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May 13, 2005

Ayling Heads Nelson Inquiry

News About Ireland & The Irish

UT 05/13/05 Ayling To Head Nelson Inquiry
IT 05/13/05 US Immigration Bill May Help Illegals
DJ 05/13/05 Paisley Wanted Sinn Fein-DUP Outcome
BB 05/12/05 Benn's Call For SF To Take Seats
BT 05/12/05 Drumcree Concerns
DJ 05/13/05 Editorial: Now That The Dust Has Settled
BT 05/13/05 McCartneys: We'll Burn Family Out
SF 05/13/05 Adams Condemns Threats Against McCartney's
SM 05/13/05 Security Minister Backs McCartney Family
NU 05/13/05 Excerpt From Blair’s Q&A Session
BB 05/12/05 Real IRA Chief Can Challenge Fund
SM 05/13/05 No Reverse Gear On Peace Process – Hain
BT 05/13/05 Mayoral Seat Is Our Right – DUP
BT 05/13/05 SF Calls For End To Farm Policy
BT 05/13/05 Pair Call Off Everest Climb
OD 05/12/05 Bloody Sunday/ Theatre Of Moral Corruption
BT 05/12/05 Free Derry Museum Vandals Get Invite
BM 05/13/05 Attack Condemned By DUP Colleagues
4N 05/13/05 OO Going Strong In W Africa Notes Researcher
IT 05/13/05 EU Treaty Would Be 'No Blank Cheque' – Ahern
IT 05/13/05 US Group Opposes President's Visit
IT 05/13/05 French Soldiers Honour Role Of Irish Brigade
DJ 05/13/05 Donegal Takes Golden Eagles Under Its Wing


Ayling To Head Nelson Inquiry

A former police chief who scrutinised the Stephen Lawrence
murder inquiry will head a new assessment of the hunt for
solicitor Rosemary Nelson's killers, it emerged tonight.

By:Press Association

Robert Ayling is to lead a team of ex-officers examining
the criminal investigation into one of Northern Ireland`s
most controversial deaths.

Mr Ayling, who retired as acting chief constable of Kent
Constabulary last year, was appointed by the Inquiry into
Mrs Nelson`s assassination.

The public tribunal is examining allegations that rogue
security force members plotted with the loyalist
paramilitaries who killed Mrs Nelson in a car bomb attack
at her home in Lurgan, Co Armagh.

The inquiry, chaired by Sir Michael Morland, said in a
statement tonight: "Mr Ayling is exceptionally well-
qualified to undertake this role, in terms of his seniority
and his experience of reviewing murder investigations and
intelligence work."

He led the Police Complaints Authority investigation into
Scotland Yard`s handling of the Stephen Lawrence murder in

This formed a significant part of the evidence put before
the Macpherson Public Inquiry.

Chairman Sir William Macpherson described Mr Ayling`s
investigation as "thorough, painstaking and fair".

He was awarded the Queen`s Police Medal for his efforts in

Other members of the outside police team are being
recruited by the Nelson Inquiry, which is expected to hear
from witnesses next year.

The lawyer, who was loathed by some loyalists because of
her high-profile work with nationalist residents during the
tinderbox Drumcree marching dispute, was killed in March,

A splinter loyalist terror organisation, the Red Hand
Defenders, said it carried out the mercury-switch car bomb

But human rights organisations have claimed police failed
to properly investigate earlier death threats.

The inquiry was set up after former Canadian Judge Peter
Cory found enough evidence of possible security force
collusion to warrant further investigation.

Despite a six-year inquiry that saw detectives take more
than 5,000 statements, no one has been charged with the


Immigration Bill May Help Illegals

Conor O'Clery

Democratic Senator Edward Kennedy and Republican Senator
John McCain yesterday unveiled a bipartisan Bill in the US
Congress to reform the US immigration system.

The Bill could grant legal status to an estimated 10
million to 12 million illegal immigrants now in the United
States, including many thousands of undocumented Irish.

Fine Gael Spokesman on emigrant affairs Paul Connaughton TD
recently led a party delegation to New York and Washington
to lobby for the Kennedy/McCain Immigration Act, which is
designed to allow undocumented immigrants to achieve legal

The Bill would give illegal immigrants work permits and the
opportunity to apply for permanent residence and eventually
citizenship after paying a fine and fees. President George
Bush last year proposed a programme to provide temporary
legal status for undocumented workers already there and to
match "willing workers" from around the world with "willing

© The Irish Times


Paisley Wanted Sinn Fein-DUP Outcome

By Ian Cullen
Friday 13th May 2005

IN HIS first major statement since his election as Foyle
M.P., Mark Durkan last night launched a scathing attack on
both Sinn Fein and the DUP claiming that they had gone out
of their way to 'promote' each other in the run up to the

Speaking to the 'Journal' from London where he was taking
part in a 'get to know' Westminster induction yesterday,
the SDLP leader said the posturing by the two parties ahead
of last Friday's elections now looked stupid.

"Not only did Ian Paisley and the DUP promote Sinn Fein
during the election campaign but Sinn Fein tried to promote
confidence in the DUP during the election by constantly
saying that there would be a deal immediately after the
election between the DUP and themselves."

And the new Foyle MP launched a particularly scathing
attack on the DUP leader and his aims for a voluntary
coalition. "Ian Paisley might think that his calls for a
voluntary coalition are impressive but they are not; they
are hollow and unconvincing.

"He was happy to spend the election pumping Sinn Fein up
because he wanted a two party outcome for Sinn Fein and the

"Everyone in the SDLP knew he wanted Sinn Fein and the DUP
and that he hoped that I would not win Foyle. So, knowing
all of this, does he really think we would fall for his
calls for a voluntary coalition with him and the DUP?

"Ian Paisley's record over the last few days makes Sinn
Fein's assurances about the DUP's real position sound
stupid," he added.

And Mr Durkan accused the DUP of using an " i n p r o p o r
t i o n a t e " election result to kill off the GFA once
and for all.

"The DUP got a third of the vote but under the first past
the post system ended up with half of the seats and they
are trying to use that inproportionate result to declare
the agreement buried.

"The SDLP are clear that no one party's mandate can
override or overturn the agreement's mandate.

The overwhelming mandate for the agreement in the North and
throughout Ireland should be the compelling standard for
democrats," he said.

Mr Durkan's comments came after a meeting with new
Secretary of State Peter Hain in which the possibility of
entering into a voluntary coalition was put to the SDLP

"I made it very clear to him that the agreement has to be
his agenda, that Governments need to learn the lesson that
conducting a process outside or against the agreement is
not the way to underpin the agreement.

'He asked me my views on the option of voluntary coalition
but I told him very clearly we will not make the mistake
that others have made of stepping outside of the agreement
as a mistaken short cut of getting back to it," he said.


Benn's Call For SF To Take Seats

Veteran left-wing politician Tony Benn has suggested Sinn
Fein should have a rethink about taking its seats at

Sinn Fein won five seats in the general election but has a
policy of abstentionism.

This means its MPs refuse to swear the oath of allegiance
to the Queen and so cannot enter the commons chamber.

Mr Benn, who retired as an MP in 2001, says now might be a
good time to change its policy on how it regards the oath.

Mr Benn said he personally objected to the oath but was
prepared to take it under protest to get into the commons.

"The thing about it that's offensive is that it requires
MPs to swear allegiance to the Queen.

"If you're an MP your allegiance is to your constituents,
to your party to your conscience so really MPs have to lie
in order to sit in Parliament. I had to tell 17 lies."

Lift sanctions

Mr Benn said he understood Sinn Fein's position on British
sovereignty but still thought it made good political sense
for them to put their point of view across in the
Westminister chamber.

"It's entirely for Sinn Fein to decide, but I wondered
whether this wouldn't be a time to rethink the position, he
told BBC Radio Ulster's Talkback programme.

"You know Gerry Adams appealed to the IRA to engage in the
political process and one way of restarting the dialogue
would be for Sinn Fein to come to the House of Commons.

"So many people in Britain still think of the situation in
Northern Ireland as a foreign situation whereas really it's
the biggest domestic issue in British politics and has got
to be resolved by dialogue.

Meanwhile Sinn Fein MP Michelle Gildernew has called on the
government to lift financial sanctions imposed on her

The sanctions were imposed on republicans after suspected
IRA involvement in the Northern Bank robbery in December

But Ms Gildernew claimed they should be removed following
Sinn Fein's recent successes in the Westminster and local
government elections.

"The British government does not have one vote in Ireland,"
she said.

"The new British Secretary of State, Peter Hain, must now
end the sanctions programme against our electorate and get
back to the job of making politics work."

Meanwhile the Irish justice minster, Michael McDowell, has
angered Sinn Fein by again ruling out speaking rights for
Northern Ireland's MPs in the Irish parliament, the Dail.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/05/12 13:51:13 GMT


Drumcree Concerns

By Alf McCreary
12 May 2005

The Drumcree situation is still "an open wound which needs
to be dealt with", according to the local Church of Ireland
Rector the Rev John Pickering.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph at the Church of Ireland
General Synod in Dublin, he said: "Those at the centre of
the situation recognise that a number of people think that
the Drumcree issue has gone away and has been forgotten
about, but it hasn't".

Mr Pickering said that while the election was over, "it is
time that the parades issues should be looked at to find a
solution at Drumcree which people on all sides can
reasonably live with".

He said that he had met representatives of the Parades
Commission and the Orange Order during talks in South
Africa earlier.

"I would like to think that there could be a breakthrough
before July, but time is getting short. Meanwhile, we need
to keep the situation peaceful and to continue stressing
the need for a solution."


Editorial: Now That The Dust Has Settled

Friday 13th May 2005

Now that the votes have been counted and the dust has
settled from the General Election campaign it is time for
all our politicians to get down to the serious business of
making the proper decisions.

All the politicians elected last week, both MPs and
councillors, should at this point pause for thought as to
the responsibility that rests on their heads and think
about what is required from them.

Locally Mark Durkan had great success, retaining John
Hume's old seat comfortably for the SDLP. Indeed, the SDLP
leader must have been gratified with his party's showing
not only in the general election -they went in with three
M.Ps and came out with three - but also in the local
government elections in the city where they remain the
largest party.

But there's no doubt the general election left two clear
winners with both Sinn Fein and the DUP in virtually
unassailable positions. Now this has been portrayed in some
quarters as a cause for gloom and pessimism but in many
ways it could be a positive thing.

Neither party has to worry about being out flanked by their
political opponents from within their own community.

Sinn Fein, to its credit, has consistently called for
progress here and undoubtedly will continue to do so. The
election results give them no cause for concern that they
are in any danger of losing support from their stance on
the Agreement.

While the DUP were elected on a hard-line manifesto perhaps
a more positive way of looking at things is that they are
now in a position where they do not have to worry about
criticism from within unionism.

The DUP have always shown themselves to be a well
disciplined party and therefore Ian Paisley does not have
to worry about the sniping from within that so obsessed
David Trimble and some would say ultimately led to his
inability to move forward.

The DUP are in a much stronger position. If history shows
anything it is that Ian Paisley for all his faults is not
afraid to lead. The unfortunate thing for this country is
that he always led in the wrong direction.

But perhaps this time the DUP could surprise us all and
take their responsibility seriously and try and move
forward to create a better society for us all.

At a local level we have a new set of civic leaders who
will have to take some hard decisions over the next four

All our local councillors regardless of their party
allegiance have to be aware that their actions impact upon
us. There are some difficult issues coming up with the
likes of water rates and waste disposal heading the list.

Our councillors have to give leadership on these issues and
at the same time ensure that they make the best decisions
for society as a whole. Party politics is all well and good
during an election campaign but now when it comes to the
day to day affairs of the council splits and divisions
along sectarian or party lines are a luxury that we the
ratepayers cannot afford.


We'll Burn Family Out

Protection offered after McCartneys receive threats

By Brian Hutton
13 May 2005

The family of murdered Belfast man Robert McCartney were
last night told by police that they face being burned out
of their homes.

Shortly after the family arrived back in Northern Ireland
from Strasbourg, where the European Parliament pledged its
support for their campaign for justice, police called to
warn them of the threats.

Intelligence reports indicated that "criminal elements" may
be planning to torch the sisters' homes and Donna
McCartney's sandwich business, they were told.

Police refused to discuss their sources with the McCartneys
or to say where the intelligence came from.

Speaking at her Short Strand home last night, a clearly
distressed Paula McCartney said they were taking the
warning very seriously.

"We have received death threats and hate mail in the post
before, but this is slightly more sinister, in the sense
that it's coming from police intelligence," she said.

"We didn't feel the need to take safety precautions
beforehand, but it has to be treated seriously now when
it's coming from the police," she added.

Ms McCartney said the PSNI would only say criminal elements
were involved, and would not be drawn on paramilitary links
to the warning.

However, she was confident that the people behind her
brother's death were responsible for the latest threats.

Police issued the sisters with personal safety advice while
further measures, expected to include surveillance
equipment and reinforced doors and windows, are to get
under way later today.

Ms McCartney pledged the family will continue with their
justice campaign and hit out at Sinn Fein for not doing
more to help them.

"I don't see how Sinn Fein can insist that there is no
intimidation of witnesses. The victims are being

"They have to stop saying that and actually do something
before things get out of hand. In my view, they are already
getting out of hand," she said.

Police policy forbids officers to comment on the individual
circumstances of personal threats, but a PSNI spokesperson
last night said: "Where we believe someone needs to review
their personal security, we take steps to inform them."


Adams Unequivocally Condemns Any Threats Against

Published: 13 May, 2005

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams has "condemned
unequivocally and without qualification or reservation" any
threats made against the McCartney family.

The Sinn Féin President was commenting after it emerged
that the PSNI had warned the family of threats from
'criminal elements' and a statement from the family
suggesting that this was a reference to republicans. Mr
Adams said:

"I am confident that there are no threats to this family
from republicans. The recent election results were a clear
endorsement of Sinn Féin's stand in support of the family
and we remain totally behind their objective of having the
men responsible for the murder of Robert McCartney brought
to court and held to account for their actions."

The Sinn Fein leader is critical of the PSNI handling of
the murder enquiry. He said:

"I have been told that key eye witness testimony has been
given to the PSNI identifying those involved in the assault
in the street in which Robert McCartney was murdered. In
any other high profile murder case, in any other city, I'm
sure matters would have been investigated more thoroughly
and with more urgency." ENDS

Gerry Adams is available to speak to the media today,
Friday 13th May 2005, at 12.30pm outside the Sinn Féin
Sevastopol Street Offices on the Falls Road in Belfast.


Security Minister Backs McCartney Family

By Ian Graham, PA

Northern Ireland’s new Security Minister Shaun Woodward
said today that he took threats against the family of
murdered Belfast father of two Robert McCartney “very

After his first briefing with police chiefs following his
appointment, Mr Woodward said he was fully behind the
McCartney sisters.

Last night the McCartneys, and Robert’s partner Bridgeen
Hagans were visited by police to be warned that “criminal
elements” were threatening to burn them out of their homes.

The sisters believe they are being targeted by republicans
for their campaign to bring their brother’s killer to

Mr McCartney was stabbed in a pub used by republicans and
his family believes the IRA was involved in the murder,
with one of them accusing Sinn Fein of being part of a

Mr Woodward said he had been fully briefed on the threats
made to the McCartneys and he took them “extremely

He said: “I have huge respect for the members of that
family and what they are trying to do and intimidation,
wherever it happens is a very, very bad thing.”

He added: “People should be able to live in Northern
Ireland without fear of intimidation. I fully support the
family in everything they are doing and I fully support
what the police are doing and I encourage anybody in
Northern Ireland to come forward and help.

“By coming forward, by being brave, by helping with this
thing you will achieve a lifestyle for people in Northern
Ireland which is one everybody should be able to expect.”

Mr Woodward went on a brief walkabout in North Belfast, and
visited the ’peace line’ which separates rival republican
and loyalist communities.

He spent almost two hours being briefed on the security
situation inside the Antrim Road police station in North
Belfast by the Deputy Chief Constable Paul Leighton and
other senior officers.

While he was in the station 10 members of Sinn Fein,
including four local councillors and Shankill bomber Sean
Kelly staged a protest outside the police station to
highlight their allegations of security force collusion in
loyalist murders.

They are particularly concerned that the terms under which
the public inquiry into the murder in North Belfast of
solicitor Pat Finucane 16 years ago will enable the
Government to block evidence.

By the time the Security Minister emerged from his briefing
the protesters had gone. Mr Woodward said he was
disappointed not to have met them and urged them to visit
him to voice their concerns.

He said: “I was really looking forward to meeting that
group of people that were outside the police station when I
was inside. Unfortunately they had gone 20 minutes after I
was made aware they were there. I came out and they had
moved on. I say to them come and see me I’d like to talk to
you, it is important that people here understand I am here
to listen.”

Listening and learning was very much a theme for Mr
Woodward who ducked answering questions on a number of
issues saying it would be inappropriate so soon after his
arrival as he wanted to spend the coming weeks and months
listening and learning.

For a man married to one of the Sainsbury heiresses his
choice of venue for his first Belfast press conference may
not go down too well with his wife – the car park of the
Tesco’s supermarket opposite the police station.


Excerpt From Blair’s Question And Answer Session


Prime Minister, what is your response to the parting shots
of David Trimble, and indeed Seamus Mallon, that by their
charge, side deals done by you and Bertie Ahern with Sinn
Fein and others effectively destroyed the centre ground in
Northern Irish politics? Equally on that point, do you
feel any sense of shared responsibility for the demise of
David Trimble and his party in Northern Ireland, and with
the forthcoming announcement expected from the IRA, is
there any decisive action that you can take if it proves,
as other announcements have, to be too ambivalent, too
little, too late?

Prime Minister:

Well I can answer both of those things together, Bernard,
because if I can say this very frankly to Seamus Mallon,
whom I have got a lot of time and respect for, but he knows
perfectly well that I used to sit in my room and say to
him, are you prepared to go ahead without Sinn Fein,
because if they are not prepared to give up violence in the
Republican movement, the moderate centre can only move
forward if you are prepared to move forward with the UUP.
But I have got to say to you, he never was willing to say
that, and I don't think that is the position of the SDLP
today even. So you know I can't make the moderate centre go
forward, I can't determine that, in the end it is for the
parties to determine that. And I think that what David
Trimble did in Northern Ireland was immensely brave, and I
hope very much that that is recognised, and I am sure it
will be when people do an historical analysis of this, but
I have got to work with the outcome that the electorate
have given, and that is the outcome they have given. And I
am still actually very hopeful that we can resolve it, and
I think sometimes with the interplay between the different
Unionist parties, it has been very unclear exactly who is
going to end up on top, but I think that when it became
apparent that the UUP couldn't make the deal with Sinn
Fein, the DUP gained from that. Now I hope the DUP are
prepared to share power, provided there is a clear,
unequivocal and complete giving up of violence, and if
there isn't, I will be left in the same position again.
And the moderates in Northern Ireland who want to make
progress, I am happy to make progress with them, but I
can't force them to do it, and in particular I can't force
the SDLP to move forward with say the DUP and the UUP and
without Sinn Fein if they are not prepared to do it. And I
also think the reality is, and always has been, it is
better to have an inclusive settlement. The reason, and I
am not actually criticising the SDLP for it, I am just
stating the fact, and the truth is that this now rests on
one thing really, it rests on the absolute unequivocal
cessation, giving up, of all forms of violence and a
complete embrace of democratic politics, it is the only way
forward in Northern Ireland. But I can't in the end make up
the electors' minds for them.


Real IRA Chief Can Challenge Fund

Real IRA leader Michael McKevitt has been given the go-
ahead in the High Court to challenge a government donation
to the Omagh bomb victims.

Mr Justice Weatherup granted him leave to apply for a
judicial review of the decision to help finance a civil
claim against McKevitt and four other men.

The government gave the Omagh relatives almost £750,000 to
sue them for £14m.

The judge said there seemed to be an arguable case over the
way the power to fund the Omagh relatives was exercised.

McKevitt, 54, from Blackrock, County Louth, is serving a
20-year sentence in Portlaoise for running the Real IRA,
the organisation which carried out the 1998 Omagh bombing,
which killed 29 people and unborn twins.

He and four other people in the Republic of Ireland -
Seamus Daly, Seamus McKenna, Liam Campbell and Colm Murphy
- are being sued.

Time extended

It is hoped to fix a date for the hearing before the end of
the year but more delay could be caused by Murphy's re-
trial in Dublin on a charge of plotting the Omagh attack.

McKevitt's case against the Lord Chancellor and the Legal
Services Commission - formerly the legal aid department -
was based on "inequality of arms" after his claim for £1m
in legal aid was turned down.

Counsel for McKevitt said more than £400,000 of the
£742,702 provided by the Lord Chancellor had already been
paid out to legal representatives of the Omagh families.

Crown prosecution opposed the granting of leave because of
the delay in bringing the matter before the court.

He said the Lord Chancellor's announcement was made in
February, 2004, which was way beyond the normal time limit
of three months.

Mr Justice Weatherup said he was extending the time limit
because of delay caused by McKevitt's own judicial review
over the refusal of legal aid and the fact that contact
with his lawyers had been inhibited because of his

The judge said the full application for a judicial review
would be heard on 21 June.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/05/13 12:12:07 GMT


No Reverse Gear On Peace Process - Hain

By Dan McGinn, PA Ireland Political Editor

Unionists and nationalists know that there can be forward
movement in Northern Ireland peace process, the new
Secretary of State for the province, Peter Hain claimed

In his first full interview since taking on the role from
Paul Murphy last weekend, Mr Hain told the Press
Association that his preliminary discussion with the
province’s leaders had been encouraging.

However he insisted that they needed to tackle two issues
which he said were joined at the hip – ending all
paramilitary and criminal activity and securing permanent
power sharing.

Mr Hain said: “There was an agreement seven years ago
endorsed by referendum, both north and south, in Northern
Ireland and the Republic of Ireland and no agreement in
modern living memory has had that type of endorsement.

“Therefore you cannot just discard part of it. I understand
both where the Democratic Unionist Party and Sinn Fein are
coming from but that’s not the end of the story.

“I think both parties know that that is not the end of the

“Certainly in my preliminary discussions with them, very
good discussions, I think everybody realises that there is
no reverse gear on this process.

“It’s what forward gear you take. Do you stay in neutral or
select a forward gear?”

Devolution in Northern Ireland has been suspended since
October 2002 when allegations of IRA spying at Stormont
threatened to destroy the power-sharing institution.

Since then there have been three attempts to revive
devolution – two of them involving the Ulster Unionists
when David Trimble was in charge and one last December
involving the Rev Ian Paisley’s Democratic Unionists.

However neither party was able to strike a deal with Sinn
Fein because they suspected that the IRA was not prepared
to melt away.

Following last December’s £26.5 million Northern Bank
robbery and January’s murder of Belfast father of two
Robert McCartney, the Democratic Unionists as the largest
Northern Ireland party have begun to express doubt as to
whether Republicans are prepared to give up paramilitarism
and criminality.

DUP deputy leader Peter Robinson has urged the Government
to press ahead with efforts to set up a devolved government
which would freeze Sinn Fein out of ministerial posts or
failing that create a system of direct rule which was more
accountable to the Northern Ireland Assembly or local

Mr Hain said that he was determined as a passionate
advocate of devolution to get the right result during his
time in Northern Ireland.

He also stressed the total commitment Prime Minister Tony
Blair had to achieving a lasting settlement.

The new Northern Ireland Secretary said: “I am not
interested in being here as Secretary of State.

“It’s a great place to be. But I’m interested in doing
something and making a difference and that has been true
all of my political life.

“It’s a fantastic privilege to be Secretary of State for
Northern Ireland – having a castle to stay in and a great
team to work with. It’s the life and blood of a politician.

“But it only really will do the business for me if I can
make a difference. Whether I can or not, we will have to
wait and see.”


Mayoral Seat Is Our Right - DUP

By Andrea Clements
13 May 2005

The DUP is claiming a right to the position of Lord Mayor
of Belfast this year.

The party, now the biggest on the city council, with 15
seats, missed out on the post during the last four year
council term because of a lack of cross-party support.

This term, as in the last, Alliance, which now has four
councillors, holds the balance of power.

Its support saw the first Sinn Fein Lord Mayor in Belfast
but the party did not support the DUP for the top post
during that period.

Post-election, there are 25 unionist and 22 nationalist
councillors on the chamber as well as the increased
Alliance grouping.

Fifteen new councillors have been elected to serve this
term out of a total of 51. Each new party grouping will
meet to discuss its mayoral strategy and cross-party
meetings will also be held before the election of Belfast's
new first citizen, which must take place by May 26.

Sammy Wilson, the last DUP Lord Mayor in 2000-2001, said:
"In the last term, although we were the second biggest
party the supposed power sharers, Sinn Fein, the SDLP and
Alliance, effectively blocked us from the position.

"I believe we are entitled to it for at least two years in
this term."


SF Calls For End To Farm Policy

By Michael Drake
13 May 2005

Northern Ireland agriculture must break its links with the
United Kingdom's policy framework.

That was the message Sinn Fein's agriculture spokesperson
Michelle Gildernew MP threw out to direct rule minister
Jeff Rooker at Balmoral show yesterday.

"The reality is that being tied to UK agricultural policy
has damaged the industry here," she said.

"We need to see progress on the lifting of the beef ban,
separate from the UK because their case is far weaker than
our own.

"We also need to prioritise progress of the all-Ireland
animal health and food safety programme of work which has
politically hit a brick wall."

The Fermanagh- South Tyrone MP said the rural economy must
be a priority for the new agriculture minister.

"We also need to ensure farmers have the freedom to farm
that was supposed to be at the heart of CAP reform," she

"We need to cut through the culture of red tape which
exists within DARD and

we need to challenge the institutional resistance to an
all-Ireland framework."


Pair Call Off Everest Climb

By Marie Foy
13 May 2005

A woman seeking to become the first from Northern Ireland
to reach the summit of Mount Everest has had to abandon her
heroic attempt.

Lynne Stark (42), and her partner Noel Hanna (38), from
Dromara, Co Down, started the arduous ascent from base camp
just over three weeks ago.

However, the pair have had to turn back after Noel
developed haemorrhages on both eyes.

He has been told by doctors at base camp, and by
specialists by satellite phone, that he needs to get off
the mountain as soon as possible so as not to jeopardise
his sight.

Speaking to staff at Barnardo's, who were benefiting from
the couple's fundraising efforts, Lynne said: "The news on
Noel's eyes was not good and all the advice is to return
home as soon as possible.

"I have decided not to go on alone as we came as a team; it
just wasn't our time to summit."

Until the problem worsened with Noel's eyes last week the
couple had been well on schedule to make their final ascent
around May 23.

They had made a successful trip to the north col at 7,100
metres, 80% of the way up, sleeping at their highest
altitude yet.

Barnardo's Northern Ireland, director Lynda Wilson said:
"They have been an inspiration to everyone involved in
Barnardo's, not only the staff but also the children and
families that we work with."


Bloody Sunday, Or The Theatre Of Moral Corruption

Douglas Murray
12 - 5 - 2005

The legal inquiry into Bloody Sunday, one of the most
controversial events of the conflict in Northern Ireland,
has been turned into drama. But the play is formulaic
theatre for complacent liberals, says Douglas Murray

Throughout 2003 I sat in an air-conditioned room in
Westminster, London at the Bloody Sunday Inquiry into the
killings of thirteen civilians and wounding of thirteen
others on 30 January 1972. During that year, the inquiry
(set up by Tony Blair in 1998) heard evidence from members
of the British army who had been in Londonderry (Derry),
Northern Ireland on that terrible day. 245 military
witnesses gave evidence – soldiers, commanders, and those
who had killed people.

Though the final report is not yet published, a play –
Bloody Sunday: scenes from the Saville Inquiry – of the
inquiry has already finished its first run at the Tricycle
theatre, north London. Though the event provokes great
moral and artistic concern, they are not necessarily of the
type the Tricycle intended.

The now-concluded legal proceedings took place before Lord
Saville, a British law lord, and two Commonwealth judges.
Dozens of lawyers representing the families of the dead and
wounded, army, paramilitaries and other parties filled the
chamber. Two viewing galleries were set aside: one for the
families of the dead and wounded (many of whom attended
daily) another for the media and general public. By 2003
the story had fallen off the radar of the national press,
and other than the few occasions when a celebrity witness
appeared, there were only three of us there daily.

The paucity of press interest in the inquiry is
understandable. Apart from the cost of covering such an
extended inquiry, few media outlets are interested in the
convoluted details. When the inquiry returned to Derry,
television crews galore descended to observe former IRA
commander-turned politician, Martin McGuinness. Members of
the families protested, “This isn’t the Martin McGuinness
Inquiry”. Indeed (perhaps sadly) it was not, and one can
understand their aggravation: you campaign for twenty-five
years to get an inquiry into your brother’s killing, and
the mass media descend only when a famous terrorist or
politician is in the witness box. It is celebrity culture
at its most unsavoury end-point.

Skilfully edited by Guardian journalist Richard Norton-
Taylor, the Tricycle has had great success with a series of
these “inquiry dramas”, including the Scott “arms-to-Iraq”
inquiry and The Colour of Justice (from the inquiry into
the murder of Stephen Lawrence). They have won acclaim,
been televised and enjoyed long national runs. Bloody
Sunday received five-star reviews in all the British press,
played to packed houses, and is returning to the Tricycle
later in 2005 for an extended run. And there is an
inevitability to all this – rather like reviewing the work
of an author who’s just died (isn’t it “bad taste” not to
like it? Isn’t there a moral imperative to be “impressed”?)

But there are profound problems with this “inquiry re-
enactment” theatre. For a start, the theatre isn’t the
courtroom, and an important difference is the audience (not
just that there actually is one for the two-hour version).
The single most striking difference between courtroom and
theatre is laughter. In a play you have to relieve tension:
in life, let alone an inquiry into a massacre, no such
obligation exists.

During the inquiry there were around a dozen amusing things
– quips, idiocies or absurdities. The laughter these
generated was brief and guilty. But in the theatre people
laugh differently. Not, it ought to be pointed out, that
this was genuine laughter, the laughter of entertainment:
this was the laughter of shared derision and satisfaction –
the laughter of intense moral satisfaction. The last time I
heard this was at the Hutton Inquiry, when a group of
opponents of the war sat watching the screen relay in the
High Court, laughing or snorting every time Alastair
Campbell said anything at all. This was how the theatre
audience reacted to the military witnesses.

And this is where this kind of theatre performs not a
service, but a terrible disservice. Theatre is, after all,
meant to entertain: where it doesn’t entertain it should
question and inform. What it should not do is pat itself on
the back, congratulating and reinforcing the prejudices of
its audience.

A theatre for moral tourists

The Bloody Sunday Inquiry is one of the most complex cases
in British legal history. It will certainly be the longest
and (at £155 million) the costliest. No one agrees on
anything. To get even close to understanding the case
before Saville’s report is published, there are more than
2,000 witness statements to read, 20-30 million words of
written evidence, around 16 million words of oral evidence,
countless “bundles” of maps, trajectories, experts reports,
photographs, videos and audio tapes.

My copy of the 1972 Widgery Report comes in at under forty
pages. How many of the people in the Tricycle who laughed
when Widgery (deeply controversial as it was) was mentioned
have ever read that report? How many of those who nodded at
the scene in which Bernadette Devlin (McAliskey) – played
as a forthright Irish folk-hero – had her words relayed,
would have nodded along with her when she called for
retaliatory murder back in 1972? How many remember she made
such a call? How many people leaving the theatre
righteously angry at the lack of prosecutions for the
deaths of thirteen men in 1972 would have known that for
668 British soldiers killed during the troubles, only 81
people have ever been prosecuted – all now released?

The trouble with this edited version of a controversial
inquiry, however, is not just that it depicts IRA terrorism
as a mere reaction to actions of the British army, carried
out, therefore, by men with no individual moral
culpability: nor is it that the one terrorist in the play
is shown as a harmless rogue. It is not even that, with its
huge non-speaking cast, Bloody Sunday is an expensive way
of getting cheap effects. The issue goes much deeper.
Unknowingly, it taps in to a modern lacuna – a moral

If you lead a busy working life and rightly want to keep up
to date on issues of your day, you must absorb edited and
abridged media. Time is too scarce to know everything.

A humble media, such as is now almost non-existent, knows
that its primary duty is to inform. An arrogant media, such
as is now rampant, believes its duty is to tell the public
not only what is happening, but what is right, giving this
to them in the same package. The late Saul Bellow said that
nowadays “public virtue is a kind of ghost town into which
anyone can move and declare himself sheriff.”

The Tricycle is an example of just such a self-appointed
sheriff. And it is not the smugness of those who get their
fix of “issues” that is the problem. The odious thing about
this exercise is that it plugs a gap in the market for
those who are cash-rich and time-poor. “Tribunal theatre”
is simply filling a gap in the market for no-strings-
attached, neatly packaged, moral tourism.


Free Derry Museum Vandals Get Invite

It's your history too, says Trust

By Clare Weir
12 May 2005

Young people who have vandalised the site of a museum on
the history of the Bogside are being invited to learn more
about their past.

The calls have come after attacks on a derelict house at
Glenfada Park, set to become the Museum of Free Derry.

Adrian Kerr, project coordinator of the facility and member
of the Bloody Sunday Trust, said that the vandalism was a
threat to the future of the musem and a major aggravation
for residents.

He said that plans to bring workmen on site within weeks
could be stalled after the latest attack, which took place
on Tuesday night.

The property, which was bricked and then shuttered up by
the Housing Executive, has been targeted by teenagers who
have knocked out concrete blocks from the windows and

Younger children then use the unsecured building as a play

Mr Kerr issued a plea to parents and community members to
report any suspicious behaviour.

"The Bloody Sunday Trust has been working towards this
museum for more than seven years now, and this is very
frustrating when we are so close to finally realising the
goal of opening the Museum of Free Derry on the site," he

"Everything is in place now, and we intend to begin
renovation work later this month.

"However, all of the damage that is being done to the
building is seriously undermining our plans.

"We are already working on a very tight budget, and at the
end of the day any damage that is being done to the
building now will eventually have to be paid for by the
Bloody Sunday Trust out of the budget for the museum."

He also extended an invitation to the young vandals to
learn more about the history of the area.

"When the Museum of Free Derry opens it will contain
artefacts and documents that are as important in the
history of the Free Derry area as Free Derry Corner and the
Bloody Sunday Monument.

"It is vitally important that they can be displayed in
Glenfada Park, in the heart of the area whose story is
being told.

"The Museum of Free Derry will be as important in telling
the history of this community as Free Derry Corner is.

"Perhaps the vandals are not aware of the damage they are
doing or know much about their own history."


Attack Condemned By DUP Colleagues

THE officers and members of the Ballymoney Branch of the
Democratic Unionist Party have come out in support with of
their colleague, Councillor John Finlay, after the
"mindless sectarian attack" on his home by Republicans on
the early hours of last Saturday.

In a statement, Gary Blair, the local Press officer said:
"We know that this attack like all the others before will
not detract John from providing an excellent service for
all the people of the borough.

"As the election approaches, we in the Ballymoney Branch of
the DUP would like to extend our very best wishes to all
nine party members who are running for election on 5th May.

"In Bann Valley, sitting councillor John Finlay is again
contesting a seat.

"With six years experience in the chamber, John brings a
wealth of experience to the Council. A member of all three
Loyal Orders in Dunloy, John has held the post of Deputy
Mayor and is currently Chairman of the North Antrim
Constituency Association of the party.

"John is currently engaged in campaigns to save the library
and have the playing fields restored in his native
Cloughmills and has worked tirelessly with groups such as
Bendooragh & District Community Association to bring
improvements to villages throughout the Bann Valley.

"Audrey Patterson is no stranger to politics and is aiming
to claim a place in the new council make up. Currently,
Audrey holds two key positions within the DUP as secretary
of the North Antrim Constituency Association and secretary
of the Ballymoney Branch of the party.

"Her husband James, the current chairman of the Ballymoney
Branch served as a councillor in the Bann Valley ward for
two terms during the 1980s. As someone who has worked in
the administrative side of health care for many years,
Audrey will make good use of her clerical skills and health
awareness as a councillor.

"Roy Wilson is also contending for a seat on the council.
Roy’s father, the late Alderman Robert Wilson served on the
council for the DUP for many years and Roy learned much
from his father, an experienced and seasoned local
government representative.

"From a farming background, Roy is well aware of the issues
and problems with agriculture today and he will undoubtedly
apply this to his work. Roy has also pledged to work in
partnership and co-operate closely with the statutory
agencies including the Water Service and NIHE if and when

"In Bushvale we have a formidable team with sitting
councillor Frank Campbell having served the people of the
area for the past twelve years.

"During that time Frank has served as Mayor and been an
active member of a significant number of committees
including the North/East Partnership and Killyrammer &
District Management Committee. Frank is also a member of a
number of Community Associations including those based in
Stranocum, Ballybogey and Druchendult and is keen to work
with voluntary groups in a bid to make the areas where they
are based better for all.

"Irwin Holmes is running for election for the first time
but is no stranger to the area or to politics. A member of
Stranocum Orange Lodge and the resident Flute Band, Irwin
has been a party member for some time now and currently
holds the position of secretary of the Enagh Branch of the

"With twenty five years service to the Civil Service, Irwin
has accrued vast experience and is particularly au fait
with Business Planning, an asset he will bring to the
Council chamber which will be valued by all, not least his

"Irwin is well aware of the many issues affecting workers
having been secretary of a local trade union branch.

"Evelyne Robinson is also active in politics and has been
for quite some time. Positions she has held within the DUP
include Chairperson of the South Belfast Association and
Vice Chair of the Ballymoney Branch of the DUP.

"Evelyne is currently Assistant Secretary of the local
Ballymoney Branch and is an established and active party
member. Voters in Bushvale will be encouraged to learn that
Evelyne has a wealth of experience in constituency work
having been employed as a researcher for Mark Robinson
MLA.A Queen’s University graduate and former teacher,
Evelyne will use her academic qualifications and experience
to pursue the wishes of her constituents to her full

"In the Town ward, current mayor of Ballymoney, Cecil
Cousley, is standing for election. Cecil has an absolute
wealth of experience and is the council’s representative to
the Northern Ireland Local Government Association as well
as chairing the Eden Primary Board of Governors and a
member of the Board of Governors of Ballymoney High School.

"An elder in Drumreagh Presbyterian Church, Cecil has had a
lifetime involvement in the Boy’s Brigade, reflected in his
interest in youth groups and recreational opportunities for
youths in Ballymoney. Cecil is also a long -standing member
of the Loyal Orders.

"Cecil is joined by Ian Stevenson who will be seeking a
second term in the council. A health care professional, Ian
is a member of Dunloy Accordian Band and a member of the
local Orange lodge and Apprentice Boys club. During his
first term in council, Ian has been to the fore in issues
such as road safety and fuel poverty. He also sits on the
committees of the Glebeside and Carnany Community
Associations and has been involved in the enhancement of
the Riverside Park and, currently, Megaw Park.

"The last of our nine candidates, and by no means least, is
Mervyn Storey. Mervyn is our local Assembly Member and has
a vibrant office in Charles Street, Ballymoney. A member of
Ballymoney Free Presbyterian church and an esteemed member
of the Independent Loyal Institution, Mervyn has worked
hard for the people of the town and sits on the committees
of Glebeside and Castle Street Community Associations.

"Mervyn is also a member of Ballymoney LSP, the Regional
Partnership Board and vice-chair of the Economic
Development Committee.

"As the election approaches, we feel confident that our
team of candidates will be successful on 5th May and we
would ask all our supporters to come out and vote for the
team that will give Unionism leadership and will serve all
the people of the borough with enthusiasm and

Copyright © The Ballymoney Times 2004.


Orange Order Going Strong In West Africa Notes Researcher

The Orange Order is still going strong in west Africa
despite it facing many economic and political barriers,
according to research conducted by a University of Ulster

Dr Rachel Naylor, a lecturer in sociology at the Magee
campus, says that 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.

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

“The current emphasis in Ghana is very much on the
spiritual and social support elements of the Order,” Dr
Naylor added.

There are currently about 20 Orange lodges in west Africa
and membership at a number of youth lodges in Ghana is
increasing, which seems to augur well for the future of the
Order in that area. The revival in Orangeism has coincided
with the return of democracy to Ghana.

There were hopes that a similar environment for growth
might exist in Togo following recent elections but the
results of the poll led to violence and the exodus of
thousands of refugees to neighbouring states.

Dr Naylor’s research into the nature and significance of
the Orange Order in west Africa is supported by the
Institute of Ulster Scots Studies.



EU Treaty Would Be 'No Blank Cheque' - Ahern

Mark Brennock, Chief Political Correspondent

Taoiseach Bertie Ahern has insisted that the amendment to
the Constitution to be put to the people in the forthcoming
referendum on the EU treaty will not "seek to close the
door" on future referendums on significant EU treaty

In a speech accepting the European of the Year award
yesterday Mr Ahern said the Government's wording would
reflect the provisions of the new EU constitutional treaty.

It would not "seek to give the Government a blank cheque to
take decisions on highly sensitive and important issues in
the EU," he said, as Oireachtas approval would still be

It emerged last week that the Government had decided not to
proceed with what was potentially the most contentious part
of its proposed amendment.

This was a clause allowing the Government to sign up for
the "simplified revision" of the EU treaty.

This would have allowed the Government to agree to changes
to a wide range of EU policies without a referendum.

The wording now proposed would allow for the ratification
of the treaty, including provisions allowing the State to
agree to relinquish the national veto in some specified

Mr Ahern described the EU treaty as "a creature of neither
the left nor the right. It is up to governments to decide
on and implement its concrete policies. The nature of these
policies will depend on the play of political forces around
the negotiating table."

He said that unlike most other EU states, Ireland had had
referendums on all of the key developments in European

"We have learned the lesson that people's understanding and
engagement in where Europe is going is fundamentally linked
to the amount of information they have and the quality of
the national debate."

He said he wanted a "focused, balanced and serious debate
based on the facts and what is in the constitution.

"I would like to hope that the debate could reflect the
mature, modern, confident and economically successful
Ireland that has both contributed to, and benefited from,
European integration."

He said the outcome of the referendum in France later this
month would "undoubtedly have a profound influence over the
future fate of the European constitution".

However, he could not see how, in the event of a No vote,
EU states would go back to square one and negotiate a new

He said his experience of Europe had reinforced his
conviction "that the European Union is both the anchor of
peace and stability on this continent and an increasingly
powerful global actor in support of the UN's efforts to
prevent conflict, build peace and fight poverty".

© The Irish Times


US Group Opposes President's Visit

Sean O'Driscoll

An influential US Catholic group is trying to stop
President Mary McAleese from making a speech at a Catholic
university in Pennsylvania later this month.

The Cardinal Newman Society, which lists 10 US archbishops
and bishops as advisers, says the President is not in line
with Catholic teaching and had directly contradicted
statements by the new pope, Benedict XVI.

It has started a phone- and letter-writing campaign at
Villanova University, where Mrs McAleese is due to accept
an honorary law degree and make a graduation speech.

The group, which claims 16,000 members, has said the
President had "angered the Irish bishops by her advocacy
for homosexual rights and women priests". The group issued
a statement listing her alleged transgressions, including a
1997 article in the Tablet, in which she compared defenders
of the male priesthood to "Communist Party apparatchiks
hawking redundant clichés".

It also lists a 1995 Dublin seminar on women in the church,
in which the future president "responded with scorn" to
statements by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict
XVI) that women should never be accepted into the

"They say the debate is closed. I think they had better
turn up their hearing aids," the Cardinal Newman Society
quotes President McAleese as saying. It also quotes her as
saying that arguments against women priests appear to be
"dressed-up misogyny".

The society claims that 16 of the 220 Catholic Colleges in
the US are in violation of a June 1994 statement by the US
bishops which said that Catholic colleges should not honour
people "who act in defiance of our fundamental moral

The group has also put pressure on Catholic colleges not to
invite speeches by Senator Hillary Clinton because of her
pro-abortion stance.

President McAleese's private secretary, Helen Carney, said
the President had no comment to make on the Cardinal Newman
Society campaign.

Stephen Merritt, assistant to the president of Villanova
University, said the Cardinal Newman Society was entitled
to its beliefs but the university's board of trustees had
approved President McAleese as a graduation day speaker. He
said she had been re-elected unopposed because of her
popularity in Ireland and said she made an excellent
ambassador for her country.

The president of the Cardinal Newman Society, Patrick J
Reilly, said that some of President McAleese's statements
were "clearly rude" to the Irish bishops and to the
Vatican. He said that dissenters like President McAleese
are often very involved in the church but that did not
excuse their statements.

"Her statements are available on the internet and I think
they should be widely known to the Irish public," he said.

Mr Reilly, who was educated at a Jesuit college in New
York, founded the Cardinal Newman Society in 1993 and has
appeared on Fox News and other TV channels to discuss his
views. Speakers and guests deemed unacceptable by the
Cardinal Newman Society include California secretary for
education Richard Riordan at the Dominican University,
California; former New York City mayor Rudolph Giuliani at
Loyola College in Maryland; and dissident theologian Sr
Margaret Farley at Saint Xavier University, Illinois.

© The Irish Times


French Soldiers Honour Role Of Irish Brigade

Deaglán de Bréadún

French soldiers in 17th-century uniform, members of
President Chirac's personal guard, took part in a special
ceremony at the French embassy in Dublin to honour the role
played by the Irish Brigade at the Battle of Fontenoy,
which took place 260 years ago this week.

The Irish Brigade was composed of members of the "Wild
Geese" who left Ireland to fight in continental wars.

Historians say the French victory over British forces at
Fontenoy, which is now part of Belgium, was due primarily
to the Irish troops who charged into battle shouting
"Remember Limerick", a reference to the Treaty of Limerick
of 1691.

A descendant of the Wild Geese, Count Patrick MacMahon,
whose ancestors hail from Clare and Limerick, was guest of
honour at the ceremony.

The Count, a great-grandson of Marshal Patrice MacMahon,
President of France 1873-79, was paying his first visit to
Ireland with his wife Beatrix. He wore a tie bearing the
MacMahon family crest, an arm wielding an axe.

One of the flags used by the Irish Brigade was on display
at the ceremony, belonging to the Dillon Regiment and
bearing the slogan In Hoc Signo Vinces (In This Sign You
Will Conquer).

The Army Number One Band, conducted by Comdt Mark
Armstrong, played French military marches and "The White
Cockade", a Scots tune associated with Irish pipers in the
Jacobite Rebellion of the mid-1700s. Comdt Paul Rafter of
Army HQ led a group of five soldiers from the Fifth
Battalion who presented arms at the flag-raising ceremony
and there were pipers from McKee Barracks and Cathal Brugha
Barracks. Brigadier General Dan Rea represented the Chief
of Staff.

The Garde Républicain contingent was headed by Garde Marc

Chairman of the Oireachtas Foreign Affairs Committee Dr
Michael Woods was also present.

French ambassador Frederic Grasset said Fontenoy was "an
extraordinary example of military history and military
courage" and the battle "was won by the Irish Brigade".

He recalled that the French mission in Ireland was
originally opened in 1929 on the anniversary of Fontenoy,
May 11th.

Addressing the guests, Count MacMahon said the Wild Geese
"didn't leave completely" because Ireland "never leaves
one's heart".

© The Irish Times


Donegal Takes Golden Eagles Under Its Wing

Friday 13th May 2005

FOR THE first time in 95 years, two young Golden Eagles
have bred in Donegal.

The pair were among a group of six Golden Eagles released
as part of the reintroduction programme at Glenveagh
National Park in 2001. And project organisers say it's
extremely encouraging that four years later, two of the six
birds have paired up and attempted to breed at the earliest
possible stage.

Unfortunately the breeding attempt failed with the male
bird apparently abandoning the nest after four weeks of

However, it is quite normal for the first two or three
breeding attempts by inexperienced breeding adults to be
unsuccessful, especially when both the male and female are
so young.

Meanwhile, there was another 'birdie' first for Donegal
last month with the first corncrake in the country heard on
Tory on April 21.

The corncrake bird, Ireland's only globally threatened
species, migrates to spend the winter months in south east
Africa and returns to its birthplace from mid-April

Now that the corncrakes are back, birdwatchers insist that
summer can't be too far away.

Like the corncrake, Golden Eagles were once widespread in
areas of Ulster, Connaught and Munster. But the last pair
of Golden Eagles bred in Donegal in 1910 and they bred in
Mayo for the last time in 1912. A pair bred in County
Antrim from 1953-1960.

As part of a planned reintroduction programme Golden Eagles
were first released in Glenveagh National Park in 2001.

By last year, 35 Golden Eagles had been collected under
licence from wild nests in Scotland and then reared and
released in Glenveagh National Park.

The project is managed by the Golden Eagle Trust Limited
and guided by a steering group, including the National
Parks and Wildlife Service, the Heritage Council, the Irish
Farmers Association and Ud·r·s na Gaeltachta.

The two four-year old birds that bred, collected as chicks
in 2001, have been on their established territory since
October 2003.

According to Lorcan O'Toole, the Reintroduction Project
manager, the birds built a small eyrie, made from heather
twigs, old dried out thistle stalks, woodrush, rushes and

"The nest was on a small cliff face ledge, which was very
well sheltered by an overhanging rock," he explained.

"The female was first noted incubating in late March and
was very attentive and was occasionally relieved by the
smaller male. She sat constantly during the heavy snow
showers, which covered the cliff apart from the nest ledge,
on April 8.

"Unfortunately, after four weeks of routine incubation and
changeovers, the male bird was absent from the nest cliff
on Friday, April 22 during 10 hours of nest observation and
appears to have abandoned this year's breeding attempt."

Only six Golden Eagles were released in 2001 due to the
restrictions imposed in Scotland and Ireland during the
Foot and Mouth outbreak.

Lorcan O'Toole says it is extremely encouraging that two of
these 6 birds have already paired up and attempted to

Thirty-five birds have been released to date in Donegal and
the aim is to release 60-75 birds in total.

The birds have dispersed some considerable distances and
there have been confirmed reports from the north coast near
Binevenagh, Limavady and also counties Tyrone, Fermanagh,
Sligo, Leitrim, Mayo, Galway, Clare and Kerry.

There was also a probable record of one of the wing tagged
Golden Eagles from Glenveagh National Park on the Isle of
Mull, Scotland.

"The people of Donegal have been very supportive of the
project to date and we would like to thank them and
especially the local hill farmers and gun clubs for their
co-operation," Lorcan O'Toole said.

"Golden Eagles have proved they can breed in Donegal and
over the coming years, as further birds reach breeding age
and gain experience, we look forward to the day when the
first egg hatches and then when the first Donegal bred
Golden Eagle takes to the sky."
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