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December 04, 2004

News 12/04/04 - Pressure Mounts On Paisley

News about Ireland & the Irish

UT 12/04/04 Pressure Mounts As Paisley Talks To Disarmament Body
BB 12/04/04 IRA 'Must Photograph Arms'
BB 12/04/04 Will They, Won't They?
SF 12/04/04 Sinn Féin Receives Confirmation Of Peace Dividend
BB 12/04/04 High Hopes For Peaceful Parade
DJ 12/04/04 Derry Man In MI5 Spanish Sting Operation
DJ 12/04/04 Derry Loyalist To Be Laid To Rest
HL 12/04/04 Kinvara: A Spirit Of Place
UT 12/04/04 Fire At Bessbrook School
UT 12/04/04 Irish Are Prosperous, Says Survey

NP 07/05/04 Hebrides Economic Revolution & Gaelic Culture –AO
NP 08/17/04 Lunasa Hotest – IT: Irish Acoustic Band –AO
NP 04/19/04 Irish Cheeses -AO

(Poster's Note: I found a new source of Irish News (like I needed
another) - NPR (National Public Radio). See the audio links below.

In the first of a two-part Worlds of Difference series, Vera Frankl
reports about an economic revolution on Scotland's remote Hebrides
Islands. While the semi-feudal farming system there slowly dies
out, tenant farmers are fighting to preserve their ancient Gaelic

The Irish Times call Lúnasa the hottest Irish acoustic band on the
planet, with whistles, various stringed instruments and Uilleann
pipes - similar to traditional bag pipes but even harder to play.
Lúnasa - CD: The Kinnitty Sessions; Song: "Stolen Purse"; Label:
Compass Records

Day to Day, April 19, 2004 · Reporter Frank Browning profiles an
Irish couple who've devoted their lives to cultivating cheese.
Irish cheese is becoming the rage among traditional European cheese
heavyweights, like France.


Pressure Mounts As Paisley Talks To Disarmament Body

Democratic Unionist leader the Reverend Ian Paisley was today
holding crucial talks with the head of Northern Ireland's
independent disarmament body as the pressure mounted on his party
and Sinn Fein to endorse a new peace process deal.

By:Press Association

The DUP leader arranged talks with General John de Chastelain in a
bid to press home his party`s demand for more transparent weapons
decommissioning from the IRA.

It is the second time both of them have met this week and it
follows hard on a warning from Taoiseach Bertie Ahern in Dublin
last night that British and Irish governments have set a four-day
deadline for agreement.

After a meeting with Northern Ireland`s most senior policeman Chief
Constable Hugh Orde yesterday, Rev Paisley appeared to cast doubt
on the prospect of a deal when he condemned reports that the
withdrawal of British soldiers could be speeded up in the event of
an agreement.

The North Antrim MP also insisted Sinn Fein would have to declare
its hand before his party on whether it would sign up to the two
governments` formula for reviving power sharing at Stormont and
removing the gun forever from Northern Ireland politics.

"This is not negotiations with Sinn Fein," he declared.

"It`s an ultimatum to Sinn Fein. Are you going to continue to be
terrorists or are you going to quit your terrorist path?"

The North Antrim MP added: "I will have to do a good deal of

"I will have to do a good deal of biting my lip in future days but
I`m prepared to do that provided they cease to be terrorists."


IRA 'Must Photograph Arms'

The IRA should provide photographs of disarmament if they are
needed to secure a deal, an SDLP politician has said.

West Belfast assemblyman Alex Attwood told the BBC that the
paramilitary group owed it to the people of Ireland.

The DUP has demanded photographic evidence of decommissioning as an
essential part of any deal to restore devolution in Northern

"The IRA should go as far as they possibly can to respond to the
requirements of the Irish people," Mr Attwood said.

"For that reason the Irish people, I think, require them - if
necessary - to accept the issue of photographs."

The West Belfast assembly member made the comments on the BBC's
Inside Politics programme on Saturday.

The political institutions in Northern Ireland have been suspended
since October 2002 amid claims of IRA intelligence-gathering at the
Northern Ireland Office.

Intensive negotiations between the two governments and the
political parties have taken place over the past few weeks.

They have centred on the responses from Sinn Fein and the DUP to
proposals put forward by the British and Irish Governments aimed at
restoring power-sharing.

On Friday, DUP leader Ian Paisley said recent forecasts that
demilitarisation would be speeded up would put back chances of any

He said it was not up to his party to say yes or no to the
proposals when they meet Tony Blair on Monday, but that Sinn Fein
should first indicate that it would abide by the governments' plan.

Mr Paisley said that if the IRA gave up its weapons and abandoned
its criminal activity he would have to "swallow hard" to do
business with republicans.

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams responded angrily to Mr Paisley's

Arms commission

He said: "Ian Paisley's outburst can only make the achievement of
agreement more frustrating. Perhaps that is the intention."

"The use of such provocative, insulting and offensive language is
the clearest evidence of how far the DUP have to move to embrace
concepts of accommodation and equality which are at the core of the
peace process."

Mr Adams has declined to comment on the details of decommissioning
and photographic evidence, saying it was a matter for General de
Chastelain's arms commission.

The current negotiations are being conducted through a series of
British and Irish Government intermediaries because the DUP refuses
to hold face-to-face talks with Sinn Fein.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2004/12/04 09:36:00 GMT


Will They, Won't They?

By Mark Devenport
BBC Northern Ireland political editor

Another weekend - another chance for the DUP to make their minds

Gerry Adams tells Ian Paisley to get on with it. The DUP reply that
they still don't have specific commitments from the IRA on ending
activity and providing photographs of disarmament.

Ask Mr Adams if he accepts the latest British-Irish proposals,
which include the notion of photographs being taken, but not
published until after an executive is formed, and he will tell you
that London and Dublin are well aware of his position.

So is that a "yes" or a "no"?

Well, he's not saying.

Ask the DUP if they are ready to present Tony Blair with a golden
egg when they go to Downing Street and they will tell you that
depends on hatching habits of the republican chicken.

Ask the public what they think, and they will probably want to be
woken up when it's all over.

Hopefully, one way or another, they will be able to set their alarm
clocks for one day next week.

Like everyone else, I'm getting tired pondering the interminable:
"Will they, won't they?" question.

So I am beginning to wonder whether we are missing the wood for the

What we have seen in the past few weeks is endless high profile
activity which has hogged the headlines. And if you are a political
party preparing to go to the polls that can't be bad.

Take Mr Adams' last visit to Downing Street.

On the way in he left the talking to Mitchel McLaughlin who is
likely to be Sinn Fein's parliamentary candidate in a close battle
for the Foyle constituency.

That is provided republicans don't pull a real stroke by packing
Martin McGuinness back to his home town to take on SDLP leader Mark

Standing alongside Mitchel McLaughlin were Conor Murphy, who hardly
needs the publicity to bolster his position in Newry and Armagh and
Catriona Ruane, who now appears to be permanently glued to Mr
Adams' shoulder.

This, of course, has nothing to do with her candidacy in South

From Downing Street, Mr Adams flew off to make a keynote speech in
Navan, where coincidentally Sinn Fein were announcing the candidacy
of Joe Reilly for a Dail by-election.

If republicans were as transparent about their decommissioning as
they are about their electioneering, we'd probably have a deal in
the bag by now.

The DUP are less bold (or maybe less organised) about their product

However, they, too, know that the image of Mr Paisley going in and
out of Downing Street will do them no harm at the polls.

After so many years in the wilderness the "big man" is now at the
centre of the big picture.

He must hope his parliamentary candidates will benefit from the
general impression that the Trimble era is over.

There are incentives for both parties to cut a deal before the
Westminster election.

Sinn Fein know that as long as republicans retain the vestiges of
paramilitarism, their scope for growth south of the border will be

Failure to reach agreement would open the DUP to criticism from the
Ulster Unionists that their "fair deal" really means "no deal".

But, equally, Ian Paisley won't want to go down as some kind of
"Lundy" figure who let down the loyalist on the street.

If there's no deal, the parties will quickly move into a blame
game, claiming it's the other side who failed to live up to the
spirit of the latest British and Irish proposals.

However, the media will cover that too, and there on the screen we
shall see yet more parliamentary candidates glued to their leaders'
shoulders, all too aware that all publicity is good publicity.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2004/12/03 17:41:54 GMT


Sinn Féin Receives Confirmation Of Peace Dividend

Published: 3 December, 2004

Sinn Féin Chairperson Mitchel McLaughlin has this evening revealed
that the British government have confirmed in writing to Sinn Féin
that they will deliver a peace dividend as part of any deal.

Mr McLaughlin said:

"Sinn Féin has been arguing strongly within the negotiations for
the British Government to deliver a substantial peace dividend as
part of any overall deal. I believe that the case we put to them
was irrefutable.

"Tonight the British government have agreed that a significant
peace dividend is necessary. I obviously welcome that. But the
content and terms suggested to us this evening by Paul Murphy fall
very short of what is required. Sinn Fein will now meet with the
British Government to ensure that any peace dividend is significant
enough to make a real impact, particularly on the human rights and
equality agendas.

"Having brought the British government to this position, we will
continue to press them to ensure that any financial package is
significant and that it is used to the benefit of those communities
which have suffer most from the conflict".ENDS


High Hopes For Peaceful Parade

The police are optimistic a loyal order parade in Londonderry will
pass off without any major problems.

Security is likely to be reduced for the annual Protestant
Apprentice Boys parade on Saturday.

About 2,500 Apprentice Boys and 22 bands are due take part in the
main Lundy's Day parade.

It marks the 316th anniversary of the shutting of the city's gates
by supporters of William of Orange against the forces of the
Catholic King James II in 1688.

Foyle District Commander Richard Russell said he wanted the
celebrations to be as normal as possible.

"Our aim is to police this event in a way that will allow life in
the city to continue as normally as possible and I encourage
businesses to open as normal," he said.

"This means that everyone, marchers, bands, supporters and local
people can mix on the parade route.

"I appeal to all those people to resist provocative behaviour which
remains the only small irritation in a parade which has become a
triumph for tolerance between the communities in the city."

Police have said they will confiscate alcohol on buses and on the
parade route and illegal emblems will not be allowed. All bands
have been warned about their behaviour.

Mr Russell said evidence from CCTV and police cameras would be used
to bring public order offenders before the courts.

Contentious parade

Recent years have seen little trouble at the event, after agreement
was reached between the Apprentice Boys, the nationalist Bogside
Residents' Group and the business community.

Last year, the police said it was one of the most peaceful parades
in recent times.

However, 17 people have already been reported for alleged offences
arising out of a parade in August.

Meanwhile, eight feeder parades are due to take place in Belfast on

In north Belfast, the Parades Commission has ruled that the
Ligoniel Walkers Club must not walk past a mainly nationalist area,
close to the junctions of the Ardoyne, Crumlin and Woodvale roads.

However, they can be taken by bus along that section of the route
before going to Derry for the main parade.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2004/12/04 09:22:47 GMT


Derry Man In MI5 Spanish Sting Operation

Friday 3rd December 2004

Prominent Derry solicitor Paddy MacDermott says it appears armed
British security agents are operating in a foreign country after a
local republican currently living in Spain claimed that he was
approached by MI5 this week in an intricate operation he believes
was designed to get information from him.

Mr. MacDermott, whose client was the man approached, said he had
been in contact with the Department of Foreign Affairs and the
Spanish authorities about what he said was a "deeply disturbing'

He told the 'Journal': "This is a deeply disturbing incident in
which a Derry republican was approached by armed individuals in
Spain who claimed to be from MI5.

"I have been in contact with the Spanish authorities over what
appears to be members of the British security services operating in
a foreign country and I want to know who authorised this

The Derry republican, who asked not to be named in order to protect
family members still living in the city, described his ordeal.

He told the 'Journal': "I have been working in this small mountain
village in Catalonia for the past couple of days restoring an old

"On Wednesday about 2 p.m. I went to a local bar for some coffee
and lunch. As I was sitting there I heard an English accent calling
me by name and I turned and saw a couple in their 30's with three
bottles of beer.

"I assumed they wanted some work done as English speaking builders
are hard to find."

He went on: "No sooner had they sat down the man said quite calmly,
'We work for MI5,' at the same time moving his jacket to show a
gun. I immediately put the beer down and got up to leave telling
them to go 'f - -themselves.'"

The Derry man said that as he headed towards the door he noticed
two other men sitting at another table, one of whom he had seen
earlier in the day loitering near where he was working.

He added: "As I went towards the door I noticed the English couple
were coming behind me. The man said: 'Don't worry we're not going
to follow you, we just want a quick chat outside.'

"I stopped and instead went to talk to the barman as I knew they
would not want witnesses."

The man said he then phoned the Spanish police to tell them that he
had been approached by an armed man and was told the police would
be there shortly.

The Derry man said that he then got angry and left the bar and had
words with the people who had approached him.

He said: "I told them to go home, that the Empire was over and that
Spain was not British. As I followed them two more men appeared
from a side street talking on a radio and in total I noticed seven
people working in a team."

The Derry man said that he was a republican but had never been
convicted of anything.

He added: "The only thing I can think of is that when I was in
Derry I worked for the prisoners.

"I would advise anyone if they are approached in this manner to
make it clear that they do not want to talk to these people,
contact their solicitor and the media."

The Derry man has been in contact with the Spanish police who
arrived on the scene shortly after the incident and he gave them
the number of the car used by some of the group who approached him.


Derry Loyalist To Be Laid To Rest

Friday 3rd December 2004

The funeral of a leading loyalist who apparently took his own life
in Derry earlier this week will take place later today.

Bertie Montgomery was found dead in the offices of the Ulster
Political Research Group in the Bond's Place area on Tuesday

The 44-year-old father-of-three was a well-known activist who had
previously worked for the UDP and UPRG. He spent the last eight
years working with loyalist ex-prisoners.

Police investigating the death say they are not treating it as

Speaking last night, close friend and associate, Davy Nicholl, said
Mr. Montgomery had been left distraught by the decision of the
Police Ombudsman not to launch a probe into the IRA murder of his
brother in 1981.

David Montgomery was a part time UDR man when he was shot dead at
the Strand Road timber yard where he worked.

Mr. Nicholl said his friend was angry at the refusal of Nuala
O'Loan's team to investigate allegations of security force
collusion in the murder.

He said: "Bertie felt betrayed and devastated by that decision and
he left me a note telling me to continue to pursue the case. That
is what we intend to do because that was Bertie's mission in life.
He never really got over the death of his brother."

Mr. Nicholl paid tribute to Mr. Montgomery whom he described as a
close friend. He said his dedication to the loyalist community and
his commitment to a peaceful resolution to the 'Troubles' was

Mr. Montgomery's remains will leave his sister's Canterbury Park
home tomorrow at 2 p.m. for buried in Altnagelvin Cemetery.


Kinvara: A Spirit Of Place

Producer: Frank Browning

Thirty-one years ago, when Liadain O'Donovan first showed me around
the "west country" of Ireland, we joked that you'd find more black-
cassocked priests on the roads than utility poles. There were fewer
cars on the back lanes than horse-drawn carts. Thatched cottages
seemed still to be the standard. And the region's greatest export
was its children. As late as the 1980s as many as two-thirds of
Irish high school graduates emigrated to survive.

Today, Ireland ranks as one of the ten richest countries in the
world. Its economic growth rate is about 6 percent, unemployment is
below 5 percent, its trade surplus is the highest in Europe. At the
same time, the scandals of the 1990s, which revealed rampant child
abuse by Catholic priests who until very recently ran nearly all
the schools, have brought shame and massive disaffection from the
Church. In the wake has come a radical transformation in everything
having to do with daily life in Ireland.

To travel these days through the west country, in Galway and Clare
counties, is to see a mad dash of unregulated new construction—from
gaudy block and brick two-stories to hives of holiday cottages
lined out along the seaside slopes. The churches have not
disappeared, but no longer is it conceivable that the priest could,
with a single nod, block the sale of a field or a house to a
prospective buyer deemed morally suspect.

What diet fed the unrestrained growth of this so-called Celtic

By most analysis, it was the convergence of three forces: the
collapse of Church control over nearly every element of public and
private life; a near 100-percent literacy rate, which was possibly
the church schools' greatest contribution; and the arrival of a
high-tech information industry in the early 1990s, which turned
Ireland into the primary manufacturing and sales center for
American personal computer production in Europe.

Low manufacturing taxes and interest rates, combined with high
language skills, lured American companies and stimulated enormous
growth in service sector spending.

Results? Dublin now claims the most expensive real estate in
Europe, where a simple two-story, four-room frame and stucco house
can go for $1 million. Houses in Kinvara go for half a million
(Phil Moylan, the owner of Winckle's pub there, recently rejected
an offer of 1.2 million euros). Locals and tourists alike now eat
out and demand better food—a pleasant change from the boiled
potatoes and roasted lamb gristle of 30 years ago. But prosperity
has not come without its price. Ireland now suffers the highest
alcoholism rate in western Europe. The newspapers are full of
stories about drunken brawls and highway deaths. And little towns
like Kinvara query themselves endlessly about the fate of the
famous land of artists and poets.

—Frank Browning

Kinvara Online

Kinvara, A Seaport Town on Galway Bay (book)


Fire At Bessbrook School

More than 350 primary school children had to be evacuated from a
Northern Ireland school today when a fire broke out in the canteen.

The headmistress of Saint Joseph`s Primary School in Bessbrook said
the children were never in danger.

More than 20 firefighters spent more than an hour battling the
blaze that broke out in a wooden hut on top of the school canteen
and then spread to the eating area.

A cook in the canteen alerted the rest of the school to the fire
and all the children were out before the fire alarm sounded.

Despite the fire drill going to plan, many of the children were

A local presbyterian minister went to the school as soon as he
heard the news and opened his church hall for the children to go

The school was also in the headlines last week when the Irish
president Mary McAleese made a visit.

The school will be open as normal on Monday.


Irish Are Prosperous, Says Survey

The Irish are the second most prosperous people in the European
Union - and even wealthier than the Swiss, according to figures
published today.

Nothing can shift Luxembourgers from the top spot - the Grand Duchy
boasts per capita wealth running at more than twice the EU average.

But, for the third year running, a thriving economy boosted by EU
membership benefits has pitched Ireland ahead of rich nations such
as Germany, Austria and Denmark.

The figures from Eurostat, the EU`s statistical office, assess GDP
in terms of purchasing power standards (PPS).

Taking 100 as the EU average, Luxembourg per capita GDP is put at
215%, followed by Ireland at 133%.

Denmark, Austria, the Netherlands, the UK and Belgium are next, at
around 120%.

At the other end of the scale, Lithuania, Poland and Latvia
recorded figures last year of less than half the EU average.

Countries still aspiring to become EU members - Bulgaria, Croatia,
Romania and Turkey, have even lower per capita wealth - in Turkey`s
case just 28% of the EU average.

Three prosperous countries happy to stay outside the EU - Iceland,
Norway and Switzerland - are doing very nicely, although all are
outshone by Luxembourg and two of them by Ireland.

The figures: EU 25 nations, GDP per capita in PPS (average 100)

Luxembourg - 215
Ireland - 133
Denmark - 123
Austria - 122
Netherlands - 121
UK - 118
Belgium - 118
Sweden - 115
Finland - 113
France - 111
Germany - 108
Italy - 107
Spain - 98
Cyprus - 83
Greece - 81
Slovenia - 77
Malta - 75
Portugal - 74
Czech Republic- 69
Hungary - 61
Slovakia - 52
Estonia - 49
Lithuania - 46
Poland - 46
Latvia - 41

Aspiring EU members:
Croatia - 46
Bulgaria - 30
Romania - 30
Turkey - 28

Iceland - 119
Norway - 148
Switzerland - 131

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