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News about the Irish & Irish American culture, music, news, sports. This is hosted by the Irish Aires radio show on KPFT-FM 90.1 in Houston, Texas (a Pacifica community radio station)
November 16, 2004
News 11/16/04 - Adams Responds to Media Speculation
News about Ireland & the Irish
SF 11/16/04 Gerry Adams Responds To Media Speculation
AJ 11/16/04 Western Aid Worker Probably Dead - V (7)
IT 11/17/04 Murder Of Margaret Hassan Is Widely Condemned V
IC 11/17/04 US Court Rules Against Ciaran Ferry
SF 11/16/04 Inquiries Must Match Demands Of The Families
TH 11/16/04 Scottish Judge To Chair 'King Rat' Inquiry
IT 11/17/04 Murphy Names Panels To Hold Inquiries Into Killings
IT 11/17/04 Rosemary Nelson
IT 11/17/04 Robert Hamill
IT 11/17/04 Billy Wright
IT 11/17/04 NI Paramilitaries' Criminal Records Could Be Expunged
IC 11/16/04 DUP Say No To Sabbath Christmas Switch-On
BB 11/16/04 Belfast's Green Place For Everyone
IT 11/17/04 Decisions Soon On Plans For City Skyscrapers
Gerry Adams Responds To Media Speculation
Published: 16 November, 2004
Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams MP commenting this evening on media
reports regarding the involvement of churchmen in any future acts
by the IRA of putting arms beyond use said:
"Every negotiation, particularly as it comes to a crucial point is
rife with rumour and speculation. This one is no different, though
the reporting of speculation as fact is irresponsible journalism.
"None of the issues involved in the current effort to find a
breakthrough have been agreed or closed on."ENDS
Margaret Hassan now believed to be murdered
Eithne O'Brien reports on today's developments, which probably mark
the death of a gentle woman
Denis Halliday, former UN Assistant Secretary General, remembers a
woman who made a difference to her adopted country
George Joffe, Centre for International Studies, says he was not
surprised by the news coming out about Magaret Hassan
Zaki Chehab, Political Editor of Al-Hayat TV, says the news of her
death is almost certainly true
Shannon facility may colour Iraqi views of the Irish, as Donagh
Denis Halliday discusses the Irish predicament with Dr Mark Dooley,
writer & Columnist
Paschal Sheehy, Southern Editor, says the mood in Kenmare, where
one of the victim's sisters lives, is sombre
Western Aid Worker Probably Dead - V (7)
11/16/2004 9:30:00 PM GMT
Hasan held both Irish and British nationalities
Senior aid official Margaret Hasan held captive in Iraq has in all
likelihood been killed, going by a video received by Aljazeera.
Aljazeera, on Tuesday, however decided not to telecast the video as
it could not be sure that the woman was indeed Hasan. An Aljazeera
official said the channel would also not air it out of respect for
the feelings of its audience.
The video showed a masked man shooting with a pistol a blindfolded
woman that could be Hasan.
The family of Hasan, in a statement in London said she was most
likely murdered. The family said she "has probably gone and at last
her suffering has ended".
Her Iraqi husband Tahsin Hasan said he was aware of the video which
appeared to show the killing of his wife.
The British embassy in Baghdad confirmed that a video tape had
surfaced appearing to show her being killed and that it was
Tahsin Hasan in a statement broadcast by Britain's Sky News
television said, "The video may be genuine, but I do not know."
"I beg those people who took Margaret to tell me what they have
done with her. They can tell... I need her. I need her back to rest
in peace," he said.
"Margaret lived with me in Iraq for 30 years. She dedicated her
life to serving the Iraqi people. Please, now, please return her to
Dublin-born Hasan was seized on 19 October while on her way to work
at Care International, for which she was Iraq country director.
She has appeared in video tapes released by her unknown captors
calling on the British government to withdraw its troops from Iraq.
A campaign of kidnappings and killings has gripped Iraq in recent
months with more than 35 foreign captives killed.
Some armed groups have used the tactic to try to force US-led
troops and foreigners to leave Iraq.
However many abductions have been attributed to criminal gangs
taking advantage of lawlessness in the troubled country.
The husband of Margaret Hassan, the kidnapped aid worker, says he
believes she may have been killed.
Tahseen Hassan says he has heard of a video which appears to show
her murder. He appealed for more information from her captors.
Murder Of Margaret Hassan Is Widely Condemned -V
The husband of Ms Margaret Hassan last night begged for the
return of her body to let her "rest in peace" after the release of
a video apparently showing her murder in Iraq. Frank Millar in
London and Mark Brennock, Chief Political Correspondent, report.
As the British embassy in Baghdad reportedly confirmed that the
video showed the brutal death of the 59-year- old aid worker
abducted by an unknown group in Baghdad on October 19th, the
Foreign Secretary, Mr Jack Straw, said: "To kidnap and kill anyone
is inexcusable. But it is repugnant to commit such a crime against
a woman who has spent most of her life working for the good of the
people of Iraq."
And as her family in London and Dublin confirmed their hearts
"broken", the British Prime Minister, Mr Tony Blair, the President,
Mrs McAleese, and the Taoiseach, Mr Ahern, led the tributes to the
"friend of the Arab world" who had Irish, British and Iraqi
Mrs McAleese said she was greatly saddened by the reports of Ms
Hassan's execution, while the Taoiseach said her kidnappers stood
condemned "by everyone throughout the entire international
Mr Blair sent his sympathy to her family, saying he shared their
abhorrence at her treatment after the Arabic news channel Al
Jazeera said it had a copy of the videotape for several days
showing a militant firing a pistol into the back of the head of a
blindfolded woman wearing an orange jumpsuit.
Al-Jazeera did not broadcast the video. A spokesman, Mr Jihad
Ballout, said the station was not initially sure of its
"We invited British diplomatic officials to come and view it in
Doha, Qatar, with the aim of helping us ascertain whether it was Ms
Hassan or not," he added. "It's now likely that the image depicts
Speaking in Baghdad, her husband, Mr Tahseen Ali Hassan, begged for
the return of his wife's body.
Still desperately clinging to some vestige of hope, he said: "I
have been told that there is a video of Margaret which appears to
show her murder. The video may be genuine, but I do not know. I beg
those people who took Margaret to tell me what they have done with
her. They can tell me. They can call the helpline. I need her.
"I need her back to rest in peace. Margaret lived with me in Iraq
for 30 years. She dedicated her life to serving the Iraqi people.
Please now, please return her to me."
Immediately after that appeal was broadcast, Ms Hassan's brother
and sisters, Michael, Deirdre, Kathryn and Geraldine Fitzsimons,
issued a statement through the Foreign Office. "Our hearts are
broken," they said. "We have kept hoping for as long as we could,
but now we have to accept that Margaret has probably gone, and at
last her suffering has ended."
The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Ahern, last night called for
immediate clarification of what had happened to Ms Hassan.
"I am deeply shocked by the reports of Margaret Hassan's murder and
I want to condemn in the strongest possible terms this appalling
and senseless act", he said.
He said he had met Ms Hassan's sisters and brother two weeks ago,
"and I was enormously impressed by their dignity and fortitude
during this terrible ordeal. I know that the thoughts and prayers
of all the people of Ireland are with them at this tragic time."
The Labour Party's foreign affairs spokesman, Mr Michael D.
Higgins, said it now appeared she had been killed, and said this
was "an appalling action . . . No cause is served by it. How could
it? Margaret Hassan was somebody who gave her life to the most
vulnerable people of Iraq, in the worst of times, during the
sanctions, before the war, right through the most recent war and
into the present period."
She had been part of Iraq for 30 years and for over a decade had
headed one of the most important agencies providing therapeutic
feeding, clean water, medicine and hospital services for those who
Her employer, the aid agency Care International said Ms Hassan was
an extraordinary woman who dedicated her life to the poor and
disadvantaged in Iraq, particularly to children.
© The Irish Times
US Court Rules Against West Belfast Man
The father of West Belfast man left to languish in a US jail for
almost two years has spoken of his disappointment after a Colorado
court ordered his continued detention last week.
Former republican prisoner Ciarán Ferry was detained by immigration
officials in January 2003 during a routine green card interview in
Three years earlier the Lenadoon man and his wife Heaven, a
Colorado native, moved to the United States where Ciarán sought to
obtain a green card.
The former POW, who was released under the terms of the Good Friday
Agreement, was detained after attending a scheduled meeting with
immigration officials. During the time of his detention he has been
denied physical contact with both his wife and three-year-old
Last Thursday lawyers acting for the Lenadoon man made an
application for a writ of Habeas Corpus, which would declare his
continued detention illegal.
However, his attempt to gain freedom was blocked when a sitting of
the United States District Court of Colorado ruled against the
Now the former republican prisoner will continue to be detained
while an application to remain in the United State is processed.
Last night Ciarán's father Gerry spoke of the family's
disappointment at the latest twist in his son's case.
"We are very disappointed," said Gerry. "We were hoping that he
would have been released. We really want this matter resolved as
soon as possible. We thought he might even have been sent home last
week but that didn't even happen.
"There are other people facing deportation at the minute but they
have been given their freedom while their situation is assessed but
Ciarán is being kept in jail."
The Colorado court ruled that because Ciarán entered the US under
the visa waiver scheme he had relinquished all his 'constitutional
"In our argument, it is irrelevant that Ciarán had entered under
the visa waiver programme," said his attorney Eamonn Dornan.
"Ciarán had clear and unfettered due process rights streaming from
his status as the spouse of a US citizen.
"The heart and soul of our constitution provides that due process
forbids the government from arbitrarily causing an alien who has
entered the country to be taken into custody and deported without
giving him all opportunity to be heard upon the questions involving
his right to be and remain in the United States."
Journalist:: Connla Young
Inquiries Must Match Demands Of The Families
Published: 16 November, 2004
Commenting on the announcement today by the British Secretary of
State Paul Murphy on the detail of the inquiries into the deaths of
Robert Hamill, Rosemary Nelson and Billy Wright, Sinn Féin
spokesperson on Justice issues Gerry Kelly said:
" The commitment to establish these three inquiries in line with
Judge Cory's recommendations was given after the Weston Park talks.
There was also a clear public commitment given at that time to
establish an independent inquiry into the murder of Pat Finucane.
We have seen the British government stalling on this commitment to
date. The British government needs to deliver on these inquiries.
We must also see the terms of reference into an inquiry into Pat
Finucane's death published immediately.
" We will obviously take some time to consider in detail the remit
and terms of reference being afforded to the inquiries announced
today. The announcement that Michael Morland will be chairing the
Rosemary Nelson inquiry will not inspire confidence given his
involvement acting for the Crown in internment without trial cases
in 1973. Mr Morland was also involved in 1976 with the Gardiner
commission which removed special category status for prisoners and
introduced the criminalisation policy.
" These families have campaigned for many years for the
establishment of independent inquires into the deaths of their
loved ones. It is important that the inquiries announced today meet
the demands of the families and achieve the confidence of the
community. That will ultimately be the test against which they are
Scottish Judge To Chair 'King Rat' Inquiry
Lucy Adams, Home Affairs Correspondent November 17 2004
LORD MacLean, one of Scotland's most senior judges, is to chair the
controversial inquiry into the death of Billy White, the former
head of the Loyalist Volunteer Force.
The senior Court of Session judge and chairman of the Scottish
Sentencing Commission is believed to be the first Scottish judge to
head an inquiry in Northern Ireland.
The appointment of Lord MacLean, who was one of the three judges
who presided over the Lockerbie trial at Camp Zeist in the
Netherlands, has been described as a distinction for the Scottish
Billy Wright, nicknamed "King Rat" because of his alleged
involvement in a series of vicious sectarian killings in the late
1980s and 1990s, was one of the province's most feared
paramilitaries before he was shot in the Maze Prison in December,
The inquiry into his death and separate inquiries into the loyalist
murders of Robert Hamill, a Catholic, and Rosemary Nelson, a human
rights lawyer, follow a report into allegations of state collusion
in their deaths.
The Wright inquiry is expected to last between 12 months and two
years and will look at whether the prison service or state
authorities contributed to his death.
Three Irish National Liberation Army prisoners, Christopher
McWilliams, John Gerard Kennaway and John Fitzgerald Glennon, were
all jailed for life after they were convicted of Wright's murder
after a two-day trial in Downpatrick.
In 1999, Wright's father told the coroner in Downpatrick that his
son's murder was state- arranged, state- sponsored and state-
Prison officers said they had warned the authorities about the
threat to his life but that nothing was done to protect the
Wright was attacked in a prison van as he waited to be taken to the
visitors' centre from a wing shared by LVF and INLA inmates.
Witnesses at the trial of the three accused told how the men cut a
hole in a perimeter fence separating the INLA and LVF sections of
the wing and scaled a wall, gaining access to the courtyard where
Wright was waiting with another prisoner in the van.
Wright's killers opened fire before returning to the INLA wing.
Following his death, eight Catholics were killed by the LVF and UDA
in a four-week period.
The murder at the maximum-security prison led to calls for a public
inquiry from Wright's family.
Paul Murphy, Northern Ireland secretary, yesterday announced the
terms of reference and panel members for the inquiries into the
deaths of Wright, Mr Hamill and Ms Nelson.
In a written statement in parliament, he said: "On April 1 this
year, I published . . . reports into allegations of state collusion
in . . . murders in Northern Ireland. In doing so, I confirmed my
intention to establish inquiries into the deaths of Robert Hamill,
Billy Wright and Rosemary Nelson.
"In each case, the panels will be chaired by a judge and will
include both a member with specialist expertise and a lay member.
The terms of reference have been deliberately drawn to allow the
inquiries to consider both the allegations of collusion that have
been made in these cases and also the issue of possible
Lord MacLean has been a senator of the College of Justice in
Scotland since 1990. During this time, he has worked for the Parole
Board for Scotland and the Scottish Judicial Appointments Board,
chaired the Committee on Serious Violent and Sexual Offenders and
sat on the Independent Review Commission on Scottish Football.
He was previously a member of the Scottish Legal Aid Board, of the
Council on Tribunals and of the Stewart Committee on Alternatives
Murphy Names Panels To Hold Inquiries Into Killings
The Northern Secretary, Mr Paul Murphy, has announced the names
of the panel members who will hold inquiries into the controversial
killings of Rosemary Nelson, Robert Hamill and Billy Wright, writes
Gerry Moriarty, Northern Editor.
The hearings, on the basis on which they were established, will be
conducted in public although where it is judged that there is a
risk to life or to British security, evidence will be heard in
private, according to the Northern Ireland Office. "Nothing,
however, will be withheld from the panels," said an NIO source.
Demands for these inquiries constituted part of the political
negotiations over recent years designed to lead to a fully
operational Northern Executive and Assembly.
It is viewed as no coincidence that the announcement comes as the
Irish and British governments today privately present the DUP and
Sinn Féin with proposals for restoring devolution.
The inquiries were called on the recommendation of Judge Peter
Cory, a retired Canadian judge, who also urged an investigation
into the 1989 murder of Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane.
Following the Leeds Castle talks in September, the British
government committed itself to holding an inquiry into Mr
Finucane's murder by the UDA. The family however wants the inquiry
to be held fully in public and is withholding approval of this
inquiry until it has assurances about its terms of reference.
Judge Cory also investigated whether there was Garda collusion in
the 1987 IRA murders of Lord Justice Gibson and Lady Gibson but
found "there is simply no evidence of collusion on which to base a
decision to hold a public inquiry".
The Northern Secretary, Mr Murphy, explained that in the Nelson,
Hamill and Wright cases each panel will be chaired by a judge and
will include both a member with specialist expertise and a lay
member. He said terms of reference were deliberately drawn to
"allow the inquiries to consider both the allegations of collusion
that have been made in these cases and also the issue of possible
© The Irish Times
Ms Nelson, a Lurgan-based solicitor, died when a booby-trap bomb
exploded under her car outside her home in March 1999.
The murder was claimed by the Red Hand Defenders, a cover name used
by the LVF. She had acted as legal representative for the Garvaghy
Road residents in the Drumcree dispute. She said she had received
death threats and had been assaulted by police. There were
allegations that the delay in investigating the death threats may
have proven fatal.
The Rosemary Nelson inquiry will be chaired by Sir Michael Morland,
a retired member of the High Court of England and Wales. He served
in the 1974 Gardiner commission on internment and also acted for
the British Crown in 1973 in internment proceedings.
The other panel members are Sir Anthony Burden, former chief
constable of South Wales Police, and Dame Valerie Strachan, vice
chairwoman of the Big Lottery Fund.
© The Irish Times
Mr Hamill, a Catholic, died in May 1997, nearly two weeks after
he was beaten by a loyalist gang in Portadown, Co Armagh.
There were claims that the RUC, sitting in a vehicle, observed the
attack but failed to intervene, and that one or more police
officers colluded in hampering the investigation.
The Robert Hamill inquiry will be chaired by Sir Edwin Jowitt, a
retired member of the High Court of England & Wales. He will be
joined on the inquiry panel by Sir John Evans, former chief
constable of Devon and Cornwall, and Reverend Baroness (Kathleen)
Richardson of Calow, former Moderator of the Free Churches' Council
of England & Wales.
© The Irish Times
Billy Wright was the leader of the Loyalist Volunteer Force which
was responsible for sectarian assassinations, mainly in mid-Ulster,
and other violence and criminality.
He was shot dead by the INLA in the Maze prison, where he was a
prisoner, on December 27th, 1997.
INLA prisoners were convicted of the murder, but there were
allegations, voiced principally by Wright's father, that there was
official collusion in his killing.
The Billy Wright inquiry will be chaired by Lord Ranald MacLean of
the Court of Session in Scotland. He will be supported by Prof
Andrew Coyle, director of the International Centre for Prisons
Studies at King's College, London, and the Right Rev John Oliver,
retired diocesan bishop of Hereford.
© The Irish Times
NI Paramilitaries' Criminal Records Could Be Expunged
The Northern Ireland Office is to announce early in the new year
whether or not criminal records of former paramilitaries are to be
expunged, a senior official from the office has confirmed. Conor
Ms Mary Bunting, the director of the equality directorate at the
office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister in Stormont,
told a conference on former prisoners in Dublin Castle that the
Ministers attached to the Northern Ireland Office were currently
deliberating on the issue of criminal records.
She told delegates that progress could be expected early in the new
However, regardless of what was decided at that stage many people
in society in Northern Ireland needed to make changes to ensure
that former prisoners could enjoy all the rights of citizenship now
that they have been released and the conflict ended.
"In the area of trying to encourage employers to be more innovative
and take more risks in terms of employing people with a past,
that's an area we need to come to grips with and make more progress
with," Ms Bunting said.
She was speaking at a conference called "Building the Peace: The
Role of Loyalist and Republican Political Ex- Prisoners", which was
organised by the Community Foundation of Northern Ireland.
The secretary general of the Department of Justice, Mr Sean
Aylward, said the issue of "spent convictions" for former
paramilitaries had already arisen in the context of the Good Friday
A review of the Employment Equality Act was initiated in the
Republic in 2001 regarding a possible widening of the grounds
within the legislation under which members of the public could
Some involved in the review suggested widening the definition of
discrimination under the Act to include having a criminal
The views of the social partners, Equality Authority and other
interested parties were being compiled on the issue and would be
submitted to the Minster for Justice, Mr McDowell, for review "very
soon", Mr Aylward said.
Senator Mary White, who chaired the conference, said she disagreed
with Mr Aylward and believed the issue of expunging criminal
records should be considered independently of progress on issues in
the peace process.
© The Irish Times
DUP Say No To Sabbath Christmas Switch-On
It's bah humbug in Crumlin as village lights remain dark
Plans to turn on the Christmas lights in Crumlin town on a Sunday
are being opposed by the DUP, who are insisting that the ceremony
is inappropriate on the Sabbath day.
But local Sinn Féin councillor Martin Meehan has accused the DUP of
trying to bring a "Bible-belt mentality" into the 80 per cent
DUP TRYING TO CANCEL CRUMLIN'S CHRISTMAS
A DUP councillor in Antrim has been lambasted by a council
colleague after he complained that a Christmas lights switching-on
ceremony in Crumlin would offend people because it is due to take
place on a Sunday.
Councillor Samuel Dunlop says he's concerned that the switching-on
of the Christmas tree lights in the mainly nationalist town of
Crumlin on December 5 would "offend" some in the town.
During a heated debate at Antrim Borough Council's full November
monthly meeting Sinn Féin councillor Martin Meehan said he was
appalled at the criticism launched at the ceremony by the DUP.
"This is the DUP trying to bring a Bible-belt mentality into
Crumlin," said Councillor Meehan.
"This town is 80 per cent nationalist and I know for a fact that
people would not be offended if this community-led festive ceremony
took place on a Sunday.
"Samuel and his party are trying to ram the Bible down people's
throats here and it must be challenged. You can't dictate to the
people of Crumlin about Protestant faith and its beliefs. The
people of Crumlin are ratepayers and if they believe it's okay to
hold the tree-lighting event on Sunday, then they should be able to
Cllr Dunlop, a former Lord Mayor of the Antrim Borough Council
who's a member of every council committee, said he was speaking for
those who wanted to keep Sunday holy.
"This event should be inclusive and open to everybody," Cllr Dunlop
"Some people want to keep Sunday a Sunday and they have their
Sunday school commitments to attend and their places of worship to
"I know there's a bit of carol singing about the place afterwards,
and for some people that's just against their faith on a Sunday. So
I think it should take place on the Saturday, December 4, so that
everyone can go and not feel they are letting themselves down."
SDLP councillor Thomas Burns also thinks Saturday would be a better
option but for entirely different reasons.
"I think it would be better on a Saturday because there's people
out and about and the shops are open. There would be a buzz in the
air. On a Sunday afternoon in Crumlin the place is as dead as
hector and what would be the point in that?"
The SDLP councillor confirmed that the matter has gone back to the
committee to clarify the date and will be discussed by the Council
in full at a later date.
Journalist:: Staff Reporter
Belfast's Green Place For Everyone
By Mark Simpson
BBC Ireland correspondent
Paris has a famous tower, Rome has a colosseum, Berlin has a wall
and Belfast has a mountain.
In the list of Europe's top tourist attractions, it's not hard to
decide which of the above is the least attractive.
How many Europeans would consider flying to Belfast to see Divis
and Black Mountain?
A better question might be - how many people in Belfast ever visit
Most people ignore them, even though they're only 15 minutes from
the city centre.
They may glance at them when they're covered in snow in the winter,
but the rest of the time, they're regarded by many urban dwellers
as a rural irrelevance.
But that may be about to change, now that the 1,500 acres of land
is no longer out of bounds.
The Ministry of Defence has sold the land to the National Trust,
and the mountains are now back in the hands of the people.
And it's not just hairy hikers and rugged ramblers who will have
the chance to enjoy the land.
Stroll for miles
There'll be room for walkers, nature-lovers and sightseers - young
"The view over Belfast really is quite stunning," says Mike Dobson
from the National Trust.
"You can see the whole city laid out at your feet below you. On a
clear day, you can see England, Scotland and Wales.
"And going to the back of Divis you can see right across to Donegal
and the Inishowen peninsula."
The aim is to attract 20,000 to 30,000 visitors a year.
A new car park will be built near the summit.
This means that walkers will be able to stroll for miles without
having to climb too far.
The fact that it's in the hands of the National Trust means
there'll be no danger of illegal quarrying and dumping, and the
Army have removed their military trappings.
Black Mountain, including Divis, was first leased by the Ministry
of Defence in 1953, during the Cold War.
It was used as a training area, with a small arms range.
When the lease expired in 1986, the MoD purchased the site, and it
was used as a communications site throughout the worst of Northern
It was deemed surplus to requirements in 1999 and then sold to the
National Trust for £3m.
In many ways, it's now part of the peace dividend.
One of its big advantages is that it's neutral territory.
Unlike the city below, these mountains do not have any political
flags, sectarian graffiti or painted kerbstones.
When it comes to the environment, the greening of Belfast is
something that both sides of the community can support.
Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2004/11/16 16:18:35 GMT
© BBC MMIV
Decisions Soon On Plans For City Skyscrapers
The Spire in O'Connell Street will lose its status as the State's
tallest structure if Dublin City Council approves plans for a 32-
storey residential building in Kilmainham. Olivia Kelly reports.
Council planners are to announce their decision on the building
within two weeks.
The planners are considering proposals for two skyscrapers in the
south of the city - a 32-storey tower on Military Road, across the
road from Heuston Station, and a 28-storey residential/commercial
block on the site of the John Player factory on the South Circular
The buildings, if approved, would reach heights of 140.55 metres
and 100.15 metres respectively. These would far surpass the tallest
building in Ireland, Windsor House in Belfast at 80 metres; the
tallest in the State, Cork City Hall, at 64.3 metres; and the
tallest in Dublin, Liberty Hall, at 58 metres.
The 140.55-metre Military Road building, which includes an
observation deck and a "decorative" mast, would take the title of
highest structure from the 124.8-metre Spire.
The 32-storey building is part of a development proposed by the
Office of Public Works at a 3.43-hectare site between Dr Steevens'
Hospital and the Royal Hospital Kilmainham.
Plans for the development were announced by the Minister of State
at the Office of Public Works, Mr Tom Parlon, last December.
However a decision on the application was delayed following
requests from the planners for additional information on the
The final application has been with the council since October 5th,
and a decision is expected before the end of the month.
The development is part of the "Westgate" scheme of apartments,
office blocks and cultural facilities, and is due to be completed
within five years.
The proposed skyscraper will have a restaurant on its first three
floors with residential units on the remaining 28 and a public
observation deck at the top. Other buildings will house a museum,
childcare facility, educational facility and a pub.
The site holds two protected structures and three historic
buildings which are being retained. A three- storey office, a 19th
century single-storey coach house, a mortuary, and recent single-
storey prefabricated buildings will be demolished.
An Taisce has lodged an objection to the development based on the
height of the block.
"The tower would have implications for the setting of protected
structures. The area is architecturally a very sensitive one. Dr
Steeven's would be particularly compromised by the tower," said An
Taisce spokeswoman Ms Valerin O'Shea.
The South Circular Road development, which includes the proposed
28-storey building, has been under consideration by the planners
since Monday. The 6.28-hectares site is bounded by the Coombe
Maternity Hospital, Donore Avenue, St Teresa's Gardens and Cork
The National Association of Building Co- operatives (NABCO), which
owns the site, proposes to build the biggest co-operative
"community benefit" residential and commercial development in the
© The Irish Times