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December 28, 2004

12/28/04 - Dublin Calls For Compromise On Talks

Monthly Table of Contents 12/04

BT 12/28/04 Dublin Calls For Compromise On Talks
IO 12/28/04 SF To Mark Centenary With Recruitment Drive
UT 12/28/04 Shots Fired In West Belfast
BT 12/28/04 With Lifelines Used, Parties Switch To The Blame Game

RT 12/28/04 500 Irish People Believed To Be In South East Asia -VO

500 Irish People Believed To Be In South East Asia - Barry Cummins
reports on efforts by the Department of Foreign Affairs to
establish the condition of Irish people living or visiting the
region of the disaster


Dublin Calls For Compromise On Talks

By Gene McKenna

28 December 2004
THE Republic's government will not wait until after the British
General Election in May for progress in the peace process, Dublin
Foreign Affairs Minister Dermot Ahern has said.

Mr Ahern said the Government would not contemplate any break in the
process due to the dangers of allowing it to drift.

The Minister told the Irish Independent that, in prolonged private
talks at the EU Summit in Brussels, the Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and
Prime Minister Tony Blair, together with Secretary of State Paul
Murphy and himself, repeated their absolute determination to get an
early restoration of the institutions.

"From the first day of January, our officials will be back working
on this," Mr Ahern said. "I think an agreement will happen one way
or another. But when it is put in place, it will work.

"It behoves everyone to compromise on issues they are holding
steady on. We will try hard to get movement on these," he said.

But if there is any republican paramilitary involvement in the huge
Northern Bank heist, it will raise "very serious questions"
according to the Minister.

"We will just have to wait and see on that. Nobody seems to know
who was behind this robbery," he said.

In his first interview since taking over at the Department of
Foreign Affairs, Mr Ahern has revealed Ireland will open six new
embassies next year - in Latvia, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Romania,
Malta and Vietnam.

And Ireland has offered assistance on UN reform and world conflict
to Secretary General Kofi Annan.


SF To Mark Centenary With Recruitment Drive
2004-12-28 09:50:02

Sinn Féin will use centenary celebrations next year to embark on a
major recruitment drive on both sides of the border, it emerged

The party is planning rallies, concerts, exhibitions and leadership
tours across Ireland throughout 2005 as well as events in Britain,
Europe, Australia and other parts of the world.

South Down Assembly member Caitríona Ruane, a member of the party
committee responsible for the celebrations, said: "This is a huge
undertaking for us.

"The last six months have been spent preparing for the centenary

"A programme will be launched in January which will include events
like a special women's conference in Newry in February and a
massive centenary celebration in Dublin's City West Hotel which
holds around 2,500 people.

"There will also be concerts featuring major artistes and events on
a local level such as leadership tours, exhibitions and a series of
murals throughout the 32 counties.

"We are organising events in England, Scotland and Wales. Gerry
Adams is going to take part in an event in Europe and we are also
planning events in the Middle East, Latin America and Africa.

"The ard fheis in March will be different to any of those we have
had before. There will also be events in colleges and universities
and the centenary will be the platform for a recruitment drive."

Sinn Féin was founded in 1905 by Arthur Griffith.

However, after the 1916 Easter Rising in Dublin and the execution
of republican rebel leaders, the party reorganised and grew in
electoral strength under the leadership of Eamon de Valera and
Michael Collins while the IRA engaged in guerilla warfare.

After partition, Sinn Féin focused on getting rid of the border and
on reunification.

During the Troubles, the party split in 1970 over the issue of
whether parliaments in Belfast and Dublin should be recognised by
its members.

Opponents of the move walked out and formed their own organisation,
Provisional Sinn Féin, in Dublin, with the Provisional IRA also

Those who remained formed the Official IRA and Official Sinn Féin
which later mutated into the Workers' Party which split in 1992.

In 1986, Provisional Sinn Féin suffered its own split at a
conference in Dublin, with Ruairí Ó Brádaigh leading a faction out
of the party after a majority of delegates backed a proposal that
the party should sit in the Dáil if it won seats.

Mr Ó Brádaigh and his supporters formed Republican Sinn Féin.

Since the 1994 and 1997 IRA ceasefires, Sinn Féin has become the
largest nationalist party in Northern Ireland, has taken seats in a
Stormont Assembly and served in a power-sharing executive with
unionists between 1999 and 2002.

The party has also grown significantly in the Irish Republic.

Sinn Féin now has two MEPs (one on either side of the border), 232
councillors throughout Ireland, 24 members of the Stormont
Assembly, five TDs in the Dáil and four MPs.

Ms Ruane, a former director of the West Belfast Festival, said:
"Our celebrations in 2005 will reflect how Sinn Féin has become the
fastest-growing party in Ireland.

"We will involve activists across all layers of the party as well
as others outside the party.

"Our centenary celebrations will focus on issues of huge importance
to Ireland's future such as equality, human rights and ethnic


Shots Fired In West Belfast

Police are investigating reports of two shooting incidents in west

Police received a report that two shots had been fired at a house
at Waterford Street, at 12.25am this morning.

The two shots struck the front door of the house, which was
unoccupied at the time.

Reports were also received of two shots being fired at a house on
the Springfield Road, shortly after 1am. One of the shots struck a

It is believed a maroon/red car was used in both of the incidents.


With Lifelines Used, Parties Switch To The Blame Game

With the devolution talks in abeyance Political Correspondent Noel
McAdam looks at the ongoing show of negotiations, which is no game

By Noel McAdam, Political Correspondent
28 December 2004

IF they ever turn the political process into a television show -
and the way things are, don't rule it out - it will obviously be
called The Blame Game.

The main factor preventing the reality show merchants from cashing
in would be, of course, the general lack of reality. So game show
it is.

Oddly enough the show which most resembles what passes for politics
here is probably Who Wants to be a Millionaire? and not just
because the prize is so great.

Nor is it that the electorate have gone for the 50/50 option,
cutting their main choices from four to two - Sinn Fein and the

Not either than those two parties perhaps more than others find
themselves at some points totally unable to phone a friend.

Not even that our leaders, Messrs Blair and Ahern, in making public
their Comprehensive proposals for a deal, have opted to ask the

The main point of comparison would appear to be that, as with those
famous cheques, we cannot see what we would have got until we get
the right answer.

Choose the wrong one, just like in the show, and we slide quickly
down to base and lose out significantly. So to return to the
reality show metaphor momentarily many people are saying: "You are
the politicians: get us out of here!"

Negotiations to try to restore workable devolution, now in cold
storage for more than two years, appear to be making progress - but
a final deal is proving elusive.

The Governments seem determined to work away at it, alternatively
coaxing and cajoling said protagonists - but with the natural New
Year break, it will be early next week before even a return to the
work in progress is possible.

And by the end of the month all parties will have a weather eye on
Westminster - with a General Election possibly as early as May -
and the local government poll, already marked down for June. Some
senior DUP figures privately believe Blair may go for a snap
election in February.

And if the history of this process shows anything, it is that
parties will not be seen to compromise in the throes of an

Republicans have more to do before DUP could possibly sell a deal,
even with Ian Paisley as guarantor supremo. Yet the DUP's bottom
line may be beyond what Sinn Fein can deliver.

In terms of compromise or reconciliation, the DUP has yet to even
acknowledge Sinn Fein in any meaningful way. In this case point-
scoring means prices: the cost is the prospect of a viable

In other words, to twist Chris Tarrant just

Monthly Table of Contents 12/04
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