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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 18, 2004
News 11/18/04 - George Mitchell Urges Deal
News about Ireland & the Irish
UT 11/18/04 George Mitchell Urges Deal
IO 11/18/04 Blair To Hear Concerns Of SF Leaders V
BT 11/18/04 Photos The Key For DUP To Accept IRA Arms Wipeout
BB 11/18/04 Alliance Call For All-Party Talks
BT 11/18/04 Brits 'Nil Help' For Probe Into Bombings & Murders V
PT 11/18/04 Fate Of UN Hostages Remains Hazy In Afghanistan
IO 11/18/04 UN In Fresh Afghan Hostage Appeal
BT 11/18/04 Mourners Pay Respects To Margaret Hassan V
SM 11/18/04 Aussie PM Backs Away From Iraq Body Comments
MH 11/18/04 Police Withdraw From Probe Of Fake Car Bomb
WT 11/18/04 IAUC: 'Twit' For Tat
IE 11/18/04 Orange Order Linked To Land Scheme
EX 11/18/04 Radical Changes But Still No Utopia
BB 11/18/04 Crime Tackled With Pedal Power
Beach racing is one of Ireland's longest established sports -
Nationwide went along to Doolough Beach in Geesala, Co Mayo, to
take a closer look
Farming family diversifies - into hosting hill walking - Geraldine
Harney donned her boots for a visit to Fairymount Farm on the edge
of the Golden Vale in north Tipperary
George Mitchell Urges Deal
Northern Ireland politicians are on the verge of an historic
compromise if they are willing to seize the opportunity, former
Stormont talks chairman Senator George Mitchell said today.
The former Maine Senator, who chaired the talks leading to the Good
Friday Agreement in 1998, said during a visit to Belfast, he was
encouraged by the way unionists and nationalists had tackled the
But during a visit to the Community Foundation for Northern
Ireland`s 25th birthday, he urged them to complete a deal.
"There is an opportunity for a significant step forward," he
observed as Sinn Fein negotiators headed to Downing Street to
discuss British and Irish government proposals to revive power-
sharing in Northern Ireland.
"When I had the privilege of announcing the Agreement in 1998, I
described it as an historic step forward but I also said that as
itself, the Agreement does no guarantee peace or political
stability or reconciliation.
"It made all of those things possible but there would be many
"There have been setbacks. Full implementation has not been
achieved and it will take a considerable time, I think, before
there is genuine reconciliation.
"But at the same time, it is obvious - especially to someone who
comes as regularly as I do but isn`t here all the time - that there
has been tremendous progress. The rate of killing is way down which
is of paramount importance.
"There remains an unacceptably high level of non-lethal violence
and mistrust remains but on the whole, I think, it is undeniable
that life is better, safer, more secure, that society is more
prosperous than it was even a decade ago and certainly more than it
was during the time of the Troubles.
"So I think we have to be realistic in assessing the progress that
has been made but acknowledging frankly that difficulties and
"Beginning with the talks at Leeds Castle in September, and
continuing up to this moment, the governments and the parties have
worked hard and are on the verge of what I think would be a major
"I would hope very much that they would seize the opportunity and
take that step forward."
See video at:
Blair To Hear Concerns Of SF Leaders -V
18/11/2004 - 07:18:00
Sinn Féin leaders Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness will raise
concerns today about proposals to revive powersharing in Northern
Ireland at a meeting with British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
The two Sinn Féin MPs will lead a party delegation to Downing
Street after it emerged the negotiating team were unhappy with some
aspects of the Irish and British government proposal to revive
devolution and secure IRA disarmament.
After lengthy discussions on Wednesday withTaoiseach Bertie Ahern
and his officials in Dublin, Mr Adams said: "There are issues of
concern for Sinn Féin and we have made the point that viable
proposals for forward movement must be firmly grounded in the Good
"I do believe if our concerns are adequately addressed, we could
have the basis for a comprehensive agreement.
"Sinn Féin will continue to work to achieve that objective."
The Irish and British governments' proposals also alarmed SDLP
leader Mark Durkan who claimed they went too far towards the
position of Ian Paisley's Democratic Unionists.
The Foyle Assembly member told a debate at University College
Dublin last night that plans to replace the joint election of First
and Deputy First Ministers in the Assembly with a block vote for
the entire team of powersharing ministers were foolish.
Mr Durkan claimed: "It means that DUP have a veto over any
nationalist minister appointed to the executive.
"When the SDLP negotiated the Agreement, we ensured that no party
could veto any other party's ministerial appointment.
"Now, the DUP can politically vet the lot. Nationalists won't have
the last say on who they appoint as ministers. The DUP will."
The leader of the cross-community Alliance Party David Ford also
observed last night that Dublin and London's plan had offered a
compromised proposal to Sinn Féin and the DUP but there still
"I urge both the DUP and Sinn Féin to seize the opportunity
presented to them," the South Antrim MLA said.
"If they fail to do so, they risk an indefinite period of direct
Mr Ford said that even if both parties accepted the proposals, it
was clear "that any new beginning for the Assembly will be on a
very fragile basis".
"Further reforms to the Assembly structures and a major commitment
to improving community relations will be required to ensure
devolution is stable and sustainable."
Talks sources claimed that the two governments have proposed a
target date for the transfer of policing and justice powers from
Westminster to Stormont within two years.
It is also understood officials in Dublin and London have suggested
an enhanced East-West arrangement under the Good Friday Agreement,
strengthening the links between the two governments and the
devolved administrations in the UK.
It is believed the documents holds out the possibility that there
could be increased cross border cooperation between a future
executive at Stormont and the Irish Government.
Nationalists were unhappy that there still appeared to be no
guarantee from the DUP that it is prepared to expand North-South
Talks sources also believed DUP confidence in IRA disarmament
proposals would be crucial, with the party pressing for more
Photos The Key For DUP To Accept IRA Arms Wipeout
By Gene McKenna, Bernard Purcell and Eugene Hogan
18 November 2004
The Irish and British governments believe it will require witnesses
and photographs to verify IRA decommissioning in a way which will
be accepted by the DUP if the deadlock on the restoration of the
Northern institutions is to be broken.
As the two governments presented their "best assessment" proposals
for a resolution to Sinn Fein and the DUP yesterday, there were
indications that the "witnesses" could be leading Catholic and
The governments, it is believed, are also proposing that political
responsibility for justice and policing should be transferred to
Stormont within two years.
Foreign Affairs Minister Dermot Ahern said last night he believed
the proposals had the capacity to end the impasse but said the next
few days would be "crucial".
He said there were still "a number of gaps" between the parties but
the mood surrounding talks in recent weeks had been "extremely
workmanlike" and the parties had been "extremely engaged".
Mr Ahern said he hoped they would have a response from the parties
to the proposals in "days rather than weeks".
Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and the Foreign Affairs Minister met Sinn
Fein and the SDLP separately at Government Buildings to spell out
the proposals to restore the Good Friday institutions.
The power-sharing institutions were collapsed two years by the
British government over claims that the IRA was operating a spy
ring in Stormont. These claims have yet to be proven.
After the meeting in Dublin yesterday, Sinn Fein President Gerry
Adams said his party would be meeting British Prime Minister Tony
Blair in London today.
"There are issues of concern for Sinn Fein and we have made the
point that viable proposals for forward movement must be firmly
grounded in the Good Friday Agreement," he said.
But he added: "I do believe that if our concerns are adequately
addressed, we could have the basis for a comprehensive agreement."
Meanwhile, Mr Blair gave the proposals to the DUP and the Ulster
Unionists, saying he believed agreement on the restoration of
devolution might be just a few days away.
Mr Blair said that if progress on IRA decommissioning was made over
the next couple of days Unionists could have no argument for
refusing to share power with Sinn Fein.
Dermot Ahern also met Northern Secretary Paul Murphy in Dublin.
Earlier in Limerick, Mr Murphy said that outstanding issues in the
way of a restoration of the Northern Assembly must be resolved
within the next "couple of weeks".
But he predicted that it would take "some time" for the
institutions to be restored, in the event of agreement being
reached on the plan put forward to the DUP and Sinn Fein yesterday.
"The importance in all this is to ensure there is a stability in
the institutions that is lasting and all parties would want that.
"In other words any deal that is struck has to be a lasting one,
which gives security to the process and the institutions," he said.
But he added that while paramilitary activity and decommissioning
remained the difficult issues, he was optimistic that these hurdles
can be overcome.
Alliance Call For All-Party Talks
Alliance party leader David Ford has criticised the government for
failing to include all the political parties in the talks aimed at
reaching a new deal.
Mr Ford said he has only had sketchy details of the proposals given
to the DUP and Sinn Fein on Wednesday.
He said: "I think the problem is that governments only seem to be
able to deal with two parties at any one time.
"It used to be the Ulster Unionists and the SDLP, now its the DUP
and Sinn Fein.
"We reached the agreement because we had the full involvement of
all parties round the table.
"I think we need to make sure that anything we do to keep the Good
Friday principles alive is also based on involving all parties as
The Alliance leader met Northern Ireland Secretary Paul Murphy
briefly on Wednesday and will have a more detailed meeting on
He told Good Morning Ulster that his party had put forward
compromise proposals seeking to break the deadlock at the Leeds
Castle summit in September.
"I believe, from what I have heard, that some of our compromise
proposals have helped towards the preparation of this government
document," he said.
Mr Ford said that the principles of the Good Friday Agreement were
sound but the details of how the political institutions worked
needed to be sorted out to ensure the long- term stability of
"It is not just a matter of resolving the short-term difference
between two parties. We need to ensure that this time we get it
right," he said.
"There will probably continue to be work to be done, after this
document is through, on the review of the institutions which is
part of the process of the agreement to ensure that we get things
working as well as we possibly can."
Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2004/11/18 09:18:59 GMT
© BBC MMIV
See Video at:
British Provided 'Nil Help' For Probe Into Series Of Loyalist
Bombings And Murders -V
By Senan Molony
18 November 2004
There has been "nil" assistance from the British authorities on the
investigation into a series of bombing and murders perpetrated in
this state in the early 1970s, a Dail joint committee said
Three people died and 185 were injured in bombings in Dublin in
1972 and 1973 that were re-opened and investigated by Mr Justice
Henry Barron. These attacks preceded the 1974 atrocity in Dublin
and Monaghan in which 33 people were killed - the worst mass-
killing in the whole of the 30-year conflict.
Most of the attacks like the 1974 massacre were carried out by
loyalists from the North with whom it is believed elements within
British military colluded. But the report said allegations of
collusion have not yet been proven.
Last night Sean Ardagh, Chairman of the Joint Oireachtas Committee
on Justice, said the independent commission investigating the
terror incidents had written repeatedly to the British authorities,
including the Northern Secretary and the Police Service of Northern
Ireland, seeking assistance.
The main incidents investigated were:
* November 26, 1972: A bomb at the rear of the Film Centre on Burgh
Quay, Dublin, injures 40 people.
* December 1, 1972: Two die and 131 more are injured when twin car
bombs rip through Eden Quay and Sackville Place in Dublin.
* January 20, 1973: A man dies and another 14 are injured by the
second bomb at Sackville Place in less than two months.
The report concludes that it is "more likely than not" that the
bomb at Burgh Quay was planted by loyalists subversives acting on
their own initiative.
It says the motive could have been provided by the imposition the
day before of a six-month prison sentence on IRA leader Sean Mac
Stiofain, who was already on a hunger and thirst strike.
The report says that "suspicions linger" over the possible
involvement of the British Army or the British intelligence
services in the double car bombings in Dublin on December 1, 1972.
At a general level there are parallels between these allegations of
collusion and the much more devastating Dublin and Monaghan
bombings of May 17, 1974, the report notes.
The cars used in the bombings were both hired, and the hirer was
said to have an English accent. Some aspects of the incident "do
not seem to fit with the normal behaviour of loyalist subversive
groups," it adds.
On the "information available to date," credible and reliable
evidence of such collusion is absent, the report says.
The bombs went off when the Fine Gael parliamentary party was
debating its stance on the Offences Against the State Bill, but the
report dismisses this as coincidental. There was no evidence of any
republican involvement in the car bombs.
Credible information from the Garda suggests the involvement of the
UVF in the second bomb at Sackville Place, in January 1973.
On other outrages, the commission decides that civilian Brid Carr
was killed by gunfire from the southern side of the border when
British soldiers were ambushed at the Strabane customs post in
November 1971 before returning fire.
On New Year's Day 1973, the bodies of Oliver Boyce and Brid Carter
were found at Burnfoot, Co Donegal. Both had been shot and stabbed
several times. The Garda later sought advice on whether the
extradition of three UDA suspects should be sought, but the DPP
concluded that the evidence was insufficient.
Patrick Stanley (16) and Geraldine O'Reilly (15) died when a car
bomb exploded in Belturbet, Co Cavan, on December 28, 1972.
Fate Of UN Hostages Remains Hazy In Afghanistan
Pakistan Times Monitoring Report
KABUL (Afghanistan): A murky Taliban splinter group which has held
three UN workers hostage in Afghanistan for three weeks said it
would decide on their fate Wednesday, as the US military expressed
hope they would be released.
Jaishul Muslimeen (Army of Muslims) militants, who claim to be
holding the three and have threatened to kill them, said their
tribal council would meet late Wednesday to decide on their fate, a
spokesman for the group told the Afghan Islamic Press.
New Deadline Likely
"It is possible to set a new deadline for three hostages and to
hold negotiations again. To execute them. Set the trio free. Take
decision to free someone among the three," Syed Mohammad Akbar told
the private news agency.
Jaishul Muslimeen, a shadowy breakaway faction of the Taliban
rulers who were ousted by a US-led military campaign in 2001, has
set and broken a series of deadlines for the government to agree to
their demands which include the release of 26 Taliban prisoners.
There was no word on the hostages fate till 06:00 [pre-dawn]
Thursday or further statements by the militant group.
There are doubts over whether Jaishul Muslimeen militants are
holding the group or whether the hostages have been captured by a
criminal gang seeking ransom money, an Afghan government official
said on condition of anonymity.
Akbar denied reports that the UN hostages were not being held by
Jaish militants. "These people are still with Jaish," he told AIP.
Annetta Flanigan, Shqipe Hebibi and Angelito Nayan were snatched
from busy lunch time traffic in downtown Kabul on October-28 and
had been in Afghanistan working on the country's first presidential
election won by President Hamid Karzai.
US Optimistic on Trio's Release
After their families issued an emotional plea for their release
Tuesday, the US military and a spokesman for the NATO-led
peacekeeping force here were upbeat on the prospects for the trio's
"We continue to remain hopeful that ... the three UN workers
abducted in Kabul on the 28th will be released unharmed," US
military spokesman Major Scott Nelson told a press briefing.
A spokesman for the NATO-led peacekeeping force here said that
there had been success in negotiations between the hostage-takers
and Afghan authorities.
"The fact that indicators suggest that these three individuals are
still alive, I think is testament to the success that the
government and the hostage negotiators have had over the last
couple of weeks," Lieutenant Commander Ken MacKillop said.
Sources close the investigation said Tuesday that talks with the
hostage-takers were ongoing but that progress was slow.
There had been hopes that the three would be released over the
weekend on Eid-al-Fitr holiday the Muslim month of fasting, but
Syed Khaled, another spokesman for the hostage takers said earlier
this week that comments by US Deputy Secretary of State Richard
Armitage had disrupted talks.
Armitage said negotiating with hostage-takers would only encourage
The kidnapping is the first of foreign UN or aid workers in Kabul
since the Taliban regime collapsed three years ago.
United Nations staff in Kabul are now under strict curfew and are
travelling with armed escorts. Many aid agencies have curtailed
unnecessary movement of their staff.
UN In Fresh Afghan Hostage Appeal
18/11/2004 - 09:22:16
Three UN workers kidnapped three weeks ago in the Afghan capital
remain out of reach, a government official said today, as fresh
appeals were made for their release.
Armed men seized Armagh woman Annetta Flanigan, Philippine diplomat
Angelito Nayan and Shqipe Hebibi of Kosovo on October 28 in the
first kidnapping of foreigners in Kabul since the fall of the
Taliban three years ago.
Afghan authorities believe the trio, who helped organise last
month's presidential election, have been kept hidden in the Kabul
area ever since, but they have been unable to discover where.
"There is no update," Interior Ministry spokesman Latfullah Mashal
Taliban-linked militants claiming responsibility for the bold
daylight kidnapping have demanded the release of 26 jailed
comrades, some of them from US custody. The American military has
However, Mashal said that the trio are believed to be in the hands
of a criminal gang, and that security forces were manning road
blocks around Kabul to prevent them being moved beyond the city.
UN spokesman Manoel de Almeida e Silva today declined to comment on
whether the motive for the kidnapping was political or mercenary.
Afghan officials and diplomats have said negotiations through
middlemen have focused on demands for a ransom.
But there has also been speculation that opponents of US-backed
interim leader Hamid Karzai, who won a clear majority in the
October 9 election, may have instigated the raid.
Karzai has vowed to eliminate the warlord militias who still
control much of the Afghan countryside, as well as the booming
narcotics trade. He is expected to announce his new cabinet in
Almeida e Silva reiterated an appeal from relatives and friends of
the three abducted election workers.
"Their families, friends and colleagues worry and want them back,"
Almeida e Silva said. "Lito, Shqipe and Annetta also need to be
back with their families."
See Video at:
Mourners Pay Respects To Margaret Hassan -V
By Elizabeth Davies
18 November 2004
The apparent killing of the former Care International director
Margaret Hassan has sent shockwaves through communities all over
the world, from her adopted country, Iraq, to the country of her
Several hundred mourners congregated yesterday to a church in the
village of Kenmare in south-west Ireland, where Mrs Hassan's
sister, Geraldine Riney, lives, to pay their respects to the aid
worker at a joint Catholic-Protestant service.
The Irish Prime Minister, Bertie Ahern, expressed his deep shock
and sadness, and said: "Those responsible for abducting Margaret
stand condemned by everyone throughout the entire international
community. If they have any humanity, they should now bring to an
end the enormous pain and suffering they have inflicted on an
innocent and good family."
In Iraq, too, there was shock and disbelief that Mrs Hassan could
be the first kidnapped woman to be killed by Islamic militants.
Qayder al-Chalabi, head of one of the Baghdad hospitals that
benefited from Mrs Hassan's years of commitment, told Reuters that
her killers "made a very big mistake. I cannot imagine that these
things could happen because she was a very humanitarian person. She
felt our suffering, she understood the suffering of the Iraqi
Mrs Hassan's death has yet to be confirmed.
PM Backs Away From Iraq Body Comments
November 18, 2004 - 10:34PM
Prime Minister John Howard has backed away from his apparent
confirmation that a woman's body found in Iraq was that of aid
worker Margaret Hassan.
Media outlets around the world picked up on the story after Mr
Howard became the first international leader to suggest the body
found in Fallujah at the weekend was Ms Hassan.
A spokesman for Mr Howard said it was not the prime minister's
intention to indicate that Ms Hassan's body had been found.
An Irish-born British citizen, Ms Hassan, 59, headed CARE
International's work in Iraq, a position funded by CARE Australia,
when she was kidnapped by insurgents on her way to work on October
British authorities believe a woman in a recently released video
showing a hooded militant shooting a blindfolded woman in the head
was Ms Hassan.
Speaking to reporters, Mr Howard said that Ms Hassan's body had not
been returned by the insurgents who had killed her.
Asked if there was further information to confirm that the body was
Ms Hassan's, Mr Howard said there was no additional information.
Advertisement"Certainly the video in relation to Margaret Hassan is
sadly, according to those who were there who have seen it, it does
appear to be her," he said.
"The point I made was that it's accepted by the British government,
the Irish government, and the family, and in particular the husband
who made a very emotional appeal for the return of the body."
Earlier Mr Howard expressed regret that it appeared that Ms Hassan
had been murdered by terrorists in Iraq.
"Her family and the British and Irish governments have concluded
that she is dead," he said.
"The body found in Fallujah appears to have been Margaret's and the
video of the execution of a Western woman appears, on all the
available information, to have been genuine."
US authorities have not yet identified the body found on the
weekend and reports indicate the body is of a blonde woman. Mrs
Hassan is a brunette.
The only other western female kidnapped in Iraq is Polish-born
Teresa Borcz Khalifa, who is blonde.
Police Withdraw From Probe Of Fake Car Bomb
BY WANDA J. DeMARZO
Hollywood police are no longer part of a multi-agency investigation
into a fake -- though very convincing -- bomb found on a car at a
repair shop two weeks ago.
Federal authorities are now the only ones looking into the black
box with wires that Jim R. Panaro and his mechanic found under the
bumper after an oil change at Donald Auto Repair in Hollywood.
''They took over the case last week,'' Hollywood police Capt. Tony
Rode said. ``They didn't tell us why, and we don't have any other
A November 7th Broward news section story incorrectly characterized
the history of a 1994 Geo Prizm owned by Jim R. Panaro of
Hollywood. It is not the same Geo once owned by Irish Republican
Army gun runner Conor Claxton. Records show the car's only previous
owner is a Pembroke Pines woman who said she sold it to a used-car
dealer, from whom Panaro said he bought it.
However, Panaro was a fundraiser for Irish Northern Aid, also known
as Noraid, from at least 1985 through 2001.
Federal authorities are exploring the possibility that the device
may be linked to Panaro's ties to Noraid, the Irish Republican Army
and South Florida compatriots who raised money here and shipped
guns to Ireland from local post offices.
Panaro, 51, raised $100,000 for the defense of Conor Claxton and
three others who were prosecuted in 2000 for smuggling weapons and
ammunition to Northern Ireland.
He was also subpoenaed to testify before a grand jury regarding his
knowledge of the group -- known as the Florida Four -- and the
Panaro has had limited contact with Claxton, the alleged ringleader
of the gun-running plot, since Claxton's release from prison about
a year ago, Panaro said.
In late September, Claxton's older brother, Francis Claxton, was
charged with financing the weapons the Florida Four purchased and
sent to Ireland.
'Twit' For Tat
Inside the Beltway
By John McCaslin
Tom Madigan has resigned as media and press relations
coordinator of the Irish American Unity Conference (IAUC) after
this column reported he labeled President Bush a "chimp" and
"stupid little twit."
"The electorate that decided to give this stupid little twit
four more years will get exactly what it deserves," Inside the
Beltway quoted Mr. Madigan as writing to IAUC members the morning
after Election Day.
"No more can the American people hide behind the administration
and point to its colossal ineptitude and vacuous foreign policies
and claim innocence," he said. "The people have now chosen to put
this chimp back in the White House for four more years. ..."
Yesterday, John Fogarty, IAUC's national board member, told
this column: "We would not ordinarily discuss organizational
matters outside the organization, but we are dragged reluctantly to
answer your question: Tom has already communicated his resignation;
I can confirm that Tom Madigan has resigned from the IAUC."
The Washington-based wholly American 501c(4) lobbying group
calls itself a "nonpartisan" chapter-based human rights
organization working for justice and peace in Ireland.
On that note, Mr. Fogarty said: "The truth is many of our
members come from both parties of the U.S., and probably several
more parties after that, but they don't guide the principles of
either side of our organization."
Orange Order Linked To Land Scheme
Orange Order grand master Robert Saulters meeting Irish president
By Anne Cadwallader
BELFAST -- Long-held fears that the Orange Order is behind a
controversial "land bank," to prevent Catholics buying property
previously in Protestant hands, has been reinforced by the
discovery of a letter written by the Order's grand master.
The land bank company, called the Ulster Land and Property Company,
was allegedly formed to prevent land in Protestant hands being
bought, in open competition, by Catholics.
An internal Orange Order letter, obtained by the Belfast-published
Irish News, appears to contradict a denial last year that the Order
is directly linked to the company. The Ulster Unionist Party
reserves 12 percent of seats on its ruling council for Order
Although there is no suggestion of any illegal trading, as the
exchange of private land does not fall within equality or
discrimination law, concerns have been raised over the ethical
implications of preventing nationalists acquiring land.
Several years ago, an SDLP assemblyman, John Dallat, highlighted a
sale of land in East Derry that fell through after the alleged
intervention of the same company. After a land deal was concluded,
with a handshake, it was subsequently cancelled.
Dallat insists that the deal was frustrated because the shadowy
company came forward and offered more money for the land, depriving
the Catholic farmer of his deal.
According to a ULPC document marked "strictly confidential," it
bought 16 properties totaling £1,458,500 between 1995 and 2002. It
also states that it plans to buy more than £5 million of property
Its motto is "Ulster is being sold, help us buy it."
In March last year, an Orange Order spokesman denied any official
ties to the ULPC, saying: "We do not deny that the company exists,
nor that Orangemen are involved in it, but what individual members
get up to privately is not really our business, provided it remains
true to the basic principles of the organization."
However, a letter written by the Orange Order grand master, Robert
Saulters, and obtained by the Irish News contradicts the order's
denial that it is linked to the ULPC. In the letter, dated Feb. 4,
2002, Saulters wrote to Orangemen urging financial support for the
In the letter, written on Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland letterhead
and marked "confidential," Saulters confirmed that the ULPC had
bought property worth more that £1 million since its formation,
claiming the purchases had "helped to build confidence in
He wrote that the order hoped to have an additional five percent of
its members subscribe to the ULPC by July 12, 2002, adding: "The
strategic importance of achieving this goal cannot be over
While Saulters was unavailable for comment, an order spokesman
defended the links to the ULPC. "The letter was simply trying to
recruit more subscribers for ULPC because it is something Orangemen
might be interested in. The more subscribers there are, the more
viable it is," he said.
The spokesman denied that ULPC had been set up to stop nationalists
acquiring land and added: "It is clearly there to promote
Protestant culture and community, but I can't imagine it would base
its loans criteria on preventing nationalists from buying land."
The SDLP's Alban Maginness has called for the British government to
outlaw sectarianism in all land sales. "The revelations give lie to
the notion that the Orange Order is a purely religious and cultural
organization," he said.
This story appeared in the issue of November 17-23, 2004
Radical Changes But Still No Utopia
Edited transcript of exchanges between Socialist Party TD Joe
Higgins and Taoiseach Bertie Ahern in Dáil Éireann yesterday:
Joe Higgins: Many of today's newspapers were kind enough to point
out that I was not in the House yesterday when the Labour Party
leader asked the Taoiseach about his newfound commitment to
socialism. Ironically, I was abroad for several days on political
work to advance the cause of socialism.
Labour Party leader Pat Rabbitte: Did the Deputy have the
Joe Higgins: You can imagine, A Cheann Comhairle, how perplexed I
was when I returned to find my wardrobe almost empty. The Taoiseach
had been busy robbing my clothes. Up to recently the Progressive
Democrats did not have a stitch left due to the same Taoiseach but
we never expected him to take a walk on the left side of the
Bertie Ahern: Extreme left.
Joe Higgins: He said: "I am one of the few socialists left in Irish
politics." Immediately, Tomás Ó Criomhthaín came to mind, as he
lamented the last of the Blasket Islanders: "Ní bheidh ár leithéidí
arís ann." I then thought: "Good, Taoiseach. There are two of us in
it and we will go down together."
Sadly, I had to take a reality check. If this conversion was
genuine, one must go back 2,000 years to find another as rapid and
Saul's embrace of Christianity on the road to Damascus stood the
test of time but the Taoiseach's embrace of socialism on the banks
of the Tolka hardly will.
I was not impressed with the Taoiseach's answers yesterday so I
will set him a test on three brief points to check if he is a
socialist ... public ownership ... never support imperialist
invasions ... equality.
The Taoiseach has three minutes in which to reply. I suggest that
he devote one minute to each of the three tests and I will judge
his replies at the end.
Bertie Ahern: I have watched and listened to Deputy Joe Higgins
with interest for three decades but I have never heard him say
He displays what I believe to be a far left or "commie" resistance
to everything. He does so in the hope that some day the world will
discover oil wells off our coast, which will fall into the
ownership of the State, thereby allowing us to run a great market
economy with the State at its centre. That Utopia does not exist.
What I said yesterday, when the deputy was not present, is that at
the core of left-centre political ideology is the desire to spread
the wealth more evenly. That means that people must be encouraged
to create the wealth. When this is done, they are taxed and the
money collected is used to resource them.
Deputy Joe Higgins is against wealth creation and, as a result, he
favours high unemployment, high expenditure and high borrowing.
Any of the tests the deputy would set me fail on the grounds that
he does not believe in them.
That is the issue. The deputy's brand of socialism has changed so
much in recent years.
As he is aware, one of the reasons for this, and for the rise in
oil prices, is because his friends in Russia have decided that the
market economy can afford $50 a barrel.
Independent Mayo TD Dr Jerry Cowley: We had oil wells off the coast
and the Taoiseach gave them away.
Bertie Ahern: The deputy is a right-wing doctor.
Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dermot Ahern: And a well-paid one.
Bertie Ahern: That is what is wrong with Deputy Joe Higgins's
policies. I would be delighted to discuss the matter with him on
the Blaskets or elsewhere whenever he so desires.
Joe Higgins: The basic advice a teacher gives to a pupil who is
going in to do an examination is not to spend the entire time on
An Ceann Comhairle, Dr Rory O'Hanlon: Unfortunately, under Leaders'
Questions the Taoiseach must focus on one question and not on
Joe Higgins: It was one question, divided into parts (a), (b) and
The Taoiseach, not being able to answer parts (a) or (b), spent all
of his time trying to answer (c). On that alone, he has flunked the
He has also flunked his history test by putting my type of
socialism in the same gallery as that of the Russian Stalinists. I
do not have time - unless the Ceann Comhairle will provide it - to
educate the Taoiseach about that matter. He referred to my friends
Bertie Ahern: They are not communists any longer, they joined the
Minister for Defence, Willie O'Dea: Trotsky was the same.
Joe Higgins: My friends were murdered by the Stalinists. Trotsky
and other fine socialists were killed because they stood for
democratic socialism. The Taoiseach should do the honest thing and
withdraw the ludicrous claims he made at the weekend.
Let us return to normal. Socialism is not a flag of convenience to
be used after one's party has been battered in the local and
European elections in order to pretend that one is a friend of
Dr Jerry Cowley: I would like the Taoiseach to withdraw the remark
that I am a right-wing doctor.
Independent Dublin North-Central TD Finian McGrath: The Taoiseach
should withdraw the remark he made.
Bertie Ahern: What remark?
Finian McGrath: The remark about the deputy being a right-wing
Bertie Ahern: The deputy is a doctor. If he gets that upset, the
House can imagine what I feel every day.
Sinn Féin Cavan-Monaghan TD Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: The deputy is a
medical doctor, not a spin doctor.
Bertie Ahern: In reply to Deputy Joe Higgins, my point is that one
cannot distribute resources to education, health and social welfare
unless wealth is generated. That is how we can have more doctors,
more nurses, more therapists, more teachers.
Dermot Ahern: QED.
Bertie Ahern: By having lower taxes, we were able to spend more.
This shows the success of what we do. I know that the deputy is
actually an admirer of that also.
Dermot Ahern: That is our legacy.
Compiled by Fionnán Sheahan.
Trinity makes it onto top universities list
18/11/2004 - 11:06:07
Trinity College, Dublin, is among the top 100 universities in the
world, according to a new survey.
The World University Rankings surveyed 1,300 third-level colleges
across the globe.
Trinity is in 87th place, while Queens University in Belfast is
Crime Tackled With Pedal Power
In a change from armoured cars and Land Rovers, police in
Londonderry have begun patrols of some nationalist areas on
The police say it will make officers more accessible to the public
and provide more reassurance for vulnerable groups like the
Up to 12 trained cycle team officers will cover the Shantallow and
Galliagh areas during daylight hours.
Colleagues will provide back up, although the team hopes this will
not be necessary.
Sergeant Frank Smyth said they dealt with safety fears every day
but would not take unnecessary chances.
"We'll deal with things as and how they develop, but I feel that
with a common sense approach, this will be successful," he said.
"From what I've encountered so far, the majority of people
recognise the need for policing and they want to see us there. My
hope is that it will be accepted."
One local resident said: "I think it's great for the area. There
has been a lot of anti-social behaviour."
Another woman said: "It's a good idea because there's a lot of
vandalism in the area and we need something to stop it."
The police said that if this project proved successful, it could be
extended to other areas of the city.
Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2004/11/17 20:20:28 GMT
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