- Name: Jay Dooling
- Irish Aires Home Page
- IA Houston Links
- IA Links Page
- IA News Links
- Irish Aires Archived
- IA Email Lists
- Irish Aires Blog
- October 2004
- November 2004
- December 2004
- January 2005
- February 2005
- March 2005
- April 2005
- May 2005
- June 2005
- July 2005
- August 2005
- September 2005
- October 2005
- November 2005
- December 2005
- January 2006
- February 2006
- March 2006
- April 2006
- May 2006
- June 2006
- July 2006
- August 2006
- September 2006
- October 2006
- November 2006
- December 2006
- January 2007
- February 2007
- March 2007
- April 2007
- May 2007
- June 2007
- August 2007
- September 2007
- October 2007
- November 2007
- December 2007
- January 2008
- February 2008
- March 2008
- April 2008
- May 2008
- June 2008
- July 2008
- November 2008
- December 2008
- February 2009
- April 2009
- May 2009
- January 2010
- April 2011
- May 2011
- June 2011
- July 2011
- August 2011
- February 2012
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 12, 2004
News 11/12/04 - UDA Ceasefire To Be Recognized
News about Ireland & the Irish
BB 11/12/04 UDA Ceasefire 'To Be Recognised' 2 V
SF 11/12/04 UDA Will Be Judged Against End Of Sectarian & Racist
BB 11/12/04 UDA To Make 'Significant' Move
BT 11/12/04 Tattered Loyalist Flags To Come Down: Pledge
BT 11/12/04 Families Flee Homes After Bomb Discovered
SF 11/12/04 Intimidation Of SF Rep - PSNI Putting Life At Risk
BT 11/12/04 Parties Given Three More Weeks
IT 11/12/04 Paisley Key To Deal, Governments Feel
IT 11/12/04 Rights Body Urges London To Move On Collusion Findings
BT 11/12/04 UUP Call For All-Out War On Terror Godfathers
BT 11/12/04 End Stormont Farce: Burnside
BT 11/12/04 Viewpoint: Burnside Plan Is Unlikely To Succeed
BB 11/12/04 Real IRA Leader Loses Legal Aid
BT 11/12/04 SDLP Snub Paisley 'Freedom' Ceremony
BT 11/12/04 RIR Soldiers Needed To Protect Home: Collins
BT 11/12/04 McAleese Praises Arafat's Commitment To His People
DJ 11/12/04 Opin: Protestant Intimidation In Derry
BT 11/12/04 Pollution 'Turning Into An Environmental Timebomb'
BT 11/12/04 Kilkeel Awaits Saved Man's Return
IT 11/12/04 Sligo Has An Aspiration To Capitalise
IT 11/12/04 Sligo: Solution To Traffic Nightmare Proving Destructive
IT 11/12/04 Objection To Housing In Clifden
TO 11/12/04 Michael Brodigan: Never Shying Away From His Roots
TO 11/12/04 The Dancing Irish: Author Discusses The Good Old Days
IT 11/12/04 Jewish Museum Vandalised
IT 11/12/04 Book Chronicles Holy Cross Trauma
UK government to recognise UDA ceasefire
Tommie Gorman, Northern Editor, looks at the events leading up to
the expected announcement
Taoiseach Bertie Ahern reacts to this latest development, saying
any positive developments are welcome
UDA Ceasefire 'To Be Recognised' 2 V
The government is expected to signal it is ready to recognise the
Ulster Defence Association ceasefire, it is understood.
Secretary of State Paul Murphy is expected to confirm the move
later on Friday.
In October 2001, the then Northern Ireland Secretary, John Reid,
withdrew government recognition for the UDA ceasefire because of
its involvement in violence.
The group declared a new ceasefire in February this year. Senior
members of the UDA leadership held talks with Mr Murphy at Stormont
Since that meeting, senior government officials and loyalists have
remained in contact.
With its thousands of members, the UDA is the largest paramilitary
organisation in Northern Ireland.
The loyalists are thought to have indicated their eagerness to get
involved in the wider political process and move away from violence
BBC Northern Ireland political editor Mark Devenport said: "Only
last week, the four member Independent Monitoring Commission said
the UDA remained involved in crime and paramilitary shootings.
"On Friday, Mr Murphy is expected to signal that the government
will respond positively if the UDA takes a political route."
'Issue of disbandment'
Over the weekend, the focus will shift to the loyalist
organisation's words and actions.
If they live up to the government's expectations, there are likely
to be further moves in parliament next week.
BBC Northern Ireland security editor Brian Rowan said: "We haven't
been told what will be said but there is plenty of speculation that
a statement will deal with criminality, the UDA's future intentions
and possibly even the issue of partial disbandment.
"We are expecting a significant statement from the UDA - its detail
has yet to be confirmed, but there is nothing to suggest any early
movement on arms decommissioning."
The future of the political process will be discussed at a meeting
of the Sinn Fein leadership in Dublin on Saturday and it is almost
certain any government moves on the UDA ceasefire will be on the
North Belfast MLA Gerry Kelly said: "The only test that the UDA
will be judged against is a genuine end to its campaign of attack
and intimidation against the ethnic and nationalist sections of our
Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2004/11/12 11:53:41 GMT
© BBC MMIV
UDA De-Specification Will Be Judged Against End Of Sectarian And
Published: 12 November, 2004
Sinn Féin policing and justice spokesperson, North Belfast MLA
Gerry Kelly commenting on news that the British Secretary of State
Paul Murphy will announce the de- specification of the UDA has said
that while any move will be welcome it will only be judged against
the ending of the UDA's sectarian and racist campaign of violence
Mr Kelly said: "The de-specification of the UDA would be a welcome
development if it marked an end to their campaign of sectarian and
racist attacks and intimidation.
"The only test that the UDA will be judged against is a genuine end
to its campaign of attack and intimidation against the ethnic and
nationalist sections of our community." ENDS
Gerry Kelly will be available to speak to the media today at 12
noon at the opening of a new job assist centre at the Upper
Springfield Trust at the top of the Whiterock Road along with Sinn
Féin President Gerry Adams MP.
UDA To Make 'Significant' Move
By Brian Rowan
BBC Northern Ireland security editor
Less than two weeks ago, some of the most senior loyalist
paramilitary figures in Northern Ireland walked through the doors
at Stormont and into a dialogue with the secretary of state.
Paul Murphy was taking a risk. The government does not currently
recognise the Ulster Defence Association ceasefire which was
announced back in February and the paramilitary organisation
remains deeply involved in criminality, including drugs.
Now, there are suggestions that the UDA wants to change, wants to
re-involve itself in the wider peace process and wants to be part
of the bigger business of political deal- making.
It appears it is about to be offered another chance. The political
door seems to be re-opening.
After those talks at Stormont, senior officials at the Northern
Ireland Office remained in contact with the political
representatives of the UDA - the Ulster Political Research Group.
And, now, the beginnings of some choreography between the two is
On the political grapevine there has been speculation for days. We
are expecting Mr Murphy to speak first, and we were told there
would be a quick response from the UDA.
The detail of that response has not been confirmed - but the hints
suggest something very significant - a statement on future
intentions, on criminality and possibly on a partial disbandment.
The UDA is the biggest paramilitary organisation in Northern
Ireland with thousands of men.
Its leadership is an "Inner Council" of six so-called "brigadiers",
and that leadership will have to sell any UDA initiative inside the
ranks of the organisation.
That the government is about to open its door again to those
associated with this most volatile of groups, is something that is
full of risk.
But if the UDA follows through with what is being suggested, then
Mr Murphy will assess it was a risk worth taking.
That said, there will be sceptics and doubters.
If everything goes to plan, these opening steps in this new
relationship should be completed by Monday
In the past, the word of the UDA has not been something that could
be relied upon and, before passing judgement on this expected move,
there will be those who will want it tested over a period of time.
There is nothing to suggest any early move by the UDA on
decommissioning, and that is the position too with the other main
loyalist paramilitary organisation, the Ulster Volunteer Force.
But if the UDA is serious about a peaceful future and serious about
disbanding all or part of its organisation, then that will be a
significant contribution to the wider business of trying to reach a
comprehensive political deal.
The paramilitary group announced its latest ceasefire back in
February, but for more than three years it was a "specified"
organisation - meaning the government did not recognise its
It seems Paul Murphy is to change that, and that decision is what
will bring the UDA response.
For years, the government and republicans have negotiated and
worked out sequences. Now, the loyalists are doing the same.
And, if everything goes to plan, these opening steps in this new
relationship should be completed by Monday.
Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2004/11/12 12:04:21 GMT
© BBC MMIV
Tattered Flags To Come Down: Pledge
12 November 2004
The South Antrim chairman of the Progressive Unionist Party has
assured local residents that the tattered remains of flags in
Antrim town will come down this week.
Ken Wilkinson made the pledge amid concerns that some loyalist
displays across Antrim were becoming "an eyesore".
One resident said that the ragged ribbons hanging from many lamp-
posts were "an insult to the flag".
"I'm a Protestant myself and I have absolutely no problem with
people flying their flags during the summer," she said.
"But I think it's very sad when they are allowed to get into such a
"People fought and died for that flag, but is this a fitting way to
remember their sacrifice?"
Mr Wilkinson accepted that many residents were annoyed about the
displays and that he shared their concern.
"I would like to assure them that these flags will be removed
within the next week.
"A few new flags will be put up for Remembrance Day, but these too
will come down afterwards."
Families Flee Homes After Bomb Discovered
Shock as device left near Carryduff house
By Jonathan McCambridge
12 November 2004
There was shock in a quiet Carryduff community today after a pipe-
bomb, which could have caused injury or death, was found near the
front of a house.
Four families were forced to spend the night out of their Muskett
Road homes after the device was discovered at 11pm yesterday
Scores of people in cars were refused entry to the estate by police
officers last night.
PSNI have described the pipe-bomb as a crude but viable device and
have said that they are following a number of lines of inquiry.
Army bomb experts made safe the device, which police said could
The area around four homes remained sealed off this morning as
detectives prepared to carry out a search during daylight hours.
One man described how his family was evacuated from their home last
night during the security alert.
He said: "It has been a long night, we have been out of the house
since before eleven. The first we knew anything was wrong was when
police came and told us we had to leave. I went to a neighbour's
house and shortly after I heard a loud bang.
"At the minute I just want to know when I can get back home."
Another neighbour said: "I looked out the window last night and saw
police all over the place. Then two Army vehicles arrived and a
short time later there was an explosion.
"This has always been a quiet street, I have never known there to
be any trouble before."
Local Alliance councillor and District Policing Partnership member,
Geraldine Rice, said: "This will cause much shock and concern in
"This is a residential area where many small children live and for
anyone to leave a device like this here is appalling. I have never
known there to be any trouble here before, this is a mixed area."
Anyone with information about last night's security alert is asked
to contact detectives at Castlereagh on 9065 0222 or the
Confidential Crimestoppers line on 0800 555111.
Intimidation Of Sinn Fein Representative - PSNI Putting Life At
Published: 12 November, 2004
Sinn Féin policing spokesperson, North Belfast MLA Gerry Kelly has
launched a blistering attack on the PSNI after the dawn raid on the
home of Ballymena Sinn Féin representative Michael Agnew this
Mr Kelly said: "Michael Agnew has been the target of a sustained
Loyalist murder campaign. The actions of the PSNI this morning are
part of a deliberate attempt to justify these attacks. The actions
of the PSNI are further endangering the life of Michael Agnew. It
is in stark contrast to the lack of action against the unionist
murder gangs that are operating with impunity throughout the North
Antrim and East Antrim areas.
"This raid is a clear example of political policing. It is an
extension of the loyalist murder campaign. It is evidence of the
ongoing existence of collusion between loyalists and the PSNI and
will only offer further encouragement to those who have targeted
Michael Agnew because he is a Sinn Fein representative.
"I again challenge all political parties to come out and condemn
the actions of Loyalist paramilitaries in this area and indeed
throughout the six counties. The actions of the PSNI today are also
a stark and direct challenge to the SDLP and I want to reiterate my
challenge to the SDLP policing spokesperson Alex Attwood to come
out into the open and have a public debate on policing."
Gerry Kelly will be available to speak to the media today at 12
noon at the opening of a new job assist centre at the Upper
Springfield Trust at the top of the Whiterock Road along with Sinn
Féin President Gerry Adams MP.
Parties Given Three More Weeks
By Noel McAdam
12 November 2004
The British and Irish Governments' proposals for restoring
devolution are likely to be handed over to the DUP and Sinn Fein
next week, it emerged today.
They and the other political parties will then be given effectively
two weeks to sign up to the formula said to deal with all the
outstanding issues including decommissioning.
That could mean, sources indicated, the latest mooted deadline of
November 25 - a year after the last Assembly elections - slipping
past at the end of the month.
But even if the deal is rejected by either or both of the two key
parties, it appears likely the Governments will publish the core of
their proposals, probably in December, to allow the public to see
what is on offer.
Officials in London, Dublin and Belfast believe a deal is
tantalisingly close and that weeks of painstaking behind-the-scenes
negotiations in the aftermath of the Leeds Castle "summit" talks
have effectively been exhausted.
The proposals to be tabled, probably in London around the middle of
next week, represent the two Governments' "best guess" on a
compromise which would lead to the restoration of a power-sharing
Executive and Assembly.
On the eve of his party's annual conference, senior Ulster Unionist
Michael McGimpsey urged the two Governments to "bring things to a
"It is clear that Sinn Fein and the DUP are holding back the
process for their own selfish internal party political
considerations, Mr McGimpsey said.
"Republicans know they must engage in acts of completion and commit
themselves to exclusively peaceful and democratic means. All the
bluster and spin cannot mask this fact."
Mr McGimpsey said the DUP had failed to probe the value of the
IRA's alleged recent offer at Leeds Castle and focused instead on
Senior SDLP negotiator Sean Farren said nationalists should not be
expected to sit and wait for an outcome "dependent on the DUP
"They need to be shown that the Governments are not willing to wait
either," he said.
"We predicted that the DUP would not come up to the mark before the
Paisley Key To Deal, Governments Feel
Gerry Moriarty, Northern Editor
The Irish and British governments are convinced that restoring
the Northern Executive and Assembly now hinges on whether DUP
leader, the Rev Ian Paisley, is prepared to advise his party to
accept the current deal.
The DUP and Sinn Féin will be presented with the two governments'
understanding of what is an acceptable formula for restoring the
Northern Executive and Assembly next week, and will be given a week
or two to accept or reject the document, informed sources told The
Irish Times last night. If the deal is rejected by one or both
parties the governments then plan to publish all or a considerable
portion of the proposals in December to allow the public to
determine for itself whether a fair deal was on offer, the sources
The governments still believe the main stumbling block to agreement
lies with the DUP and that ultimately it will be for Dr Paisley to
determine whether or not his party will endorse what Dublin and
London feel are reasonable proposals.
The DUP assertively denies there are any divisions within the party
but the governments believe that some in the DUP want to do a deal
now, others totally oppose a deal and a third, possibly ascendant,
group, don't want to do a deal until after the Westminster
elections, expected in the spring or early summer of next year.
"We believe there is a good deal on the table but whether it will
work or not is really down to Ian Paisley. He has to decide whether
he wants to lead his party over the threshold now," said a well-
Dublin and London have told the DUP that the IRA has made its
firmest commitment yet to decommission and end activity. Democratic
Unionists, however, are holding out for what the governments fear
may be unreasonable demands for a "visual aspect" to disarmament,
according to leading talks sources.
Senior DUP personnel concede that considerable progress on
disarmament and other matters was achieved since the Leeds Castle
talks in September but contend that a visual element to
decommissioning is essential as a deal would only work if unionists
were convinced of the credibility of IRA disarmament.
That credibility can be established by means short of what the DUP
is seeking, the governments respond. The Taoiseach, Mr Ahern, made
it clear earlier this week that the nature of renewed IRA
decommissioning must be more convincing than the last act of
disarmament in October of last year but that the "transparency"
that the DUP was seeking could be interpreted as an attempt to
Some behind-the-scenes discussions between the parties and the
governments will continue in the coming days but essentially the
governments believe the negotiations have come to an end.
Dublin and London sources said such was the positive nature of the
IRA pledge to cease activity and disarm that the governments were
anxious that that commitment not be lost. "What is available
appears to measure up to the 'act of completion' requirement made
by Tony Blair in his Belfast Harbour Commissioners speech two years
ago," said one insider. Another talks source explained issues such
as accountability and policing were not fully resolved but the main
problem was the "transparency" of IRA decommissioning.
Sinn Féin president Mr Gerry Adams, returning from the US
yesterday, said the "DUP must understand, and the governments must
make it clear, that the refusal by Ian Paisley to reach agreement
with the rest of us cannot stop the process of change".
© The Irish Times
Rights Body Urges London To Move On Collusion Findings
The British government has a duty to put in place measures which
ensure there can be no recurrence of the collusion between the
security forces and paramilitaries alleged to have taken place in
past years, the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission said
In its annual report, the commission described as "extremely
disturbing" findings by retired Canadian judge Peter Cory that
there was some evidence of collusion in the 1980s and 1990s between
members of the security forces and paramilitary organisations.
London has ordered public inquiries into a series of murders
following reports from Judge Cory, including that of Belfast
solicitor Mr Patrick Finucane.
The commission said it supported the holding of public judicial
inquiries and would welcome the involvement of international
Chief commissioner Prof Brice Dickson said the British government
should do more to investigate fully the allegations of collusion.
"There is nothing which more seriously undermines the rule of law
than the active involvement by law enforcement bodies in the
activities of terrorist and/or criminal organisations.
"The government has a duty to bring such activities to light and to
put measures in place to ensure that they cannot recur," said Prof
The commission also expressed its disappointment that the
government had yet to put in place reform of the inquest system in
There were still more than 2,000 unsolved murders in the North and
there was evidence, in the view of the commission, that a number
had not been effectively investigated.
"We strongly believe that reform of the inquest system in Northern
Ireland is long overdue and that the government has not adequately
responded to the right of families to know the truth about how
their loved ones died," said the chief commissioner.
The report highlighted that what it called the "most serious and
systematic violations" of human rights continued to be perpetrated
by paramilitary organisations. It said it was estimated
paramilitaries were responsible last year for 11 murders, 156 non-
fatal shootings and 149 serious assaults.
Prof Dickson said that throughout Northern Ireland there appeared
to be a "growing acceptance" that so-called punishment attacks were
a fact of life.
There was some evidence, he added, that paramilitary organisations
had been partly responsible for the rise in racially motivated
attacks over the past year. "These incidents, too, are to be deeply
© The Irish Times
UUP Call For All-Out War On Terror Godfathers
By Noel McAdam
12 November 2004
The Ulster Unionist Party is to demand an all-out co-ordinated war
on paramilitary crime and for the terrorist godfathers to be
brought to justice.
While resolutions at the party's annual conference this weekend
side-step the current political situation, the focus instead is on
efforts to halt the rise in racketeering and organised crime across
Leader David Trimble is expected to deal comprehensively with the
political stalemate and the aftermath of the 'summit' talks at
Leeds Castle in his main speech tomorrow.
The two-day gathering in Newcastle, which gets under way tonight,
is also due to debate the party's future election strategy and its
centenary celebrations next year.
It is the party's first conference since it was overtaken as the
main unionist party by the DUP in the Assembly elections a year
ago. More than 300 were said to be signed up for the conference
with many more registering on the main business day tomorrow.
It is also the first major party event since the defections to the
DUP at the start of this year of Jeffrey Donaldson, Arlene Foster
and Norah Beare.
Other resolutions to be debated deal with planned water charges and
the review of public administration which could see the current 26
local councils reduced to six or seven. Mr Trimble said devolution
is needed to "really make a difference" to key issues including
economic inactivity, educational under- achievement and inadequate
End Stormont Farce: Burnside
By Chris Thornton
12 November 2004
Ulster Unionist MP David Burnside has called for his party and the
DUP to drop "the farce at Stormont" and work for a new system of
governing Northern Ireland.
On the eve of the UUP's annual conference, Mr Burnside writes in
today's Belfast Telegraph to set out his opposition to the current
talks aimed at restoring power-sharing.
The one-time rebel proposes that Northern Ireland should be run
through Westminster with "reformed local government" that could
include some form of Assembly.
He also calls on the UUP and DUP to form a Westminster coalition
and says they should try to freeze out Sinn Fein and the Irish
government from local government. Mr Burnside also calls on the UUP
to oppose the transfer of policing and justice powers - a position
that puts him in opposition to his leader David Trimble.
"In our centenary year Ulster unionism needs to rediscover its
roots," the South Antrim MP writes.
"British rule from Westminster strengthened with reformed local
government is the answer.
"Hanging on to the failed Belfast Agreement will not win votes.
Sinn Fein contaminates the body politic and an inclusive Executive
cannot and should not be cobbled together again."
Mr Burnside says unionists could strengthen their hand by jointly
dropping the current talks process and working together to form a
coalition without Sinn Fein.
"The DUP and UUP should jointly say to the SDLP and Alliance
parties that we will form a voluntary coalition Executive
immediately allowing Stormont to be up and working.
"If the SDLP, who seem determined to self- destruct, refuse to
accept the offer and separate themselves from the republican
movement, the two unionist parties should then go to our sovereign
British Government, not the two governments, to seek a new way
Mr Burnside says that the two nationalist parties "want Stormont
more than unionists on the ground".
"The Stormont on offer under the Belfast Agreement gives them
unaccountable Executive powers, which does not make for good
government - transferring policing and justice to Stormont is a
nightmare," he adds.
And he warns the DUP that "if they think they can hold out for a
deal with Sinn Fein immediately after the election the unionist
electorate will see through such 'too clever by half' tactics".
Viewpoint: Burnside Plan Is Unlikely To Succeed
New proposal: Unionist MP's idea will not find favour with
12 November 2004
David Burnside has truly put the cat among the pigeons at this
weekend's Ulster Unionist Party conference with a devastating
critique of the present leadership and a call for a united stand
with the DUP. The MP for South Antrim appears, in tonight's
article, to be taking over the mantle of Jeffrey Donaldson.
Like many another unionist, he is dismayed by the present state of
the UUP, eclipsed by "the Paisleyite party of protest" at
Westminster and Stormont. As it prepares to celebrate its centenary
in 2005, he foresees a "post-Trimble, post- Paisley" era in which
support for the "failed" Belfast Agreement would be withdrawn, to
be substituted by administrative devolution at Stormont.
It is a dream that will appeal to many unionists, as a way of
escaping from the present commitment to power-sharing with the main
nationalist party, Sinn Fein. Yet the certainty that it would be
opposed by both the British and Irish governments, as well as all
nationalists, makes it just as unlikely as a deal between Ian
Paisley and Gerry Adams, with the IRA in being.
Mr Burnside identifies two fundamental mistakes, by which the UUP
has lost trust. Giving up the principle of "no guns, no government"
was tactical folly, he says, letting the republican movement off
Secondly, he condemns the leadership for its refusal to make the
retention of the name and operational integrity of the RUC a
condition of its participation in the Agreement's institutions.
The DUP would agree with this analysis, but, of course, if David
Trimble had not tested the republicans or had opposed the symbolic
changes to the police, unionists would have been seen as the
Instead, he chose the difficult path of power-sharing, only to be
let down by Sinn Fein, and today both London and Dublin agree that
the IRA must step aside, after a process of completion, before
devolution can be restored.
What Mr Burnside is arguing for is the old proposition of
administrative devolution, a variation of direct rule whereby some
54-72 Assembly members would monitor the Westminster direct rulers,
without an executive. It would be a relatively powerless body,
keeping Dublin at arm's length, and completely unacceptable not
only to the two governments but the entire nationalist community.
Clearly this is not the way forward, even if, without a U-turn by
the IRA, it is very unlikely that a deal is possible between the
DUP and Sinn Fein.
Few will disagree with Mr Burnside's dismissal of the present
Stormont as "a farce", but attempting to replace it with another
would be folly, for any party aspiring to leadership. The stalemate
Real IRA Leader Loses Legal Aid
Real IRA leader Michael McKevitt has lost a legal aid battle to
defend a multi-million pound claim brought against him by Omagh
He had been granted the money for the High Court case, but it was
set aside after the Legal Services Commission ruled he had not told
the truth in his application.
On Friday, a judge said the decision to withhold the estimated £1m
for his defence was based on good reasons and was not wrong in law.
Twenty-nine men, women and children died and hundreds were injured
when the Real IRA detonated a car bomb in Omagh on 15 August 1998.
McKevitt, Seamus Daly, Seamus McKenna, Liam Campbell and Colm
Murphy are being sued for £14m by the Omagh Victims' Civil Action
It is clear the judge hearing the civil claim has a vital role to
play in ensuring a fair trial
Mr Justice Girvan
There will be no convictions for murder because it is not a
criminal case, but the families could be awarded damages against
the men they accuse.
In August 2003, McKevitt, 54, was jailed for 20 years in the
Republic of Ireland after being found guilty of directing terrorism
and membership of an illegal organisation.
In a reserved judgement at the High Court in Belfast on Friday, Mr
Justice Girvan referred to case law and said it was clear the judge
hearing the civil claim had a vital role to play in ensuring a fair
If he considered that it was in the interests of a fair trial that
the defendant receive legal aid, he could give a ruling to that
effect, he said.
Daly, McKevitt, Campbell and Murphy are serving sentences in the
Irish Republic for Real IRA membership.
Murphy, a Dundalk-based builder and publican, was sentenced to 14
years in January 2002 for plotting the Omagh attack.
Campbell was jailed for five years in October 2001.
Solicitors acting for the victims' group served writs on the five
suspects in 2002.
Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2004/11/12 11:51:31 GMT
© BBC MMIV
SDLP Snub Paisley 'Freedom' Ceremony
Party says DUP leader 'divisive'
By Nevin Farrell
12 November 2004
The DUP mayor of Ballymena has claimed that many SDLP supporters
will be disappointed that the party is snubbing a ceremony to
confer the Freedom of the Borough on North Antrim MP Ian Paisley.
The event is due to be held in the Galgorm Manor Hotel in December
with speculation that Prime Minister Tony Blair will be one of the
But the four SDLP councillors in Ballymena will not be in
attendance in protest at what they see as Mr Paisley's "divisive"
Ballymena Mayor Hubert Nicholl said: "I believe that quite a large
number of the people that the SDLP represent would be in favour of
them attending this event, people who have had their problems
sorted out by Mr Paisley, both in Europe and Westminster."
Mr Nicholl said Mr Paisley has had a "very positive role" over the
years as an MEP, MP and Assemblyman.
"He has worked untiringly for every citizen, for both Catholic and
Protestant, and I think it is a very short- sighted policy the SDLP
He said the event was not a party function but a civic one put on
by the corporate body of the council.
SDLP councillor Declan O'Loan said he had met Mr Paisley in the
past and had shaken his hand and that was not the issue.
He added: "We regret that we can't attend. Anyone who knows our
role in Ballymena will know it is our instinct to participate in
civic occasions but there are specific issues around this that
mean, with regret, that it won't be appropriate for us to attend."
He said any recipient of the 'Freedom' award should have "whole
community support" for the award, and said that they felt Mr
Paisley's political record "over many years has been deeply
divisive and not unifying".
RIR Soldiers Needed To Protect Home: Collins
By Brian Walker, London Editor
12 November 2004
Former Royal Irish Regiment commander in Iraq, Col Tim Collins, has
called for the retention of two home battalions of the regiment as
Territorial units, "keeping the traditional capacity to protect
hearth and home".
In an emotional speech to members of the RUC George Cross, RUC
Widows and the UDR Associations, Col Collins said home service
battalions would continue to support the police "who were doing an
He said "terrorists had segued into being criminals and were
getting away with everything". But he said they would get their
"just desserts" and the time would come when the RIR would "march
smartly off parade, having achieved their mission."
Col Collins had come from visiting the Black Watch in Perth earlier
in the day to address an Armistice Day dinner given in the House of
Lords by Unionist peers for 85 members of the security forces'
They had attended a commemoration of remembrance in the garden of
Westminster Abbey and a service at Westminster Catholic Cathedral.
Members of the UDR and RUC GC Associations won the right to parade
at the Cenotaph on Remembrance Day last year and will be parading
there for a second time on Sunday.
Previous official resistance to their right to parade was described
as "a great wrong" by one of their strongest champions, the
Marquess of Salisbury, who as Lord Cranborne was Conservative
leader of the House of Lords.
Col Collins went on to say that while it caused "great pain to see
former terrorists at the top table, it was a necessary price of
Referring to Ian Paisley, he said it was "a good thing the old bear
had put his thumb- print on a plan for peace."
In a tribute to association members, he added: "No one knows better
than you the price of peace."
David Trimble said republicans had taken to politics "not because
they realised killing was wrong ... but because they knew they were
in the process of being defeated by the security forces."
President McAleese Praises Arafat's Commitment To His People
By Fergus Black
12 November 2004
President McAleese yesterday led the nation's tributes to Yasser
Arafat, describing him as a key figure in the efforts to bring
about a peaceful resolution of the Israel- Palestine conflict.
In a message to Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority,
President McAleese said she had learned with great sadness of the
death of President Arafat, whom she had met on a number of
occasions and who had impressed her with his unwavering commitment
to the Palestinian people and their future in the region.
"His passing is a tragic loss to the Palestinian people for whom he
has been a unifying figure for decades," said the President. "We
must hope that the efforts which he began to bring peace to the
region and a state to his people will find fruition in the near
Taoiseach Bertie Ahern said President Arafat had always been a key
symbol of national unity for the Palestinian people and an
"indispensable actor" in the continuing and, until now, tragically
frustrated efforts to bring about a peaceful resolution of the
"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
Palestine state, despite the early promise which attended his
election as President of the Palestinian Authority," said Mr Ahern.
Ireland, in common with its EU partners, stood ready to assist and
support the Palestinian people in their endeavours, he said.
Foreign Affairs Minister Dermot Ahern said the Palestinian people
had lost a unifying figure of unique importance.
Mr Arafat's role in the struggle for Palestinian statehood had been
unparalleled, an achievement most visibly underlined in the Nobel
Peace Prize he shared with the late Yitzhak Rabin.
Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny said that through his life Mr Arafat
was synonymous with the Palestinian cause and was the enduring
symbol of Palestinian unity, resolve and resistance.
Opin: Protestant Intimidation In Derry
Friday 12th November 2004
Dear Sir, Last week I listened to a conversation on Radio Foyle
between a presenter and guest on the 'monoculture' of Derry's west
The two were agreed that the promotion of a multi-cultural society
would be beneficial to society. The reduction in the number of
Protestants living in the West Bank was addressed, with the
presenter asking the question of why Protestants had left the West
Bank. I was very interested in this question having lived in a
mixed community near the city centre until the 1970's, when
Protestants moved to the Waterside and beyond. The answer provided
by the guest was 'intimidation and fear'.
I have heard this explanation over the past few years and waited
for some further debate on the issue. I waited in vain for some
examples of intimidation of Protestant families from their homes
similar to Bombay Street in Belfast. Perhaps some intimidation of
Protestants from their workplaces, like the campaigns against
Catholics in Shorts and Harland & Wolff. But no examples or
evidence of intimidation were forthcoming from either the presenter
or guest. Perhaps Protestant schools were picketed by
paramilitaries reminiscent of the Holy Cross School in Belfast?
There can be no doubt that Protestants no longer felt comfortable
living on the West Bank. Was this due to intimidation or fear? As a
resident of a mixed area I have never witnessed any intimidation of
my Protestant neighbours. Indeed I believe that the nationalist
population in Derry would not have tolerated the intimidation of
their Protestant neighbours. Protestants were never intimidated
even at the height of the early troubles when the B Specials were
attacking Catholic areas.
Contrast this situation with the pogroms in Belfast.
An increasingly confident nationalist population in the city with a
City Council that was no longer gerrymandered, may have made some
Protestants feel uneasy. This is not the same thing as
intimidation. This is a people demanding equality and their civil
The interface violence of recent years had been sectarian in nature
and involved young people from both communities.
The myth of the intimidation of Protestants in the West Bank
causing the population movement, suits the political agenda of some
unionists and those employed in the 'reconciliation industry'. Not
alone is this agenda dishonest, it is dangerous. The assault on the
Catholic schoolboys in the Waterside is a timely reminder of this
fact. If 10,000 Protestants were intimidated out of the West Bank,
it is important to keep Protestant areas in the Waterside safe -
hence the UDA's Orange line and the assault on Catholic schoolboys.
The next time radio presenters, their guests or anyone in the
reconciliation industry discusses the 'chill factor', 'cold house'
or 'intimidation and fear' experienced by Protestants in the West
Bank, I would be grateful for some evidence. The fact that
Protestants left the West Bank or felt uncomfortable does not
necessarily mean Protestants were intimidated. Indeed this type of
assertion is a slur on the character of nationalists living in
Derry, lazy journalism and dangerous in the current political
River Pollution 'Turning Into An Environmental Timebomb'
By Treacy Hogan
12 November 2004
Ireland is sitting on an environmental "timebomb" because of the
alarming levels of pollution flowing into our rivers, it is being
One-third of all rivers are now polluted, mainly from farmland run-
off and there is a danger that the crisis could spiral out of
control unless urgent measures are taken, the Environmental
Protection Agency's (EPA) State of the Irish Environment conference
was told yesterday.
The biggest culprits are said to be fertiliser run-off from
farmland and discharges from municipal sewage.
Both of these contain deadly phosphorus, warned top EPA scientist
More than 70pc of our drinking water is taken from rivers.
A survey of 80 different rivers across the country found they were
eutrophic, meaning they suffered from pollution caused by
It causes massive algae and plant growth in rivers, which starves
them of oxygen.
Trout are either unable to spawn because gravel beds are covered,
Mr McGarrigle said the main sources for the pollution were
fertiliser and slurry run-off, municipal sewage discharges, septic
tanks and washing detergents.
While farm practices are responsible for almost half of the river
and lake pollution, studies are showing that farmers are
unnecessarily spreading too much fertiliser.
This is building up in the soil and running off into rivers.
There was also a significant problem with fertiliser spraying of
young forest plantations on peatland, which is unable to absorb the
phosphorus, which then flows into nearby rivers.
According to Mr McGarrigle one-off houses with septic tanks also
pose headaches, particularly where local flooding took place every
Half of all septic tanks are not even functioning, he warned.
"This is a timebomb. If we don't work on it now and stop the
phosphorus we are in danger of building up an irretrievable
situation," he warned.
"It is not hopeless. We can do it," added the EPA scientist.
According to Mr McGarrigle, the key actions that were needed were
the widespread implementation of farm nutrient plans and the speedy
introduction of new municipal sewage plants which had phosphorus
removal facilities. Where these facilities were introduced, there
had been dramatic improvements in river and lake quality.
"We have to have proper nutrient management plans for farms. There
is too much phosphorus and it is building up," warned the
environment expert during the conference in Portlaoise yesterday.
Dr Mary Kelly, the director general of the EPA, expressed
dissatisfaction at the finding that 30pc of rivers and lakes
nationwide are polluted and that those previously regarded as
slightly polluted were now becoming 'moderately' polluted.
However, she said that there had been a huge improvement in the
amount of river channel deemed seriously polluted, or dead, and
this was to be welcomed.
Farmers have continued to protest against proposed reductions in
fertilizer levels, with the IFA insisting they are too strict and
will make some farms uncompetitive.
Kilkeel Awaits Saved Man's Return
Second family keep up vigil as hopes fade
By Claire Regan in Kilkeel
12 November 2004
A fisherman rescued after his boat sank in the Irish Sea was due to
fly home today to be reunited with his family as hopes faded for
the second crewman.
Shane Murnaghan, (28), from Kilkeel was plucked from a life-raft
and taken to hospital in the Isle of Man by helicopter yesterday
after being spotted by a merchant vessel.
He suffered hypothermia after spending nearly 24 hours drifting in
the life-raft after his fishing boat went down.
However, the official search for his crewmate Colin Donnelly (30),
has been called off.
Coastguards said there was "no hope left" that he could be alive.
Nevertheless, fishermen continued their own search for him.
Despite relief at finding Mr Murnaghan alive against the odds,
Bernard and Eleanor Donnelly were preparing for the worst news on
The two men had been fishing for crabs five miles off Kilkeel when
their fishing boat, the 11-metre Emerald Dawn, went down.
From his hospital bed, Mr Murnaghan yesterday described his
desperate fight for survival after his boat sank.
He told his mother: "I don't know what happened. The boat just went
and when the life-raft went off I swam to it. I saw Colin and he
had a life jacket on.
"When I got into the life-raft I turned around and Colin was gone."
Marine Accident Investigators were due to arrive in Kilkeel today
to establish how the boat sank.
Rita Murnaghan, Shane's mother, remained at the local RNLI station
as Mr Donnelly's family maintained a vigil.
"At the moment all we want is Colin home. He's like a son to us.
Our son is all right but he doesn't want to speak to anyone. He's
just worried about Colin," she said.
Operations manager at Kilkeel RNLI station, Roy Teggarty, said
Marine Accidents Investigators were due to arrive in the town
today. The Emerald Dawn was found by police divers lying in 40-foot
of water yesterday and there were no obvious signs of damage.
"A lot of evidence was brought from the scene back to the boathouse
here so the investigators will be examining that among other
inquiries," he said.
Sligo Has An Aspiration To Capitalise
The town that thinks of itself as a city has geography on its
side, writes Frank McDonald, Environment Editor.
Sligo may not be a city in strict legal terms, "but that doesn't
prevent us from calling it a city", according to Hubert Kearns, who
is both the county and borough manager. "We've got to think like a
city and act like one, then make our case to the Government."
That's why he welcomes plans for a 14-storey hotel and a 10-storey
office block at the Carrowroe roundabout on the N4, two miles south
of the town centre. What these landmark buildings would do, he
says, is to "announce to people that they're coming into somewhere
Sligo aims to establish itself as the undisputed regional capital
of the north-west. And it has geography on its side, as Kearns, who
is from Co Monaghan, pointed out; Derry is 85 miles to the north
and Galway 85 miles to the south, while Enniskillen offers the only
It also has a spectacular setting, among the finest in Ireland.
Situated like an hour-glass between Lough Gill and Sligo Bay, it is
serenaded by the Garavogue river and flanked by Knocknarea and Ben
Bulben, with the Ox Mountains to the south. This, after all, was
W.B. Yeats country.
Another peculiarity of Sligo is its borough boundary, which forms a
perfect circle. It was drawn in the 1860s at a radius of 1¼ miles
from the old Market Cross, where the statue of Lady Erin now
stands. But because the borough and county councils overlap, it's
not so much of a problem.
The Mayor of Sligo, former Labour TD Declan Bree, thinks otherwise.
He wants to see the boundary extended and Sligo given county
borough status, on a par with the State's largest five cities. "We
must be seen as a modern, progressive city and not just another
provincial town," he says.
The borough's population increased from 17,786 in 1996 to 18,429 in
2002, or just 3.6 per cent, far below the figure of 31,000 which
the Government projected for Sligo in 1972. Nonetheless, it is a
designated "gateway" under the National Spatial Strategy as the
obvious regional capital.
The strategy envisaged that Sligo would grow to 37,761 by 2021, or
double the 2002 figure. But the Sligo and Environs Development
Plan, adopted last December, looks to Galway as a model and
suggests aiming for a population of between 50,000 and 80,000 over
the next 20 to 30 years.
Like Galway, Sligo is sprawling. Strandhill, at the foot of
Knocknarea, used to be a village, but now it has a population of
1,500 living in suburban housing estates and a 10-acre site in the
area recently sold for Â1.1 million. Rosses Point is so infested by
one-off houses that it qualifies as a suburb.
Just as Galway is a city that still feels like a town, at least in
its centre, Sligo is a town that has thought of itself as a city
since its heyday as a port in the 19th century. And it has grand
civic buildings to prove it, notably the Romanesque Town Hall (now
called City Hall) and the Gothic Revival Courthouse.
Both of these buildings have been sensitively renovated by
architects Gilroy McMahon and McCullough Mulvin respectively.
The former mental asylum, St Columba's, which dates from 1848, is
being converted into a Clarion hotel after years of ill-use as a
venue for cider parties and worse.
Galway developer Tom Coyle is responsible for this heroic project,
which will bring back to life one of Sligo's most impresssive
buildings. Most unusually, the main block is flanked by two
chapels, the smaller one for Protestants and the larger, with its
Orthodox onion spire, for Catholics.
To the rear of the Clarion, architects Hamilton Young Lawlor
Ellison have produced a very fine scheme of student housing in five
blocks, with marvellous views north towards Ben Bulben, for the
Sligo Institute of Technology nearby. The former RTC has more than
3,000 students, though it could take twice as many.
Seán Martin, the borough council's senior architect, estimates that
projects worth Â300 million are on-site, with a similar amount in
the pipeline. These include a very fine apartments scheme on
Markievicz Road, by local architects Rhatigan and Company, which
even includes social housing.
Urban renewal in recent years has transformed Rockwood Parade,
along the Garavogue, and areas like the old Market Yard. The
unsightly Silver Swan hotel at Hyde Bridge is boarded up for
demolition to make way for a new hotel and apartment blocks
designed by Vincent Hannon and Associates.
Even though it would occupy a promontory site in the river and one
of the blocks would rise to 10 storeys, there have been no
objections to this scheme, which seems in part to have been
inspired by Daniel Libeskind's design for the performing arts
centre in Dublin's Grand Canal Docks.
The river is important to Sligo. There's a boomerang-shaped
pedestrian walkway over the weir that controls the flow of water
from Lough Gill, while a new pedestrian bridge is to be provided as
part of the Silver Swan development to connect it to Markievicz
Beside City Hall in Quay Street, the Tower Hotel - built less than
10 years ago - has closed down because it wasn't viable without
room for a leisure centre. Competition from the new and remarkably
odd-looking Radisson Hotel in Ballincar, on the way out to Rosses
Point, probably didn't help either.
The biggest eyesore in Sligo, apart from the damage done by the
"Inner Relief Road", is Markievicz House, which occupies a
commanding position on Fort Hill, beside the N15. Owned by the
North Western Health Board, it has been derelict for years, and
demolition is now seen as the only option.
Closer to the town centre, a seven-acre surface car-park site
between The Mall and Connaughton Road, owned by the borough
council, is to be developed in line with a framework plan drawn up
by Dublin architects Sheridan Woods. Its centrepiece will be a new
library to serve the Sligo area.
The library would be located on the brow of the hill back-to-back
with McCullough Mulvin's award-winning Model Arts and Niland
Gallery, which surely raised the bar for contemporary architecture
in Sligo when it was opened in 2000. The aim is to develop this
area as a new "cultural quarter" for the town.
The biggest redevelopment project involves a proposed shopping
precinct on the Wine Street car-park, for which Sligo-born
architect Derry O'Connell drew up a master plan. This is seen as
vital to the future of Sligo, which has so far failed to develop
retail facilities like other towns of similar size.
Felim O'Rourke, lecturer in economics at the institute of
technology, says Sligo is "not functioning as a regional centre" as
a result of its underdeveloped retail sector.
"Castlerea is the same distance from here as it is from Galway, but
six times as many people living there would go to shop in Galway,"
On foot of the Wine Street masterplan in 2000, Treasury Holdings
won the right to develop the borough council- owned site and was
left to negotiate with adjoining property- owners, one of whom is
stubbornly holding out. One of the priorities is to build a new
Dunnes Stores to replace its present shack.
It is said locally, sotto voce, that Sligo is run by a small group
of business people. Known as the "Seven Sisters", though they are
all men, they meet for coffee every morning in the Adelaide, off
Wine Street, to discuss matters of mutual concern with a view to
protecting their business interests.
But local developers don't always get their way. Louis Doherty, a
Sligo antiques dealer, was refused permission by the borough
council and by An Bord Pleanála on appeal for a substantial scheme
of apartments and shops which would have required the demolition of
a two-storey building beside the Courthouse.
Alan Dunlop, the Glasgow-based architect who designed the scheme,
said dealing with the Irish planning process was like "wading
through treacle" after the borough council first voted not to list
the 1820s building that was threatened and later voted the opposite
way, but "on politics not on issues".
An Taisce welcomed the refusal of planning permission, saying the
daring contemporary building proposed was "over-scaled and would
have been seriously detrimental to the wonderfully restored
courthouse". Its "huge urban scale" would have been inappropriate
to its setting on Old Market Street, it said.
Sligo did not do well under the Government's decentralisation
programme. Of the 10,500 public servants affected, it is slated to
get just 100, compared to 265 for Carrick-on- Shannon, 230 for
Donegal town and 140 for Knock Airport. "It's not a lot," Hubert
Kearns concedes. "We were disappointed."
However, he believes many of those earmarked for the smaller towns
will choose to live in Sligo and "reverse- commute" to their new
workplaces. One of the major employers in the area, after Abbott
Laboratories, is the Department of Social, Community and Family
Affairs, which has 500 staff in Sligo.
Kearns agrees that the dominance of Dublin represents a huge
challenge and says that, if Sligo is to become a more attractive
place for people to live, it needs Government support upfront, as
well as private investment, to improve its infrastructure,
shopping, leisure, sports and cultural facilities.
As the first county manager to reapply for a second seven-year term
of office, he says he wanted to stay on because he gets "a thrill
out of seeing things through. Sligo is a place I like, a place with
a future. It's beginning to move, but it takes a long-term
commitment to bring all the pieces together."
But Felim O'Rourke, a one-time associate of Ray MacSharry, Sligo's
most successful politician, said there was "a vacuum of leadership,
someone to articulate a vision and implement it. The major
attraction of Galway is Galway itself. Sligo has that potential as
a regional capital and tourism magnet."
© The Irish Times
Solution To The Traffic Nightmare Proving Destructive, Divisive And
How much will Sligo's N4 cost in the end? Several historic
buildings, 52 houses and probably more than Â70 million, writes
Something is happening in Sligo that probably isn't happening
anywhere else in Europe - a major national route, the N4, is being
driven through the middle of the town. And the severance it has
caused will be irreparable for a century or more.
No fewer than 52 houses - most still lived in until they were
compulsorily acquired and blocked up by Sligo Borough Council -
were demolished to make room for this four- lane highway. Historic
buildings, such as the Harper Collins warehouse, were also pulled
down because they were in the way.
As minister for the environment in 1993, Michael Smith was so
concerned about the destructive impact of Sligo's "Inner Relief
Road" that he called for an independent assessment of it. But
consultant engineers McCarthy and Partners endorsed the scheme,
subject to minor modifications.
Despite the opposition of borough councillors, who favoured
proceeding with a bypass instead, the plan was approved in August
2000 by Noel Dempsey, then minister for the environment. At the
time, it was estimated to cost £18 million (Â23 million), but the
final bill is now likely to exceed Â70 million.
The road, first proposed in 1983 and currently under construction,
will run for a distance of two miles from the Carrowroe roundabout
on the existing N4 to Hughes Bridge, where it will join the N15
Bundoran Road. It has been designed as a dual-carriageway as far as
From a new roundabout outside the college, the road will continue
as a four-lane without a central median. According to the Sligo and
Environs Development Plan (2004-10), "this section of the route
will be an urban street" with four signal- controlled junctions
where it crosses existing streets.
The notion that it will be an "urban street" is a fantasy. Houses
facing onto the highway and those backing onto it are all being
fronted by reinforced concrete walls, which are to be clad in
limestone. Along much of its length, there simply isn't room for
new buildings to provide proper street frontages.
There's also a historical precedent suggesting that this gash in
the urban fabric will be long-lasting; Pearse Road, the main route
into Sligo from the south, was cut through part of its townscape as
the "Albert Line" some 150 years ago and there are still houses
backing onto it near the courthouse.
"The N4 is not ideal," Hubert Kearns, the Sligo county and borough
manager, freely concedes. "The difficulty we always had was looking
at alternatives that might have been more environmentally damaging
and wouldn't deal with the traffic volumes. There was no soft
option in this."
Traffic in Sligo, even with its circular one- way system, is
commonly described as a living nightmare and the Inner Relief Road
is seen as a way out. "It will facilitate good access to the town
centre," Mr Kearns says. "What fronts it is an issue and we have to
do the best we can to avoid a tunnel effect."
Seán Martin, Sligo Borough Council's senior architect, also
believes the N4 should be "giving something back to the fabric of
the town", though he is at a loss to say how this might be done.
However, it will allow for pedestrianising three shopping streets
(Castle, Grattan and O'Connell).
A new "civic space" is also proposed in the development plan, to be
laid out facing the gable end of Plunkett Station, as a "key focal
point" marking one of the main entrances to the town centre. The
road will also feed a multi-storey car-park proposed as part of the
Wine Street redevelopment.
The National Roads Authority maintains that the road is needed
because "Sligo is a destination town in its own right", with only
15 per cent of all traffic seeking to get through it. "One of its
advantages will be that someone in the middle of town could get out
in just five minutes," a spokesman said.
Sligo's next priority is a Western Distributor Road, which would
open up a largely undeveloped area in the south-western sector of
the borough. Route options for a "realignment" of the N15 are also
being examined, but there is an extraordinary density of
archaeological sites along every one of them.
Noting that only 17 per cent of people travelling to the town
centre use public transport, the development plan endorses two
locally-generated proposals for a rail commuter service serving
Ballysadare, Ballymote and Collooney, or a tramway fuelled by
hydro-electric power from the Garavogue River.
But Sligo would need to boost its population base to achieve the
"critical mass" required to make either of these schemes viable. In
the meantime, more frequent bus services are seen as the best
option for increasing the use of public transport. Provision is
also being made for cycle routes.
Series - edited by Kevin O'Sullivan - concluded
© The Irish Times
Objection To Housing In Clifden
One of the great views of Connemara is under threat from a
proposed new residential development in Clifden, according to
The Clifden Pastoral Council and the parish priest, Father James
Ronayne, have lodged an objection with An Bord Pleanála against the
proposed development of 20 houses and apartments on the Westport
Road, adjacent to the Catholic church.
Planning permission was granted to Mr Pádraic Flaherty by Galway
County Council with a number of conditions attached.
However, local people who had objected to the initial application
were not satisfied and decided to appeal the local authority's
The chairman of the Clifden Pastoral Council, Mr Pat Walsh said one
of the greatest views of Clifden was from the Sky Road looking down
to the Protestant and Catholic churches. The proposed development
would be visible between the two, he claimed.
Mr Flaherty has already built an estate of about 50 houses, The
Spires, on a lower-lying section in the same area, but the new
development is proposed for a more elevated site above the river.
© The Irish Times
Never Shying Away From His Roots
By Michele DeFazio/ Correspondent
Friday, November 12, 2004
Fifty-eight year old Michael Brodigan initially became affiliated
with the Irish Cultural Center (ICCNE) about 12 years ago when the
concept of the thriving 46-acre Canton complex began in a small
West Roxbury office.
A descendent from four Irish immigrant grandparents, he's been
on the board of directors of ICCNE when the Canton land was
purchased in 1995 and later became chairman of the finance
But things have taken a different turn recently, when he
decided to take on the performing arts.
"I always kind of wanted to (act)," he said. "I never pursued
the opportunity before."
For the next two weekends, Brodigan will appear in his third
play at the ICCNE in "The Paddy Pedlar," a one-act play by M.J.
Mollay that examines the issues of morality, community and despair
during The Great Hunger in 19th century Ireland. Brodigan plays
Matthias, a tenant farmer who is seeking to avenge the man who has
stolen from him resulting in the devastating death of his wife and
family who died from the famine.
"Being an Irish-American, I am very interested in my heritage
and cultural things," Brodigan said.
The ICCNE was structured as an educational and cultural center
to promote and preserve Irish culture.
"The Irish Center is an all-volunteer group promoting Irish
culture events and acts as a hub for the Irish-Americans in the
Boston area," said Katie O'Neil of the programming committee.
As of October 2002, nearly 4,000 members have utilized the
campus's performing arts center, library, genealogy center, museum,
meeting rooms, athletic fields, function rooms and member's club,
according to ICCNE's Web site.
Originally from Dorchester, Brodigan said he moved to Canton
17 years ago for its economic advantages and respectable school
system. Brodigan and his wife Karen of 26 years brought up three
children in Canton: Patrick, Megan and Dennis.
Since Brodigan has spent most of his life - 40 years - in the
food hospitality industry, he was a shoe-in to coordinate food
concessions in the popular Irish Festival, the ICCNE's main
fundraiser since its inception in 1991. It takes place in the
spring. For two years he facilitated the food courts and ran the
beverage stands for eight.
Three years ago, however, Brodigan branched out his interests
within the center's activities. He joined the drama club.
"I am very interested in the Irish culture," Brodigan said.
"Most of the play is in the Irish way of living and how people
lived in that context."
Acting was always an interest of Brodigan's, but prior work
constraints prevented the 27 year proprietor of Crossroads Pub in
the Back Bay from pursuing drama further.
"I certainly have a little more latitude now," Brodigan said.
"I'm not as tied down as I used to be."
Boating and walking are other activities Brodigan enjoys as
well strumming his guitar and singing Irish and a little country
music. And while he admits other plays may peak his interest,
musicals are not likely in his future.
"Since I've done it [acting] a few times, I wouldn't be averse
to trying something different," Brodigan said.
The Paddy Pedlar will be presented on Nov. 12, 13, 19 and 20
at the Irish Cultural Center (ICCNE), 200 New Boston Dr. (Rte.
138), Canton, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $12 for the public and $10 for
ICCNE members. Tickets are available at the door. Box office opens
at 6:30 p.m. For more information on the Irish Cultural Center,
visit its Web site at www.irishculture.org.
The Dancing Irish: Author Discusses The Good Old Days
Friday, November 12, 2004
Susan J. Gedutis will discuss her book, "See You at the Hall" at
The Irish Cultural Centre of New England, 200 New Boston Drive,
Canton, on Sunday, Nov. 14 from 1 p.m. Admission is free.
Hosted by the Centre's Programming and Library Committees the
author will discuss the book and her influences.
See You at the Hall, (Northeastern University Press), recounts
an unchronicled era in the history of Irish Boston: the dance hall
era, when Irish immigrants to Boston brought Irish traditional
music from the firesides of rural homes in Ireland directly to the
huge, bustling dance halls of urban America. From the 1940s to the
mid-1960s, on several evenings a week, thousands of Irish and Irish
Americans flocked from miles around to Boston's huge, bustling
dance halls - the Intercolonial, the Hibernian, Winslow Hall, the
Dudley Street Opera House, the Rose Croix- that dotted Dudley
Square, Roxbury. For the city's Irish population, the Roxbury
neighborhood, with its ballrooms and thriving shopping district,
was a vital center of social and cultural life, as well as a bridge
from the old world to the new.
Born and raised in Plymouth, Gedutis is an active writer,
musician, and teacher. She is a music book editor at Berklee Press,
the publishing arm of Berklee College of Music in Boston. She
completed her Master of Music (Ethnomusicology) at Tufts
University, and her Bachelor of Arts in music at Hampshire College
in Amherst. She is a member of two Boston- area bands, Sin É and
Einstein's Little Homunculus. Gedutis teaches saxophone and Irish
whistle privately and through the Cape Cod Conservatory in
The Irish Cultural Centre of New England's campus is located
off Rte. 138 in Canton and serves as the focal point of activities.
Plenty of free parking is available, and the venue is wheelchair
accessible. For more information, visit www.irishculture.org or
Jewish Museum Vandalised
The Jewish Community in Ireland has expressed concern at the
appearance of anti-Semitic graffiti at the Jewish Museum in Dublin.
The painting of the graffiti coincides with the death of
Palestinian leader, Mr Yasser Arafat, early yesterday .
One senior member of the Jewish community, who did not wish to be
identified, said it was an example of "opportunism". Other reports
had indicated the Jewish cemetery had also been vandalised, he
"What has it got to do with being an Irish Jew?," he asked. "I'm
hoping it is nothing more than just some crank doing it . . . it's
not very nice. I just hope the Corporation will clean it up
"It is very disappointing to think there are still people out there
who think like this."
© The Irish Times
Book Chronicles Holy Cross Trauma
Some children caught in the bitter Holy Cross school dispute in
north Belfast still suffer nightmares that gunmen are coming to
kill them, according to a new book.
Journalist Anne Cadwallader's Holy Cross - The Untold Story claims
that one girl as young as four ended up on tranquillisers as a
result of the trauma of walking past a loyalist picket on her way
to primary school.
Boys in the area also suffered during the protest while their
sisters ran the gauntlet of vicious sectarian abuse in the Glenbryn
and Ardoyne sectarian interface.
While the trauma of the Holy Cross schoolgirls has been focused on
during and since the 2001 dispute, the principal of a boys' school
admits: "We felt a little isolated. Our boys were suffering, and
some of their parents were going through what I can only describe
as nervous breakdowns.
"They were being attacked and threatened in their homes, and some
were made homeless.
"Boys were not able to play normally; they had trouble sleeping;
some were wetting the bed because of fears their parents would be
The book, which will be launched in Belfast today, also has
interviews with some of the schoolgirls at the centre of the
dispute. Loyalists from the Glenbryn area picketed the school
because they said they were being harassed by nationalists whose
children were pupils at Holy Cross.
However, this version of events is hotly disputed by the parents.
They say they, their children and Catholic priests were subjected
to vicious sectarian abuse and had bags of urine and other missiles
thrown at them and also pornographic material. This is disputed by
The author focuses initially on events which led to the 12-week
loyalist protest and also on the dispute itself.
Loyalists also tell the author of their frustration that promises
from politicians in the wake of the dispute about improving their
area were not fulfilled.
© The Irish Times