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March 29, 2005

Catholic Woman Attacked by Intruder

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Table of Contents - Overall
Table of Contents – Mar 2005

News about Ireland & the Irish

BT 03/29/05
Catholic Woman Attacked By Intruder
IO 03/29/05 Asian Man Targeted In Loyalist Racist Attack
BT 03/29/05 Family Shocked At Knife Murder
BB 03/29/05 Omagh Father Hits Out At Adams
DJ 03/29/05 IRA Must Reveal Results Of Internal Probe
DJ 03/29/05 Policing Acit Test For Provos – 32 County Sovereignty
DJ 03/29/05 'Don't Buy From Travellers' Colr. Warns
BT 03/29/05 One Year On, Irish Smoking Ban Hailed A Success
BT 03/29/05 Will We Or Won't We? Smoke Ban Verdict Near
IO 03/29/05 High Prices More Detrimental To Pubs Than Smoking Ban


Woman Was Intimidated By Intruder

Mob Attacks Police Called To Investigate Estate Threats

By Nevin Farrell
29 March 2005

Police last night condemned a sectarian attack on a Catholic woman living in a Co Antrim village.

A man forced his way into the woman's home in the early hours of the morning, in a mainly loyalist estate in Ahoghill, and threatened her.

When police responded to that incident they were attacked by a mob.

The woman, who was alone at the time, was awakened around 2.30am on Sunday.

When she went to investigate, she discovered a man standing at the bottom of the stairs with his face covered by a jumper. He made threats to her and then left the house.

A short time later there was a loud rap at her living room window, and more threats were made.

Although the woman was unhurt, there was minor damage caused to the front door by it being forced open.

While investigating the incident, police came under attack from youths throwing bricks, stones and around a dozen fireworks.

A car parked in the street was damaged, as was a police vehicle.

Ballymena police commander, Superintendent Terry Shevlin, said it was a despicable attack.

"I would totally condemn this and I'd urge people living in the area to be good neighbours and show their support for this resident, who was petrified.

"It is totally unacceptable for any individuals to be targeted because of their religion or race, or just because they are seen as 'different' from other people in an area."

Anyone who can help identify those involved is asked to contact police in Ballymena on 25 653355, or on the confidential freephone number 0800 555111.


Asian Man Targeted In South Belfast Racist Attack

29/03/2005 - 08:09:30

An Asian man is recovering this morning after he was beaten by a three-man gang during a racist attack in south Belfast last night.

The victim was attacked at a house in Donegall Avenue shortly before midnight.

He suffered cuts to his face and eye and bruising to the rest of his body after being kicked, punched and hit with a broken bottle.

The PSNI said it was treating the attack as racist and has appealed for witnesses to come forward.

South Belfast and a number of other towns in the North experienced a spate of racist attacks last year blamed on loyalist paramilitaries, but such attacks had subsided in recent months.


Family Shocked At Knife Murder

Relatives 'completely devastated' by death

By Deborah McAleese
29 March 2005

Relatives of a young man stabbed to death in Belfast spoke last night of their heartbreak over his senseless death.

Just weeks before he was due to fly to Spain with his girlfriend for a holiday, 22 year-old Ciaran Irvine was murdered close to his home in the Twinbrook estate in west Belfast early on Sunday morning.

One man has been arrested in connection with the attack and remains in police custody.

While detectives continued their door to door enquiries, a large crowd of mourners visited the family home at Gardenmore Road last night to offer their support to the family.

Bouquets of flowers lined the spot where the former Meanscoil Feirste student was stabbed.

Ciaran, who worked as a plasterer for several years, has been described as a very popular and carefree young man.

He is survived by his mother Anne McPhillips, who works as an essential skills teacher for a local community project, his father Brian Irvine, brothers Gerard, Mark and Cathal, (CORRECT) and his sister Ciar. (CORRECT)

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph his mother's partner, Frankie Kerr, said the family has been left "completely devastated" by his death.

He said: "Ciaran was a very happy-go-lucky type. Everyone is devastated. He was very popular and so many people have been calling to the house all day.

"This has been a terrible shock. It was completely unforeseen.

"He was planning to set up a home with his girlfriend and go on holiday in a couple of weeks to Spain. It is such a waste of a life."

Ciaran's body was found in an open area of Juniper Park shortly before 3am on Sunday with a fatal stab wound.

He was taken to hospital but died a short time later.

Friends have said he was at a party just hours before his death.

Local Sinn Fein MLA and family friend Michael Ferguson said Ciaran's death has come as a "terrible blow" to everyone who knew him.

He said: "Ciaran comes from a very nice family and they have been left completely distraught by what happened. They still can't quite believe this has happened.

"Ciaran was considered the jokey one of the family and he is going to be very badly missed by a lot of people."

Police have appealed for anyone who was in the Juniper Park area between 2am and 3am on Sunday to contact detectives at Lisburn on 9065 0222 or through the confidential Crimestoppers line on 0800 555111.


Omagh Father Hits Out At Adams

The father of an Omagh bomb victim has asked Gerry Adams if he will change his stance on asking people to come forward with information about the atrocity.

Victor Barker accused the Sinn Fein leader of hypocrisy over his appeal for people to give evidence about the murder of Belfast man Robert McCartney.

Mr Barker's 12-year-old son James was one of 29 people killed in the 1998 Real IRA bomb attack.

He said he originally asked Mr Adams to make an appeal five years ago.

Mr Barker said the Sinn Fein leader replied that he could not do so because the RUC was an "unacceptable police force".

Recently, Mr Adams appealed for anyone who has any information about the the murder of Mr McCartney to come forward.

Mr McCartney, 33, was stabbed to death outside a Belfast bar in January.

"I've since written to him again last week and asked him in view of his decision in relation to the McCartney case whether he would also be prepared to change his stance over the Omagh bomb," Mr Barker said.

"It seems to me to be hypocrisy to encourage people to come and give evidence in one case but not in the other."

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/03/29 09:05:02 GMT


IRA Must Reveal Results Of Internal Probe

Tuesday 29th March 2005

The family of murdered Derry man Mark 'Mousey' Robinson has again appealed to the IRA to publicise the results of a reported internal investigation into his death.

They made the appeal during a vigil at the spot in the Galliagh area where he was fatally injured in an attack in April 2001.

He died three days later in hospital. His heart was transplanted to help save the life of his uncle.

Mr. Robinson's family claim that IRA members were involved in his killing, which they said happened a few months after an alleged row with a republican in a bar.

Mr. Robinson was also the victim of a paramilitary-style attack several months before his murder.

During the vigil, his aunt Sheila Holden said he had fallen "into the trap of alcohol and got himself into bother on more than one occasion".

"That was him and we make no apologies for him being who he was. But did he commit any crimes that he deserved to die for? Most certainly not," she said.

Ms. Holden said the family had "sent a report" to the leadership of the Provisional IRA in Belfast in the months after his death in a bid to have their claims answered.

She claimed the IRA gave a one-line response a number of weeks later, saying the organisation was not prepared to talk about it.

A number of people have been questioned about Mr. Robinson's murder, although no charges have ever been brought.

"As a family from a republican background we find it offensive that we have been treated so badly since all this began," Ms. Holden said.

"We want to take this opportunity to appeal to the IRA to release to our family the results of their investigation that they promised.

"This is long overdue and it is an absolute disgrace that this hasn't happened before now."


Policing 'Acid Test' For Provisionals - Mackie Tells Derry Rally

Tuesday 29th March 2005

Francis Mackie of the 32 County Sovereignty has told an Easter commemoration in Derry yesterday that policing would be the 'acid test' for the Provisionals and that Sinn Fein were 'ready to grasp the nettle of joining the PSNI/RUC.

Mr. Mackie was speaking at a march organised by the 1916 Committee from the Creggan shops to the city cemetery. The march was led by a masked colour party and several bands and while there was a security presence the PSNI stayed at a distance.

At several points along the route the police warned marchers that they were taking part in an illegal march and could be prosecuted for doing so.

In the cemetery Mr. Mackie condemned Sinn Fein and accused the leadership of Martin McGuinness and Gerry Adams of abandoning 'all principles of the 1916 proclamation.'

Turning to the question of policing Mr. Mackie said: "policing will be the acid test for the provisional leadership set up by the British government and if we are to believe Gerry Kelly this issue is imminent and they are preparing to grasp the nettle of joining the PSNI/RUC.

"Kelly has warned us that all republicans face tough decisions on this issue and I predict when they do take that decision they will use British laws to attack republicans, to incarcerate us in gaols and hit us with the most draconian laws ever."

Mr. Mackie said that this was the natural progression of the process and that Sinn Fein would do the same 'as they set about normalising British politics in Ireland."

He continued: "The occupied 6 counties is not a democracy and the PSNI/RUC are not a police service of the people rather they are a force totally integrated into the British intelligence services supported by the British army.

"It will take more than a few token garda to swap places with former RUC murderers to convince the nationalist people that the PSNI is about policing in isolation from British interference in Irish affairs.

"Anyone joining the PSNI must be fully aware of what they are joining. The PSNI are not acceptable to the vast majority of the nationalist people.

"The PSNI are a rogue police force with a track record of collusion an murder and their true existence is about upholding British rule in Ireland contrary to the principles for which the 1916 leaders were murdered."


'Don't Buy From Travellers' Colr. Warns

Tuesday 29th March 2005

A Buncrana councillor has hit out at locals who bought goods from trading Travellers camping in large numbers in the town for the Bank Holiday.

Colr. Padraig MacLochlainn said he was enraged that between 30 and 40 caravans once again "took over" the town's Shore Front and the local amenities over the Easter weekend.

But he said anyone who purchased items from the traders were contributing to the ongoing problem.

"I would go as far as to say that the people who buy goods from these Travellers are engaging in anti-community activity, whether unwittingly or not. Because what they are actually doing is encouraging them to come back again and take over our amenities, maybe as early as the August Bank Holiday." he said.

"These are the same people who then complain about the Travellers taking over the place."

The Sinn Fein councillor and the Town Mayor, Colr. Philip Diggin went to the encampment when the visitors arrived on Thursday and attempted to negotiate a deal.

"We took representatives of about five or six families up to the halting site at Lisfannon and showed them the facilities that were available to them there. We asked them to send at least half up to Lisfannon to take the pressure off the Shore Front.

But they just didn't want to know. They had no intention of moving," said an angry Colr. MacLochlainn.

Meanwhile, Colrs. MacLochlainn and Diggin, Town Clerk, Paul Doyle and town engineer, Donal Walker tried to negotiate with the Travellers a second time. They reported the matter to the Gardai, but were told there wasn't any evidence of casual trading.

But Colr. Mac Lochlainn said: "Gardai have at their disposal very strong powers under the Casual Trading Act and even if they suspect someone is involved in casual trading (without a licence), a vehicle can be seized. In this case, the Gardai failed to enforce those laws."

The Sinn Fein Donegal chairman added that one Traveller even brazenly tried to sell an electricity generator to Council officials.

While the Donegal Travellers' Project has failed to meet with Buncrana councillors in recent months, it is understood they are scheduled to attend the April monthly meeting in a bid to thrash out this contentious issue.

Colr. MacLochlainn said one solution to the problem may be for the Council to make available a serviced field for the Travellers to use under strict conditions on their twice yearly visits and for the traders to pay a fee for the use of the site.

Meanwhile, he said Sinn Fein generally, and himself specifically, had defended the rights of Travellers, but the ongoing problem in Buncrana "was indefensible".

"These people know the laws. They know that there are no courts sitting on a responsibilities," he added.


One Year On, Irish Ban On Smoking In Pubs Is Hailed A Striking Success

By David McKittrick
29 March 2005

The Irish ban on smoking in bars, which today reaches its first anniversary, is generally viewed as a striking success that has brought significant changes in social and cultural life.

Just one year on, the traditional image of the fug-filled Irish pub has been replaced by a lighter and airier atmosphere, with most of the Irish regarding it as a commendable step forward in health terms.

The ban applies to almost all public workplaces, but interest has centred on bars and restaurants. Making them smoke-free by law has brought about a new sub-culture of doorstep smokers who congregate outside pubs and restaurants having a smoke in the open air.

Bars have facilitated them in a variety of ways, often providing outside tables, gas heaters and ashtrays, and sometimes building on patios and lean-to shelters. This in turn has added a new dimension to social intercourse as the open-air smokers discuss the ban and other topics.

The authorities have exercised no flexibility in dealing with those who break the law. Last July two Galway city bar-owners threw down the gauntlet by openly flouting the ban: their feet barely touched the ground before they found themselves in court receiving hefty fines. Publicans are legally responsible for enforcing the ban on their own premises, and more than half a dozen have been prosecuted for allowing customers to light up.

As this suggests, there remain pockets of underground resistance of publicans who quietly allow smoking. The most recent figures, however, indicate that 94 per cent of pubs and 99 per cent of restaurants comply.

One of the striking features of the episode is that a move which was originally seen as controversial and politically risky has so quickly come to be accepted as the norm. The Irish entertainment lobby, which is traditionally strong within the governing Fianna Fail Party, fought a strong reargard action to have the initiative abandoned or watered down. Forecasts of a disastrous slump in pub trade have not been borne out, and nor have early threats of publicans mounting legal challenges, withholding taxes and even going to jail. Instead, the ban is regarded as irreversible and here to stay.

Some early research points to beneficial effects from the ban. Professor Luke Clancy, a Dublin-based respiratory consultant and anti-smoking campaigner, said: "I have people coming to me saying their lives have been transformed.

"I have people saying they could never go into a pub before, and now they can. It will encourage people to give up smoking and the ban will enable people not to start."

A recent trade union survey indicated that 90 per cent of Dublin bar workers approve of the ban, saying they have experienced little difficulty in implementing it, and a similar proportion believed it has had a positive impact on their health. A spokesman for Mandate, the union, said: "One year later, this research clearly shows that bar workers are enjoying working in healthy, clean and smoke-free environments, free from the dangers posed by other people's smoke."

The ban has been described as an outstanding success by Bertie Ahern, the Taoiseach, who said the initiative had had a hugely beneficial impact on the quality of life. He declared: "We can share a sense of national pride in a measure that will have significant health implications, not just for us here today, but for our children and generations to come.

"This ground-breaking measure has proven to be an outstanding success. The consistently high compliance rates and the widespread support for the initiative prove how successful and welcome the change has been."


Will We Or Won't We? Smoke Ban Verdict Near

Public calls to stub it out considered by minister

By Nigel Gould
29 March 2005

Health Minister, Angela Smith, will announce shortly whether or not Northern Ireland should have a province-wide smoking ban.

And as the Republic celebrated its first anniversary since the implementation of its smoking ban, the Department of Health here revealed that the response to a consultation on a similar ban had been "overwhelming".

Tens of thousands of replies have poured into the department's headquarters since it began three months ago

And a spokesman said an announcement would be made in due course.

He added: "The department wishes to thank everyone who took part in the recent consultation exercise.

"There has been an overwhelming response with the majority of views submitted during the final week of the consultation period.

"Work is continuing to record and acknowledge all responses as quickly as possible following which officials will prepare a detailed analysis of the outcome for ministers' consideration.

"A further announcement will be made in due course."

Research to be unveiled will show the quality of air in pubs in the Republic is now radically clear of carcinogenic substances.

The results are to be unveiled at a symposium in Dublin to show that the ban is protecting workers.

Meanwhile, Sinn Fein MEP and former Assembly Health Minister Bairbre de Brun has reiterated her calls for a complete ban on smoking in enclosed public places here.

Ms de Brun said that "the success story of the ban in the south means that its benefits are impossible to ignore".

She added that in the South it has been estimated that 7,000 smokers have given up smoking, with many more reducing their habit since the introduction of the ban.

"The time is long overdue for an all-Ireland ban on smoking in enclosed public places," she said.

"I want to commend the Irish government for taking this bold initiative.

"I would urge the Minister for Health Mary Harney to seek a meeting with British minister Angela Smith, to discuss the practicalities of introducing such a ban island- wide.

"Angela Smith should now move on this speedily."

Last week, Mrs Smith took delivery of an incredible 35,000 Ulster signatures calling for a province-wide ban on smoking.

The signatures were delivered to the steps of Stormont by doctors, nurses, charities and other healthcare professionals.

Already, some 16,000 responses had been made to the consultation from people across the province .

In an exclusive interview with the Belfast Telegraph recently, Mrs Smith, who unveiled the consultation document on December 21, pledged that she would move to make an announcement without delay.


High Prices More Detrimental To Pubs Than Smoking Ban: Survey

29/03/2005 - 08:52:28

A new survey has reportedly found that the workplace smoking ban is causing a fall-off in pub business, but high prices are having a much more detrimental effect.

Reports this morning said the study by Millward Brown IMS found that 17% of adults were going to the pub less because of the smoking ban, but 28% were going less because of high prices.

The survey found similar attitudes to restaurants, with 9% of respondents saying they were eating out less because of the smoking ban and 22% saying they were being put off by high prices.

The research was published today to coincide with the first anniversary of the introduction of the smoking ban as a measure to protect workers from second-hand smoke.

Another survey commissioned by the Office of Tobacco Control has found that 98% of people believe workplaces are healthier as a result of the ban.

Table of Contents - Overall
Table of Contents – Mar 2005
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