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November 29, 2004

News 11/29/04 - Adams: Paisley, Time To Call It Now

News about Ireland & the Irish

GU 11/29/04 Ian Paisley, The Time To Call It Is Now
IT 11/30/04 SF Insists On Local Control Of Policing Timetable
IT 11/30/04 Difficulties Remain, Paisley Warns
GU 11/29/04 A Deal Looks Possible
IT 11/30/04 Tara Route 'Bordering On Vandalism' – Haughey
IT 11/30/04 2005 Coin Series Makes Cents For Collectors
IT 11/30/04 New World Of Teaching On The Web Opens Up
IT 11/30/04 Last Orders For Bewley's This Evening


Ian Paisley, The Time To Call It Is Now

Political unionism must face up to the new realities - as we have

Gerry Adams
Tuesday November 30, 2004
The Guardian

A peace process - any peace process - is enormously difficult. But
with determination and a preparedness to take risks and make
compromises, a peace process can succeed. South Africa is the most
obvious example. But peace processes can also fail. Witness the
tragedy unfolding each day in the Middle East.

The IRA cessations are now more than 10 years old. The Good Friday
agreement is almost seven years old. There have been enormous
changes in the island of Ireland. Progress, yes, but the peace
process is not bedded down, organic and dynamically moving forward.
This is principally because of political unionism's resistance to
the fundamental constitutional, political and social changes
promised by the agreement. Also, elements of the British system,
fearful of the erosion of their power and influence, have sought to
undermine efforts for progress.

The current negotiations started at the beginning of the year. In
June, I set the goal for Sinn Féin (and for any successful outcome)
as "a comprehensive and holistic package, which deals with all of
the outstanding matters in a way that is definitive and
conclusive". A tall order - especially given the refusal by Ian
Paisley to talk to Sinn Féin, and his party's oft-stated opposition
to the Good Friday agreement.

Sinn Féin's approach has been twofold. We are trying to get the
Democratic Unionist party on board. We are also seeking to ensure
that any propositions from the British and Irish governments, and
any agreement emerging from these discussions,are rooted in the
Good Friday agreement. The governments' propositions have to be
about delivery of the agreement. The integrity of the power-sharing
institutions, the human rights and equality agenda, and the all-
Ireland architecture of the agreement have to be safeguarded. This
is essential if any deal is to be sustainable.

No one should doubt the size of the task being undertaken by the
Sinn Féin leadership. I have no doubt that, if we are successful,
we are going to challenge our activists and supporters.

There are three big elements in our approach. There is the
challenge for Sinn Féin of actually being in government with the
DUP - a party with a certain sectarian record and a declared
opposition to equality. As we seek to bed down the Good Friday
agreement and move towards Irish unity and independence, it will be
a battle a day to persuade unionism of the merits. Republican
patience with how unionism deals with the political institutions,
and with key issues such as equality and human rights, will be

Unionists have expressed concerns about the IRA's intentions.
Within reason, the Sinn Féin leadership must try, if we can, to
remove those fears without undermining our electoral rights or our
mandate. That is another huge challenge.

And then there is the vexed issue of policing. The police force and
judicial system were designed to oppress nationalists and
republicans. And they did this ruthlessly for decades. If the
British government and the DUP deliver on outstanding matters,
including the transfer of powers on policing and justice in a short
timeframe, republicans will have to face up to whether we change
our attitude to the Northern Ireland police service.

The fact that our ongoing dialogue with the governments has been so
intense is an indication that there are still serious matters to be
resolved. Among these is the DUP's refusal thus far to declare its
willingness to share power with Sinn Féin, to accept Sinn Féin's
democratic mandate and to respect the rights and entitlements of
our electorate.

There is a duty on the leadership of political unionism to face up
to its responsibilities. At the beginning of the year, when Sinn
Féin urged the two governments to move the process forward, we also
told them that if the DUP refused to engage properly, then the two
governments must move ahead without them. The process of change
cannot be frozen if unionism refuses to come to terms with the new
political realities. Political unionism cannot be allowed to veto
the fundamental rights of citizens or other changes necessary for a
peaceful society.

The governments will have to promote a new, imaginative and dynamic
alternative in which both will share power in the north. The Good
Friday agreement and the basic rights and entitlements of citizens
that it enshrines must be defended and actively promoted by London
and Dublin.

All these matters can be resolved if the governments are genuinely
committed to the Good Friday agreement. In other words, with
political will a comprehensive agreement is possible. In every
negotiation there is a time when you have to call it. For Ian
Paisley, that time is now.

Gerry Adams is the president of Sinn Féin and MP for Belfast West


SF Insists On Local Control Of Policing Timetable

Frank Millar, London Editor

Sinn Féin would require the DUP to agree to a timetable for the
devolution of policing and justice powers to the Stormont Assembly
as part of any overall deal to restore the power-sharing Executive.

This was confirmed last night after the Sinn Féin president, Mr
Gerry Adams, held a "useful" first meeting with the Chief Constable
of the Police Service of Northern Ireland, Mr Hugh Orde, at 10
Downing Street.

Mr Adams emerged from his lengthy talks with Mr Orde stressing the
"collective responsibility" of all sides to produce "a
comprehensive, holistic agreement", which he said must be "about
putting the Good Friday agreement in place".

Party sources later told The Irish Times they interpreted this as
meaning an agreement "which deals with all the issues, including
the arms issue, demilitarisation and policing".

Senior DUP sources have made clear in private that they do not
envisage the devolution of policing powers within the lifetime of
the current Assembly.

And reports believed to have emanated from within the DUP about the
current British-Irish proposals for restoring the Assembly and
Executive have suggested the party believes it has an effective
power of veto over when such devolution might take place.

That interpretation is supported in turn by Section 17 of the
Northern Ireland Act 1998, which provides that the abolition of any
existing Stormont department, or the creation of a new one, must be
approved by a cross-community vote in the Assembly.

However, when asked if this meant Sinn Féin could in fact have no
guarantee as to when, or if, devolution of policing and justice
powers would occur, usually reliable sources said "the timetable
for devolution would have to be agreed as part of what Gerry Adams
has called 'a comprehensive agreement'."

The sources confirmed in addition that Sinn Féin requires new
legislation to effect further policing reforms it says are
necessary to finally implement the full recommendations of the
Patten Commission report.

Sinn Féin is understood to be working to a projected timetable of
between 12 and 18 months, pointing to the creation of a new
Stormont policing and justice ministry in the early part of 2006.

Flanked by a strong Sinn féin delegation, which included fellow MPs
Mr Martin McGuinness and Ms Michelle Gildernew, Mr Adams told
reporters in Downing Street that he had agreed to meet Mr Orde to
discuss the "hugely important" issue of the "demilitarisation of
republican heartlands".

And he asserted "good work" had been done at the meeting.

At the same time Mr Adams said he and Mr Orde had not discussed the
wider policing issues.

With hopes rising in Dublin and London for a dramatic political
breakthrough, Mr Adams repeated his view that a deal with the DUP
was "inevitable."

However he also stuck rigidly to his insistence that such a deal
would have to be "bedded" in the 1998 Belfast Agreement. "If we can
make sure that the package that emerges is bedded in the agreement
and about implementing the agreement then, of course, it isn't a
matter in my view of 'if'."

© The Irish Times


Difficulties Remain, Paisley Warns

Dan Keenan, Northern News Editor

The Rev Ian Paisley warned yesterday that difficulties over
decommissioning remained unresolved and much remained to be done
before a deal to restore Stormont could be secured. "We are at a
very delicate stage," he cautioned.

Speaking after a one-hour meeting with Gen John de Chastelain at
the Belfast headquarters of the Independent International
Commission on Decommissioning, Dr Paisley said a deal hinged on the
British Prime Minister, Mr Tony Blair.

He must stick to promises he made concerning the need for total
decommissioning before parties could take Executive seats, the DUP
leader said.

He was leading a delegation which included his son, Mr Ian Paisley
jnr, Mr Jeffrey Donaldson, Mr Peter Robinson, Mr Gregory Campbell
and Mr Nigel Dodds. If the weapons issue was sorted out to the
DUP's satisfaction, Dr Paisley said, "Then we are on our way".

However, he cautioned: "But it isn't yet." Dr Paisley will meet Mr
Tony Blair in Downing Street later today, while the Sinn Féin
president, Mr Gerry Adams, is also due back at Number 10 tomorrow
or Thursday.

Dr Paisley said Mr Blair had to tell Gen de Chastelain what he
wanted. "The general then has to talk to the IRA and see are they
going to accept or reject what is wanted."

Dr Paisley continued: "So there is a host of things that need to be
settled. As far as our own independent man [Gen de Chastelain] is
concerned, there's a host of things. He has to be properly
safeguarded. He has to be absolutely free [ so that] he can take
whatever notes.

"We have to wait to see what is going to happen."

Neither Gen de Chastelain nor his decommissioning body made any
comment either before or after the meeting as is customary.

Despite Dr Paisley's warnings, DUP sources privately remain

A series of meetings since Friday at every level inside the party
has kept a sense of conditional optimism alive.

Dr Paisley briefed his 32 Assembly colleagues on Friday and his
ruling 100-member party executive later that night.

A DUP source at that meeting said: "The delegates arrived upbeat.
And they left upbeat."

Private soundings with senior DUP members confirmed this.

Dr Paisley also referred to the developments at a constituency
meeting in North Antrim on Saturday where he took a strident line
against the IRA.

Republicans should not be allowed back at the negotiating table if
current efforts failed, he said.

He warned the British government against any default position that
allowed "lying Sinn Féin to have a deal one day, break it the next
and be back at the negotiating table the day after".

He concluded: "If they break their word, they're out. Forever."

SDLP members met the Northern Secretary at Stormont yesterday and
restated their fears that any deal could prove too much of a
departure from the Belfast Agreement.

The party leader, Mr Mark Durkan, said: "We still have concerns
that this deal is not as complete or as balanced as some have made

He said he told Mr Paul Murphy: " If there is a deal, there is no
one who will work to make more positive judgments and to limit any
damage done than the SDLP."

© The Irish Times


A Deal Looks Possible

Tuesday November 30, 2004
The Guardian

To those involved, working for peace in Northern Ireland must
sometimes seem like pushing an old car up a steep hill. Slip and
the vehicle will roll back and crush you; push on and the crest of
the hill can look a very long way away indeed. No more so than a
year ago this week, when elections to the Northern Ireland assembly
left the Democratic Unionist party and Sinn Féin as the dominant
and antagonistic voices of their respective communities. After the
elections the British and Irish governments kept on pushing, but
appeared to have little hope of ever getting the vehicle over the
top and rolling of its own accord.

Suddenly, however, there is excitement on both sides of the Irish
Sea. A deal to restore Northern Ireland's power-sharing executive
looks a possibility, if not before Christmas then at some point
next year after a general election. In September the Leeds Castle
talks made good progress. Since then the British and Irish
governments, and President Bush, have increased their efforts and
found both the DUP and Sinn Féin receptive. Yesterday, in the
latest round of meetings, Gerry Adams spent two hours in Downing
Street talking to Northern Ireland's chief constable, Hugh Orde,
while Ian Paisley met the head of the international disarmament
commission, Gen eral John de Chastelain. The Adams/ Orde meeting,
over the British security presence in the province, was
particularly significant: nothing like it has happened before.

None of this makes a deal certain, and nor do the warm words now
coming from each side. Neither Adams nor Paisley want to look like
the obstructive element, but that does not mean either is yet
committed to agreement. Still, it is a lot better than anyone
expected a year ago, particularly given that the barriers to a deal
are surmountable. Sinn Féin has cleverly appeared the least
hesitant, but the DUP has good grounds for pausing to ask for
evidence that the IRA intends to become, in Paisley's words, "an
old boys' club" and not an armed movement in temporary abeyance.

Yesterday, at his monthly press conference, Tony Blair said he was
"almost fearful" of raising hopes of a deal because they had been
dashed before. But the impression was of a man who thinks things
are more likely to go right than wrong. That is a tribute to
Paisley who has shown an openness few thought he possessed. But
David Trimble, defeated a year ago for trying to sustain
powersharing, could be forgiven a rueful smile over the fact that
the man who beat him is now trying to share power, too.


Tara Route 'Bordering On Vandalism' - Haughey

Liam Reid

The new chairman of the Oireachtas Environment Committee, Mr Seán
Haughey, has said that plans to route the M3 motorway through the
Tara/Skryne valley in Co Meath was "bordering on vandalism" against
one of the most important historic sites in the country.

The Fianna Fáil TD, who was appointed to head the committee last
week, has said he believed the road should be rerouted, and that he
planned to visit the site along with members of the committee next

He is the first Government TD to state his opposition to the
current route, and to back a group of environmentalists and
archaeologists campaigning against the route.

They have argued that the Hill of Tara, once the seat of the High
Kings of Ireland, and the surrounding area, is one of the most
historically important sites in the country and of international

Mr Haughey said his committee intended to hold hearings in the
coming weeks into the controversy, and would be seeking submissions
from all interested parties, including the National Roads Authority
(NRA), which chose the current route.

"I am attempting to be as objective about it as possible," Mr
Haughey told The Irish Times. "But I'd certainly be concerned about
the proposed route at this point in time. It would seem to me that
a rerouting would be desirable, but I'm going to keep a reasonably
open mind until the site visit."

Mr Haughey believed other proposed routes, which would have avoided
the valley, should now be considered.

"I think that an alternative route would be less intrusive on the
whole hinterland of the Tara and Skryne Valley," he said.

"It's of primary archaeological importance. It does appear to be
bordering on vandalism having regard to what is being proposed."

The NRA said these routes, which were less damaging to the valley,
were ruled out because of their inability to deliver adequate
traffic capacity, and the negative impacts on local communities and
the environment as a whole. It said the current route had been
approved by An Bord Pleanála, following a 28-day public hearing.

A total of 42 archaeological sites have been found along the
section of the proposed motorway, which passes through the valley.

The Minister for the Environment, Mr Roche, is to decide in the
coming weeks on whether to issue licences to allow the current
route to proceed through the archaeological sites. He has received
a series of reports on the sites from the NRA and is currently
consulting with expert staff in his Department and at the National
Museum. He has the power to issue a direction to force the NRA to
reroute around the sites.

Earlier this month, the Taoiseach, while accepting there was a view
that the proposed road could affect the Skryne valley, said it
would not be damaging to the Hill of Tara.

© The Irish Times


2005 Coin Series Makes Cents For Collectors At Home And Abroad

Liam Horan

Coin collectors are expected to snap up 50,000 sets of the 2005
national coin series, which was launched in Co Laois yesterday.

The coins are presented in a booklet featuring scenes from Heywood
Gardens in Abbeyleix, which was also the venue for yesterday's
launch by the Minister of State at the Department of Finance, Mr
Tom Parlon. The distinguishing feature of the coins is merely the
year 2005.

This is the third year the Central Bank and the Office of Public
Works have come together to produce the series, and demand has
grown from 30,000 sets two years ago.

"We have 15,000 names on our books from all over the world. Some
are coin collectors, while some are Irish people living overseas,"
said a spokesperson for the Central Bank.

"Many people make a point of having coins of a certain year to
recall a special occasion."

Last year the featured location was Reginald's Tower, Waterford,
while the Casino in Marino, Dublin, was the chosen scene in 2003.

Collection packs are available from the Central Bank at €22.


New World Of Teaching On The Web Opens Up

Liam Horan

A small school in Co Roscommon has opened up a whole new world
for education by hosting the country's first "virtual class", where
pupils are taught traditional Irish music over the internet.

Children at the three-teacher Athleague National School gather in
front of their school's webcam while their teacher tutors them from
25 miles away.

The wonders of wireless broadband technology have allowed the
school to steal a march on schools in major urban centres.

The concept is the brainchild of traditional Irish music teacher
James Donohoe. It has been warmly welcomed by the pupils.

"It is just like a normal class. Basically, it means James can see
and hear the pupils playing the music here in the classroom, while
he is sitting at home. And they can see him," said principal Mr
Brian McGovern.

"James can ask any child to play a certain piece, or he can offer
advice. The quality of visual and audio communication is excellent.
It has the children's total attention."

Mr McGovern believes the breakthrough could solve the problem of
providing specialist education in areas like music, foreign
languages, and arts and crafts.

"This is a pilot project, but it could have huge benefits for
education in the country. For example, you could offer foreign
language teaching in primary school without having to put foreign
language teachers into every school. It could be done over the

A special website,, has been constructed to
help teachers make use of the resource.

Mr Donohoe said "ultimately, this is a resource to help teachers to
teach the tin whistle".

He has been working on the project with Athlone Education Centre,
Apple computers, Roscommon Traditional Arts Forum, Feadóg tin
whistles, FÁS, Midland Sound Equipment and Last Mile Wireless.

"The wireless broadband technology was a key link in the chain, in
that it allows areas away from the major towns to get broadband,"
said Mr Cyril Moriarty of Last Mile Wireless, which are involved in
a number of wireless broadband schemes in rural areas.

© The Irish Times


Last Orders For Bewley's This Evening

Frank McNally

Bewley's landmark Dublin cafes will cease trading this evening,
even as a campaign to save them continues.

Supporters will mount a vigil outside the Grafton Street premises
when it closes at 6 p.m., after 77 years in business.

The older Westmoreland Street branch will close at the same time,
leaving the city centre without a Bewley's cafe for the first time
since 1884. Some of the 234 staff have already left since the
company announced the closures on October 29th, citing €4 million

Many others are expected to be redeployed to other jobs in Campbell
Catering, the company that bought the cafes - then also in severe
financial difficulty - in 1986.

The last day will be marked in the Grafton Street branch by songs
and poetry readings from the Bewley's Theatre Company.

As well as the evening vigil, the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Cllr
Michael Conaghan, and others campaigning to save the cafes will
gather at 1.30 p.m. in Grafton Street for speeches, songs and

A spokesman for BOSCA - the Bewley's Oriental Saved Cafes Alliance
- said that although today's closures could not be averted, the
campaign to save them was going "fantastically well".

Mr Paul Quilligan added that the campaign was being "rolled out
slowly" and would continue in the coming weeks and months.

"We're going from A to Z, and we've only got to about H at the
moment," he said.

A key element in the group's strategy is to amend the Dublin city
draft development plan to allow for the preservation of a
building's usage as well as its physical construction.

An amendment has been tabled and is expected to be debated by
Dublin City Council some time during December.

Mr Quilligan said there was "no imminent danger" of the cafes being
redeveloped. The shop at the front of the Grafton Street premises
will continue to operate tomorrow and through Christmas, in keeping
with the terms of its lease.

The Westmoreland Street branch will close completely, however.
Campbells hope to expand the existing hotel on the site.

Bewley's, a history of the company written by journalist Hugh Oram
and originally published in 1980, is now being reprinted.

The book is expected to appear in shops next week.

© The Irish Times

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