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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 23, 2004
News 11/23/04 - Outline of Deal in Focus
News about Ireland & the Irish
BT 11/23/04 Outline Of Deal In Focus, Paisley Set To Tell Blair
SF 11/23/04 Former Councillor Told He Will Be Killed Within 48 Hrs
SF 11/23/04 Statement On McMahon Murder Insults Intelligence
FT 11/23/04 Ministers Seek To Bridge The Divide As BS Probe Ends
IT 11/23/04 'Risky' Army Plan May Be Responsible For Derry Killings
IT 11/23/04 Troops' Descriptions Of Targets Do Not Match Victims
IT 11/23/04 Saville Inquiry: By The Numbers
NL 11/23/04 Pollution Row
IT 11/23/04 Liffey River Taxi Gearing Up For Launch
ST 11/23/04 Killer Cults Giving Muslims A Bad Name
IT 11/23/04 Fine Gael's 'Rip-Off' Award Ridicules Minister
QA 11/22/04 1st 10 Yrs Of Bertie's Leadership Of Fianna Fáil -VO
NW 11/22/04 Mullingar welcomes President Mary McAleese VO (5)
Questions and Answers - 22 November 2004
Presented by John Bowman & Panel of
:: Joe Higgins, Socialist Party TD
:: Martin Cullen, Minister for Transport
:: Karen Coleman, Foreign Affairs Editor, Newstalk 106
:: Gerry McCaughey, businessman
:: Dr Ronan Fanning, Professor of Modern History, UCD
What are the panel's estimates of the first ten years of Bertie
Ahern's leadership of Fianna Fáil?
Mullingar welcomes President Mary McAleese
Mary Kennedy goes to Coole National School ahead of a visit from
Mary McAleese and talks to the President about her second term in
Mary Fanning spends a day at the Mullingar Training Development
Mullingar Rugby Club bar becomes the schoolhouse for the Educate
Diarmuid Peavoy discovers the story behind Tom Lynam's historical
book, A Country Boy
Mullingar Lions Club prepares for its annual art auction
Outline Of Deal In Focus, Paisley Set To Tell Blair
By Brian Walker, London Editor
23 November 2004
Tomorrow Ian Paisley will enter the Prime Minister's study in No 10
alone, to tell Tony Blair that "the outline of a deal has come into
focus" and hand him a letter that explains the party's full
position for the first time.
Earlier, Mr Paisley will have delivered the same message verbally
to the Taoiseach at the Irish embassy.
Apparently, the letter will neither accept nor reject the Prime
Ministers' version of the best available deal, but will outline
The DUP reply leaves the two Prime Ministers with little option but
to continue the shuttle between the DUP and Sinn Fein over the next
few days at least.
Meetings with David Trimble and Mark Durkan will also be fitted in.
The DUP's stance remains tantalising optimistic.
A senior party source denied delaying a deal for electoral
advantage: "Our only consideration is whether the deal is right for
On the other hand he said: "Blair will be hard put to get an
agreement by Friday."
The comment suggests that the IRA's offer to allow a senior
Protestant and a senior Catholic cleric to witness the disposal of
arms is not enough to satisfy the DUP and that the Premiers are
being asked to go back to the republicans to provide proof of
decommissioning in photographic or video evidence.
In other words, the familiar sticking point remains.
NIO officials are said to be planning a tight six weeks' timetable
for passing the necessary legislation. If agreement on the
legislation was reached in principle, Sinn Fein would take the
momentous step of making a commitment to support the PSNI and join
the Policing Board.
At Westminster, gaps are being left for the Government to rush
through a new law over the next few weeks to set up a new Assembly
and devolve justice and policing powers to it by 2006, if a deal
can be reached by Christmas.
Former Sinn Féin Councillor Told He Will Be Killed Within 48 Hours
Published: 23 November, 2004
South Belfast Assembly member Alex Maskey has revealed that former
Sinn Féin Councillor Sean Hayes was last night visited at his home
in the Markets area and informed by the PSNI that a death threat
along with a recognised code word had been telephoned into the BBC
offices in Belfast.
Mr Maskey said:
"Sean Hayes was visited late last night by the PSNI who informed
him that his name along with that of three other republicans in
Belfast, Dungannon and Warrenpoint were issued with death threats
in a phone call to the BBC. The PSNI informed Sean that the threat
was from the Red Hand Defenders and was accompanied by a recognised
code word. He was informed that he would be killed within 48 hours.
"The Red Hand Defenders has of course in the past been a flag of
convenience used by the UDA. It is deeply concerning that this UDA
cover name has once again resurfaced only a week after the British
Secretary of State proclaimed that the UDA was on cessation once
PSNI Statement On McMahon Murder Insults Peoples Intelligence
Published: 23 November, 2004
Lagan Valley Sinn Féin Representative Cllr. Paul Butler has said
that people in Lisburn will have been stunned by a statement from
the PSNI that they have not established a motive for the murder of
young James McMahon in the town one year ago.
Cllr. Butler said:
" It is a well known fact that James McMahon was murdered by the
UDA in Lisburn. There is absolutely no doubt about that. The UDA
exists primarily to intimidate and kill Catholics and is riddled
with PSNI Special Branch agents and informers.
" The PSNI are insulting the intelligence of nationalists in
Lisburn by pretending that the murder of James McMahon was anything
other than a random and blatantly sectarian murder and indeed many
will question the motivation behind this move by the PSNI.
" This sort of approach to unionist paramilitary violence it has to
be said is fairly typical of the PSNI. They are never so reticent
in pointing the finger at republican organisations even when there
is no evidence to back up their claims particularly at sensitive
times within the political process." ENDS
Ministers Seek To Bridge The Divide As Bloody Sunday Probe Ends
By John Murray Brown
Published: November 23 2004 02:00 | Last updated: November 23 2004
The Bloody Sunday tribunal, the most costly public inquiry in
British legal history, sits for the last time today, with counsel
for the tribunal giving a closing statement on how 13 un-armed
civil rights protesters were shot dead by the army in Londonderry
The tribunal, which is expected to have cost £155m by the time Lord
Saville delivers his final report in mid- 2005, is the most high-
profile example of the government's attempt to address allegations
of security force wrongdoing in Northern Ireland.
By doing so it hopes to foster political agreement between
Protestant and Catholic communities and enable Northern Ireland
society to move on.
The government has considered a range of mechanisms to lay the
ghosts of the past in the region. These ranged from public
inquiries in the most controversial cases to a full-scale South
African-style truth and reconciliation process.
Hugh Orde, chief constable of the Police Service of Northern
Ireland, publicly questioned the value of inquiries such as Bloody
Sunday. Separately, he launched what he called the "cold case
review" to provide families fuller information into the 2,000-odd
murders still unsolved.
But Brandon Hamber, who worked with the South African Truth
Commission, says Ulster's real problem is the lack of consensus
over who is responsible for the past 30 years of conflict. In South
Africa, in contrast, there is broad agreement that the white
apartheid regime was responsible for the years of civil unrest.
Robin Wilson, director of Democratic Dialogue, a Belfast think-
tank, supports Mr Hamber's view. As long as the political struggle
persists - and there is little sign Sinn Féin, the IRA's political
wing, and Ian Paisley's Democratic Unionists can agree a formula
for restoring power sharing - there will be no single history of
the causes of the conflict, he says.
The IRA and the various loyalist terrorist groups were responsible
for almost 90 per cent of the 3,500 people killed during the
But Clare Reilly, chairman of Relatives for Justice, a republican
lobby group, argues that republicans have collectively served
hundreds of years in prison, while British soldiers and police
officers have rarely been charged.
She rejects the South African model where the perpetrator and the
victim are brought together in a process of reconciliation.
"We prefer something we call truth recovery. We don't use the word
reconciliation. What have we to reconcile ourselves to? Republicans
haven't done anything wrong," she says.
The government last week published the terms of reference and
appointed members to three separate tribunals to look at the case
of Robert Hamill, a nationalist kicked to death by loyalist thugs
in Portadown, Rosemary Nelson, a lawyer who acted for high profile
republican suspects and was killed by a car bomb, and Billy Wright,
a notorious loyalist leader shot dead by republican inmates while a
The first two will be handled under policing legislation, while the
Wright case will be treated under the Prisons Act - moves aimed at
avoiding the spiralling costs experienced by Lord Saville's
The Queen's Speech will today outline government plans to pass new
legislation paving the way for a re- examination of the murder of
Pat Finucane, the nationalist lawyer shot dead by a loyalists in
front of his family in 1989. This is proving the most contentious
case because of claims that his murder involved collusion by a
shadowy unit of army intelligence, the so- called Force Research
The Irish government says it is important that any inquiry is seen
to be independent. The Finucane family says they will wait to see
But Ms Reilly says: "Our community has no faith in anything the
British government sets up because the British government has not
acknowledged its role in this conflict. To some extent republicans
have apologised, loyalists have also. But the British have never
acknowledged their role in all this and that's what is holding the
whole peace process up."
'Risky' Army Plan May Be Responsible For Derry Killings
The Bloody Sunday Inquiry/ Day 433: The closing phase of the
inquiry into the killings of 13 civilians and the wounding of 14
others by British paratroopers during a march in Derry on January
30th, 1972, was told yesterday that Bloody Sunday has remained
controversial in almost every aspect.
In his closing statement, the inquiry's counsel, Mr Christopher
Clarke QC, said one of the main issues to consider was whether the
"tragedy of Bloody Sunday" was caused by a "risky" plan for the
day, known as Operation Forecast, which was drawn up by the army,
by someone who had no clear idea of what the soldiers planned to do
when they were deployed in the Bogside.
Mr Clarke also said the tribunal might conclude that the reason why
the paratroopers who opened fire had not given a justifiable
explanation was because no such explanation existed.
However, he also said that the inquiry, chaired by Lord Saville of
Newdigate, might "take the view that uncomfortable facts have been
airbrushed out of history and that the situation the soldiers faced
was radically different to that of which the civilian evidence
Mr Clarke said that following 432 days of evidence from 931
witnesses, among them civilians, politicians, soldiers, police
officers and intelligence officers, there was still no indication
from the soldiers as to who shot who.
He said the inquiry should stand back from the morass of material
and the myriad issues to focus on the central question.
"Why and how did 13 people come to be killed and 14 to be wounded
within something like 10 minutes on January 30th, 1972, in this
city?" he asked.
Mr Clarke said he was assuming all 27 people shot had been shot by
soldiers. "If that assumption is correct, it has to be said that
even after many days of evidence, the answer to even the first
question, who shot them, is not, on the soldiers' evidence, in any
way clear," he said.
Mr Clarke said another consideration was that the paratroopers
retaliated swiftly after they had come under fire when they were
deployed into the Bogside.
"In such a situation it may not be possible to link a particular
soldier with an individual victim. Another view is that a party's
belief that the soldiers appear on one view to have hit not one of
the gunmen or nail-bombers at whom they fired or, if they did, to
have shot 27 others in addition."
Mr Clarke said that in the autumn before Bloody Sunday, the
Northern Ireland intelligence committee, known as GEN 47, met the
then prime minister, Mr Edward Heath, who said the first priority
"should be the defeat of the gunman using military means".
Mr Clarke said that following that meeting, a number of themes ran
through subsequent government documents. "One is that the defeat of
the gunman is the first priority, another is that a purely military
situation was unlikely to succeed.
"A third is that if there was progress in the security front on the
defeat of the gunman, there could, would or might be a window of
opportunity and the Protestant community satisfied the security was
being brought under control, but before the success of that
exercise brought intransigence towards reform," he told the
There was no evidence that a memorandum drawn up by the army
general officer commanding, Gen Robert Ford, prior to Bloody
Sunday, which suggested that selected ringleaders should be shot
had been shown to Ministry of Defence officials.
"Nor is there any evidence that the memorandum reached any of the
relevant politicians or other Whitehall departments, nor is there
any evidence that the ideas inside it played any part in the
planning of Operation Forecast," the army's plan for Bloody Sunday.
Mr Clarke said the inquiry would wish to "consider whether there
was inadequate planning as a result of which the operation as
carried out was likely to be unsuccessful and indeed risky.
"If it were so to conclude, it would mean the tragedy of Bloody
Sunday arose from an operation that was unlikely to achieve its
ends and carried out on the orders of someone who had no clear idea
of what the arrest force planned to do at the time when he
(Brigadier Pat MacLellan, the then army commander in Derry),
© The Irish Times
Troops' Descriptions Of Targets Do Not Match Victims
Jackie Duddy was the youngest and the first fatality on Bloody
Sunday. He was shot in the back of the right shoulder as he ran
alongside then Father Edward Daly, through the car park of the
Rossville Street flats away from the advancing paratroopers.
The inquiry had earlier heard that an RUC investigation at the time
concluded that he had been murdered.
In that area, known to the inquiry as sector 2, the soldiers fired
32 shots, killing Jackie Duddy and wounding Margaret Deery, Michael
Bridge, Michael Bradley and Patrick McDaid. Several shots were
fired overhead, but 27 were fired by six soldiers at nine targets.
Mr Clarke said that those 27 shots should have resulted, according
to the soldiers' evidence, in three nail- bombers, three gunmen and
one petrol-bomber being killed or wounded.
"However, there is no clear match between any of the targets
described by the soldiers and any of the known casualties."
Mr Clarke said the soldiers' lawyers, the Treasury Solicitors
Department, had submitted that it was probable Jackie Duddy was
"accidentally hit at a time when he was among or close to a hostile
crowd that were throwing objects at the soldiers and when a soldier
aimed at another person". Even if that hypothesis was correct, it
did not necessarily follow that the soldier who fired the shot was
justified in doing so.
"We turn to the question of who shot Mr Duddy. We say there is no
reason to believe anyone other than a soldier shot Mr Duddy."
Mr Clarke then dealt with the killings of Michael Kelly, Hugh
Gilmour, Michael McDaid, William Nash, John Young and Kevin
McElhinney, all of whom were shot in the vicinity of a rubble
barricade in Rossville Street. In this area, according to the
evidence, soldiers fired 39 shots.
The bullet recovered from the body of Mr Kelly was matched to the
rifle of Lance Cpl F who said he'd fired at a nail bomber.
"If the tribunal is satisfied Mr Kelly was not a nail bomber, then
Lance Cpl F's evidence that he fired at a nail bomber and that he
hit his intended target must, in at least one of those respects, be
either mistaken or untruthful unless the bullet hit the nail bomber
before it hit Mr Kelly," he said.
"Issues that remain are whether the shot was aimed at Mr Kelly or
at someone else, whether the bullet hit someone else before it hit
Mr Kelly, whether anyone standing near Mr Kelly had been attempting
to throw a nail bomb and whether Mr Kelly or anyone near him had
been behaving in any way that caused or could have caused Lance Cpl
F to mistake him for a nail bomber," he added.
Mr Gilmour was shot after Mr Kelly. "There is no evidence that he
was armed," he said. "Other witnesses who have said Mr Gilmour was
standing at or near the rubble barricade when he was shot have
agreed that he had nothing in his hand."
Mr Clarke then referred to the killings of Michael McDaid, William
Nash and John Young. "We suggest that the tribunal may think that
if the evidence of the soldiers is assumed to be approximately
accurate as to the direction and timing of their fire and complete
as to the numbers of shots fired, the shots most likely to have
caused the deaths of Mr McDaid, Mr Nash and Mr Young are the four
shots fired by Cpl P at an alleged gunman," he said.
Turning to the killing of Mr McElhinney, Mr Clarke said the
question of whether or not he had been throwing stones appeared
irrelevant to the question of whether or not there was any
justification for his shooting.
He said the inquiry could conclude that either Sgt K, Private L or
Private M had shot Mr McElhinney.
The tribunal would then also have to consider whether it could
conclude which of the three were most likely to have fired the
fatal shot, he said. "They have also to consider whether that
evidence enables it to reach any conclusion as to which of the
three soldiers is most likely to have fired the fatal shot."
© The Irish Times
Saville Inquiry: By The Numbers
432 - Number of days the inquiry, which opened in March
2002 with a 42-day speech by counsel to the inquiry, sat before
yesterday's proceedings began.
£155 million - The expected cost of the inquiry.
£3 million - Expected earnings for Mr Christopher Clarke QC.
931 - Witnesses who gave oral evidence.245 soldiers, 34
paramilitaries, 505 civilians, 49 journalists and seven priests
were among those to give oral evidence.
1,000 - Witnesses who gave written statements.
13 - People who died on Bloody Sunday.
© The Irish Times
For more see:
By Philip Bradfield
Tuesday 23rd November 2004
A district council is to take on one of Northern Ireland's most
powerful businessmen in a dispute over alleged pollution.
Councillors in Newry and Mourne last night heard legal proceedings
are under way against Norbrook Laboratories in Newry - owned by the
Ulster Unionist peer Dr Edward Haughey.
Director of environmental health Hugh O'Neill told councillors that
the company had not responded to a formal caution and that he had
passed the matter to a council solicitor.
Mr O'Neill said: "There are two incidents of alleged smoke coming
from two incinerators at Norbrook Laboratories. There are controls
under the Clean Air Order in particular in relation to black
Mr O'Neill was responding to a request for an update on the matter
from Sinn Fein councillor Charlie Casey. Mr Casey also asked why a
previous discussion on the matter in the chamber had not been
recorded in the minutes.
"I recently observed a huge pall of black smoke and flames coming
from these premises and here is photographic evidence," he said,
waving a photograph.
Mr O'Neill said a resident had also complained to the council on
the same day but an official had not seen anything significant.
Mr Casey said he had received complaints in the past from residents
in the Drumgullion area about noxious smells and black smoke.
"Is there a danger to children and young babies?" he said.
Sinn Fein councillor Brendan Curran queried what the smoke might
But UUP councillor and Newry mayor Henry Reilly defended the
He said: "Norbrook is a very respectable company employing 800
people and I take exception to attacks against it. If Mr O'Neill
said his official saw nothing significant, we have to accept this."
But Mr O'Neill responded that there were already two cases with the
solicitor and suggested discussing the matter openly might
prejudice any court case.
Liffey River Taxi Gearing Up For Launch
Lorna Siggins, Marine Correspondent
A river taxi may be running on the Liffey next summer if a plan
submitted by the Dublin Docklands Development Authority (DDDA) is
approved by Dublin City Council.
The DDDA is seeking permission to build a landing stage at
Bachelor's Walk. The stage would consist of a 20-metre-long
floating pontoon with a sliding gate entrance, access platform and
gangway for passengers off the boardwalk.
A 54-seater vessel is being built in Sweden for delivery next
spring. The authority hopes to run trials on the river for several
months. It anticipates that the transport service could be up and
floating by June, focusing initially on the tourist market.
The initiative is part of the DDDA's River Liffey regeneration
strategy, which also allows for the introduction of a fast commuter
ferry service between the docklands and the coast - initially Dún
The strategy proposed a cross-river ferry between City Quay and the
Irish Financial Services Centre (IFSC) II among a series of
projects to revive practical use of the waterway.
It is understood that the DDDA has held discussions with several
operators in relation to contracting out operation of the services,
and may advertise formally for bidders. Navigation of the river's
15 bridges, specifically the upper reaches between the Ha'penny
Bridge and Heuston Station, is restricted by tides and the low
headroom on fixed structures.
The new Millennium Bridge and the Matt Talbot Bridge are
particularly problematic at high tide, and the riverbed rises west
of the Ha'penny Bridge, which causes a difficulty at low water. The
service could eventually run to Heuston Station. Water bus stops
may also be located at Tara Street to link with the DART, at the
IFSC I and II, Forbes Street, Britain Quay, the Point Theatre and
the Alexandra Basin ferry terminal.
© The Irish Times
Killer Cults Giving Muslims A Bad Name
November 23, 2004
BY John O'Sullivan
Theo van Gogh and Margaret Hassan were murdered within days of each
other -- indeed, since we don't know the exact date of Hassan's
murder, they might both have perished on the same day. They were
more than a thousand miles apart when they died: Van Gogh was
murdered in Holland, Hassan in Iraq. And they were very different
people. Van Gogh was a Dutch pornographer who sought to outrage
respectable Holland and people of faith; Hassan was an aid worker
inspired by faith who spent her life helping the poor.
Above all, they had very different attitudes about Islam. Van Gogh
felt contempt for the religion and had filmed a documentary in
which verses from the Quran were inscribed on the bodies of almost
naked women to symbolize Islam's supposed hostility to women's
rights. Hassan had converted to the Islamic faith of her Iraqi
husband from the Christianity of her native Ireland. They would
probably have disliked each other deeply -- and they would
certainly have disapproved of each other. Van Gogh would have
dismissed her as a foolish idealist with a masochistic streak;
Hassan would have regarded him a heartless and shameless
But they died similarly brutal deaths at the hands of the same
murderers, namely Islamist terrorists, and for much the same
What reason is that? Not blasphemy -- van Gogh might have been
killed on those grounds, but Hassan was a pious Muslim. Not
hostility to Iraq or the Arab world in general -- van Gogh was not
especially interested in the Middle East and Hassan loved Iraq, had
opposed both U.S. invasions and had even gone to New York to plead
for an end to the U.N. embargo of the country.
Van Gogh and Hassan fell victim to a sectarian fundamentalist cult
within Islam. As the murder of Hassan shows, that cult is
murderously hostile to other Muslims almost as much as it is to the
adherents of other religions. Yet that same cult is destroying the
good name of Islam throughout the world.
If proof of the first assertion is needed, it is to be found in
Fallujah. The torture chambers that have been revealed there as a
result of the Iraqi-American victory were used mainly to torment
and murder Muslims. The mutilated bodies left on the streets were
those of local residents. The women beaten by them were not
Westerners with bare arms but Muslim women whose modest dress did
not meet the cult's strict requirement that women should be neither
seen nor heard.
If the cult is oppressing and murdering Muslims, however, how is it
damaging the reputation of Islam? The answer is disturbing. Not
enough Muslims will issue clear and unqualified condemnations of
the cult and its murders. Some Arab media use their new-found
freedom to glorify the murderers as "freedom fighters." And many
Muslim clerics, in the Middle East and the West, echo some of the
cult's themes -- notably, that Muslims owe no loyalty to "infidel"
regimes in the West -- even as they cautiously distance themselves
from its crimes with a general criticism of "violence."
If these horrors were happening only in Fallujah or Baghdad, most
people elsewhere could dismiss them as exotic crimes in a faraway
country -- the effects of a criminal regime that had taught its
citizens hatred and killing. But van Gogh was murdered in his
native Holland. And the cult is spreading everywhere.
People worldwide are realizing that the cult threatens them
wherever they are -- in Baghdad like Hassan or in a European city
like van Gogh. Like Americans after Sept. 11, Europeans are waking
up to the fact that no one is safe. That makes them concerned about
exactly who and what are threatening their lives. And when Muslims
seem reluctant to condemn the cult and its murders, their neighbors
wonder if Islam is compatible with the freedom and tolerance of a
liberal society -- and therefore if Muslim immigration should
In a multicultural society, the government, the politicians and the
police are the last people to reach that conclusion. Their natural
instinct is to blame the native-born majority -- which they fear as
racist, sexist and homophobic -- for any ethnic or religious
Thus the first reaction of the Dutch police to the murder of van
Gogh was to sandblast a mural near a mosque declaring "Thou Shalt
Not Kill" in response to Muslim protests of racism. Exhibiting the
same instincts, the European body established to counter ethnic
prejudice had earlier suppressed a report concluding that young
Muslims were the main perpetrators of anti- Semitic violence in
Europe because it had conditioned itself to treat Muslims as
victims and to assume that anti-Semites must be neo-Nazi whites.
But these sentiments are themselves prejudices -- and they are now
yielding to reality. If anything, there is some over-reaction. So
mainstream politicians in Holland and other European countries now
argue for forced assimilation, an end to immigration, and the
"repatriation" of Muslims who sympathize with the cult or who
refuse their loyalty to the society in which they live (and in
which some of them were born).
These policies are unlikely to be implemented in such an
unqualified form. But the same kind of policies will continue to be
pressed until the silent Islamic majority overwhelmingly rejects
the sectarian terrorist cult without qualification, turns in its
adherents to police, pledges allegiance to the countries in which
Muslims live, and respects Western liberty. A start was made on
Sunday in Cologne with a joint Christian- Muslim march of 20,000
people against such violence. But more needs to be done -- in
particular, Muslim clerics must combine to condemn Islamist
terrorism by name, and Middle Eastern news organizations must show
the same self-criticism in reporting the crimes of the cult in
Fallujah that the Western press has shown in reporting the Marine's
shooting of a wounded man.
If these things do not happen, Europe and America will reluctantly
conclude that Islam is incompatible with democracy. And they will
not necessarily be wrong.
Fine Gael's 'Rip-Off' Award Ridicules Minister
Fine Gael has ridiculed Government calls for an end to the "rip-
off" Ireland mentality by naming an "award" for the most blatant
over-charging after the Minister for Tourism, Mr O'Donoghue.
The opposition party said yesterday that it will give the
"O'Donoghue Ostrich Award" to the industry voted the worst offender
by users of its www.ripoff.ie website.
The move is a response to the Minister's demand on the party to
withdraw the site and his call for an end to claims that a "rip-
off" culture was operating in Ireland. Mr O'Donoghue said such
claims were akin to an accusation that wholesale and retail traders
were a "pack of crooks" and said such claims were doing enormous
damage abroad to Irish tourism.