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News about the Irish & Irish American culture, music, news, sports. This is hosted by the Irish Aires radio show on KPFT-FM 90.1 in Houston, Texas (a Pacifica community radio station)
May 15, 2005
Adams Renews Appeal to IRA
News about Ireland and the Irish
UT 05/15/05 Adams Renews Appeal To IRA
ST 05/15/05 Protestants 'Fear Mixed Marriages'
BB 05/15/05 NI Process 'Could Move Forward'
IO 05/15/05 McCartneys Nominated For Humanitarian Award
ST 05/15/05 FARC Rebel 'Admits IRA Trained Him'
ST 05/15/05 Opin: Blair Doesn't Get It - Deal Isn't What N Ireland Wants
ST 05/15/05 Gang Of Three To Run Ulster Unionists
SB 05/15/05 Green Party Means Business As It Prepares For 2007 Battle
BC 05/15/05 On 30th Of Jan 1972 In Derry, Northern Ireland, A March...
IO 05/15/05 Masses Mark 80th Anniversary Of St Therese Canonisation
ST 05/15/05 Irish Sea Dolphins Have Five Times EU Toxin Levels
Adams Renews Appeal To IRA
Sinn Fein's Gerry Adams is calling for intensive efforts to get the
political process back on track.
Mr Adams says he and the party`s chief negotiator Martin McGuinness have
been in touch with both the Irish and British governments - as well as
the US administration - within the past few days.
The Sinn Fein president, who says the Good Friday Agreement is in `cold
storage`, says his party wants to work with the DUP and Northern
Ireland`s other main parties.
He has also renewed his appeal to the IRA to commit themselves to purely
political and democratic means.
Protestants 'Fear Mixed Marriages'
IRELAND'S Protestants may be becoming more insular, new research
indicates. More twenty something and thirty something Protestants living
in the republic would have reservations about marrying outside the faith
than their parents' generation.
A study, Border Protestant Perspectives, sampled the attitudes of
different age groups living in six counties along the border with
Only 13% of 25- to 35-year-olds would approve without reservation of one
of their offspring marrying a Catholic compared with 23% of those aged 51
to 65. A further 43% of those aged 25 to 35 surveyed said they would
approve of intermarriage but "with reservations" while a quarter were
The proportion of those against their children intermarrying was roughly
the same in all age groups but more of those over 35 would support their
son or daughter marrying a Catholic without reservation. Only 6% of
survey respondents were in mixed religion marriages themselves.
In 2002, Protestants comprised about 3% of the republic's population, or
120,000 people, down from 10%, or 340,000 people in 1902.
Not all young border Protestants are so protective of their religious
heritage. Neil Hannon, of the band the Divine Comedy, married his wife
Orla in a Catholic church. in a ceremony jointly celebrated by his
father, then the Church of Ireland bishop of Clogher, and a Catholic
Ian McCracken, a development officer with Derry and Raphoe Action, a
cross-border community group, and a member of the study's steering
committee, said: "It is a wee bit of surprise that the young people are
more concerned by such marriages than the older people. Overall, there is
still a feeling that people would prefer to marry within their own
community but two people getting married have enough problems without
families and churches also being difficult."
Niall Crowley, the chief executive officer of the Equality Authority,
said: "There are many drivers for people taking up views on mixed
marriages. In minority communities it is particularly important, as
marrying within your own community may be key to it surviving. Marriage
has been particularly important for the Jewish community with some moving
abroad in order to marry within their religion."
The study, funded under the EU's Programme for Peace and Reconciliation,
examined attitudes of Protestants in Donegal, Sligo, Leitrim, Cavan,
Monaghan and Louth. It found that most felt their community was accepted
into local society but Protestants tended to keep to themselves.
Maria Curran, a director of Locus management which carried out the
research, said: "There would appear to be a demarcation in the importance
of identity between public and private life. In that it does not
determine where people live or are employed but where it can be preserved
through the family and education system there appears to be preference
that it is maintained."
The report's authors found that: "Protestant participation in civil and
civic society is low. Much Protestant community activity is centred
around the church."
Kevin Myers, the social commentator, said he was not surprised by the
study's findings. "You can expect tribal identification on one side if
you are seeing it on the other. In places where the Sinn Fein vote goes
up those people who feel excluded from the Sinn Fein agenda are going to
go in the opposite direction."
Almost a quarter (23%) of respondents said they had experienced
harassment as a result of their religious identity, mostly in the
workplace and within educational establishments. More than one quarter of
survey respondents believed they would not have equal access to state
employment opportunities as a similarly qualified and experienced
Catholic. This was particularly felt in relation to the gardai and local
Survey respondents were however divided on the importance of segregated
schooling, with 51% agreeing that it is "vital for the viability of the
While there was support for a sense of national identity, there was a
small number who did not identify easily with the Irish state. The focus
group participants also noted feelings of enforced marginalisation, with
Protestants believing that certain electoral boundaries have been
deliberately set to ensure a split of the Protestant vote.
NI Process 'Could Move Forward'
An end to all paramilitary activity and criminality in Northern Ireland
could lead to the breakthrough needed, the secretary of state has said.
Peter Hain said this would enable the political process to move forward.
Speaking on the Breakfast with Frost programme on Sunday, Mr Hain stopped
short of saying the IRA must first disband.
"David Trimble has made that demand - let's see what happens in the next
few months," he said.
"I don't think we should pick on particular phrases and latch onto those
and make those the be all and end all.
"What is important is that there is no criminality and no paramilitary
activity from whatever source in Northern Ireland politics anymore.
"If we can achieve that and a clear road forward on that, then I think
everybody will be willing to talk about participation and shared
Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/05/15 13:12:06 GMT
© BBC MMV
McCartneys Nominated For Humanitarian Award
The sisters of murdered Belfast father-of-two Robert McCartney have been
nominated for an international humanitarian award, it was announced
The siblings' fight for justice for their brother has taken them from the
Short Strand area of east Belfast to the White House and the European
Their fearless campaign has captured the imagination of world leaders and
now a nomination for the annual Robert Burns Humanitarian Award.
Other names on the shortlist include tycoon turned philanthropist Tom
Hunter and Archbishop Pius Ncube, a vocal critic of Zimbabwean president
The winner will be announced during a gala concert at Culzean Castle in
Ayrshire next Friday.
The five McCartney sisters and Robert's fiancee, Bridgeen Hagans, have
suffered threats that they will be burned out of their homes amid their
continued bid to bring to court members of the IRA they accuse of
The 33-year-old forklift driver was drinking in Magennis' bar in Belfast
city centre on January 30 when he was beaten and stabbed to death.
The panel must choose someone they feel best upholds the principles of
tolerance, friendship and humanity, as reflected in the poetry of Roberts
FARC Rebel 'Admits IRA Trained Him'
THE commander-in-chief of the Colombian army says that a member of the
Farc guerilla group who defected last month has admitted he was trained
in terrorist techniques by the Colombia Three.
It is the first report of a Farc guerilla to claim he was trained by them
since two defectors refused to testify in the Irishmen's 2003 trial.
General Carlos Alberto Ospina says he personally interviewed the former
member of Farc, who claims he was shown how to use explosives, landmines
and mortars by the IRA team.
The three Irishmen — Niall Connolly, 39, James Monaghan, 59, and Martin
McCauley, 42 — were arrested with fake passports in Colombia in 2001.
They were initially acquitted of involvement in terrorism, but that
verdict was overturned on appeal last December and they were sentenced to
17 years in jail.
The three, who insist they are innocent, fled the country while awaiting
the appeal and are believed to be hiding in Venezuela.
Ospina said: "Only 20 days ago I visited one of our units in the jungle
who had captured a Farc terrorist wanting to defect. He had been taught
personally by the Irishmen. He said he had learnt from them to lay mines
and fire grenades."
The man has been put into a witness protection programme.
Ospina said IRA-style techniques are now being used all over Colombia by
Farc. A British military attaché and other British experts have travelled
to Colombia to compare explosive devices found there with ones known to
have been used by the IRA during the Troubles.
"They told us there were similarities with the techniques they have in
Ireland," said Ospina. "They found some similarities, especially with the
snipers and the explosives. The biggest problem we have now in Colombia
is with snipers and with landmine traps."
He blames the Colombia Three for the first Farc snipers since the
conflict began in the 1960s. "Three years ago there were no snipers in
Colombia except in the army. But suddenly you have Farc snipers armed
with high-calibre rifles and high-tech sighting equipment," the general
Colombian intelligence says a company of Farc snipers was trained at a
single camp near the Brazilian border and dispersed across 60 fronts in
"They kill between eight or 10 soldiers a month with snipers," said
Ospina, citing intercepted communications from the Farc leadership.
"Their goal is to kill 50 soldiers a day."
The few Farc snipers that have been caught were well equipped, with high-
powered rifles of the same 0.5in calibre favoured by IRA snipers in
"It was after the visit of the Irishmen that they got these techniques,
plus locally made grenades," said Ospina.
IRA snipers had certain characteristics, according to an Irish army
expert. "The Provos increased their weapons' size and range," he said.
"That's standard enough, but if the Farc were using 0.5in rifles that
would indicate some similarities. With a 0.5in rifle you can engage from
three-quarters of a mile and if you hit the target you'll take it down."
Ospina said double and triple bomb attacks were becoming common.
"We have had several attacks where one bomb goes off and when the troops
arrive another one goes off. You find yourself in a minefield."
The Irish army expert said the tactic was similar to the Narrowater
massacre in 1979 in which 18 British soldiers were killed in a single
ambush. "They detonated a bomb, waited until a larger patrol arrived and
detonated an even larger bomb where it was likely the unit would muster.
That tactic is something the IRA refined over the years," he said.
A recent attack in Colombia was cited by Ospina as an example of how
remote detonation. techniques have proliferated. A child was paid 20p to
ride a bicycle stuffed with 10lbs of dynamite to a road block before it
was detonated by somebody nearby, killing him and two policemen.
Comment: Liam Clarke: Blair Doesn't Get It - A Deal Isn't What Northern
Perhaps the worst thing about the election result in Northern Ireland is
the fact that Tony Blair is incapable of reading it. People have, as
David Trimble remarked, voted for stalemate yet the British prime
minister won't acknowledge it. The DUP has been installed, not to drive a
hard bargain, but to block Sinn Fein ministers from gaining power for the
foreseeable future. Sinn Fein has been elected in the full knowledge that
the party is unlikely to concede enough to enter into government with
On both sides of the sectarian divide, intransigence has won widespread
apporoval. But, in Blair's alternative universe, a deal is still
"I am still actually very hopeful that we can resolve it," he said last
week. "I think that, when it became apparent that the UUP couldn't make
the deal with Sinn Fein, the DUP gained from that."
The prime minister seems to be saying that unionist voters switched their
allegiance to the DUP because they were disappointed that the UUP
couldn't reach agreement with Sinn Fein. In fact, people voted for the
DUP because they were confident they would resist a deal, whereas they
feared the UUP might do one.
The DUP manifesto pledged not to go into power-sharing with Sinn Fein
and, before the election, Ian Paisley didn't mince his words. He told
voters: "Let it be said in the plainest possible language that there can
be no power-sharing with IRA/Sinn Fein either before or after an
election. They have for ever forfeited their right to any such power-
sharing place. Democracy and liberty demands that they be excluded."
Paisley spoke like this because feedback from the electorate and a series
of market research polls conducted in key marginal constituencies showed
that this was what voters wanted to hear. He said it, his candidates
repeated it at every turn, and as a result of these pledges an "electoral
tsunami" hit the Ulster Unionists, as Danny Kennedy of the UUP put it.
"No deal" is the mandate Paisley got and after the election he pledged
that he would "not be talking to the IRA now, tomorrow or ever". He
added, for good measure, that his victory at the polls represented the
"burial" of the Good Friday agreement.
There is, it is true, some room for manoeuvre in the DUP position but not
enough to get a deal quickly. Various DUP politicians have suggested
"come back and talk to me again" if the IRA makes a dramatic break from
violence and criminality. There has also been the suggestion that DUP
leaders could seek a new mandate if they thought they could do a deal
with Sinn Fein as a result of unprecedented movement from the
However, it is very hard to believe that the DUP will be prepared to go
to the electorate advocating a pact with Sinn Fein this year or next.
That would require what Paisley described as "sackcloth and ashes" — an
admission that the IRA campaign had been wrong, a complete
decommissioning of all weapons and a photographic record to prove it and
the standing down of the IRA. It would have to be something so clear that
nobody could misinterpret it.
Nothing like that is on offer; nor has it been asked for by the Sinn Fein
leadership. Gerry Adams instead suggested that the IRA "fully embrace and
accept . . . purely political and democratic activity".
What this might entail was spelt out in more detail in an interview with
Martin McGuinness in which he envisaged an IRA which, although it would
agree to be involved in "no activity whatsoever", would not "stand down"
or "disband". He hinted that the provisionals would retain enough
weaponry to take action if required to do so.
McGuinness said: "I don't think anybody ever envisages again a time when
nationalist communities will not be in a position to defend themselves in
a crisis." Weapons for a crisis would also be weapons which could be used
to deal with opponents in nationalist areas and carry out robberies. The
republican organisation would maintain for ever what Michael McDowell has
described as a "lightly armed militia".
The IRA is already moving in that direction for reasons of its own. Whole
areas of the organisation have effectively been stood down and/or
streamlined. The robberies it has carried out are largely the work of a
specialist unit and many of the IRA's GHQ staff departments have been
closed. The army council itself is being reshuffled and it is clear that
the organisation is not preparing for a return to full-scale violence or
anything like it.
Even hardliners know that to go back to war would be deeply unpopular and
would squander all that has been gained politically by Sinn Fein.
What is now on offer is a unilateral statement from the IRA that the "war
is over" or could be over and that the organisation has confidence in the
political process. There is also likely to be a formal distancing from
Sinn Fein so that the political party will not be tainted if the IRA
takes action in the future.
It is unlikely that these words will be accompanied by the sort of
complete and transparent decommissioning the unionist electorate
requires. Most, perhaps all, of the weapons are likely to be held back
for future negotiations.
Saying, finally, that the war is over would undeniably be a step forward
and a confidence-building measure, but it would come more than 10 years
after an IRA ceasefire, which was supposed to signal a complete end to
military activity. It is not enough to tempt the DUP into power-sharing
in the short or even medium term.
The extent of the likely IRA offer illustrates the problem that unionists
have in dealing with the republican movement. A very narrow majority of
them voted for the Good Friday agreement back in 1998 and most of this
more moderate group now believe they were sold short. They believed that
weapons would be decommissioned within two years — the same time as it
would take for prisoner releases — and that IRA activity would quickly
sputter out. Those who voted for the agreement consequently feel cheated
while those who didn't feel justified in their scepticism.
That is why last week the unionist community voted overwhelmingly to
withhold the one thing that it can still withhold from Sinn Fein now that
republican prisoners have been freed — ministerial office as of right.
Unionists will withhold their consent to devolution until there is
utterly persuasive evidence that the IRA has gone away and that its
weapons are no longer available for use.
We are talking at least 18 months of unbroken peace before the unionist
community would be convinced.
If the unionists won't buy it, or won't buy it quickly, then why would
the IRA make the sort of offer I believe they will in June or July? The
real reason is that Sinn Fein wants to maintain the impression of a
steady move away from violence for the benefit of moderate nationalists.
It is a matter of keeping faith with nationalist voters who believed
Adams, rather than pleasing unionists who didn't. It is also a matter of
playing cards slowly.
The bonus for Sinn Fein is that Blair will pay them to do this. They can
see he is keen and, in the words of WC Fields, they know better than to
"give a sucker an even break".
Last week, Adams set out his shopping list for Blair as "progress on
equality, human rights, collusion, the Irish language, demilitarisation,
justice and policing", pointing out that these issues were "entirely
within the gift of the British government".
It has always been a good option for Sinn Fein to horsetrade redundant
bits and pieces of the IRA campaign and structures with the British
government in return for political capital. That is how Sinn Fein
delivers to the nationalist community and makes the SDLP look inadequate.
It is also how it puts the squeeze on the DUP who, without seats in a
Northern Ireland executive, can do little but protest from the sidelines.
If he had a cool head Blair would sit tight until the IRA delivers. Yet,
he is already waving his money around.
Gang Of Three To Run Ulster Unionists
THE new Ulster Unionist leader will be elected at a special meeting of
the party's ruling council on June 23. In the meantime, three prominent
members are to be in charge — Lord Rogan, the party president, Sir Reg
Empey, an assembly member, and Lady Sylvia Hermon, its only MP.
The decision was made at a meeting of the UUP's executive yesterday.
David Trimble resigned as leader after the party lost all but one of its
seats at Westminster. Potential leadership candidates include Empey,
Hermon, David McNarry and Lord Maginnis.
Hermon, who wants the party to go in a more liberal direction, was
attacked yesterday by David Burnside, the former South Antrim MP, who
said she was not up to the job and was too moderate to unite unionism.
Burnside ruled himself out of the leadership race. He hinted that he
would resign from the Northern Ireland assembly if it was not wound up.
"She does not have the presence in the House of Commons, I believe, to be
a leader of the UUP," Burnside said of Hermon. He accused her of voting
with Labour more than the Tories. "If the party wants to go off on some
sort of softy, wishy-washy, liberal sort of route they'll have a lot of
other people who are still in the party stepping aside from it."
Burnside had backed Lord Kilclooney as interim leader. Kilclooney has
said that he would stand in June but only to lead the party until its AGM
next March. "I would be prepared to lead it for that period if I had two
deputies." Empey is thought to be one of the deputies he has in mind.
Maginnis, who is 67 like Kilclooney, said he might be prepared to stand
for the leadership. "We need someone who will get in there and do what
needs to be done," he said. "My age is against me but if you put me side
by side on merit with any of the other candidates I am better qualified."
McNarry, an MLA, said he also might stand. "The UUP is a company that has
had its assets stripped and therefore you have to start with a clean
sheet of paper," he said. "That offers greater opportunities than
something in a halfway stage. We have no choice other than to fight back
After losing all but one of its MPs, as well as 40 councillors, the UUP
will be forced to slim down, cut costs and restructure. The party loses
£101,000 in Westminster allowances and will forfeit tens of thousands in
staff allowances. An annual £130,000 grant available to parties with two
or more MPs expires in March and will not be renewed.
Two leading members of the Democratic Unionist party are suing supporters
of the UUP over comments made during the election campaign.
Peter Robinson, the DUP's deputy leader, is suing Michael Shilliday, a
UUP supporter, over comments in a letter to the Belfast News Letter, a
unionist daily paper. Robinson says Shilliday accused him of accepting
the release of IRA prisoners and an all-Ireland parliament in Dublin.
Another action is being taken by Arlene Foster, a DUP MLA and former UUP
member in Fermanagh, who has issued writs against the entire officer
board of the UUP, Maginnis and three newspapers. She says she was accused
of working secretly with other DUP members to get Sinn Fein elected in
Green Party Means Business As It Prepares For 2007 Battle
15 May 2005 By Niamh Connolly
Green Party conferences were once unpredictable affairs that embraced
environmentalists, vegan purists and all strands of non-conformist
But this year's event in the Silver Springs Hotel, Cork, featured only
some of the party's moderately bohemian traits: a poetry reading before
the real business of the day started.
The party's agenda for this year is to re-emphasise its move away from
single issue environmentalism towards a more pragmatic economic policy
and a more pro-business approach.
A sharper Green Party has been in the ascendancy since an internal revamp
saw Trevor Sargent elected leader in 2001 and John Gormley become
chairman the following year.
A well-oiled professional structure is now in place.
The 2002 general election brought the Green Tide - the election of four
new TDs: Eamon Ryan, Ciaran Cuffe, Paul Gogarty and Dan Boyle.
They know their portfolios well and ask pertinent questions during Dail
committee sittings. They adopt a media-savvy approach to parliamentary
At this weekend's conference, the speech by Dublin South TD Ryan focused
on energy and enterprise. The address by Cuffe, TD for Dun Laoghaire, was
entitled Smart Growth - Good for Business.
Boyle, the Cork South Central TD, took on the subject Economics as if
A manager from the wind energy firm Airtricity addressed the conference.
He is a representative of a business sector that the Greens will be
targeting in their new electoral fundraising drive.
The party may have a left-leaning social conscience, but there is no
mistaking its middle-class credentials. All four new TDs elected in 2002
benefited from the Fine Gael slide.
Based in Ranelagh, Ryan, a former businessman, took Alan Shatter's seat,
while architect Ciaran Cuffe filled the gap left by the retirement of
Fine Gael's Monica Barnes and Sean Barrett.
Another high-profile casualty in 2002 was Fine Gael's Austin Currie, who
lost his Dublin Mid West seat to newcomer, Gogarty, a former journalist.
Boyle gained a seat at the expense of Deirdre Clune who hails from Fine
Gael stock; her father is ex-Fine Gael minister Peter Barry.
The Greens have targeted at least three more seats in the next general
election, though political analysts from other parties are sceptical
about the party's chances.
They believe that of the six Dail TDs, only Sargent's seat in Dublin
North is safe in the next election, expected in 2007.
Gormley, Ryan and Cuffe are in serious danger of losing their seats in
2007 to a resurgent Fine Gael and Labour, which is poised to make gains,
according to some analysts.
Gormley may win kudos in Dublin South East over his complaint to the EU
Commission about the smell in Dublin 4 from the new sewage treatment
plant, but Dublin South East is a highly volatile constituency. Michael
McDowell, the PD Minister for Justice, has twice lost his seat.
Sinn Fe¨in councillor Daithõ Â Doolan is also making inroads in Dublin
Gormley has been without the eyes and ears of a local councillor since
last June, when the party lost three councillors on Dublin City Council.
Boyle's Cork South Central constituency is to become a four-seater, where
he may be challenged by Labour councillor Ciaran Lynch, brother-in-law of
Kathleen Lynch TD.
Ryan is under threat from Labour councillor Aidan Culhane after fighting
it out for the last seat with Labour's Eithne Fitzgerald in 2002.
Cuffe could lose out to a reinvigorated Fine Gael, while Gogarty faces
pressures from Fine Gael, Labour and Sinn Fein in his four-seater.
At this weekend's conference the party re-affirmed its intention not
enter a pre-election pact with Fine Gael and Labour.
The leadership was not pleased with the party's performance in last
year's local and European elections. Even though the party more than
doubled its number of councillors to 18, it failed to secure the most
optimistic target of trebling its number of local authority seats to 35.
The loss of the Greens' two European seats, held by Patricia McKenna and
Nuala Ahern, has deprived the party of a presence in European politics,
where the Green movement is very influential.
It has also been one of the reasons for the lack of media publicity for
the Greens' annual conference; for a second year in a row, RTE has not
broadcast the event live.
The party's support in the local elections overall increased to 3.7 per
cent from 2.5 per cent in 1999, while nationally support for the Greens
stands at between 5 and 6 per cent.
Candidates are now being selected for the next general election. The
Greens will be seeking gains in Carlow-Kilkenny, Galway West, Clare, Cork
North Central, Wicklow, Carlow, Dublin South Central, Kildare North,
Dublin North Central and Meath.
Councillor Bronwen Maher will run in Dublin North Central, Niall O
Brolchain in Galway West, Tony McDermott in Dublin South Central, Deirdre
de Búrca in Wicklow, Brian Meaney in Clare, Mark Dearey in Louth and
Elizabeth Davidson in Dublin South West.
The party's deputy leader Mary White is expected to run in Carlow-
McKenna could run in the Taoiseach's constituency of Dublin Central. Dun
Laoghaire/Rathdown councillor Nessa Childers is likely to be selected to
stand for election somewhere in Dublin.
The Greens believe the party has a fighting chance to win three more Dail
seats in 2007: White in Carlow-Kilkenny, O Brolchain in Galway West and
Meaney in Clare.
One of the more unsettling controversies of the last year for the Greens
was Ryan's abandoned bid for the presidency, which raised inevitable
speculation that Ryan could be a future party leader.
The Dublin South TD announced his interest in contesting for the office
after Labour's National Executive Council decided by just one vote
against running Michael D Higgins in an election.
One view suggests that Ryan would have won the support of those Labour
Party members still smarting over Higgins's rejection as a presidential
candidate by the leadership. However, this would have further underlined
the conflict over the party's reverse takeover by Democratic Left.
Sargent and Gormley opposed contesting the presidential election, while
Gogarty said publicly that Ryan's candidacy would have bankrupted the
party against Mary McAleese's campaign machine.
The internal machinations over Ryan's abandoned presidential candidacy
were not helped by an internal row over the European election posters,
for which Ryan was responsible.
They depicted cornfields and tomatoes rather than promoting the party's
Cuffe was also involved in controversy in recent years but rebounded from
an embarrassing episode over unethical stock market investments that form
part of a €1.1 million portfolio. The Dun Laoghaire TD has posted a list
of ethical investments on his own website.
The pressing issue for the Green Party in the run-up to the next election
Last June, an internal strategic review concluded that the Greens were
'not at the races' electorally and needed to address fundraising
In last year's local and European elections, the Greens spent just
€49,000 compared to almost €200,000 spent by Fianna Fail's Royston Brady
in his failed bid to become MEP and €197,822 spent by Eoin Ryan's
The party wants to build a war chest for the election and will target for
the first time business people involved in "ethical'' companies for
Currently, campaigns are funded by donations from TDs and MEPs, state
allowances and modest membership fees.
TDs sign a pledge to pay over 20 per cent of their post-tax income to the
party. A professional company will be employed to begin fundraising.
However, this weekend Sargent stressed its opposition to corporate
donations in return for access to power.
The Greens are already repositioning themselves for the coming battle in
2007 at the polls.
On 30th Of January 1972 In Derry, Northern Ireland, A March...
On 30th of January 1972 in Derry, Northern Ireland, a march organized by
the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association, in order to protest
against the law on the internament without process, (introduced on 9th
August 1971 on the base of Section 12 of the Special Power Act) was made
object of a brutal, criminal and premeditated aggression by the British
The soldiers of 1st Battalion of the Parachute Regiment, an elite unit of
the Royal Paratroopoers (the English parachutists) opened the fire on the
marchers without any appearing reason, killing thirteen persons and
hurting seriously fourteen others. After few months, the number of the
victims raised to 14 because of the injured dead in hospital.
The greater part of the victims, between the 17 and 41 years of age, was
killed by a single shot, shooted with precision to the head or to the
thorax. A few days after the massacre, the National Council for the Civil
Freedoms began to collect accurate and direct witnesses. In a few weeks
more than 500 witnesses were collected and recorded.
The English Government started a judicial inquiry on the facts presided
from Lord Widgery "Lord Chief of Justice".
Only 15 witnesses, out of 500 collected, were admitted to the acts by
Lord Widgery. In April 1972 the commission published a final report that
was based only on the version reported by the English soldiers who took
part to the slaughter.
The official version of the army, proved from any eyewitnesses except
British soldiers, has always adfirmed that the shooting has been a
legitimate and measured answer against hostile subjects that had opened
the fire against the Security forces shooting and launching grenades.
In the light of such assumed version, the English judicial authority has
never been formally indicate any responsible of the massacre.
Moreover, its executory responsibles have been decorated by Queen
Elisabeth II. In 1998, after 26 years, the Blair Government, carrying out
a choice that does not have previous in the history, has opened an
inquiry that does not have legal importance in order to verify the facts
which happened during the Bloody Sunday of Derry.
Until today, after 33 years, no guilty, no responsible has been
recognized, as well as no admission of responsibility has been declared
by any part of the British Government or by the General Staff of the
British Army Chief Responsible, the general Michael Jackson, who was
heading the operations in Derry on 30th January 1972.
Many people, many voices, without interruption, with the aim to ask for
historical truth and for clear light on the massacres of state of the
history, Irish and not only, have decided to create a Permanent Committee
in order not to forget the Bloody Sunday.
by : Bloody Sunday
Sunday 15th May 2005
Masses Mark 80th Anniversary Of St Therese Canonisation
15/05/2005 - 14:54:41
A series of special masses gets underway in Dublin this evening to mark
the 80th anniversary of the canonisation of Saint Therese of Lisieux.
The French nun, who died in 1897 aged just 24, has become one of the most
popular Catholic saints of modern times.
More thanthree million people turned out to see the relics of the when
they toured Ireland four years ago.
The three services take place in the Carmelite chapel in Terenure
May 15, 2005
Irish Sea Dolphins Have Five Times EU Toxin Levels
DOLPHINS and porpoises stranded on Irish beaches have been found to
contain high levels of a chemical used in the manufacture of polystyrene,
according to a new study of Europe's coasts.
Up to five times as much of the chemical, used to make polystyrene and
furniture upholstery fire-resistant, was discovered in mammals from the
Irish Sea than from other European waters, according to the study
published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology.
A team led by scientists from the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea
Research (NIOZ) said that industries using the chemical flame retardant
in production processes are the most likely source of the pollution. It
is probably getting into the sea after being discharged into the water
"Since the concentrations we found in this area are three to five times
higher than in other seas, it is important to trace the source and see if
production processes could be improved resulting in lower emissions to
the environment," said Jan Boon, a toxicologist with NIOZ.
Commercial hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD) is a flame-retardant applied in
polystyrene foams used mainly as insulation material in the building
industry, but also used in upholstered furniture. About 16,000 tons are
produced worldwide every year, and it is considered a priority pollutant
under the existing substance regulation of the European Chemicals Bureau.
Scientists examined the levels of HBCD in the blubber of harbour
porpoises and dolphins stranded on the coasts of Scotland, the
Netherlands, Belgium, France and Spain as well as Ireland. The
measurements in harbour porpoises stranded on the Irish and Scottish
coasts of the Irish Sea and the northwest coast of Scotland were
significantly higher than those in all other areas, except for the south
coast of Ireland. Common dolphins found on the west coast of Ireland also
had the highest levels of the chemical.
Boon said it was not clear how the chemical had made its way into the
Irish Sea but previous research found similar chemicals in fish in rivers
in Europe. Since there is no known HBCD producer near the Irish Sea or in
northwest Scotland, industries using commercial formulations of the flame
retardant are the most likely sources of the pollution, he said. "I think
that it is coming from industries that are using it. They buy it from the
manufacturer and use it in their own production process and then it
reaches the environment in some way."
The source could be on either side of the Irish Sea, on the east coast of
Ireland or western Britain, said the toxicologist. "Pollution which
enters the Irish Sea is transported to the north along the coast of
Scotland so there is not necessarily another source in Scotland," said
Boon. Because the mammals are rapidly migrating animals it is difficult
to determine where they picked up the chemical, he said.
"Because the compounds are added to the material in which they are used —
they are mixed instead of being chemically bound — they can leak out of
the material more easily," said Boon, who is involved in another study
investigating the effects of the chemical on the animals. "The effect we
consider most relevant is the effect on thyroid hormone regulation and
maybe also some effects on the nervous system.
"It is a source of concern that these compounds have residues in marine
mammals. Whether it is high enough to have reason for health concerns I
don't know yet. If we go on using these compounds in the amounts we are
currently using them for many years then the concentrations might reach
"We simply want to warn that while flame retardants increase safety, and
fires are bad for human health and the environment, there is also another
side to the compound. Part of it remains behind in the environment and
therefore there is a reason for concern. After a detailed risk assessment
we have to decide which is more important, the advantages or the
Emer Rogan, of University College Cork's department of zoology, who took
the samples for the study, said: "What concerns me is that the chemicals
have got into the food chain and have managed to accumulate through the
food chain so that we are seeing those kind of levels in the porpoises
The levels of HBCD found in the porpoises stranded on the coasts of the
Irish Sea and northwest Scotland were similar in magnitude to those found
in pike caught just downstream of a textile industry along the Swedish
river Viskan and in eel and brown trout caught near a sewage treatment
plant along the river Skerne in Britain, to which the sewer outlet of a
HBCD production plant was also connected.
The research, with universities in the Netherlands and Scotland, was part
of two wider EU projects investigating the accumulation of persistent
organic pollutants in marine animals.