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 15, 2004

News 11/15/04 - Fr Troy Gets Award For Courage

News about Ireland & the Irish

IS 11/15/04 Fr. Aidan Troy, Is The ISIA Premier Award Winner
BT 11/15/04 SDLP Man Opens Fire During Attack
BB 11/15/04 'UDA Intimidating Family' Says Mother Of SDLP Man
BB 11/15/04 Murphy To Explain UDA Decision
BT 11/15/04 UDA Pledges To End Violence
NL 11/15/04 Loyalist Terror Group Must 'Walk The Walk' – Minister
BT 11/15/04 Protestants Perceive 'More Moderate' Sinn Fein
BT 11/15/04 DUP Pledge To Block Irish School
BT 11/15/04 Troubles 'Caused By Ethnic Cleansing'
BT 11/15/04 McAleese Must Deliver On Good Intentions
EX 11/15/04 Kenny Warns Of Fianna Fáil/Sinn Féin Coalition
BT 11/15/04 Passport Gave Ken Bigley Family Hope
UT 11/15/04 Weak Dollar And High Irish Prices A Bad Combination
IO 11/15/04 Trips To Ireland Decreases By 2.6%


Belfast Priest, Fr. Aidan Troy, Is The ISIA Premier Award Winner


By Wally Young, Young Communications.

Les McLindon, President of the ISIA speaking last night said, "Fr.
Aidan Troy was such a popular choice for this national award. He
receives this award in recognition of his courageous contribution
to his community in Belfast, especially to children. We also
recognised his high profile role as a facilitator and man of peace
who has the best interests of the entire community at heart. Fr.
Troy has also contributed to the security of this community – and
we always endeavour to recognise this in the selection of a Premier
Award winner. We are also aware of Fr. Troy's work with families
suffering from the tragedy of suicide - and his immense efforts in
this area also deserve recognition."

This year's winner of the ISIA National Courage Award, which was
sponsored by Carlisle Security Services, was Robert Burnside from
Sligo. On the 8th of May last Robert jumped into the Garavogue
River in Sligo on two separate occasions taking two people who were
in severe difficulties from the water. Tragically, a third person
died in the same incident – despite the efforts of Robert Burnside
who entered the water for a third time in his efforts to save him.
Les McLindon speaking last night said, "Robert Burnside is a truly
brave person. He entered the extremely cold water on three
occasions at night – and saved two lives. His courage, composure
and quick thinking made Robert a unanimous winner of the 2004 ISIA
Annual Courage Award"

The Annual Garda Community Excellence Award was presented last
night to Garda Damien Scanlon of Crumlin Garda Station. Damien is
an active member and trojan worker with Scouting Ireland. In
nominating him for this award, Eamon Lynch, CEO of Scouting Ireland
said, "He introduced a number of innovations and new initiatives in
the Scout Programme, the most significant of which was an
initiative called "Ground Support", which outlined a system for
getting support and programme ideas down to every level of the
Association so that the Scout Programme could be implemented in an
effective and enthusiastic manner which would attract greater
numbers of youth to participate in Scout activities. I have great
pleasure in nominating Damien Scanlon for this award as I have
worked closely with him over the past six years. I have also
observed how unselfishly and enthusiastically he has given of
himself at nights and on many weekends, to further aims and
objectives of scouting which ultimately confers huge benefits on
young people in helping them to realise their full potential as
mature self-confident adults." Securway Ltd were again proud
sponsors of this award

The third Annual Security Officer of the Year Award was also
presented last night. The first female winner of this award was
Louise Bagnell who is employed by Securitas in Dublin – for 'her
ongoing commitment – and support of her employer and clients well
above the call of duty'. The Security Officer of the Year had
immense support from all around the country – and is reflective of
the significant focus on standards by the ISIA in recent years.
There were also three merit award winners in the Security of Year
Competition, Charlie Glass from Chubb Personnel Security, Jean
Murnane from Securitas and Helder de Castro Figueria from Carlisle
Security Services. Sponsors of the Security Officer of the Year was

Also in attendance at the awards and the following banquet were
Garda Commissioner Noel Conroy, Brigadier General Ralph James
representing the Defence Forces and Assistant Chief Constable Peter
Sheridan from the Police Services Northern Ireland.


SDLP Man Opens Fire During Attack

By Jonathan McCambridge
15 November 2004

An SDLP councillor today said he fired warning shots after a gang
confronted him at his Larne home because he feared for his life.

Detectives are investigating the incident, which happened at the
Churchill Road home of Danny O'Connor, a former East Antrim MLA and
Deputy Mayor of Larne.

Mr O'Connor, whose property has been targeted several times by
loyalists, fired the shots from a legally owned firearm following
an attack on his mother's car.

He has in the past spoken out against a number of sectarian attacks
on Catholics in Larne, which have been blamed on the UDA.

The incident happened at around 12.45am when Mr O'Connor heard a
noise outside his home.

When he went out to investigate he discovered paint had been thrown
over his mother's car.

A number of men were seen running away.

However, the gang then returned a few moments later. Mr O'Connor,
who believed he was going to be attacked, then drew a legally-held
handgun and fired four shots into the air.

The gang fled the scene and it is not believed that any of them
were injured.

The SDLP councillor and his mother have both been treated for shock
following the incident.

Mr O'Connor said a group of men had poured "tar-type stuff" over
his car.

"I heard the noise out the front, but by the time I had put the
cameras on they were running away.

"I went outside and had a look around and I was waiting on the
police to come.

"I saw two figures on the camera and thought it was the police. By
the time I went out, I realised that it wasn't the police and that
I was in a bit of danger.

"There was one fella who looked to be in the act of throwing
something - I don't know if it was a stone or a pipe bomb - but at
the time when you have to react to something like that everything
just seems to happen instantaneously.

"I was really scared, because I thought it might have been a pipe
bomb because my brother had been pipe bombed.

"I fired four quick shots over the top of their heads - they then
ran away. I was really afraid for my life, to be honest with you."

The Mayor of Larne, Roy Craig, said he believed loyalists were
behind this morning's attack.

"I am totally disgusted by this. We were hearing at the weekend how
all the violence was going to stop and now, only hours later, we
have this.

"You have to question the morality of the people who would go to
someone's home in this way in the middle of the night.

"The O'Connor family have suffered on numerous occasions from this
rabble. The whole community will be behind the family at this time.

"Only yesterday I stood side by side with Danny at the Cenotaph and
you cannot ask any more of a councillor than that."


'UDA Intimidating Family'

The mother of an SDLP councillor who fired shots after a family car
was attacked has blamed the UDA for intimidating them.

Danny O'Connor fired shots into the air when he was confronted by
men who poured tar over the car in Larne, County Antrim.

The former assembly member said he feared for his life.

The incident took place outside their house on Churchill Road at
about 0045 GMT on Monday.

The O'Connor family have been attacked a number of times in the
past by loyalist paramilitaries.

The gang ran off after the latest attack, but returned to confront
Mr O'Connor a short time later.

He then fired four shots into the air from a legally held gun.

No members of the gang, who ran off, were injured.

Both Mr O'Connor and his mother were treated for shock.

Mr O'Connor's mother, Rosaleen, accused the outlawed paramilitary
UDA (Ulster Defence Association) of hounding her family.

Northern Ireland Secretary Paul Murphy's decision to recognise the
UDA's ceasefire came into effect at midnight on Sunday.

The UDA said it committed itself to working towards the end of all
paramilitary activity.

However, Mrs O'Connor said: "So much for Paul Murphy and the UDA
ceasefire - it wasn't even 45 minutes old when these scum came and
attacked my home and my car.

"They have been at this for years and years. They attacked my
husband, I buried him two years ago.

"They attacked my son - they pipe bombed him and threatened him - I
buried him a year ago. Am I going to have to bury my other son or

'Four quick shots'

Danny O'Connor said he saw two figures on security cameras at his
home and thought it was the police.

"By the time I went out, I realised that it wasn't the police and
that I was in a bit of danger," he said.

"There was one fella who looked to be in the act of throwing
something - I don't know if it was a stone or a pipe bomb - but at
the time when you have to react to something like that everything
just seems to happen instantaneously.

"I was really scared, because I thought it might have been a pipe
bomb because my late brother had been pipe bombed.

"I fired four quick shots over the top of their heads - they then
ran away. I was really afraid for my life, to be honest with you."

Ulster Unionist MP Roy Beggs said: "Whoever sent this gang out to
vandalise the property of an elected representative and harass him
and his mother in the middle of the night should identify
themselves and state why they are doing this."

Sinn Fein councillor Oliver McMullan said: "Local people and the
O'Connor family believe that the UDA in Larne has been behind this
campaign. It is ironic that the latest attack came on the very day
that the UDA announced that they were pursuing a peaceful path."

Jack McKee, an alderman on Larne council, said: "Now that all
loyalist paramilitaries have declared a ceasefire attacks like this
should be a thing of the past."

Alliance Party assembly member Sean Neeson said: "This disgusting
attack was carried out by cowardly, diehard bigots who, over the
years, have brought shame and misery on the community of Larne."

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2004/11/15 11:55:31 GMT


Murphy To Explain UDA Decision

Northern Ireland Secretary Paul Murphy is to explain to the Commons
his decision to recognise the loyalist Ulster Defence Association's

The government's recognition of the UDA ceasefire officially came
into effect at midnight.

The UDA said in a statement on Sunday it committed itself to
working towards the end of all paramilitary activity.

Mr Murphy will lay an order before the Commons on Monday afternoon,
giving effect to the government's move.

He will add to Friday's statement, where he said he believed
Northern Ireland's biggest loyalist paramilitary group was ready to
move away from violence.

Security Minister Ian Pearson said what happened next was up to the

"I think we have to take what they say at face-value and make sure
they live up to it," he said on Monday.

"The ball is really in the UDA's court... let's see what happens
over the coming weeks and months and let's see if they live up with
what they say they are going to do.

"We will certainly be in dialogue with them and engaged in the
process - but this will be a major test for them."

On Sunday, Tommy Kirkham of the Ulster Political Research Group,
which provides political analysis for the UDA, read out a statement
on behalf of the paramilitary group.

Mr Kirkham said the UDA would cease all violent activity from
Sunday onwards.

He said: "We have agreed with our government to enter into a
process which will see the eradication of all paramilitary

"We will engage with the decommissioning commission, though we must
be satisfied there is no longer any threat to our community from
without or within."

Speaking on BBC Radio Ulster on Monday, he said the UDA had to
"work through a number of issues" with the government and political

"If you have a look at what has happened over the last couple of
years, the UDA would not have existed except for the communities
that they come from... because they are part of the community.

"But this change has come about because the people in those areas
have asked for a change."

The UDA's statement met with a cautious reaction from nationalists.

Sinn Fein's Alex Maskey said he welcomed the move but understood
why many would be sceptical about it.

SDLP assembly member Alban Maginness said the UDA must be judged on
actions rather than words.

Tommy Kirkham of the UPRG made the announcement

Government recognition for the UDA ceasefire was removed in October
2001 because of its involvement in violence.

The UDA was a "specified" organisation for more than three years,
despite its declaration of a new ceasefire in February this year.

The UDA's involvement in feuding, racketeering and other
paramilitary activity meant that the government did not recognise
its cessation.

Mr Murphy said on Friday his decision to "de- specify" the UDA and
the related Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF) was based on a number of

These included its re-stated commitment to its ceasefire and the
organisation's "generally constructive approach" during this year's
marching season.

The secretary of state also said that there had been some reduction
in paramilitary activity by its members over the past six months,
as reflected in the recent report by the ceasefire watchdog, the
Independent Monitoring Commission.

But he said the UDA continues to be involved in "a range of
unacceptable activities which must be brought to an end".

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2004/11/15 09:23:31 GMT



UDA Pledges To End Violence, Dump All Its Arms And Commits To Peace

By Louise McCall
15 November 2004

With hours to go before the British government's formal recognition
of the Ulster Defence Association's ceasefire status came into
effect at midnight, the North's biggest loyalist group pledged to
end all violence and work towards complete decommissioning of its

But it also warned that the current peace talks must not fail.

Masked men watched as the UDA's political representative Tommy
Kirkham read out a statement promising that all violent activities
would cease from midnight last night, as a crowd of 2,000 people
listened in the loyalist heartland of Rathcoole Estate in North
Belfast yesterday.

"From today we are prepared to move into a process. Our commitment
to that process will be to work towards a day when there is no
longer a need for the UDA and a UFF (Ulster Freedom Fighters)," Mr
Kirkham, of the Ulster Political Research Group which provides
political analysis for the UDA, said.

Mr Kirkham said the UDA would support unionist politicians in the
aim of securing a lasting peace in the North.

"We have agreed with our government to enter into a process which
will see the eradication of all paramilitary activity," he said.

It marked a response to Northern Secretary Paul Murphy's
announcement on Friday that the British Government would formally
recognise their ceasefire status which was withdrawn three years
ago by his predecessor John Reid. Mr Murphy's decision followed
talks last week with the loyalist leadership as part of ongoing
political efforts to kick-start the North's peace process and lead
to restoration of the Stormont Assembly.

The decision is viewed as a move to bring the UDA and its political
representatives in from the cold.

Yesterday, his efforts appeared to have paid off, with the UDA
promising to stop all paramilitary activity and enter into a
process with the British government that would hopefully lead to a
time when the UDA and the UFF could be disbanded.

The group left the door open to return to violence, if the
political process failed and would "wait and see" what republicans

Nationalists and republicans gave a cautious response to the UDA

SDLP Assembly member Alban Maginness said nationalists and ethnic
minority groups would judge the UDA by actions, not words.

Sinn Fein's Alex Maskey welcomed the UDA statement but said he
understood why many would be sceptical of the loyalist group's

The UDA statement will have given British and Irish officials a
boost as they prepare to release joint government plans aimed at
breaking the political logjam and leading to restoration of the
Stormont Assembly.

But not all politicians are optimistic that the plans will be
fruitful, with Ulster Unionist Party leader David Trimble already
stating his scepticism about a deal considering the amount of time
which has elapsed since the Assembly elections last year.

Speaking at his party's conference at the weekend in Newcastle in
Co Down, the former Stormont First Minister, said Mr Blair must
nail down the IRA to commitment on decommissioning and an end to
paramilitary activities if the North's power- sharing government is
to be restored.

Mr Trimble accused Mr Blair of allowing an opportunity to slip at
the recent crunch talks in Leeds Castle.


Loyalist Terror Group Must 'Walk The Walk' - Minister

By Stephen Dempster Political Correspondent
Monday 15th November 2004

The Government has called on the UDA to "not just talk the talk,
but walk the walk" on the road to peace.

NIO Security Minister Ian Pearson, speaking at a fringe meeting of
the Ulster Unionist party conference at the weekend, said the
Government's recognition of the loyalist paramilitary group's
ceasefire was a risk worth taking.

But he denied press reports that there was an agreement to fork out
millions of pounds to the UDA, to buy off its members.

Before yesterday's UDA statement, he said the onus was on the
loyalist group to prove it was genuine.

"They have got to walk the walk. We expect actions, not just
words," he said.

"We will see over the coming weeks and months if discussions we
have had with them bear fruit and we have a peaceful Northern
Ireland as a result.

"I strongly believe it is worth taking the risk."

Though the Independent Monitoring Commission (IMC) report said the
UDA retained a capacity for violence and had been involved in a
vicious sectarian attack on three Catholic men in August, the NIO
is satisfied it is moving towards peace.

But UUP delegates, agreeing that any opportunity should be seized,
were concerned at what would develop.

West Tyrone UUP member Ross Hussey wanted to know if the Government
was poised to give the UDA £3 million to create private security

Mr Pearson insisted no money had been given to the UDA.

Meanwhile, Mr Pearson admitted that loyalist areas have lost out in
terms of funding and support since the peace process began.

He said: "I think there's a really important issue in working class
loyalist areas. When it comes down to it - with some justification
- they feel they have lost out when it comes to funds."


Protestants Perceive 'More Moderate' Sinn Fein

By Noel McAdam, Political Correspondent
15 November 2004

Around a third of Protestants believe Sinn Fein has changed and is
more willing to compromise with unionists, a report showed today.

But, according to a survey, only a fifth of Catholics believe the
same thing about the DUP.

As the British and Irish Governments prepared to reveal their
proposals as part of moves aimed at the potential restoration of
the power-sharing government, the latest quarterly report from
Think Tank Democratic Dialogue painted a gloomy prospect for early

But it quoted an Electoral Office survey showing many of those who
voted almost a year ago had believed both Sinn Fein and the DUP
were more moderate.

Researcher Lizanne Dowds said: "The results indicate that, as far
as SF is concerned, a very large majority of Catholics think the
party has indeed changed and become more willing to compromise with

"Fairly substantial numbers of Protestants (35 percent) think so as

"For the DUP, again 35 per cent of Protestants feel the party has
changed, but only about a fifth of Catholics share this view.

"There is no doubt that SF is perceived by Catholics as having
become a more moderate party. The cross- community jury is out for
the DUP but a substantial minority of Protestants believe the DUP
too has become more moderate."

The report said that given that a lower registration rate and a
lower turnout meant 15 per cent fewer people voted in last
November's Assembly election than in 1998, it must be asked whether
it was part of the general disengagement from politics occurring in
other parts of the UK or due to factors specific to Northern

"The results cited here suggest that, for those who did vote DUP or
SF, the perception that the party had changed is of some
significance, and this should be investigated further," Ms Dowds


DUP Pledge To Block Irish School

15 November 2004

DUP councillor Roy Gillespie has said he will "fight tooth and
nail" to block the establishment of an Irish language primary
school in the Ballymena borough.

A recent review of the strategic development plan of Comhairle na
Gaelscolaíochta (Council for Irish Medium Education) has
highlighted Ballymena as a core area for development.

The plan recommends the establishment of a new Irish medium pre-
school and primary school in the town as soon as possible and
proposes that post-primary provision for the greater Antrim area be
located there by 2008.

But Mr Gillespie says there are already enough primary school
places available in the borough.

"I would be against this move to set up an Irish language school in
Ballymena," he said. "The borough already has enough primary
schools to cater for children in that age bracket.

"This move to set up an Irish-speaking school would be divisive.

"I wouldn't like to think the NEELB would be involved in funding
something like this in any way ? especially when cutbacks are
having to be made in other areas."

The council has appointed a new development officer to the area
with the aim of consolidating the successes enjoyed by Irish-medium
provision in Crumlin, Ballycastle and Carnlough.

Róisín Ní Sheanáin brings 10 years experience in the Irish medium
and community development sectors to the council.

"This is an exciting opportunity for Ballymena," she said.

"The availability of Irish medium education in the town will allow
local families to partake in the benefits already enjoyed by 37,000
children attending Irish medium schools throughout the country and
the inclusion of Ballymena in the council for Irish Medium
Educations' development plan will ensure the highest standards of
provision at pre-school, primary and post- primary levels.

"Irish medium education will provide a unique learning experience
in which local children will have the opportunity to benefit from
all of the advantages of bilingualism, including enhanced
communication and cognitive skills; a head start in reading and in
IQ tests; advanced creative thinking; improved self-esteem and high
levels of cultural awareness."


Troubles 'Caused By Ethnic Cleansing'

By Martha Kearns
15 November 2004

The troubles in Northern Ireland are as a result of attempts at
ethnic cleansing, according to a leading church figure.

The Very Reverend RSJH McKelvey, Dean of St Anne's Cathedral in
Belfast, said there was no use in denying what had been happening
in the North for many years.

"Forget about dressing up such ethnic cleansing by describing it as
unionist or nationalist or flattering it with the title of loyalist
or republican. Call it for what it is - ethnic violence for
political gain," he told a Remembrance Day service in Dublin

"And ethnic violence - murder, evil at its most foul" - must be
faced down no matter where it occurs. But regrettably, sometimes
this could only be done by armed force and at great cost in human
life. "The price of freedom is eternal vigilance, persistence and,
reluctantly, war when all else fails and when corrupt political
systems which exploit their own people's refuse to reform."

President Mary McAleese was in attendance at the service in St
Patrick's Cathedral and Dean McKelvey thanked her for all she had
done, and would do, as "an effective reconciler among the people of
this island home which we share".

Others present included veterans of several wars, representatives
of the Defence Forces and junior Foreign Affairs Minister Conor

A host of wreaths were brought to the War Memorial at the
cathedral, including ones from the various diplomatic corps -
including the UK and Germany; the Royal College of Surgeons;
Trinity College; and the Irish Rugby Football Union.

Dean McKelvey spoke about the people who "for our tomorrow had
given away their today".

"Too readily we forget the privileges we enjoy for which they paid:
the right to free assembly, the right to free speech, the right to
choose our political leaders, the right to worship or not worship
God as we see fit."


McAleese Must Deliver On Good Intentions

15 November 2004

Mary McAleese has set herself a huge task.

She gave an outline of her plans in her inaugural address and there
is no reason to suppose that she will do other than perform them

She enjoys a remarkable degree of support. She has the Government
behind her,and the opposition parties - with some reservation - are
positive about her first term and share a wide recognition of the
overwhelming national support she enjoys.

The main tasks she has set herself are timely ones. We are, as a
society, wrestling with the problems of growth and prosperity. We
have made gods out of material things. We are losing a sense of
community. There is absolutely no instinct, at present in the
country, to "bring prosperity and security to every single

Sadly, quite the reverse prevails. Wealth has brought greed and
rivalry about possessions and has undermined any genuine sense of
moral guidance and balance. It has also damaged the idea of

The President related this point to the necessary improvement of
community relations in the North and between the North and the

Mary McAleese made one statement in her speech that needs to be
examined and questioned. She spoke of taking stock, and went on: "I
will represent in a role outside of politics, but inside the lives
of our people."

This is not an accurate representation. She is not outside
politics. She is central to political life and a key part of the
National Parliament. She promulgates laws, refers them to the
courts, dissolves the Dail, appoints the Taoiseach, is commander in
chief of the defence forces, has the power to summon the Houses of
the Oireachtas and may address the nation.

These actions are guided by the Council of State and controlled by
the Government. But this does not diminish them. In fact the
Constitution, which is always referred to in terms of the
constricting elements on presidential action, allows also for the
extension of presidential powers and functions, not by referendum
but by law.

The climate for this more positive view of the political dimension
in which President McAleese operates has never been better. And
looking back over earlier decades and the public debates that went
on about the presidency, and even about whether it should survive
at all, this view is reinforced by the performance of Mrs McAleese
in her first term.

She is uniquely placed for an enlightened contribution in the area
of North-South relations, and reconciliation between Ireland and
Britain and within the Republic.

What she said in her inaugural speech on the matter was somewhat
elusive, which may have been a matter of careful judgment, but also
slightly worrying. It is part of the Government's interpretation of
the Northern Ireland Peace Process and the restoration of the
Assembly, to characterise it as on the brink of success.

The President put it differently when she said: "Seven years ago
the bridge of peace on this island was a structure in the making.
Today, more people than ever are committed to its construction and
the once massive gulf of mistrust has been reduced to one last

This is not so. The cajoling of David Trimble to make that "one
last step" cost him the leadership of unionism and brought in Ian
Paisley and the DUP who, unlike Trimble's party, were not
represented at the inauguration.

The same kind of cajoling of Sinn Fein towards surrender of arms
which were not surrendered, while the party was favoured in order
to win them over to full democracy, cost the SDLP its leadership of
Northern nationalism. Talk of "one last step" is an exaggerated
simplification of the issue. Earlier in her speech, Mary McAleese
said: "We have struggled with that other ambition for the unity of
our island, agreeing overwhelmingly to an honourable compromise in
which we acknowledged the right of the people of Northern Ireland
to decide their own destiny."

What then did she mean, at the end of her remarks about "one last
step", when she added: "I use this occasion to ask the hesitant to
muster the courage to complete the journey across and let the
bright new landscape of hope reveal itself."

If she meant the journey into exclusively democratic politics in
the North she should have said so, because it sounded much more
likely that she was talking about the unity she had set aside
earlier in the speech.

What is this "journey across"? What is this "one last step"? Is it
true that "more people than ever" are committed to recognition of
the people of the North being free to decide their destiny? Or does
that recognition belong to her other argument, dealing with the
"bridge of peace"?

The election in the North would suggest there has been a falling
off in the North in reconciliation and the community spirit to
which Mary McAleese is dedicating herself.

Or is there confusion between two agendas, the one favoured by the
DUP and by unionists generally, and the one to which Sinn Fein and
the Government have ties of varying loyalty? There is a
clarification needed here. The question is, can the President
harden up the message and deliver a more powerful and clarified
version of her obvious good intentions.


Kenny Warns Of Fianna Fáil/Sinn Féin Coalition

VOTING for Fianna Fáil in the next election could be a vote for
Sinn Féin, Enda Kenny warned at the weekend.

Focusing on the possibility of FF replacing the Progressive
Democrats with SF, the Fine Gael leader said FF's coalition options
were between the "dog wagging tail that says 'Inequality, like
Guinness, is good for you', or worse still 'Tiocfaidh Ár Lá'."

"Fianna Fáil, it seems, look ready to dump their current coalition
partner in favour of a newer, 'sexier' model: Sinn Féin."

Speaking at the Young Fine Gael conference, Mr Kenny said
republicanism was one of the most serially abused terms in Irish

He said he wanted to see the creation of a country where community,
dignity and respect were not just ideals.

"That's the kind of republic I believe in - one where the economy
is our servant and not our master," he said.


Passport Gave Ken Bigley Family Hope

By Isabel Conway
15 November 2004

The mother of murdered Iraq hostage Ken Bigley has said his family
felt honoured when an Irish passport was granted to him.

Speaking to Minister John O'Donoghue in Liverpool at the weekend,
Lil Bigley, who comes from Co Dublin, told him they hoped against
hope that proof of his Irish heritage might have become his
passport to freedom.

Instead, the 62-year-old civil engineer was beheaded over a month
ago by Iraq's most ruthless terrorist gang after an agonising 23-
day ordeal in which he was shown shackled and caged and imploring
for his life to be spared.

Mr O'Donoghue, minister for arts, sport and tourism, attended a
memorial service at Liverpool's Anglican Cathedral where British
Prime Minister Tony Blair led the tributes to the murdered hostage.

After meeting the 86-year-old mother, who comes from Ticknock, near
Stepaside, Co Dublin, he said the Bigley family were convinced that
the Government's involvement in the case and the issuing of the
passport brought British-born Ken Bigley within a hair's breadth of
being freed.

"No words of comfort are sufficient but this elderly woman's
strength and courage is extraordinary.

"She has said Ken's tragic death had to be seen alongside the
suffering and deaths of many innocent men, women and children in
Iraq", said the minister.


Weak Dollar And High Irish Prices A Bad Combination

Irish business watchdog IBEC is warning that the weak US dollar is
putting the growth of the Irish economy under threat.

The employers` group says the persistently weak dollar will have a
negative impact on both trade and the Republic of Ireland`s
prospects of attracting future investment from American
multinational companies, which have previously favoured the
Republic as a European base.

American electronic and pharmacy giants like Apple, Dell, Google
and Pfizer are based around the country.

IBEC`s trade unit has said costs need to be kept down to fend off
an economic downturn.


Trips To Ireland Decreases By 2.6%

15/11/2004 - 11:05:38

There were 596,000 overseas trips to Ireland in September 2004
compared with 611,700 in the same month last year, a decrease of

In the year to date to the end of September 2004 there were
5,146,900 overseas trips to Ireland, an

increase of 2.8% on the figure of 5,008,800 for the first nine
months of 2003.

The number of trips to Ireland in September 2004 by residents of
Britain fell by 6.2% compared with the same month in 2003.

In the year to date to the end of September the number is down 1.3%
on the same period in 2003.

In September 2004, trips to Ireland by residents of other European
countries fell by 7.1% to 135,300 on the corresponding September
2003 figure of 145,700.

Trips to Ireland by residents of North America in September 2004
increased by 10.7% when compared with September 2003.

There were 34,300 trips to Ireland by residents of other areas in
September 2004, an increase of 5,700 on the same month in 2003.

Irish residents made 538,400 overseas trips in September 2004, an
increase of 11.4% on the figure of 483,100 in September 2003.

Jay Dooling (
Irish Aires Home Page
Irish Aires Links Page
Irish Current Events in Houston Area
Irish Aires Email Lists
Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?