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December 20, 2004

12/20/04 - Pre Bogota Press Conference Remarks

Monthly Table of Contents 12/04

SF 12/20/04 Remarks Prior To Bogota Press Conference -A
BT 12/20/04 Bogota Three Case For Europe
NL 12/20/04 Zero Tolerance Is Us Message To The Provos
NL 12/20/04 Demand For Inquiry Into Provo Calendar
BT 12/20/04 Sinn Fein Dismisses 'Hoax' IRA Weapons Calendar
IW 12/20/04 Call For IRA Apology Over Deaths
BT 12/20/04 SDLP's Disclosure Call
UT 12/20/04 Minister Unveils NI Spending Spree
IO 12/20/04 Double Shooting Deaths May Have Been Suicide Pact
ML 12/20/04 Radio Hosts Get Irish Parade Role
IC 12/20/04 £40,000 Funding Cut For An Chultúrlann


Colombia authorities welcomed appeal verdict - Jeremy McDermott in
Bogota reports that there was an element of surprise at the
decision last week

Remarks Prior To Bogota Press Conference -A

Press Conference, Bogota, Columbia
Bring Them Home Campaign
Monday 20th December 2004, 10:30 am (local time)
Published: 20 December, 2004

The Bring Them Home Campaign and lawyers for Niall Connolly, James
Monaghan and Martin McCauley will hold a press conference at the
lawyers' office in central Bogota today, Monday 20th December 2004
at 10.30am local time.

Speaking ahead of the Press Conference chairperson of the Bring
Them Home Campaign, Ms Caitriona Ruane said:

"We came out to Columbia to discuss the legal options open to the
men in light of the recent judgement by the Columbian magistrates.

"In April 2004 Judge Acosta found the three men innocent on the
serious charge of training the FARC and ordered an investigation
into the two 'eye witnesses' brought to the trial by the Attorney
General's Office.

"This very public trial lasted 10 months. The world's media,
international observers, Human Rights Groups and the Irish
government were present.

"It was obvious to everyone that the prosecution case collapsed and
serious questions were being asked about the role of the Attorney
General's Office in fabricating evidence and preparing witnesses to
perjure themselves.

"Six and a half months later following an appeal by the Attorney
Generals Office, we have a decision by three magistrates who met
behind closed doors, who never spokes to any of the witnesses or
defence lawyers.

"It is also important to note that in this appeal no new evidence
was presented.

"The judgement is 144 pages long, 32 of these pages repeated the
prosecution arguments, and not even one page in this judgement was
given to the defence arguments.

"The magistrates overturned Judge Acosta's judgement and sentenced
the three men to 17 years and 6 months.

"This is a political judgement made by the Columbian Authorities.

"What we now have is the Attorney General Luis Camilo Oforio and
his office trying to drum up international support for this
decision. His record stands, he is the problem and is bringing
disrepute top the Columbian legal system.

"This is a travesty of justice of international proportions.

"Having met with the lawyers we are now exploring every legal
option left open to the men. The lawyers are currently consulting
experts in relation to this.

"We are planning to bring the case of these three Irishmen and EU
citizens to the EU parliament.

"This campaign will continue, intensify and internationalise these
cases. We are not prepared to accept this blatant violation of the
rights of Niall Connolly, James Monaghan and Martin McCauley." ENDS


Bogota Three Case For Europe

By Noel McAdam
20 December 2004

As the hunt for the Colombia Three went on, Sinn Fein today said it
would raise their cases with the European Union.

The party held a press conference at lawyers' offices for the three
men in Bogota as it emerged no decision had been made on an appeal
against last week's verdict.

A party spokesman also made clear it had no idea where the three
men - sentenced to 17 years in prison last week - are.

As a Sinn Fein delegation arrived in Bogata, it was suggested the
trio - Niall Connolly, Martin McCauley and James Monaghan - could
be in Cuba, Ecuador or Brazil.

The trio disappeared while on bail awaiting the court of appeal
decision after their original acquittal on charges of having
trained FARC guerillas back in April.

Assembly members Gerry Kelly and Caitriona Ruane said the verdict
was a "travesty of justice of international proportions".

Ms Ruana, chairwoman of the Bring Them Home campaign, said: "Having
met with the lawyers we are now exploring every legal option left
open to the men. The lawyers are currently consulting experts in
relation to this.

"We are planning to bring the case of these three Irishmen and EU
citizens to the EU parliament.

"This campaign will continue, intensify and internationalise these

"We are not prepared to accept this blatant violation of (their)


Zero Tolerance Is Us Message To The Provos

Monday 20th December 2004

The involvement of three Irish republicans in activity in Colombia
in connection with the Farc terrorist group in the South America
state has played badly with the United States administration, if
comments from a leading Congressman are anything to go by.

A statement from Henry Hyde, chairman of the House of
Representatives' international relations committee, welcoming the
17-year jail sentence imposed on the so-called "Colombia Three" is
highly significant.

It sends a clear message to Sinn Fein and the IRA of American zero
tolerance for subversive activity anywhere in the world.

The Colombian episode has seriously rebounded on Sinn Fein
propagandists, both in Ireland and abroad, and the ramifications
could have a telling effect on the Northern Ireland political

Mr Hyde spoke candidly when he said: "There never was a benign
explanation on why two IRA explosive experts using false passports
were wandering around the jungle with known members of the
narcoterrorist group, Farc."

This was a reference to two convicted IRA terrorists, James
Monaghan and Martin McCauley, who, along with Dubliner Niall
Connolly, have fled Colombia and may be in either Venezuela or

On another front, the republican movement's declared "commitment to
the peace process" will be under renewed scrutiny after the release
of a 2005 Republican Resistance calendar showing photographic
scenes of armed IRA terrorists.

If Sinn Fein is to be taken seriously as a normal democratic party
seeking peace and normality, it should immediately condemn the
publication of this calendar.

Public displays of paramilitary activity, either by armed
republican or loyalist groups, can have no place in the Northern
Ireland of 2005 and the Government and the police need to take
action if there are any breaches of the law.

On Sunday, Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern said: "We don't have
presently an extradition agreement with Colombia. We will have to
look at the legal aspects that arise.

"One of the three was carrying an Irish passport and there could be
legal matters around that. They probably served their sentence on
that. So I think all of the legal matters will have to be looked

He added: "I think people felt the judge on the first hearing was a
reasonably fair person.

"Then you go on an appeal and you end up getting 17 years so on the
face of it that looks very difficult."

The Taoiseach indicated that the disappearance of the two men was
not making it easy for the Irish Government. "Our lobbying on this
all the time was to try and get the case heard. We always accepted
and recognised that the executive and legal system in Colombia were
separate," the Taoiseach said.

He continued: "Now there is the complication because they are no
longer in that country and we have to look at the legal arguments
around that."

Speaking on Today FM's Sunday Supplement, the Taoiseach added: "In
our view they should have stayed in Colombia until the legal
process was exhausted."

The fact they were gone "creates its own difficulties", he said.


Demand For Inquiry Into Provo Calendar

By Elinor Glynn
Monday 20th December 2004

Unionists yesterday demanded a top-level investigation into the
release by the Provisional IRA of a calendar carrying photographs
of masked gunmen in training.

DUP and UUP MLAs fear that the 2005 Republican Resistance Calendar,
showing scenes of terrorists carrying AK47 and other assault
rifles, could further undermine the peace process.

Sinn Fein sources claimed party leader Gerry-Adams was unaware of
the existence of the calendar, created by hardliners opposed to his
recent peace statements.

However, according to a Sunday newspaper, a reporter bought the
2005 publication at Sinn Fein's headquarters on Belfast's Falls

The 12 pictures of Provos in full "resistance" mode has prompted
the DUP's Ian Paisley Jnr to call for a police investigation at the
highest level.

"The Chief Constable needs to investigate the availability of these
calendars, where the money from them is going and determine how
recently these pictures were taken," said the MLA.

"Determinations also need to be made by the Secretary of State and
the Independent Monitoring Commission about what Sinn Fein/IRA are
saying by promoting themselves in this way.

"It seems hard to believe that, after saying that having
photographs taken of their weaponry would be humiliating, here they
are promoting their terror ability in that very way. "This is a
major publicity gaffe but one which vindicates the stand we have
been taking on this issue," said Mr Paisley.

Fellow DUP Assemblyman Paul Berry described the calendar as

"It is scandalous that this is coming at a time when the IRA are
running scared of photographs of decommissioning," said Mr Berry.
"This shows they are continuing to promote their terrorist
organisation and aren't afraid to show these pictures, which appear
pretty up-to-date.

"As a unionist, these photos of the IRA in training do not show
them changing into a new mode."

Ulster Unionist MLA Robert Coulter said: "I condemn this without
reservation - it is disgraceful and totally insensitive at a time
when most of us are doing our best to promote peace.

"I am disgusted that this group of people are going back to this
kind of insanity.

"It just shows the hypocrisy of the IRA in their attempt to put
forward the idea that they are trying to get peace as, at the same
time, thy eulogise the terror that they have wreaked on so many
people over so many years.

"It does not bode well for the prospect of Sinn Fein in government
or politics when they are supported by an army like this which is
denying the people of Northern Ireland the chance of a peaceful New
Year," said Mr Coulter.


Sinn Fein Dismisses 'Hoax' IRA Weapons Calendar

By Alison Bray
20 December 2004

Sinn Fein last night denied any knowledge of an apparent IRA 2005
calendar that shows colour photographs of provos posing with guns.

The calendar, entitled the Republican Resistance Calendar, contains
photographs of figures in balaclavas and camouflage gear posing in
shooting stances and holding various weapons, including AK 47s and
other assault rifles, in the apparent training photos.

A Sunday tabloid newspaper published the photos yesterday, claiming
the calendar was bought by a reporter at Sinn Fein's headquarters
on the Falls Road in Belfast for €7.30. The reporter, posing as a
Republican sympathiser, claimed he was told the photographs are

However, the origin of the calendar and whether the pictures it
contains are real or posed could not be confirmed last night.

Sinn Fein spokesman Michael Nolan denied the party has any
knowledge of the calendar.

"I'm not aware of it," he said last night. "The only official Sinn
Fein calendar is on our website. I'm not sure where this is coming

The official 2005 calendar marks the party's 100th anniversary with
a special commemorative edition, depicting such events at the 1916
Rising, the hunger strikes in the '80s and the War of Independence.

Meanwhile, it has been suggested the resistance calendar was
published as a hoax in light of the controversy surrounding the
stalled Northern Ireland peace process and the DUP's insistence on
photographic evidence of IRA arms decommissioning.


Call For IRA Apology Over Deaths

By Jon Moreno

THE FATHER of a 21-year-old Island soldier murdered by the IRA 25
years ago has called on Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams to stop
holding up the peace process and apologise to the families of those
who have suffered loss at the hands of the terrorists.

Ryde man Bob Grundy, 72, and his former wife, Doris Moon, were
devastated when told that their son, Peter, had been killed by an
IRA booby trap on December 16, 1979 — news that has haunted them to
this day.

Peter, a private serving in 2 Battalion, the Parachute Regiment,
was killed when a bomb exploded as his patrol passed a derelict
building in Forkhill, South Armagh.

He had also just escaped death in the province on other occasions,
one of which was at Warrenpoint on August 29, 1979, during which a
convoy was ambushed. Six soldiers died in a huge bomb blast which
destroyed their truck.

The truck Peter was in was the middle of the convoy of three and
escaped uninjured.

He also survived a second bomb blast at the scene shortly
afterwards and a number of near misses in other incidents that year
— the year former Island governor Lord Louis Mountbatten was
murdered by the IRA.

Peter, who was educated at Bishop Lovett and Ryde High schools, was
sent straight to Northern Ireland after completing his training at

His father, a retired postman and former commanding officer of the
Ryde Army Cadets, laid a wreath at Peter's grave in Ryde Cemetery
on Thursday.

He has marked the anniversary of Peter's death for the past 25
years and feels as bitter towards his son's killers now as he did

"The IRA and Sinn Fein should now apologise to the British people
but I dare say it will never happen. You only need look at how the
IRA and Sinn Fein have held up the peace process in Northern
Ireland just because they do not want to provide photographic
evidence of disarmament.

"I would like to see the IRA completely disarm — that is the only
positive step towards peace."

Mr Grundy, of Lower Highland Road, Ryde, has never visited the
scene of his son's murder and feels he never could.

"I dare not go. I might just lose it," he said.

"Peter was there to do a job and wanted to be a success. Time has
not healed the loss of Peter and it never will."

Peter's mother, Mrs Moon, 72, of Bath, said: "It feels as painful
as ever — I will never forget what happened. It was the most
horrendous and dreadful crime."

A funeral with full military honours for Peter was held at Trinity
Church, Ryde.

The Ryde branch of the Royal British Legion has indicated to Mr
Grundy that his son's name could be added to the town memorial's
roll honouring wartime fallen.


SDLP's Disclosure Call

DUP are urged to reveal clarification

By Noel McAdam
20 December 2004

The SDLP has demanded that clarification notes given to the DUP in
the run-up to the Governments' devolution blueprint should be made

Party leader Mark Durkan claimed the DUP had been given
clarification in writing on around 40 separate issues by the
British Government.

As efforts to broker a deal before Christmas began to fade, the
former Deputy First Minister added: "Apparently, no other party has
seen this clarification.

"We are demanding that it be published ? and that the public have
the chance to see it too."

Mr Durkan also urged disclosure on how the proposals for what he
termed automatic exclusion of parties who dissent from new voting
mechanisms for the First and Deputy First Minister were included in
the Governments' Comprehensive Agreement.

"This is totally unprecedented. It is against the (Good Friday)
Agreement - and it is against the whole principle of inclusion.

The Governments say that it was not the DUP that put automatic
exclusion into this deal.

"We want to know who did, and why? Why does any party want others
to be automatically excluded ? especially when this 'Comprehensive
Agreement' is meant to end all the problems and difficulties of the
last few years? Surely the public is entitled to some transparency
about this?"

His criticism came as the United States special envoy to NI,
Mitchell Reiss, warned of the costs of failure to reach a political

"It is very difficult for foreign investment to come into Northern
Ireland if there is an uncertain political environment," he told
the BBC's 'Inside Politics'.

"And that costs the people here jobs, it comes them their future,
the future of their children as well."

As Taoiseach Bertie Ahern signalled he would not ask his officials
to work over Christmas, it also become clear that the issue of
photographic evidence of IRA decommissioning remains central.


Minister Unveils NI Spending Spree

Radical proposals for a multi billion-pound spending spree to
address Northern Ireland's infrastructure deficit were announced

By:Press Association

A ten-year framework for regeneration, produced by the Strategic
Investment Board, anticipates the delivery of £16 billion in key
investment on such things as roads, schools and hospitals.

It was announced by Finance Minister Ian Pearson as he delivered
the revised budget for Northern Ireland for next year and the
following two years.

Public spending will top £9 billion a year in the province by 2007-
2008 - up by 20% in real terms over the six years from 2002 - and
infrastructure investment will grow by 30% alone next year, he

He described the budget and infrastructure spending plans as "an
unprecedented expansion of investment".

With health and education taking the lion`s share of the spending -
health 40% of the total annual budget alone - there has been belt-
tightening in other departments.

Mr Pearson also confirmed previously announced plans to cut the
size of the Civil Service in Northern Ireland by 2,300 over the
next three years.

To help pay for the increased spending, Mr Pearson announced
inflation-busting rises in domestic rates of 9% in each of the next
two years and 6% the year after. Non-domestic rates will go up by
3.3% in each of the years.

Controversial water charges are also due to be introduced in 2006
which will increase household bills by several hundred pounds a
year. Mr Pearson said he knew they were a source of concern but
they were needed if major improvements in infrastructure were to be
carried forward.

Outlining the draft investment strategy for infrastructure
spending, he said: "This is the first time such a comprehensive and
far-sighted view of Northern Ireland`s investment needs has been

"It is a major step forward in the way in which we plan for the
future and will deliver benefits to all of the community."

Spending, through a combination of public-private partnership,
borrowing and traditional government investment, could deliver £16
billion of investment by 2015.

Mr Pearson said it would "radically improve" the quality of public
service delivery in Northern Ireland.

Returning to the budget for the next three years, Mr Pearson said
current health spending will increase by 23%, bringing the annual
total to £3.7 billion in 2007-2008.

Speaking in Belfast, he declared: "Those additional resources will
go towards delivering targets such as ensuring the maximum waiting
time for patients will be reduced to six months by 2010."

He said by March 2008 all patients asking for a clinical
appointment would be able to see a primary care professional within
two working days and by 2010 Government wanted to reduce the death
rate from circulatory diseases by at least 20% in people under 75.

Northern Ireland has some of the longest waiting lists in the UK
and, with pay swallowing up the vast amount of annual spending -
75% - officials already admit the targets are tough.

On education, Mr Pearson said there would be an 11% increase in
spending over the three-year period and a 62% rise in capital

"A high-quality education system remains a top priority for the
British government and this Budget will allow us to take forward a
programme of major education reform that will change and improve
substantially what our children learn, how they learn and the
environment within which they learn," said the minister.

He said government wanted to see substantial and measurable
improvements to educational attainment by 2008 at primary, GCSE and
A-Levels and had set new targets.

:: 80% of primary school pupils achieving Level 4 or above in Key
Stage 2 English and 83% in maths;

:: 63% of Year 12 pupils obtaining five or more GCSEs (or
equivalent) at grades A* to C;

:: 60% of Year 14 pupils achieving three or more A-Levels at grades
A to C (or equivalent).

Government, he said, also wanted to reduce differentials in
attainment. For those in the most disadvantaged secondary schools
targets had been set under which by 2008 at least 83% of Year 12
pupils would obtain five or more GCSEs at grades A* to C.

When Mr Pearson published his draft budget in October there was
outrage at planned spending cuts, particularly in the Department of
Culture, Arts and Leisure, affecting spending on the voluntary
sector, sport, children and the Northern Ireland Events Company
which brings high-profile events to the province.

Mr Pearson said he had met the main political parties and other
groups and received well over 400 written responses to the draft.

He said they had been able to respond to many of the issues raised.

He added he had considered the report of the Taskforce on
resourcing the Voluntary and Community Sector and could announce
the allocation of an initial £5 million over three years to set up
the Community Investment Fund recommended by the report.

"We have also listened to the concerns expressed about the
provision of services to children. To help address some of these
concerns we have allocated a further £15 million across the three
years for a capital modernisation fund and children`s organisations
will be able to apply for support from it," he said.

He has also found £2 million for the Events Company, £1.5 million
for the Sports Council and £6 million for the Arts Council over the
three years.

Mr Pearson said in striving to meet the British government`s
competitiveness objective it had set itself targets for reducing
the productivity gap with the rest of the UK, increasing the
proportion of the economically active working age population and,
by 2007, opening up the electricity market to all consumers.

Government was also determined to reduce the number of households
living in poverty through a co-ordinated policy aimed at halving
the number of children in low-income households by 2010.

The government efficiency drive which would see the 2,300 cut in
Civil Service staff would deliver efficiency gains of 2.5% a year
over the next three years, he went on.

The efficiency programme would mean an extra £100 million, £200
million and £300 million being available over the next three years
for investment in public services.

Under the draft Investment Strategy public sector capital
investment in Northern Ireland would rise from £800 million to £1.2
billion in each of the next three years, he added.

Mr Pearson`s announcement was made at the headquarters of the
Construction Employers Federation and its managing director, Tony
Doran, welcomed the investment strategy.

The industry would now have a better indication of investment plans
over the next decade, he said.

"Delivering this ambitious programme to bring our schools,
hospitals and infrastructure up to best world standards will be a
significant challenge," he said.

He added the industry, government client bodies and planning system
must all deliver on time to give value for money to keep the
ambitious programme on track.

"I am confident that working in partnership with government
departments and the SIB, we will be able to rise to this challenge
of improving the basic infrastructure of the province, which has
suffered from under-investment for so long," said Mr Doran.

He said many Federation members were currently engaged in a
substantial amount of work outside the province and around the

But it would not be difficult to bring capacity back to Northern
Ireland, he added, and would give a much welcome boost to
employment in all regions of the province.


Double Shooting Deaths May Have Been Suicide Pact

20/12/2004 - 11:53:56

Two young men found dead in Co Monaghan today may have been the
victims of a suicide pact.

A legally-held gun was found beside the bodies of the two close
friends, named locally as Darren Lavery, 22, and Jonathan McKenna,

Gardaí confirmed that they were not seeking anybody else in
connection with the incident at the Lavery family home in Emyvale,
five miles north of Monaghan town.

"It would appear it was a suicide pact," said a Garda source.

The grim discovery was made at the house, which is around half a
mile outside Emyvale, at 3am.

Locals expressed shock at the death of the two young men.

Darren Lavery, described as outgoing and unbelievably jolly, lived
with his mother, sister and three brothers. His late father had set
up a photography business, which was continued on by another of his

Lavery worked as a window-fitter and also as a part-time DJ. He had
recently placed an order for a 2005 commercial van.

His friend, Jonathan McKenna, lived nearby with his uncle's family.
His parents had both been killed in a road accident in Emyvale in
the late 1990s.

Gardaí discovered the bodies of the two young men with gunshot
wounds and preserved the scene for technical examination.

A post-mortem is expected to be carried out later today by the
state pathologist Dr Marie Cassidy.

Emyvale, which is a small village of around 500 people, was the
scene of a major search in 1999 for one of the Disappeared.

Gardaí excavated a site in an unsuccessful attempt to find the body
of Columba McVeigh, the 17-year-old Tyrone youth who was kidnapped
and killed in 1975 by the IRA, at Emyvale.

Last week, the National Suicide Research Foundation reported the
number of attempted suicides among young Irish people increased by
7% last year.

The foundation said attempted suicides among men in their early to
mid-20s increased by 8% in 2003, while the number of women
attempting suicide in their mid to late teens was up 5%.

The Samaritans can be contacted by phoning 1850 609090 or by


Radio Hosts Get Irish Parade Role

Monday, December 20, 2004


SPRINGFIELD - The hosts of a weekly radio program have been
selected to marshal the city's contingent in the 2005 Holyoke St.
Patrick's parade.

James and Margaret Sullivan, the host and hostess of "The Irish
Hours" on Radio Station WACE, were chosen to serve as marshals by
the Springfield St. Patrick's Parade Committee. Their selection was
announced last weekend at the Hungry Hill Center.

The Sullivans, who live in the Hungry Hill neighborhood, previously
received two other awards from the committee: the John J. Burke
Award and the Appreciation Award.

"This is the top honor, and we're just thrilled," said James
Sullivan, the former superintendent of tolls for the state Turnpike

The Sullivans are in their 34th year of hosting "The Irish Hours,"
which features Irish music and history and is broadcast on
Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The show is sponsored by the John
Boyle O'Reilly Club.

Committee President Nancy E. Lefebvre praised the Sullivans in
announcing their selection.

"They have instilled a great love for Irish traditional music in
all people, especially the young," she said last week.

Lefebvre also announced the committee's other 2005 award winners:

Mary Ellen Russell-O'Brien of Springfield was named recipient of
the John J. Burke Award, given to an individual who makes
outstanding contributions to the Irish-Americans of Springfield.

Russell-O'Brien teaches literature to seventh- and eighth-graders
at Our Lady of Hope School, and directs the summer camp, "Celtic
Adventures for Kids," at Elms College in Chicopee.

Marshall and Sandra Moriarty of Palmer were named to receive the
Paul G. Caron Award. They were honored for their community service
as members of the St. Patrick's Parade Committee.

Marshall Moriarty is a lawyer practising in Springfield, and Sandra
Moriarty is an elementary school principal in Southbridge. They
have sat on the committee since 1998.

Thaddeus S. "Ted" Nowak of Wilbraham was named the winner of the
Appreciation Award, given to a non-committee member who provides
outstanding service to the committee. He is the owner of Century
Limousine Service in Wilbraham, and for many years has provided
chauffeured limousine service to Springfield colleens.

"I was born on St. Patrick's Day, so everybody in my family knows
what March 17 is all about," Nowak said.


£40,000 Funding Cut For An Chultúrlann

West Belfast's Irish language community was dealt another blow
yesterday with news that An Chultúrlann has had its funding slashed
by Foras na Gaeilge.

Foras is the all-Ireland body responsible for promotion of Irish
language across the whole of the island.

However the body's credibility among local Irish activists has
already plummeted with its failure to provide much-needed funding
to daily Irish language paper LÁ contributing to two job losses.

An Chultúrlann received confirmation this week that its core
funding has been cut by forty thousand pounds, leading to real
fears of job losses at the Falls Road cultural centre.

This latest funding blow has prompted veteran gaeilgóir, Seamus Mac
Seain, to say that he has "lost confidence" in Foras na Gaeilge.

"It is now all hands to the pump, after the decision of Foras to
cut funding to the Cultúrlann.

"I have contributed in a voluntary capacity to the work at the
Cultúrlann over the last fourteen years.

"The reality is that this could lead to job losses, and my appeal
would now be for people who have a few hours to spare and who can
either speak Irish or want to learn a bit more, and who would be
willing to do voluntary work in the Cultúrlann, to get in touch
with me.

"It is vital that the Irish language community responds to this
situation vigorously, but just as we do that we should strive to
bolster the service that the Cultúrlann provides to the community.

"Anyone wishing to assist in those tasks should call me on
90619178," said Seamus.

A spokesperson for An Chultúrlann said yesterday that news of the
funding cuts is "very worrying".

"Obviously we're talking about this affecting core costs, with all
of the implications that has, and it is very worrying."

A spokesperson for Foras na Gaeilge issued the following statement:

"With regards to our new scheme for community project Scheimeanna
Pobail Gaeilge 2005/07, we have reached an interim stage.

"We hope to reach the end of the process by the end of January 2005
when we will publish a complete report on the results of this
public competition.

"In the meantime it would not be right or proper for Foras na
Gaeilge to comment on any one scheme while the process is still
ongoing," added the spokesperson.

Meanwhile a well-attended protest meeting to discuss the ongoing
unionist campaign against LÁ heard a strong message of support from
the Alliance Party Deputy Leader, Eileen Bell.

Representatives from Sinn Féin and various community organisations
were also in attendance.

The meeting at An Chultúrlann was organised by Irish language
umbrella organisation, Pobal and was welcomed by senior editorial
staff from LÁ, including editor Ciarán Ó Pronntaigh.

"There was a great deal of anger at this meeting about the way LÁ
has been treated due to this unionist campaign.

"However there was also great support from across the political
spectrum, from the Alliance Party to Sinn Féin.

"That is a boost to everyone determined to make this unionist
campaign against Irish cultural activities fail," said Ciarán.

Journalist:: Jarlath Kearney

Monthly Table of Contents 12/04

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