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December 08, 2004

News 12/08/04 - Paisley Rules Out Deal

News about Ireland & the Irish

BB 12/08/04 Paisley Rules Out Devolution Deal –V(5) –A
BT 12/08/04 IRA Will Make Position Clear – Adams
BB 12/08/04 NI Plan Details Emerge
BB 12/08/04 Q&A: NI Stumbling Block
BT 12/08/04 Narrowing The Gap Was Always Going To Be Difficult
IO 12/08/04 Harney Warns Over IRA Photograph Issue
BT 12/08/04 Photo Finish: Devolution Will Remain Suspended.For Now
IO 12/08/04 Photographer Was Ready For Disarmament Pictures
SW 12/08/04 A Divided Society
IO 12/08/04 TD May Quit Party Over McCabe Issue
BB 12/08/04 Will A Compromised Be Reached?
BT 12/08/04 Protestant Community Lost Out On EU Funding
BT 12/08/04 Omagh's Tribute To All Victims Of Conflict
BT 12/08/04 Sculpture To Mark Women's Role In Shirt Industry
TO 12/08/04 Irish Activities Heighten Boston's Holiday Season

PT 12/07/04 Prime Time Investigates: Waste Management Strategy -VO

Prime Time Investigates: Waste Management Strategy - Katie Hannon
and the Prime Time Investigates team probe the failings of the
national waste management strategy


Hopes fade of major breakthrough in NI - Tánaiste Mary Harney says
the public should be made aware of the reasons if a North peace
deal is not struck

Ian Paisley, DUP leader, says his party wants photographic evidence
of IRA decommissioning

Tommie Gorman, Northern Editor, analyses the latest efforts to
restore devolved government at Stormont

Eileen Whelan explores past attempts to agree a peace deal

See video at:

Hear DUP MP Jeffrey Donaldson has defended his party's calls for
photographic evidence of IRA decommissioning:


Paisley Rules Out Devolution Deal –V(5) -A

A deal to restore devolution in Northern Ireland will not be
signed, DUP leader Ian Paisley has confirmed.

He was speaking after meeting decommissioning body chief General
John De Chastelain in Belfast.

The British and Irish prime ministers are due in Northern Ireland
to publish their proposals on power sharing.

The DUP is adamant about photographic evidence, while Gerry Adams
says Sinn Fein is ready to share power, but the IRA will not be

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

Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern are due to hold a news conference in
the province later.

A DUP delegation met General John de Chastelain, the head of the
decommissioning body, on Wednesday.

'Building confidence'

Speaking after the meeting, Mr Paisley said: "It is quite clear
that the IRA are not going to decommission. Nothing on
decommissioning was agreed with them.

"Not only photographs, but nothing was discussed or settled about
the independent witnesses, inventory and all the things that we
were interested in.

"The situation is this: that the IRA are dead set on keeping their
arms and going on with IRA/Sinn Fein's twofold policy of democracy
and terrorism, " he said.

Mr Paisley said they wanted the IRA to supply "a complete, total,
clear survey in photographs" of decommissioning.

Meanwhile, Mr Blair said the issues would become clear to people
once the proposals were published on Wednesday.

He told the Commons that the issue was whether an agreement could
be done in such a way that there was sufficient confidence on both
sides of the community.

Earlier on Wednesday, DUP MP Jeffrey Donaldson insisted that
photographic evidence of the destruction of the IRA's weapons was
essential to build confidence among the unionist community.

"Now when they have a chance to build peace in Northern Ireland,
and we need a few photographs, all of a sudden they do not want

However, Sinn Fein's Gerry Kelly said his party had never agreed to
discuss the photographing of any future IRA weapons

"This is an issue that was raised by Ian Paisley, propagated by the
two governments and amongst anything else that was to do with the
arms issue, was to be dealt with between the IICD and the IRA," he

The DUP has so far, publicly, refused to say if it will accept the
governments' proposals.

There have been intensive negotiations between the two governments
and the political parties over the past few weeks.

The main issues which have been highlighted in the latest round of
intense talks include decommissioning, demilitarisation, policing
and future devolved institutions.

The negotiations have been conducted through a series of British
and Irish Government intermediaries because the DUP refused to hold
face-to-face talks with Sinn Fein.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2004/12/08 12:29:29 GMT


IRA Will Make Position Clear - Adams

By Chris Thornton
08 December 2004

Expectations that the IRA will announce its future intentions
remained today in spite of the group's outright rejection of
photographic proof of decommissioning.

Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams said the DUP requirement for arms
disposal pictures was an "impossible demand" standing in the way of
the opportunity to retire the IRA.

As the British and Irish governments prepared to unveil the outline
of their stalled package for reviving Stormont, Mr Adams indicated
that the IRA would first make its position clear to its members.

An IRA representative met General John de Chastelain in the
Republic sometime between Sunday and yesterday to resume contact
about the final disposal of the group's weapons.

But Mr Adams said he met the IRA and it was clear it would not
agree to the DUP's photo demand.

Speaking at a press conference in west Belfast last night, he said:
"The IRA is, I believe, going to make an initiative which has the
ability to deal with concerns that have been raised by people who
have a genuine interest and I think the IRA will be meeting in a
very sincere way those concerns.

"But the first people who need to be told all of that are the IRA
themselves. So we just need to give that organisation that little
bit of space to do that."

He attacked the DUP, saying they "could be wasting an historic
opportunity which is totally and absolutely unprecedented" by
seeking to humiliate the IRA.

"Is that going to be squandered because one party has set out this
impossible demand that one group should be humiliated? Is it going
to squandered because of intemperate language or unrealisable
demands?" he said.


NI Plan Details Emerge

BBC Northern Ireland political editor Mark Devenport outlines what
he understands to be contained in the British-Irish blueprint to
restore devolution given to the DUP and Sinn Fein.

Government sources have indicated that the proposals will be
published in reasonably full form, and not in a heavily edited

Officials believe the public will be impressed by the scale of what
has been agreed, even though the parties have proven unable to
overcome their differences over photographs of IRA disarmament.

The most recent version of the proposals is 23 pages long and
contains six annexes.

These include proposed statements from the IRA, Sinn Fein and the
DUP, as well as elements of a statement from General de
Chastelain's Decommissioning Commission.

It is understood the controversial proposals on photographs were in
the last three drafts of the paper and even go so far as to name an
international photographer who could take the pictures.

The idea was that the parties would have been allowed to view the
photos shortly after decommissioning had taken place.

Publication would then have followed when the devolved government
was established.

It is understood the proposed method of decommissioning had US

The paper is called "Joint Statement by the two governments on the
agreement arising from discussions at Leeds Castle".

It begins with a nine paragraph statement from the governments,
covering matters such as paramilitary activity and decommissioning,
political institutions and policing and justice.

There are six annexes.

Annex A deals with the proposed time-frame for implementing the
deal between December and early summer.

Annex B, Section one is 13 paragraphs long and deals with proposed
legal changes to the Strand One institutions: the Assembly and the

Section two is 10 paragraphs long and deals with changes to the
north-south and east-west institutions.

Annex C is a proposed statement by the Provisional IRA: this
includes a paragraph about the IRA moving into a new mode.

Annex D contains elements of the Independent International
Commission on Decommissioning statement.

Annex E has a proposed DUP statement, dealing with power sharing,
policing and justice, as well as the party's support for peace and
stability. It would have committed the party to "operate and
participate in all the new arrangements".

Annex F has a proposed Sinn Fein statement on policing. The party
would have undertaken to hold a special Ard Fheis (conference) to
discuss the policing issue.

The compromise position on photographic evidence of IRA
disarmarment is contained in paragraph five of a proposed statement
from General de Chastelain, which is included as Annex B of the

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2004/12/08 07:59:28 GMT


Q&A: NI Stumbling Block

The British and Irish prime ministers are due in Northern Ireland
to publish their proposals to restore devolution.

With little optimism that Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern will be
unveiling a deal which could lead to a return to power-sharing, BBC
Northern Ireland security editor Brian Rowan explains what has led
to the latest hold-up in the process.

Q: Why are the prime ministers going ahead and publishing the
blueprint when the two largest parties the DUP and Sinn Fein have
not agreed to a deal which would lead to a return to a power-
sharing assembly?

A: What the two governments want to do is set out on paper for
everyone to read, the amount and scale of agreement there has been
in this negotiation. There is one major stumbling block and that is
the issue of photographic proof of decommissioning. The DUP has
been demanding there be a visual aspect to decommissioning. But
republicans have not agreed to photographs or the publication of
photographs. We believe that between now and the end of December,
the IRA in the company of head of the decommissioning body General
John de Chastelain, would have carried out two major acts of
decommissioning which would have allowed the IICD to report that it
had overseen the decommissioning of all IRA weapons. An additional
measure in terms of that decommissioning process would have been
two new witnesses - two churchmen present when those acts of
decommissioning happened. The historical worth in all of this was
that this was the IRA's endgame. But I think the IRA and
republicans will make very clear that it would have to be an
endgame without humiliation.

Q: What are the main stumbling blocks which have prevented the
political deadlock being broken?

It is on the one issue of photographic evidence that this
negotiation has failed. What we were talking about here was
potentially the deal of all deals - a political arrangement between
Ian Paisley's DUP and republicans, which only a matter of months
ago would have been dismissed as unthinkable. What that deal would
have been about would have been power-sharing politics, the
restoration of the Stormont assembly and executive, sweeping
security changes, many thousands of soldiers leaving Northern
Ireland and Army bases closing, new policing arrangements with
republican support for those and the IRA leaving the stage.

Q: What is likely to happen to the Northern Ireland political
process after the government proposals are published?

The governments have a choice to make now. They have to look at
whether there is some other way round this obstacle of photographic
proof of decommissioning and is there some way of salvaging Plan A
and saving that deal of all deals. If they conclude that cannot be
done, then what they may do is look at an alternative - a Plan B -
which would be how you protect the IRA offer and is there some
other way of doing that? Can it be done in a process of
demilitarisation and settling this issue of on-the-run suspects,
releasing in the Irish Republic the killers of Garda Jerry McCabe?
Is there some way of getting the assembly back up and trying to get
working politics up and running again. But I think the
concentration of the governments is on saving Plan A.

Q: Will the whole process have to start again after the General

The view is that if you are going to get Plan A - this deal between
Ian Paisley and republicans - then you have to get it now. This
deal is not going to be like any other deal we have had in the
past. It is not as sequence which plays out over 24 or 48 hours.
Given the scale of this, it takes several months to implement.
There have to be reports from the de Chastelain decommissioning
body, reports from the Independent Monitoring Commission that all
IRA activities have ended. There has to be a negotiation about how
you devolve policing and justice powers. If you don't do it now, it
is going to have to wait until after the next Westminster election.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2004/12/08 09:41:23 GMT


Narrowing The Gap Was Always Going To Be Difficult

By Chris Thornton
08 December 2004

With the deadline for a deal sitting at teatime today, but as
capable as ever of moving, it may be a bit early for the sparkling
clarity of hindsight.

But the agonies over the remaining gaps between Sinn Fein and the
DUP have underlined that the deal - what Gerry Adams called an
"historic alliance of Orange and Green" - was always going to be

At its most basic level, these parties contemplating how they might
lead a government together in the next few months still haven't
spoken directly.

That should have been a hint. Most cultures see a benefit in
couples actually meeting before marriage.

The depth of desire is also an element. London and Dublin have been
banking on the DUP and Sinn Fein's hunger for power overcoming
their antipathy to each other.

But there were always questions about how far the IRA was ready to
stretch itself to hand Ian Paisley the keys to the First Ministers'
office, while the DUP's motivation may have been diminished by the
prospect of more Sinn Fein ministries.

It's almost three months since the Leeds Castle talks ground to a
halt, with the governments proclaiming a deal was inches away.

The problem then was said to be a disagreement over the
accountability of Executive ministers. It was said to be a
relatively minor problem - indeed Mr Adams indicated last night
that it had been overcome.

On those standards, the problem has deepened now. The stumbling
block is the considerably starker issue of whether IRA
decommissioning should be photographed or not.

At this stage, it's hard to see how creative fiddling can get round
the contrasting positions of the DUP and Sinn Fein. For Ian
Paisley, photographs are a "maker or breaker". For Gerry Adams,
they are an " impossible demand".

But in the wider view of the peace process, progress has been made.
The elements published today should survive for the next
reconstruction process.

Even if elements are withdrawn in a huff, the governments and
parties know where the bar has been set.

Complete and rapid IRA decommissioning is now the expectation,
along with what Sinn Fein called "an end to militant

From Mr Adams' remarks last night, policing is all but settled. He
will recommend his party sign up if the wider deal is accomplished.

From the republican point of view, there are also dockets waiting
to be collected. The Irish have committed to releasing the killers
of Garda Jerry McCabe. The Government is committed to the return of
IRA fugitives to Northern Ireland. The roadmap for demilitarisation
is ready.

Mr Adams is keen that some elements proceed even if the deal has
not been rounded off. This may not be just wishful thinking.

Demilitarisation, for example, may well go ahead in parts. The Army
used to be cited as one of the main objectors to cutbacks - now
they are said to be one of the drivers. The demands of Iraq and
budgetary constraints have removed that obstacle. Some senior
police officers are also said to be waiting to proceed with station

It may also suit the DUP to have some of their pain disposed of in
a scenario where they can stamp their feet and continue to blame
David Trimble.

Who knows? The impending interval may even allow for that first
meeting between Sinn Fein and the DUP.


Harney Warns Over IRA Photograph Issue
2004-12-08 11:30:04+00

It would be wrong to assume the outcome of a deal in Northern
Ireland rests solely on the publication of a photograph, the
Tánaiste warned today.

As fears grew that agreement on a historic peace deal had slipped
away, Mary Harney hinted there was more at stake than simply the
verification of IRA arms decommissioning.

"It would be wrong of anyone to assume that this was just about
photographs, that that was the only outstanding issue," she told
the Dáil.

"It would also be important to acknowledge that the Irish
Government did support others in their request to have photographs

She said there had been many pictures published of dreadful
atrocities, a lot of videos used for propaganda purposes.

"Humiliation works both ways," she added.

Sinn Féin has denied that its negotiators have signed up to the
proposal of a photograph accompanying decommissioning.

The IRA confirmed last night that it had been in talks with the
head of the international disarmament body, General John de

It is believed the Provisionals would have accepted a proposal that
two clergymen, one Protestant and one Catholic, should witness the
putting of weapons beyond use.

The organisation was also believed to be preparing for a deal which
would have seen them move away from violence and paramilitarism for

But its leaders regarded a photograph of disarmament, as demanded
by DUP leader Rev Ian Paisley, as a step too far.


Photo Finish: Devolution Will Remain Suspended...For Now

By Brian Walker and Noel McAdam
08 December 2004

Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern were today due to vow to "keep pushing"
to attempt to reach a deal to restore devolution.

The Prime Minister and Taoiseach were travelling to Belfast without
agreement between Sinn Fein and the DUP which could have lead to a
new power-sharing Executive and Assembly.

But the Government's paper was expected to outline how close the
parties had come to clinching a comprehensive package - including
statements on the thorny issues of decommissioning, policing and
ministerial accountability.

The 23-page paper was also expected to indicate what the Government
expected from the IRA and statements from both the DUP and Sinn
Fein among six annexes.

The deal finally fell apart over the issue of photographic evidence
of IRA decommissioning - the DUP insisting it was a necessity,
republicans viewing it as humiliation.

But London and Dublin still hope to be able to maintain momentum
rather than allow a vacuum - which could extend to the next
Westminster election - to develop.

The Governments' anticipated statement from the IRA was thought to
include an historic commitment to wind down the organisation and
end all paramilitary activity.

The paper was also expected to set out a timetable for
implementation of the deal between this month and early summer next

Mr Blair and Mr Ahern were publishing their joint proposals "to
show how far the parties have come and to let the people judge for

Meanwhile, the DUP was holding its third meeting with
Decommissioning chief General John de Chastelain in the last ten
days in an attempt to ascertain more details of what the IRA had
been prepared to offer.

The party's 80-strong Executive and Assembly group was then due to
meet early this afternoon and could still issue a definitive
response to the two premiers' proposals.

"We were preparing to be positive but republicans pulled the pin,"
a senior DUP source said.

But a republican source said: "The sad thing about all this is that
there are IRA volunteers who were being briefed up and down the
country last night about a decommissioning initiative that may not
materialise because the Reverend Ian Paisley wants an act of

"The other sad thing about all this was that there was the
potential for a deal which would have seen the IRA move away from
years of physical force republicanism. That is an absolutely
massive shift in republican thinking and should not be lost on
anyone who has followed this process.

"The IRA's offer was in the context of a comprehensive agreement.
If we don't get that, I fear it will be withdrawn."

It is believed the proposal for photographic evidence of an IRA
decommissioning event had been in the more recent drafts of the
Governments proposals and an internationally-recognised
photographer had been named.

It is also thought to have included changes to the north-south
bodies and legal changes underpinning the Assembly and Executive.

Main points

:: Deal blocked over arms photo
:: DUP and Sinn Fein blame each other
:: Papers on guns, government released
:: IRA to signal intentions
:: Blair and Ahern to press on


Photographer Was Ready For Disarmament Pictures

08/12/2004 - 09:19:38

An international photographer was being lined up to provide visual
evidence of IRA disarmament in the event of a landmark Northern
Ireland peace process deal, it emerged today.

As British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Taoiseach Bertie Ahern
prepared to reveal in Belfast their 23-page formula for reviving
power sharing, details emerged of the lengths to which London and
Dublin were prepared to go.

They involved hiring an international photographer to produce
evidence for unionists of the IRA destroying its weapons.

The photograph would have been published.

The proposal, which sources insist have been in the governments'
blueprint since September's Leeds Castle talks in Kent, has been
rejected by republicans because they fear they would be used by the
Rev Ian Paisley to humiliate them.

This was rejected today by Democratic Unionist MP Jeffrey

The Lagan Valley MP said: "The IRA has shown propaganda videos and
photographs in the past of their members carrying weapons and those
were used to terrorise people.

"However, when it comes to photographs showing weapons being
destroyed, they are suddenly claiming photographs would be a

"There was a real prospect today of a comprehensive settlement on
the table. There was the prospect of real peace on the cusp of
Christmas but that has been scuppered by republicans."

Sinn Féin denied today that its negotiators had signed up to the
proposal of a photograph accompanying decommissioning.

The IRA confirmed last night that it had been in talks with the
head of the international disarmament body, General John de

It is believed the Provisionals would have accepted a proposal that
two clergymen, one Protestant and one Catholic, should witness the
putting of weapons beyond use.

The organisation was also believed to be preparing for a deal which
would have seen them move away from violence and paramilitarism for

But its leaders regarded a photograph of disarmament as a step too

North Belfast Assembly member Gerry Kelly said: "This was an issue
raised by Ian Paisley, promulgated by the two governments.

"But this was to have been dealt with by the IICD and the IRA which
was prepared to contribute to a comprehensive agreement.

"There is this emphasis on the photographic issue but you have to
listen to what Ian Paisley has been saying, which is that he wants
public humiliation.

"So whatever the demands might be, his specific demand is that
there should be humiliation. In terms of conflict resolution and
peace processes, that is not a demand which can advance the

Having invested so much in the quest for a comprehensive
settlement, Blair and Ahern were expected today not to give up on
ever achieving a deal.

Sources expected both leaders to attempt a soft landing for the
process, stressing the progress which has been made in recent

But with Mr Blair facing a likely general election next year and
the presidencies of the European Union and G8, it is believed that
opportunities to close the remaining gaps will be limited in 2005.


A Divided Society

Poverty is still a persistent feature of life in Northern Ireland,
writes Goretti Horgan

A DEAL between Ian Paisley's Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and
Sinn Fein to restore devolved government to Northern Ireland was
still hanging in the balance as Socialist Worker went to print.

Nevertheless, most observers believe it is no longer a question of
if, but of when. Paisley may try to delay an agreement, but no one
doubts the deal will eventually be done.

Most working people in the North want to see the return of the
assembly, if only to stop New Labour from privatising everything
that moves and introducing draconian water charges.

Through over 30 years of "the Troubles", poverty and poor public
services were blamed on the paramilitaries. "End the violence and
everyone will have a better standard of living," we were told.

Ten years after the IRA declared a ceasefire most people in
Northern Ireland have seen their living standards fall, while a
small layer at the top of society have had their incomes shoot up.

But while rising inequality underlies the desire to see the
assembly restored, it is unlikely that a return to devolution will
do anything to reverse those trends.

When in power, local political parties made little difference to
the lives of working class people. The gap between rich and poor is
greater here than anywhere else in these islands, and continued to
grow under local rule.

The desire to restore the political institutions has diverted
attention from asking how the assembly functioned and what, if
anything, it actually achieved. But its record of delivery speaks
for itself.

Without exception, the assembly parties coalesced around a centre-
right position on the economy. The assembly's "Programme for
Government" elevated the right of investors to maximise profit
above every other consideration, including workers' rights.

All of the parties are committed to maintaining, if not increasing,
direct grants to multinationals, and to a reduction in corporation
and other taxes on business. Meanwhile they argue that any increase
in the minimum wage would damage competitiveness.

And while the world's media marvel at the "two extremes" of Sinn
Fein and the DUP entering government together, there is little to
divide the two parties on the economic front.

Both talk about issues like poverty. But when in government they
did nothing to change things—except by making things worse. Both
DUP and Sinn Fein ministers were responsible for privatising public
services—and there is no sign of their attitudes changing.

For example, council workers in Derry say there is not a cigarette
paper between Sinn Fein and the DUP when it comes to attacks on
their wages and conditions.

Both parties unite to smear workers off sick due to the stress of
their jobs as "malingerers". Both parties unite to impose swingeing
pay cuts for workers in the city's leisure centres.

The ability of working people here to oppose the neo-liberal agenda
is hugely undermined by sectarian division. While services are
privatised and wages driven down, politicians focus on issues like
decommissioning, policing and which flags to fly.

For example, at the end of last May 300 textile industry jobs were
destroyed in Derry. At their next meeting city councillors spent
half an hour debating the job losses, then two hours arguing about
whether the city should be called Derry or Londonderry.

Socialists predicted that the Belfast agreement would
institutionalise sectarianism—and it has. The number of "peace
lines" and "interface areas", where sectarian tensions and violence
are high, has grown since 1998.

Alienation in working class areas results in continued sectarian
tensions, and a growth in racist and homophobic attacks.

Socialists want to offer an alternative to this alienation. We want
to turn the anger against the government and political parties, and
bring some hope back. The Socialist Environmental Alliance (SEA)
seeks to provide an alternative to communal division.

The SEA is a broad coalition of grassroots activists. It challenges
the pro-privatisation, business driven, environmentally damaging
agenda accepted by the major local parties and direct rule
ministers, and the sectarian basis of the political set-up here.

Despite elections here being dominated by communalism, the SEA has
had credible electoral results and is planning to stand again in
next year's local elections to fight over these issues.

Save the Children's research about severe child poverty in Northern
Ireland, highlighted recently in the Guardian, shocked many people
when it revealed that 32,000 children go hungry here on a regular

Every other child in Northern Ireland is living on or below the
poverty line. Government statistics say 32 percent of children live
in households that are totally dependent on benefits, as compared
to 19 percent in Britain.

Since 1997 life has become a lot harder for people trying to bring
up a family on benefits. Prices for fuel and food have risen
steeply. But income support and Jobseeker's allowance have
increased by less than £1 a week each year.

The effect of poverty on a child's life chances is devastating.
According to the North's Department of Health, children living in
poverty are 15 times more likely to die as a result of a house
fire. They are four times more likely to die before the age of 20.

A child born into the richest fifth of the population in Northern
Ireland has a life expectancy among the best in Europe. But for one
born into the poorest fifth life expectancy is closer to that in
Eastern European countries.

The government's answer is for parents to get a job. But, as in
Britain, there is a real scarcity of jobs in many parts of Northern
Ireland, despite an official unemployment rate of about 5 percent.

Remember the 18 changes Margaret Thatcher made to how the numbers
of unemployed are counted? Well, New Labour "forgot" to change them
back. As a result, real levels of unemployment can only be

The Centre for Economic and Social Inclusion calculates a "slack
workforce" figure by parliamentary constituency. This includes
everyone looking for work, including those on government training
and work schemes.

Based on these figures, we know a quarter of the workforce in West
Belfast and Derry are unable to find work. Long term unemployment
is considerably more common than in Britain, with 52 percent of
unemployed men out of work for a year or more.

Most unemployed people would love to get a job, despite all the
propaganda about "dole scroungers". This was demonstrated vividly
in Derry last year—a recruitment campaign by Debenhams department
store drew 6,000 applicants for 250 jobs!

In any case, a job only gets people out of poverty if it pays
decent wages. Unfortunately such jobs are few and far between here.

Northern Ireland is explicitly promoted to foreign direct investors
as a low wage economy. For example, the Invest NI website tells
overseas companies that wages are "up to 32 percent lower than in
the US and 25 percent lower than the EU average".

As a result, the government's own research shows that half of all
children below the poverty line live in families where at least one
adult is in employment. This confirms what a lot of trade unionists
have been saying for some time—that there has been an increase in
poverty among those in work, especially in one-worker households.

When you look at wage rates you can see why living standards are
going down, not up, for so many working people. Three quarters of
all manual workers here are earning under £350 a week. Some 38
percent earn under £250 a week.

Of course there are those whose living standards are rising. Forty
percent of non-manual workers earn more than £450 a week. And 10
percent get more than £707 a week.

But these figures refer only to full time employees on adult rates.
They don't include the real rich, whose wealth comes from property,
share ownership and dividends.

Nor do they include the desperately poor, such as part time
employees, often lone parents, at the mercy of employers and forced
to "do the double" (sign on and work at the same time) to survive.

As benefits fell in real terms under New Labour, many lone parents
in Britain had to get paid employment. But that option simply isn't
open to most lone parents in the North.

Apart from the lack of jobs, the main obstacle for lone parents who
want a paid job is the lack of childcare. Northern Ireland has some
of the worst provision of childcare, not only within the UK, but in
Europe as a whole.

Equality Commission research has confirmed there is very little
childcare, and what is available is very expensive. It also pointed
to the specific disadvantage faced by lone parents here, as their
earnings are about one third lower than the UK average for lone

So even if their parent does get a job it is not always enough to
get a child out of poverty. And much available work is short term,
often agency work, paid at the minimum wage or not much above. This
means many families end up back on benefit within a year or less.

Northern Ireland's public services are being sold off at an
alarming rate, and this has made poverty even worse. Many workers
are transferred from the public sector to the private as a result
of PFI. They find that undertakings to protect their wages and
conditions are quickly torn up.

On paper the North has some of the best equality legislation in
Europe. But the impact of privatisation on gender equality is
completely ignored. For example manual women workers in the private
sector earn three quarters of their counterparts' wages in the
public sector.

Goretti Horgan is a researcher on poverty for the University of
Ulster. She is also a director of the Northern Ireland Anti-Poverty


TD May Quit Party Over McCabe Issue

08/12/2004 - 10:36:07

Fianna Fáil was making frantic efforts to keep a Limerick East TD
on side today amid concerns he would quit the party if Det Garda
Jerry McCabe's killers are released.

Peter Power, who lives just yards from the slain Garda's widow
Anne, has told Taoiseach Bertie Ahern of the huge groundswell of
opinion in the city and the anger triggered by threats that the
four Castlerea prisoners would be released.

He said: "I had a long discussion with the Taoiseach and expressed
the very difficult situation we are facing in Limerick.

"Feelings are running very high about this because of the proximity
of Anne McCabe to the people. She is a highly respected person in
the community and the people are siding with her very strongly."

Mr Power told Mr Ahern he was looking forward to seeing the final
details of the British and Irish governments' proposals.

He admitted he has been the subject of personal abuse in his
constituency by people protesting at the possibility of the prison
gates being thrown open to the gunmen.

As fears grew that the popular TD would resign, the Taoiseach's
office was in contact with him this morning, just hours before Mr
Ahern and British Prime Minister Tony Blair were expected to
release details of their efforts to reach a deal.

Mr Ahern has warned there would be no deal on the restoration of
Northern Ireland's political institutions unless the gang of four
is released.

Pearse McAuley, Jeremiah Sheehy, Kevin Walsh and Michael O'Neill
are serving between 11 and 14 years for the manslaughter of the 52-
year-old detective, gunned down in a hail of bullets in the botched
robbery attempt of a post office van in Adare in Co Limerick in
June 1996.


(Poster's Note: Go to this site and add your comment. Jay)

Will A Compromised Be Reached? Could a power-sharing government in
Northern Ireland be efffective? Send us your comments using the

The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have
received so far:

We will never get these people to agree, why don't the rest of us
hold a referendum and cut NI from the UK. Let them settle it for
Simon, Bath, UK

I will be amazed if permanent peace can be reached. Both sides seem
too narrow-minded and stuck in their ways, unable to see things
from the other side's point of view.
Neil, UK

I cannot believe that Rev Paisley still has the cheek to call
himself a man of the cloth. What happened to the Christian belief
of forgiveness? He needs to look to the future, not the past. This
is not for his own victory / benefit - it is for the people of NI.
He should remember that. Mr Paisley is not good for the future of
NI and should be replaced immediately.
Gordon Sinclair, Nottingham, UK

"Compromise" - people it's not a dirty word
Concerned, Edinburgh, Scotland

How can any form of power sharing work when these sectarian
dinosaurs still walk the earth?
Andy D, Oxford UK

Is the hollow victory that the DUP seek really worth losing the
peace for? The people of Northern Ireland (on both sides of the
divide) have suffered enough. They must all be looking forward to
the day that the disciples of hatred and division are gathered to
their forefathers! How can any form of power sharing work when
these sectarian dinosaurs still walk the earth?
Andy D, Oxford UK

A bitter old man, as full of hate today as he ever was. It's now
time for Ian Paisley to step down.
Gerry Noble, Salisbury, UK

How on earth can showing a picture of you doing what you have
agreed to do be in any way humiliating? It strikes me that the
IRA's heart obviously isn't in it. i.e. peace.
Karl Grover, Wokingham, England, UK.

Let's face it. The IRA will always have arms "hidden somewhere".
Unless there is an Ireland organised the way the IRA accept, there
will always be the risk of terrorism creeping back in. Power
sharing won't work as there will always be squabbles about the
amount of power each side wants. The IRA are like selfish children.
If they don't get their way - all hell breaks loose.
Anon, Swindon, UK

It's a shame the potential resolution to this problem lies with the
two most extreme political parties of NI, whilst the more moderate
parties seem to have been sidelined (UUP and SDLP). Given this
fact, and the obvious disdain SF have for demonstrative
disarmament, and Paisley's obvious desire for a humiliating
'victory', the process is doomed. Rev. Ian Paisley as the next
First Minister of NI, that about sums it up really.
Jason, Kent, UK

If humiliation is the only thing standing between an agreement,
then it is a small price that is worth paying. And it is a brave
man who pays that price.
Jagdish Patel, Susteren, The Netherlands

Compromise is still the key to progress in Northern Ireland
Craig Hand, Glasgow, UK

Compromise is still the key to progress in Northern Ireland:
although the outlook is much better than 10 years ago, more
compromise is needed if the situation is to improve. While all
sides need to make concessions, in my view, it is people like Rev.
Paisley and his DUP that threaten progress. Of course the IRA must
continue to decommission weapons, but the refusal of the DUP to
talk to Sinn Fein, or indeed give any ground, threatens the entire
peace process.
Craig Hand, Glasgow, UK

Power-sharing will only work in Northern Ireland if all parties
recognise that any relationship must be built on openness, honesty
and sincerity and that trust will only be built by a willingness to
demonstrate that violence has been renounced for good. All parties
to the agreement should be required to decommission weapons, a
process which can be recorded, photographed and verified by
independent observers appointed by the United Nations. But if the
United Nations has the records of the process, there is no need for
those records to be publicly accessible except perhaps to party
leaders to prove to them that decommissioning has taken place. The
important thing is that there are no weapons and both sides can
govern together fairly and effectively in a trusting relationship.
Kevin, UK

It's all back to the arms again. If the IRA want this deal then
they should show real evidence that arms have been destroyed. It's
not just the DUP that want this, we all want to know that the arms
are gone and we will never go back to the bombing days. I can't see
why the IRA would be humiliated. They've already said they will be
giving up their arms, all we want is evidence - why is this
humiliating? Wake up and swallow your pride and end this war for
good and show us with photographs that the weapons are in the past
and then the people of Northern Ireland can get on with their lives
in peace.
Phil, UK

Are the DUP really going to pull down what's been agreed so far
just so they can humiliate the IRA. These people seem more
interested in victory than peace. That can be very dangerous as the
British government found out during the troubles!
Colin Redmond, Dublin

Of course it can, and it will happen I am positive. Sin Fein have
cleverly portrayed themselves as the voice of sweet reason, and
hey, it may even be true!! In the next election in NI, the DUP will
be punished for failing to grab a good deal, and Sinn Fein will
hopefully be able to do a deal with the UUP. Everyone knows the
days of armed resistance are over, and whatever limited reasons
that led to armed conflict have long since been addressed. The DUP
are just not clued up enough to get it.
Brian Coughlan, Alingsas Sweden

I find it hard to believe that the peace process is now on ice
for the want of a few photographs
Paul Wilson, London

I find it hard to believe that the peace process is now on ice for
the want of a few photographs. In any case, the DUP well knows that
if the IRA destroys its weapons cache tomorrow, it could rebuild
much of it by Christmas.
Paul Wilson, London

Of course it can - what other choice is there? As a born and bred
"Ulsterman" who was at Queens in the 70s I have experienced the IRA
and the Protestant bullies at their worst. I also remember the Rev.
Paisley's stunt ("strike") that ended the first power sharing
attempt. Later on I moved to Canada and began to wondered what on
earth the fuss had all been about (Canada was a much more tolerant
place). Get over it Rev. Paisley. The SF'ers have come a lot
further than you, and you have way more to gain than you have to
lose. Get the weapons dealt with and then you can discover you will
be "sharing" power with other human beings, just like yourself. Not
better, not worse, just different - and a lot more like you than
you might like to admit.
David Howe, Munich, Germany

Not so long as either side clings to their childish attitudes. It
would be funny if so many people's futures didn't rest with these
throwbacks to another era. In my view, none of them are to be
Paul B, Oxford, UK

Gerry Adams never refers to a Northern Ireland Assembly. He never
utters the words "Northern Ireland". He speaks only of the "Island
of Ireland". He and his colleagues consider the proposed
arrangements as temporary and meant to last as short a time as
possible before the institution of a united Ireland. They must have
planned to disband the IRA only after this had happened. This is
surely the crucial issue facing the Unionists.
Professor J C Woodrow, Birkenhead Uk


Protestant Community Lost Out On EU Funding

MEP claims £75m cash deficit from peace programme

From Simon Taylor in Brussels
08 December 2004

Northern Ireland's Protestant community has lost out at least £75m
in funding from the EU's Peace programme over the last ten years,
according to one of its unionist MPs.

Jim Allister, Democratic Unionist MEP, claims that the majority
community could have suffered a funding deficit since 1994 because
the majority of the money has tended to flow to the Catholic
community despite their smaller share of the overall population.

Mr Allister makes the claim in a new document called "Fairness for
All" which he is sending to the European Commission in Brussels and
the Northern Ireland Office Minister, Ian Pearson.

The MEP claims that urgent action is needed to start redressing the
balance during the two remaining years of the second Peace

He is calling for ring fencing of a substantial part of future
funding to ensure that the Protestant community receive their fair
share of the money.

"Neither the Government nor the Commission can afford to duck this
any longer. They must face up to it," he said.

Otherwise, he warned, "it is hard to see the Protestant/Unionist
community having any further involvement on the programme".

In the 12-page document, Mr Allister claims that the majority
community has not reaped the tangible benefit from the two Peace
programmes that the Catholic community has.

As a result, "confidence in the European peace funding system is at
an all-time low", he argues.

The DUP MEP argues that the majority community feels they have been
"effectively excluded" from a programme whose key aims were
"addressing the legacy of the conflict" and "taking opportunities
arising from peace".

The Protestant section of society had looked on with "outrage" at
the enormous amounts of money handed over to those responsible for
thirty-five years of terror, he said, while they faced "callous
indifference or downright hostility" when they applied for Peace

Mr Allister also attacked the Special EU Funding Body (SEUPB),
which is responsible for awarding and administering the Peace
programme funds, for failing to "demonstrate sufficient commitment
to tackling this inequality".

He called on them to encourage a greater level of participation in
the programme from the Unionist community through public awareness
campaigns and actively targeting key groups. But, by doing neither,
Mr Allister said, "they demonstrate a telling satisfaction with the
situation which currently exists".

One way to start redressing the balance in the distribution of
funds, the MEP argues, is to provide financial support to Orange
Halls, which, he says, function as community centres and should be
recognised as such.

To tackle some of the problems Mr Allister is calling for the
setting up of a European Funding Equality Unit which would try and
make sure that overall levels of funding were being distributed in
a fair way.

He also wants an Ulster Trust Fund with an initial investment of
£10m to address the "alienation" of the Unionist community towards
the peace programme.


Omagh's Tribute To All Victims Of Conflict

By Michael McHugh
08 December 2004

A day of remembrance is being held in Omagh this week to mark the
deaths of all local people who lost their lives during war and

A plaque will be unveiled and tree planted in Grange Park this
Friday as part of efforts to unite both communities.

The chairman of Omagh District Council, Sean Clarke from Sinn Fein,
who is organising the ceremony, says a number of victims groups
from the surrounding area have been invited to attend.

Mr Clarke said he hoped the event would help to bring all victims
together in a collective public day of reflection.

"This event is being convened in order to afford all sections of
the community the opportunity to participate in an inclusive act of
remembrance," he said.

"I do hope that we can unite as a community and publicly pay our
respects. There will be a few short readings and local musicians
will sing an appropriate song.

"It goes right the way back to the world wars and an invitation has
been sent to all groups in the area and we hope a lot of people
will attend."

Other council areas organising similar events include Derry City
and Strabane.

"It is about remembering all those who died, everybody has their
own tragedy to remember but nobody will remember all the victims
who died and I hope this can help to bring people together," Mr
Clarke added.

Michael Gallagher from the Omagh Self-Help Group, which represents
those who lost loved ones in the 1998 Omagh bomb, said the
organisation had been invited to the event but had decided not to

"It is something which does not sit well with what we are doing,"
he said.


Sculpture To Mark Women's Role In Shirt Industry

By Ciaran O'Neill
08 December 2004

Three female councillors have been appointed to a group which will
oversee the creation of a sculpture to commemorate the role of
women in Londonderry's shirt-making industry.

The £100,000 sculpture, which will be funded by the Department of
Social Development's North West Development Office, will be placed
in a prominent area of the city. It is hoped that it will be in
place by the middle of next year.

Derry City Council's recreation and leisure committee recently
decided that Mary Bradley (SDLP), Lynn Fleming (Sinn Fein) and
Mildred Garfield (DUP) would be appointed to the Project Management
Team which will co-ordinate the creation of the sculpture.

Mrs Bradley said the women who had worked in the shirt-factory
industry had been the 'backbone' of Derry for many years, and it
was fitting that their contribution should be officially

Ms Fleming, who had worked in a shirt factory, said such a
commemoration was long overdue.

Mrs Garfield compared the factories to 'sweat shops' but said it
was important to remember the efforts of the women who had worked
in them.


Irish Cultural Activities Heighten Boston's Holiday Season

Wednesday, December 8, 2004

A distinctive Celtic flavor enlivens Boston's holiday season this
year as Irish singers, dancers and entertainers perform in town,
complementing a variety of social gatherings, art exhibits and
children's activities in the local community, according to a
schedule released by the Boston Irish Tourism Association.

"Christmas is one of the most cherished holidays in the Irish
calendar," says Michael P. Quinlin, head of the Boston Irish
Tourism Association. "There's always an abundance of music, dancing
and good cheer as friends and family come together to celebrate
community and tradition. Nowhere is this more evident in America
than in Boston, the capital of Irish-America."

Tommy Makem, Ireland's famed balladeer and former member of the
Clancy Brothers, performs at Boston College's annual Gaelic Roots
Christmas concert on Dec. 12.

Upcoming dance performances include Barrage, a Canadian troupe of
Celtic dancers and musicians, appearing at the Wilbur Theatre, Dec.
14 to 19.

A very anticipated local event of the season, says Quinlin, is the
Irish Cultural Centre's 12th annual Christmas Ball on Dec. 11, at
the Quincy Marriott Hotel. The popular soiree raises funds for the
centre's year-round activities, including its Irish Festival held
each June, according to ICC President Mike O'Connor.

Other favorite Christmas activities in the Boston Irish community,
Quinlin notes, include the annual Holiday Pops concerts at Boston
Symphony Hall from Dec. 13 to 30, and the Boston Ballet's
"Nutcracker" at Colonial Theatre through Dec. 30. A popular
destination for visitors and residents alike is the John F. Kennedy
Library and Museum, which opens a new exhibit on Nov. 26 titled
"Presents for a President and First Lady," a display of 65 state
gifts presented to the first couple by foreign leaders during the
Kennedy presidency.

A number of Irish gift shops and galleries throughout the area are
stocking up on Christmas gifts from Ireland. Lorica Artworks in
Andover presents an exhibit titled "Wondrous Gifts," a selection of
works by contemporary Irish painters. The exhibit runs through Dec.
31. The Aisling Gallery in Hingham has a full selection of Irish
prints, reproductions and original paintings alongside its picture
framing studio. And Kara Pottery in Methuen has a unique line of
handmade pottery made by Irish craftsmen and women.

Full details of these events and gift stores are available on
BITA's Web site,, which also has a
selection of the area's finest pubs and restaurants, hotels, travel
agencies and Irish bakeries.

BITA's schedule of Irish events in Boston


Dec. 12 - Gaelic Roots' Irish Christmas Concert, featuring Tommy
Makem, at Connolly House, Boston College, 617-552-0490.
Dec. 13 to 30 - Holiday Pops, Boston Symphony Hall, 300
Massachusetts Ave., Boston, 617-266-1200.


Nov. 26 to Dec. 30 - Boston Ballet's "The Nutcracker," at Colonial
Theatre, 106 Boylston St., Boston 617-451-2345.
Dec. 14 to 19 - Barrage, Wilbur Theatre, 246 Tremont St., Boston,

Special events

Dec. 11 - Irish Cultural Centre's, 12th annual Irish Christmas
Ball, Marriott Hotel/Quincy, 781-444-5720.
Opens Nov. 26 - "Presidents to a President and First Lady,"
exhibition at JFK Library and Museum, Columbia Point, Dorchester,

Gift shops

Aisling Gallery and Framing, 229 Lincoln St. (Rte. 3A), Hingham,
Bridget's an Irish Tradition, 10 Cordage Park Circle, Suite 110,
Plymouth, 508-747-2273.
Kara Irish Pottery, 64 Pleasant St., Metheun, 800-430-2008.
Lorica Artworks, 90 Main St., Andover, 978-470-1829.

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