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March 04, 2005

03/04/05 – Bush May Extend March 17 Ban

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Table of Contents - Overall
Table of Contents – Mar 2005

BT 03/04/05 President May Extend St Patrick's Day Ban
DJ 03/04/05 Fr McManus: Robbery Used To Sabotage Peace Process
BT 03/04/05 IRA Under Pressure To Claim Killer
BT 03/04/05 Justice Call Echoed In Loyalist Areas: Eames
DJ 03/04/05 Campbell Hits Out At Derry 'Discrimination'
BB 03/04/05 Sinn Fein On Horns Of Policing Dilemma –A
IO 03/04/05 IRA Patriots, Not Gangsters: McLaughlin –A
BT 03/04/05 Pressure Growing As Sinn Fein Meets
BT 03/04/05 SF Hit By New Poll Blow In South
BT 03/04/05 Ahern Tones It Down During London Talk
UT 03/04/05 McCartney Family Statement In Full
IO 03/04/05 Number Of People Make Statements About McCartney Murder
BT 03/04/05 Ex-Sinn Fein Chief In Police Base Purchase
BT 03/04/05 Racist Tag 'Is Unjustified'
BT 03/04/05 DNA Test May Prove McSorley Is More Viking Than Celt


Further US blow to Ulster politicians

President May Extend St Patrick's Day Ban

By Sean O'Driscoll
04 March 2005

All Northern Ireland political parties may be excluded from St Patrick's Day celebrations at the House of Representatives as well as the White House this year.

The White House has told the House of Representatives that President Bush will probably not attend celebrations in the House if he is to be seen in the same room as Gerry Adams and other Sinn Fein leaders.

The US President has traditionally travelled from the White House to the House for the Speaker's Luncheon, an event hosted by the House of Representatives speaker on St Patrick's Day.

For every year of his presidency, President Bush has joined the event in the same small room as Gerry Adams, David Trimble and other Northern Ireland leaders.

However, the White House is in negotiations with the House of Representatives and is anxious that the President should not be seen close to Sinn Fein leaders.

The White House is concerned that the President should not be branded a hypocrite in the war on terrorism following the Northern Bank heist and murder of Robert McCartney.

Yesterday, the Bush administration announced that none of the political parties would be allowed in the White House this year.

With the Republicans in a majority in the House of Representatives, and the Speaker's chair held by Bush loyalist, Dennis Hastert, it seems very likely that the Speaker's office will go along with whatever the President wants.

A source familiar with the organisation of this year's Speaker's Luncheon said that the White House did not want to follow the traditional formula.

"It's up in the air at the moment, but basically there is a complication. If the parties aren't allowed in the White House and the President goes to the Speaker's Luncheon, then he doesn't want to be seen endorsing Sinn Fein at the House of Representatives either," he said.

Speaker Hastert's spokesman, Larry Farnsworth, said that a decision had yet to be reached. "It could take a few days before any kind of announcement," he said.

The luncheon has taken place every year after the President has met with the Taoiseach and the Northern Ireland parties in the White House.


Opin: Fr McManus: Robbery Used To Sabotage Peace Process

Friday 4th March 2005

Sir, I am heartbroken by the turn of events in Ireland. Shame on those you did the Northern Bank robbery, and shame on those who have used that robbery (bad enough in itself) to sabotage the peace-process.

First, we have Hugh Orde, Chief Constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) appointing himself judge and jury - and proclaiming that the IRA did the robbery while feeling no obligation to place evidence in the public domain, much less before a court and jury.

Second, we have the Irish Prime Minister, Bertie Ahern( having been steamrolled by extremist , Michael Mc Dowell, Minister for Justice ) even outdoing Hugh Orde, by appointing himself not only judge and jury, but executioner as well. He charged that Sinn Fein leaders knew in advance of the alleged IRA robbery - in other words that Sinn Fein leaders were, before and after the fact, coconspirators in the robbery. In making that remarkably irresponsible accusation Bertie Ahern thus became the executioner, the hangman of the peace-process. And I say this as one who all across America has consistently praised Taoiseach Ahern for his previous admirable work on the peace-process.

Why, oh why, did Bertie Ahern make such an incendiary and irresponsible charge and didn't he see the massive damage it would do? Didn't the robbery, in and of itself, cause enough trouble? And even if he did actually believe it, was it prudent and responsible for him to make the charge, without due process? What right, legally and morally, does he have to dispense himself from the absolute principle that a person is innocent until proven guilty? Is there one law for regular folks, and another different one for a Taoiseach? How could this be described in any other way than as an abuse of power?

What is going on in Ireland? The very people who - at such great risk and against such great odds - made the peace-process possible, Gerry Adams, Martin Mc Guinness, etc., are now the very ones who are being blamed for harming the peace-process. How absurd and wrong is that?

And to make things even more bizarre, the very people who have made the irresponsible and defamatory charges, Bertie Ahern and Hugh Orde, both claim they want Sinn Fein to immediately join the Police Board in Northern Ireland and not be excluded from the peace-process. Come on now, is that really a tenable position?

The recently deceased Arthur Miller's play, "The Crucible"(1953) - about the Salem Witch trials of the late 1600's - is generally seen as an allegory to the hysterical American anti-Communist campaigns of the 1950's. In it, Deputy Governor Danforth, in his speech justifying the witch-hunting court says: "But you must understand, sir, that a person is either with this court or he must be counted against it, there be no road between. This is a sharp time, now, a precise time - we live no longer in the dusky afternoon when evil mixed itself with good and befuddled the world. Now, by God's grace, the shining sun is up, and them that fear not light will surely praise it. I hope you will be one of those."

But at least the witches were brought to a court, of a sort. Sinn Fein has not been even given that much.

Cui bono (who profits)? Who profits from the Northern Bank robbery? Surely not Sinn Fein, or the majority of Catholics in Northern Ireland who voted for them.

Who profited from the advice the British Intelligence Service gave to British Prime Minister Blair that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction , which could be deployed almost immediately? And that is the same Intelligence Service that Hugh Orde used to blame the IRA for the Bank robbery? The same Service that was involved in the false and lengthy imprisonment of The Birmingham Six, The Guildford Four, The Maguire Seven.

But maybe it is irresponsible for this Fermanagh man to say such things? Maybe I should be uncritically supporting Bertie Ahern's and Hugh Orde's slanderous, violent , undemocratic and unproven charges and say with the Clergyman in The Crucible , the Reverend John Hale : " Though our hearts break, we cannot flinch. There is a misty plot afoot so subtle we should be criminal to cling to old respects and ancient friendships" - - and to hell with due process, all witches and all Sinn Feiners .

Fr. Sean McManus

President Irish National Caucus
P.O. Box 15128 Capitol Hill
Washington, D.C.


IRA Under Pressure To Claim Killer

By Sarah Brett
04 March 2005

The IRA were today under pressure to reveal whether the killer of Londonderry man James 'De De' McGinley is a member of the organisation.

During a candlelit vigil in the city centre last night, Mr McGinley's aunt Kathleen Coyle said the IRA must publicly claim convicted killer Bart Fisher, denounce him and expel him from their ranks.

A week ago, Fisher (43) was jailed for three years for the manslaughter of Mr McGinley.

Mr McGinley's family slammed it as too lenient.

Kathleen Coyle last night said that the family will be appealing Fisher's sentence and called on the Derry public to back them.

She also claimed that throughout the trial her family were intimidated by the IRA.

"They told us which members of this family could go to the court to see Jimmy getting justice and which members could not," she said.

She added: "We have come out here tonight to tell the IRA that we will not tolerate any threats being made against this family."


Justice Call Echoed In Loyalist Areas: Eames

By Alf McCreary
04 March 2005

The current campaign to bring the killers of Robert McCartney to justice also has a message for loyalist areas, according to the Church of Ireland Primate, Archbishop Robin Eames.

Speaking together with Archbishop Sean Brady at an Ecumenical Lenten Lecture at Rathfarnham in Dublin last night, Dr Eames said: "If the current campaign is successful in demonstrating people power, it has a message for those loyalist areas which are subject to paramilitary pressure.

"It will demonstrate that the greatest challenge to paramilitary pressure is the united stand of ordinary people."

The Archbishop said that the most forgotten people in Northern Ireland were the victims of violence in all communities.

He added: "I have met many of them, and their sense of being forgotten is obvious. They no longer feel that society cares about them."

Behind the political dimension of the peace process were the consequences of more than 30 years of paramilitary violence, and that the real peace process was to do with people's lives, hopes and fears.

He said: "Politics must provide the structure for stable government and administration, but without the support and understanding of people, political progress will be limited."

He said an "exact copy" of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission would not meet the needs of Northern Ireland.

"No doubt there is healing when people are free to tell their story, and to believe others are listening.

"I suggest that the pastoral role of the Church is in providing a platform to allow hurt and grievance to be listened to, and needs to be examined."


Campbell Hits Out At Derry 'Discrimination'

Friday 4th March 2005

East Derry DUP MP, Gregory Campbell has claimed that unionist councillors in nationalist controlled areas like Derry and Strabane have to endure 'intimidation and discrimination'.

His comments came in an early day motion he has tabled criticising the Mayor of London Ken Livingstone who voiced support for nationalists in Lisburn.

Responding angrily to Ken Livingstone's remarks Mr. Campbell said that 'Sinn Fein/IRA are the discriminators and certainly cannot claim to be the victim.'

Mr. Campbell added: "It is obvious that Mr. Livingstone has not learned to tread with care when dealing with the words of Sinn Fein.

"He has obviously yet to realise that lies and propaganda are nothing new to the representatives of Sinn Fein."

He added: "For years unionist councillors have had to tolerate intense intimidation within nationalist controlled councils, both in terms of an employment disadvantage and also the distribution of roles within the council chamber.

"The Sinn Fein councillor who wrote to the Mayor of London failed to highlight the constant intimidation and discrimination endured by unionist councillors in nationalist controlled councils such as Londonderry, Strabane and Down."

The early day motion submitted by Gregory Campbell reads: "That this house notes the reported comments of Ken Livingstone, the Mayor of London, where he has indicated he is prepared to highlight the alleged disadvantage of nationalists in Northern Ireland's Lisburn City Council but has not mentioned the worsening problems of unionists in councils such as Londonderry, Down and Strabane where there is not only an employment disadvantage for unionists but thousands of them have suffered intimidation from the military wing of the Provisional IRA, whose representatives Sinn Fein, wrote to London's mayor raising the mater in the first instance."


Sinn Fein's annual conference begins today but is being shadowed by the murder of Robert McCartney.

Sinn Fein On Horns Of Policing Dilemma –A

By Mark Devenport

BBC Northern Ireland political editor

It is uncertain whether Gerry Adams' latest intervention will make any practical difference to the quest for justice by the family of Robert McCartney.

However, the Sinn Fein president's decision to hand over the names of some of his party members to the police ombudsman reveals both the extent of the pressure now on his party and its difficulties in grappling with the vexed issue of policing.

On the same evening that Sinn Fein were announcing the suspension of seven members, the Catholic Primate, Archbishop Sean Brady, put his finger on the dilemma which faces republicans over policing.

"Surely it is time", the archbishop argued, "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.

"A community which was prepared to make a deal which included accepting shared responsibility for devolved powers over policing in December, cannot credibly fail to support co-operation with policing on such a grave and criminal matter in March."

Even though the names Sinn Fein is passing to the police ombudsman are almost certainly known to the police already, the move could prove significant if it leads to the emergence of any new evidence by way of witness statements.

Sinn Fein has proved more than willing to use the ombudsman in the past, although that has tended to be during attempts to bring the police to book.

The Adams initiative appears without precedent in as much as Sinn Fein are dealing with some of their own.

The party's opponents will probably look upon the latest move as cynical spin in the face of an effective grassroots campaign by the McCartney family, which appears set to overshadow both the Sinn Fein ard fheis (annual conference) and Mr Adams' St Patrick's Day trip to the USA.

There are signs that the McCartney case has empowered others in republican areas in Londonderry and north Belfast to raise their concerns about the IRA.

Moreover, republicans have to be worried about some opinion polls appearing to show their support declining just ahead of elections on both sides of the border.

But anyone tempted to believe that Sinn Fein is about to implode, or turn full circle in its attitude to policing should think again.

Republicans have appeared isolated before but have rallied in the face of external pressure.

On policing, the party has not yet shown any sign of changing its policy which ties its acceptance of the police service to an overall deal and the transfer of policing and justice powers to local politicians.

Some people in republican areas may appreciate a more flexible attitude to cooperating with the police over "ordinary" crime.

But others - such as the backers of a number of motions at the Sinn Fein conference - want to withhold support until they get a united Ireland.

For many people in Northern Ireland the failure of the parties to reach a deal in December might have appeared fairly irrelevant as the politicians inhabit a separate parallel world.

But as the McCartney case has vividly highlighted, when it comes to policing, the lack of an agreement does have real consequences for real people.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/03/04 12:50:41 GMT


Sinn Fein chairman Mitchel McLaughlin on the party's annual conference today and seven of its party members being suspended for allegations of involvement in murder.

IRA Patriots, Not Gangsters: McLaughlin -A

04/03/2005 - 11:15:39

Sinn Féin chairman Mitchel McLaughlin has rejected a suggestion put to him in a radio interview that the IRA are "a bunch of gangsters".

He was being interviewed today on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

When asked whether he would accept that the IRA are “a bunch of gangsters”, he said: “No, of course not. I think that they are people who are patriots. That is not to ignore the fact that they make mistakes and sometimes very very horrific and tragic mistakes.

“But in the main I think that the people of Ireland recognise in the long history of the IRA that we are dealing with patriots.

“But my view is that we have come to a juncture in politics in Ireland, and indeed in the relationships between Britain and Ireland, where this issue can now be resolved by entirely peaceful and democratic means, and that is the role and the lead role that my party Sinn Féin is playing.”

Mr McLaughlin was asked whether anyone with information about the McCartney murder or the Northern Bank raid should contact the police.

He said: “Sinn Féin have a view that the British government have not yet delivered … on police reform. And a majority of people in the north of Ireland within the nationalist and Republican community support Sinn Féin’s view.

“Nonetheless, Sinn Féin fully supports, unambiguously supports people making available any evidence or any information that would lead to the judicial process that will give the McCartney family the justice they deserve.

“So, if you can go to the PSNI, do so. If you have difficulty with going to the police service, then go to other reputable, authoritative bodies, including the Police Ombudsman.”


Pressure Growing As Sinn Fein Meets

O'Loan to be given names of suspended party members

By Noel McAdam
04 March 2005

The fallout from the Robert McCartney murder and the Northern Bank raid today overshadowed Sinn Fein as it gathered in Dublin for its 'showpiece' annual conference.

Pressure on the republican movement was also set to increase with the PSNI announcing a formal arrangement with Police Ombudsman Nuala O'Loan, who is poised to act as an intermediary to help bring Mr McCartney's killers to justice.

The names of seven Sinn Fein members suspended from the party are to be passed on to Mrs O'Loan, who could act as a 'go-between' in the investigation.

The extent of the political crisis was also brought into sharp focus by a new opinion poll revealing Sinn Fein support in the Republic falling significantly and a shrinking approval rating for Gerry Adams.

The Irish Times/TNS mrbi poll showed overall party support down by 3% since October and Mr Adams' personal performance dropping by 12% to 30%.

The McCartney family confirmed that they are travelling to Washington for the St Patrick's Week events as Mr Adams announced the seven party suspensions.

But, despite the almost unprecedented antagonism against republicans, the leadership and grassroots activists at the ard fheis appeared bullish and ready to take on all opponents.

One motion placed by the party's executive (ard comhairle) praises the "unswerving commitment" of the IRA to the peace process and commends "the discipline of IRA volunteers in the face of all provocation".

Another motion calls on the conference to reject attempts by certain elements of the "political establishment and the media" to criminalise the republican movement.

Mr Adams, Martin McGuinness and Mitchel McLaughlin, among others, are expected to make keynote speeches voicing anger at the "orchestrated campaign" against the party.

Mr McLaughlin said today IRA volunteers had made mistakes but were still regarded as patriots.

Asked on the BBC Today programme if he would accept the IRA were "a bunch of gangsters" he said: "No, of course not. I think that they are people who are patriots.

"That is not to ignore the fact that they make mistakes and sometimes very very horrific and tragic mistakes. But in the main I think that the people of Ireland recognise in the long history of the IRA that we are dealing with patriots."

The gathering is also due to call on the Irish government to initiate discussions on constitutional change on the island of Ireland, in particular "preparations for a united Ireland".

Catholic Primate Archbishop Sean Brady, meanwhile, has said that the peace process had reached a defining moment in which the days of "constructive ambiguity and moral murk" were over.

And, as the family of a Londonderry murder victim demanded the IRA expel his killer, the Church of Ireland Primate Robin Eames said paramilitaries were facing their greatest challenge from ordinary people uniting against them.


SF Hit By New Poll Blow In South

By Gene McKenna

04 March 2005

For the second week runing a poll shows Sinn Fein support has fallen.

The new poll, out today, also finds that the Republic's coalition government is still in a strong position to retain power after the next general election.

It shows that the Sinn Fein vote has dropped by 2% in the past month and now stands at 9%.

Support for both Fianna Fail and Fine Gael has remained unchanged since the last corresponding poll, carried out by MRBI for the Irish Times in January.

Both Labour and the PDs are slightly down while the Green party also remains unchanged.

The state of the parties is: Fianna Fail 38% (unchanged); Fine Gael 22% (unchanged); Labour 12% (down 1%); PDs 3% (down 1%); Greens 4% (unchanged); Sinn Fein 9% (down 2%); Others 12% (up 4%). The figures show that the combined vote for the current government line-up of Fianna Fail and the PDs is 41%, three points ahead of the combined Fine Gael, Labour and Green Party figures which would provide a possible 'rainbow' alternative.

Similar results were shown in the Millward Brown IMS poll for the Irish Independent a week ago. In that poll, Sinn Fein dropped 1% to 9% while par


Ahern Tones It Down During London Talk

By Brian Walker
04 March 2005

Bertie Ahern's comments on the republican movement in London struck a much milder note than his searing attacks after the Northern Bank robbery and the Robert McCartney murder.

In London to address the Ireland Fund of Great Britain and to open new Westminster studios for RTE, as well as slipping in a quick meeting with Tony Blair, he said he believed Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness were sincere about trying to reach a comprehensive settlement.

"We must find a way through either now or later to deal with the issues of substance," he said. It was also "inevitable" that the movement would respond to public pressure from the McCartney family and the public over the killing.

But that was as tough as the Taoiseach got yesterday.

It was a far cry from the Bertie Ahern who had called republican denials of the robbery "childish" and insisted it must have been known to the Sinn Fein leadership.

Now he was even saying that he did not want to make it difficult for Gerry Adams at his leader's speech to the Sinn Fein ard fheis at the weekend. And he added that the "courage and leadership" Sinn Fein had shown in the past gave him hope that "the final steps to complete out work can and will be taken".

Despite everything, the premiers have already made it clear they intend to keep talking to Sinn Fein. So why are they now turning down the volume? Mr Ahern's reference to Gerry Adams' leader's speech gives a clue.

Nothing should be said to give the Sinn Fein leader an excuse to suggest that the McCartney family have become the unwitting tools of the two governments.

Better to play it low key and allow the republicans to submit to the real and sustained pressure from the family and the community.

Nor do the premiers want to say anything much about the fate of the Assembly until after the election - apart from being stumped over what to do about it.

A discussion on Stormont's future now would only divert attention away from what they see as the prime cause of continuing political deadlock - the paramilitary and other criminal activity of the IRA.

A few weeks ago, the Government was right to speak out to put pressure on the IRA. Now it's right to let that pressure sink in.


McCartney Family Statement In Full

The suspension of seven Sinn Fein members linked to the murder of Robert McCartney was a belated step forward, his family said today.

By:Press Association

However they suggested the passing on of information about the murder through solicitors to Northern Ireland`s Police Ombudsman Nuala O`Loan was inadequate in their quest to have his killers brought to justice.

This is their full statement in response to Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams` announcement of the suspensions: "The statement by Gerry Adams is viewed by this family as a positive step forward.

"We welcome and accept Gerry Adams` personal comments that he will not rest until this family receives justice.

"The basic action taken by Sinn Fein in relation to their members involved in Robert`s murder is nothing more than what would have been expected from any democratically elected party.

"Although we would have liked this to have happened earlier as those names have been known to Sinn Fein officials from the outset.

"The handing over of the names to the Police Ombudsman through a solicitor is of symbolic significance.

"Providing a solicitor with a statement to be passed on to the Ombudsman is an inadequate method of gathering evidence.

"The repeated appeals for those to come forward and tell what they know has to date had little effect on the ground.

"Robert`s life was taken from him as if it was of no value.

"It is only when those involved are convicted will the value of life be restored.

"It is only when this happens that this family will accept that all that can be done has been done."


Number Of People Make Statements About McCartney Murder
2005-03-04 12:30:02+00

The PSNI has revealed that a number of people have come forward to give voluntary statements about the murder of Belfast man Robert McCartney.

The 33-year-old father-of-two was beaten and stabbed to death outside a pub in the city on January 30, allegedly by senior IRA members.

The killing has led to a backlash against Sinn Féin among nationalist communities in the North, with the McCartney family accusing the republican movement of shielding those responsible and intimidating witnesses.

Sinn Féin has responded by suspending seven of its members amid allegations that they were involved and by encouraging anyone with information to come forward.

Speaking about the ongoing investigation today, PSNI Detective Superintendent George Hamilton said 80 CCTV tapes had been examined, 20 houses had been searched and 10 people had been arrested.

He did not say how many had come forward to make statements voluntarily, but it is believed to be around 30.

Mr Hamilton added that if people did not want to approach the police, they could provide information via the Police Ombudsman.


Ex-Sinn Fein Chief In Police Base Purchase

By Chris Thornton
04 March 2005

An empty police station in Belfast has been bought by a company whose chiefs include Phil Flynn, the "unapologetic republican" caught up in the Republic's money laundering investigation.

The Belfast Telegraph has learned that Flynn, a Sinn Fein consultant and former Irish government adviser helping the Garda inquiry, is a director of Toberdoney Ltd, the company that bought Queen Street police station from the Policing Board in January.

Mr Flynn's partners in the purchase are John and Eugene Hughes, who own several pubs in west and central Belfast.

Documents lodged with the Department of Enterprise Trade and Investment indicate the company has taken out a mortgage on the former police station.

Mr Flynn (61), has had Brian Keenan, former republican prisoner and alleged member of the IRA Army Council, as a houseguest in Dublin.

Mr Flynn was also director of a company involved in the development of Belfast shipyard, Harcourt Development. He resigned that position last month, along with an Irish government advisory role and the chairmanship of the Bank of Scotland (Ireland).

The former vice-president of Sinn Fein had his home and office visited by Garda detectives investigating money laundering allegations.

He has not been accused of wrongdoing. Garda spoke to him because he is a director of Chesterton Finance, a company that is being investigated.

Mr Flynn recently described himself as an "unapologetic republican" and confirmed that he has recently advised Sinn Fein on changes to its party constitution.

The Policing Board confirmed that Queen Street station has been sold, but refused to identify the purchasers, claiming commercial confidentiality even though documents relating to the sale are publicly available.

Mr Flynn has been a director of Toberdoney Limited since it was set up in 2003.

The Belfast Telegraph attempted to contact John and Eugene Hughes. They were unavailable.

At the phone number for one of their listed addresses, the Fiddlers Inn on Kennedy Way, a man who answered the phone said they are rarely on the premises.


Racist Tag 'Is Unjustified'

Belfast 'not worst in world but we need more done'

By Debra Douglas
04 March 2005

The chairman of the Northern Ireland Council for Ethnic Minorities (NICEM) today slammed comments made in a leading international magazine which branded Belfast as the most racist city in the world.

Nigerian Alfred Abolarin hit back at the claim, which was written in German magazine Der Spiegel, describing it as "unjustified".

"I do not think you can describe Belfast as the most racist city," he said.

"Racism is not only peculiar to Belfast and it would be hypocritical, untrue and unjust for anyone to suggest it."

But Mr Abolarin, who is also a health development worker for South Belfast Highway to Health, said that while Belfast was not the worst place in the world for racism, efforts needed to be made to address the issue.

"It is a real issue that needs tackled head-on and I would say a key element of tackling racism is through educating young people and increasing everyone's cultural awareness.

"It is also important to encourage ethnic minorities not to isolate themselves while at the same time keeping their own beliefs and customs.

"We all have responsibilities in making Belfast and Northern Ireland a society where differences are recognised, respected and valued.

"But in order to effectively do this we must also address underlying problems like social deprivation, unemployment, housing, personal and community insecurities, systems of inequality and injustice.

"It is important and crucial to challenge racist attitude and behaviour where ever it is found regardless of geographical location.

"At the end of the day we all have our prejudices."

Responding to the comment, Belfast Lord Mayor Tom Ekin said everything was being done to make Belfast welcoming for ethnic minorities.

"There was a spate of racist incidents but, to a large extent, that has calmed down and efforts have been made to tackle the issue.

"People who come to live here make a great contribution to the community and we have taken steps to show they are welcome such as the 'Home from Home' evening we held in the City Hall. We must also reject those who do not welcome them."


DNA Test May Prove McSorley Is More Viking Than Celt

By Nigel Gould
04 March 2005

Calling all McLaughlins, McSorleys and Toners: you might not be as Irish as you think ...

There could be a touch of Viking in your veins.

University of Ulster researcher Eleanore Conant is investigating the genetic make-up of early peoples on this island and is looking for DNA help from people with particular family names.

"I am trying to map out aspects of the origins of modern man and ancient man in Ireland," she said.

"Part of the project involves the origins of people in more recent eras, such as late Neolithic, Celtic and Viking. I am exploring chromosome patterns that might pinpoint where people came from at the dawn of history."

Eleanore, from New Mexico, is anxious to decipher genetic compositions which may mark out early Irish- Gaelic inhabitants from Norse invaders and settlers.

One method is comparing people whose names indicate Viking origin against those with other traditionally- sounding Irish names.

She said: "There is a specific type of genetic make- up on the Y chromosome, found overwhelmingly among Irish males. It is found in up to 98% of males in the west of Ireland.

"But in England and parts of Europe, such as Scandinavia, it is present to a much smaller extent, perhaps around 28% of males.

"I want to see whether people with Nordic-origin 'Irish' names have that same Nordic composition. If they lack this genetic fingerprint, it could strengthen the thesis that this particular genetic type is distinctive to the early people of Ireland, or that surname- origin can be an indicator of genetic heritage."

Eleanore wants volunteers for a simple DNA mouth-swab test. She will supply kits which volunteers can use and return to her. Contact her at: email

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