News about the Irish & Irish American culture, music, news, sports. This is hosted by the Irish Aires radio show on KPFT-FM 90.1 in Houston, Texas (a Pacifica community radio station)

January 05, 2005

01/05/05 – Orde ‘Must’ End Speculation

Overall Table of Contents
Table of Contents - Jan 2005

IO 01/05/05 Police Chief 'Must End Speculation On Raid Suspects'
BT 01/05/04 Time To Close Deal Now: SF
IE 01/05/04 North Pols Ready To Battle In '05
IN 01/05/04 New Loyalist Feud As 'Mad Dog' Adair Nears Jail Release
BT 01/05/04 Dallat Calls For Parties To Unite To Tackle Poverty
IO 01/05/04 McGuinness: Tsunami Should Spark New Eco-Approach
UT 01/05/04 De Brun Calls For Smoking Ban
IE 01/05/04 No-Fly Order Snagged Ferry Deportation
BT 01/05/04 Derry Has A Bright Future
BT 01/05/04 2004 In Review
IT 01/06/04 200 Jobs Lost As Bord Na Mona Peat Plant In Mayo Closes

NW 01/05/04 2,000 People Reported Missing In Ireland Per Year

2,000 People Reported Missing In Ireland Per Year - Maria Mullarkey
talks to four families dealing with missing loved ones
See the following web site: for more info on
missing Irish People.

(Poster's Note: Since when has it become the duty of a responsible
police force to speculate on who might have committed a crime. It
should not be the "political consequences" that silences the Chief
Constable; it should be professional police conduct that keeps him
from commenting on an on going investigation. It is the job of the
police to GET information about crimes; not to publicize unproven
theories. Once they have enough evidence against individuals, then
they should give that information to the prosecutors so that they
can do their jobs.

It is the DUP that is looking for the "political consequences" of
unsubstantiated speculation. They are in hopes that it would be to
their political advantage. Somehow, I suspect they hope that this
crime is never solved so that they can continue to smear their
political opponents. Jay)


Police Chief 'Must End Speculation On Bank Raid Suspects'
2005-01-05 19:00:05+00

Chief Constable Hugh Orde was urged tonight to say who he thinks
was behind the £22m (€31m) Northern Bank raid in Belfast.

With the IRA top of the list of suspects, Democratic Unionist
deputy leader Peter Robinson called on Northern Ireland's most
senior policeman to reply to speculation that republicans were

"It is time for the Chief Constable to come clean and tell us what
he knows about republican involvement in the Northern Bank raid,"
the East Belfast MP said.

"As speculation continues to mount about the role of the
Provisional IRA in the biggest bank robbery ever, Hugh Orde must
now tell us about the connections of any and all believed to be

"Is it the political consequences that have silenced the Chief

"Let no one be in any doubt, the consequences of mainstream
republican participation in this colossal crime will be far

"The IRA could not have carried out a crime of the magnitude of the
Northern Bank robbery without the sanction of its so-called Army

"Everyone knows that the Army Council contains within its ranks
senior members of Sinn Féin.

"The planning and preparation of the heist would have coincided
with the participation of some of those individuals in a talks
process that was aimed at ending such activity for good.

"Such downright duplicity would not only call into question the
commitment of republicans to the talks process but could not be
ignored by the (British) government."

Two weeks have passed since the raid on the Northern Bank's
headquarters in Belfast.

Mr Orde is due to brief the chairman and vice chairman of Northern
Ireland's Policing Board, Professor Desmond Rea and Denis Bradley
this week on the December 20 break-in.

He is also expected to make his first public comment on the robbery
for which no one has as yet been arrested.

The homes of a number of republicans were searched before Christmas
Day by police.

A republican source has denied IRA involvement.

But unionists are anxious to hear from the Chief Constable and
would regard it as a blow to Sinn Fein's talks credentials if the
IRA is confirmed as the gang behind the heist.

Democratic Unionist MP Gregory Campbell is due to raise the break-
in with a question in the House of Commons next week.

Mr Robinson said tonight that if the Provisionals were found
guilty, it would also vindicate his party's pre-Christmas demand
for clarity and certainty over IRA weapons decommissioning.

"We require complete, verifiable and transparent decommissioning
and an end to all of the IRA's illegal activity," he said.

"The Ulster Unionists were never prepared to seriously put the IRA
to the test on decommissioning, never mind the IRA's criminal

"Until republicans build trust in the community by totally
decommissioning in a way that inspires confidence and by ending all
of its illegal activities then there can be no place in the
democratic process for Sinn Féin.

"Both the British and Irish Governments must encourage all of the
constitutional parties to move forward and leave behind those who
appear incapable of committing themselves to exclusively peaceful


Time To Close Deal Now: SF

By Chris Thornton

05 January 2005

Sinn Féin called today for London and Dublin to "get back down to
the business" of restoring Stormont.

SF chairman Mitchel McLaughlin said his party believes a deal can
be completed quickly, in spite of last month's failure to close a

Proposals to stitch together a power-sharing government led by the
DUP and Sinn Féin fell apart over a dispute about the proof of IRA

The DUP wants the completion of IRA decommissioning to be
photographed. But Sinn Fein says that would amount to humiliation.

As the deal stalled the Dublin government also expressed concerns
over the IRA's failure to give commitments on avoiding criminal

Mr McLaughlin called for new activity after the Christmas and New
Year break, and said his party does not want to wait until the next
general election - expected in May - to close a deal.

"Sinn Féin are eager to get back down to the business of seeing a
deal done and the progress made last year built upon," he said.

"Sinn Féin are not interested in long-fingering this process until
after elections.

"We believe that the job can be completed and completed quickly if
the necessary political will is there.

"If the DUP are not up for this challenge then the process of
change must move ahead without them."


North Pols Ready To Battle In '05

Britain's Northern Ireland secretary Paul Murphy

By Anne Cadwallader

BELFAST -- Northern Ireland politics sleepwalked its way into 2005
as party leaders and Assembly members took a long break from
wrangling to contemplate the deadlock they created in 2004.

The public, too, enjoyed a Christmas and New Year's break from the
political fallout after December's acrimonious failure to broker a
deal to restore devolution and power-sharing.

Later this week, however, the first tentative efforts of the year
will be made to find a resolution to the stalemate -- with the
Irish government saying it is pledged to work for a breakthrough.

The Irish minister for foreign affairs, Dermot Ahern, said his
government would not contemplate any break in efforts to find
agreement due to the dangers of allowing matters to drift.

"From the first day of January, our officials will be back working
on this," Ahern said last week. "I think an agreement will happen
one way or another. It behooves everyone to compromise on the
issues they are holding steady on."

Britain's Northern Ireland secretary, Paul Murphy, expressed
disappointment in his New Year's message that devolved government
had not returned, although, he said, he was encouraged by "the huge
steps we have taken toward getting the Assembly and its
institutions back up and running."

"I firmly believe that in the New Year we must channel all our
efforts into taking those final few steps together to return power
to locally elected politicians," he said.

Meanwhile, Sinn Fein's Mitchel McLaughlin has described the DUP's
demand for photographic evidence of IRA decommissioning as not
being about weapons.

"It is all about avoiding power-sharing with republicans," he said.
"The conduct of the negotiations involving the leaderships of both
David Trimble and Ian Paisley should leave neither government under
any illusion that so-called decommissioning was other than a ploy
by unionists to slow down the process of change. It was never about

The Sinn Fein chairman said Paisley, the DUP leader, "was always
going to erect obstacles and make unrealizable demands" in order to
avoid engaging in all-Ireland structures and power-sharing.

"If successful in these demands, then he has a never-ending
shopping list that would frustrate the most accommodating among
us," said McLaughlin, adding that the two governments had made a
"major blunder" during negotiations.

Paisley had, he said, capitalized on their mistake in inserting an
expectation of photographs in the first place. "It is, therefore,
the responsibility of the governments to disavow Ian Paisley and
his party from any notion that this demand is achievable," he said.

Sniping between the DUP and Ulster Unionists has continued with
both parties accusing each other of capitulating to Sinn Fein
demands. After the UUP's Sir Reg Empey said the DUP had conceded
republican demands for speaking rights in the Dail, Paisley gave a
furious riposte.

"The Ulster Unionist Party resorts to the depths of lies and deceit
when it has nothing left to offer the unionist people", he said.
"Reg Empey has accused us of advancing the all-Ireland agenda when
he knows full well the conveyor belt of concessions the UUP

This story appeared in the issue of January 5-11, 2005


Belfast Braced For New Loyalist Feud As 'Mad Dog' Adair Nears Jail

By David McKittrick, Ireland Correspondent
06 January 2005

The authorities are hoping the imminent release from prison of the
man regarded as Northern Ireland's most erratic and dangerous
terrorist will not lead to an escalation of violence.

Johnny "Mad Dog" Adair, the loyalist regarded as one of the most
lethal leaders of the paramilitary Ulster Defence Association, is
due for release this month. The security forces are braced for the
possibility that either Adair or his many enemies in the loyalist
underworld will become embroiled in revenge attacks.

His periods of freedom have often coincided with savage feuding
either inside the UDA or within other loyalist groupings. The UDA
has expelled Adair, and its leaders hold him responsible for the
feud killing of loyalist icon John Gregg in February of last year.
Associates of Gregg make little secret of the fact that Adair is on
a death list, and would be a marked man if he re-appeared on the
streets of Belfast.

Following the Gregg murder, some of the Adair family fled to Bolton
in Lancashire, where Adair's son and two associates were later
imprisoned for supplying heroin and crack cocaine.

Adair is said to have indicated to the authorities that on his
release he intends to move to Bolton, and they will gladly help to
facilitate his emigration.

But - as his nickname suggests - he is regarded as so unstable and
vengeance-driven that little confidence can be placed in his

Some of Adair's associates in Bolton occasionally threaten to
return to Belfast, a move which would almost certainly bring fresh
outbreaks of violence.

While many prominent figures, both republican and loyalist, have
quietly faded away during the course of the peace process, Adair
has been conspicuously belligerent and ready to resort to violence
in pursuit of his ambitions.

His enemies accused him of wanting to take over the entire UDA and
thus control much of the Belfast drugs trade.

Other loyalists blame him for introducing a flood of drugs to the
Shankill Road loyalist heartland of Belfast.

Adair also ordered the expulsion of many families from his
territory in feuds which cost many lives and inflicted widespread
damage in working-class Protestant communities.

He was released from prison under the terms of the Good Friday
Agreement, but a year ago the Northern Ireland Secretary Paul
Murphy ordered his return to jail, saying he had been involved in
directing terrorism, drugs, weapons offences and extortion.

Since then, the authorities have put much effort into calming down
loyalist groupings and attempting to encourage less extreme
elements in their ranks. In this, they have made some progress,
though killings and robberies persist.

In 2004, loyalists killed three of the four people who died
violently. All three of the loyalist victims met their death in
internal disputes. This death toll was the lowest since the
troubles began in the late 1960s.

None of the four deaths involved the IRA, which for most of the
troubles represented the greatest taker of life.


Dallat Calls For Parties To Unite To Tackle Poverty

05 January 2005

East Derry SDLP Assembly Member John Dallat has called on Sinn Fein
and the DUP to resolve their differences.

Mr Dallat said it is vital to get the Assembly re-started, to take
care of vulnerable people struggling in poverty.

He said: "The recent budget clearly demonstrates that the most
vulnerable people in society are not only forgotten about but are
being stepped upon as new cuts begin to cut into public

"It is not clearly understood that levels of poverty are still
extremely high in the north with approximately one-third of
households considered fuel poor. An estimated 1,360 older people
die as a consequence of illness related to cold weather.

"Unfortunately the right to a decent home is still not a basic
right for many people with the figures projected over the next
three-year period hopelessly inadequate. People depending on social
housing are fed up to the back teeth with lofty statements about
political principles.

"They expect action on the ground but radical changes are needed to
how we address issues relating to social and affordable housing."

He pointed out that this can only be done with local politicians
driving progress and asking questions about performance.

The MLA said proposals to cut expenditure on education for children
with special needs "should embarrass any political party to
redouble their determination to take control of a spiralling
downward tumble in the provision of public services including
education, health, planning, the provision of road and rail
infrastructure and all the other issues which are helping us become
a third world region".

He concluded: "It is surely time to cut the nonsense about sack
cloth and ashes, humiliation, photographs and all the other hot air
issues which is achieving nothing other than making the
disadvantaged even more disadvantaged and the principles of
equality a nonsense."


McGuinness: Tsunami Should Spark New Eco-Approach
2005-01-05 15:50:02+00

International governments must adopt a sensible approach to climate
change following the Indian Ocean tsunami disaster, Sinn Féin's
Martin McGuinness claimed today.

Mr McGuinness was commenting after he met the family of missing Co
Tyrone man Conor Keightley.

Mr Keightley, aged 31, from Cookstown, has been missing since the
St Stephen's Day disaster. He had been on holiday in Thailand.

His sisters Darina Duffin and Michelle McCaughey are expected to
arrive in Phuket tomorrow to begin their search for him in the hope
that he is still alive.

After visiting the Keightley family in Cookstown, Mr McGuinness
said his prayers and best wishes were with them during what was a
tramuatic time.

And while the former Stormont Education Minister welcomed the
generous response of people to the disaster, he insisted
governments needed to cancel debts in the affected countries and
tackle climate change.

"The majority of people in the countries hardest hit - Sri Lanka,
India, Thailand, Indonesia - live in dire poverty. An area where
millions die each year from preventable causes such as measles and
malnutrition demands urgent action on debt cancellation," he said.

"Whatever the reason, this catastrophe has focused our attention on
our increasingly unpredictable climate. There is mounting evidence
of the need to make the switch from the use of fossil fuels to
renewable energy.

"Ecologists have been telling world leaders for years that climate
change associated with global warming is a disaster waiting to
happen. Few governments were listening.

"We don't have to be scientists to know that the destruction of the
tropical rain forests, which have survived millions of years, will
seriously impact on the delicate eco-balance."

It is estimated that some 150,000 people were killed by the freak
waves caused by earthquakes which devastated parts of Indonesia,
Sri Lanka, India and Thailand.

Millions of euro has been raised around the world to help
communities recover from the disaster.

However, Mr McGuinness said that, generous as people were, donating
money was not enough.

"Global catastrophes are now almost a monthly occurrence," the Sinn
Fein MP said. "Real and profound change is needed in the political
and economic systems that influence governments."


De Brun Calls For Smoking Ban

Sinn Fein has called for smoking to be banned in all workplaces.

MP and former Stormont Health Minister Bairbre de Brún has has
reiterated earlier calls for a complete smoking ban to be
implemented in all work places.

She said that 2005 should be 'remembered as the year smoking was
finally eradicated from our places of work'.

Her comments come in the wake of a smoking ban in civil service
buildings in Northern Ireland.

"I want to welcome this very positive measure towards making the
workplace a smoke free environment," she said.

"This ban should become the catalyst for a complete ban on smoking
in the workplace. Whilst smokers in the Civil Service had to use
designated smoking rooms, the decision to remove these rooms is a
major step towards changing mindsets in regards to smoking.

The Sinn Fein member has called on Health Minister Angela Smith to
conclude the consultation process on the issue as speedily as
possible and implement a ban in the face of `irrefutable evidence.`

"My hope is that 2005 will be remembered as the year smoking was
finally eradicated from our places of work, as we move towards a
more health conscious society. Sinn Féin will continue to press for
this in the coming year."


No-Fly Order Snagged Ferry Deportation

By Ray O'Hanlon

As he thought he was about to be deported to Ireland, a stunned and
bemused Ciaran Ferry looked on as an expletive-laden row erupted
between law enforcement officers charged with removing him from the

Speaking from Belfast, Ferry, who has vowed to keep up his legal
fight to live in the U.S., described a surreal situation in which
one arm of federal law enforcement prevented the other from
enforcing his federally mandated deportation.

"It spooked all the passengers on the flight to Dublin," Ferry said
in a phone interview.

Ferry was settling into the Continental Airlines flight out of
Newark Airport on the evening of Dec. 21. He was being escorted
across the Atlantic by three officers from the Bureau of
Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

On the surface, at least, Ferry appeared to be just another
passenger. He was not in handcuffs or any other form of restraint.

"We were getting ready to take off when the captain came on saying
there was a slight problem and that we had to return to the gate,"
Ferry said. "When we got to the gate, six Port Authority cops got
on board and came down the plane to us." Ferry said that the Port
Authority officers told him that he would have to leave the plane
because his name was on the federal government's no-fly list.

The list is compiled by a number of federal law enforcement and
intelligence agencies and is provided to airlines by the
Transportation Security Administration, an arm of the Department of
Homeland Security. The list, which has existed for about 15 years,
was broadly expanded in the aftermath of Sept. 11, 2001 terror
attacks and is intended to prevent attacks against flights into and
out of the U.S.

The controversial list made headlines last September when it
resulted in the detention and deportation of Yusuf Islam, formerly
the singer Cat Stevens, after he arrived in the U.S. on a flight
from London.

Earlier in the year, the list raised many eyebrows following the
airport questioning, on no fewer than five occasions, of Sen.
Edward Kennedy. Kennedy has been stopped because the no-fly list
carried the name "T. Kennedy." It took three weeks of effort by
Kennedy and his staff to have the senator's name removed from the

Given his record of IRA membership, the inclusion of Ciaran Ferry
on the list was rather less surprising than the inclusion of the
senior senator from Massachusetts. But Ferry was perplexed as to
why he would be pulled from a plane while under federal escort.

"It was bureaucratic nonsense," he said.

Ferry said that once had had walked off the plane, a row broke out
between the various law enforcement officers.

Ferry said he stood by as the deportation officers, Port Authority
cops, officers from the TSA and Continental Airlines security
personnel debated what to do with him.

"There was a lot of what the f ... is going on here," Ferry said.

It was eventually decided that Ferry should not be allowed fly. He
was taken to Hudson County Correctional Center in Kearny, N.J., for
the night.

Ferry said his federal escort had been clearly frustrated by the

"They just wanted to complete their task," he said.

Ferry said that he had tried to keep things in perspective during
the incident.

"I had this wry grin on my face and I was thinking that when you
want to leave the country, they won't let you leave," he said.

A spokesman for the Port Authority police said that the authority
officers were only present to assist the TSA. The mix-up over
Ferry's flight status, he said, had been a federal one.

A spokeswoman for the TSA said that the no-fly list was provided to
all airlines and that it was an airline's responsibility to check
it before issuing a boarding pass.

The problem over Ferry's flying status was ultimately cleared up
and Ferry was flown to Dublin on Wednesday, Dec. 22.

"I had to hand over my temporary travel document to a Garda officer
when we got to Dublin," he said. "He just said, 'welcome home,' and
that I was free to go."

Ferry's departure from the U.S. followed his agreeing to give up
his habeas corpus bid which would have allowed him to return to his
wife Heaven and daughter Fiona in Colorado.

Ferry said that he was now having to deal with mixed emotions. He
was glad to be out of prison, but sad that he was thousands of
miles from his wife and child.

"We had our wee plan, so we were fairly psychologically prepared
for the separation," he said. "Our major concern was that Fiona
would have a nice Christmas."

Last month, a Colorado judge denied Ferry's habeas corpus plea,
which had been before the court for 19 months. He had been jailed
since Jan. 30, 2003 after being detained when he turned up for the
green-card interview with his wife.

Though the habeas corpus issue is now moot, Ferry still has an
appeal against deportation pending before the Tenth Circuit Court
of Appeals. He said he was intent on continuing his legal fight to
live in the U.S. with his family.

"Much depends on finances, but I'm prepared to take this to the
highest court in the land," he said. "It's important that we make a
stand so that others won't have to take the same road. Maybe we can
pull something out of the fire yet."

This story appeared in the issue of January 5-11, 2005


Derry Has A Bright Future

05 January 2005

Stephen Kelly is the Manager of the City Centre Initiative.

He was the 2003 National President of the Junior Chamber, having
become the first local man to hold this post in the organisations
75-year history.

Stephen is a member of the BBC Broadcasting Council, an Authorised
Officer for the NI Parades Commission, a Board member of the Foyle
Haven and Chairman of the Cresco Trust - a trust established to
create economic and social regeneration and provide access to
employment for people from disadvantaged communities.

Today, he looks back on the past year, and outlines some of the
challenges facing the city in 2005.

The City Centre Initiative is a public-private partnership
committed to the successful development of the city centre.

Focused on providing a clean, safe and friendly city centre, the
partnership was established to enhance the quality, economy and
environment for the benefit of all users, including businesses,
residents and visitors and to increase the city's attractiveness
and performance as an important regional and tourism destination.

Successful, prosperous and engaging city centres clearly invest in
actions that lead to a clean, safe and friendly environment.

There have been many recent successes and the city is now
benefiting from this commitment.

City centre safety

Whilst difficult challenges remain, it is clear that the city
centre is a safer place.

CCI has never been afraid to tackle difficult issues and bring
about projects others may have run away from - for example their
successful implementation of the public CCTV system.

This, combined with other community safety projects and responses
from other organisations, has led to a marked decrease in crime and
disorder in the city centre.

A recent CCTV report showed a 20 per cent drop in assaults and
thefts and robberies in year two alone.

The combined efforts have meant that Derry, despite its reputation,
is much safer than comparable communities. Indeed, you are twice as
likely to be a victim of a violent crime in south Belfast as you
are in the entire Derry City Council area.

Critical to this positive change is a collective will to bring
about a change in attitude and behaviour in the City Centre.

This has led to coordinated action, an investment in creative
responses and efforts directed at the roots of problems.

Much more work has still to be done, but the continued downward
trend is encouraging.

Successful, thriving and developing cities across the globe tend to
be places who demonstrate tolerance and respect for all citizens,
regardless of their background. This city needs to continue to be
welcoming to all.

The courageous work of the Bogside Residents Group, the Apprentice
Boys and the mediation team have had a dramatic effect on the
atmosphere around contentious parades in the city centre and is a
real example to other locations.

City centre cleanliness

In 2004 the City won entry into the prestigious Britain in Bloom
final. The combined efforts of council, Department of Social
Development, Derry Healthy Cities and of course CCI, led to much
praise from the expert judges when awarding the city the bronze

This remarkable success is a reflection of the dedication and hard
work of individuals, businesses and council employees - especially
the city cleansing staff whose tireless efforts to keep the city
centre clean received special recognition.

The judges were impressed by the creative way in which the city
used the competition to bring communities together and investing in
sustainable projects.

A friendly city centre

CCI is responsible for the City Centre Rangers service.

The successful project was the first of its kind in Northern
Ireland and has spawned numerous copies.

They provide a friendly welcome, report hazards and provide an
information service to businesses and have proven to be a key
component in the management of the city centre.

The full implementation of the Disability Discrimination Act, work
towards UNICEF Child Friendly recognition and the capital intensive
investment promised by the designation of Derry's Historic Walled
City as a signature project for Northern Ireland will greatly
enhance services and provision for locals and visitors alike.

The changing face of the city centre

The city centre has a distinctive retail mix and has become an
important shopping destination.

Not long ago, bus loads of local people used to set off to Belfast
and Ballymena to satisfy their shopping needs.

The successful attraction of major multi-national retailers and the
retention of unique local options have positioned the city as a
shopping must.

With the retail quarter at virtual saturation point, the
revitalisation of the city centre depends on the redevelopment of
Waterloo Place and continued efforts to ensure that independent
retailers benefit from Foyleside and Richmond's success.

Within the last couple of months five restaurants have opened in
the city centre, offering a mix of quality cuisine and an engaging

The recent Entertainment and Hospitality Awards reflected the
growing confidence of this sector with the Clarendon Street/Strand
Road area fast developing the critical mass needed for this type of
evening entertainment option.

The formal commencement of the Townscape Heritage Initiative
project on Shipquay Street is an example of the coordinated efforts
being made to restore our historic core.

Developed for modern, mixed uses and bringing with it a recipe of
funding, the project is the first of a number of projects designed
to restore our important built heritage whilst ensuring sustainable
and successful use.


Substantial challenges remain which require effective management
and clear thought.

Issues such as out of town shopping developments, the need for the
controlled introduction of traffic into Waterloo Place and a
greater balance of uses in the city centre late at night need to be

There is also a requirement for an investment in residential and
office accommodation that will bring an improved atmosphere,
employment and the need for more services such as restaurants and
cafés that all users can equally enjoy.

The Inner Waterside area will receive a tremendous boost with the
development of a new health centre and the proposed concert venue.

Hopefully this will lead to investment from the private sector and
help return the street to its position as the vibrant heart of the

We also require combined efforts to protect and invest in the
city's image.

In a media hungry and competitive marketplace, the collective
branding of the city is critical in order to attract the private
investment, the visitors and the jobs.

The future

The success of the community and voluntary sector, the cultural
community and local entrepreneurs in bringing about positive change
needs to be cultivated, encouraged and recognised.

The welcome arrival of the Ilex Urban Regeneration Company to
complement the leadership of Derry City Council and the Department
of Social Development is an important development.

Their work in helping revitalise the city centre and the
development of the Fort George and Ebrington sites will be critical
in bringing about our deserved urban renaissance.

They need time, support and the collective will of all stakeholders
in the city to ensure that we have a comprehensive development plan
- and actions - for the city's development.

It is clear that the leadership is in place and the relationships
have been established to ensure future success.

No single action will take us to the next level - co-operation and
collective responses are still required. However, CCI is confident
that its vision for the city can be achieved - the beautiful,
thriving and welcoming heart of the North West of Ireland, equal to
its peer group of small European cities in a first class European

We have a city with compelling qualities with our impressive built
heritage, beautiful setting and our dramatic and proud history.

Added to the engaging character of our people, we have a city
centre that is unique and distinctive.


2004 In Review

News memories from the end of last year...

05 January 2005

It was drama on the high seas off the North West coast when a man
died following a fire on a Canadian submarine.

The stricken Chicotoumi was adrift for four days after two
electrical fires broke out causing major damage, killing Lieutenant
Chris Saunders and leaving two other men seriously ill in hospital.

Londonderry's Sinn Fein Mayor Gearoid O'hEara made a controversial
proposal to hold a day of remembrance for all victims of war and

Unionists were offended, the British Legion refused to attend and
Derry's Protestant Bishop and police chief cited bad timing as a
reason for not getting involved.

Mr O'hEara urged: "I am asking people to make a judgement on the
initiative based on its contents, not its author."

The CS spray controversy heated up in Derry when police faced down
a 130-strong mob in the notorious Waterloo Place.

A week later an officer was suspended amid claims that spray was
used on a handcuffed man.

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan arrived in the North West to
deliver the annual Tip O'Neill peace-building lecture at Magee

Major software company Northbrook Technology announced 260 jobs for
Derry and Strabane, and Natural Gas arrived in the North West.

Policing Board Chairman Denis Bradley caused a stir by suggesting
nationalists would reconsider joining the PSNI if political
progress was not made within two weeks.

Calls for his resignation from the DUP were unsuccessful.

A £2,000 reward was put up for information about a sickening
Halloween attack on a dog after the animal was thrown, bound and
alive, onto a bonfire at Sion Mills.

Singing star Nadine Coyle returned to Derry to attend the third
family funeral in as many months.

A Catholic schoolboy was beaten unconscious in a sectarian attack
in Newbuildings.

His friend also sustained multiple injuries when the pair were set
upon by up to 15 youths, some with Rangers scarves over their faces
and others in school uniforms belonging to the predominantly
Protestant school, Lisneal College.

Sex abuse counsellors in Derry claimed that children as young as 13
were having sex on the streets at weekends.

Counsellors at NEXUS also revealed they were dealing with up to
four rapes or serious sexual assaults in the city in the last six

A mother-of-six was cleared of deliberately inflicting grievous
bodily harm on her new-born daughter, after a two-week trial at
Londonderry Crown Court.

Abgry scenes erupted at another hearing when a 26-year-old Claudy
man appeared charged with the murder of Darren Thompson.

The Magistrate threatened to clear the court after Richard
Harkness, an unemployed lorry driver from Barnailt Road, was
verbally abused by members of Thompson's family.

The Bloody Sunday Inquiry drew to a close after seven years.

More than 900 witnesses gave evidence, from Sir Edward Heath to
Derry's Sinn Fein Mayor and former leader of the Fianna in 1972,
Gerry O'hEara.

Lord Saville and his two colleagues have retired to write their
final report, expected by late summer 2005.

Counsel to the inquiry Christopher Clarke QC said he hoped it had
held to account people "whose actions or inactions contributed to
what happened".

Father-of-four Tony McNamee (37) was murdered in an alley behind a
row of bars in the Waterside, one of which employed him as a
kitchen porter.

Two of his co-workers, Paul McGinley (37) and Mark O'Donnell (36)
have been charged with his murder.

Altnagelvin Hospital launched a raft of cutbacks, leaving
residential children's homes, mental health programmes and home
support services under threat because of a cash shortage.

Huge increases in the cost of cancer treatment and drugs, along
with high levels of emergency admissions were blamed for the

Two sketches of Derry by the world famous English artist LS Lowry
were sold for a combined price of £45,000.

The Apprentice Boys of Derry described this year's Lundy parade as
the most successful in over a decade, despite a series of
relatively minor skirmishes in the Diamond area of the city.

An inquest heard that a soldier who fell 13,000 feet to his death
while skydiving over Co Londonderry did not attempt to open his

A suicide note was found by police in a car belonging to Sergeant
John David Halls (43), from Cayman Avenue in Bangor, after he
plummeted to his death in Garvagh on May 15.

In environmental issues, the Telegraph revealed that only five
prosecutions have been brought despite more than 240 pollution
incidents being recorded in a North West river in the past six

Limavady-born mother-of-four Ruth Kelly took her place at the heart
of Tony Blair's reshuffled Cabinet in the wake of David Blunkett's


Almost 200 Jobs Lost As Bord Na Mona Peat Plant In Mayo Closes

Teresa O'Malley

Almost 200 workers lost their jobs yesterday with the closure of
the Bord na Móna peat plant in Bellacorrick, Co Mayo.

The closure had been heralded for four years, since the ESB decided
to close its peat powered generating station beside the peat plant,
in Bellacorrick.

That closure, with the loss of 70 jobs was to happen this month
also, but the ESB is to keep the power station in operation for
another year.

Mr Stephen Molloy was employed by Bord na Móna in Bellacorrick for
the past 20 years. Yesterday he described the final day at the
plant as "emotional and lonely".

"We knew this day was coming for four years now, but it's still

"Many of the workers here will get another few weeks of employment
by the company as some of the peat on the bogs have not yet been

"In addition the company is involved, in a consultative basis, in
the construction of Corrib gas terminal in neighbouring Bellanaboy,
and some redundant workers will be required there for a few months.

"Nonetheless, because of our location, 25 miles from Ballina and
Castlebar, it is likely that the majority of this skilled workforce
will have to travel to seek alternative employment," he said.

© The Irish Times

Overall Table of Contents
Table of Contents - Jan 2005
Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?