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December 09, 2004

News 12/09/04 - Blame Game As Parties Given A Week

News about Ireland & the Irish

BT 12/09/04 Blame Game As SF And DUP Given Week To Work
EX 12/09/04 Historic 'Yes' Sticks In Dr No's Throat
NY 12/09/04 Peace Effort In Northern Ireland Falls Short
IO 12/09/04 Weapon Pictures Not Entirely Ruled Out – Ahern
CN 12/09/04 N. Ireland: 'Intellect' Required
CH 12/10/04 Robin Eames: The Eternal Optimist, Part 2


Ulster waits for IRA's next move

Blame Game As SF And DUP Given Week To Work

By Chris Thornton and Noel McAdam
09 December 2004

The scale of the repair job facing London and Dublin's settlement
plan emerged today as Ian Paisley and the IRA accused each other of
searching for excuses to scupper the deal.

With the governments' proposals on hold, Sinn Fein and the DUP have
been given a week to consider whether the comprehensive package can
still be retrieved.

Secretary of State Paul Murphy and Irish Foreign Minister Dermot
Ahern are expected to meet the parties next Wednesday to assess the
fallout from the release of the governments' rescue blueprint.

But the prospects for piecing together the settlement in the short
term appeared to have been damaged by mutual recrimination and
reports that the IRA had hung up the deal by rejecting more than
the DUP demand for photographic proof of decommissioning.

Questions emerged over whether the outlawed organisation had tried
to a shirk a specific pledge to non-violence that had been drafted
for the governments' paper.

In today's statement, the IRA said it had agreed to enter a "new
mode" but did not say whether it would sign up to a commitment "to
uphold and not to endanger anyone's personal rights and safety".

The promise it said it had been prepared to make extended only as
far as instructing its members to refrain from actions that would
damage the settlement.

Mary Harney, the deputy to Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, had hinted
yesterday that the photographs had not been the only snag to the

Mr Ahern, however, emphasised yesterday that the deal held out an
end to paramilitary activity.

In a statement last night, the IRA underlined that photographic
proof was "never possible".

The IRA leadership then accused Ian Paisley of making "this demand
publicly as the excuse for his rejection of an overall agreement to
create a political context with the potential to remove the causes
of conflict".

Today Mr Paisley accused the IRA of never intending to complete the

"The latest IRA statement of self justification only serves to
convince decent people of Northern Ireland of the fact that the IRA
had never any intention of decommissioning or being honest and
honourable by allowing the people who, have been humiliated by
decades of IRA violence, to see that their weapons are destroyed
once and for all," he said.

Repair efforts will continue under Prime Minister Tony Blair and Mr
Ahern late next week. The premiers are likely to meet again to
decide on their next moves, on the sidelines of a European Union
summit in Brussels.

Both premiers are relentlessly optimistic that a deal could still
be achieved by Christmas or early in the New Year, before the
political focus shifts towards run-in to the next elections - the
Westminster and local councils polls, anticipated in May and June

Mr Blair has appealed to the people of Northern Ireland to discuss
and debate the Comprehensive Package proposals and try to help to
create the climate and circumstances in which progress can be made.



Historic 'Yes' Sticks In Dr No's Throat

By Dan McGinn

FOR years, the Rev Ian Paisley has been dubbed "Dr No" by his
political opponents.

The 78-year-old Democratic Unionist leader has carved out a career
saying no to the Catholic Church and no to meetings between
unionists and Irish heads of state. He even said no to line

Yesterday should have been different. The DUP leader hoped to tell
his party executive he was saying yes to a deal which would have
seen the IRA complete disarmament.

The deal would also have allowed Sinn Féin and the DUP to head a
power sharing executive with responsibility over farms, roads,
schools and hospitals.

But this time it was the IRA who said no - no to photographic
evidence of decommissioning.

Born in Ireland's ecclesiastical capital of Armagh on April 26,
1926. At the age of 16, he preached his first sermon and, in 1951,
he established the Free Presbyterian Church on Belfast's Ravenhill

In 1963, he organised an illegal march on Belfast City Hall to
protest against the lowering of the Union flag following the death
of Pope John XXIII and was fined £10.

A year later, he protested against an Irish tricolour in west
Belfast, resulting in its removal by the RUC and rioting from
republicans, including Gerry Adams.

Fast forward 40 years and you get a sense of just how close the
North Antrim MP has come to turning assumptions about him upside

He has toyed with the previously unthinkable idea of him becoming
First Minister in an executive featuring republicans.

Even more remarkable is the prospect that former IRA commander
Martin McGuinness may yet one day serve alongside him as Deputy
First Minister.

Republicans were not convinced yesterday that the DUP was ready to
strike a deal.

A source said: "Here we had the best deal a unionist leader ever
got with the IRA preparing not just to put weapons beyond use but
actually talking about ending physical force republicanism... But
rather than take that, the DUP has said it wants to humiliate the
IRA. Ian Paisley has opted for a photograph for purely electoral

Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern will be anxious to build on what has
been achieved in recent negotiations. The task facing them is huge.
It means persuading the IRA that photographs of decommissioning are
not humiliation.

But it also means trying to ensure Dr No can be turned into the
political equivalent of that other famous orangeman, the Man from
Del Monte.


Peace Effort In Northern Ireland Falls Short

Published: December 9, 2004

BELFAST, Northern Ireland, Dec. 8 - The prime ministers of Britain
and Ireland admitted Wednesday that they had so far failed to
restore a power-sharing government between Catholics and
Protestants in this British province, which is still trying to
recover from three decades of sectarian violence.

The reason, they said, was that the two sides could not agree on
verifiable means to destroy the last arms caches of the outlawed
Irish Republican Army.

The British prime minister, Tony Blair, and Ireland's leader,
Bertie Ahern, had hoped to appear together in Belfast's gleaming
new Waterfront Hall - a sign of the economic prosperity that has
become more important than politics or strife for many in Northern
Ireland - to celebrate a new agreement. Instead, they expressed
frustration with the process and said they were now looking for
public support to push the parties toward final compromises before
the end of December.

That is the deadline the I.R.A. had accepted during the
negotiations to complete final acts of disarmament before
independent military inspectors. It also pledged to declare an end
to warfare and to transform itself into a peaceful organization in
return for a full power-sharing partnership with the Protestant

Mr. Blair and Mr. Ahern also released the draft texts of an
agreement and draft public statements to show that they are on the
verge of a significant breakthrough.

"We are now on the brink of an accommodation that would have been
regarded as impossible a short time ago," Mr. Ahern said. He evoked
the memory of those who had died or lost family members in the
conflict and added, "It is certainly not acceptable that we should
fall short."

Mr. Blair said he felt that all parties to the two years of complex
negotiations - aimed at ending the conflict, which has claimed more
than 3,000 lives - had climbed to the peak of a mountain only to
find "another mound to go." He said he was "weary as a traveler"
from the negotiations, "but not downhearted."

For the moment, the snag is all about photographs - whether an
official photographer can document the destruction of I.R.A.
weapons and whether the photographs can then be published in March,
when, under the draft agreement made public on Wednesday,
Protestant and Catholic politicians in the six counties of Northern
Ireland would return to their seat of government at Stormont

Gerry Adams, president of Sinn Fein, the political wing of the
I.R.A., has said the publication of photographs of weapons would be
an attempt to humiliate the I.R.A. Both Mr. Blair and Mr. Ahern
took care not to criticize the Sinn Fein position, but reiterated
that the weapons destruction would have to be transparent and
verifiable. Mr. Ahern said he had "expected" the I.R.A. to accept
the photographic record.

The power-sharing assembly and executive for the Catholic and
Protestant communities here were set up in 1998 as part of what is
known as the Good Friday Agreement, but that government was
suspended in 2002. Elections in 2003 returned the hard-line
Protestants of the Democratic Unionist Party of the Rev. Ian
Paisley to power. On Wednesday, Mr. Paisley called the I.R.A.
"bloodthirsty monsters" and "terrorists" who can only redeem
themselves by ending their "criminality" and submitting to a
transparent and verifiable disarmament.

Mr. Ahern said that he believed that despite Mr. Paisley's remarks,
"He does want a fair and honorable deal."

Brian Lavery contributed reporting for this article.


Weapon Pictures Not Entirely Ruled Out - Ahern
2004-12-09 09:00:05+00

Republicans did not entirely rule out the issue of obtaining
photographic evidence of IRA decommissioning, Foreign Affairs
Minister Dermot Ahern said today.

Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams criticised the two Governments for
including the issue of photographs in their draft proposals.

He said his party had made clear that the IRA regarded the DUP's
demands as an attempt at humiliation and would not countenance

But Mr Ahern denied that republicans had ruled them out entirely.

He said: "The refusal of photographs wasn't as explicit as is being
indicated, in my view.

"It was always part of the discussions that photographs may be
necessary in order to convince the DUP to bring them over the line.

"Always we knew the issue of photographs in themselves might not be
the difficulty but the publication of the photographs in such a way
as would be seen as being a humiliation or a victory for one side
would not be countenanced."

Mr Ahern said the purpose of publishing the Governments' draft deal
yesterday was to show how far the parties had come in attempting a

"What was published yesterday was only a small element of quite a
number of areas that have been agreed and indications that if there
was an overall settlement, all the things would fit into the

Mr Ahern and Northern Ireland Secretary Paul Murphy will meet the
parties next week in a bid to sort out the last remaining problem
preventing the restoration of a powersharing administration.

He said the two governments would try to find a middle ground
between the positions of DUP and Sinn Féin.

"After the publication of these documents, both publicly and
privately, we have got indications that people involved want to try
and find a solution to this.

"It's going to be very difficult. They are diametrically opposed
views. That's why we have to renew our resolve to try and
compromise and bring the sides closer together on this particular


N. Ireland: 'Intellect' Required

Thursday, December 9, 2004 Posted: 5:05 AM EST (1005 GMT)

Blair and Ahern told a press conference the deal had stalled.

BELFAST, Northern Ireland -- All sides in Northern Ireland need to
use their "intellect" to find a way through the deadlock over IRA
disarmament, the UK minister with responsibility for the province

Before briefing the British Cabinet on the failure to achieve a
landmark peace deal between the Rev Ian Paisley and Gerry Adams,
Northern Ireland Secretary Paul Murphy said he was not discouraged
by what had happened.

"The fact is that we were almost there. We have a last bit of the
mountain to scale," he told the UK's Press Association.

"It is an important issue that is difficult but I do not see why we
cannot crack it in the end.

"The issue over decommissioning is one of confidence and
transparency. We have to bring all our intellect from across the
political spectrum to bear on how to deal with this issue."

On Wednesday British Prime Minister Tony Blair said that an
agreement on powersharing between Northern Ireland's two largest
parties, the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and Sinn Fein, had
almost been agreed.

But the outlawed paramilitary Irish Republican Army -- with whom
Sinn Fein are linked -- would not accept the joint British-Irish
proposal that they photograph the decommissioning of their

With the IRA balking at that proposal for transparency, the
hardline Protestant DUP said it would not sit with Sinn Fein, the
IRA's political ally, in the government.

"Roman Catholics and Protestants alike are now saying that the DUP
are right, that this should be transparent," the DUP's leader, 78-
year-old preacher Ian Paisley, said in Belfast after a meeting with
retired Canadian Gen. John de Chastelain, the mediator between the
two sides on disarmament.

"The little man behind the garden fence should be sure the IRA is

Gerry Adams of Sinn Fein, Northern Ireland's largest Roman Catholic
party, said focusing on the documentation issue distracted "from
what has been achieved."

Adams said "a demand for humiliation" was holding the deal up.

"Here today we have the British prime minister telling us that Ian
Paisley has said 'yes' ... to every issue "except for one," Adams
said. "I do think that is an indication of the progress that has
been achieved."

But, he said, he had told the prime ministers at the beginning of
the process that the IRA was unlikely to accept the DUP's demand to
photographically document the destruction of its weapons.

"What's holding it up is the demand for a process of humiliation,
and I don't think we should let that hold it up," he said.

On Thursday leading Democratic Unionist MP Jeffrey Donaldson said
the IRA must have a change of heart on disarmament if there was to
be political progress.

"I hope over the weekend republicans will take time to reflect on
the progress that has been made in the negotiations," he told PA.

"But republicans need to set themselves some serious questions
about what has happened. If there is going to be an impasse over
decommissioning, then it could go on for a long time."

In a statement issued through the republican newspaper An
Phoblacht, the IRA accused DUP leader Paisley of trying to
humiliate them by demanding photographic evidence.

The organization said it was prepared to go to some lengths in the
event of a comprehensive peace deal.

Paisley: Man behind the garden fence need to know IRA really was

This included the IRA moving "into a new mode" reflecting a
transition to a totally peaceful society; the destruction of all
IRA arms in a verifiable manner as soon as possible and, if
possible, by the end of December in the presence of two clergymen.

It added that all IRA members would be given specific instructions
not to engage in anything which could endanger a comprehensive
peace process deal.

On the key question of weapons, the Provisionals said: "For his
part, Ian Paisley demanded that our contribution be photographed,
and reduced to an act of humiliation. This was never possible."

The Irish government was more optimistic Thursday.

Republicans did not entirely rule out the issue of obtaining
photographic evidence of IRA decommissioning, Irish Foreign Affairs
Minister Dermot Ahern said.

He told PA: "The refusal of photographs wasn't as explicit as is
being indicated, in my view.

"It was always part of the discussions that photographs may be
necessary in order to convince the DUP to bring them over the line.

"Always we knew the issue of photographs in themselves might not be
the difficulty but the publication of the photographs in such a way
as would be seen as being a humiliation or a victory for one side
would not be countenanced."

He said the British and Irish governments would try to find a
middle ground between the positions of DUP and Sinn Fein.


Robin Eames: The Eternal Optimist, Part 2

By Jonathan Wynne-Jones Number: 5747 Date: Dec 10,

We are talking on one of the most extraordinary days yet in the
fragile development of the peace process, as Ian Paisley pondered
his willingness to form a government with the republicans, his
long-term foes.

Dubbed the "Eternal Optimist" for his unflinching faith that peace
could be achieved in Northern Ireland, the possibility of such an
alliance that was unthinkable a few years ago at the height of the
conflict is testament to Eames's policy of keeping the door open.

There is a happy symmetry to the way that the cycle of his career
in the Church has coincided with the political relationships
turning full circle. In his early days as a priest there was hope
for closer co-operation between Catholics and Protestants and now
this hope is very much alive again.

It is no mere coincidence however. Eames has played a significant
role in the Peace Process. He found that John Major and Albert
Reynolds, the British and Irish Prime Ministers, who were battling
each other over drawing up the Downing Street Declaration, both
sought him for advice.

In the book, John Major says: "It's been a long time in the affairs
of Church and State since a churchman would have seen such intimate
documents as Robin saw. Albert Reynolds and I squabbled over every
dot and comma, but when I got as far as I could, I needed an
independent view that the deal would be accepted by Unionists."

Eames' influence grew to such an extent that he drafted a section
of the Downing Street Declaration, a contribution that was well
received by Reynolds.

The next year, when any deal between the two sides was still in the
balance, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey,
arranged for Eames to meet with Major. Looking the British Prime
Minister in the eye, Eames demanded his assurance that he had not
done a deal with the Provisional IRA. It was to be a critical
meeting in gaining the trust of the Loyalists and allowing future
discussions to be held in a healthier atmosphere.

Eames views his role as his God-given responsibility and believes
that if he had remained aloof from the politics, he would have been
neglecting his duty to search for peace, "to bring an end to the
death and destruction among my people and their neighbours".

In acting, essentially, as a go-between in the talks, Eames was
putting himself at great risk. As archbishop he was not afforded
immunity from the dangers of being involved with an armed struggle,
and at the worst of the Troubles he was given a police guard as
they had learned that the paramilitaries had him on their death

"You try to lead a normal family life, but it was disconcerting to
be conducting a confirmation in a country parish and your eyes
glance through a window and see the troops outside. Things like
that never leave you. There was also a sense in which anything you
said or did could put others in danger."

Eames was fully aware that his role was fraught with pitfalls and
that to a certain extent, his reputation as a Church leader was on
the line as he became increasingly embroiled in the negotiations.

"I went through a great deal of heart searching before I met the
Loyalist Paramilitary command – I had to decide whether it was
appropriate for me to be involved. There was a risk in meeting
Gerry Adams.

"There was also a risk of being consulted by the various Prime
Ministers and a risk within Northern Ireland of being seen to be
consulted by the Irish Government."

Eames's gambles have paid off and have taught him the power of
personal sacrifice in reaching a common goal. In the midst of the
politics, it is going the extra yard to listen to people and to the
human dimension of a problem that makes the difference, he says.

"The telling of a person's story, the fact that somebody listened
to them, that has a part in the healing. I feel terribly strongly
that memory is one of the most formative influences in our lives.
What Northern Ireland needs to do is deal with its collective
memory. "People have to realise that until we deal with memories
there's going to be limitations on how far we go forward."

To many, the crisis over homosexuality in the Anglican Church is an
insoluble problem, but his experiences in the Irish conflict have
instilled in him an unflinching faith that the seemingly impossible
is always possible. If Ian Paisley can be willing to share power
with Sinn Fein, can liberals in the Church be persuaded to preserve
communion with their conservative counterparts?

"I don't think the Anglican Communion will ever be quite the same
again, but I can't foresee what it's going to be.

"I think there will be a sense in which people will still want to
be Anglicans, the question of how they relate to one another
remains to be seen. If people feel that they can't become part of
this process of reconciliation then we have to see what situation
that creates for the rest. But I don't know if there'll ever be a
time drawn for this."

Just as the Church turned to Archbishop Eames to chair the
Commission on the Ordination of Women, it turned to him again to
preside over the search to find a solution to the crisis over
homosexuality. The gifts of leadership and chairmanship, which his
peers had noticed at an early age, were needed to achieve unity
amongst a group made up of members with widely differing views on
the issue.

Primates from the Global South had called for the American Church
to be expelled, and critics attacked the Windsor Report for failing
to take a hard line.

But Eames is keen that the door is left open. He doesn't expect
that expressions of regret will necessarily be forthcoming from the
American Church by the time that the Primates meet next February,
but he does not feel that the door should be closed on them.

"Persuasion is more important than legislation – that has been my
background. Persuasion and influence far outreach legislation."

Despite the decision of the Presiding Bishop of ECUSA, Frank
Griswold, to flagrantly defy the unanimous statement he signed with
the Primates by presiding over the consecration of the Anglican
Church's first gay bishop, Archbishop Eames prefers to keep faith
in him.

"My friends in the American Church would say to me, 'We did what we
thought was right at that time for us', but they did it without
total consciousness of the effect it was going to have on others."

He chooses to see the best in people. "I believe in the inherent
goodness of people and that no matter who they are or what they've
done or what they're guilty of, if you dig deep enough there's an
inherent humanity that's worth appealing to."

Some might accuse him of being too trusting, and so naïve, but he
believes in giving people the chance to prove themselves. In the
stand-off at Drumcree he was giving the Orangemen a chance to repay
his trust. Now, with the liberals in the Church he is giving them a
similar chance.

Only time will tell whether the latest gamble of the Eternal
Optimist will pay off, but what is clear is that he would much
rather live with risk, with the chance of trust being misplaced
than to ever give up on trust itself.

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