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May 11, 2005

Ahern To Raise '74 Bombing With NI Secretary

News About Ireland & The Irish

IT 05/12/05 Ahern To Raise ‘74 Bombings With NI Secretary
SF 05/11/05 Gerry Adams Says "Go Raibh Maith Agat"
SF 05/11/05 SF Leader Suspended After Clash With Taoiseach
BB 05/10/05 DUP Issues Warning At Westminster
IE 05/10/05 Analysis: The Challenge Ahead For SDLP
BB 05/10/05 Hermon 'Wants A More Liberal UUP'
UT 05/10/05 Man Jailed After Family Forced To Flee Home
IA 05/10/05 Scorsese Irish Casting Call Set
IT 05/11/05 Roche Paves Way For Tara Motorway
UT 05/11/05 Aer Lingus To Cancel Orlando Flights


Taoiseach To Raise 1974 Bombings With NI Secretary

Michael O'Regan

British government co-operation in the inquiry into the
1974 Dublin and Monaghan bombings is to be raised by
Taoiseach Bertie Ahern when he meets the new Northern
Secretary, Peter Hain, next week.

This was revealed by Mr Ahern, who said he had "an
unsatisfactory discussion" last spring with the British
government on the issue.

"The new secretary of state will be the fourth Northern
secretary who, next week, I will have had the pleasure of
meeting on the issue." The Taoiseach said he would also
raise the matter again with the British prime minister.

"As I have said previously in the House, this issue is
passed from whatever minister one is dealing with, whether
the prime minister or a minister, back into the security
system which puts forward the position that it is giving
all the information available, but it is not like our

Labour justice spokesman Joe Costello said the Oireachtas
committee, which considered the Barron report on the
bombings, had suggested that the British government should
be taken to the European Court of Human Rights for failure
to co-operate with the investigation.

Mr Ahern said he had followed the committee's
recommendations to the letter of the law from the beginning
of the process five years ago. "I will continue to do so
because I owe it to the committee which has done a lot of
work on the matter. I need to take legal advice on how to
pursue the matter, but I am prepared to follow it up."

Replying to Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny, the Taoiseach said
the Government had raised the issue of collusion time and
again with the British government and would continue to do
so. "However, I must be honest with Deputy Kenny and point
out that I believe we will never be satisfied on this
issue, but I guarantee him that I will continue to pursue
it. The British position on this, both within its security
and government systems, and I am sure its legal system if
we could ever get to it, is that it has maintained it has
made available the information that it has on the subject."

Mr Ahern said former secretary of state Paul Murphy had
written to the Oireachtas committee to that effect. He
added that, while he would continue to pursue this issue,
he honestly did not see it progressing any further.

Earlier, Mr Ahern said the Oireachtas committee had
recommended a commission of inquiry, and last month the
Government had appointed one with Patrick MacEntee SC as
sole member. The commission had been asked to produce its
report within six months.

He was fully aware of the views of the Justice for the
Forgotten, he said, but he would urge them to reserve
judgment on the commission's work until it had produced its

© The Irish Times


Gerry Adams Says "Go Raibh Maith Agat"

Published: 11 May, 2005

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams MP has thanked all those
who voted for Sinn Féin in the Westminster and Local
government elections, endorsing the work of the party and
returning it as the largest pro-Agreement and largest
nationalist party in the north. He said 'This will
strengthen our ability and reinforce our determination to
advance the peace process, build for Irish unity and bring
about social and economic change.

Mr Adams said:

"The Sinn Féin party and electorate bore the brunt of
months of abuse and disgraceful invective from sections of
he media and our political opponents. In addition the
electoral register was systematically shredded in a
transparent attempt to undermine the Sinn Féin vote. I
would appeal to those who are not on the electoral register
to get on it. And to those who didn't have proper
identification to take steps now to remedy this.

"Despite this two pronged attack the Sinn Fein vote has
significantly increased right across the six counties. Sinn
Fein won five Westminster seats and 126 Council seats. This
makes us the largest pro-Agreement and largest nationalist
party in the north.

"Along with the 126 Councillors we have in the 26 counties,
and our team of TDs and MEPs, this strengthens Sinn Féin's
formidable radical all-Ireland alternative to the
conservative parties north and south.

"I want to thank the voters who have made this possible.
And I want to thank all of those who stood for our party
and our election workers who strove tirelessly to achieve
this tremendous result." ENDS


SF Dáil Leader Suspended After Clash With Taoiseach

The Taoiseach Bertie Ahern has been challenged by Sinn Féin
Dáil leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin to change the
"fundamentally flawed" Disability Bill. The Disability
Legislation Consultation Group, representing disability
organisations, is threatening to pull out of the process
and oppose the Bill. Deputy Ó Caoláin urged the Taoiseach
to meet the Group and adopt their five minimum demands to
salvage the Bill. When he clashed with the Taoiseach the
Ceann Comhairle Rory O'Hanlon proposed the suspension of
Deputy Ó Caoláin from the business of the House. The vote
on the suspension will be taken tomorrow.

Speaking after he was suspended, Deputy Ó Caoláin
reiterated his challenge to the Taoiseach. He said Bertie
Ahern's response was "shameful". Deputy Ó Caoláin said:

"I put to the Taoiseach the deep disappointment and anger
among people with disabilities at the refusal of the
Government to adopt their key recommendations to salvage
the flawed Disability Bill which is now at Committee Stage.
The Disability Legislation Consultation Group was
established by the Government itself to involve all in the
sector in the process of framing the Bill. But later today
the DLCG will be considering its future and whether to pull
out of the process entirely and to oppose the present Bill.

"Minister Frank Fahy told the DLCG last week that their
five key demands to salvage this Bill will not be met. I
asked the Taoiseach to confirm that the Minister said that
a meeting with the Taoiseach would serve no purpose and if
that was the Taoiseach's view also. He responded by saying
he would write to the DLCG. That is not good enough.

"The Government must take on board the DLCG's five minimum
requirements - which are:

:: clear right to assessment of need for all disabled

:: services to be provided within a reasonable and agreed

:: legislative underpinning for disability funding

:: each Govt. Dept. to produce a plan for disabled people's

:: clear duty on all Govt. depts. and public bodies to
include disabled people in plans and services and the right
to redress if they are excluded.

"I made a last appeal to the Taoiseach while the Bill is
still at Committee to include these minimum and essential
demands in the Bill and give disabled people their rights.
I reiterate that appeal.

Ring-fencing for betting industry but not for disabilities

"The Taoiseach said that no country in the world has the
rights-based disability law we are looking for. So what!
Why shouldn‚t we lead the world? Why shouldn‚t we have the

"The National Parents and Siblings Alliance estimates that
even under the new multi-annual funding programme it will
take until 2021 before the present backlog of people
waiting for residential care will be cleared. Elderly
people will be left waiting and wondering how their
disabled children will fare after their deaths.

"The Taoiseach has stated that no Government has ring-
fenced resources in law. This is not true. The Horse and
Greyhound industry has legislation introduced under this
Taoiseach that ring-fences revenue raised in that industry.
The Taoiseach told us today that what is possible for the
betting industry is not possible for the disabled men,
women and children of Ireland." ENDS


DUP Issues Warning At Westminster

DUP leader Ian Paisley has said the general election
results had seen the burial of the "so-called agreement".

Mr Paisley was speaking outside the House of Commons, where
he and the party's other eight MPs will be sworn in on

He warned new NI Secretary Peter Hain to "heed the ballot
box and listen to what the people of Ulster are saying".

Mr Paisley said if the secretary of state's intention was
to confront the unionist people he would fail.

He added that the DUP "would not be talking to the IRA now,
tomorrow or ever".

Mr Paisley said his first priority would be to ensure fair
DUP representation on all boards in Northern Ireland.

This would ensure the people of Northern Ireland had
"independent Ulstermen representing them, not paid
government lackeys," he said.


Most of Northern Ireland's new MPs will be sworn in at the
House of Commons on Thursday.

The DUP flew to London on Tuesday in larger numbers than
ever before - its parliamentary team has grown from six to

While William McCrea has been an MP before, new to
Westminster are Sammy Wilson and David Simpson.

Mr Simpson said the DUP will be working to ensure that
local issues remain high on the agenda.

While Sinn Fein's five MPs do not take their seats at
Westminster, both Pat Doherty and Conor Murphy travelled to
Westminster on Wednesday to use facilities there.

Mr Murphy said: "Sinn Fein fought hard to secure the use of
our facilities at Westminster in line with our substantial
electoral mandate.

"In the years since, we have used these facilities both to
deliver for our constituents and also to advance the peace
process and the united Ireland agenda."

Three SDLP MPs have also gone to the Commons.

Eddie McGrady has now be joined by party leader Mark Durkan
and Alasdair McDonnell, rather than long-time MPs John Hume
and Seamus Mallon.

Lady Sylvia Hermon will be the lone representative of the
Ulster Unionists in the Commons, after the party lost four
seats in the general election.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/05/11 11:21:37 GMT


Analysis: The Challenge Ahead For SDLP

By Paul Colgan

The re-write men were called upon late last Friday night as
newspaper editors across Ireland and further afield
discovered that the feature articles they had filed away
detailing the political demise of the SDLP were not yet
ready to go to print.

With the election results looming, pundit after pundit had
lined up to sound the death knell for Mark Durkan's
seemingly beleaguered party.

Sinn Fein would devastate the SDLP, they said. If West
Tyrone, where the SDLP was overwhelmed by republican forces
in 2001, was billed as "Stalingrad", they opined, then
leader Mark Durkan's battle in Foyle was akin to that at
the "gates of Berlin."

With Durkan gone, his party would disintegrate. Eddie
McGrady, a 69 year-old, would be the party's only voice in
London. Fianna Fail would be gathering at the border, ready
to come North and pick over the carcass.

It didn't happen. Durkan saw off Sinn Fein's Mitchel
McLaughlin with a comfortable majority. For days the Sinn
Fein machine had uncharacteristically talked up its man's
chances -- so much so, that commentators far and wide
assumed that republicans were assured of toppling the SDLP
in the city that spawned the party.

The symbolism of a Durkan defeat would have been too much
for the SDLP to contemplate. John Hume had held the Foyle
constituency since its inception in the 1980s. The civil
rights movement, which so many of the SDLP's leading lights
were a key part of, was born there. It was, and still is,
the bastion of modern constitutional nationalism.

That most certainly cannot be said of South Belfast. The
predominantly Protestant constituency has never elected
anyone other than a unionist -- that was, until Friday.
Alasdair McDonnell, the SDLP deputy leader and local
doctor, can now lay claim to being the first nationalist MP
to represent the denizens of leafy Stranmillis and the
Malone Road.

McDonnell squeezed through the middle of two unionists --
the DUP's Jimmy Spratt and the Ulster Unionists' Michael
McGimpsey -- to claim an unlikely victory.

The SDLP could be forgiven for thinking that it's here to

Its former leaders John Hume and Seamus Mallon, who
represented nationalist interests in Westminster for over
twenty years, have made way for two new leaders who will
now take their seats in the British parliament.

SDLP strategists can now point to their three MPs and
claim, "we haven't gone away, you know."

And they'd be right. While the overall SDLP vote slipped
again last week, the party's core support remained fairly
solid. Ignoring the disastrous showings by candidates in
West Tyrone and Fermanagh/South Tyrone, the party managed
to get its vote out, thus stemming the Sinn Fein tide.

While the party claimed before last year's European
elections that it had learnt the lessons of 2003's Assembly
defeats, only now does it appear to have discovered how to
run a successful campaign under duress.

Gone was the bravado and inherited arrogance of previous
years. The SDLP knew it was in trouble unless it grabbed
the bull by the horns.

But as SDLP activists reflect on their relative successes
they need to be aware of the coming challenges.

South Down -- for so long the impenetrable fortress of
Eddie McGrady -- will be up for contention in the next
general election. McGrady, who is touching 70, is unlikely
to again run for the constituency. Sinn Fein, meanwhile
continues to eat into the SDLP majority there, and
Caitriona Ruane, building upon previous results, again cut
McGrady back.

The SDLP needs to find a viable replacement for McGrady and

In South Belfast, the SDLP will probably not repeat the
same trick twice. McDonnell's victory came about after the
DUP, breaking an unwritten code of conduct with the UUP,
decided to run a candidate and split the unionist vote.

Given the present trajectory of the UUP, it may not even
run a candidate in South Belfast in the next election,
paving the way for the DUP to take the seat.

Foyle, it seems, is the party's only real safe seat. Durkan
surprised many, including SDLP supporters, with the degree
of his victory, and while unionist votes no doubt played a
part, it is also obvious that nationalists clearly opted
for the SDLP man.

The SDLP certainly escaped the disastrous slide in support
that many had expected. However if it fails to maintain its
newfound tenacity when it comes to fighting elections in
the future, then those pre-written political obituaries
might just again be dug out of the filing cabinet.

This story appeared in the issue of May 11-17, 2005


Hermon 'Wants A More Liberal UUP'

The sole surviving Ulster Unionist MP has not yet decided
whether she will stand for the party leadership.

Lady Sylvia Hermon told the BBC she wanted to see her party
moving in a "more liberal direction", putting clear water
between itself and the DUP.

The North Down MP said she was not impressed by the idea
that the party could be led by a three-strong team.

Lady Hermon said she faced a dilemma in making her decision
as her husband Sir John suffers from Alzheimer's disease.

She insisted that she would "not let him down in his hour
of need".

Her husband is the former chief constable of the RUC.

UUP leader David Trimble announced his decision to stand
down on Saturday.

The party lost four of its MPs in the election. Mr Trimble,
the former first minister in the suspended Stormont
Assembly, lost his Upper Bann seat. The UUP now has one MP,
compared to nine Democratic Unionists.

Lady Hermon has been an MP since 2001 when she took the
North Down seat from the UK Unionist leader Robert

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/05/11 18:00:54 GMT


Man Jailed After Family Forced To Flee Home

A man who helped a baying crowd force his neighbours to
flee their home in the mistaken belief they were
Protestants, was jailed for eight months today.

Belfast Crown Court heard that the "hostile crowd" had
gathered outside a house in Vandyck Gardens, just off the
Whitewell Road interface area in north Belfast, in the
early hours of October 12 2003 and were shouting sectarian
chants, believing the family inside were "Protestants in a
predominantly Catholic area".

Prosecuting lawyer Ms Shiela Mehaffy told the court that
during the attack, the crowd smashed house windows and
destroyed the family car parked outside, forcing the family
to "flee their home in fear of further attack".

However, she added that after blood samples found inside
the car were forensically examined, officers arrested 22-
year-old Connor Robert Michael Lundy, also from Vandyck

During police questioning Lundy claimed he had only been in
the area shortly after the attack and further claimed he
had not taken part in it, although he later pleaded guilty
to charges of intimidation and criminal damage.

Defence lawyer Jonathon Brown revealed that Lundy himself
"has been no stranger to sectarian violence" as he had been
attacked in the past but added that he has "shown a great
degree of shock and remorse for his behaviour".

Sending Lundy to jail on condition that he serve a further
year on probation, Judge Tom Burgess said it would be "no
comfort to these people that the crowd were mistaken in
thinking they were Protestant - the result was the same,
this family had to move house".

He told Lundy there was no need to know what exactly he or
other individuals had done as "by their acts and this disgraceful scene, each person stands
condemned", adding that intimidation is an "insidious crime
and one which the courts simply will not tolerate".

The judge asked rhetorically that since Lundy had been
subjected to sectarian violence in the past: "Is it not
somewhat ironic that today`s (wed) offence shows him to be
the attacker, inflicting greater trauma on his victims?"


Scorsese Irish Casting Call Set

By Sean O’Driscoll

Director Martin Scorsese is to hold two casting calls in
New York’s Irish neighborhoods next week to find extras for
a gangster movie that will star Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt
Damon, Jack Nicholson and Mark Wahlberg.

The director is looking for “off the boat” Irish who look
and sound like they come from Ireland.

Some chosen from the casting calls in Woodside and Yonkers
may have speaking parts in the movie, The Departed, which
will be primarily shot in New York but is based on the
Boston Irish underworld.

Scorsese’s casting agency, Grant Wilfley Casting, stress
that no experience is necessary.

Grant Wilfley spokeswoman Sabel said that she was looking
for people to portray “Irish wiseguys, state troopers,
police cadets, detective, barflys, and neighborhood types.”

The first casting call is on Monday, May 16 between 5 and
6:30 p.m. at Rory Dolan’s at 890 McLean Avenue in Yonkers.
The next day, the casting call is at the same time at
Sidetracks Restaurant, 45-08 Queens Boulevard in Woodside,

For those who are unable to attend the open call, but would
still like to be considered for the film, contact Sabel at
212-685-3537, ext. 17 or Deanna at ext. 19. Hopefuls can
also email a picture to,
including name, contact information, height, weight and

The casting company had initially hoped to audition outside
the city but decided that it would be best to audition in
the two neighborhoods after consulting with the Irish

Spokeswoman Sabel said the agency had a great response to
last week’s article in the Irish Voice announcing that
Scorsese was seeking Irish actors.

The movie’s plot has some similarities to real life story
of Irish American gangster James “Whitey” Bulger, who is
still wanted on 21 murder charges.

However, the story has been adopted from a Hong Kong film
by Irish American screenwriter, William Monahan. Filming
began at the end of April and will shoot for about four


Roche Paves Way For Tara Motorway

Tim O'Brien

Minister for the Environment Dick Roche yesterday
sanctioned 38 archaeological digs in the Tara-Skryne valley
in Co Meath, effectively approving the proposed M3

However, Mr Roche has blocked the route of the proposed N25
bypass of Waterford city by issuing a requirement for the
protection in situ of a recently discovered Viking
settlement at Woodstown.

The Minister said he saw no conflict between the decisions,
as it was possible to realign a very short section of the
N25 to protect the Woodstown site.

On the M3, where the 38 sites had been discovered on a
15.5km stretch of the proposed motorway between
Dunshaughlin and Navan, such variations would not be
possible without substantially rerouting the motorway, he

However, the decision on the M3 is expected to be
challenged almost immediately in the High Court by groups
campaigning against the route.

Speaking at a press conference in Government Buildings
yesterday, Mr Roche reiterated his view that the route of
the M3 motorway had been decided by An Bord Pleanála in

His own role was limited to how best the archaeological
works should be handled, he maintained.

The 38 sites, some of which are within a few kilometres of
the Hill of Tara, will now be subject to rigorous
investigation and resolution, the Minister said.

But he refused to be drawn on a timeframe for the
construction of the road, saying the excavations required
would be "onerous", costing at least €30 million to €40
million and more if required.

It is expected the excavations could last about two years,
with construction taking at least another three. While it
was essentially a matter for the National Roads Authority
(NRA), the Minister ruled out building the 59km motorway
from Clonee to north of Kells in phases.

Mr Roche said that once constructed, a "robust planning
control regime" would be put in place to prevent
"inappropriate development" in the vicinity of the Hill of
Tara. He also revealed that the NRA had agreed to a revised
design of the proposed Blundelstown interchange close to
the Hill of Tara.

The revision omits lighting columns to lessen the visual
impact of the junction on the hill, while including a
landscaping and tree-planting scheme.

Describing the conditions for the excavations as stringent
and his own approach as punctilious, Mr Roche said he was
satisfied the directions he was issuing would ensure best
practice in preserving archaeological sites by record, and
that the process would add greatly to our knowledge of past

Mr Roche acknowledged opposition to his decision from the
director of the National Museum, Dr Pat Wallace, from whom
he had received a statutory report. Dr Wallace's concerns
were reflected in the directions made, he said.

But Mr Roche said he was surprised a "chorus" of Irish and
international academics opposed to the road had made their
opinions known only after the statutory planning process
held by An Bord Pleanála.

Among the conditions imposed are that: all archaeological
works should be undertaken by professional archaeologists
in advance of road construction; all work must be subject
to inspection by State archaeologists with regular progress
reports; artefacts uncovered be sent to the National
Museum; additional time and/or money must be made available
to ensure proper resolution of the sites if necessary.

Mr Roche said he hoped the archaeological work could begin

© The Irish Times


Aer Lingus To Cancel Orlando Flights

Aer Lingus has announced that it is discontinuing its
operations to Orlando, Florida from next January.

The airline is blaming the cabin crew attached to the
IMPACT trade union for failing to agree to changes in work

Management have been in discussion with cabin crew since
September last year.

It says it`s willing to review its decision if an agreement
on longhaul flying can be reached.
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