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November 27, 2004

News 11/27/04 - Finucane Inquiry Denounced

News about Ireland and the Irish

IO 11/27/04 Finucane Inquiry Legislation Denounced
BB 11/27/04 DUP Studies Devolution Proposals –V (2)
NY 11/27/04 Popular Yonkers Bar May Lose Liquor License
BT 11/27/04 SF Praises Bid For Irish In EU

NW 11/26/04 Bewley's Closure Special – VO
RT 11/27/04 Dollar Weakens Against Euro -VO
RT 11/27/04 Centenary Of Poet's Birth -VO

Bewley's Closure Special - A look back at the history of Bewley's Cafés
and the role they played in the lives of Dubliners in advance of their
closure next week

Dollar Weakens Against Euro - Vivienne Traynor reports on warnings that
15,000 jobs could be at risk in Ireland if the Dollar continues to weaken

Centenary Of Poet's Birth - Richard Dowling reports on the start of the
Centenary Kavanagh Weekend


Finucane Inquiry Legislation Denounced
2004-11-27 10:00:05+00

New legislation for an inquiry into the murder of Belfast solicitor Pat
Finucane could be used to suppress the truth in all future public
inquiries, it was claimed today.

Jane Winter, the director of the human rights organisation British Irish
Rights Watch, denounced a draft Bill which will dictate the terms for the
inquiry into security force collusion in the 1989 murder of Mr Finucane
by loyalists.

She claimed the Bill could be used by the British government to hide from
the public for 30 years facts about the solicitor's murder, other
controversial Northern Ireland killings or inquiries into Iraq or
national tragedies.

"We're really concerned about this legislation," she said. "At the moment
the Prime Minister establishes public inquiries under the 1921 Tribunals
of Inquiry (Evidence) Act which was used to set up the Bloody Sunday

"That gives an independent judge the right to look into a matter of
urgent public importance and allows the judge to call the shots.

"Under this draft Bill, a government minister will now call the shots in
all sorts of ways. Transcripts of inquiry hearings which take place
behind closed doors can be withheld from the public for 30 years under
special ministerial powers.

"That effectively means the people most closely concerned in a case like
the Finucane family's or indeed who lose relatives in, let us say, a
stadium disaster could be dead before information from the inquiry
becomes public."

Pat Finucane was gunned down in front of his family in his north Belfast
home in February 1989.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner John Stevens has headed an investigation
into the murder and believes members of British Army intelligence and the
Royal Ulster Constabulary colluded in the murder which was carried out by
the Ulster Freedom Fighters.

Retired Canadian judge Peter Cory, who was appointed by the Irish and
British governments at the 2001 Weston Park talks to examine six
controversial murders in Northern Ireland, ruled there should be an
inquiry into Mr Finucane's killing.

In September, loyalist Ken Barrett received a life sentence after he
admitted he had a role in the shooting.

Northern Ireland Secretary Paul Murphy subsequently moved to set up an
inquiry into the Finucane case but felt special legislation was needed
because it would have to deal with sensitive matters of national

Following the publication of the Bill last night, the family of Pat
Finucane warned they would not participate in any tribunal set up under
the terms the British government was proposing.

SDLP Assembly member Alex Attwood also denounced the draft Bill.

However the Northern Ireland Office denied claims that the draft Bill
departed from the type of inquiry envisaged by Judge Cory and insisted no
information could be withheld from the tribunal.

Ms Winter said she was worried the legislation could be used to dictate
the terms for other inquiries recommended by Judge Cory into
controversial murders in the North.

"The inquiries into the murders of Robert Hamill and Rosemary Nelson were
called under the Police Act," she said. "Billy Wright's inquiry has been
called under the Prisons Act.

"But this legislation would enable ministers to convert inquiries set up
under other Acts to the terms set out in this Bill. I really hope that
doesn't happen.

"We will be lobbying MPs to realise what is going on because this has
wider implications than for just the Finucane Inquiry or the other
inquiries. This could be used in future to keep from the public the sort
of information which emerged in the Hutton inquiry.

"I also think at a time when the UK government has been told by the
United Nations Committee Against Torture in Geneva that it must find a
way of dealing with allegations of state murder in Northern Ireland, this
draft Bill will not go down well in the UN or in the United States


See video at:


DUP Studies Devolution Proposals –V (2)

The Democratic Unionist Party's executive has unanimously backed its
leader Ian Paisley as it enters the final stage of talks aimed at
restoring devolution to Northern Ireland.

It spent three hours on Friday examining the latest proposals from the
British and Irish Governments.

Mr Paisley is to meet the head of the decommissioning body on Monday to
discuss the possibility of IRA disarmament.

Sinn Fein chairman Mitchell McLaughlin welcomed the move but said his
party had no influence over the confidential discussions between General
John de Chastelain and the IRA.

"We have no influence on that. Ian Paisley will come to understand that
he has no influence over that. The two governments have no influence over
that," he told the BBC's Inside Politics programme on Saturday.

"Any one of those groups are free to make suggestions but, at the end of
the day, the deal, if there is a deal, will emerge as a result of John de
Chastelain's work with the armed groups."

The DUP leader is expected to meet Tony Blair on Tuesday, by which stage
the British and Irish Governments want Sinn Fein and the DUP to have
decided whether to sign up to a new power-sharing deal.

Mr Blair held further talks with Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams on

The DUP meeting came at the end of a day when US president George W Bush
offered his support to efforts to achieve a breakthrough in the political

Mr Bush telephoned Mr Paisley as Sinn Fein and the DUP were receiving the
governments' responses to their queries over the British-Irish joint

Speaking on his ranch in Crawford, Texas, President Bush said he had
sought to get Sinn Fein and the DUP "to the table to get a deal done to
close the agreement they'd been working on for a while".

Mr Bush said he would do "everything I can do to help keep the process
moving forward".

Mr Paisley said he had a "long and very useful conversation" with Mr
Bush, who has not taken as big a role in Northern Ireland as his
predecessor Bill Clinton.

"I told him I'd like to be in a position to make a deal, but that any
deal must be fair and must address to my satisfaction and my electorate's
satisfaction all the fundamental issues that have blocked progress for so
long," said Mr Paisley.

"I reminded the president of the fact that he would not have terrorists
in his government, and that we must be satisfied that IRA terrorism is
over and cannot return."

Taoiseach Bertie Ahern has said this weekend would be a very crucial one
for the political process.

Speaking in County Donegal on Friday, he said he and Tony Blair finalised
their reply to the issues raised by the DUP and Sinn Fein on Thursday

Mr Ahern said the governments would be in touch with the parties over the
weekend or on Monday.

Meanwhile, more details have emerged on British-Irish proposals to deal
with the demand for visible decommissioning.

Talks sources suggest that by the end of December, General de Chastelain
could report that all IRA weapons have been "put beyond use".

Photographic proof of this would be held by the head of the Independent
International Commission on Decommissioning until March.

This would open the door to a shadow assembly at the start of January.

There would then be a new power-sharing executive.

Two churchmen - agreed by the DUP and republicans - would witness the
acts of decommissioning.

It is not yet known how much of this will be agreed to by the parties,
although the DUP is saying no deal will be made without photographs.

The two governments have said they are ready to publish their proposals
if the parties do not sign up to a deal.

At the conclusion of intensive political talks at Leeds Castle in Kent in
September, Mr Blair and Mr Ahern said the thorny issues of IRA
disarmament and future paramilitary activity appeared to be resolved.

But, the two governments were unable to get the Northern Ireland Assembly
parties to sign up to a deal over power-sharing after unionists and
nationalists clashed over future devolved institutions.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2004/11/27 12:30:49 GMT


Popular Yonkers Bar May Lose Liquor License

By Michael Gannon
The Journal News
(Original publication: November 27, 2004)

YONKERS — Rory Dolan's, a popular McLean Avenue Irish restaurant and pub,
is due in state Supreme Court Tuesday morning in a bid to stave off a
suspension of its liquor license.

The state Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control on Tuesday suspended the
bar's liquor license for the culmination of 14 violations dating back to
March 2003, including a number of physical altercations in and around the
pub, serving alcohol to underage and intoxicated people, and noise

Yonkers police and Liquor Authority officials notified the bar of the
suspension Wednesday, closing it before the busy Thanksgiving eve rush.
The bar reopened Thanksgiving Day and can continue to sell alcohol
regularly until at least 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, when it will try to earn a
stay of the suspension before Supreme Court Justice Robert Neary, pending
a yet-unscheduled Liquor Authority hearing, said Yonkers police Lt.
Richard Doheny.

Rory Dolan, the bar's namesake and proprietor, said the suspension came
as a shock, considering he had no prior warning. He said the bar had
worked hard to be a good neighbor, hosting community meetings and other
events, and could not be responsible for every altercation once patrons
had been asked to leave.

"Ninety-nine percent of the people that come in here are good people," he
said. "You wouldn't be having people come here from Massachusetts and
Long Island if it wasn't a good place."

The 10-year-old bar is perhaps the best-known and most popular of the
cluster of Irish establishments along McLean, which runs roughly along
the Bronx's northern border with Yonkers. The pub has featured talks from
prominent speakers like Gerry Adams, president of the Sinn Fein political
party in Ireland, and regular live music from Irish bands like the Wolfe

The city actually had placed a temporary moratorium on new bars along
McLean Avenue that was extended several times as recently as 2000, in an
attempt to curtail complaints from residents when the number of Irish
pubs in the area began to rise sharply in the early 1990s. Complaints
included noise, litter, public rowdiness and a shortage of parking.
Police responded by creating a special detail to patrol the area.

While the Liquor Authority's list of recent complaints against the bar is
lengthy, community organizers say they have heard little of late.

Lorraine Palais, president of the 2nd Precinct Community Council, said
she could remember only one person complain about the bar in a meeting,
and that was about noise. Dolan, the bar's owner, responded by attending
a subsequent meeting and pledging to work out the problem with his

"The little that I have seen of it, I though he was a very concerned and
well-meaning owner of a building in our community," Palais said.

Doheny said there were about 30 police actions at the bar in the past
several years. He said the incidents, each of which must be reported to
the Liquor Authority, piled up, forcing the authority to act.

Dolan said the bar has already made efforts to address any problems,
hosting alcohol-serving training classes that it opened to employees of
other area establishments and spending $3,500 on a device that helps
check identifications.

"We want to work with the state Liquor Authority to clear up all these
problems," he said.

The notice instructs the bar to answer the charges by mail or at the
Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control's Harlem offices by Dec. 22. If
the bar pleads not guilty, it is entitled to a hearing in which it can
have witnesses testify on its behalf and introduce other evidence. If
found guilty, the bar could lose its license for up to two years, the
notice said.

A representative of the Liquor Authority was not in the office yesterday
and could not be reached for comment.


SF Praises Bid For Irish In EU

By Simon Taylor
27 November 2004

Sinn Fein's Euro-MP has welcomed the Republic's request to make Irish an
official language of the EU.

Bairbre de Brun MEP said: "I am pleased to see that the Irish Government
has taken on board the views of Irish language enthusiasts and set in
train this process".

She added: ""Sinn Fein has made the recognition of the Irish language at
EU level a party priority and has campaigned long and hard with other
Irish speakers and Irish language organisations to ensure that the Irish
is recognised an on official working language of the EU."

Ms de Brun said she wanted "to pay tribute to the campaigners who fought
tirelessly to ensure equal status for the language at an EU level."

She added that the decision would provide jobs for a number of Irish
language translators but, more importantly, represented "equality of
treatment" for the language at EU level.

She pointed out that the move would allow her to use Irish in her daily
work in the European Parliament.

"Only last week I was reminded once again that when I speak in Irish
during European Parliament debates those words are not translated or
written into the minutes," Ms de Brun said.

But Democratic Unionist MEP Jim Allister attacked the move as a "total
waste of money".

He said: "I can think of better things to spend £7m on than a dead
language which no-one speaks and no-one cares about", he said.

The Republic's request has to be approved by the 24 other EU states
before it can come into force.

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