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March 03, 2005

03/04/05 – Adams Says He Wants IRA To Cease To Exist

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Table of Contents - Overall
Table of Contents – Mar 2005

IT 03/04/05 Adams Says He Wants IRA To Cease To Exist –V(2)
IT 03/04/05 Ahern Signals Willingness To Resume Talks With SF –V(2)
BT 03/03/05 I'm Not After Humiliation, Insists Ahern
IT 03/04/05 Poll Shows A Further Drop In Support For Sinn Féin –V
NL 03/03/05 Colombia 3 Traced
BT 03/03/05 Opin: McManus Doesn't Speak For All Irish Americans
TL 03/03/05 N. Ireland's Castlereagh To Be Razed
IT 03/04/05 SF Suspends Seven Over McCartney
IT 03/04/05 SF Denies Crisis Over Controversies
IT 03/04/05 Senior Republican Denies Ordering McCartney Murder
IT 03/04/05 Washington Reception Will Not Include North Parties
IT 03/04/05 Dr Brady Calls On N Catholics To Work With The PSNI
IT 03/04/05 Bill Being Finalised In US To Assist Irish Workers –V
EX 03/03/05 Support For Sinn Féin Falls 2% In Latest Poll
GU 03/03/05 Press Review: Irish Public Shrugs Off Sinn Féin's Sins
IT 03/04/05 Cafe Bar Set For Bewley's Grafton Street
IT 03/04/05 Miss Meredith's School To Close Down In June
IT 03/04/05 Third Level Needs More Investment, Says US Envoy


Adams outlines disgust at McCartney killing - Máirtín Ó Muilleoir, Editor of Daily Ireland, and Michael Heaney discuss the situation

Seven Sinn Féin party members suspended over McCartney murder - Tommie Gorman, Northern Editor, reports on the talks on the North crisis in Downing St and the response of Gerry Adams to the McCartney murder

Adams Says He Wants IRA To Cease To Exist –V(2)

Gerry Moriarty, Northern Editor

Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams has said ahead of his party ardfheis in Dublin tonight that his ambition is to see the IRA ceasing to exist. He said republicans were prepared to "stretch" themselves to end the political deadlock.

Mr Adams said he had made that point very clear recently in south Armagh and in Tyrone at commemorations of IRA members. "The effort and the intention of the Sinn Féin leadership is to create the conditions in which the IRA will cease to be," he said last night.

"If you are asking me do you think we will be successful in collectively bringing that about, my answer is Yes," added Mr Adams.

Following his statement about the Robert McCartney murder last night, he said he would be dealing with that issue in a "very firm and upfront" way in his keynote ardfheis speech tomorrow. He added that the big issue at the ardfheis was the peace process and making it work.

Despite the upheaval over the Robert McCartney murder, the Northern Bank robbery and alleged IRA money-laundering, Mr Adams said, a way forward could be found.

"Of course, a way can be plotted or steered to take the process out of the current difficulties," he told The Irish Times.

"If you are asking me is that down to me on my own then the answer is No.

"If you are asking me can we make a bigger contribution than anybody else on the basis that we want more change than anybody else then, yes, we would be prepared to stretch ourselves," added Mr Adams.

In this its 100th anniversary Sinn Féin is staging one of its biggest ever ardfheiseanna, with 2,600 members applying for accreditation. Mr Adams would not say whether there would be any dramatic statement in his main speech that would propel the process out of its current rut but added that after the conference "open-minded people will have some sense that Sinn Féin's determination to make this process work is unyielding".

Mr Adams took some encouragement from the recent comment of the DUP leader, the Rev Ian Paisley, that he would share power with Sinn Féin if the IRA verifiably decommissioned and ended all activity.

"I have always been of the view that Sinn Féin and the DUP will end up in government together," he said, adding: "I am up for doing the business with Ian Paisley."


Gerry Adams statement: full text

I am deeply angry about the alleged involvement of a number of republicans in the killing of Robert McCartney.

I believe that I am speaking for the broad republican constituency in publicly articulating my outrage and anger at what has happened.

All of those involved in this horrific incident must make themselves fully accountable for their actions. Nothing short of this is acceptable.

I have made clear my support for the family in their search for justice and have called upon those involved in the killing and others with information about the killing to bring this information forward.

As part of these efforts to assist in the search for truth and justice I met the family of Robert McCartney a number of times.

At a meeting on Thursday 24th February the family gave me a list of people who they allege were involved.

As party president I immediately instructed the leadership of Sinn Féin in Belfast to establish if any of those named by the family were members of Sinn Féin.

I was informed that seven of those named are members of Sinn Féin. All were immediately suspended from the party. This is on a without-prejudice basis.

As a political party Sinn Féin is not in a position to carry out an investigation which would adequately establish the facts surrounding the killing of Robert McCartney, but those named by the family are suspended from membership and from any involvement in Sinn Féin activity pending the outcome of the legal process.

If any of these seven are found to have been involved in the events surrounding the death of Robert McCartney, or if they do not provide truthful accounts at this time as the McCartney family have requested, Sinn Féin

will take further internal disciplinary action to expel these individuals.

All of these people have been personally instructed to provide full and frank statements. I reiterate that anyone with any information should make this available to the courts.° I have given this statement to the family and to a solicitor.

Although I stress that Sinn Féin has no basis to make any allegations against any of these suspended members at this time - and some or all may be innocent of any offence - I have instructed the solicitor to pass the names given to me by the McCartney family to the Police Ombudsman.

© The Irish Times


SF does want North deal, says Taoiseach - Tommie Gorman, Northern Editor, reports on today's meeting in London between Bertie Ahern and Tony Blair

David Davin-Power, Political Correspondent, reports on Sinn Féin comments today ahead of their Ard Fhéis this weekend

Ahern Signals Willingness To Resume Talks With SF –V(2)

Frank Millar, London Editor.

The Taoiseach has signalled his readiness to resume dialogue with Sinn Féin and rejected suggestions that the present republican leadership has failed.

In London yesterday Mr Ahern declined repeated invitations to say he accepted the "good faith" of the Sinn Féin leadership of Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness.

But he said he did not think Mr Adams and Mr McGuinness "would have put so much into the [ peace] process . . . not to see it through". He was hopeful that republicans could and would take the final steps necessary to achieve the full implementation of the Belfast Agreement and an inclusive political settlement in Northern Ireland.

Mr Ahern spoke to reporters after officially opening RTÉ's new office and studio facilities at Westminster, following a 30-minute meeting with British Prime Minister Tony Blair at 10 Downing Street, having earlier addressed the annual Ireland Fund of Great Britain lunch.

He was asked if he agreed with commentators who had likened Mr Adams to Yasser Arafat, suggesting that the present republican leadership was discredited and that it was time for a new generation of leaders.

The Taoiseach replied: "No, I don't. I think Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness have worked enormously hard at this project in trying to bring everyone with them."

While that might prove difficult, Mr Ahern continued, "I understand what they've been trying to do to bring everybody with them. And as far as Tony Blair and I are concerned we were always happy to work with the Sinn Féin leadership. At the same time we have to bring this thing to finality."

Mr Ahern said it was always inevitable that the process would get down to the small number of key issues concerning IRA links, decommissioning and criminality, and that following the murder of Robert McCartney in Belfast "it became clear to the public what the remaining issues were and what answers they want".

He said the only solution the nationalist and broader community wanted on that issue was to see everything done that would bring the murderers to justice.

Asked by The Irish Times if his answer to the Yasser Arafat question implied he accepted the good faith of the Sinn Féin leadership, Mr Ahern said: "I do not think Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness would have put so much into this process - and they have for a long time, and they've risked a lot in this - not to see it through."

Pressed on whether Mr Adams and Mr McGuinness were acting in good faith, the Taoiseach said: "I think they're endeavouring to find a comprehensive solution, and I think they were.

"As I've said before, in those last few days before December 8th [ when the last political negotiations broke down] they went to the IRA and asked if a particular clause that we wanted could be inserted. And the word was No.

"Now I know what people said about that, that they went to themselves. I don't think it's as simple as that with Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness. I don't want to be making this difficult in the week of their conference. But there are difficult issues to resolve."

Asked again if he accepted their good faith, Mr Ahern said: "I accept that they want to see a comprehensive deal. The difficulty for the Sinn Féin leadership is that there are people linked to them in the IRA who are involved in these activities."

© The Irish Times


I'm Not After Humiliation, Insists Ahern

By Brian Walker

03 March 2005

The Taoiseach has assured Sinn Fein that he is not seeking to humiliate them by his recent scorching attacks over the Northern Bank robbery and the killing of Robert McCartney.

Addressing an Ireland Fund of Great Britain reception in the Banqueting House before meeting Tony Blair in Downing Street, Bertie Ahern said he would be "less than honest" if he did not admit this was a very difficult time for the peace process.

He said the parties had come very close to agreement in December and that what still needed to be done was clear - "the complete end to all forms of paramilitarism and criminality".

But, stiking a conciliatory note to Sinn Fein, he added: "We are not seeking to humiliate any group or score political points. We fully respect the mandate of all parties. This is an inclusive process and the government will continue to work towards an inclusive, comprehensive peace process".

In an apparent hint to the republican movement to face up to the tide of criticism since the Northern Bank robbery and the killing of Mr McCartney, he added: "We have seen acts of courage and leadership at other critical junctures. This gives me hope that the final steps necessary to complete our work can and will be taken."

Mr Ahern was joining Mr Blair for a brief lunchtime meeting to review the state of the peace process in the light of the unpredecented pressure piling on the IRA from the public reaction to the McCartney killing.

The two premiers are sticking to their line that the IRA must disarm and cease all paramilitary and criminal activity before a cross-community Executive including Sinn Fein can be formed.

The talks were unlikely to lead to the premiers adopting any of the ideas put forward by the local parties for restoring the Assembly without full Executive powers.

Political observers are now resigned to a freeze on political developments until after the general election expected in May.

Mr Ahern was dropping in on Downing Street as part of a long-planned visit to London to address the Ireland Fund reception in Whitehall and open new London broadcasting facilties for RTE.

"Both leaders will take a general overview of the political situation right now," a Downing Street source said.


The latest Irish Times/TNS mrbi opinion polls shows that approval of the performance by Gerry Adams has fallen 12 points to 30 per cent.

Poll shows drop in support for Sinn Féin - David McCullagh, Political Correspondent, has further details of the findings of the MRBI poll for the Irish Times

Poll Shows A Further Drop In Support For Sinn Féin -V

Mark Brennock, Chief Political Correspondent

Sinn Féin support has fallen significantly for the first time since the Northern Bank robbery and the killing of Belfast man Robert McCartney, with approval of the performance of Gerry Adams dropping to its lowest since first measured three years ago, according to the latest Irish Times/TNS mrbi opinion poll.

Party support in the State has slipped to 9 per cent, down two points since January and three points since an Irish Times/TNS mrbi poll last October, before the Northern Bank raid became the first of a series of events which has put Sinn Féin under the greatest pressure since the peace process began.

The state of the parties is: Fianna Fáil 38 per cent, unchanged since the last Irish Times/TNS mrbi poll in January; Fine Gael 22 per cent, unchanged; Labour 12 per cent, down 1; Sinn Féin 9 per cent, down 2; Green Party 4 per cent, unchanged; Progressive Democrats 3 per cent, down 4; Independents and Others 12 per cent, up 4.

The core support for the parties is: Fianna Fáil 36 per cent, unchanged since January; Fine Gael 17 per cent, unchanged; Labour 9 per cent, down 1; Sinn Féin 7 per cent, down 2; Green Party 3 per cent, unchanged; Progressive Democrats 3 per cent, unchanged; Others 10 per cent, up 3; Undecided 17 per cent, up 1.

The poll was taken last Monday and Tuesday, February 28th and March 1st, among a national quota sample of 1,000 voters throughout all constituencies in the State. It comes after an extraordinary period of pressure on Sinn Féin and the IRA over the Northern Bank raid, the collapse in December of the Northern Ireland talks, the murder of Robert McCartney, the discovery of a major money-laundering operation in the Republic and the Sinn Féin campaign for the release of the killers of Det Garda Jerry McCabe.

This is reflected in the loss by Sinn Féin of a quarter of its support since October last, although it is still ahead of the 7 per cent support it achieved in the 2002 general election.

Just 30 per cent approve of the performance of Gerry Adams as Sinn Féin leader, a drop of 12 points since January and 21 points since October. Some 52 per cent are dissatisfied with his performance, an increase of 14 points since January, reflecting particularly strong disapproval among supporters of the mainstream parties, while 18 per cent have no opinion, down two points.

The poll brings good news for the Government, Fianna Fáil and the Taoiseach, showing them sustaining the substantial recovery in support that has been under way since last year's local government and European Parliament elections.

While there have been marginal falls in approval of the Government and the Taoiseach, their ratings remain substantially higher than in the two years after the 2002 general election.

Some 51 per cent are satisfied with the Government, down one point since the last poll in January; 42 per cent are dissatisfied, up two, with 7 per cent having no opinion.

A majority, 58 per cent, approve of the way Bertie Ahern is doing his job as Taoiseach, a fall of two points since January. Some 36 per cent are dissatisfied, up three, with 6 per cent having no opinion, down 1.

The Tánaiste's personal satisfaction rating has fallen seven points to 47 per cent, possibly reflecting the controversy over the illegal charging of medical-card holders residing in State-run institutions. Some 44 per cent are dissatisfied with Mary Harney's performance, up nine points, and 9 per cent have no opinion, down three points.

While Fine Gael's support remains unchanged at 22 per cent, approval of Enda Kenny's performance as party leader has risen one point to 45 per cent. Some 28 per cent are dissatisfied with his performance, up two points and 27 per cent have no opinion, down three.

Labour's marginal drop in support by one point to 12 per cent is accompanied by a four-point fall to 45 per cent in the approval rating of its leader, Pat Rabbitte. Some 28 per cent are dissatisfied with his performance, up three points, and 27 per cent have no opinion, up one.

Finally 35 per cent are satisfied with the performance of Trevor Sargent as Green Party leader, up two points.

Some 25 per cent are dissatisfied with his performance, up three points, and 40 per cent have no opinion, down five points.

© The Irish Times


Colombia 3 Traced

Exclusive By Stephen Dempster
Thursday 3rd March 2005

Military intelligence sources in Colombia say they know where three on-the-run Irish republicans are hiding out.

The trio of James Monaghan, Martin McCauley and Niall Connolly are under FARC protection in the jungle of Venezuela, close to border with Colombia, the News Letter has been told.

But amid a tense diplomatic stand-off between the increasingly communist-style Venezuelan regime and the Americanbacked Colombian government, the men are out of reach of Colombia's army and police.

Army and government sources in the country's capital Bogota have also said that, when the Colombia Three were captured, two other Irishmen travelling on false passports got away.

Representatives of Ulster victims' group FAIR, who visited Colombia last week, have also said they were told that the link between FARC and the IRA still exists.


McManus doesn't speak for all Irish Americans

03 March 2005

Thank God for those Irish Americans, Catholic and Protestant alike, who have a different view from Sean McManus (Writeback, February 25) on terrorism as well as Sinn Fein.

One would think he speaks for all Irish Americans when in truth he doesn't.

Many Irish Americans of both religions are sick to death of excuses and aren't blind to the fact the IRA and Sinn Fein are one.

The terrorist groups of the past in Northern Ireland are now the drug distributors and come from both sides of the fence. Money plays a big part in what is taking place in Northern Ireland these days and it doesn't matter if it's drugs or a bank robbery.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to conclude that IRA means Sinn Fein.

At what point will Sinn Fein distance themselves from a poor substitute for the true Irish Republican Army many of whom are rolling over in their graves at the thought of those who have brought disgrace to the true meaning.

Oh, believe me, loyalist terror organisations are just as bad and no excuse can be found for them either or the political groups who claim to know nothing when in truth they do.

Mr McManus is welcome for tea and biscuits at my home, just 35 miles from Washington DC. We could talk about those things that should really matter to the people in Northern Ireland. Things such as education, unemployment and urban renewal. Oh! and let's not forget crime.



N. Ireland's Castlereagh To Be Razed

The Associated Press
BELFAST, Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland's most notorious security installation, a former police interrogation center called Castlereagh, will be demolished next week, the Police Service of Northern Ireland announced Thursday.

A 1979 British inquiry ruled that detectives were beating up people in custody in Castlereagh in east Belfast. Irish Republican Army suspects, in particular, said they were often hit, kept awake and threatened with death during interrogations that lasted two days to a full week. Complaints of abuse dropped from the early 1980s onward.

A 1999 report on reforming the Northern Ireland police force recommended Castlereagh's closure and replacement with a modern facility with better human rights safeguards.

The police closed Castlereagh (pronounced Cassel-RAY) in November 1999 and opened a new, modern interrogation center at Antrim police station west of Belfast, which videotapes interrogations and has received no official complaints of abusive treatment.

Police Superintendent Gordon Reid said the Castlereagh interrogation center building has been empty for more than five years and would be knocked down to create a parking lot for the neighboring police base, which remains open.

Castlereagh was opened after the IRA "Bloody Friday" attack in July 1972 - when 20 no-warning bombs detonated within an hour across Belfast, killing nine people and wounding scores.

Castlereagh's most famous interrogation suspect was future Sinn Fein party leader Gerry Adams, who says he was beaten up while being questioned in 1978 about his alleged involvement in another of the IRA's worst atrocities: the firebombing of a hotel that killed 12 Protestants. A charge against Adams was eventually dropped.


SF Suspends Seven Over McCartney

Sinn Féin has suspended seven members in connection with the McCartney murder and passed their names to Police Ombudsman Nuala O'Loan, writes Dan Keenan, Northern News Editor.

The move was announced last night by Gerry Adams, who denounced the killing of Robert McCartney. The 33-year-old father of two was fatally stabbed outside a Belfast city centre bar following a brawl in which republicans were involved on January 30th.

Mr Adams said he had asked the McCartney family for the names of those they believe to have been involved in the incident which led to their brother's death.

"I was informed that seven of those named are members of Sinn Féin. All were immediately suspended from the party. This is on a without-prejudice basis," he said in a statement. He said the suspensions would be enforced "pending the outcome of the legal process".

He continued: "If any of these seven are found to have been involved in the events surrounding the death of Robert McCartney, or if they do not provide truthful accounts at this time as the McCartney family have requested, Sinn Féin will take further internal disciplinary action to expel these individuals."

Each of the seven, he said, had been "personally instructed to provide full and frank statements".

He added: "Although I stress that Sinn Féin has no basis to make any allegations against any of these suspended members at this time - and some or all may be innocent of any offence - I have instructed the solicitor to pass the names given to me by the McCartney family to the Police Ombudsman."

This morning the PSNI is expected to announce a formal arrangement with Mrs O'Loan's office to facilitate those unwilling to approach the police to use the Ombudsman as an intermediary.

Evidence gathered in such fashion would be admissible in court under the terms of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act. However, The Irish Times was told that sooner or later those who approach Mrs O'Loan with information will have to deal with a police officer or make a court appearance.

Mr McCartney's family last night said that an interview with a senior Belfast republican in yesterday's Daily Ireland had not substantially altered their position. Gerard Davison told the newspaper he was not involved in the murder and had done his best to halt the pub row.

However, Mr McCartney's sister, Catherine, said: "He seems very keen to exonerate himself. The best way to do that is in court, not in a newspaper."

© The Irish Times


SF Denies Crisis Over Controversies

Arthur Beesley, Political Reporter

Sinn Féin has dismissed claims that the party is in the grip of a crisis over the murder of Robert McCartney, the Northern Bank raid and the Garda investigation into republican money-laundering.

Despite the onslaught of pressure from some of Sinn Féin's own supporters over the implication of IRA members in Mr McCartney's murder, party MEP for Dublin Mary-Lou McDonald dismissed as a "non-story" suggestions that the party was traumatised by recent events.

"While we don't underestimate for a second the difficulties that pertain at the moment, nor do we deny our part of the responsibility in terms of finding a way through all of this, it would be completely inaccurate to imagine Sinn Féin is in crisis. That's simply not the case," she said.

"Just to make it crystal clear: I have spoken, as have my other colleagues, around the murder of Robert McCartney, and I think Sinn Féin couldn't have been more crystal clear in our condemnation of that murder and calls for people to come forward with information."

Some 2,000 Sinn Féin activists are expected at the RDS for the ardfheis this weekend, which is the party's policy-making forum. They will debate some 380 motions and a new constitution for the party.

The draft constitution, which will replace a 1999 document, mostly deals with party's organisational structures.

"For the first time it contains a membership pledge to "accept the constitution and policies of Sinn Féin".

While the draft makes no mention of Sinn Féin's links with the Provisional IRA, party's vice-president Pat Doherty claimed there never was a relationship with the paramilitary organisation. Such a suggestion was a media myth, he said.

At a press conference in Dublin, Sinn Féin's leader in the Dáil, Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin, made light of the Northern Ireland political parties' exclusion from St Patrick's Day festivities at the White House in Washington.

Mr Ó Caoláin said it was for the US authorities to explain their actions.

© The Irish Times


Senior Republican Denies Ordering McCartney Murder

Dan Keenan, Northern News Editor

A senior republican has denied ordering the murder of Robert McCartney in January.

Gerard Davison also contradicted the McCartney family's claim that potential witnesses had been intimidated. He criticised the police handling of the case, claiming he was "as much a victim of circumstances as everybody else".

In an interview with Daily Ireland, Mr Davison admitted he served a prison sentence in the mid-1980s but refused to answer questions relating to the IRA.

He gave his detailed account of the events leading up to the murder of Mr McCartney and denied being involved in or knowing anything about the fatal stabbing.

He said he had not been in Derry for the Bloody Sunday commemoration, nor had he been drinking heavily in the run-up to the dispute. He said he had "resolved" the row in the bar with Mr McCartney at the time.

However, he blamed one of the murdered man's friends for causing further trouble.

"The boy who was with Robert McCartney . . . is a thug, who jumped up and attacked me. All I done was defend myself and he attacked me . . . I defended myself, and that was my sole role in that whole affair," he said.

Mr Davison sustained stab wounds to his hands and was treated at the Ulster Hospital, Dundonald, where he was later arrested by the PSNI.

Although released without charge, he said he may complain to Police Ombudsman Nuala O'Loan about his treatment.

He insisted he was not outside the bar when Mr McCartney was killed: "Absolutely not . . . I went to the hospital to get my hands sorted out . . . I went to Dundonald hospital the next morning, I had nothing to hide."

Mr Davison alleged a hospital worker told him of the stabbings near the bar and said: "I still didn't make the connection until I hear them talking about their names and stuff. I was as shocked as anybody, and that's the truth."

He emphatically denied he had ordered that Mr McCartney and another man were to be attacked.

Mr Davison further said he resented accusations that he took part in the intimidation of witnesses after the incident in the bar and that he in fact "advised them to go down and get a solicitor and go and tell the truth".

He added he had never heard of one case of intimidation. "I think if you dig into it, it's non-existent in my view."

Mr Davison said he was prepared to meet the McCartney family, saying: "I'm prepared to give them the truth as I know it and as I seen it. I was only involved in the initial sort of a row when I was attacked, and that's all I can tell them."

© The Irish Times


Washington Reception Will Not Include Party Leaders From North

Conor O'Clery in New York

After weeks of speculation, it has finally been confirmed that the guest list for the annual St Patrick's Day reception in the White House will not include party leaders from Northern Ireland.

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams will, however, have an opportunity to meet US politicians at the annual American Ireland Fund dinner in Washington on March 16th.

He has been invited along with leading political figures from the North and the South. The main speaker at the dinner will be Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and the event will honour Republican senator John McCain and Washington lawyer Paul Quinn.

The White House confirmed yesterday that US president George Bush will meet Mr Ahern for the usual shamrock ceremony on March 17th.

US sources said categorically that the Northern Ireland party leaders would not be at the event. It is also understood no invitation has been extended to the sisters of murdered Belfastman Robert McCartney, who have talked about bringing their campaign for justice to the US.

© The Irish Times


Dr Brady Calls On Northern Catholics To Work With The PSNI

James Fitzgerald

The Catholic Primate of All Ireland and Archbishop of Armagh, Dr Seán Brady, has called upon Catholics in the North to set aside their suspicions and co-operate fully with the PSNI, with particular reference to the investigation into the murder of Belfast man Robert McCartney.

Indicating that it was not enough for people to bring forward information to solicitors or Police Ombudsman Nuala O'Loan, Dr Brady said that the very existence of an ombudsman should be enough to allay fears some Catholics have about the PSNI.

"Surely it is time for Catholics in Northern Ireland to set aside their historic reservations about the police, however well founded they may have been, and to assume their full civic responsibility for an agreed and representative system of law and order," he said.

Speaking last night at a lecture in Dublin, Dr Brady praised the McCartney family as they continued in their efforts "to ensure justice for their brother".

"I would like to express my wholehearted support to the calls from the McCartney family for anyone with information about this vicious and brutal murder to come forward to police," he said, adding: "It is not consistent with the principle of freedom for people to present this information in a way which cannot be used to secure a conviction."

Also speaking at the lecture in Rathfarnham parish was the Church of Ireland Primate Archbishop Robin Eames, who questioned the moral price that the people of the North were being asked to pay for peace.

"The Troubles have lessened the sanctity of life. Life is cheap. How long can we tolerate that attitude if we are to build a moral society?" he asked. "We are being asked to accept levels of violence, but how long can society be expected to endure this before a real grip is taken on those who peddle violence in many areas?"

Ending on a positive note, Dr Brady said that the current impasse in the peace process could turn out to be "that moment of darkness before the dawn".

© The Irish Times


US immigrant law may be finalised soon: Kenny - Sinead Crowley reports on James C Reilly's comments on US laws regarding illegal Irish immigrants in the country

Bill Being Finalised In US Could Assist Illegal Irish Workers -V

Arthur Beesley, Political Reporter

New laws to help "undocumented" Irish workers in the US regularise their situation could be processed this year, US ambassador James Kenny said yesterday.

Mr Kenny said a Bill being prepared under the direction of President Bush would not help every Irish illegal emigrant in the US, but was likely to help many.

He said Mr Bush had agreed to reform the US immigration regime and wanted to help "millions of hard-working men and women condemned to fear and insecurity in a massive undocumented economy".

However, Mr Kenny said it had not been finalised that the new system would give undocumented workers the right to stay if they paid a fine.

The current proposal included a "temporary worker programme" to match workers with jobs that Americans didn't fill.

Chicago Irish Immigrant Support Centre director Fr Michael Leonard said he welcomed the indications from the US authorities.

"It's been admitted by most people, I think, even those in the administration, that the system is not working properly and that it needs fixing," Fr Leonard said.

While it was too early to refer to details of legislation that had not been published, he said he hoped the system would help non-professional workers to settle in the US.

Stating that a reformed regime would enhance US security, he said a new category of worker-visa should be introduced which would give a five-year period of "earned adjustment" to new immigrants, after which they would be entitled to a green card.

He also called for the abolition of the three- and 10-year bans on travel to the US for undocumented workers who leave the country. "Until a firm proposal comes before the House of Representatives and from there on to the Senate, we won't know what will actually result from all of the discussions," he said.

© The Irish Times


Support For Sinn Féin Falls 2% In Latest Poll

By Eddie Cassidy

THE Sinn Féin slide in support is confirmed in a second national poll, published today.

Fallout from the Robert McCartney murder and alleged IRA involvement in the Northern Bank robbery is impacting on the republican party.

Support for Sinn Féin in the latest Irish Times-TNS-Mrbi poll fell by 2% since the end of January.

The poll was conducted on Monday and Tuesday and concurred strongly with an Irish Independent weekend poll that also showed a slight decline for Sinn Féin.

The new poll shows Sinn Féin at 9%, down from 11%, while the two major parties Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael remain unchanged at 38% and 22%, respectively.

Fianna Fáil’s coalition partner, the PDs, slipped by one point to 3%.

The poll, carried out in all constituencies, was confined solely to the state of the parties.

The Labour Party, with 12%, is down one per cent while the Green Party support remains unchanged at 4%. Support for Others is up 4% to 12%.

On the positive side, Sinn Féin will claim that both polls showed 9% in support - which, effectively, is up 2% from the 2002 General Election.

The party has taken a battering for the past eight weeks and, despite continuing bad publicity, Sinn Féin has argued that the slide is not significantly damaging.

Party leader Gerry Adams admitted he was disappointed at a heavy drop in his own satisfaction rating with the public, following last week’s poll.

The new poll shows most voters appeared to remain satisfied, rather than dissatisfied with the Government parties.

Fianna Fáil, in particular, which experienced a backlash in late 2002 and suffered losses in the local and European elections last year, has weathered the political storms. Party leader support was an issue in the latest opinion poll.

However, the weekend poll showed Taoiseach Bertie Ahern to be the most popular party leader, at 61%, while Mr Adams’s popularity plummeted a full 20 points to 31%.

Fianna Fáil is likely to take a huge vote of confidence from both polls, which shows firm public backing for the Taoiseach’s stewardship of the economy and the manner in which he handled the peace process.

Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny will be pleased support has stabilised and his own popularity continues to progress at a slow, but steady, pace.

Such momentum is not enjoyed by the PDs with both party and leader Mary Harney’s support dipping.


Press Review: The Irish Public Shrugs Off Sinn Féin's Sins

The view from ... Dublin

William Hederman
Friday March 4, 2005
The Guardian

Sinn Féin has been having a tough time of it in the Irish media. A phalanx of politicians, journalists and other commentators, headed up by the justice minister, Michael McDowell, has been besieging the party, daily launching new and ever more serious allegations.

It has been claimed that money seized by the Garda in Cork recently had been stolen from the Northern Bank by the IRA; that the IRA runs a massive money-laundering operation, owns Ireland's largest hotel and pub chain, and pays people to canvass for Sinn Féin; that Sinn Féin's most prominent members are on the army council of the IRA, and knew about the planned Northern Bank robbery while negotiating with the Irish and British governments; and even that these leaders approved the protection of the murderers of Robert McCartney in Belfast. The list goes on.

"There is no place for thuggery, extortion, robbery and murder in the democratic process," declared the Sunday Tribune. Such activity "has nothing to do with the idealism of Republican heroes in history. It is crime." Recent events had "crystallised the views of the country".

That was echoed by Martin Mansergh, a Fianna Fáil senator, in his Irish Times column: "The mood ... among the public, with few exceptions, is one of zero tolerance for paramilitary activity."

But how had the views of the country crystallised? Was Sinn Féin losing support? A yardstick arrived in the form of an opinion poll in the Irish Independent last Friday, presented under the headline: "Backlash hits Adams". Satisfaction among voters in the Republic with the Sinn Féin president, Gerry Adams, had dropped from 52% in October 2002 to a "rock-bottom" 31%. "The people said 'enough!'" was how the paper interpreted the poll results in that day's editorial.

However, this slant obscured what was perhaps the poll's most significant finding. In the front page story, readers had to wait until the eighth paragraph to discover that, despite Sinn Féin's extremely bad press, the party's support had dropped by only one point, to 9%.

The next day, in the weekly magazine Village, editor Vincent Browne offered his own theory about the Independent's presentation of the story. "The alarm of the establishment in the South with the poll ratings, in the light of [the recent] media bloodbath, was captured by the decision of the editors of the Irish Independent ... to focus not on the substantive findings of the poll on support for political parties, but almost entirely on the 'collapse' in the ratings of Gerry Adams."

With all this going on, not much attention has been paid to Ireland's criminal justice bill, which would introduce wide-ranging new police powers and has been "quietly" making its way through the Dáil, according to Irish Times columnist Mary Raftery. The man who has done the most to maintain the IRA/Sinn Féin furore is the very man introducing the new bill, Michael McDowell.

Raftery cited the concerns of Ireland's Human Rights Commission - concerns ignored by the minister - specifically the removal of the need to have a judge sign a search warrant, conferring that power instead on a Garda superintendent; and the admissibility of statements from those who subsequently retract them. "In a climate where the Garda's credibility is under severe pressure on a number of fronts, and where the minister himself is much given to making allegations without evidence," said Raftery, referring to Mr McDowell's claim that Mr Adams and others were on the IRA army council, "the dangers of introducing draconian new legislation are all too evident."

Finally, one Irishman's brush with the (British) justice system made most of the front pages this week. The Republic of Ireland footballer Roy Keane was cleared of assault in a Manchester court after his teenage accuser was described as "an attention-seeking liar", reported the Star. The outcome prompted fawning praise for Keane from such papers as the Evening Herald ("stoic dignity") and the Star ("a cut above the rest in all aspects of his life"). The Herald was even moved to assert that "we are all more confident of qualifying for the next World Cup."

But not everyone is so fond of Roy, apparently. The Star reported that during this week's trial the footballer told the court he was used to being called "a wanker ... It's part of the trade."


Cafe Bar Set For Bewley's Grafton Street

Joe Humphreys

The Campbell Bewley Group is close to completing a deal with a restaurant and pub chain that would see the reopening of the Bewley's Grafton Street outlet as a new cafe bar.

The coffee company confirmed to The Irish Times last night that "heads of terms" had been signed between it and Jay Bourke and Eoin Foyle, owners of the successful Cafe Bar Deli restaurant chain.

These terms concerned "an arrangement whereby the Bewley's Cafe on Grafton Street might potentially reopen under new management".

Mr Bourke declined to comment to The Irish Times when contacted yesterday. However, sources close to the negotiations said that the proposed new cafe-restaurant would not be in a position to open until the summer.

Apart from the Cafe Bar Deli restaurant chain, which began with the redevelopment of the old Bewley's cafe on George's Street, Mr Bourke and Mr Foyle own the Odessa restaurant and Rí Rá nightclub in Dublin, and the Bodega bar and Savoy nightclub in Cork.

The Campbell Bewley Group said its discussions with the businessmen were "ongoing without any particular deadline and until it is concluded, neither party will be in a position to provide more specific information.

"Campbell Bewley Group has previously stated that it will examine any options whereby Bewley's on Grafton Street could continue to operate as a publicly accessible food service venue."

In its latest edition, published today, The Dubliner magazine claims the outlet would reopen as "Cafe Bar Deli at Bewley's" before the end of April.

The magazine's publisher Trevor White, said yesterday he had spoken to Mr Bourke who had given him "the full tour" of the building. "He is really excited about it. He is looking at putting in a fish restaurant on the first floor."

© The Irish Times


Miss Meredith's School To Close Down In June

Seán Flynn Education Editor

One of Dublin's most venerable schools, Pembroke School - widely known as Miss Meredith's - is to close at the end of the school year in June.

The closure will leave about 20 teachers without jobs and about 100 pupils looking for a new school.

The school, which catered for primary and second-level students, enjoyed a reputation for academic achievement combined with a family-like atmosphere in small classes. Students pay fees of over €3,000 a year.

In a letter to parents and staff, the directors of the school, Dr Pauline O'Connell and Penelope O'Connell say they have no alternative but to close the school next June due to "circumstances, financial and otherwise". They say new EU legislation which gives part-time teachers the same pay rates as their permanent colleagues means the school was no longer financially viable.

A number of parents who contacted The Irish Times said they were shocked and devastated by the news. One complained that the closure was being presented as a fait accompli "even though many parents would pay more fees, or do whatever it took, to save the school".

Based in an elegant Georgian building on Pembroke Road, the school was established by Miss Kathleen Meredith in 1929 in the heart of Dublin 4.

For many the school is still affectionately known as Miss Meredith's.

© The Irish Times


Third Level Needs More Investment, Says US Envoy

Seán Flynn

The US ambassador to Ireland has made the case for stronger investment in third-level education, in a significant address yesterday.

At the Foresight business breakfast at Trinity College, James Kenny pointed to the economic dangers of under-funding at third level. He also exhorted the business community to invest directly in education

He said US firms had invested over $55 billion (€42 billion) in the Republic, fives times more than in China.

Tracing the Republic's economic success to low corporation tax rates and to investment in third-level education, he said Irish universities were at a crucial point in their history.

"By this, I mean that they are faced with some very difficult, politically challenging, strategic choices that will determine one of two things: do Irish universities become competitive on an international level with universities in North America and Europe, attracting the best and the brightest of students and faculty?

"Or do they slide into an academic malaise, dependent on constantly declining government subsidies, cutting expenses and costs to dangerously low levels, all the while struggling to maintain fading reputations? Depending on the choices made, this teeter-totter could tip to either side, spelling success or doom for Ireland's academic and economic future."

Irish third-level education was, Mr Kenny said, faced with challenges similar to those faced by other EU member states, particularly in financing, and that meant fees. "Like it or not, third-level education is now a marketplace and that is not going to change.

"Students now move freely throughout the EU, and even the world at large. These customers, if you will, can now shop for a quality, English-language university education . . . Irish universities no longer have the captive market they once held."

© The Irish Times

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Table of Contents – Mar 2005
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