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May 17, 2005

31st Anniversary of Dublin Bombings Marked

News About Ireland & The Irish

RT 05/17/05 31st Anniversary Of Dublin Bombings Marked
SF 05/16/05 Sinn Féin Launch EU Referendum Campaign
SF 05/16/05 SF Wants A Europe Of Equals Not Superstates
IO 05/17/05 Brits Continue Efforts To Restore Institutions
BB 05/17/05 BBC Spotlight On Death Of Lisa
BB 05/17/05 Lisa's Mother May Meet Loyalists
BT 05/17/05 Blair Anxious For Legacy On N Ireland
SF 05/17/05 SF To Test Brits Commitment To Progress
IO 05/17/05 Bush Envoy Pleased With Hain Talks
BB 05/17/05 America 'Powerful' Peace Partner
RE 05/17/05 Forget Rifles, Focus On Votes –Morrison
NL 05/17/05 It Is Not DUP Which Is A Brake To Progress – MP
NL 05/17/05 SF Memorial Is Powered Illegally
BT 05/17/05 Adams: Sharing Power All Down To Timing
IN 05/17/05 No Going Back In Northern Ireland
BB 05/17/05 Election Dreams Come True For DUP
BT 05/17/05 Police Investigate 'Sectarian' Assault
ST 05/17/05 London, Dublin Facing Fresh Troubles
BB 05/17/05 Orange Order Revival In Africa
IT 05/17/05 Woman From US Killed At Hostel In Belfast
IT 05/17/05 Boy (16) Rescue Man Who Jumped Into Shannon
IT 05/17/05 Irish Writers To Fore At Dublin Festival
IT 05/17/05 Synge Season: Druid Prepare To Stage Six Plays


31st Anniversary Of Dublin Bombings Marked

17 May 2005 12:52

Those affected by the Dublin/Monaghan bombings have been gathering in Dublin city to mark the 31st anniversary of the terrorist attacks which claimed 34 lives.

Families will attend a wreath-laying ceremony at the special memorial at Talbot Street, close to where one of three car bombs exploded in Dublin on the evening of Friday, 17 May 1974.

The three bombs claimed the lives of 26 people including a pregnant woman. An Italian citizen and a French citizen were also among the victims of the Dublin attacks.

Seven people died in a car bomb attack in Monaghan on the same evening. All the car bombs are blamed on loyalist terrorists, but no one has ever been charged with the murders.

The Justice for the Forgotten Group, which represents most of the survivors and victims, has repeatedly called for a public inquiry in this jurisdiction.

The group has also called for the Irish Government to take a more pro-active approach in trying to force the British government to co-operate with any public inquiry.

Meanwhile, a separate group of families bereaved by the bombings intends bringing a High Court case against the Irish Government.


Sinn Féin Launch EU Referendum Campaign

Published: 16 May, 2005

Speaking today Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams MP called on Irish voters to reject the proposed EU Constitution in forthcoming referenda, which are expected to take place north and south in 2005 and 2006. He called on the Taoiseach to publish the government's proposals immediately and to put the referendum to the people this Autumn.

Mr. Adams said:

"On Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th May, Sinn Féin will be hosting a major conference with speakers from across Europe on the consequences of the proposed EU Constitution. We believe that the proposed EU Constitution is not in the interests of the people of Ireland

"Sinn Féin will be vigorously opposing the Constitution in the two referenda which are expected to take place in the south in 2005 and in the north in 2006. This is the first time that people in the north will have a say. We urge all sections of public opinion, particularly those in trade unions, community organisations, human rights groups as well as supporters of other political parties to join with us in opposing this Constitution.

"I am calling on the government to publish their referendum proposals as quickly as possible and to put the referendum to the people this Autumn. The Taoiseach has said that he wants a 'focused, balanced and serious debate based on the facts'. He now needs to set out how that debate will take place. People have different views regarding the future direction of the EU and that needs to be reflected and the serious inadequacies of the Referendum Commission need to be immediately addressed. I am also calling on the government to respect the decision of the electorate.

"The debate on the EU Constitution is not between pro and anti Europeans. It is a debate over different visions for the future of the EU.

"Sinn Féin wants to see an EU that promotes sustainable growth, environmental protection, social and economic equality, human rights and global justice. Since last years EU elections Sinn Féin has been to the forefront of the ongoing campaigns for an alternative vision of the EU which is democratic, accountable and which operates in the interests of ordinary people.‰ENDS


Sinn Féin Wants A Europe Of Equals Not A Federal Superstate

Published: 16 May, 2005

Sinn Féin Dublin MEP Mary Lou McDonald this morning set out in detail, in a lengthy document published by the party, the reasons why Sinn Féin is opposing the proposed EU Constitution. She has called for the public debate on the Constitution to begin now.

Ms McDonald said:

The proposed EU Constitution is one of the most significant social, political, economic and constitutional issues facing Ireland and the other EU member states today. The Constitution transforms the EU from a body of co-operating member states into an embryonic federal state with its own legally binding constitution.

"It deepens the democratic deficit, further concentrating power in the hands of the few at the expense of national parliaments and ordinary people. It undermines neutrality, and seeks to transform the EU into a global superpower, with its own Foreign Minister, army and armanents agency. It copperfastens the right wing economic agenda which has dominated EU policy for over a decade and seeks to extend such policies to public services and international trade agreements, undermining welfare provision and global justice priorities.

"It offers no new or meaningful social or human rights protections to citizens of member states, yet significantly increases the power and scope for undemocratic bodies such as the EU Commission and Council, in crucial areas of policy such as International Relations, defence, criminal justice, trade, and the internal market.

"This is a critical referendum for everyone on this island. It has huge implications for the future and the debate needs to start now." ENDS

13 reasons to reject the EU Constitution

It lays the legal foundations for a Federal Europe

It deepens the Democratic Deficit

It significantly increases in the powers of the EuropeanCouncil and Commission

It undermines of national sovereignty, national parliaments and the rights of citizens

It will end neutrality for Ireland and other Member States

It promotes a policy of substantial militarisation

It provides for single foreign policy, defence policy and EU foreign minister

It promotes the centralisation of economic control in the hands of the Council and Commission

It contains a clear constitutional commitment to a free market neo-liberal economic model

It promotes an economic model that will deepen existing levels of poverty and social exclusion within the EU

It will undermine the ability of member states to provide public services

The Charter of Fundamental Rights has no mechanisms for ensuring compliance, and does not add to the promotion of human rights or equality for citizens

It promotes policies in relation to the developing world that will deepen the levels of global inequality, poverty and instability


British To Continue Efforts To Restore Northern Institutions
2005-05-17 12:10:02+01

The British government is determined to restore devolved government in the North, according Queen Elizabeth II's traditional speech at the opening of the new parliament.

The Queen said in her speech today that the government would "work to bring about the conditions necessary for the restoration of political institutions in Northern Ireland".

The institutions have been suspended since October 2002 and the Irish and British governments have overseen three failed attempts since then to have them restored.

The future prospects appear bleak, with the Democratic Unionist Party demanding that the institutions be restored without the involvement of Sinn Féin, something that is unacceptable to nationalists.

It is also unclear how the IRA will respond to Gerry Adams' call for the organisation to end its armed struggle and commit exclusively to the political route.


BBC Spotlight On Death Of Lisa

A television documentary on the murder of a young Northern Ireland woman will reveal details of a parallel investigation being carried out into her death - by paramilitaries.

25-year-old Lisa Dorrian disappeared after a party at a caravan site in Ballyhalbert in County Down on 28 February.

Police believe she was killed but their investigation has been complicated by the fact Lisa's body has not been found despite extensive air, land, and sea searches.

But BBC Northern Ireland's Spotlight programme reveals that loyalist paramilitaries from the Red Hand Commando and UVF have interrogated two teenagers about Lisa.

The two illegal terror organisations believe members of the Loyalist Volunteer Force, the LVF, are implicated and that drugs lie behind the crime.

The PUP politician, David Ervine, whose party is close to the UVF, told the programme he was in no doubt that LVF loyalists killed Lisa.

" I mean, the smart money says that it's a very tiny number of people and, if you push them hard enough, people will name them to you. So the names are being bandied about. Let's not kid ourselves."

Mr Ervine also says that the names of the suspects are known by the police and that they are linked to a family in east Belfast well known as drug dealers.

We want to uphold and support the human rights of everyone involved in this. That will not be done with parallel investigations from criminal gangs or loyalist paramilitaries.

Supt George Hamilton, PSNI

The UVF and Red Hand Commando are bitter enemies of the LVF which emerged as a splinter group from the UVF some years ago.

All three organisations have recent links to criminality, murder and drug crime.

Meanwhile, the police superintendent leading the investigation into Lisa's death has been criticical of the suggestion of an alternative investigation.

Supt George Hamilton said: "Loyalist paramilitaries and criminal gangs generally have no moral authority whatsoever and no legal authority.

"We want to follow due process, we want to uphold and support the human rights of everyone involved in this.

"That will not be done with parallel investigations from criminal gangs or loyalist paramilitaries."


Lisa's mother, Pat, says their family is willing to speak to anyone who can help them find Lisa but they don't want revenge.

"We'll just talk to anybody, but we don't want any retaliation and no comeback. We just want Lisa back."

The Dorrian family have offered a reward for information that can help them find Lisa's body.

Her father, John, told the programme the mystery is as great now as when Lisa disappeared three months ago.

"In all truth we don't have a clue what has happened.

"It's just as if she has disappeared off the face of the earth. All we have got left is memories, photographs."

Spotlight will be screened on BBC One Northern Ireland on Tuesday 17 May at 2235 BST.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/05/17 09:40:03 GMT


Lisa's Mother May Meet Loyalists

The mother of Lisa Dorrian would talk to loyalist paramilitaries if it meant getting her murdered daughter's body back, she has told the BBC.

The 25-year-old disappeared after a party at a caravan site at Ballyhalbert in County Down on 28 February.

Her body has never been found despite extensive air, land, and sea searches. Three men were questioned about the killing but later released.

One line of inquiry being investigated is possible loyalist involvement.

"We'll talk to anybody, but we don't want any retaliation or comebacks," Pat Dorrian told the BBC's Spotlight programme.

When asked whether she wanted "paramilitary justice", Mrs Dorrian said she did not.

She added: "If they can help, I would be really grateful".

The family is offering a £10,000 reward for information leading to the recovery of Lisa's body.

Graffiti in the area following her disappearance suggested a link between the case and the Loyalist Volunteer Force.

When she disappeared, Lisa, a shop assistant, left her handbag and personal belongings behind her at the caravan park.

A caravan from the site was removed for examination.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/05/17 06:08:44 GMT


Blair 'Anxious To Secure Legacy On Northern Ireland' Before Quitting As PM

Gene McKenna and Fionnan Sheahan
17 May 2005

The first Anglo-Irish ministerial meeting to assess the peace process after the British general election takes place tomorrow.

The Republic's Foreign Affairs Minister Dermot Ahern will have talks at Iveagh House in Dublin with new Northern Secretary Peter Hain, who has taken over the portfolio from Paul Murphy.

Mr Hain will pay a courtesy call on Taoiseach Bertie Ahern at Government Buildings. The new Secretary of State said on his appointment that finding a resolution to Northern Ireland's problems remained a top priority for Prime Minister Tony Blair. He himself was fully determined to play his part in securing a deal.

The two governments are awaiting a response from the IRA to their urges that it end criminality and decommission all weapons, and to the speech by Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams calling on the IRA to pursue a peaceful path.

The Taoiseach, Dermot Ahern and Mr Hain will meet in the Isle of Man on Friday for a meeting of the British-Irish Council.

Gerry Adams said yesterday that Sinn Fein's results in the British election were an endorsement of the leadership's call for the IRA to go out of business. He refused to be drawn on when the IRA might come back with a reply. Tony Blair would be anxious to resolve outstanding issues in Northern Ireland as part of his "legacy" before resigning as British Prime Minister, Mr Adams said.

The DUP had also come back with renewed and increased mandates. "They will only be clear about what way they want to position themselves and they will only be positive if they know that the governments are going to go ahead anyway," Mr Adams said.

The Sinn Fein president also acknowledged that Mr Blair had been "good" in some aspects of the peace process. "In this, the last phase of Tony Blair's Prime Ministership, I think we have a very unique opportunity to sort all of these matters out, but it needs a collective push to move it forward," he said.

Saying he felt the peace process should be "bedded down now", Mr Adams said he believed there was a limited time to sort out the remaining issues.

"Blair has been very good on some of these core issues. I do believe he wants to bed this down. He wants it to be part of his legacy and therefore there is a relatively limited time." Meanwhile, the home of a Kerry councillor who spoke out against the release of the killers of Det Jerry McCabe, along with several locations in the village of Ballylongford, north Kerry, have been daubed with Continuity IRA slogans.

The attack on the home of Liam Purtill (FG) was condemned at yesterday's meeting of Kerry County Council. Mayor of Kerry Ned O'Sullivan said several locations were defaced, including the town's main bridge. Sinn Fein councillor Robert Beasley also condemned the graffiti as "a childish immature act".


Sinn Féin Determined To Test British Commitment To Progress

Published: 17 May, 2005

Sinn Féin MP for Newry and Armagh Conor Murphy has travelled to London today to ensure that 'there is a clear focus on the united Ireland agenda and on the need to rebuild the peace process'. Mr Murphy made his comments at the official opening of the British Parliament today.

Speaking from London Mr Murphy said:

"Sinn Fein is an Irish republican party. We are here today to ensure that there is a clear focus on the United Ireland agenda and on the need to rebuild the peace process. Irrespective of the brief mention which this issue receives in today's Queen's speech, Tony Blair has made it clear that the issue of peace in Ireland and the implementation of the Good Friday Agreement are a priority for his government in the time ahead. Sinn Féin are prepared to test that commitment.

"We have met with representatives of the two governments in recent times and will tomorrow meet with the US Special envoy Mitchell Reiss before Gerry Adams leads a party delegation to meet with the British Prime Minister Tony Blair on Thursday.

"The British government has a key role to play in implementing the Good Friday Agreement and in bringing the peace process to a successful conclusion. That is the most immediate challenge facing all of us. Sinn Fein wants to do business with the representatives of unionism but if they refuse to engage they cannot be allowed a veto over progress. Key elements of the Good Friday Agreement do not require co-operation from the DUP.

"Progress on equality, human rights, collusion, the Irish language, demilitarisation, justice and policing are all entirely the responsibility of the British government and we will push the British government for early movement on all of these important issues."ENDS


Bush Envoy Pleased With Hain Talks
2005-05-17 10:10:03+01

US President George Bush's special envoy to Northern Ireland today declared his first meeting with new Northern Secretary Peter Hain a "very good start" in bringing peace.

Ambassador Mitchell Reiss vowed to do all he could to help that process, as efforts to revive the Stormont Assembly step up a gear.

Speaking at the Northern Ireland Office in London after the talks, he said: "I'm delighted to be here.

"We had a very good meeting this morning."

Mr Reiss said it was "a delight" to finally meet Mr Hain.

"I very much look forward to working with him very closely in the weeks and months ahead," he said.

"The goal is, as it has always been, to try and bring peace to the people of Northern Ireland who for so long have wanted it so very much.

"And everything that I can do, that the Bush administration can do, that the President can do in order to assist, we will do so, and I think we're off to a very good start today."

Mr Hain described the meeting as "excellent" and paid tribute to Mr Reiss's work.

"We're both partners for peace, our two governments, in driving forward the peace process in Northern Ireland and making sure we get an agreement in place that locks in long-term stability, peace, prosperity and an end to paramilitary activity and criminality," Mr Hain said.

"And for that we need to engage together with all the different political groups.

"The American administration under President Bush, with Mitchell Reiss's excellent direction, have been a powerful partner for us in that process and we have had an excellent discussion in taking that forward."

Mr Reiss will also meet unionist and nationalist politicians in Belfast this week as the Irish, US and British governments assess the state of the peace process following the recent General Election and the local government elections in Northern Ireland.

Today's meeting took place two days before British Prime Minister Tony Blair holds talks in Downing Street with Ian Paisley's Democrat Unionists and Sinn Féin.

Both parties made gains in the elections and tightened their grip as the main voices of their communities.

But the meetings are also the first since Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams appealed to the IRA to consider abandoning its armed struggle and embracing the democratic alternative.


America 'Powerful' Peace Partner

Secretary of State Peter Hain has had his first meeting with the US envoy to Northern Ireland, Mitchell Reiss.

Speaking after Tuesday's meeting in London Mr Hain said America was a "powerful partner" in the efforts for peace in Northern Ireland.

He said they would meet all the province's political groups to lock in long term stability.

"We are both partners for peace, our two governments, in driving forward the peace process," he said.

Mr Reiss said that his government would do all that it could to try to bring a lasting peace to the province.

"The goal is the same as it has always been to try and bring peace to the people of Northern Ireland who for so long have wanted it so much," he said.

"And everything that I can do, that the Bush administration can do, that the President can do in order to assist, we will do so, and I think we're off to a very good start today."

Mr Reiss will also meet unionist and nationalist politicians in Belfast this week.

Also on Tuesday, the government said it would continue its efforts to revive devolution in Northern Ireland.

The Queen's Speech confirmed the government would "work to bring about the conditions necessary for the restoration of political institutions in Northern Ireland".

Last week Prime Minister Tony Blair said he was hopeful the political deadlock could be broken.

His statement followed the general election, which saw the DUP increase its number of seats in the House of Commons to nine, while the UUP's fell to one.

Sinn Fein won five seats, but its links with the IRA have scuppered chances of unionists forming a coalition with republicans.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/05/17 10:46:36 GMT


Forget Rifles, Focus On Votes In N.Ireland-Morrison

Mon May 16, 2005 11:39 PM BST
By Paul Majendie

BELFAST (Reuters) - Irish Republican Danny Morrison famously coined the phrase "a ballot box in one hand, an armalite rifle in the other" to sum up how Sinn Fein and the IRA both fought to oust Britain from Northern Ireland.

After five years in jail and a new career as a novelist and playwright, Sinn Fein's former publicity director believes the slogan is outdated now.

Reflecting on this month's British elections that saw hardliners on both sides of the sectarian divide in Northern Ireland make sizeable gains, he argues that a united Ireland can now be achieved by democratic means.

"Nobody can tell me the Irish Republican Army is going back into action. There have been incredible changes," he told Reuters.

The 1998 Good Friday accord brought an uneasy peace to Northern Ireland but the ultimate goal of home rule by Protestants and Catholics has stalled several times.

Sinn Fein faced a barrage of bad publicity after the IRA was blamed for a bank robbery and implicated in the bar room murder of a Belfast man whose sisters have campaigned for justice.

Morrison, once the mastermind of the Republican cause, said: "Sinn Fein still managed to increase its vote in the election by three to four percent which is remarkable when you consider the daily attacks on them."


Before the election, Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams appealed to the IRA to use words not guns to fulfil its aim.

"A reply could take months," Morrison said. "Every IRA unit would have to meet in secret. I have talked to people in the IRA who say the decision has not been made. But there would certainly be a crisis if the IRA turned Adams down."

"I would be opposed to a return to armed struggle because it would be a return to a military stalemate," he said of the 30-year conflict that took more than 3,600 lives.

He said the border between the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland had virtually melted away.

"There are no soldiers breathing down our necks, our homes are not being raided. It can be done peacefully," he said.

Morrison, interned without trial for 14 months in the 1970's by the British, rose to prominence by promoting the paramilitaries cause during hunger strikes by IRA prisoners in 1981. Ten starved to death in a vain bid to win political prisoner status.

When he was held in 1990 on charges of conspiracy to murder, kidnapping and IRA membership, he began to reflect on the conflict and the way his life was going.

Released after serving five years, he now devotes himself time to novel writing and working as a TV and radio pundit.

"I no longer belong to Sinn Fein or the Irish Republican Army but I am still a Republican sympathiser," he said over a fried breakfast he cooked at his house in the Republican heartland of West Belfast.

"The Wrong Man" -- his novel about an IRA informer -- was adapted as a critically acclaimed play in London which he now hopes to stage in Belfast and at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Now the contrast with his past could not be more stark: "When I was a teenager, everybody was killing everybody. We were all in the trenches. Hopefully it's all over."

© Reuters 2005. All Rights Reserved.


It Is Not The DUP Which Is A Brake To Progress - MP

By Billy Kennedy
Tuesday 17th May 2005

The restoration of a devolved administration as soon as possible remained the DUP's principal priority, Lagan Valley MP Jeffrey Donaldson said yesterday.

Addressing Londonderry Chamber of Commerce, he challenged SDLP leader Mark Durkan to step out from the shadows of Sinn Fein and stop giving republicans a veto.

Mr Donaldson said that, while the elections principally centred on who was to represent Northern Ireland at Westminster, much media attention in the run-up to polling day focused on the ramifications for the internal political future of the Province.

"For a whole host of reasons, we see local power in locally accountable hands as the best way forward for Northern Ireland.

"Whilst some, such as SDLP leader Mark Durkan, still seek to denigrate the DUP's commitment, I believe that the facts bear out that it is others, and the not the DUP, who are the brakes to progress.

"Sinn Fein/IRA's refusal to meet the absolute democratic bottom line of a total end to all IRA paramilitary and criminal activity and complete, visible, and verifiable decommissioning means that we must move on without republicans.

"Yet, the SDLP say that they refuse to consider a voluntary coalition with ourselves and other democratic parties."

On the economy, Mr Donaldson said: "It is, in my and my party's view, absolutely essential for the economic wellbeing of Northern Ireland that we attain a devolved administration.

"Direct rule Ministers, as their pressing ahead with their plans for water charges and a new rating system show, seldom have the best interest of Northern Ireland at heart.

"We must assist our economy to grow by investing in our transport, energy and communications infrastructure.

"Business people in the north- west know what it is like to have to fight for better links with the rest of Northern Ireland and beyond.

"The DUP backs you in your bid to retain the rail link between Londonderry and Belfast and we would support the upgrading of the road system, including the exploration of the option of extending the motorway to the north-west.

"This area, like others across the Province, has suffered severely through the loss of many of our traditional industries, especially those from the textiles sector. We need to retool and retrain our workforce to adapt our skills' base so that we can avail of new business opportunities."

Mr Donaldson said the DUP's business policy paper, Cutting the Cost of Doing Business, underlined his party's commitment to small- to medium-sized enterprises, as it outlined suggested solutions to one of the biggest problems facing local business, namely escalating costs.


SF Memorial Is Powered Illegally

By Johnny Caldwell
Tuesday 17th May 2005

A Republican memorial on the Falls Road not only lacks planning permission, but is illuminated by an illegal supply of electricity, according to the DUP's Sammy Wilson.

The Belfast councillor and recently elected MP for East Antrim is calling on the Planning Service to get tough and for Sinn Fein to cough up the cash owed to Northern Ireland Electricity.

The memorial was put up without planning approval almost three years ago and has been drawing electricity without paying ever since, the MP claims.

Mr Wilson said the monument's power was being tapped from street lighting.

"After contacting Sinn Fein, NIE were promised that a legitimate supply would be set up, however, this has not been done," said Mr Wilson.

"Adding insult to injury, the Planning Service has now exercised their discretion to allow the memorial to stand without planning permission being sought."

Mr Wilson claims the authorities had once again chosen to "turn a blind eye as far as republicans are concerned". "It is little wonder that ordinary people, who have to pay for their electricity and who have to apply for planning permission even to erect a wall around their own houses, will feel angered at the way in which the authorities always go for the easy option when it comes to illegal republican activity," he said. "I have taken this matter up with the new minister for the Department of Environment and I trust that there will be a full investigation as to why the local planning officers have decided to take no action in this case.

"Recently, the enforcement section of the Planning Service was strengthened and the ministers made great play of the need to deal with illegal structures, however, this seems to have escaped the notice of the divisional office in Belfast.

"Since it is clear that Sinn Fein have accepted responsibility for the structure there can be no excuses for pursuing the electricity and the planning issues resulting from this structure," he added.


Adams: Sharing Power All Down To Timing

By Noel McAdam
16 May 2005

DUP participation in power-sharing devolution is a matter of timing, Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams has said.

While unionism adapted to change slowly, he argued, Ian Paisley's party had accepted the Good Friday agreement and the principle of power-sharing in the run-in to last December's abortive Comprehensive Package.

While the Agreement remained presently in cold storage, the West Belfast MP also warned the DUP is mistaken if it believes progress can be prevented for a generation.

But the onus was on the two governments, which had helped contribute to stagnation to now press ahead.

Mr Adams said he and the party's chief negotiator Martin McGuinness had been in recent contact with Dublin and London as well as the American administration to call for intensive efforts to get the peace process back on track.

"In last December's talks the DUP moved to accept the Good Friday Agreement and the principle of power-sharing. So now their participation is a matter of timing," he said.

"I am not naïve about all of this. I know that even if the political institutions are restored the effort to bring about equality will continue to be a battle a day for some time to come.

"Unionism comes to the process of change reluctantly. But these are difficulties that can be overcome. None of this is impossible. However, if the DUP believe that progress can be put off for a generation they are wrong."

The two governments had a duty to move ahead with implementation of the Agreement and people would not wait for another generation for basic human rights and entitlements - nor should they be asked to.

"The British and Irish governments need to acknowledge that they too have responsibilities."


No Going Back In Northern Ireland

Monday, May 16 2005 @ 01:28 PM PDT
Contributed by: Oread Daily

Sinn Féin North Belfast MLA Gerry Kelly addressing the annual Hunger Strike Rally in Dunville Park Belfast on Sunday, said that despite the establishment onslaught attempting to criminalize the republican past and present Sinn Féin have emerged from the recent elections stronger and with an enhanced mandate.

Kelly said: "Never since the Thatcher regime have I witnessed such on onslaught from the establishment attempting to criminalize our republican past and present”.

He accused Irish politicians of joining in the assault. “At the core of this are electoral interests in the 26 Counties. In pursuit of that the interests of the peace process have been set aside, the interests of national and democratic rights and the rights of citizens have been set aside.”

"Ministers in the Irish government need to move beyond party politics. They have a duty to defend Irish national interests just as the British are driven by British national interests. The Irish government must be active advocates of Irish unity.”

"Today the political transformation throughout Ireland owes much to that success and the political strength and vision of republicans. For our part we will not settle for less than the national and democratic rights of the people of Ireland.”

"Despite the onslaught we advanced our representation and our national project.”

Kelly also warned Ian Paisley`s Democratic Unionists their power-sharing plans will not be thwarted. “…if the DUP believe they can turn back the clock to 1969 or even pre 1998, they have another thing coming.”

"The politics of Ireland and the political institutions of Ireland are irreversibly cast in an all Ireland context. If the DUP think they will have a veto over power sharing they are wrong. If they think direct rule can continue indefinitely they are wrong. If they believe they can stop change they are wrong. If they believe there is a future in excluding Sinn Fein and our voters they are living in cloud cuckoo land."

Meanwhile, the notorious H-Block within the former Maze Prison has been granted listed building protection - with a Government department citing the hunger strikes and murder of LVF leader Billy Wright as reasons for its historical significance. The prison hospital where IRA hunger striker Bobby Sands died has also been listed, along with an administration block, chapel, perimeter walls and watch towers within the old jail site.

Republicans had called for the listing of the structures, as part of a campaign for a prison museum.Sources: Belfast Telegraph, UTV, Sinn Fein News


Election Dreams Come True For DUP

By Mark Devenport
BBC Northern Ireland political editor

"You have to pinch yourself to believe that it's true" - not my words but those of Ian Paisley as he arrived at the St Stephen's Entrance of the House of Commons at the head of his team of nine MPs.

On polling day the DUP leader said he wanted 11 - "the whole football team" as he put it. But he seemed more than happy to settle for nine.

There might be jubilation within the DUP ranks, but across at Cunningham House, the Ulster Unionists are embarking on another period of gloomy introspection after David Trimble confirmed he is to resign as leader.

The party has to decide not only who its future leader should be but also what it stands for if it is to chart any way back from its latest abysmal electoral performance.

On her first day back at Westminster, the party's sole survivor, the North Down MP Lady Sylvia Hermon, told me she hadn't made up her mind whether to stand for the leadership, but she was clear about the liberal direction in which she wanted her party to move.

She said she believed the UUP could be doomed unless it put clear water between itself and the DUP.

By contrast, the former South Antrim MP, David Burnside, insisted that the UUP should not abandon "traditional unionism".

Not one to mince his words, he told the BBC's Inside Politics programme that Lady Sylvia Hermon was not "leadership material" and he did not believe the party should set off down a "soft, wishy washy" liberal route.

Instead, Mr Burnside favours Lord Kilclooney, formerly John Taylor, as an interim leader until the party holds its next annual general meeting next March.

The Ulster Unionist Executive, which met last Saturday, opted for an interim solution, asking a triumvirate of Lady Hermon, Sir Reg Empey and the party President, Lord Rogan, to take the helm until a leadership election can be held on 23 June.

'Dream team'

If the North Down MP and the East Belfast MLA could establish a good working relationship then you might be looking at a potential "dream team" if anything can be considered dreamlike, given the UUP's nightmare state.

However, if one thinks back to the old rumours of an Empey/Donaldson dream team, and Lady Hermon's public criticism of what she saw as Sir Reg's disloyalty to David Trimble, then you get a sense of the difficulties that could lie ahead.

The travails of the UUP may remain diverting for political observers, but it's questionable whether they will be very relevant for the general public in the short to the medium term.

What will matter over the next few weeks and months is the quality of the IRA's response to Gerry Adams' request for it to go down the political route and where the British and Irish governments and the DUP decide to go from there.

With its strongest ever team at Westminster, the DUP could decide to play the process long, making the best of continued direct rule.

Party sources say the message on the doorsteps was loud and clear - unionists of all shades do not want Sinn Fein in Government and they were voting for the DUP to ensure that didn't happen. In other words the DUP now feels it has a mandate NOT to do a deal.

Peter Robinson spoke during the campaign of a fresh assembly election - but sources say they do not now see that happening during the lifetime of the current Assembly which runs until 2007.

However, if Dublin and London consider the IRA response to be sufficient the DUP will no doubt come under pressure from both Governments to think again.

The new Northern Ireland Secretary, Peter Hain, told the BBC's Breakfast with Frost programme that a window of opportunity was now open.

"We've got to walk through that window, climb through it if necessary" he said.

Here's hoping the window is not on the top floor.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/05/16 16:28:36 GMT


Police Investigate Waterside 'Sectarian' Assault

By Geraldine Mulholland
16 May 2005

Police are treating a vicious attack on a teenager in the Duddy's Court area of the Waterside at the weekend as sectarian.

It comes just a month after the Triangle Residents' Association warned that the estate was "fast becoming a hotbed of sectarian tension".

In the latest incident, a 17-year-old male, who is understood to be Protestant, was walking through Duddy's Court at around 1.30am on Sunday morning when he was followed by two other men who dragged him to the ground and kicked and punched him about the head.

He was treated in hospital for injuries to the face and head.

One of his attackers is described as having ginger shaved hair and was wearing a white jacket while his accomplice is believed to be in his 20s and was wearing dark clothing and a dark baseball cap.

Investigating officers want to hear from anyone who witnessed the assault or who has any information to contact them at Waterside on (028) 7136 7337 or call the confidential Crimestoppers line on 0800 555 111.

Sectarian trouble has been brewing for some time in the general area around the Triangle.

Recently, both Sinn Fein and unionist politicians complained there had been ongoing attacks against Catholic and Protestant homes.

And Foyle DUP MLA, William Hay, has said he will be raising the issue of violence in the area at a meeting with police which has been organised for tomorrow.

"We have already met with the Housing Executive, residents, police and other agencies to see what more can be done in the area, such as improved lighting or closing off pathways which give access."


London, Dublin Facing Fresh Troubles

May 17, 2005

By John O'Sullivan

Some years after the 1974 collapse of the Sunningdale Agreement -- Northern Ireland's first experiment in unionist-nationalist power-sharing -- Willie Whitelaw, the Tory minister who had negotiated the deal, was reminiscing about it with T.E. Utley, the conservative author of Lessons of Ulster, still one of the most perceptive books on the ''troubles.''

Utley pointed out that this power-sharing arrangement would probably have survived if it had not been accompanied by an All-Ireland Council that alienated almost all unionists. That had not only inspired a working-class Prod rebellion but also had destroyed the career of the moderate Unionist leader, Brian Faulkner, who had tried to sell the entire package. Why had the British government put such pressure on Faulkner that he committed political suicide?

''Very true,'' sighed Whitelaw. ''But wasn't Brian a bloody fool to give in to our pressure!''

Well, up to a point, Lord Whitelaw. In the course of driving Faulkner to destroy his political career, however, the London government also postponed any political settlement of the Northern Irish crisis for more than 20 years. Not until the late 1990s was sufficient trust re-established to launch the Good Friday Agreement and another power-sharing arrangement.

You might suppose that the British government would have learned not to push moderate unionist leaders further than their community would permit. But the recent British elections saw the defeat of Faulkner's successor as leader of the ''official'' Unionist party (UUP), Nobel Prize winner David Trimble, and the redrawing of Ulster politics along these lines:

On the unionist-Protestant side, Ian Paisley's Democratic Unionist Party won nine of the 18 Ulster seats and replaced the UUP as representative of their community in the British House of Commons (as they had previously done in the Northern Ireland Assembly.)

Trimble's UUP won only one seat.

On the Catholic-nationalist side, Sinn Fein, the ''political wing of the Irish Republican Army,'' continued its advance and is now the largest party with five seats, to the moderate nationalist SDLP's three.

In other words, six years after the Good Friday Agreement, the two extremes in both communities now dominate Northern Ireland. It is the inevitable result of two policies pursued simultaneously by the British and Irish governments ever since the IRA notified London that it was prepared to wind down its terrorist campaign.

The first policy was and is appeasement of Sinn Fein-IRA. London and Dublin allowed Sinn Fein to participate fully in government even though the IRA repeatedly failed to disarm and abandon terrorism. In effect, this appeasement told Catholic nationalist voters that it was perfectly respectable to vote for terrorists and murderers. Hence they gave a 72 percent share of the vote to Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams less than two months after IRA thugs murdered an innocent bystander in a pub over an imagined slight. The SDLP went from electoral equality with Sinn Fein to a seven percent deficit.

The second policy was that of shattering the Unionist ''monolith'' in order to get two unionist parties -- one hardline intransigents, the other moderates that could be persuaded to cooperate with nationalist parties in a power-sharing executive and assembly. That began in the 1970s with London's wooing of Brian Faulkner. And for a time it succeeded: Since the 1970s there has been both a DUP and a UUP to split the once-united unionist vote.

As any analyst could see, however, these two policies were in conflict. London and Dublin were both repeatedly warned of this. Whenever there was a choice, however, they invariably sacrificed every other consideration to the appeasement of Sinn Fein-IRA.

The inevitable result was the victory of the Rev. Ian Paisley's DUP in the election. It now dominates Protestant-unionist politics. Will Paisley be prepared to participate in a power-sharing executive with Gerry Adams and Sinn Fein?

London and Dublin now face a conundrum. They cannot continue to appease the IRA and yet find pliable unionists to go along with the politics of power-sharing. They must choose one or the other.

So far they have always chosen to appease the IRA. After Sept. 11, however, terrorism is distinctly unfashionable, especially in Washington, and even in Boston. Turning an official blind eye to murder is getting harder.

Nor will Paisley be susceptible to the mixture of flattery and pressure that led Faulkner and Trimble into suicidal compromises.

Not only does he have their examples before his eyes, but he also narrowly escaped a similar fate in the 1970s: An interview conducted by the late (and brilliant) Liam Hourican of RTE, Dublin's state broadcasting corporation, tempted him into the indiscretion of saying that he could imagine himself leading the Protestants into a united Ireland. Within hours, Faulkner was touring Belfast's hardline Prod areas denouncing Paisley and getting cheered for it.

The Big Fella will never make that mistake again.


Orange Order Revival In Africa

The Orange Order is expecting to have its biggest Twelfth celebrations in a long time - not in Belfast though but in west Africa.

The order is having a revival there, according to research conducted by a University of Ulster academic.

The Protestant order celebrates the 1690 Battle of the Boyne victory of Prince William over Catholic King James I every 12 July.

Dr Rachel Naylor, a lecturer in sociology at the Magee campus, says the level of interest and commitment to the Orange Order in parts of Ghana and Togo might come as a surprise to people living in Northern Ireland.

"Although numerically small, those involved are highly committed and the level of interest is certainly significant," she said.

There are currently about 20 Orange lodges in west Africa.

But membership at a number of youth lodges in Ghana is increasing after years of relative decline

Return of democracy

Most of Dr Naylor's research to date has been concentrated on Ghana where the revival of Orangeism has coincided with the return of democracy.

Several African members have travelled to the July celebrations in Northern Ireland but the majority of the Ghana lodges mark the Battle of the Boyne with a traditional church service and parade at home.

Like their counterparts in Northern Ireland, male lodge members in Ghana wear suits and collarettes and march behind their lodge's banner.

Orangewomen wear their collarettes over white dresses.

However, although they march and dress in much the same fashion as in Northern Ireland, it is nonetheless difficult to make comparisons, says Dr Naylor, who believes the political, ethnic and religious context is very different

"The current emphasis in Ghana is very much on the spiritual and social support elements of the Order," she said.

The wider sociological issues raised by Dr Naylor's study will form an element of a new sociology module at the University of Ulster to be launched in the next academic year.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/05/17 11:10:09 GMT


Woman From US Killed At Hostel In Belfast

Gerry Moriarty, Northern Editor

PSNI detectives were last night trying to determine the motive behind the murder of a 29-year-old American woman backpacker who was found fatally injured near Queen's University Belfast.

A woman was in police custody last night after the victim, from New Mexico in the US, died as a result of a suspected assault at a Belfast tourist hostel off the Lisburn Road on Sunday evening.

The woman who was arrested on suspicion of murder is understood to be living in Belfast. Some sources said there may be no rational motive for the attack.

The murdered woman was discovered with head injuries outside the hostel at Fitzwilliam Street at about 7pm on Sunday.

She was rushed to the Royal Victoria Hospital where she died from her injuries.

Police were trying to establish whether the woman sustained the injuries inside the hostel and collapsed outside the building or whether she received her injuries outside the hostel.

The dead woman first visited Belfast about a month ago and since then travelled to Scotland before returning again to Belfast, it is understood.

The area around the murder scene was cordoned off yesterday while police and forensic experts examined the scene and conducted interviews in the area. Alternative accommodation was found for other hostellers at Fitzwilliam Street.

The US consulate in Belfast contacted the dead woman's family in the US yesterday.

They may travel to Belfast later in the week.

SDLP South Belfast Assembly member Carmel Hanna, who said she was horrified at news of the death of the young woman, said there was considerable arbitrary violence in the area around Queen's.

"The lower Lisburn Road area is one where there is a large number of rented properties and a constantly moving population of predominantly young people," she said.

"There is quite a high incidence of casual street violence - innocent young people are the main victims - and not so long ago a doctor going on duty at nearby Belfast City Hospital was assaulted.

"There is also a concentration of licensed premises in the area," she added.

"Quite frankly, while I do accept that the area around Queen's will inevitably have a high proportion of short-term residents, what this area needs are policies which will encourage the stabilisation of the social structure of the area," said Ms Hanna.

Sinn Féin Assembly member for South Belfast Alex Maskey offered sympathy to the dead woman's family and said that local people were shocked at the killing.

© The Irish Times


Boy (16) Helped Rescue Man Who Jumped Into Shannon River

Karl Hanlon

A teenage boy has told how he dramatically helped to rescue a man who had jumped off a bridge into the river Shannon.

Keen rower Brian Hogan (16) had just left St Michael's Rowing Club in Limerick on Sunday afternoon with a number of friends when they spotted the man falling from the Shannon Bridge.

Eyewitnesses said the 25- year-old man jumped from the bridge after first hurling a suitcase or holdall bag into the swirling water below.

Heroic Brian, a fifth-year student at Ard Scoil Rís in Limerick, and two of his rowing pals immediately launched a speedboat from the club and set off in pursuit of the man who was struggling in the water.

"Five of us were just leaving the rowing club when we saw a bag falling from the bridge and then a man went in after it. One of the lads had a mobile phone and rang the emergency services while three of us launched a boat with an outboard motor and went out towards the man in the water," said Brian, who has been a member of St Michael's Rowing Club for four years.

When they reached the man in the water, Brian said they threw a life buoy towards him and convinced him to grab hold of the buoy.

"The buoy was attached to a rope and we towed him to the quay wall where he was able to climb out himself. He must have been in the water for about 15 minutes and the current was quite strong at the time," said the secondary-school student.

The man from Limerick city was brought by ambulance to the Mid-Western Regional Hospital.

A Garda spokesman said the man did not sustain any serious injuries.

© The Irish Times


Irish Writers To Fore At Dublin Festival

Catherine Foley

The seventh annual Dublin Writers Festival changes its focus this year to put Irish talent centre stage. This year's programme was launched in the Chester Beatty Library in Dublin last night.

Although the line-up still features strong international representation, Irish writers such as Dermot Bolger, Sebastian Barry, Nick Laird, Claire Kilroy, Chris Binchy, Ronan Bennett, Jack Harte and Mary O'Donnell are among those who will be taking part in this festival of readings, discussions, lectures and performance from June 16th to 19th.

A biography seminar with Adam Feinstein, who wrote the first comprehensive English biography of Pablo Neruda, and Sarah Churchwell, who examined the biographical construction of Marilyn Monroe by the filmstar's various biographers, will take place at the Project Theatre in Dublin's Temple Bar.

Language and translation are themes of the festival, and the poets Fiona Sampson, Tomaz Salamun and Paolo Ruffilli, who have all translated each others' work, will read at the Project on June 17th.

The festival will also focus on Germany and will feature Hugo Hamilton, Thomas Brussig, Juli Zeh and Christoph Hein. For more information see

© The Irish Times


Synge Season: Druid Prepare To Stage Six Plays

Full rehearsals have begun in Galway this week for Druid Theatre's plan to stage six plays by John Millington Synge later this summer.

The premiere will take place on July 16th during the Galway Arts Festival, and "promises to be the theatrical experience of a lifetime", according to the company. Three of the six have already been produced by the company during the last two years as part of a long-held ambition by Druid's director Garry Hynes, but this project represents the first time that six Synge works have been performed back to back.

Actors working with Hynes will include Marie Mullen, Mick Lally, Eamon Morrissey, Catherine Walsh and emerging talent such as Aaron Monaghan and Gemma Reeves. Regular collaborators Francis O'Connor (design), Sam Jackson (music), Davy Cunningham (lighting) and Kathy Strachan (costumes) have also been engaged by Druid.

© The Irish Times
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