded Nobel peace prize with Rabin and Peres
2001: Israel blockades him inside Ramallah headquarters
"His passing is a tragic loss to the Palestinian people for whom he
has been a unifying figure for decades."
Palestinian ambassador to Ireland Ali Halimeh said it was "a sad
day for all Palestinians".
"We never thought Arafat would disappear so quickly - we need him
very much today," he told BBC Radio Ulster.
"The last time I met Arafat was two years back, but the last time I
spoke to him was on 21 October when my foreign minister was here in
a mission to Dublin.
"We had a discussion with him on the nature of discussions with the
government of Ireland.
"Arafat was instrumental in bringing to the world's attention that
the cause of the Palestinian people is a nation entitled to freedom
'Cause of much sorrow'
Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams said he had sent his condolences to
President Arafat's wife, Suha, to his family and to the Palestinian
"Throughout a lifetime in struggle, President Yasser Arafat has not
only been a father of the Palestinian people, he has been an
inspiration to people throughout the world as he led the struggle
for a sovereign Palestinian state," he said.
"There is a close affinity and affection between the Irish and
Palestinian people and his death will be a cause of much sorrow."
Mr Arafat died of multiple organ failure at 0330 (0230 GMT) on
Thursday - a "black day" in Palestinian history, in the words of
Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat.
The Palestinian Liberation Organisation's executive committee has
unanimously elected Mahmoud Abbas as its leader as the late
leader's many powers are divided among his officials.
Flags have been flying at half mast outside Mr Arafat's compound in
Ramallah, set to be his last resting place.
Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2004/11/11 11:13:27 GMT
(c) BBC MMIV
Gerry Adams & Sinn Fein TD Extends Condolences To Palestinian
Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams MP has expressed his deep sorrow at
the death of Palestinian President Yasser Arafat in Paris
overnight. Mr. Adams said that the most fitting legacy to President
Arafat will be a sovereign Palestinian state.
The Sinn Féin leader has sent his condolences to President Arafat's
wife Suha, to his family and to the Palestinian people in a phone
call to Ambassador Ali Halimeh in Dublin this morning.
Mr. Adams said: "Throughout a lifetime in struggle President Yasser
Arafat has not only been a father of the Palestinian people he has
been an inspiration to people throughout the world as he led the
struggle for a sovereign Palestinian state. There is a close
affinity and affection between the Irish and Palestinian people and
his death this evening will be a cause of much sorrow.
"In recent years I spoke to President Arafat on several occasions
and just last month Alex Maskey was in Ramallah meeting with
Palestinian Chief Negotiator Saeb Erekhat.
"The most fitting legacy to President Arafat is for the
international community to act immediately to ensure that the
Israeli Government remove its troops and illegal settlements from
Palestinian lands and a return to the negotiating table.
"I want to extend my deep condolences, on behalf of Sinn Féin, to
President Arafat's wife Suha, to his family and to the Palestinian
Sinn Féin spokesperson on International Affairs, Aengus Ó Snodaigh
TD, today ffered his sympathy not only to the family and friends of
Palestinian Leader Yasser Arafat on his death but to the
Palestinian people on the loss of an inspirational and dedicated
leader of the Palestinian cause.
Deputy Ó Snodaigh said, "Today is a very sad and difficult day for
the family and friends of Palestinian Leader Yasser Arafat. It is
also a very sad and difficult day for the Palestinian people who
have lost an inspirational and dedicated leader of the Palestinian
cause. I would like to offer my sincere condolences on behalf of
the Sinn Féin TDs in Leinster House to his family, friends and
comrades and to the Palestinian people.
"Yasser Arafat and his PLO were an inspiration to freedom fighters
throughout the world. Their determination and resolve in the face
of overwhelming odds gave encouragement to others around the world
who were also involved in similar struggles for national self-
"When efforts to secure a lasting peace between the peoples of
Palestine and Israel began Yasser Arafat and the PLO were not found
wanting. That he didn't live long enough to see the full
establishment of a truly independent Palestinian state is
regrettable, but his legacy must be built upon and the
international community has a crucial role to play in turning his
dreams and aspirations and the dreams and aspirations of the
Palestinian people in to reality."
NI 'Leap Of Faith' Urged
American civil rights activist Reverend Jesse Jackson has urged
Northern Ireland politicians to "seal the deal" over power-sharing.
Mr Jackson is visiting east and west Belfast on Thursday, before
speaking at an awards ceremony in the city.
He said: "The Democratic Unionists and Sinn Fein are close. This
moment, I would hope, would be seized."
Mr Jackson also urged people in the province to give peace a
The institutions in Northern Ireland were suspended two years ago
amid allegations of IRA intelligence gathering at the Northern
The British and Irish Governments have, so far, been unable to get
the Northern Ireland Assembly parties to sign up to a deal over
power-sharing, amid clashes between unionists and nationalist over
future devolved institutions.
Mr Jackson told BBC Radio Ulster on Thursday: "I think that the
unionists and Sinn Fein should now seal the deal.
"Once you seal the deal and establish some bonds of trust, expand
upon the remaining objectives of a given movement."
He said Ireland had seen great growth in the last two decades, and
the last 10 years in particular.
Mr Jackson urged both communities to take a "leap of faith" so as
not to miss current opportunities.
"This moment should not be missed," he said.
"You have to give peace a chance, because war and violence are
unacceptable, they simply drive you further apart.
"Peace is risky, war is more risky."
During his visit to Belfast, Mr Jackson is visiting Meánscoil
Feirste, the Irish language college at Beechmount House off the
Falls Road, and then meeting community leaders in east Belfast.
He is also visiting Beechmount Leisure Centre in west Belfast to
view the Remembering Quilts created by the group, Relatives for
Mr Jackson will later be the guest of honour at the annual Aisling
Awards, which recognise excellence in education, business,
community development and the arts.
This year's awards are focussing on the ethnic communities of
Belfast, and a Roll of Honour Award will go to Filipino nurses in
Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2004/11/11 10:16:32 GMT
(c) BBC MMIV
Jackson Slams NI Race Hate
Northern Ireland's thriving economy could be destroyed by rising
levels of race-hate violence, the Rev Jesse Jackson warned today.
With ethnic groups being attacked in Belfast, the veteran American
civil rights campaigner said he was horrified by the new menace.
As he made a cross-community trip to the city, Mr Jackson urged
He said; "I have read about it with some dismay.
"Ireland right now is on the threshold of real economic investment
and growth, but racist violence is a deterrent to growth.
"This is a deterrent to investment and if Ireland wants the
benefits of investment, it must accept the opportunity of
"It must see immigration as an asset and not a threat."
The US Democratic party member and former associate of the Rev
Martin Luther King was in Belfast for an awards ceremony to
recognise the city`s Filipino community following a rash of racial
Asian families living in North Belfast had their homes smeared with
sickening slogans earlier this week as far- right groups intensified
Tiny knots of Pakistanis, Vietnamese, Ugandans and Portuguese who
have set up home in Northern Ireland have also faced intimidation
by the racists, with some cases also linked to Loyalist
Three Latvian men were attacked in Lurgan, County Armagh, this
week, one being stabbed in the arm.
Mr Jackson denounced the thugs responsible for divisive racist
attacks, stressing: "Racism theologically is a sin before God.
"We must see that racism hinders growth and limits the human
In an attempt to eradicate the problem, he called for more
"In our schools and in our churches, we must not only condemn it
but teach against it so that people can overcome their fear."
Jesse Jackson In Belfast
Civil rights campaigner the Rev Jesse Jackson will today take part
in a Belfast awards ceremony recognising the city's Filipino
community following a spate of racial attacks in recent days.
The Democratic Party member, an outspoken critic of racism in the
US and former associate of the Rev Martin Luther King, will be the
star attraction at the Aisling awards recognising community workers
in the city.
It is his first visit to Northern Ireland.
Members of the city`s Anti Racism Network staged a vigil in north
Belfast last night after members of the Filipino and Chinese
communities had racist slogans daubed on their homes on Monday
Sinn Fein Assembly member Gerry Kelly was among those who attended
the rally which also followed an attack on three Latvian men in
their 20s in a park in Lurgan, Co Armagh during which one of them
was stabbed in the arm.
Members of the Pakistani, Ugandan, Bangladeshi, Vietnamese and
Portuguese communities have also been victims of racial harassment
and violence in various parts of Northern Ireland in recent months.
The threats and violence have been linked to the emergence of far
right groups like the British National Party, Combat 18 and the
White Nationalist Party in Northern Ireland.
However loyalist paramilitaries have also been linked to the
attacks, with members of the Ulster Volunteer Force being blamed.
Racial incidents have, however, also occurred in nationalist areas.
Members of the Filipino community have become nurses in Northern
Ireland`s hospitals and nursing homes.
Organisers of the Aisling award are planning to honour their role
in Northern Ireland society.
After a meeting with Northern Ireland`s Equality Commission
yesterday, the Anti Racism Network alleged some estate agents were
turning down some people away because they were from ethnic
ARN spokesperson Sara Boyce said: "If people are being refused
accommodation based on their ethnicity, it strikes at the very
fundamentals of what it means to live in a supposedly free society.
"Refusing to house someone because of their colour is something
that most people would assume no longer occurs, but unfortunately,
it appears to be standard practice in some parts of Belfast.
"The ARN had already brought the Equality Commission`s attention to
one particular case, but we believe this discrimination is much
more widespread and we now look forward to hearing how the
commission intends to tackle it."
The Rev Jackson is planning a visit to an Irish language college in
west Belfast and will be meeting community leaders in the east of
He is also expected to view in west Belfast quilts made by victims
of loyalist and other violence commemorating all victims during the
The Rev Jackson is a founder of the Rainbow Coalition in Washington
DC which campaigns for social justice and against racism.
A major figure in the Democratic Party, he failed to secure the
party`s nomination for the US Presidential Election twice in 1984
Born in Greenville, south Carolina in October 1941, he is renowned
for his skills as an orator and for his campaigning against
apartheid in South Africa, for an accommodation between the
Israelis and Palestinians, promoting democracy in Haiti and on
tackling drugs and the crisis in the US`s health system.
He also supported US states which adopted the MacBride Principles,
which committed American companies to fair employment in Northern
Ireland and forbade imports from firms which did not endorse the
Dublin's Stance 'Could Scupper A Deal'
By Stephen Dempster Political Correspondent
Thursday 11th November 2004
The DUP has warned that the Irish government could scupper a peace
deal, with its approach to the talks process.
In a speech yesterday, DUP chairman Maurice Morrow warned the
Republic's administration it has a responsibility to do all it can
to facilitate a new agreement.
This came after Irish Premier Bertie Ahern effectively blamed the
DUP for a stalled deal and questioned their commitment to finding a
It is also alleged Irish officials have also been briefing the
media to this effect, as a blame game begins.
The DUP is concerned that Dublin could be creating problems, when
the focus should still be on the chance of a deal.
The party fears the Irish could push for more independent and
strong North-South bodies - less accountable - when the Ulster
parties may be able to agree something else on this Strand Two
issue between themselves.
The DUP also worries that Dublin is taking a partisan line in
supporting Sinn Fein and blaming the DUP - a move which "would
really create problems in terms of the atmosphere around the
Mr Morrow said: "The Irish Government has a responsibility to
ensure that they are not part of the problem.
"We have made it clear that we will participate fully in any
institutions we agree, but (that is) regardless of the arrangements
which are put in place for co-operation between a future Northern
Ireland administration and the Republic of Ireland. They will only
work if there is the will to make them work on both sides.
"Inevitably our outlook in the future will be determined by how
they (Irish officials) approach the next few weeks."
An agreement is stuck on issues such as the DUP's demand for visual
decommissioning and making ministers accountable, and Sinn Fein
demands for the quick devolution of policing and justice powers.
The DUP has said it would rather take time to find a good deal,
than rush through a bad deal for the sake of an agreement -
creating problems later.
Sinn Fein alleges this is a smokescreen for not wanting to share
power and Mr Ahern pondered whether it is a tactical move to put a
settlement on the long-finger, rather than risk fighting elections
on the back of a compromise with republicans.
Speaking to sixth formers at St Patrick's College, Dungannon, Mr
Morrow refuted these ideas.
He said the DUP is committed to power sharing with republicans,
once the IRA is gone and conditions are right.
And progress has been made, he noted. "If there is an agreement
that the DUP can sign up to then we will honour it," he said.
Mr Morrow added: "I believe that a deal done in 2004 or 2005 could
truly represent the end of the troubles in Northern Ireland.
"Sometimes progress may seem frustratingly slow but if the price
for getting it right is a little more time then I believe that
history will judge that it is time well spent.
"We have seen throughout the course of the history of Northern
Ireland that any arrangements that do not command the support of
both parts of the community will not survive."
Last night, Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams held talks in
Washington with the US Special envoy Mitchell Reiss and Senator Ted
Kennedy and claimed the main obstacle to progress was the DUP.
SDLP Newry and Armagh MLA Dominic Bradley said the positive face
the DUP has presented to the media and the two governments is not
matched by their practice in the talks or in local government.
He said: "Peter Robinson says they want power-sharing. So why
doesn't he share power in Castlereagh council? Why won't Paisley
agree to power-sharing in Ballymena?"
'The Red Hand Is Not Sectarian'
Fiona Macgregor - Education Reporter
TWO boys segregated from fellow pupils for wearing Red Hand of
Ulster badges were back in class today.
Craig Gibbons, 14, and Thomas Stickland, 15, have agreed not to
wear the badges - deemed "sectarian" by the school - in order to be
allowed back into class at Tynecastle High School in the run up to
their Standard Grade prelims.
Both boys were removed from class and made to sit unsupervised in a
room by themselves last week after refusing to remove the badges
along with others representing Rangers and Hearts football clubs.
Following a summit with council conciliation officials, a
compromise has been reached to allow them to return to classes.
The boys are to be allowed to continue wearing badges bearing the
Union Flag, but Red Hand and football-related items on their
uniforms are banned.
Despite the deal their angry fathers claim they have been
victimised and are demanding a clear policy from the council on the
matter. Their call for official guidelines has been echoed by Tory
and Lib Dem councillors in the Capital.
Craig's father Harry Gibbons, a small works manager with a scaffold
firm, said: "We've been backed into a corner because the most
important thing has to be that the boys receive their education.
But the boys are very disappointed about this.
"We are not happy about this at all. In our view this is a
temporary solution and it is a clear breach of human rights.
"Just because someone says something is a sectarian symbol does not
automatically mean that it is and the Red Hand is not a sectarian
The men added they were particularly upset by the fact they had
been told by the school that it would have been acceptable for the
boys to wear badges bearing other flags.
Thomas' father John Stickland, an unemployed window fitter, said:
"We are constantly being told it is a multicultural society, but
that seems to apply to every culture apart from the unionist
culture. It is nonsense that we are not allowed to express our
"The Red Hand is being treated as if it were some sort of
paramilitary badge. I think this is down to the sheer ignorance of
Mr Gibbons added: "If there was a blanket ban on all badges that
would be acceptable, because it would include everyone and not just
single out one group - that would be fair.
"But for the headteacher to say it's perfectly acceptable to wear a
St George's Cross, a Saltire, or the Irish Tricolour, but not the
Red Hand, that to me is victimisation of one group, one culture."
But the city's children and families services leader, Ewan Aitken,
said the school had been right to keep the boys out of class for
refusing to remove the badges.
And he said it should be left to individual schools to decide what
is, and isn't, acceptable.
Councillor Aitken said: "We've got a clear policy statement that
nothing that would encourage sectarianism should be allowed, and
this [the badges] does.
"I have backed the school on this and the combination that comes
from wearing the Rangers badge, the Red Hand symbol and the Union
Flag is an allusion to a brand of Protestant sectarianism that in
my view is unacceptable.
"I acknowledge there is a level of subjectivity, but I don't
believe you could just draw up an absolute list of which symbols
are and aren't acceptable without creating a huge deal of
"Different things will be treated differently in different schools.
It is a matter of context. In a similar way that a racist incident
is considered racist when the individual making the complaint says
it is, so an incident would be considered sectarian if it is seen
to cause offence in a sectarian manner."
However, opposition councillors expressed surprise that the council
had not provided schools with clear guidelines about which symbols
are considered sectarian.
The city's Conservative group spokeswoman on education, Kate
MacKenzie, called for the council to clarify its policy. She said:
"Sectarianism is something that is being discussed at the
parliament and I can't believe the council doesn't have definite
guidelines on this.
"It might be better if it were like pubs where all colours are
"Having a child sitting in a classroom on his own is not
acceptable. If the school objects so strongly to [the badges] then
it would be better if he were not allowed in the school at all
until this was sorted out.
"It is similar to the situation in France with Muslim girls
[wearing the veil], but sectarianism has a different twist and
there has to be guidelines, because we can't have anything that
would incite that."
City Lib Dem group leader Jenny Dawe added: "It might be helpful if
there were guidelines for schools across the city, because you
could end up with a situation where you have two schools next to
each other and one set of pupils are wearing certain badges and the
"If there is a problem in a school and the badges are being used
provocatively - and I'm not saying in this case they are - the
solution might be to say there should be no badges on uniforms.
"It is an extremely sensitive and difficult situation and it might
be the simplest thing for either the Scottish Executive or the
education authority to issue guidelines."
A spokeswoman for the Executive said they had no specific
guidelines on what is or isn't sectarian. However, a new website
programme is being piloted, to be rolled out nationally next year,
aimed at raising awareness of sectarianism and religious
A spokeswoman for the Executive said: "The Scottish Executive is
committed to ensuring equality, opportunity and social justice for
all. Sectarianism is not acceptable in a modern multi-faith and
multi-cultural society like Scotland.
"The Scottish Executive defines sectarianism as being all forms of
religious intolerance. We are determined to make sure that people
are free to live without fear or prejudice.
"The Executive has not prescribed a set of materials considered
sectarian, but expects local authorities to make decisions at a
"However, the Executive would expect sectarian material to include
goods related to proscribed paramilitary organisations as
designated in Part II and Schedule 2 of the Terrorism Act 2000,
such as the UVF, IRA etc, and any flags altered to convey
associations with such organisations."
Sinn Féin To Attend Presidential Inauguration
Published: 11 November, 2004
Sinn Féin National Chairperson Mitchel McLaughlin, Chief Negotiator
Martin McGuinness and Dublin MEP Mary Lou McDonald will today
attend the inauguration ceremony for Irish President Mary McAleese.
Speaking before the ceremony Mitchel McLaughlin said:
" President McAleese has over the past seven years shown herself to
be a fine ambassador for the Irish people across the world.
" Significantly along with her husband Martin she has played a
crucial and effective bridge building role in the development of
the peace process.
" I look forward to attending today's inauguration in Dublin and I
wish President McAleese and her family well over the next seven
years in office." ENDS
Feud Victim's Wife Denies Killer Claims
By Jonathan McCambridge
11 November 2004
The wife of one of the forgotten victims of a bitter UDA feud has
spoken publicly for the first time about the night her husband was
Robert Carson (33) was in the same taxi as UDA brigadier John
'Grug' Gregg which was ambushed by supporters of deposed Shankill
'C' Company leader Johnny Adair as they returned from a Rangers
match in February 2002.
Both men died in a hail of gunfire.
Media speculation has since pointed to Carson as being Gregg's
right hand man in the South East Antrim brigade of the UDA and also
linked him with the murder of UVF man Mark Quail in Rathcoole in
But his wife Eileen today claimed her husband was not a high
ranking member of the UDA and died because he was "in the wrong
place at the wrong time".
She also spoke about raising her two young daughters, Courtney and
Aimee without a father.
She said: "People have said that Robert was a murderer and that he
was second in command to John Gregg, but it is all a pack of lies.
"My husband was killed because he went to a Rangers match. He was
not meant to be in that taxi, he just jumped in because there was a
space in it and it was going to Rathcoole.
"The cowards who carried out this shooting were not after Robert,
they were after John Gregg. Robert just happened to be in the wrong
place at the wrong time. Even the taxi driver was shot seven
Gregg, who once tried to assassinate Gerry Adams, was one of the
leading enemies of Johnny Adair during a bloody UDA feud.
Mrs Carson added: "I last spoke to Robert at about 9.30pm the night
he died when he was on the ferry and he said he had bought stuff
for the kids from the Rangers shop.
"The next we heard was when his sister told us that Robert was in
hospital and John Gregg was dead. We rushed up there but he was
"I have two young daughters. How do I tell them that their father
is never coming home again? I am trying to hold this family
together but then the media say Robert killed Mark Quail. Robert
was with me when Quail was murdered so he could not have done it.
"I do not know if Robert was in the UDA," she claimed, "but in the
15 years we were married he had never been questioned or arrested."
Mrs Carson said she now wanted closure over the murder of her
"I know people have been questioned but I do not expect anyone to
ever be brought to justice.
"I cannot rebuild my life like this. We have never had the results
of a post mortem or had an inquest into how Robert died. We just
want closure as quickly as possible."
Fishing Village's Vigil For Lost Men
Search goes on for missing Kilkeel vessel
By Claire Regan in Kilkeel
11 November 2004
A major search was under way in the Irish Sea today for a fishing
boat which failed to return to harbour in Co Down.
The Kilkeel-based Emerald Dawn, with two fishermen on board, went
missing yesterday afternoon while working on lobster pots.
As a desperate all-night search continued into this morning,
relatives of the two fishermen, named locally as Shane Monaghan and
Colin Donnelly, maintained the vigil at the town's harbour where
they have been since the alarm was first raised.
Standing outside the local RNLI station, a small crowd watched as a
large vessel was loaded up with diving gear this morning.
The diving team was called in to examine a trail of lobster pots
which searchers hope will help lead them to the boat.
The vessel's two-man crew were laying and checking the line of
baskets yesterday afternoon when they were last heard from.
It is understood one of the pots is fastened tight to the seabed -
a significant clue which may reveal the location of the missing
boat and what happened to it.
Meanwhile, many of the town's fishing fleet continued searching
this morning at sea - where they have been all night.
The two men were due to dock at Kilkeel harbour at lunchtime but a
massive air and sea search was launched around 5.30pm when the
Coastguard failed to make contact with them.
It is understood both men had mobile phones and last made contact
Lifeboats from Kilkeel, Newcastle and Belfast were assisted by
search helicopters from the Republic and Anglesey.
The desperate search brought back memories of the boating tragedy
in which three members from the same family were lost two years
Michael Greene, (54), his 32-year-old son and his eight-year-old
grandson, also both called Michael, died when their boat, the
Tullaghmurry Lass, sank in a gas explosion in February 2002.
Five lifeboats and up to 20 local fishing boats have spent the
night at sea searching for the missing creel vessel, centring their
hunt on an area about five miles off Kilkeel between Dundrum Bay
and Dundalk Bay in the Republic.
The search operation is being co-ordinated by the Coastguard, who
called in a fishery protection vessel with sophisticated sonar
equipment to aid the hunt.
Coastguard area operations manager, Brett Cunningham, said:
"Several of the lobster pots had been serviced and put back down
again, but they came across one that was hard and fast to the
bottom. There are certain implications that could be around that.
"Our teams are also searching ports and harbours as well as along
the shoreline in the area for any sign of the vessel or any debris
which may have been washed ashore.
"Fortunately the weather is not too bad this morning with moderate
to good visibility."
One Fisherman Found Alive In Co Down
11 November 2004 11:52
One of the two fishermen who went missing off the Co Down coast has
been found alive.
He was located in a liferaft and was being taken to hospital.
The two fishermen have been named locally as Shane Monaghan and
An air and sea search resumed this morning for the 35-foot fishing
boat Emerald Dawn, which left Kilkeel yesterday morning.
Thirty-three fishing vessels, five lifeboats and three helicopters
have been involved in the search covering a 1,400-square mile
The boat was due back to port at 1pm but the last contact with it
was before noon. The Coastguard Service confirmed that a mayday
relay was broadcast to the vessel but there was no return contact.
Divers were this morning searching an area five miles off the coast
where lobster pots used by the fishermen were located.
Meltdown: Arctic Wildlife Is On The Brink Of Catastrophe
Polar bears could be decades from extinction, a survey into global
warming has found. Steve Connor reports on the crisis that
threatens the polar ice-cap
11 November 2004
Polar bears, the biggest land carnivores on Earth, face extinction
this century if the Arctic continues to melt at its present rate, a
study into global warming has found. The sea ice around the North
Pole on which the bears depend for hunting is shrinking so swiftly
it could disappear during the summer months by the end of the
century, the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ICIA) says.
Scientists in the study believe the survival of the estimated
22,000 polar bears in the region is hanging by a slender thread as
they suffer the double whammy of chemical pollution and dwindling
feeding territories. Polar bears traditionally hunt on floating sea
ice for seals and other quarry. But the ice has retreated
significantly during summer, so the carnivores are having to swim
further from one floe to another in search of quarry.
As a result of this extra effort, many bears are failing to build
up the necessary fat reserves during the important hunting period
of spring and early summer to take them through the bitterly cold
winter months when females nurse their young. The sea ice in the
Hudson Bay area of Canada, for instance, breaks up about two and a
half weeks earlier than it did 30 years ago, Ian Stirling of the
Canadian Wildlife Service said.
The rapid and unprecedented shrinkage of the ice, and the extra
burden it places on the animals, has resulted in the polar bears
here weighing, on average, 55lb less than they did in the 1970s.
And the bears have long become more than a nuisance in Churchill,
Manitoba, on the shore of Hudson Bay. They are frequently
tranquilised and flown back north.
Scientists at the World Wildlife Fund said that, if that continues,
many of the polar bears in the Hudson Bay area will be so thin
within the next 10 years that they could become infertile. Lara
Hansen, chief scientist at the WWF, said: "If the population stops
reproducing, that's the end of it."
Separate studies have already shown that toxic pollutants are
building up in the fat of polar bears in a way that could affect
their ability to reproduce. WWF scientists say these toxins are
affecting the bears' immunity to infections.
The ACIA is the product of four years' work by more than 250
scientists from Britain, the United States and many other
industrialised countries. Its 139-page report, presented to a
scientific conference this week in Reykjavik, found climate change
is affecting the Arctic more than many other regions. For instance,
scientists estimate that the polar region is warming at up to 10
times the rate of the world as a whole.
In Alaska, western Canada and eastern Russia, average winter
temperatures have risen as much as 3C or 4C in the past 50 years,
and they are projected to increase by a further 7C, or 13C, over
the next 100 years.
Robert Corell, of the American Meteorological Society, who chaired
the assessment, said global warming is already affecting the native
Arctic people as well as the unique wildlife of the region. "The
Arctic is experiencing some of the most rapid and severe climate
change on Earth," he said. "The impacts of climate change on the
region and the globe are projected to increase substantially. The
Arctic is really warming now. These areas provide a bellwether of
what's coming to planet Earth."
Several computer models of how the sea ice is shrinking were
examined and the scientists concluded that at the very minimum half
the summer sea ice will disappear by 2100, with some models showing
an almost total melt. The assessment adds: "This is very likely to
have devastating consequences for some Arctic animal species such
as ice-living seals, walruses and Arctic char, and for local people
for whom these animals are a primary food source. Should the Arctic
Ocean become ice-free in summer, it is likely that polar bears and
some seal species would be driven toward extinction."
But it is not only polar bears and ringed seals that are
threatened. Native people are also having to cope with a dramatic
change to their lifestyle, Chief Gary Harrison of the Arctic
Athabaskan Council, said. "Our homes are threatened by storms and
melting permafrost, our livelihoods are threatened by changes to
the plants and animals we harvest. Even our lives are threatened,
as traditional travel routes become more dangerous."
Countries bordering the Arctic, notably Russia, Greenland and
Canada, are already planning for the time when the north-west and
north-east shipping routes are open all year round. Russia
especially is expected to benefit hugely from the control of a
year-round shipping route between Japan and Europe which will cut
thousands of miles off present-day trade routes. Another possible
change will result from the melting of the winter ice covering the
Barents Sea which is probably the coolest, purest and richest
stretch of salt water in the world. The corresponding increase in
sunlight and phytoplankton in the Barents Sea will trigger the
growth of even richer fishing grounds for cod and other
commercially important species, bringing further industrial
incursions into this pristine world.
Arctic sea-ice naturally thickens in the winter and melts in the
summer but the balance has shifted significantly towards melting in
recent years. Scientists estimate the period of melting has
increased by about five days every decade over the past 50 years,
with the result that the ice has got thinner and is beginning to
retreat rapidly. The phenomenon was first recognised by the
American military who closely monitored sea- ice thickness when its
nuclear-powered submarines sailed under the North Pole during the
A comparison of sea-ice measurements made during 1958-76 with 1993-
1997 found it had thinned by 42 per cent. An analysis of similar
data gathered by British submarines between 1976 and 1996 found a
43 per cent thinning of Arctic sea-ice.
Further measurements suggest sea ice has reduced from an average
thickness of four metres to just under three metres in the past 30
years. Satellite measurements suggest that the area covered by sea-
ice has diminished by about 4 per cent per decade, an apparently
smaller rate of decline because sea-ice has to get thinner before
it begins to retreat in surface area. Peter Wadhams, a specialist
in Arctic sea-ice at the Dunstaffnage marine laboratory in Oban,
made many of the measurements of sea-ice thickness while he was a
civilian scientist on board the Royal Navy submarines during their
secret voyages under the North Pole. Some things have changed for
ever since, he said. One change, for instance, is the disappearance
of the Odden ice tongue, a huge spit of ice that formed off eastern
Greenland each winter.
The Odden ice tongue, like all sea-ice, was considered an important
driving force in the circulation of the ocean currents. As ice
forms from salt water, salt is rejected, which causes a rise in
salinity. This cold, dense, salty water sinks to the bottom of the
sea, helping to drive the movement of deep ocean currents.
The Odden ice tongue was last seen in 1997, and its disappearance
suggests that this important engine of ocean circulation could be
slowing, Professor Wadhams said.
"The ice-covered seas represent the cold end of the enormous heat
engine that enables the Earth to have temperatures suitable for
human life over most of its surface," he said. Melting sea ice
threatens to disrupt these ocean "conveyor belts" of water. The
worst scenario for Britain could be the collapse or movement
further south of the warm Gulf Stream, which could cause us to
experience a climate similar to that of Newfoundland, which
reguarly freezes in winter.
Mark Serreze, of the University of Colorado at Boulder, said
satellite monitoring of the entire Arctic region reveal that there
are few doubts the phenomenon is real, and warming is proceeding at
a rate eight times faster than at any time in the past 100 years.
Melting sea-ice does not contribute to increases in sea levels
because it floats, but the melting of the Greenland ice sheet can
cause sea levels to rise by as much as seven metres. There are
signs that this process has begun, althought total melting is
likely to take up to 1,000 years.
As the ice cover retreats, one fear is that it will reduce the
amount of sunlight naturally reflected from the Earth back into
space. In other words, a world with little or no Arctic sea ice
will become even warmer as more sunlight is absorbed by the ground
to heat the atmosphere. Another possible "positive feedback"
resulting from a warmer climate in the Arctic could result from the
release of huge amounts of methane gas locked in the permafrost of
the northern hemisphere.
Molecule for molecule, methane is far more effective at trapping
heat, due to the greenhouse effect, than carbon dioxide. Again,
scientists are worrying that a warmer Arctic could lead to runaway
global warming as more and more greenhouse gases are released into
The ACIA said a warmer polar region will not only result in the
possible extinction of the polar bear and other species. It will
present serious challenges to the health and survival of some
native peoples and their cultures.
"During the next 100 years, climate change is expected to
accelerate, contributing to major physical, ecological, social, and
economic changes, and the assessement has documented that many of
these changes have already begun," it warns.
Author's Reading Sets Focus On Irish Dance Hall Era
By Emily Sweeney, Globe Staff | November 11, 2004
For almost a year, Susan Gedutis immersed herself in Irish music
history during her only free time -- the two hours she spent on a
bus commuting back and forth from Plymouth to her job in Boston.
Gedutis will read from the book that resulted from those rides on
Sunday at the Irish Cultural Centre of New England in Canton. ''See
You at the Hall: Boston's Golden Era of Irish Music and Dance" was
published in June by Northeastern University Press.
''Writing this book got me through nine solid months of commuting,"
said Gedutis, 35. ''[Those] uninterrupted couple of hours each way
was really good for focus. No e-mails, no phone calls, no co-
workers, no family -- just me, my drafts, and my red pen. I think I
might have gone insane had I not had this side project to keep me
The 252-page book traces the roots of Boston's Irish dance hall era
to the 1920s, and focuses on the post-World War II immigration boom
during the 1940s and 1950s, when Irish- Americans flocked to the
Intercolonial, the Hibernian, Winslow Hall, the Dudley Street Opera
House, and the Rose Croix. The bustling Roxbury ballrooms were
vital to the city's Irish population, according to Gedutis.
She interviewed local Irish musicians and dancers, and read
countless newspaper reports, magazine articles and books about the
''It's a whole bunch of personal experiences knitted together with
historical background," she said.
Gedutis is not Irish, but she is married to an Irishman. Her
husband, Stephen Lindsay, hails from Dublin.
She still commutes daily from a bus stop at Exit 5 off Route 3 in
Plymouth to the Berklee College of Music in Boston, where she works
as a music book editor for Berklee Press. She helps musicians write
about musical ideas, a job she describes as being a ''musician's
These days, Gedutis is busy promoting her book and playing the
flute, whistle, and saxophone with her Irish band, Sin, and a
contra dance band, Einstein's Little Homunculus.
Sunday's reading and reception at the Irish Cultural Centre of New
England, 200 New Boston Drive, will start at 1 p.m. following a
special 11 a.m. Mass. For directions, visit www.irishculture.org.
(c) Copyright 2004 Globe Newspaper Company.
Author Reveals Ards' Role In 1798
By Ashleigh Wallace
11 November 2004
A historian based in Co Down has published a book exploring the
role played by Presbyterian republicans in the 1798 rebellion.
'The Men of the Ards', by former teacher Harry Allen from
Donaghadee, is a history book based on the events of the late 18th
century and the connection the rebellion had with people from the
A book launch was held in Newtownards last week.
Drawing on primary source material - much of which is stored at the
Public Record Office in Belfast - Mr Allen detailed the rise of
discontent among the farmers, merchants and Presbyterian clergy
during the time of the rebellion.
Mr Allen said: "The men of Ards decided, in the summer of 1798,
that they would fight the Army. However, many of their leaders were
imprisoned and they planned to fight with inexperienced man. They
were beaten before they even started."
The book is published by Donaghadee-based Ballyhay Books.