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April 09, 2005

Final Salute To Pope & Personal Update

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Table of Contents - Overall
Table of Contents – Apr 2005

News about Ireland & the Irish

IT 04/09/05 Final Salute To A Charismatic Pope
IT 04/09/05 PSNI Criticised Over Handling Of Hate Crime
BB 04/09/05 Ex-UDA Leader Remanded In Custody
IT 04/09/05 $215k Spent On SF Leaders & Officials In US Last Yr
BB 04/09/05 SDLP Will Not Step Aside In Poll
BB 04/09/05 Q&A: Westminster Elections
BB 04/09/05 Traditional Battles Dominate Poll
NL 04/09/05 UUP Husband And Wife Back DUP Candidate
DJ 04/09/05 Is Gregory Now Pro-Agreement? - Asks Durkan
DJ 04/09/05 Derry Man Freed After Murder Quiz
DJ 04/09/05 Blair Acclaim For 'Peace Pioneer' Hume
IO 04/09/05 Ireland's Population To Reach 5.5 Million By 2050
TB 04/09/05 Irish-American Group (AOH) Seeking 'Lost Cousins'
IT 04/09/05 'Urban Myths' About Port Tunnel
IT 04/09/05 1st Irish Eco-Village Is Now In Disarray

(Poster’s Note: A short update on my wife’s situation. For those of you who don’t know,
she was involved in serious accident on Tuesday (Apr 5th). The cause of the accident
isn’t really known, since no one witnessed it. However, from the injuries and the
circumstances, it appears to be that a car struck her.

She was taken to Methodist Hospital at the Houston Medical Center. She underwent a
3 hour-long neurosurgery. She has been in ICU ever since.

The good news is that while she had brain damage that she has been steadily
recovering since the end of the surgery. She is looking better; her long-term memory is
still good; her short-term memory is a little sketchy, but she has been slipping in & out of
consciousness ever since.

Her language skills are good. Her voice is not slurred. She is now making complete
sentences and is, on a limited basis, is initiating conversation. She still hasn’t asked
what happened to her.

She responded very well to her evaluation by the physical therapist. She could do
everything she was asked in that evaluation. The only bad news is that she has some
small blood clots in her right leg. A filter was put in to plug the movement of those clots.

She might go into a room on her own by the end of this weekend.

Of course, I still worry about everything.

I want to thank all the people who have emailed, called and sent cards. I haven’t
responded to most as of yet, just because of the pure numbers of them. Many people
have been praying for Bertha (who prefers to be called Bert). Jay)


Humble pilgrims and the powerful of the worldrubbed shoulders in Rome yesterday as the Vatican staged a momentous funeral forPope John Paul II in St Peter's Square.

Final Salute To A Charismatic Pope

In an age-old ceremony conducted almost entirely in Latin and accompanied by
Gregorian chant, Pope John Paul II was laid to rest in St Peter's Basilica yesterday. To
the strains of the Magnificat, with the Sant'Andrea bell tolling and the huge crowd
applauding, the three-hour ceremony ended on an emotional note as the Pope's coffin
was held aloft in a final salute on the steps of the basilica before it disappeared inside,
to be carried down to his last resting place in the crypt below. Paddy Agnew reports
from Rome.

Bearing testimony to the charismatic appeal of the Polish Pope were up to two million
mourners in Rome, including many of his compatriots, as well as a galaxy of the world's
religious and secular leaders.

Among those who attended were: President George Bush; British prime minister Tony
Blair, Prince Charles, Archbishop Rowan Williams of Canterbury; President Jacques
Chirac; King Abdullah II of Jordan; Arab League secretary Amr Mussa; Ecumenical
Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I; Syrian president Bashar al-Assad; Iranian
president Mohammed Khatami; Palestinian prime minister Abu Ala; UN secretary
general Kofi Annan; European Commission president José Manuel Barroso; and
Zimbabwean leader Robert Mugabe.

Also in attendance were representatives of the world's major religions including
Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus, Jews; as well as Orthodox churchmen from Bulgaria,
Finland, Georgia, Greece, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia and Ukraine; and representatives
from other Christian denominations including the Lutheran, Baptist and Methodist
churches. Representing Ireland were President Mary McAleese and Taoiseach Bertie

At two minutes past 10, the cypress-wood coffin of John Paul II emerged from the main
door of the basilica, borne aloft by 12 black-clad Vatican sediari and escorted by two
Swiss guards.

As soon as the coffin appeared on the steps of the basilica, it was greeted by the first of
many rounds of applause from the vast crowd in St Peter's Square.

Moving slowly to the strains of the Requiem aeternam, the pallbearers came down the
steps of the basilica and laid the coffin on a carpet in front of the altar.

Presiding over the funeral Mass was the Deacon of the College of Cardinals and long-
time confidant of John Paul II, German Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.

He began: "Deus omnium fidelium pastor et rector, qui Ioannem Paulum. (O Lord,
Father and shepherd to all humanity, concede unto your servant John Paul the reward
promised to the faithful ministers of the Gospel)."

In his funeral homily, Cardinal Ratzinger spoke of the sense of "sadness, yet at the
same time of joyful hope", with which "we bury his remains in the earth".

He spoke of a Holy Father who was "a priest to the last", prompting an especially warm
round of applause when he referred to "the sufferings of his final months".

In his concluding remarks, Cardinal Ratzinger said: "None of us can ever forget how in
that last Easter Sunday of his life, the Holy Father, marked by suffering, came once
more to the window of the Apostolic Palace and one last time gave his blessing Urbi et
Orbi. We can be sure that our beloved Pope is standing today at the window of the
Father's house, that he sees us and blesses us."

On a greyish, windy day, the ceremony went off without any apparent hitch.

Following Vatican tradition, the Swiss guards dipped their halberds, got down on one
knee and saluted with the left hand during the Eucharist.

As 320 priests from the parishes of Rome went out among the crowd to distribute
communion, they encountered a number of banners reading Santo Subito (Make him a
saint now).

Two of the most poignant moments in the ceremony came after communion when the
Litany of the Saints boomed across St Peter's Square as 165 red-clad cardinals paid
their last respects.

Minutes later the patriarchs of the oriental churches recited their Greek prayers for the
dead, in solemn but ancient-sounding tones. "For you, O Christ, O God, are the
resurrection, the way and the repose for your servant John Paul, Pope of Rome, who
has gone to sleep."

© The Irish Times


PSNI Criticised Over Handling Of Hate Crime

The police clearance rate for racial and homophobic incidents in Northern Ireland is
disturbingly low, a new report claimed yesterday.

And even though the level of hate crime is increasing, the approach by the authorities in
tackling it is disjointed, sluggish and lacking in vision, according to the report by an all-
party committee of MPs.

Until recently, the police service had no formal definition of sectarian hate crime, which
was alarming given the North's troubled history, the Northern Ireland Affairs committee

Less than 7 per cent of incidents recorded as crimes by the police resulted in charges or
summonses, the report said.

The committee said it was greatly concerned about the very low level of confidence that
most ethnic, as well as the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities have in
the police.

The committee recognised the steps taken by the police to develop more effective
relationships and to improve its training strategies, but much more needed to be done to
heighten confidence.

It was crucial that the Police Service of Northern Ireland become more representative of
all communities, and the report recommended that the policing board secure higher
levels of recruitment from minority ethnic communities as a matter of priority.

The report said: "It is deeply worrying that minority communities do not have full
confidence in the police, particularly against the background of increased incidence of
hate crime. This situation must be changed rapidly." - (PA)

© The Irish Times


Ex-UDA Leader Remanded In Custody

Former UDA leader Jim Gray has been remanded in custody after appearing in court on
money laundering charges.

He faces two charges, one count relates to the possession of criminal property, the
other to concealment of criminal property.

Gray was stood down from the UDA leadership in east Belfast last week.

He was arrested on Thursday outside Loughbrickland and appeared before Banbridge
Magistrates Court on Saturday morning.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/04/09 11:32:22 GMT


$215,000 Spent On SF Leaders And Officials In US Last Year

Seán O'Driscoll in New York and Gerry Moriarty, Northern Editor

The US fundraising group Friends of Sinn Féin spent almost $215,000 in the US last
year on transport and lodging for party leaders and officials, new figures have shown.

The figures, covering November 2003 to November 2004, show that the amount of
money the organisation spent in the US was almost $30,000 more than the amount it
sent back to the party in Northern Ireland.

An analysis of combined expenditure figures for November 2003 to April 2004 and from
May 2004 to November 2004 shows that Friends of Sinn Féin raised almost $760,000
from US donors in that time.

It spent $29,000 more in the US than in Ireland, with $424,000 spent in the US, and just
over $394,000 sent back to Northern Ireland. Under current legislation such money
cannot be sent to the Republic of Ireland but can be used in the North.

These sums are included in figures Sinn Féin and all other foreign political parties
operating in the US are obliged to lodge with the US department under the Foreign
Agents Registration Act.

The US expenditure figures include $50,000 on payroll, $42,000 on advertising, almost
$14,000 in miscellaneous costs, $11,000 on rent and $17,000 on postage and delivery.

The $214,578.31 the party spent on lodging and transport for Sinn Féin leaders and
officials included a night at the Southgate Hotel in Manhattan for Kerry TD Martin Ferris
last September.

The figure also included Gerry Adams's trip to the US last November when he
addressed the Friends of Sinn Féin annual dinner at the Sheraton Hotel before
travelling to fundraising events in Chicago, Philadelphia and San Francisco.

The travel and lodging figure does not include more than $4,000 listed for transportation
in the US, or almost $24,000 sent back to Ireland to be used for travel expenditure.

Of the $394,000 sent back to Ireland, the party spent $112,000 on construction and
$111,000 on printing.

A Sinn Féin spokesman explained that the printing expenditure related to election
expenses, while the construction work was for the development of a Sinn Féin office in
south Derry.

He said Sinn Féin did not "physically" receive the money from Friends of Sinn Féin.

Instead Sinn Féin sent invoices for particular work to the US fundraising group which
paid these bills.

"We believe this allows for greater transparency," the spokesman added.

© The Irish Times


SDLP Will Not Step Aside In Poll

SDLP leader Mark Durkan has said his party will contest the West Tyrone constituency
in the general election.

Some local activists had argued that the SDLP should stand aside in the constituency in
favour of the health campaigner Dr Kieran Deeney.

They hoped Dr Deeney would be able to oust the outgoing MP, Sinn Fein's Pat Doherty.

But speaking on Radio Ulster's Inside Politics, Mr Durkan said that is not the view of the
SDLP leadership.

"It is my view as party leader we should run in all 18 constituencies," Mr Durkan said.

"It is the view of central committees of the party, it is the unanimous view of the party's
parliamentary and assembly groups that we should have candidates in all 18
constituencies and that's what we will be offering people."

Dr Deeney topped the poll as an independent in the Northern Ireland Assembly election
of November 2003.

He won a seat on a single issue ticket to save hospital services in Omagh.

Since his election, Dr Deeney has been at the centre of a campaign to reverse the
decision of former Health Minister Des Browne to remove acute hospital services from

In January of this year, he announced his decision to stand in the general election

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/04/09 07:56:58 GMT


Q&A: Westminster Elections

Elections to Westminster are going to take place in May. Northern Ireland is
represented by 18 MPs in the House of Commons.

How much of a part do they play in Westminster politics and how much relevance does
this have to what is happening in Northern Ireland?

Below, we outline the role and responsibilities of Northern Ireland MPs.

Why are people in Northern Ireland having to cast their votes in the general election and
a council election next month?

The council election had originally been due to take place later in May, but the
government changed its date, ostensibly to bring Northern Ireland into line with other
local government elections elsewhere in the UK.

However, it was an open secret that the electoral authorities in Northern Ireland did not
favour two votes in quick succession and moving the council elections was a clear early
indication that 5 May was the favoured date for a Westminster poll.

How many MPs are there in Northern Ireland and what are their responsibilities?

There are 18 MPs in Northern Ireland. Like their colleagues elsewhere, they deal with
their constituents' concerns and debate proposed legislation at Westminster. Since the
suspension of the Stormont Assembly in 2002, Westminster has been handling more of
the 'bread and butter' issues which were previously devolved. Four of the MPs are
members of Sinn Fein who refuse to take their seats or swear the oath of allegiance at
Westminster because they do not recognise British rule in Northern Ireland.

How are the MPs elected and do they get paid?

The MPs are elected by the 'first past the post' system. They receive an annual salary of
£57,485. They also receive allowances up to a maximum of £77,534 to cover office,
staff and other costs. As they do not take their seats, the four Sinn Fein MPs do not
receive their salaries. In December 2001, Parliament's rules were changed so that the
four MPs could maintain an office at Westminster and claim allowances. However, in
March 2005, they were stripped of their allowances for a year following allegations of
IRA involvement in the Northern Bank robbery.

What else do Northern Ireland's MPs do?

As senior members of their parties, many of the MPs have been heavily involved in the
negotiations aimed at achieving the restoration of the Stormont Assembly and
Executive. However, those negotiations broke down in December 2004, amidst
continuing disagreements over IRA activity, visual proof of IRA decommissioning,
policing and power sharing.

Is Northern Ireland not top heavy on administration with 108 assembly members and 18

With the Stormont Assembly suspended, much of the workload, so far as legislation is
concerned, has transferred to the MPs. Assembly members - there are six to each
Westminster constituency - continue to maintain constituency offices and deal with local
voters' concerns. A review is continuing into the overlapping layers of government and
bureaucracy in Northern Ireland, but it is likely to have more impact on councils, health
and education boards than on either Stormont or Westminster.

What is the importance of the general election with respect to the Northern Ireland
political process?

Voters in Northern Ireland are effectively indicating who should speak on their behalf in
the continuing negotiations. If any party increases its representation, this will be seen as
strengthening its hand at the talks table.

Have the number of MPs from Northern Ireland's main political parties changed over the
last four general elections?

Yes. In 1987, the Ulster Unionists and the SDLP were the dominant parties in their
respective communities. Northern Ireland had 17 seats. The Ulster Unionists had nine
MPs, whilst the DUP had three. The SDLP had three MPs, whilst Sinn Fein had one.
North Down was represented by the Popular Unionist Jim Kilfedder.

In 1992, the SDLP took West Belfast from Sinn Fein. In 1997, a new seat of West
Tyrone was created and the Ulster Unionists won it, taking their representation to 10.
Sinn Fein won West Belfast back from the SDLP and took Mid Ulster from the DUP. The
UK Unionist Bob McCartney held on to the North Down seat which he won in a by-
election after Sir James Kilfedder's death.

In 2001, the DUP made in-roads on Ulster Unionist territory taking East Londonderry,
Strangford and North Belfast and increasing its representation to five. The Ulster
Unionists, however, remained ahead with six MPs. Sinn Fein took Fermanagh South
Tyrone and West Tyrone from the UUP, increasing its number of MPs to four. The
SDLP retained their three seats.

In January 2004, Jeffrey Donaldson defected to the DUP giving them a bigger team
than the Ulster Unionists at Westminster.

With plans in the offing to change council structures, are there any plans to change the
number of Northern Ireland MPs at Westminster?

A Boundary Commission is looking at the borders of the current seats, but it is unlikely
that the existing number of seats will be reduced.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/04/05 15:18:12 GMT


Traditional Battles Dominate Poll

By Mark Devenport
BBC Northern Ireland political editor

As ever, the general election in Northern Ireland will be dominated by two parallel

The contest between the DUP and the Ulster Unionists will be mirrored by the struggle
between Sinn Fein and the SDLP.

With the failure of the British and Irish governments' attempts to broker a deal to restore
devolution in December, followed by the allegations of IRA involvement in the Northern
Bank robbery, the political process is in a deep quagmire.

The general belief is that officials will want to see the outcome of the general election
before assessing how, if at all, a way forward can be found.

A poll commissioned by the BBC Newsnight programme and the Belfast Telegraph in
early March suggested that on the unionist side, the DUP was becoming an increasingly
dominant force.

The poll put the DUP on 28% support in comparison to the UUP on only 16%.

This followed clear DUP leads in both the European election of June 2004 and the
Stormont assembly election of November 2003.

In the last general election in 2001, the DUP took three Ulster Unionist seats in
Strangford, East Londonderry and North Belfast.

This time around, the DUP have more Ulster Unionist seats in their sights.

The former lord mayor of Belfast, Sammy Wilson, is once again targeting the outgoing
Ulster Unionist MP, Roy Beggs, in East Antrim.

There could be a close contest between the DUP's William McCrea and the outgoing
Ulster Unionist MP, David Burnside, in South Antrim, while Ulster Unionist leader David
Trimble will have to work hard to save his own seat of Upper Bann.

In 2001, DUP challenger David Simpson was only 2,000 votes behind him.

The old anti-Agreement/pro-Agreement battle lines between the two unionist parties
have been blurred following the DUP's willingness to enter negotiations aimed at
creating a Stormont executive in which they would have shared power with Sinn Fein.

The Ulster Unionists have accused the DUP of stealing their clothes.

The DUP claim that the deal they were negotiating would have changed the Good
Friday Agreement in a radical manner.

If the DUP has been on the up as far as unionism is concerned, the growing force in
nationalism is undoubtedly Sinn Fein.

They overhauled the SDLP in both the 2001 Westminster election and the November
2003 Stormont assembly poll.

Sinn Fein's pole position was underlined in the European election of June 2004 when
they captured the seat for so long held by SDLP founder John Hume.

In this election, no-one believes any of Sinn Fein's four seats are under threat,
especially if, as seems certain, the unionists do not reach any kind of tactical deal in
Fermanagh-South Tyrone or West Tyrone.

However, there has been considerable speculation that the difficulties caused to
republicans by both the Northern Bank robbery and the murder of Belfast man Robert
McCartney could slow the party's rate of growth.

The Newsnight-Belfast Telegraph poll did not provide observers with a clear indicator on
this front.

It suggested Sinn Fein and the SDLP were level pegging at 20 percentage points each.

Compared with the November 2003 assembly elections, this appeared to indicate a
slight decline in Sinn Fein support and a rally by the SDLP.

But a similar poll taken on the eve of the assembly elections had understated Sinn Fein
support, so it would be unwise to try to discern any clear trend.

Despite the IRA's difficulties, Sinn Fein clearly has in its sights the Newry and Armagh
seat being vacated by SDLP veteran Seamus Mallon.

Sinn Fein's Stormont whip Conor Murphy is in a strong position to take the seat, which
is being defended for the SDLP by assembly member Dominic Bradley.

Another SDLP veteran, Eddie McGrady, is refusing to retire, in large part because he
does not want Sinn Fein's Catriona Ruane to capture his South Down constituency.

But probably the key fight within nationalism will be in Foyle, where SDLP leader Mark
Durkan hopes to succeed John Hume as the local MP.

It is certain that Sinn Fein chairman Mitchel McLaughlin will mount an energetic fight for

If Mr Durkan loses the seat, his days as SDLP leader must be numbered.

Besides these obvious battlegrounds, there promises to be some very interesting
contests in constituencies like South Belfast and North Down.

Apart from the four main parties, the fifth party, Alliance, will contest a number of seats
as will other parties such as the UK Unionists, the Workers Party, the Conservatives,
the Greens, the Vote for Yourself Party and the Socialist Environmental Alliance.

The health campaigner, Dr Kieran Deeny, who caused an upset by securing election as
an assembly member in West Tyrone in 2003, is also promising to stand again and
could benefit if some parties stand aside in his favour.

Once the election results are known, the British and Irish governments will survey who
is still left standing.

Depending on the new political facts of life, they will then try to assess how to ensure
the summer marching season can be kept calm and how the peace process Humpty
Dumpty can be put together again.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/04/05 15:17:20 GMT


UUP Husband And Wife Back DUP Candidate

By Stephen Dempster Political Correspondent
Saturday 9th April 2005

Two senior Ulster Unionists last night dealt an early General Election blow to their own
party - by announcing they were backing a DUP candidate for the South Belfast seat.

Belfast city councillors Jim and Margaret Clarke revealed they were turning their backs
on the UUP's contender in the Westminster constituency, Michael McGimpsey.

Instead, they declared they are backing his rival, DUP man Jimmy Spratt.

The husband and wife team - both formerly High Sheriffs of Belfast - are longtime Ulster
Unionists who supported the out-going South Belfast UUP MP Martin Smyth for many

But they claimed Mr McGimpsey was a "divisive" influence in unionism in South Belfast.

The shock move which is an early PR problem for the UUP campaign, came with a

Laganbank councillor Jim Clarke and Pottinger councillor Margaret Clarke said: "For
years we have stood proudly behind an MP in South Belfast who could unite unionists
across the party spectrum under a banner of solid traditional unionism. "It is abundantly
clear to us that there is only one candidate in this election who can carry on that trend.

"When the Ulster Unionist candidate has been a divisive force within the local UUP
(South Belfast) Association, demonstrated by the fact that he could not achieve 50 per
cent of the vote in the first ballot of his selection meeting, there is no conceivable way
that he could bring unionists together in the constituency as a whole. "We commend the
DUP on selecting a candidate who comes clean of the political battles of recent years
whilst having the reputation, experience and ability to continue strong and effective
representation for the people of South Belfast.

"Recent results and trends within the constituency and beyond, provide us with a firm
belief that Jimmy Spratt can win this election.

"We will do our part to help him do that for the good of the unionist family in South
Belfast and encourage others to do so on May 5."

South Belfast had already been marked out for a bruising encounter between the DUP
and UUP - given Mr McGimpsey's tough-talking reputation and ex-RUC officer Mr
Spratt's pledge that he would "not be intimidated" by the UUP man.

It was also a feature in failed pact talks. The DUP proposed the UUP step aside in
either South Belfast or Fermanagh South Tyrone, and it would stand down in the other -
so single unionist candidates in the two areas could be assured of the seats.

The UUP said no because the two constituencies have traditionally been UUP and they
believed only they could conceivably win them.


Is Gregory Now Pro-Agreement? - Asks Durkan

Tuesday 5th April 2005

SDLP leader and Foyle Westminster candidate, Mark Durkan, has challenged the
DUP's Gregory Campbell to clarify remarks in which he appeared to defend the Good
Friday Agreement.

The Foyle MLA said: "In arguing against the SDLP proposals for a united Ireland on
local television recently, Gregory Campbell said that the Northern Ireland we now live in
encapsulates the identities of Irish and British people.

"He is quite right in this assertion, given that the Good Friday Agreement guarantees
equality among all traditions on this island.

"His comments are interesting and give rise to three questions: Firstly, is Gregory
Campbell now pro-Agreement? Secondly, has the DUP turned its back on its own past -
where it denied the very equality between nationalists and unionists that Gregory now
seeks to defend? And, thirdly, if Gregory can accept the value of the Agreement now,
does he see the value of the SDLP proposals for the Agreement to endure if there is a
united Ireland?"

Mr. Durkan insisted that the East Derry MP's assertions highlighted "one of the great
strengths" of the SDLP's recent proposals.

"Our approach to unity doesn't threaten the Agreement's fundamentals and, therefore,
there is no reason why it should threaten unionists.

"All of the Agreement's equality provisions and guarantees would endure.

The rights of all people would be protected and respected - just as they are now as
Gregory has acknowledged."

In a referendum on a united Ireland, says Mr. Durkan, voters across Ireland will want to
be assured of two things.

"First, that a vote for unity would not be a vote against the Agreement. And second, that
there will be political, social and economic stability in the context of constitutional
change. "The SDLP proposals positively answer both those concerns. We have a
strategy for unity - not just a sound-bite. We know we have to persuade people to vote
for a united Ireland. That's why we have put forward proposals for unity that have - as
their heartbeat --the agreement that people have already voted for in overwhelming

"I know it may be unrealistic to expect Gregory Campbell to endorse our policy
document on unity, but if, in rejecting that document, he is willing to endorse the Good
Friday Agreement, I would consider that an important and progressive step in the right

"I would welcome any clarification Gregory might give in response to the questions I
have raised."


Derry Man Freed After Murder Quiz

Friday 8th April 2005

Four men, one of them from Derry, who were held for questioning about the murder of a
nationalist councillor in Co. Tyrone more than 30 years ago have been freed without
charge, police confirmed yesterday.

They were held at Antrim Police Station for interview by detectives investigating the
murder of Patrick Kelly, 33, who was shot dead in July 1974 and his body then dumped
in a lake.

Two men were released on Tuesday and another two on Wednesday night.

Sources close to the investigation said some, if not all four men, were former soldiers in
the Ulster Defence Regiment.

Relatives of the victim claim the UDR was involved in the murder when Mr. Kelly was
shot dead after locking up his bar in the village of Trillick, County Tyrone.

His car was found burnt out and three weeks later his body was discovered in a lake ten
miles away.

Police said that files on two of the men questioned would be sent to the Director of
Public Prosecutions.

It was understood that it was unrelated to the murder but in connection with other
offences allegedly committed 30 years ago.


Blair Acclaim For 'Peace Pioneer' Hume

Friday 8th April 2005

John Hume's peace efforts were lauded in the British House of Commons this week
when the outgoing MP for Foyle made his final ever speech in the famous Westminster
debating chamber.

Among those who paid tribute to the Nobel laureate were British prime minister Tony
Blair and Charles Kennedy, leader of the Liberal Democrats.

Both politicians paid tribute to and credited the work done by Mr. Hume to advance the
cause of peace in Ireland.

Indeed, Mr. Blair pledged to "try to spread the type of peace and reconciliation that Mr.
Hume pioneered in Northern Ireland throughout the rest of the world."

The outgoing Foyle MP told the Commons of the "continuing need to work towards
creating a world where there is no war or conflict".

Addressing the prime minister directly, Mr. Hume said: "Given that there has never been
a war in the history of the world in which the vast majority of victims have not been
innocent civilians, does the Prime Minister agree that the time has come to create a
world where there is no longer war or conflict?"

Mr. Hume went on to urge Mr. Blair to "join together with other world leaders to create
the means of ensuring that this happens."

The Foyle MP also told MPs that one of the best ways of delivering a resolution to war
and conflict is to "create a special department for peace and reconciliation under the
auspices of the European Union."

He added: "Given that the European Union is the best example in history of conflict
resolution, there is a need for a special department of the European Union for peace
and reconciliation to visit all areas of conflict, with the principles of the EU, which will
create a resolution of conflict anywhere in the world."


Ireland's Population To Reach 5.5 Million By 2050

09/04/2005 - 09:11:22

A new European Union survey has shown that Ireland's population is set to reach 5.5
million by the year 2050.

That's despite a predicted overall fall in the population of the Union.

The population of the Republic broke the four million point last year.

But the effects of an ageing population are hitting here too.

There are two people working for every dependent today.

But the relative number of pensioners is set to increase by 50% over the next four


Irish-American Group (AOH) Seeking 'Lost Cousins'

Church windows funded by Ancient Order of Hibernians

The stained-glass window in the Historic Church of St. Patrick's is one of 21 in Ohio that
that are known to have been paid for by the Ancient Order of Hibernians. The window's
centerpiece features a large pastoral scene of St. Patrick preaching, representing the
birth of Christianity in Ireland.

By David Yonke

Blade Religion Editor

Deacon Thomas Carone said he walks past the massive stained-glass window in the
Historic Church of St. Patrick "a hundred times a day," but never noticed its glass panel
inscribed with the letters "AOH."

Those letters stand for Ancient Order of Hibernians, an Irish Catholic lay organization
that is many centuries old in Europe and was established in the United States in 1836.

Between the 1870s and the 1920s, scores of hard-working Irish immigrants scraped up
funds to pay for ornate stained-glass windows to be installed in Catholic churches
across the country.

Many of the windows are still in place but their history has been forgotten or overlooked.
Scores more are falling apart or have been lost because of lack of upkeep or when
churches burned down or were razed.

Today, the Ancient Order of Hibernians is asking its 48,000 U.S. members to be on the
lookout for stained-glass windows that their organization funded as long as 135 years

Every time an AOH window is discovered, "it's like finding a long-lost cousin," said
Michael Finn, a Hibernian historian from Columbus.

One of the finest examples of a Hibernian stained-glass window is the one in St.
Patrick's Church, Mr. Finn said. The parish, commonly called St. Pat's Historic, was
founded in 1862 to serve Toledo's Irish population and quickly outgrew its original

Construction on the current Avondale Avenue church - visible from I-75 and the Anthony
Wayne Trail and notable for its missing steeple, which was destroyed by lightning in
1980 - began in 1892. The Gothic architectural design, made of Amhurst blue
sandstone, was completed in time for Christmas, 1900.

The stained-glass transept window to the left of the altar measures 14 feet wide and 40
feet high. Its centerpiece features a large pastoral scene of St. Patrick preaching,
representing the birth of Christianity in Ireland. The window also depicts the 12 apostles
and four Irish saints, St. Bridget, St. Columkill, St. Columba, and St. Colman.

"It's a beauty," Mr. Finn said. "Not only is it beautiful artwork, but it's in good shape
physically. And I know it was made in Toledo. It's rare because it was donated by both
the Ancient Order of Hibernians and the Ladies Auxiliary of the Ancient Order of

Mr. Finn said the St. Pat's window is one of 21 in the state that the AOH has discovered
and the only one in northwest Ohio - at least the only one the group is aware of.

"None of them were cheap," he said. "And the people of our order in the 1890s tended
to be working-class people - coal miners, farmers, railroaders. For them to come up with
enough money to buy a 14-by-40-foot window, it's a significant contribution, and we're
trying to recognize that."

The Hibernians' search for the windows began about three years ago when a church in
Ironton, in southern Ohio, discovered that a round Hibernian window over its entrance
needed to be restored.

"That kind of got the ball rolling," Mr. Finn said. "Then our national organization ran with

He said the national headquarters started with a list of 20 stained-glass Hibernian
windows across the country and as of this week the number has grown to 239 in 30

In the eastern states such as New York and Massachusetts, Hibernians donated the
funds in the post-Civil War era partially to boost the image of Irish immigrants that had
been damaged by news reports of violence committed by a secret society of Irish
miners in Pennsylvania known as the Molly Maguires.

But toward the end of the 19th century, when many of the Irish Catholic churches were
being built in Ohio and the Midwest, that was no longer a factor, Mr. Finn said. The
Hibernians were simply striving to support their parish.

Scouring the state for AOH-funded stained-glass windows has become a passion for
Mr. Finn and other like-minded Hibernians.

"It's been a real exciting program for us as we try to reclaim missing parts of our
history," he said.

The windows vary widely in size and shape, but all are marked in some way, either with
initials or the full name of the Hibernians in the stained-glass or on a plaque nearby.

Mr. Finn said he hopes Ohioans will take a new look at the windows in Catholic
churches throughout the state to see if any were donated by the AOH.

"It's not a competition between states," he said, "but Ohio is in third place with 21,
Massachusetts has 53, and Pennsylvania has 26. I'd sure like to see Ohio at the top of
the list."

Contact David Yonke at: or


'Urban Myths' About Port Tunnel

Tim O'Brien

The discovery of fairies deep in the ground beneath Whitehall in Dublin; huge
"Niagara-like" leaks; and "a catastrophe" on the adjacent railway line were just some of
the urban myths that grew up around the building of the €750 million Dublin Port Tunnel,
according to the project's director.

But, while "lurid imaginations in the tabloid press" were part of the problem, Tim Brick
said much of the myth-making on major projects related to bad communications on the
part of project managers.

Maintaining that "the day of faceless project managers sitting in the back office and
hiring spin doctors is over", Mr Brick, who is also deputy Dublin city engineer, said
nobody involved with the Dublin Port Tunnel management "appreciated that there was a
battle to be fought".

He said a clear policy of providing accurate information to the public and the media
would be vital in future schemes such as the Metro and Luas extensions.

Speaking to The Irish Times after he addressed a local authority professional officers'
seminar, Mr Brick said the management of accurate and fair information on major
infrastructural projects would now have to become part of the training of project
management staff.

"You must have the information to hand when dealing with the public. You simply can't
hum and haw in answer to their questions, promise a response later and never get

"People have a right to know what the need for the project is, how long it will take and
how much disruption to them it will cause."

Reports would emanate from the site very quickly whether the project managers liked it
or not, he said.

In one instance, he said, he was dismayed that he first heard of a crane being blown
down when he was asked for a comment by a journalist five minutes after the accident
had happened. But he was dismayed too when the tabloid press described a landslide
on a railway line as a "catastrophe".

It was terrible, he said, trains were delayed and it shouldn't have happened. But it was
not a catastrophe, he maintained.

Mr Brick said the city council had turned reportage of the port tunnel "from 95 per cent
negative to at least balanced or neutral" by ensuring timely and accurate information
was provided to the media and the public.

"We decided we wouldn't have our project blackguarded and allow urban myth to take
legs," he said.

© The Irish Times


Plans For First Irish Eco-Village Are Now In Disarray

Paul Cullen

Plans for Ireland's first "eco-village" are in disarray, following objections from the Co
Tipperary owners of the land on which the project is to be sited.

The Department of Environment has also expressed concerns about aspects of the plan
to create a full-fledged sustainable community near the village of Cloughjordan.

North Tipperary County Council has now asked Sustainable Projects Ireland Ltd, the
promoters of the plan, to supply further details about the project.

However, Mr Johnny Connolly, a spokesman for the company, said yesterday it was
unable to gain access to the land to carry out the hydrological, archaeological and
architectural surveys requested by the council.

Mr Connolly added that, although the owners of the land, Peter and Sarah Baker of
Cloughjordan House, were refusing access, he expected this problem would be
resolved shortly. "It's not a crisis, just a bit of a stumbling block. This misunderstanding
can be sorted out."

The Bakers support the concept of an eco-village but say in their submission to the
council that they were led to believe there would be only 60 residential units in the
village, whereas the planning application looks for over 100. They also say the planned
village would threaten and even obliterate archaeological sites, including earthworks, a
moated site, a tower house and a possible fulacht fia (ancient cooking place).

However, Mr Connolly said the residential component of the scheme was in line with
that proposed during the consultation process. Nothing would be done to harm any
archaeological remains as this would be contrary to the ethos of the project.

Mr Baker could not be contacted for comment yesterday.

In its submission, the Development Applications Unit of the Department of Environment
queries plans to demolish a derelict three-storey pub, The Lime Tree, on Cloughjordan's
main street to provide access to the new village.

The department says it would be a mistake to demolish the pub, which was earmarked
for inclusion in the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage. It also wants the council
to prepare an archaeological impact assessment of the area.

Mr Connolly said the promoters always intended to carry out the work required by the
council, but for financial reasons this had been left until after the outline planning
application was submitted.

This application seeks to build 132 new homes, including apartments in three-storey
buildings, terraced housing and detached and semi-detached houses.

The idea was first mooted in 1999, but it took several years to find a suitable site in Co
Tipperary, where the council has rezoned 25 acres for a "sustainable extension" to
Cloughjordan. The remaining 50 acres on the site would consist of a farm and a
woodland area.

The proposed houses would use solar energy for heating, be equipped with a natural
wetland waste water treatment system and pedestrians would take precedence over

© The Irish Times

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