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

April 10, 2005

04/10/05 - SF Member Told Of Threat

To receive this news via email, click HERE. No Message is necessary
Table of Contents - Overall
Table of Contents – Apr 2005

News about Ireland & the Irish

BB 04/10/05
Sinn Fein Member Told Of 'Threat'
BB 04/10/05 Man Critical After Street Fight
TO 04/10/05 Sinn Fein, IRA 'Plotted Against Irish Democracy'
BB 04/10/05 Call To IRA Dominates Campaign Start
TO 04/10/05 Election: Parties Of Peace Face Backlash At The Polls
TO 04/10/05 McCartney Sisters Plan Dublin Rally To Keep Up Pressure
GU 04/10/05 Comment: How The IRA Lost Its Mandate
IO 04/10/05 Murdered Aid Worker's Husband To Accept Peace Prize


Sinn Fein Member Told Of 'Threat'

A Sinn Fein politician has said he has been warned by the police that he is at risk of a
loyalist attack.

Officers told John O'Dowd that documents with details about him had been found in the
possession of a recently arrested loyalist.

The Upper Bann assembly member said police officers told him on Saturday night that a
recently arrested loyalist had documents which related to him.

Mr O'Dowd said that he would continue his political activities as usual.

He said police would not give him any details of when or where this person had been
arrested, nor did they indicate to which loyalist grouping that person was affiliated.

Mr O'Dowd said the "activities of loyalist paramilitary organisations still pose a
substantial danger and threat, not just to republicans, but to the wider political process".

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/04/10 08:22:03 GMT


Man Critical After Street Fight

A man is critically ill and two others have sustained head injuries after fighting erupted in
west Belfast.

Police were called to Moyard Parade off the Springfield Road at about 0800 BST
following reports of a crowd armed with knives fighting in the area.

Two police officers investigating the disturbance said they were hit by a car and they
fired a shot at it.

Four people have been arrested. The Police Ombudsman's office has been called in to
investigate the shooting.

The area around the vehicle, which is in Moyard Parade, has been cordoned off by

Residents angry

It has a bullet hole in its bonnet and the police said it was involved in a crash with a
police Land Rover and also struck the two officers.

They are not thought to have been seriously injured.

It is understood three people have been found beaten up, one of them is seriously

Residents are angry at the police handling of the situation and have criticised the firing
of a shot.

Local man Arthur Morgan, whose daughter's partner was in the car, said someone could
have been killed.

"They had no call to fire that shot," he said.

"The two jeeps had already rammed the car and sealed the area off."

Both Moyard Parade and part of the Whiterock Road - about a mile away - remain
cordoned off.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/04/10 11:57:19 GMT


Sinn Fein, IRA 'Plotted Against Irish Democracy'

Stephen O'Brien

SINN FEIN and the IRA put a network of "sleepers and collaborators" in key positions
across Irish society that was uncovered by the investigation into money laundering,
Michael McDowell, the Irish justice minister, said yesterday.

The garda inquiry into IRA criminality following the Northern Bank raid uncovered "a
frightening threat" to Irish democracy, he said.

"IRA-Sinn Fein were well on the way to creating a state within a state," McDowell told
the Progressive Democrats' annual conference in Cork. "They were using well-placed
sleepers and collaborators — some of them pillars of society — to achieve that end.

"By violent and criminal means, the army council of the IRA was preparing to transform
from a heavily armed private army to a lightly armed enforcement wing for a
revolutionary political movement, half in and half out of the democratic process."

He said the garda inquiries were not just part of a continuing criminal investigation, but
part of a "massive operation" by police "to prevent the subversion of our democracy by
IRA-Sinn Fein criminality, and to break up and dismantle the Provo 'state within a

McDowell accused the Provisionals of organising robberies, smuggling and
counterfeiting operations, and using the proceeds for political ends.

"That is why policing must be made difficult or impossible in Provoland. That is why the
Provos hold many nationalist communities in a reign of terror," he said. "The IRA needs
to stop the PSNI from enforcing the rule of law. That is why the Provos have tried to
wreck district policing partnerships and to intimidate those who serve on them."

In a reference to Gerry Adams's appeal to the IRA to disband, the minister said the past
week's events showed that the Irish government's "no budge, no fudge, no deal"
message had struck home. "For there will be no appeasement, no dealing, and no
compromise by the Irish government on what are the fundamentals of republican
democracy," he said.

There was an element of a seaside Punch and Judy show to the present fictitious
dialogue between the Sinn Fein glove puppet and the army council glove puppet,
McDowell said, with Grown up members of the audience will notice that the characters
having remarkably similar voices. he said. The sharp-eyed may even see the silhouette
of a bearded figure through the cloth curtain.

McDowell said the IRA must be disbanded before republicans can share power in
government anywhere. The doorway to democracy was open for those who would walk
through, but the door to violence must close tight behind them. He added that he feared
Adams's call on the IRA to abandon the gun was an election stunt to maximise
nationalist votes.

He also told RTE Radio of the "excessive optimism" about the IRA's intentions up until
last December's aborted power-sharing deal. "There was an element of trust between
all the participants," he said. "The optimists believed the IRA was planning to go out of
business but the realists said if they can't subscribe to this simple formula of respecting
the rights and safety of others, it's clear they want to stay in business in some modified

"They were leaving the door open for the IRA to stay in existence as a lightly-armed
group of people."


Call To IRA Dominates Campaign Start

By Mark Devenport
BBC Northern Ireland political editor

Back in December, Ian Paisley emerged from Hillsborough Castle and predicted that
the IRA was considering decommissioning its weapons without providing the
photographic evidence which the DUP had demanded as its bottom line.

Republican sources responded by laughing off the comments, noting that the process
had reached an "absurd stage" when the DUP leader started warning the IRA not to

Phrases like "Alice in Wonderland" were bandied around to characterise the Paisley

Four months on, the notion of a unilateral move by the IRA does not seem quite so far

Indeed, this is exactly what Gerry Adams called for when he said in his "keynote" west
Belfast speech that republicans should lead by example.

It is reasonable to assume that total IRA decommissioning without photographs is likely
to form part of such a unilateral move away from armed struggle.

The DUP has warned republicans that its response to such a move would be to extend
its "decontamination period" before contemplating sharing power.

But from the republican perspective, unilateral disarmament means that embarrassing
photographs of IRA decommissioning need never feature in the history books.

In any case, after the allegations over the Northern Bank robbery and the controversy
about the murder of Robert McCartney, Sinn Fein can hardly be expecting any swift or
guaranteed rapprochement with the DUP.

Instead, they will hope to regain kudos with the British, Irish and US governments, then
consider the prospects for a deal with the unionists at a later stage.

Certainly, the Adams initiative has achieved one of its initial aims, in as much as it has
overshadowed the first week of the election campaign.

Gerry Adams scolds commentators who dismiss his initiative as an election "ploy".

It is true that his west Belfast speech had real content and what he has now said cannot
be unsaid.

But you would have to be very naive not to think that the timing - at the start of an
election campaign - was propitious.

A cynical SDLP leader, Mark Durkan, told the BBC's Inside Politics programme that
apart from condolences on the death of his mother and congratulations on the birth of
his daughter there was nothing he took from Sinn Fein at face value.

The Adams initiative and the IRA's response will clearly dominate the nationalist
election campaign.

Sinn Fein will cite it as evidence that the peace process still has momentum and that
voters should trust their leader's ability to deliver peace.

By contrast, the SDLP will set it against the backdrop of alleged IRA criminal activity
and mimic Jack Charlton's old football doctrine, arguing that the only way to get
republicans to make concessions is to "keep 'em under pressure".

The pressure, though, remains very much on the SDLP who are defending their last

The party has decided against standing aside in West Tyrone in favour of hospital
campaigner Kieran Deeney, thereby virtually guaranteeing Pat Doherty's re-election.

The division of the unionist vote in South Belfast has assisted Alasdair McDonnell in his
argument that the seat is winnable, but he will need a very strong following wind.

Assuming Newry and Armagh is lost and South Down is safe, much hangs on Foyle.

John Hume's apprentice, Mark Durkan, is doing his best to hold the gates fast.

But with Mitchel Mclaughlin camped outside the city walls, it would be a brave pundit
who would predict with any certainty who will emerge victorious from this latter day
Siege of Derry.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/04/10 09:27:03 GMT


Focus: Election 2005: Parties Of Peace Face Backlash At The Polls

A quirk of the peace process is that the Ulster Unionists and SDLP who initiated it are
staring at comprehensive defeat by hardline nationalists and unionists in the British
general election next month. Even their party leaders face the loss of their seats at
Westminster, Liam Clarke reports

In 1998, David Trimble and John Hume became the first Irish men to be honoured with
the Nobel peace prize in recognition of an extraordinary achievement. Against the odds,
the two had negotiated a peace deal that put an end to decades of bitter conflict in
Northern Ireland.

It is ironic then that, just seven years later, their two parties could be put out of business
by the hardliners who opposed their peace efforts not so long ago.

When Northern Ireland goes to the polls on May 5, it is the Ulster Unionists and the
SDLP that will suffer most, with Trimble and Mark Durkan, Hume's successor, both in
danger of losing their Westminster seats. Their two parties, which dominated the
political landscape through the Troubles, face destruction by the very peace process
they initiated. Meanwhile, the Democratic Unionist party (DUP), which opposed the
Good Friday agreement tooth and claw, and Sinn Fein, which only signed up to it weeks
after the other parties, have both seen their influence swell.

The collapse of the centre ground poses a huge problem for the British and Irish
governments as they attempt to broker a compromise between parties whose fortunes
have risen because they refused to give ground in negotiations.

THE biggest historic reverse is faced by the UUP, a party that ruled Northern Ireland
single handedly for the first 50 years of the state's existence and remained the
predominant political force for the next 30. It doesn't have a single parliamentary seat
that could be considered safe.

The party won six seats compared with the DUP's five in the 2001 Westminster election.
The safest of these, Lagan Valley, was lost to the DUP when Jeffrey Donaldson, the
sitting MP, defected two years ago. The remaining five are being hotly contested, with
the DUP buoyed by insider information gleaned from UUP refugees.

Defectors from the once dominant party also brought with them a "taming" influence,
one that has served the DUP well by softening its hard sectarian edges.

The DUP's main objective now is to secure the support of UUP voters who want peace
to prevail but want to prevent a sell-out to Sinn Fein. They don't want to be associated
with the kind of sectarian rhetoric that was once Paisley's stock in trade, so the veteran
preacher and his party are trimming their sails accordingly.

The death of the Pope is a case in point. In 1988, Paisley had to be removed from the
European parliament for denouncing John Paul II as an "antichrist".

Yet, when the 84-year-old pontiff died last week, Paisley was all solicitude, empathising
with his former enemies on their grief. "We can understand how the Roman Catholic
people feel at the death of the Pope and they are entitled to express their sorrow and
grief," he said.

That moderation will serve the DUP well in the forthcoming election, currying favour
among voters who admire their tough negotiating stance but recoil from bigotry.

The DUP's Sammy Wilson is almost sure to win East Antrim from the UUP's Roy Beggs
— the withdrawal of a number of former DUP fringe candidates is likely to swell his
numbers. But the biggest target for the DUP is Upper Bann, the seat currently held by
Trimble, the UUP leader. At the assembly election, the two parties were neck and neck
on 29% and in that election the Orange Order, an organisation founded in Portadown,
one of the largest towns in the constituency, was still affiliated with the UUP. That link
has been severed and Trimble will need large helpings of his legendary political luck or
some tactical voting by Catholics to retain his seat.

The remaining UUP seats are also marginal. South Belfast, where the Rev Martin
Smyth has stood down and been replaced by Michael McGimpsey, is perhaps the most
secure if only because the DUP candidate, Jimmy Spratt, is a relative newcomer. If
Trimble loses his seat, McGimpsey or Sylvia Hermon in North Down could emerge as
party leader. While there would be no huge surprise if any of the UUP seats were lost,
there are no gains in prospect either as all of Paisley's six seats look safe.

The same sort of process is at work on the nationalist side, with the SDLP under
pressure on all fronts from Sinn Fein.

In recent years, nationalist voters who would not have considered voting for Sinn Fein
during the IRA campaign have been prepared to make the switch. Like their unionist
counterparts, they want a strong party to defend their interests but not one that will end
the peace process.

To keep these voters on board, Sinn Fein has traded heavily on its reputation as the
party that can deliver peace and that is respected internationally. Visits to the White
House, Downing Street and Government Buildings in Dublin gave it credibility.

The party depends on its reputation as a heavy hitter and on a steadily increasing vote
to keep all sections of the IRA behind the peace process. As Adams has often said, he
has to demonstrate that politics is an effective alternative to the armed struggle.

The run-up to the election could not have been worse for Sinn Fein. The Northern Bank
robbery, the murder of Robert McCartney by IRA members, and the refusal of Sinn Fein
members to give detailed statements to the police all tarnish the party's image.

During the IRA campaign, Sinn Fein would have sat tight through such problems. Para-
military groups can afford to take a long view in the confidence that atrocities will
eventually be forgotten or superseded. Democratic politicians facing into election have
to think short term, though.

Denials of the bank robbery and denunciation of the three individuals most closely
involved in McCartney's murder probably reassured hard-core Sinn Fein voters. But
Adams and his party know that, if they are to succeed, they must appeal to the
nationalist electorate as a whole. He needs an "IRA bounce" and he needs it quickly.

In opinion polls last month, 70% of nationalists said the IRA should decommission its
weapons and 60% wanted it to disband.

No surprise then that Adams opened his election campaign with an appeal to the IRA to
do exactly what voters were asking for — to turn its back on violence.

No surprise either that the IRA will give him an answer in two to three weeks, just before
Sinn Fein goes to the polls. This time, Adams is asking the IRA to act unilaterally and
not demand a package of concessions from the two governments in return.

The IRA bounce Adams can expect from a favourable response constitutes a political
package in itself. It will win him back international influence and access to government,
take the republican movement out of the doghouse and put the onus on the DUP to
make the next conciliatory gesture. It will enable him to consolidate his lead over the

Without the SDLP, or with the SDLP reduced to the status of a fringe party, and the IRA
plausibly separated from Sinn Fein or disbanded, Sinn Fein would look an attractive
coalition partner for Fianna Fail after the next Irish general election. Being in
government in the republic and the largest nationalist party in the north would put Sinn
Fein in a powerful position to push an all-Ireland agenda.

Dealing a death blow to the SDLP is the immediate prize and Sinn Fein is well on its
way. In the 2003 assembly elections, it got 26.3% of the vote compared with 15.9% for
the SDLP. If it can eat into what remains of the SDLP it is not inconceivable that it might
even overtake the DUP, which had 32% two years ago.

The big target is the Foyle constituency held with a massive majority by John Hume of
the SDLP but now defended by his successor Mark Durkan, who is looking increasingly

In 2003, Sinn Fein got 32% of the vote to the SDLP's 36% in Foyle but Eamon McCann,
standing for the Socialist Environmental Alliance, got 5.5% and most of his transfers
went to Sinn Fein.

In a first-past-the-post Westminster election, with an IRA bounce and no McCann, Sinn
Fein's Mitchel McLaughlin may well beat Durkan. However Durkan can count on a few
more votes from Annie Courtney, a former SDLP mayor who stood as an independent
after a row over selection.

If that seat is on a knife-edge, Newry and Armagh looks like a sure thing for Sinn Fein. It
was formerly held by Seamus Mallon, the SDLP deputy leader who is now standing
down, and in 2003 Sinn Fein was 15 points ahead of the SDLP, taking three seats to
the SDLP's one.

The one SDLP seat that looks reasonably secure is South Down, held by Eddie
McGrady, who will be 70 in June and is the only SDLP MP not stepping aside.

DESPITE the rhetoric, the DUP is not too disturbed by Sinn Fein's advances. Unlike the
SDLP, Sinn Fein does not take seats at Westminster and the DUP is looking forward to
being almost the sole voice of Northern Ireland in the House of Commons.

With the DUP and Sinn Fein in the ascendant, the prospects for devolution and power
sharing look as if they're fading.

The IRA may be prepared to move for Adams but the chances of it doing enough to
satisfy a resurgent DUP must be counted low. On the other hand, both parties know that
retaining support means keeping a lid on communal tension.

Straight after the election, the British and Irish governments will conduct preliminary
talks with the Northern Ireland parties with a view to launching full-scale negotiations in
the autumn. If the DUP and Sinn Fein do as well as predicted in the election, they will
have a mandate to stand their ground in those talks, which means an agreement will be
hard to secure. But, devolution or no devolution, peace looks set to prevail in Northern

The political process may be frozen, but that doesn't mean the peace process is. It still
looks in pretty good shape.

Faces to watch


The DUP's in-house political joker has a sharp political brain. He is tipped to make his
Westminster debut at the expense of the UUP veteran Roy Beggs in East Antrim.


A former IRA prisoner, Murphy is one of the most astute political operators in Sinn Fein.
The smart money says he will take Newry and Armagh from the SDLP, now that the
veteran MP Seamus Mallon has retired.


Will this businessman be Trimble's nemesis? Last time Simpson forced the Ulster
Unionist leader to a recount and since then he has increased his profile as the mayor of


A DUP fundamentalist, McCrea was ousted by Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness in Mid
Ulster in 2001 but plans a return to Westminster via South Antrim. He will have to beat
the UUP's David Burnside to do it.


A Colombia Three campaigner, Ruane hopes to take South Down for Sinn Fein. If she
succeeds, it will be the end of the SDLP because this is its safest seat.


Set for a hard battle to retain the South Belfast seat left vacant by the Rev Martin
Smyth. McGimpsey faces stiff opposition from the DUP and SDLP, but should pull


McCartney Sisters Plan Dublin Rally To Keep Up Pressure

Liam Clarke and Scott Millar

THE sisters of Robert McCartney, the Belfast man murdered by members of the IRA,
are organising a rally to be held in the centre of Dublin later this month.

Details of the event, which will be part of their campaign to bring his killers to justice, will
be completed tomorrow after the sisters meet Bertie Ahern and a cross-party group of
women TDs who support their case.

Catherine McCartney, one of the sisters, said yesterday: "We have been talking to the
Labour party about facilities and we will be taking advice on whether it is best to hold
the rally in a hall or outdoors."

One possible venue is Liberty Hall, headquarters of the union Siptu, but O'Connell
Street, outside the GPO, is also being considered. Both venues have deep historic
significance: the original Liberty Hall was the headquarters of James Connolly's Irish
Citizen Army and the GPO was at the centre of the Easter rising.

The sisters are also attending next Saturday's civil rights memorial to Bloody Sunday
victims at Free Derry corner. The meeting will be held on the spot where the original
Bloody Sunday marchers held a rally, close to where most of the 13 dead were shot by
British soldiers. It is being organised jointly with the families of James McGinley and
Mark Robinson, who were both believed to have been stabbed to death by IRA

Catherine McCartney said: "This event will be a signal to everyone that nationalist and
republican people will not tolerate murders, collusion and cover-ups by anyone,
whatever quarter they come from, whether it's the British establishment or the
republican movement."

A prayer vigil will be held next Sunday outside Magennis's bar in Belfast where
McCartney was stabbed to death.

The sisters hope that the Dublin rally, the demonstration in Londonderry and the vigil in
Belfast will force republicans to come forward with information on the murder. Last week
they took their campaign to Brussels, where they won support in the European

Republicans have dismissed suggestions that gardai in Dublin are facing another case
like McCartney's following the suspected involvement of a former member of the
Provisional IRA in the shooting of James Curran last Sunday.

Although witnesses have not made themselves freely available to gardai to give an
account of the killing in the packed Green Lizard pub, the suspect is not under the
protection of the Provisionals. The killing is believed to have resulted from a
confrontation between the suspect's brother and Curran last year.

Eric Byrne, a local Labour councillor, said: "The person believed to be involved has a
reputation for extreme thuggery and violence which has been built up over years, while
he was most certainly associated with the Provos. The level of fear in the community is

The suspected killer, who is believed to have gone into hiding, was expelled from the
Provisional IRA in 1997 following the killing of Josie Dwyer, a heroin addict.

He also supported an anti-drugs candidate who ran against Sinn Fein in the election
that year. He has since become associated with criminals aligned to the INLA. Several
other Provisionals also left the movement after the IRA ended its policy of confrontation
with drug dealers in the late 1990s and are believed to have drifted into criminality. They
are unlikely to heed last week's call by Gerry Adams for republicans to take a political

A senior republican said: "Adams's call has not gone down well with Sinn Fein members
in Dublin. Middle management in the movement is dismayed at the foot soldiers wanting
to keep the IRA. This will delay the announcement of the IRA's response."


Comment: How The IRA Lost Its Mandate

Republican credibility went for a burton when their thugs robbed the Northern Bank

Henry McDonald
Sunday April 10, 2005
The Observer

There is a benefits scam in urban parts of Northern Ireland that is based on couples
obtaining a fake divorce. It works by having one partner, usually the male, telling the
social security they have left their spouse and children. The absent husband/father then
signs on at a bona fide address such as his mother's home or that of his brother or
mother-in-law. Meanwhile, the wife/mother in the eyes of officialdom has been left to
bring up the family alone and is thus is entitled to extra benefits.

In reality, there are hundreds, perhaps thousands, of couples living together in very
normal Mr & Mrs relationships while pretending to live elsewhere. Each family is now
receiving up to double the amount in benefits they would get if they never told social
security they were separating.

Now something very similar to the 'paper divorce' is about to emerge in the murky world
of paramilitary politics. It will run like this: the IRA, in response to Gerry Adams's call last
week for the organisation to enter a new mode, will announce some kind of formal
divorce from Sinn Fein; the organisation may add that its 'war' is over and finally, it will
offer up another act of arms decommissioning, albeit without photographs or any other
recorded evidence.

Among the more gullible sections of the Irish and British media this decoupling will be
deemed 'historic' and 'unprecedented'. After nearly 100 years together the two
components of the republican movement will apparently be seen to go their different
ways. However, the Sinn Fein and IRA divorce will in practical terms be no more
credible or real than the legions of supposedly 'divorced' couples across Northern
Ireland who have separated officially in order to con the dole out of money.

For a start, to ask the Sinn Fein leadership to divorce from the leadership of the IRA is
tantamount to asking Sinn Fein to adopt a series of split personalities, because the key
figures on the IRA army council are also key figures in the top tier of Sinn Fein. How
otherwise would Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness have been able to direct the
Provos towards constitutional politics?

There has been a sea change in the republican movement. Where once the IRA was
the leading force inside the movement, it is now evolving into the servant of Sinn Fein,
the body which can raise money and harvest votes for the party.

Raising money effectively means bank robberies, multifarious scams, smuggling and
racketeering on an industrial scale. Harvesting votes comes through IRA initiatives such
as decommissioning just prior to elections, thus allowing republicans to monopolise
control of the peace process.

Why then would the republican leadership wind down or disband, let alone divorce, from
that arm of the organisation it can rely on most?

For as well as being a tool to raise money and set the political agenda, the IRA also
exists as a means of both internal and external social control. Internally, the military-
style struc tures of the IRA ensure there is a loyal cadre who hold dual membership of
party and army and can be relied upon to vote in whatever way their politico-military
leadership directs them to. The 'army' also provides a network of spies that monitors
any potential dissent or deviating from the party line.

Externally, the IRA in working-class nationalist districts operates as an alternative police
force, meting out a brutal and swift form of street justice. This, too, to an extent garners
support for Sinn Fein because the beatings and shootings of joyriders, petty thieves and
drug dealers are part of a populist cause.

In addition the IRA's presence silences those who might be prepared to stand up to the
Provisional's monopoly of power. On the ground it is the extant threat of retaliation that
has resulted in 72 people seeing nothing and saying nothing over the Robert
McCartney, despite the fact that almost all of them saw something.

While the world's media focussed on what Gerry Adams had to say about the future of
the IRA last week, a much more important comment by another Sinn Fein luminary went
unnoticed. Jim Gibney has been a reliable weather vane of republicanism's changing
mood over the last decade.

A year before the cease-fire Gibney delivered a significant statement at the grave of
Wolfe Tone in Bodenstown. Gibney told the republican faithful that the conflict had gone
on too long and the time was right for them to enter a new phase of struggle - a presage
towards the ceasefire. Last week in his always interesting and illuminating Irish News
column, Gibney bluntly dismissed unionist demands that the IRA must disband.

Gibney's assessment is where I think most republicans are today: they are happy to see
the 'army' ending most armed activity but they are resolutely opposed to the IRA being
wound up, especially when we are still decades away from a United Ireland and the
loyalist terror groups remain armed and dangerous.

The IRA's response to Adams's call will be enough to generate optimism in Downing
Street and the Department of the Taoiseach as well as among those super-optimists in
foreign affairs. But it will not set in train a restored process towards devolution.

Given that decommissioning no longer has any currency with unionists (spent once the
IRA robbed the Northern Bank), the only key to unlock the impasse is IRA disbandment.
Because that scenario looks unlikely, there is little or no chance of a deal in the north
after the general election. Post 5 May we will be entering a dangerous and uncertain
period of recrimination and possible Balkanisation.


Murdered Aid Worker's Husband To Accept Peace Prize

10/04/2005 - 10:07:31

The Iraqi husband of murdered aid worker Margaret Hassan is arriving in Ireland this
week to accept the country's most prestigious peace prize on her behalf.

Irish-born Mrs Hassan, 59, spent nearly half her life delivering food and medicine in
Iraq, where she had lived for 30 years.

She was kidnapped in Baghdad in October last year and a month later a video of her
apparent murder was released, although her body was never found.

Tasheen Hassan has accepted an invitation to receive the Tipperary International
Peace award on Friday April 15 as part of the Tipperary International Festival of Peace
being held over the weekend, spokesman Martin Quinn confirmed.

The Baghdad-based economist, who married Mrs Hassan in 1972, will receive a
specially commissioned Waterford Crystal Award from the Peace Convention

A Peace Convention statement said: "In honouring the life of Margaret Hassan, the
Peace Convention recognises her tireless work for the Iraqi people over 30 years, which
she dedicated to the poor and vulnerable and to those who were most in need in her
adopted country."

Margaret Hassan first became involved in the Middle East in the 1960s when she
worked in the Palestinian refugee camps.

She spent many years living and working in Iraq, and from 1991 worked for aid agency
CARE International.

During her captivity, Tasheen made a series of emotional appeals for his wife's release,
while premiers Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern both made direct pleas to her kidnappers.

Her murder sparked international condemnation.

After her death, CARE International described her as "an extraordinary woman".

In a statement, the aid agency said: "Through her courage, tenacity and commitment,
Mrs Hassan assisted more than seventeen million Iraqis living in the most difficult of

"Everyone who met her was touched by her personality and compassion."

When the news of her death emerged, Bertie Ahern told the Dáil that those responsible
for taking the 59-year-old aid worker's life stood condemned in the eyes of all good
people throughout the world.

There was a funeral mass held for her in Westminster Cathedral and more than 1,000
mourners flocked to a memorial service in Kenmare, Co Kerry where Mrs Hassan's
mother was born and where her sister Geraldine lives.

The Tipperary Peace Convention was founded in 1983 with the aim of promoting peace
and rewarding people who make a noteworthy contribution to peace-related issues.

Previous recipients of the Tipperary International Peace Award have included Nelson
Mandela, Mikhail Gorbachev, Bill Clinton and Bob Geldof.

The presentation of the award to Mr Hassan on Friday will be followed by a peace forum
on the topic of 'the changing role of the aid/humanitarian worker'.

The forum will be addressed by Colm O'Cuanachain, secretary general of Amnesty
International Ireland, RTÉ correspondent Richard Downes and Michael D. Higgins,
Labour Party Spokesman on Foreign Affairs.

Trocaire Director Justin Kilcullen and Christina Noble, founder of the Christina Noble
Children's Foundation, will also speak at the forum.

Events will continue over the weekend, including the Tipperary International Song of
Peace Grand Final on Saturday night and Catholic and ecumenical services on Sunday

Table of Contents - Overall
Table of Contents – Apr 2005
To receive this news via email, click HERE. No Message is necessary
Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

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