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January 20, 2005

01/21/05 – US Peace Envoy Spoke with Adams

Mitchell Reiss

Overall Table of Contents
Table of Contents - Jan 2005

IT 01/21/05 US Peace Envoy Spoke With Adams
IT 01/21/05 Government And Fianna Fail Make Dramatic Poll Recovery
IT 01/21/05 Republicans Behind Robbery Say DUP, SDLP
IT 01/21/05 SF 'Ambivalence' On Criminality Denounced
IO 01/20/05 Dublin Pipe-Bomb Find Linked To Dissident Republicans –V
BB 01/20/05 Ruling Due In Colm Murphy Appeal
IT 01/21/05 Support For Irish-Language Radio Station For Young People

RT 01/20/05 Student Remanded Over Holohan Death -VO

Student Remanded Over Holohan Death - Jennie O'Sullivan reports from Midleton, Co Cork, where Wayne O'Donoghue was again remanded on charges of manslaughter


US Peace Envoy Spoke With Adams

Conor O'Clery in Washington

The US special envoy to the Northern Ireland peace process, Mr Mitchell Reiss, spoke for over an hour with the Sinn Féin leader, Mr Gerry Adams, on Wednesday evening, a Sinn Féin spokesperson said last night.

The contact comes in the wake of speculation about communication problems between Sinn Féin and Washington following the Northern Bank robbery which the British and Irish governments both say was the work of the IRA.

The IRA has denied it carried out the robbery. Sinn Féin negotiator Mr Gerry Kelly is also to meet a senior administration official, Mr Eric Greene, in Washington next Tuesday, the spokesperson said.

The meeting was said to have been arranged some days ago.

Mr Kelly, assembly member for North Belfast, is also expected to meet members of Congress and leading Irish American figures in New York and Washington.

The contact between Mr Reiss and Mr Adams follows the statement by the Taoiseach, Mr Ahern, earlier this week that he would resume contact with Sinn Féin leaders next week.

This new development came following a number of days when the Taoiseach did not take Mr Adams' telephone calls.

© The Irish Times


Government And Fianna Fail Make Dramatic Poll Recovery

Mark Brennock, Chief Political Correspondent

The Government, the Taoiseach and Fianna Fáil are staging a dramatic recovery in the wake of the December Budget and have achieved their highest levels of public support since the 2002 general election, according to the latest Irish Times/TNS mrbi opinion poll.

Satisfaction with the Government has risen to 52 per cent, up nine percentage points since the last poll in October and 18 points since a similar poll last June. Forty per cent are dissatisfied, down nine points, and an unchanged 8 per cent have no opinion.

With Fianna Fáil support up three points to 38 per cent and the Progressive Democrats up one point to 4 per cent, the Coalition parties are for the first time approaching the support levels required to secure a third term.

Sinn Féin support has remained steady despite the sustained political condemnation of the party leadership in the wake of the Northern Bank raid and the controversy over the party's claim that the murder of Jean McConville was not a crime.

Party support has fallen just one point since October to 11 per cent, although disapproval of Mr Gerry Adams's leadership of his party has risen a full 14 points to 38 per cent.

The state of the parties is: Fianna Fáil 38 per cent, up three percentage points since the last Irish Times/ TNS mrbi poll last October; Fine Gael 22 per cent, down two points; Labour 13 per cent, unchanged; Sinn Féin 11 per cent, down one point; Progressive Democrats 4 per cent, up one; Green Party 4 per cent, unchanged; others 8 per cent, down two.

Core support for the parties is: Fianna Fáil 36 per cent, up four points since October; Fine Gael 17 per cent, down one; Labour 10 per cent, up one; Sinn Féin 9 per cent, unchanged; Progressive Democrats 3 per cent, unchanged; Green Party 3 per cent, unchanged; others 7 per cent, down one; undecided 16 per cent, down three.

The poll was conducted last Monday and Tuesday among a national quota sample of 1,000 voters throughout all constituencies.

It was conducted just before the IRA's official denial on Tuesday night of involvement in the Northern Bank robbery.

This is the second consecutive poll to show significant rises in support for the Government, Taoiseach and Fianna Fáil. The October turnaround followed a Cabinet reshuffle and a consistent message from the Government that it had become more caring and responsive to public opinion.

This latest poll may have been influenced by the recent Budget, with its concentration on spending on disability, relief for first-time house-buyers and targeted social spending.

Sixty per cent are satisfied with the way Mr Ahern is doing his job as Taoiseach, up seven points since October to the highest level since the eve of the 2002 general election. Some 33 per cent remain dissatisfied, down eight points and 7 per cent have no opinion, up one. The satisfaction rating of the Tánaiste and leader of the Progressive Democrats, Ms Harney, remains unchanged at 54 per cent.

While Mr Enda Kenny's personal rating is marginally down since October, he remains well above the low figures he scored consistently for the previous two years. Forty-four per cent are satisfied with the Fine Gael leader's performance, down two points, 26 per cent are dissatisfied, up one, and 30 per cent have no opinion, up one.

Mr Pat Rabbitte's satisfaction rating is unchanged at 49 per cent; 25 per cent are dissatisfied with his performance as Labour Party leader, unchanged, and 26 per cent have no opinion, also unchanged.

While the Sinn Féin leader's satisfaction rating is down nine points to 42 per cent, there has been a 14-point rise in his dissatisfaction rating to 38 per cent. Some 20 per cent have no opinion, down five points.

Finally 33 per cent are satisfied with Mr Trevor Sargent's performance as Green Party leader, down two points since October; 22 per cent are dissatisfied, up two points and 45 per cent have no opinion, down two points.

© The Irish Times


Republicans Behind Robbery Say DUP, SDLP

Parties confident that Orde's assessment IRA was responsible is correct

Dan Keenan, Northern News Editor

Democratic Unionists and the SDLP say they are convinced that top-level republicans were behind last month's £26.5 million bank robbery in Belfast.

They were speaking yesterday after the Chief Constable, Mr Hugh Orde, had briefed a private meeting of the Policing Board, which runs the PSNI.

According to representatives from both parties, they are now more confident that Mr Orde's assessment that the IRA was responsible is correct.

The Irish Times understands that Mr Orde went so far as to admit that if he is proved wrong his tenure of office is finished.

Mr Alex Attwood, the SDLP Assembly member for West Belfast, said: "On the basis of what he confirmed to the board today I . . . have no doubt his attribution in relation to this matter was correct."

He also said that the claim by the Taoiseach, Mr Ahern, who said senior members of Sinn Féin would have had prior knowledge of the robbery was also correct. "I am convinced that senior people in the republican movement knew, or had to know, about what was happening," he said, "both those on the IRA side and those who position themselves as political representatives."

Mr Sammy Wilson said: "The one thing that was clear from the briefing given was that this would not have been done by people who were low-level operatives, nor indeed would they have taken the risk if it had not been sanctioned from higher up."

It is understood the PSNI bases its assessment, not just on its own intelligence source, but also on information supplied by the Garda.

One senior police source said: "We have been working with the Garda since day one in this investigation. We have built up a very close working relationship with the Garda over many years."

The highly-reliable source added: "The Garda is assisting us in many ways in relation to the van [used to transport the £26.5 million from the bank], the possible surfacing of the money - all sorts of aspects like that. This is very much a live and ongoing inquiry."

Police now have more than 1,000 active lines of inquiry, and a significant advance has been made in relation to one of them within the past 36 hours.

Sir Desmond Rea, the Policing Board chairman, said the briefing given by Mr Orde and the Assistant Chief Constable, Mr Sam Kinkaid, had gone into significant detail about the status of the investigation.

"Members, I believe, will leave the meeting much more informed," said Sir Desmond. "They will very much adopt the position that the Police Service of Northern Ireland should have the space to get on with the investigation."

Sinn Féin continued to call on the PSNI to produce its evidence for the contention that senior republicans were behind the theft.

Mr Gerry Kelly, the party's policing spokesman and North Belfast Assembly member, insisted that nothing new had emerged to put the IRA in the frame for the robbery.The emphatic restatement by the PSNI of its assessment of responsibility for the robbery, and the indication that intelligence sources in the Republic supported that view, sets the scene for a key meeting between the Sinn Féin president, Mr Gerry Adams, and the Taoiseach next Tuesday.The Independent Monitoring Commission, which reports on paramilitary activity, is now expected to produce another assessment soon.

© The Irish Times


SF 'Ambivalence' On Criminality Denounced

Barry Roche, Southern Correspondent

The Tánaiste, Ms Harney, yesterday insisted that Sinn Féin can no longer be ambivalent towards the armed struggle and criminality if there is to be a resolution to the current impasse in the peace process.

"Some are not prepared to sign on for democratic politics as the only way forward, and Sinn Féin are still ambivalent in relation to the armed struggle and criminality, and for as long as they remain ambivalent, we will not resolve the issues. That is my strong view," she said.

Ms Harney refused to be drawn on whether the US government should issue a visa to Sinn Féin president Mr Gerry Adams to allow him visit America for fundraising activities. "That's a matter for the US authorities, it's not a matter for me."

She said the release of the killers of Det Garda Jerry McCabe was not on the table for negotiation, and would never be unless there was an end to criminality by the IRA. Ms Harney said the refusal by republicans to sign up before Christmas to an end to all criminal activity posed serious difficulties for the peace process.

Speaking in Cork, Ms Harney backed the Minister for Justice, Mr McDowell, in his condemnation of Sinn Féin's Mr Mitchel McLaughlin for his refusal to admit that the murder of Ms Jean McConville in December 1972 was a crime.

© The Irish Times


See video at:

Dublin Pipe-Bomb Find Linked To Dissident Republicans -V

20/01/2005 - 13:30:00

Gardaí are linking the discovery of a live pipe bomb underneath a van in north Dublin this morning to dissident republicans.

Two men were arrested in connection with the discovery, which forced the evacuation of a number of homes on Belcamp Crescent in Clonshaugh.

The device was spotted at around 1am and residents were only allowed to return to their homes around three hours later, when bomb disposal experts had made the area safe.

Gardaí said today that the two men being held in connection with the incident were also being questioned about Continuity IRA activity.


Colm Murphy

Ruling Due In Omagh Bomb Appeal

An Irish court is due to rule in an appeal by the only person convicted in connection with the Omagh bombing.

Colm Murphy, 51, from Dundalk, County Louth, is claiming his 14-year prison sentence is unsafe and unsound.

He was convicted in January 2002 of conspiring to cause an explosion. The blast in the County Tyrone town killed 29 people in August 1998.

Two gardai involved in Murphy's case have been charged with perjury and are due at Dublin District Court.

The Omagh bombing, which was later admitted by the dissident republican Real IRA, was the worst single atrocity in 30 years of violence in Northern Ireland.

The Court of Criminal Appeal in Dublin reserved its judgement in Murphy's case last month, but is due to rule on Friday.

During the hearing, a legal team for the Irish state said admissions by Murphy to gardai were "powerfully supported and corroborated by telephone evidence".

The prosecution argued that there was no legal basis for claiming that alleged wrongdoing by one member of an investigation team invalidated an entire inquiry.

The Court of Criminal Appeal now has a number of options which include approving the verdict, ordering a re-trial or an acquittal.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/01/21 01:50:33 GMT


 Fr Horan
Fr. Horan

Pope dismisses controversial Irish priest

Patsy McGarry, Religious Affairs Correspondent

Father Neil Horan, who sensationally attacked a leading contender in last year's Olympic marathon in Athens, has been dismissed from the priesthood by Pope John Paul.

It means he has lost all rights, church titles, and offices associated with being a priest. Mr Horan was told of his laicisation yesterday evening at a meeting with Archbishop Kevin McDonald of England's Southwark archdiocese, which includes parishes in south London.

Also present was Southwark's Vicar General, Monsignor Richard Moth.

Mr Horan (57) has held no appointment with the archdiocese since 1994, when his faculties to exercise priestly ministry were withdrawn on health grounds. In a short statement yesterday the archdiocese said "although no longer a priest of the diocese, the diocesan authorities will continue to have a concern for Neil's future well-being."

A native of Kerry, Mr Horan achieved international notoriety last year when he disrupted the marathon race during the Olympics in Athens by lunging at race leader Vanderlei de Lima from Brazil. He explained he had stopped the runner as a way of drawing attention to the Second Coming of Christ.

On August 30th last he was given a one-year suspended sentence by a Greek court following the incident.

In Britain he had been jailed for two months in 2003 after he caused Formula One drivers to swerve at high speeds when he invaded the track to draw attention to the Bible.

Last March he was charged with gross indecency with a girl after a complaint was made to police by the Archdiocese of Southwark.

The girl's mother told a diocesan child protection officer of an incident in mid-1991. The charge was later changed to indecency with a child.

At his trial the former priest told the court that while he had been naked in the presence of the woman and her daughter, and had played a game of hide-and-seek with them, it was what he called "innocent fun".

On October 28th last he was acquitted of the charge. Immediately afterwards, outside the Old Bailey in London, he changed into a short red kilt, emerald green vest, socks, beret, and green satin underpants (displayed during the court case) and danced what he called a "soft jig". He also vowed never to attempt publicity-seeking stunts at international sporting events again.

In anticipation of being "defrocked" at yesterday's meeting with Archbishop McDonald, he said he might dance a jig afterwards outside Archbishop's House. He planned on dedicating it to survivors of the Asian tsunami.

Last month it emerged that two priests of Ferns diocese had been dismissed by the Pope, as had a priest in the Kerry diocese last summer.

© The Irish Times


Support For Irish-Language Radio Station For Young People

Lorna Siggins, Western Correspondent

The Irish-language radio station, Raidío na Gaeltachta, could soon be complemented by a "RnaG 2" if the results of a new survey are implemented.

The survey, which was co-funded by the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) and Foras na Gaeilge, found there was 75 per cent support among respondents for an Irish-language radio station for young people.

Entitled "Turning On and Tuning In to Irish Language Radio in the 21st Century", the telephone survey of a representative sample of 1,000 people and a further 200 Gaeltacht residents was carried out by MORI Ireland.

Some 3.4 per cent of respondents said they listened to Irish-language radio daily, and 25 per cent of those surveyed reported that they listened to Irish-language radio on "some" basis.

The Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, Mr Ó Cuív, said this was "a clear endorsement of the excellent work that Raidío na Gaeltachta has been doing since its foundation" and support for "the growing levels of Irish-language programming on commercial and community radio stations".

However, the survey made it clear that a one-size-fits-all approach was no longer feasible, he added.

The need for Irish-language radio for the 15-35 age group was originally outlined in a report submitted by Coiste Comhairleach na nÓg (the Millennium Youth Advisory Committee) in March 2001 to the Minister of State in the Department of Arts, Heritage, Gaeltacht and the Islands at the time, Ms Mary Coughlan.

"We have to face up to the reality that, if Irish is to thrive and grow, we must provide a broad range of services to Irish-language speakers all over Ireland," Mr Ó Cuív said yesterday.

"Although there will always be resistance from certain quarters regarding improvements to Irish-language services for the public, today's survey shows beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Irish public supports the work that the Government is doing in this regard."

"Eighty-nine per cent of those surveyed feel that promoting the Irish language is important either to them personally, or to the country as a whole, or both," the Minister noted.

He said he would discuss the the survey with the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources, Mr Dempsey, with the BCI and with RTÉ and Raidío na Gaeltachta.

© The Irish Times

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Table of Contents - Jan 2005

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