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April 10, 2005

Peter Kings Predicts IRA Will Disband

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Table of Contents – Apr 2005

News about Ireland & the Irish

KN 04/10/05
U.S. Legislator Predicts N.Irish IRA Will Disband:
IT 04/11/05 Harney Says Deal With FG, Labour Not Ruled Out
IT 04/11/05 McDowell Makes Stinging Attack On SF
IO 04/10/05 'Slap In Face' For Victims In EU Funding Refusal
IE 04/10/05 Murders In Dublin And Dundalk
IT 04/11/05 Leading Irish-American Has An Almighty Fall From Grace
IT 04/11/05 Woman Critically Ill After Falling Off Island Pier
IT 04/11/05 Plan To Convert Bewley's To Superpub Denied
IT 04/11/05 Gardaí Seize Four Gallons Of Poteen In Sligo


U.S. Legislator Predicts N.Irish IRA Will Disband:

11 Hours,54 minutes Ago

[Europe News] DUBLIN - A leading Irish American politician on Sunday predicted the
Irish Republican Army would disband following a call from Gerry Adams, leader of its
political ally Sinn Fein, for the group to renounce violence. Adams' comments that there
was now an alternative to the IRA's "armed struggle" against British rule in Northern
Ireland could indicate the start of moves to wind up the group, although opponents have
dismissed his words as a pre-election stunt.

"In terms of Irish history this is certainly an enormous statement, the fact that he's
asking the IRA to stand down," said Congressman Peter King, a New York Republican
who has been one of Sinn Fein's strongest supporters in the United States.

"When you look at this ... in the full context of history it's a very, very dramatic step
forward," he told Irish state broadcaster RTE in a radio interview.

Adams said last Wednesday the IRA should abandon the gun for good and fully
embrace politics as a means of achieving its goal of uniting the province with the Irish
Republic to the south.

The IRA said it would give Adams' call "due consideration."

His comments came after a period of intense pressure on Sinn Fein over its perceived
ties to the IRA. In recent months the guerrilla group has been blamed for a massive
Belfast bank raid and implicated in a brutal bar killing.

On a trip last month to the United States -- traditionally a valuable fundraising base for
Sinn Fein -- Adams was snubbed by President Bush and Irish American Senator
Edward Kennedy, while King said the IRA had outlived its usefulness and should go.

"I think they should disband as quickly as they can," King told RTE. "I was very critical
six weeks ago ... but right now I think it's important to be positive, to look forward to the
day, which I think will not be far off, when the IRA will stand down."

Opponents have questioned the timing of Adams' comments, which came the day after
British Prime Minister Tony Blair called parliamentary elections.

Irish Justice Minister Michael McDowell, a consistent critic of Sinn Fein who accuses
Adams of being a senior IRA commander, said on Saturday he feared the speech was
an election stunt.

Despite recent controversies linking it to alleged IRA activities analysts predict Sinn Fein
will do well in the British election on May 5 and may capture more seats from the SDLP,
its moderate rival for minority Catholic votes.


Harney Says Deal With FG, Labour Not Ruled Out

The Progressive Democrats will go into the next general election open to entering
government with Fine Gael and Labour and will not be tied to the single option of
coalition with Fianna Fáil, according to Tánaiste Mary Harney, writes Mark Brennock,
Chief Political Correspondent.

In a move which opens up the coalition possibilities after the next election, the PD
leader said yesterday that her party is less concerned with the personalities who would
be in government than with the policy programme it would agree.

"We would be as open to being in a Fine Gael-led government as a Fianna Fáil-led
government," she told The Irish Times.

While the party may contest the next election seeking the return of the present
combination, she said: "We are not tied to a Fianna Fáil-only option." She said she
believed her party could serve in government with Fine Gael and Labour but she ruled
out the Green Party, whose economic policies she described as "crazy".

She said she did not know what the Labour Party response would be to the suggestion.
If the option arose, the parties would have to examine whether a coherent policy
programme could be agreed between them, she said. "I don't know, but Pat Rabbitte is
a very pragmatic man," she said.

However, a Labour Party spokesman said last night that his party's aim was to replace
the two government parties with a coalition involving Labour, Fine Gael and the Green

"The enthusiasm in Fianna Fáil and the Progressive Democrats to try out new partners
in the next election doesn't suggest they have any great confidence in being re-elected
together," he said.

Labour's conference next month is expected to be asked to support Mr Rabbitte's
strategy of seeking a formal pre-election pact with Fine Gael, ruling out Fianna Fáil as a
possible coalition partner.

Ms Harney's comments yesterday came at the end of her party conference in Cork at
which the PDs sought to define themselves as a radical niche party, setting ambitious
targets for health service reform and claiming leadership of the recent campaign to
pressurise Sinn Féin and the IRA to reject all paramilitarism and criminal activity.

In her speech on Saturday night she stated that Bertie Ahern, Enda Kenny and Pat
Rabbitte were all "caring", as was her party.

She insisted hers was a policy-driven party which was open to different government
options so long as they could have a substantial input into that government's policy. In
relation to the Green Party, however, she said their economic policies were "crazy. . .
They are so fundamentally different to ours that it just wouldn't work."

She said that the Greens favoured "high levels of tax on industry to protect the
environment. We believe that increasing economic activity will raise the resources to
invest in anti-pollution technology."

Ms Harney's statement reflects an acknowledgement that the Coalition is not
guaranteed re-election, and is an attempt to leave open another possible government
option for the PDs. It is also an attempt to define the party in terms of the policies it
stands for, rather than as an adjunct of the larger coalition party, Fianna Fáil.

Analysis suggests that the next general election could produce an outcome that would
allow for the formation of a Fine Gael/Labour/PD government, but the chances are not

Fine Gael and Labour have made it clear that if they gained the 25 extra seats that
would bring them close to being able to form a government, they would prefer the Green
Party, currently on six seats, to make up the numbers rather than the PDs. Only if the
PDs - currently on eight seats - remained larger than the Greens and if all their votes
were needed could the FG/Labour/PD option become a serious possibility.

Last night a spokesman for Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny said Fine Gael's intention was
to change the Government at the next election.

"We have a programme of work ahead of us to achieve that. We hope to continue
working with the Labour Party to achieve that objective."

© The Irish Times


McDowell Makes Stinging Attack On SF

Barry Roche

Justice debate: The IRA must disband if there is to be any progress towards full
implementation of the Belfast Agreement and if Sinn Féin is to play any part in
government North or South, the Minister for Justice has said.

Michael McDowell said that until the IRA was disbanded, the Provisional movement
"excludes itself from any share in the exercise of powers of government anywhere on
this island. This is not merely a statement of policy or opinion, it is a statement of fact."

The call to the IRA to disband, from Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams, was a clear
indication that the Government's "no fudge, no budge, no deal" message had struck
home with the Provisional IRA.

It was only by the entire "risen people" through their elected government standing up to
paramilitarism that an end would be brought to the IRA which had even ignored the
compelling message of peace delivered by Pope John Paul II in Drogheda in 1979.

Stressing that the Progressive Democrats were founded on democratic, republican
principles and repeatedly referring to the party as republican, Mr McDowell delivered an
unrelenting attack on Sinn Féin and the IRA.

"There will be no appeasement, no dealing and no compromise by the Irish Government
on what are the fundamentals of republican democracy," he said to one of several
sustained bursts of enthusiastic applause from delegates.

"There can be no armies, no arms dumps, no beatings, no extortion, no robbery, no
breach of the electoral laws, no exiling, no smuggling, no protection rackets and no
money-laundering either by or on behalf of those who engage in politics."

Congratulating the Garda for uncovering an IRA money-laundering racket, Mr McDowell
said it was a major blow to "the subversion of our democracy by IRA-Sinn Féin

The IRA-Sinn Féin were well on their way to creating "a state within a state" and "they
were using well-placed sleepers and collaborators, some of them posing as pillars of
society to achieve that end".

He defended his decision to name Sinn Féin members whom he believed were on the
IRA army council, saying they were involved in directing criminality, punishment
beatings and the execution of informers and prisoners.

"If some household names pose in public as Mandela figures when in reality, they
belong to the Mugabe end of the moral spectrum, it does matter," he said.

He compared Sinn Féin figures saying that they would discuss matters with the IRA to
"a seaside Punch and Judy show" with "fictitious dialogue between the Sinn Féin glove
puppet making public addresses to the army council glove puppet".

He added: "Grown-up members of the audience will notice that the characters have
remarkable similar voices. The sharp-eyed may even see the silhouette of a bearded
figure through the cloth curtain."

Mr McDowell also attacked the IRA/Sinn Féin for "its outdated Marxist ideology" which
was evident from a perusal of An Phoblacht and the fact that Sinn Féin MEPs sit with
former communists from East Germany in the European Parliament.

He said Sinn Féin was the only party in these islands to have a permanent full-time
representative to Cuba - or at least it did, until Niall Connolly was arrested while
travelling on a forged Irish passport in Colombia.

Mr McDowell also rounded on their links with FARC guerrillas which, he said, were the
"armed wing of the Communist Party of Colombia" and which survives by "exporting
drugs to the West".

© The Irish Times


'Slap In Face' For Victims In EU Funding Refusal
2005-04-10 15:40:01+01

The British government was today accused of delivering a slap in the face to the victims
of Northern Ireland's Troubles by refusing to allow them special access to European
Union funds.

Democratic Unionist MEP Jim Allister condemned Northern Ireland Office minister Ian
Pearson after he received a letter informing him that victims would not be given a
special claim to the next tranche of EU Peace and Reconciliation Funds.

"Since the publication of the draft proposals for the Extension of Peace II, I have been
pressing for it to include a measure exclusively for victims," Mr Allister said.

"I met the Regional Commissioner on the issue and received a sympathetic hearing, but
during the past week the NIO Minister with responsibility, Ian Pearson, wrote to me
rejecting the proposal.

"I regard this as a scandalous slap in the face for victims."

The European Union's Peace programme was first approved in 1994 as a response to
positive developments in the Northern Ireland peace process.

A total of €500m was allocated in the first programme which ran from 1995 to 1999 to
support projects in Northern Ireland and in counties Donegal, Sligo, Leitrim, Cavan,
Monaghan and Louth.

With 80% of the funding going to Northern Ireland, some 13,000 projects which
encouraged job creation, economic development, cross-border co-operation, urban and
rural regeneration and social cohesion, benefited.

The EU allocated €531m under the Peace II programme which runs from 2000 to 2004.

Mr Allister welcomed an interim report by the Northern Ireland Select Committee at
Westminster which called last Friday for more state support for victims groups.

The committee also condemned the poor compensation offered to victims of the
Troubles during the 1960s and 1970s compared to those in later decades.

The MEP backed plans for the new Peace II funds to include a specific measure
exclusively for women.

However he said it was unfair that victims of the Troubles would have to compete with
others including ex-paramilitary prisoners' groups for a share of the funding.

"One of the inequities of Peace II was that prisoner's groups got more than victims'
groups," he said.

"Clearly, Mr Pearson is very content with this situation, hence, his rejection of my
reasonable proposal.

"It is clear that despite all its platitudes the NIO doesn't really care about the thousands
of innocent victims of terrorism.

"The wasteful lavishing of public money on the Bloody Sunday Inquiry, with more to
follow on the Finucane and other inquiries, in contrast to the pittance given to victims,
speaks for itself."


Murders In Dublin And Dundalk

Jimmy Curran (42) was having a drink in a pub in Dublin's south inner city last Sunday
night when another customer approached him and shot him in the head. Although the
incident had all the hallmarks of a gangland killing, gardaí believe it arose from a
personal dispute; media reports say that Mr Curran had recently been involved in an
"altercation". The gunman, described as tall, well-dressed and middle aged with grey
hair, fled the scene on foot. It seems that many of those in the Green Lizard pub on
Francis Street also fled the scene as, for the remainder of the week, gardaí appealed for
up to 30 people who were in the bar for a Karaoke session to come forward. The victim
was reported to be a father of two and a kickboxing champion who taught the sport to
young people. He was from the area but had been living in Santry, in the north of the

On Tuesday morning investigating gardaí arrested a couple in their 40s at their home in
Dublin 8 (Francis Street is also in Dublin 8). The woman was released on Wednesday
and the man on Thursday. A file is being prepared for the DPP. According to Sunday
Independent journalist Jim Cusack, the chief suspect in the case is "a well-known IRA
man who doubles as a Sinn Féin election activist and has worked for TD Aengus Ó
Snodaigh". It is claimed in the report that the suspect left the area after the killing and
hasn't been seen since.

A separated mother-of-three was stabbed to death in her home in Dundalk, Co. Louth
on Wednesday. It was shortly after noon that the body of Irene White (43) was found
lying on the floor of the kitchen of the large house on Demesne Road by her 70-year-old
mother, Maureen McBride. The widowed woman lived in a mobile home in the garden of
her daughter's house and normally dropped in for a cup of tea at the same time each
day. Gardaí believe that Mrs White, a native of Omeath, was washing dishes when she
was attacked. There were no signs of forcible entry or of a struggle. The victim had last
been seen dropping her children, aged 17, seven and six, off at school in the morning.
In an unusual appeal on an RTÉ news programme, a garda spokesperson called for the
murderer to come forward.

Gardaí have still not identified the young black man whose dismembered body was
taken from the Royal Canal 12 days ago. They have, however, ruled out the suggestion
that it may have been that of the husband of Paiche Onyemaechi (24) from Malawi,
whose headless body was found in south Kilkenny last summer. The organisation
Crimestoppers has offered "substantial" cash rewards to anyone identifying the body
and anyone providing information on the location of the actual murder.


Leading Irish-American Has An Almighty Fall From Grace

In New York last year he received the Ireland-US Council Award for Outstanding
Achievement. Two years earlier he was guest of honour at the annual Irish-American
Business 100, writes Conor O'Clery in New York.

But Tom Coughlin, the burly Irish-American and Wal-Mart legend, has abruptly resigned
from Wal-Mart's board and is now under investigation for expense account abuses
running to between $100,000 and $500,000. The news comes as a blow to the Irish-
American business world, which saw Coughlin as a major success story for working-
class Irish-Americans.

Mr Coughlin (55) whose compensation amounted to $6 million last year, allegedly had
subordinates create fake invoices to get Wal-Mart to pay for personal expenses.

These included hunting vacations, alligator boots and a dog pen, according to an
investigation by the Wall Street Journal.

The son of a second-generation Irish-American police officer, Mr Coughlin was a
frequent visitor to Ireland and recently made the keynote speech at the US-Ireland
Alliance K-Club dinner - he has a residence at the club.

When accepting the top honour from Irish-America magazine at the Yale Club in New
York he said: "We were a have-not family - an Irish Catholic policeman with a family of
10. We weren't what anybody would refer to as wealthy, but we never saw ourselves as

A protege of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton, Mr Coughlin was seen as the next leader of
the retailer. All that changed when a subordinate complained to a Wal-Mart executive in
January that Coughlin was pressurising him to authorise $2,000 for unreceipted
expenses. The next day the subordinate was fired, but the company began an internal

Mr Coughlin resigned as an executive in January and last month was forced to resign
from the board.

© The Irish Times


Woman Critically Ill After Falling Off Island Pier

Áine Ryan

A Dublin woman is critically ill and on a life-support machine after falling off a pier on a
Mayo island early on Saturday morning.

Niamh McGrath, who was airlifted to Mayo General Hospital, Castlebar, had travelled to
Clare Island on Friday evening with a number of friends to celebrate her 37th birthday.

It is believed the group returned to their B&B from the island pub, where they had one
drink, shortly after midnight and then decided to walk to the nearby Lighthouse Cove.

A spokesman for Malin Head Marine Rescue Centre confirmed it received an
emergency call around 2am. The centre immediately requested the Achill Lifeboat to go
to the scene and contacted a rescue helicopter, based at Dublin airport.

The centre declined to confirm the time of the helicopter's arrival at the accident scene.
A local woman, providing aid at the scene, said the helicopter arrived at about 3.45am.
There is a rescue helicopter based in Sligo but it is not permitted to fly between 7.30pm
and 7.30am.

It has emerged that the group had sat on the pier for a short time singing songs before
deciding to return to their B&B as it was quite cold.

As they left, Ms McGrath tripped and hit her head on rocks while falling approximately
20ft into the water. She lay for some time face down in the water before one of the
group managed to pull her on to a ledge.

The B&B owner said: "I was awoken by one of the woman's friends who was in a very
distressed condition. I immediately got some duvets and hot-water bottles and drove to
the cove. The pier is largely disused, very slippery and in a bad state of repair."

The island nurse arrived on the scene soon afterwards.

After the lifeboat arrived, the crew including a doctor were landed by dinghy on to a
ladder in the cove. They put the woman on a stretcher and placed it on rocks for the
helicopter rescue. The helicopter was unable to effect the rescue from the rocks and
airlifted her from a nearby field.

It is believed that Ms McGrath is an accomplished canoeist, mountaineer and first-aid

© The Irish Times


Plan To Convert Bewley's To Superpub Denied

Joe Humphreys

The Campbell Bewley Group has rejected claims that it plans to convert its
Westmoreland Street premises into a "superpub".

Cól Campbell, managing director of Bewley's Oriental Cafes, whose landmark Dublin
outlets closed last November in controversial circumstances, said its planned
redevelopment of the cafes would preserve "their social context in a commercial way".

Rejecting claims that the company hoped to amalgamate the 100-year-old
Westmoreland Street cafe into an existing basement bar, the Bridge, Mr Campbell said:
"Foot per foot, retail gets you more money than pubs; end of story. You would not put a
superpub here. It does not make commercial sense."

Planning permission for a new cafe, restaurant and cocktail bar at Westmoreland Street
is being appealed to An Board Pleanála by An Taisce and the Save Bewley's
Campaign, headed by Dublin Lord Mayor Michael Conaghan.

An Taisce claims the development will "undermine Bewley's special importance to the
civil life of the city and its historical, cultural and social character".

It adds that by "extending alcoholic consumption use into the ground floor of the
premises", the development would dilute the mixed use of Temple Bar - an area already
awash with pubs.

Mr Campbell admitted that the development "does not deliver a greater mix or diversity"
in Temple Bar. However, "it does not alter the status quo. We already have a hotel and
a pub, and we are not intending to change from that".

Under the development, he said, "the hotel gets bigger and the pub will stay as it is. The
cocktail bar will be there to service the hotel."

Moreover, he said, the redeveloped premises would feature a new restaurant, seating
80, and a separate cafe/foyer area to the hotel where passers-by could enjoy a coffee
and a pastry, as of old.

The hotel will increase under the plan from 70 to 102 rooms.

The cafe, located in the Fleet Room with an entrance on to Fleet Street, would seat up
to 40 people, according to architect Andrew Lohan.

He said existing fireplaces would be retained but the seating would be more spaced out,
incorporating sofas and low tables.

"It won't necessarily be old or exact replica furniture, but it will be something that keeps
with the feature of the room," Mr Lohan added.

The hotel reception will be located in the corner of the Fleet Room, backing on to the
Middle Room - what used to be the cafe's smoking room - where the cocktail bar is

A new entrance to the premises will be created at Price's Lane, leading into the Garden
Room, where the restaurant will be.

Mr Lohan said the restaurant would be redecorated in keeping with the character of the
old cafe. The marble-top tables will be retained and the stained-glass window, by
Pauline Bewick, will be hung from the ceiling and back-lit, as stipulated in one of 14
conditions of the planning permission.

Mr Campbell said it was "very unlikely" that Bewley's would run the proposed new

"Discussions are ongoing with people operating successful businesses in older

There will be no entrance to the cafe, restaurant or hotel from Westmoreland Street
because the ground-floor unit on that side of the premises will be leased to a retailer.

In granting permission, Dublin City Council turned down a request from Bewley's for a
ramp, tables and chairs on the pavement of Fleet Street, saying such works would
encroach on to land outside the application site.

Mr Campbell said the company would reapply for street furniture at the location, as well
as urging the council to pedestrianise Price's Lane to "deliver more life" into the area.

He said Bewley's had invested heavily not only on renovating the premises but on
lighting and signage. "To see what has been allowed since is really disheartening," he
said. "It's like a hawker's bazaar on Westmoreland Street now."

Bewley's is separately planning to reopen its Grafton Street outlet as a cafe bar under
the management of restaurateurs Jay Bourke and Eoin Foyle.

© The Irish Times


Gardaí Seize Four Gallons Of Poteen In Sligo

Tom Shiel

Gardaí in west Sligo seized four gallons of saleable poteen and 14 gallons of wash
when they raided a property in the Culleens area last week.

The haul was enough to make 64 gallons of the illicit spirit.

Officers dismantled and destroyed the still, which was producing poteen at the time the
raid took place at about 9.30pm.

Most of the poteen, apart from a sample needed for evidence, and the wash were
disposed of.

The search by gardaí of a number of sheds is believed to have followed a tip-off.

Four gallons of poteen, ready for sale to potential customers, were discovered in

The size of the operation surprised gardaí as it was believed that poteen, or
"moonshine" production, in rural Ireland had died out because of the boom in the
economy and the availability in pubs, supermarkets and off-licences of more glamorous,
legal alternatives.

"Obviously, there are still a few production pockets in isolated rural areas and possibly
even in urban estates," a Garda spokesman commented.

© The Irish Times

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Table of Contents – Apr 2005
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