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December 05, 2004

News 12/06/04 - PMs Want Deal By Tomorrow

News about Ireland & the Irish

IT 12/06/04 Ahern And Blair Want North Deal Agreed By Tomorrow
IT 12/06/04 Paisley Prepares For Critical London Meeting With Blair
IT 12/06/04 McCabe Widow Says SF And IRA Are Unjust To Her -V(2)
IT 12/06/04 Meeting With McCabe Unlikely Without Deal
CN 12/05/04 DUP Criticised Over Photo Demand
SM 12/05/04 When A Swallowing & Lip Biting Is Worth The Effort
BB 12/05/04 CS Spray Used To Quell Brawl
SF 12/05/04 Ballymena Nationalists Protest At PSNI Barracks
IO 12/05/04 Reunion Joy For Freed Hostage Annetta Flanigan
IT 12/06/04 Tara Alternative Outlined In 2000 Study
IT 12/06/04 Americans Involved In Collision Flown Back To US
IT 12/06/04 Swords Named Dirtiest Of 30 Irish Towns
IT 12/06/04 Officers Discover Illegal Vodka Distilling Plant –V


Ahern And Blair Want North Deal Agreed By Tomorrow

Gerry Moriarty, Northern Editor

The Taoiseach and British Prime Minister intend to travel to
Northern Ireland on Wednesday either to endorse a comprehensive
political agreement or to publish their proposals for restoring
devolution if the deal is rejected.

The British Prime Minister, Mr Tony Blair, will hold a critical
meeting with the Rev Ian Paisley in Downing Street this afternoon
as both the DUP and Sinn Féin continue to wage a brinkmanship
battle over visual verification of IRA disarmament.

British officials were last night arranging a Belfast venue for
Wednesday's scheduled meeting between the Taoiseach, Mr Ahern, and
Mr Blair.

Mr Ahern and Mr Blair were hoping for definitive answers from the
DUP and Sinn Féin today to their amended blueprint for restoring
devolution, but are prepared to give the parties until tomorrow
evening for their final responses.

"Sinn Féin and the DUP have until close of business on Tuesday to
tell us whether this is a runner or not," said a senior Dublin
source last night.

"The parties had the weekend to reflect on our proposals. It's now
up to them to make up their minds," said a British government

Dublin and London sources made it clear, however, that if the
blueprint was rejected, the governments would publish the proposals
or a summary of them. They appeared confident that the public would
consider the proposals a fair deal.

If the proposals are rejected, Mr Blair will be faced with the
option of whether to call Assembly elections. In such an
eventuality the "blame game" would then kick in with whichever
party - the DUP or Sinn Féin - was viewed as chiefly responsible
for the collapse of the deal having to justify its stance to the

Mr Blair and Mr Ahern hope that Wednesday will witness a carefully
choreographed series of events in which the IRA will make a clear
statement of its intent to end activity and disarm and that the DUP
will respond with an equally transparent commitment to share power
with Sinn Féin. As part of the agreement package the Government has
conceded the Sinn Féin demand that Northern Ireland MPs and MEPS
should have some speaking rights in the Dáil.

Other key issues yet to be fully resolved include establishing a
clear protocol for how the DUP leader, Dr Paisley, and Sinn Féin's
chief negotiator Mr Martin McGuinness would work together as First
and Deputy First Minister.

The sequence for when the DUP would clearly illustrate it was
prepared to share power with Sinn Féin was also an outstanding
issue, sources added. But, it was generally agreed, the main
obstacle to a deal was resolving the visual proof issue.

The governments' blueprint required photographs to be published
after devolution was restored, while Dr Paisley would be allowed
see pictures of decommissioning before devolution, it is

Dr Paisley's most recent demand, however, was for publication of
visual evidence after decommissioning but before the DUP was
demonstrably sharing power with Sinn Féin.

While Dr Paisley so far has made the issue of photographs almost a
bottom line demand for the DUP, Mr Adams yesterday strongly
indicated that the IRA would not allow photographs to be produced
or published. He appeared to characterise the visual requirement as
an unacceptable attempt to humiliate republicans.

In an interview on RTÉ yesterday he referred to the current
potential to achieve "an end to physical force republicanism".

In an implicit reference to the photographic demand he added: "Is
it going to be thrown away because Ian Paisley does not get the
process of humiliation that he wants?"

Senior DUP members held a meeting over the weekend to consider the
governments' proposals.

A DUP senior delegation also met Gen John de Chastelain's
decommissioning body on Saturday, after which Dr Paisley, his
deputy Mr Peter Robinson, and North Belfast MP Mr Nigel Dodds
complained that the IRA had not yet renewed contact with the

© The Irish Times


Paisley Prepares For Critical London Meeting With Blair

Gerry Moriarty, Northern Editor

The chance of Sinn Féin and the DUP signing off on a comprehensive
deal to restore devolution remained on a knife-edge last night as
the DUP leader, Rev Ian Paisley, prepared for a critical meeting
with Mr Tony Blair in London today.

The British Prime Minister is hoping that Dr Paisley will tell him
today that he can at least live with the British and Irish
governments' blueprint for restoring devolution, although the
outcome of this meeting is unpredictable. Both the DUP and
republicans appeared deadlocked on the issue of the DUP demand for
photographic verification of future acts of IRA decommissioning.

The British and Irish governments' proposals require republicans to
allow publication of visual evidence of decommissioning after
devolution is restored and the DUP has demonstrated it is sharing
power, it is understood.

The Sinn Féin president, Mr Gerry Adams, signalled yesterday,
however, that photographs were unlikely to be forthcoming from the
IRA. The DUP in turn has gone beyond the governments' blueprint by
demanding that the pictures are published before it will share
power with Sinn Féin.

Mr Adams said that Dr Paisley in seeking photographs was "setting
out the rationale" for the DUP to humiliate republicans. He added:
"Wouldn't it be awful, say we get to the point where we have a
comprehensive agreement - and remember Ian Paisley has yet to say
yes to working with other parties - but say we got that, and say we
get the IRA to come up to the line, and the IRA is prepared to put
weapons beyond use, and the IRA is prepared to go into an entirely
new mode, and we are all satisfied we are going to see in this time
of our lives, perhaps an end to physical force republicanism - is
it going to be thrown away because Ian Paisley does not get the
process of humiliation that he wants."

Last weekend Dr Paisley said republicans must be humiliated and
they must wear "sackcloth and ashes". This weekend he described Mr
Adams as a "bloody and deceitful" man.

Mr Adams on RTÉ's This Week programme yesterday repeated that
republicans should not "be provoked by the very offensive language
that Ian Paisley used . . . This is the language that led to
pogroms in the late 1960s".

"If Ian Paisley has problems going into government with Sinn Féin
the very fact that Sinn Féin will be putting Ian Paisley into power
does not play very well with republicans and nationalists and,
broadly speaking, in Catholic communities," he added.

Sinn Féin, nonetheless, recognised the DUP mandate, he said. And
despite the recent "offensive" attacks on republicans by Dr
Paisley, Mr Adams accepted that at the weekend the DUP leader "did
give a begrudging acknowledgement of Sinn Féin's electoral

"What he has to do is go further than that and say he will be part
of the power-sharing institutions, and that he will sign up to
equality," Mr Adams added.

Senior DUP party officers including Dr Paisley met over the weekend
to consider the British-Irish blueprint, according to a DUP source.
A DUP delegation led by Dr Paisley also met the Independent
International Commission on Decommissioning (IICD) on Saturday,
following another meeting the previous day.

Dr Paisley, in a statement after the meeting, did not refer to
photographic verification but instead complained that the process
was being held up because the republican movement had not engaged
directly with IICD head, Gen John de Chastelain "to discuss the
details of the proposed decommissioning events".

© The Irish Times


See video at:

McCabe Widow Says SF And IRA Are Unjust To Her -V(2)

Conor Lally

The widow of Det Garda Jerry McCabe has said it is unjust of Sinn
Féin and the IRA to hold her hostage and make out she is standing
in the way of the peace process.

Speaking to The Irish Times yesterday, Ms Ann McCabe said the Sinn
Féin president, Mr Gerry Adams, was trying to diminish her grief
and that of her family by continually saying on radio and
television that her husband had been killed, rather than murdered.

"He can't even say the word murdered, not once has he said it," Ms
McCabe said. Assertions by Mr Adams that many people in the North,
including himself, had seen the killers of their friends and loved
ones go free from prison early as part of the peace process did not
relate to the case of her husband's killers.

"I don't know if any of Gerry Adams's family was killed in the
Troubles and I can't speak for him. But let's be very clear about
this and let me say this to Gerry Adams: Jerry was never part of
the Good Friday agreement, never. If he was, then there would have
been nothing we could have done about it, but he wasn't.

"It's unjust of Sinn Féin and the IRA to now hold me a hostage and
make out I'm standing in the way of the peace process. We all
signed up for peace, I voted for the Good Friday agreement because
they [ her husband's killers] didn't come under it at the time.
Their release was never on the table, as far I was concerned,
during negotiations and I'm wondering now when it was put on the

Ms McCabe said she had recently received an e-mail from a former
RUC officer, who said that if her husband's killers went free, then
the Irish people could not trust Mr Ahern or the Irish Government
again. "That about sums it up," she said.

She had met the Minister for Defence, Mr O'Dea, in Limerick on
Friday and was "very disappointed" at the manner in which the
Taoiseach had treated Mr O'Dea. "He said that he heard about it in
the same way I did. I heard it on the news in the car.

"Willie O'Dea has been Limerick's first senior Minister for a long
time, he's been very supportive and has done a lot for the city.

"I thought it was very bad that he found out in the way he did.
He's the one who has to go around the constituency in Limerick and
explain to people why these people are getting out".

She said she could not speak on behalf of Mr O'Dea but believed he
was "disappointed" that the killers might be freed from jail.

When asked about the impact of her husband's death on her children,
she said: "It's hard on all of them. They talk about letting
prisoners out of jail on temporary release for Christmas, saying
it's a time when people should be together and happy. Well,
Christmas was always a joyous time in our house."

© The Irish Times


Meeting With McCabe Unlikely Without Deal

Arthur Beesley, Political Reporter

The Government has indicated that the Taoiseach, Mr Ahern, is
unlikely to meet the widow of the Det Garda Jerry McCabe until such
time as the Provisional IRA formally offers to stop all criminal
activity and complete the decommissioning of its arms.

With political talks to intensify this week, a spokeswoman for the
Taoiseach said Mr Ahern will not meet Ms McCabe until such time as
the release of her husband's killers can be considered in the
context of an end to all IRA activity. There was no such offer on
the table at present, he said.

The Garda Representative Association is to discuss the matter in
Adare, Co Limerick today. The president of the GRA, Mr Dermot
O'Donnell, said members of the force were angry that the Government
was now willing to consider the release of the killers. Gardaí
expected the Government to keep its commitments not to release the
men, he said.

The PD founder and former minister for justice Mr Des O'Malley was
quoted by the Sunday Independent as saying the release of Garda
McCabe's killers would "appease terrorism".

The Minister for Defence, Mr O'Dea, promised Ms Ann McCabe in
weekend conversations that he will relay her concerns about the
possible release of his killers to Mr Ahern.

In addition, the Minister for Justice, Mr McDowell, will attempt to
renew contact this week with Ms McCabe, who is angry that the
Government is prepared to release the four men convicted for
killing her husband in 1996 in the context of comprehensive
settlement in Northern Ireland.

The Sinn Féin president, Mr Gerry Adams, insisted again yesterday
that the case was embraced in the Belfast Agreement. "The prisoners
that were charged with his killing do come under the Good Friday
Agreement . . . We also have taken issue with the Government over
this issue. They should have been released with all of the other

The Tánaiste, Ms Harney, rejected Mr Adams' remarks on RTE and said
Sinn Féin had distanced itself from the killing of Garda McCabe. "I
don't want to see them go free. But if in the context of a total
end to paramilitarism, if the IRA laid down all their arms, ends
criminality, then, and only then, will we even consider the
possibility that these people might be released."

© The Irish Times


DUP Criticised Over Photo Demand

Dec 5 2004

Unionist demands for photos of IRA weapons destruction could
scupper any deal to achieve total disarmament, Sinn Fein leader
Gerry Adams has warned.

As attempts to broker an historic power-sharing settlement in
Northern Ireland reached their most critical phase, republican
frustrations with Ian Paisley's DUP flared.

But in an attempt to pile the pressure back on to Sinn Fein, one of
Mr Paisley's lieutenants warned the process was doomed unless the
Provisionals made urgent contact with decommissioning inspectors.

Tony Blair is believed to be ready to fly to Belfast later this
week to seal one of the most remarkable feats of his premiership if
the package can be signed off.

Before that, however, two sworn political foes, Adams and Paisley,
have to steel themselves and lead their camps into an arrangement
that even a year ago was seen as impossible.

If the IRA declares its war over for good and goes out of business,
and if the Democratic Unionists, Northern Ireland's biggest party,
pledges to work alongside Sinn Fein in a new Stormont Executive,
then Mr Blair and Irish Taoiseach Bertie Ahern will have pulled off
a staggering achievement.

Although all sides have refused to disclose details of the deal,
which would also see military bases closed down and troop levels in
Ulster slashed, the DUP has insisted it needs visual proof the
Provos' guns are being destroyed.

But with Mr Paisley wanting more, London and Dublin have been
frantically trying to work around the issue of photographic
evidence that republicans suspect could be an attempt to humiliate

Mr Adams, already incensed by the DUP leader declaring he would
have to swallow hard before signing up to a settlement with Sinn
Fein, appeared to issue an ominous warning over the insistence on

"Say we get to the point where we have a comprehensive agreement,
and say we get the IRA, that it is prepared to put weapons beyond
use and is prepared to go into entirely new mode and we're all
satisfied we're going to see an end to physical force
republicanism," he told RTE Radio's This Week programme. "Is it
going to be thrown away because Ian Paisley doesn't get the process
of humiliation that he wants?"


When A Great Deal Of Swallowing And Lip Biting Is Worth The Effort

Duncan Hamilton

'I WILL have to do a good deal of swallowing, 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." With these words, Ian
Paisley may have opened the door to the possibility of a deal in
Northern Ireland and closed the door on a lifetime of

In Northern Ireland, nothing is ever exactly what it seems, but the
importance of these extraordinary words from a man who has built a
career and a political movement on opposition, negativity and
bitterness should not be overlooked.

Strangely, the UK media has lost interest in Northern Ireland at
the very time it is getting interesting. We stand, this week, on
the verge of an agreement which will involve IRA decommissioning,
an announcement of demilitarisation of the province by the British
government and the restoration of power-sharing. This package may
be the most seismic breakthrough since the Good Friday Agreement

Expect political posturing and sabre-rattling. Those positive words
from Mr Paisley came only a few days after his claim that the IRA
should be "made to wear sackcloth and ashes" as humiliation for
their crimes. There will be more to come as the DUP leader seeks to
reassure his grassroots that he has not lost his firebrand image
and has not been seduced by the process of negotiation. Hence the
latest spat over whether there will need to be photographs of the
IRA weapons or not. Don't be fooled - this is no more than a chance
for Messrs Adams and Paisley to flex their political muscle. Those
angry exchanges may seem destructive but in fact they are crucial.

For the problem in Northern Ireland is a grassroots problem. It is
not the politicians who cannot work together, but rather extreme
core constituencies who are reluctant to take risks and who view
every compromise as a sell-out. Gerry Adams and Ian Paisley coming
to a cosy agreement is not credible in the macho world of Northern
Ireland politics - there has to be at least a veneer of political
combat. An agreement which lacks the usual cocktail of
brinkmanship, crisis and hostility will immediately be suspected.

Grassroots members have to feel that their representatives have
squeezed every conceivable advantage on their behalf. The sound and
fury you will hear from Mr Adams and Mr Paisley are about creating
the perception of winning concessions around the edges of the
agreement and make all the difference. These public exchanges are a
chance to reassure doubters.

When the last elections confirmed the DUP as the largest Unionist
party and Sinn Fein the strongest voice of nationalism, many
despaired that the peace process was at an end. In fact, it was a
necessary staging post on the route to a lasting settlement, for
although apparently polarised, the two parties representing more
extreme opinion in Northern Ireland were forced to collide.

The DUP was immediately stripped of the luxury of opposition -
there was no-one else to blame. Sinn Fein was forced to face its
most implacable critic. Meeting David Trimble half-way is one
thing, extending the hand of co-operation to Ian Paisley quite

Certainly, we were faced with a more divided political landscape -
voters drifting away from the UUP and SDLP centre ground. But those
results also appear to have forced those who criticised most to
rise to the challenge of leadership.

There remain huge hurdles - not least in resolving the key strand
of the Good Friday Agreement relating to north-south co-operation
which was always the political dynamite in the accord. But the
destruction of IRA weapons, the removal of British troops from
Northern Ireland and the potential power sharing of Ian Paisley and
Gerry Adams - these are things that most of us never believed we
could witness.

I started with a quote from Ian Paisley, and end with one from
Gerry Adams. Last week, he put it thus: "The easy thing in
republican west Belfast is to sound hardline. The easy thing in
unionist Ballymena is to sound hardline. The difficult thing is to
seize an opportunity and mould it, is to try and think through the
other person's experience and then try and make compromises and go
together on that basis. I think we do have the opportunity to do

If Mr Adams means what he says and Mr Paisley can swallow hard, we
just might be on the brink of something historic.


CS Spray Used To Quell Brawl

The police have used CS spray after being attacked with bottles
during trouble in north Belfast.

Officers were called to a brawl involving about 40 people at Baltic
Avenue about 0100 GMT on Saturday.

During the disturbance, the crowd swelled to about 200 and police
were pelted with bottles and other missiles.

CS spray was used to disperse the crowd. Four men and two women
were arrested and are helping police with their inquiries.

A spokeswoman for Sinn Fein accused the PSNI of using heavy-handed
tactics in dealing with the trouble.

The party said it would be taking the matter up with the Police

Meanwhile, two gangs were involved in a fight outside a pub in
Portstewart, County Londonderry, early on Saturday morning.

The police said that a number of people were attacked but no-one
was seriously injured in the incident in the Diamond area of the

One man was arrested and is being questioned by detectives.


Ballymena Nationalists Protest At PSNI Barracks

Published: 5 December, 2004

Local nationalists gathered at Ballymena‚s PSNI station over the
weekend to protest at the ongoing harassment of young members of
the nationalist community. The event was attended by 20-30 people,
some of whom have been personally affected by the ongoing police

Speaking after the event, Ballymena Sinn Féin representative
Michael Agnew said:

"In recent months the PSNI in North Antrim and Ballymena in
particular have been engaged in a campaign of harassment against
nationalists. This has included early morning raids on homes and
general disruption being caused to local nationalists‚ everyday

"The attendance of so many young people here today is an indication
of who is suffering the brunt of this PSNI campaign. To actively
recruit young people to spy on members of their own community and
put them under such enormous stress is appallingly cruel.

"Because Sinn Féin gave support and guidance to these young people
the police have stepped up their actions against republicans in the
town as well. The mysterious Œdissident‚ threat to Ballymena has
yet to materialise and was used as an excuse to raid ordinary
nationalists‚ homes in Dunfane and Fisherwick. They have also
concentrated their resources on demonising Sinn Féin and myself in
recent weeks but none of this will not succeed. Nationalists in the
town are not stupid and can see through their charades.

"If the PSNI were to concentrate as much time on tackling drug-
dealers in this town as they do on their anti-republican PR
campaign we wouldn't have such a big drugs problem on our hands.
Its time that police members made in the mould of Bill Lowry and
Ronnie Flanaghan did the honourable thing and retired. Political
policing must come to an end if we are to properly address the
problems that it has created in our society."ENDS


Reunion Joy For Freed Hostage
2004-12-05 23:10:02+00

Afghan hostage Annetta Flanigan returned home to Northern Ireland
tonight for an emotional reunion with her family.

Ms Flanigan, who spent a few days on holiday after being released
from 27 days in captivity, flew into Belfast City Airport.

Although her movements were kept under close secret, she was
expected to head straight for the village of Richhill, Co Armagh
where friends and neighbours prayed with relatives for her freedom.

A Northern Ireland Office spokeswoman confirmed: "She has arrived
back in Northern Ireland and is spending some time with her

No one was available for comment at the Flanigan home tonight.

The lawyer was abducted at gunpoint with two others in the Afghan
capital Kabul on October 28 as they helped run presidential

Kosovan Shqipe Habibi and Filipino diplomat Angelito Nayan were the
others seized.

The ordeal plunged Ms Flanigan's family into an anxious near month-
long wait for news.

Messages of support flooded in from around the world, and after her
release they spoke of their relief from the "terrible anxiety" of
her imprisonment.

Ms Flanigan is believed to have been accompanied by her husband
Jose for her return to Northern Ireland.


Tara Alternative Outlined In 2000 Study

Frank McDonald, Environment Editor

The Taoiseach, Mr Ahern's belief that there is no better
alternative than running the M3 motorway through the Tara-Skryne
valley is contradicted by a report compiled by consultants for the
National Roads Authority, The Irish Times has confirmed.

This 2000 report examined a range of alternative routes for the
proposed motorway under several headings, including archaeology. It
shows that a route to the east of Skryne would be "the least
intrusive" with "the least impact" archaeologically.

Such a route would also be "the least visually intrusive in terms
of the Hill of Tara" because much of the motorway would be screened
by the Hill of Skryne. "The route does not come particularly close
to, or cross through, any of the archaeological features in the

The report went on: "There appears to be no need for mitigation in
the case of this route. A field study would be required to check
for above ground monuments and features, but . . . most of the
archaeology in this area is well defined and recognisable in the

By contrast, it said routing the motorway through the Tara-Skryne
valley - as currently proposed - would have a "profound" effect on
the Hill of Tara and on its outlying monuments and would have
"severe implications from an archaeological perspective".

The report also cautioned that it was "unlikely that cost-effective
proposals to meet the mitigation requirements could be supported
for this route in this area". (Since then, 42 archaeological sites
have been identified along the 15 km route through the valley).

"Route B1 passes through the most sensitive area of Tara from an
archaeological view and B3/B4 comes closest to the largest number
of archaeological monuments/sites," the report said. Yet one of the
B routes (B2) became the "preferred route" for the motorway.

The report, compiled by consultants Halcrow Barry in advance of the
decision to opt for the B2 route, noted that the north-eastern end
of it "follows the same proposed line as that of B1, and its route
and river crossings carry the same archaeological implications".

While there appeared to be no severe impact on built heritage, it
showed that the P1 route east of Skryne is the least affected,
while the B routes were the most affected because of their impact
on the setting of Bellinter Bridge and possible archaeological

Route P1 also emerged as the preferred option in terms of its
impact on flora and fauna, after mitigation measures were taken.
"This route does not impact on any ecological sites," the report
said. By contrast, the B route affected the highest number of

Mr Brendan Magee, of the Meath Roads Action Group, which has been
monitoring the M3 since its inception, said he was "astonished" to
discover that, in none of the criteria against which it was
assessed, the route eventually chosen was not recommended.

In terms of archaeology, it recommended the P route. This route
also scored on built heritage, flora and fauna, landscape and
visual effects, air quality and noise. As a result, Mr Magee said
the action group was at a loss to know why the NRA had not opted
for it. The claim by the NRA - repeated in the Dáil last week by
the Minister for Transport, Mr Cullen, - that the route chosen for
the M3 had been "evaluated as the best choice or equal best under
14 out of 18 assessment headings" did not, in Mr Magee's view,
"stand up".

Mr Magee also described as "blatantly untrue" a claim made by the
NRA's chairman, Mr Peter Malone, that "the route of the motorway is
twice as far from Tara as the existing N3 Dublin to Navan road".
Even a cursory look at the map would show that this was not the

"I am prepared to give them the benefit of the doubt that it is a
mistake on their part, but the same assertion . . . was repeated at
the NRA presentation to Meath County Council and it has also been
repeated by politicians.

"I have written to the chairman of the NRA, to whom the statement
was attributed to in print, asking for it to be retracted, but to
no avail," Mr Magee said.

The NRA has said the P route, running east of Skryne, which would
have been less damaging to the archaeological landscape around
Tara, had "serious drawbacks in terms of its ability to serve
traffic demand" as well as impacts on communities and the

© The Irish Times


Couple Involved In Collision With Ministerial Car Flown Back To US

Anne Lucey

The American couple whose car was involved in a head-on collision
with the State car of the Minister for Community, Rural and
Gaeltacht Affairs, Mr Ó Cuív, flew home yesterday to the United
States by air ambulance from Co Kerry.

The couple, Mr John Corbett (56) and Ms Teresa Corbett (45) from St
Louis, Missouri, were on a delayed honeymoon to Europe at the time
of the crash. Ms Corbett was released from Kerry General Hospital a
week ago after 11 days of treatment.

Mr Corbett suffered extensive injuries and spent some time in
intensive case. He was said to be in a stable condition yesterday
and will receive further treatment upon his return to the United

He was taken by ambulance to Kerry airport at Farranfore yesterday
morning from where he was to begin his transatlantic journey.

The couple were travelling in a rented car towards Killarney ithe
early afternoon of November 15th last when they were involved in a
collision with Mr Ó'Cuív's Garda-driven car which was travelling in
the opposite direction to an appointment in west Cork.

Five people, including the Minister and his secretary, were
hospitalised after the crash. Mr Ó'Cuív's Volvo saloon burst into
flames shortly after the impact. Fire officers had to use cutting
equipment to free the Corbetts from their car. A 40 m.p.h. speed
limit has now been called for in the busy tourist area. The
accident is still under investigation. It is understood, however,
that speeding has been ruled out as a cause of the accident.

© The Irish Times


Swords Named Dirtiest Of 30 Irish Towns

Frank McNally

Swords is the dirtiest of 30 Irish towns in the latest survey
published by Irish Business Against Litter, (IBAL).

The north Dublin town edged out Sligo, Maynooth, and Dublin city
itself - all named "litter blackspots" - for the dubious

An Taisce, which carried out the survey for IBAL, said there had
been a "huge drop" in standards in Swords since the last league
results in August.

The town's "whole attitude to litter and environmental issues needs
to change", the judges concluded.

At the the other end of the table, Cavan - the reigning champion -
joins Monaghan, Carlow, Fermoy and Wexford on a short-list for the
title of cleanest town. The winner will be announced today.

These are among 11 places judged "clean to European norms", the
highest number in this category since the league was established in

Overall, the latest results confirm that the Republic is getting
"cleaner and cleaner", according to the business anti-litter
campaign with towns averaging 73 marks out of 100, compared with 55
in the first survey.

Even Dublin, which again fared badly, was found to have 15 per cent
less litter than last year. "Another 15 per cent and Dublin could
bury its 'dirty old town' image," IBAL said.

Moore Street traders - "responsible for an awful situation"
according to An Taisce - were among those singled out for blame.

O'Connell Street and Talbot Street were also judged eye-sores,
because road and footpath works there had become "litter traps".

Cork, which was bottom of the league last time out, improved to
"moderately littered" in the latest survey. By contrast, Galway
suffered a "very disappointing" drop in standards to join Dundalk,
Navan, Newbridge, and Limerick in the "serious litter problem"

An Taisce commented that Galway Docklands Area was one of two
litter black spots - it was in a dreadful state. There was one
premises, Donnelly's Coal, which was almost solely responsible for
the overall grading. The Canal Board Walk was surveyed in two
areas, one of which was heavily littered and the other a litter
black spot.

Newbridge was the only town in the survey not to have a single site
rated "clean to European norms".

IBAL said the overall improvement in standards coincided with an
increase in enforcement, with more than 11,000 on-the-spot fines
issued by local authorities in the first half of this year, up 9
per cent on the previous six month period.

IBAL chairman Dr Tom Cavanagh welcomed the trend: "Enforcement
levels are still too low to be a deterrent, but they do indicate
local authorities are finally taking the matter seriously. Business
and tourism will no longer accept litter in our high-cost economy,
and neither will the population in general."

© The Irish Times


See video at:

Customs Officers Discover Illegal Vodka Distilling Plant -V

A large-scale illegal vodka distilling and bottling plant was
discovered when customs officers raided a house and a farm in the
Castletowncooley area of the Cooley Peninsula in Co Louth over the

Among the items seized were thousands of counterfeit labels for
well-known brands of the spirit including Smirnoff and Glen; the
latter is only sold in Scotland.

Three people including a man in his 50s and one in his 20s were
found at the two locations and questioned by officers.

Customs sources said the illicit alcohol would have been sold to
unsuspecting members of the public during the festive period.

A senior customs source has advised the public not to buy spirits
at open air markets as the majority of it is illegally produced,
often in unhygienic conditions such as farm sheds and outhouses.

The source specifically mentioned markets such as that held in
Jonesboro, south Armagh. Branded bottles of spirits with what
appear to be genuine labels have been bought there but later found
to be counterfeit.

This was the latest in a series of raids by customs officers and
followed a lengthy surveillance operation based on intelligence
gathered by customs investigators.

As well as 1500 litres of pure alcohol, which on its own would have
amounted to €74,000 in lost revenue to the Exchequer, the plant had
the capacity to produce and distribute enough spirits to cause the
loss in excise and other duties of €3 million in one year.

Printing presses for the counterfeit labels as well as a capping
machine for counterfeit foil tops were also seized.

© The Irish Times

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