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May 17, 2005

Congress Passes Real ID Act

News About Ireland & The Irish

OL 05/17/05 Congress Passes Real ID Act
BB 05/17/05 Policing Board Man Slams The DUP
UT 05/17/05 Man Jailed After SDLP Pipe Bomb Attack
IT 05/18/05 Taoiseach Welcomes Internal Debate By IRA
UT 05/17/05 SF: UK ID Cards Undermine Rights Of Irish
IO 05/17/05 SDLP Urges Govts To Lift Assembly Suspension
SM 05/17/05 Paisley Urges 'Another Road' In N Ireland
BB 05/17/05 Hermon Out Of UUP Leadership Race
IO 05/17/05 Man Released After Questioning In Omagh Probe
MN 05/17/05 Illegals Bill Offers Hope To Irish In America
IO 05/17/05 Pioneering Irish Surgeon Dies
IT 05/18/05 Call For Ancient Dublin Site To Be Saved
IT 05/18/05 RTÉ To Screen Haughey 'Biopic'
IT 05/18/05 West Belfast Plans Euro-Friendly Currency Area



Congress Passes Real ID Act


Congress has passed a law that threatens to pave the way
for a US identity card. The Real ID Act, which was tagged
onto a military funding bill, passed both the Senate and
House of Representatives without full debate.

President Bush is expected to approve the Emergency
Supplemental Appropriations Act for Defense, the Global War
on Terror, and Tsunami Relief, 2005 later this month, and
it will come into force in three years' time.

The Real ID Act is designed to create a federally approved
driver’s licence, production of which will be required by
anyone seeking to fly, enter federal buildings, or open a
bank account. Those who cannot produce the licence will be
obliged to produce other forms of ID, for more rigorous

Republican Congressman James Sensenbrunner drafted the bill
with three intentions.

First, while the legislation does not say who may or may
not drive a car, it does address the use of a driver's
license as a form of identification to a federal official.
The Real ID Act will establish a uniform rule for all
states that temporary drivers' licenses for foreign
visitors will expire when their visa terms expire, and it
will establish tough rules for confirming identity before
temporary drivers' licenses are issued.

Second, it will tighten the asylum system, which
Sensenbrunner says is abused by terrorists, and reduce the
opportunity for immigration fraud.

Third, the Real ID Act will close a three-mile hole in the
San Diego border security fence.

The House of Representatives passed the bill on 5th May, by
a vote of 368–58. The bill passed the Senate on Tuesday by
a vote of 100–0.

Privacy activists are furious about the bill, which was
opposed by groups as diverse as the American Civil
Liberties Union (ACLU), the National Association of
Evangelicals, the Ancient Order of Hibernians, the National
Council of State Legislatures, the National Governors
Association and the American Association of Motor Vehicle

According to the ACLU, the Act will take the US one step
closer to a national ID, and a "show us your papers"
society, by forcing states to link their databases –
containing every licensed driver’s personal information –
with other states, with no guidelines as to who will have
access to that information.

Federal mandates would also determine what forms of
identification are needed to obtain state drivers’
licenses, making it possible that law-abiding American
citizens who lack certain key documents – like birth
certificates and social security numbers, etc – could be
denied licences.

Furthermore, says the ACLU, the Real ID Act was passed by
the House with no review or hearings. The Senate held no
hearings either.

"The Real ID Act was sold as an illegal-immigration fix
bill, when in fact it reduces every American’s freedom,"
said Timothy Sparapani, an ACLU Legislative Counsel. "At a
time when identity theft is rampant, Congress has just made
the DMV [Department of Motor Vehicles] one-stop shopping
for identity thieves."


Policing Board Man Slams The DUP

An independent member who is quitting Northern Ireland's
Policing Board has warned it could become more polarised
than ever.

Tom Kelly said he was concerned at the increased role the
DUP was trying to create for itself on the body.

"The DUP are making it quite clear they will not accept
anybody other than a DUP chairman. We can't be heading for
that type of society," he said.

The board was set up to hold the PSNI's Chief Constable,
Hugh Orde, to account.

However, Mr Kelly stressed his decision to quit was not
connected to the Northern Ireland election results in which
the DUP made significant gains.

Increased vote

The party won three extra seats at Westminster increasing
their representation from six to nine as well as winning
scores of council seats.

"The decision not to go forward was one I made in January
before the elections," he told BBC News Online.

However he said he stood by his concerns about the DUP.

"I think it's regrettable that people believe they have a
mandate to dictate public appointments policy.

"That would be a ridiculous society."

Although he is a member of the SDLP, Mr Kelly was appointed
to the Policing Board as an independent.

His assessment of the DUP's strategy drew a withering
response from one of the party's board members.

Ian Paisley Jr said: "If I was to say that I wouldn't serve
in an organisation that had a particular type of Jew or
Catholic on it, people like Tom Kelly would be trying to
have me censured.

"In future when the government appoints independent members
they should appoint fully independent members as opposed to
party hacks."

Sinn Fein boycott

Until now, DUP and nationalist SDLP membership on the 19-
member board has been evenly balanced, with each party
holding three seats.

The Ulster Unionists have four representatives.

Sinn Fein continues to boycott Northern Ireland's policing
arrangements and does not take its seats on the board.

It is expected that when the next board is appointed in the
autumn of 2005 the Ulster Unionists would have three seats,
with the SDLP on two.

The DUP's representation would rise to five.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/05/17 15:42:54 GMT


Man Jailed After SDLP Pipe Bomb Attack

A self-confessed killer already serving a life sentence was
today jailed for eleven years for a pipe bomb attack on an
SDLP constituency office.

Belfast Crown Court heard that while 24-year-old William
Alan Hill was on remand for murdering David Cupples in
December 2002, police uncovered a letter he had written to
his girlfriend confessing to his part in the bomb plot a
year before.

Prosecuting QC Terence Mooney said the letter was "a rare,
firsthand account by a bomber", adding that it was a
"chilling and boastful account of a planned sectarian
attack by willing and dedicated members of a paramilitary

He told the court that the explosion from the pipe bomb
Hill placed outside the Antrim Road constituency office of
SDLP MLA Alban Maguinness was so forceful that it left a
foot wide crater in the porchway and flung parts of the
doors "right across the Antrim Road".

The lawyer said that although the attack was directed at
the SDLP offices on the first floor, the building itself
was owned by the Scouts Association and added that the four
people from that organisation were trapped inside until ATO
gave the all clear.

Fortunately no-one was physically hurt in the explosion but
were left "badly shaken" and Mr Mooney told the court that
"the effect on any person who may have been passing at the
time, I think are obvious".

He said it was in July last year when officers uncovered
Hill`s confessional letter during their investigations into
the murder of civilian army worker David Cupples.

Last month Mr Justice Weir sentenced Hill to life
imprisonment with a minimum tariff of 13 years, after he
heard how Hill had battered him to death with a brick

in the early hours of December 22 2002.

The 25-year-old "inoffensive and hardworking" kitchen
porter had been walking to work at Girdwood Barracks at
Cliftonpark Avenue when Hill subjected him to a "brutal and
sustained attack" for which the judge said he still had "no
adequate explanation".

Today, Mr Mooney said the letter showed Hill had carried
out the bomb attack "with some determination" as it
revealed that the first attempt to light the fuse had
failed because it was damp.

However instead of aborting what Hill described as "their
mission", they left the scene to replace the fuse before
returning to carry out the attack.

The lawyer declared: "It`s clear that he placed the bomb
inside knowing that there was a light on the upper floors
and probably that there were people inside who could be put
at risk."

During police questioning Hill, from Southport Court in
Belfast, admitted writing the letter but denied being
involved in paramilitary groups, although today he pleaded
guilty to the charge of causing an explosion.

Defence QC Anthony Cinnamond admitted that "quite frankly,
there`s very little that can be said about the offence that
would help the accused" but claimed that at the time of the
bombing "he was mixing with some pretty undesirable

"Part of my submission is that he was put up to this by men
who were much more older and experienced than he and as I
say, their names fleet in and out of the papers," claimed
the lawyer.

Handing down the eleven-year sentence, Judge Tom Burgess
told Hill that at best, his letter showed "a willful
disregard for life and limb" and described the no-warn

ing bomb attack as a "cowardly and despicable act that
requires condign punishment".

In relation to the life sentence Hill is currently serving,
Judge Burgess said that at the end of the 13 years he would
have "no doubt" that the Life Sentence Review Commissioners
"will wish to consider the wanton disregard for life and
property" when deciding if Hill is suitable for release on


Taoiseach Welcomes Internal Debate By IRA

Gerry Moriarty and Denis Staunton in Warsaw

Taoiseach Bertie Ahern has expressed his satisfaction
that the IRA throughout Ireland is seriously considering
Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams’s call on the paramilitary
organisation fully to embrace peace and democracy.

Mr Ahern said he was "happy" the IRA was engaging in a
detailed internal consultation programme about Mr Adams’s
appeal. This confirms the IRA statement of late April that
it would initiate such a debate.

The Taoiseach made his comments in Warsaw yesterday as
efforts to rebuild the damaged peace process crank into
operation again involving the main political protagonists
in Belfast, Dublin, London and Washington.

Sinn Féin and DUP delegations, led respectively by Mr Adams
and Ian Paisley, meet the re-elected British prime minister
Tony Blair separately in London tomorrow, while this
evening in Dublin the Minister for Foreign Affairs Dermot
Ahern meets the new Northern Secretary Peter Hain for a
working dinner.

Today president George Bush’s Irish peace process envoy
Mitchell Reiss meets Northern party leaders in Belfast
before travelling to Dublin for a meeting with Minister for
Foreign Affairs tomorrow afternoon.

Dr Reiss also separately met Mr Hain and the DUP
Westminster parliamentary team led by Dr Paisley in London

On the margins of a Council of Europe summit in Warsaw
yesterday, the Taoiseach said he now knew the promised IRA
debate was under way. "This is significant. It will take
time. I’m not going to put a time limit on it.

I’m happy that it’s under way. I know now that it’s under
way," he said. In April Mr Adams said a positive IRA
response would have "enormous significance and impact". Mr
Ahern said he was not putting a timescale on when the IRA
should respond but added it was vital the IRA meet the
"ground rules" of decommissioning and ending violence and
criminality and that there would be an end to the IRA "in
its present form".

"It is only on those ground rules that we can move to peace
and confidence," he added. Mr Ahern indicated he would have
no difficulty with the IRA continuing in a "commemorative"
guise as long as it met the main conditions of disarming
and ending all activity.

Despite the IRA debate and the flurry of political
activity, Mr Ahern indicated this renewed attempt to re-
establish devolution in Northern Ireland will be a slow,
fraught, deliberate process.

"This is a detailed [IRA] consultation process," he said.
"We’re talking about all involved in the Provisional
movement throughout the whole island, so that’s a detailed
process. It’s not a question that it’s finished in days
that is important to me. It’s the hope that we get the
right results which allow us then to take up the political

Dr Reiss, after meeting Mr Hain, pledged that with the
support of President Bush he would do all he could to help
revive the peace process. "The goal is, as it has always
been, to try and bring peace to the people of Northern
Ireland who for so long have wanted it so very much."

In the House of Commons yesterday, Dr Paisley said "another
road" must be travelled by the British government in the
peace process.

Sitting in former UUP leader David Trimble’s seat, he said:
"We have to go another road and that road must be that no
terrorist, whether they come from one side or the other,
can be in any government of any part of this United

The new Sinn Féin MP for Newry and Armagh, Conor Murphy, in
London yesterday called for progress on "equality, human
rights, collusion, the Irish language, demilitarisation,
justice and policing".

The SDLP deputy leader Alasdair McDonnell said the British
and Irish governments must hold to the Belfast Agreement.


Sinn Fein: 'ID Cards Undermine Rights Of Irish'

British Government plans to introduce identification cards
throughout the United Kingdom could undermine the rights of
Irish citizens in Northern Ireland, Sinn Fein warned today.

By:Press Association

The party`s human rights and equality spokesperson, South
Down Assembly member Caitriona Ruane denounced the move on
ideological grounds, arguing the British Government should
not be allowed to compile information on people entitled to
claim Irish citizenship under the Good Friday Agreement.

"Sinn Fein is fundamentally opposed to the introduction of
any voluntary or compulsory British ID card," the Colombia
Three campaigner said.

"Proposed Westminster legislation would involve creating a
UK-wide database holding information on individuals such as
names, addresses, and biometric information like
fingerprints, facial scans and iris scans by 2008.

"Under the Good Friday Agreement people in the North have
the right to Irish or British identity or both.

"Far from being an effective tool for anything, these cards
would undermine not just civil liberties but also
fundamentally the right of people living in the north to
their Irish identity.

"Should Irish citizens in the North have to carry such a
British ID card or there is there any basis for the British
government have the right to hold biometric and other
information on Irish citizens?"

During the Queen`s speech at Westminster the British
Government confirmed a bill proposing the ID cards would be
introduced as a means of countering identity fraud.

The controversial proposal had to be dropped by the British
Government before the General Election.

However under Home Secretary Charles Clarke`s revamped
bill, the cards would be linked to a National Identity
Register holding information on all UK residents.

It is estimated the scheme will cost an estimated £3
billion, with each UK citizen being issued with a
"biometric" card bearing fingerprints and other personal
details stored on the new National Identity Register

The cards will be issued by a new Home Office executive
agency which would assume the functions of the UK Passport
Service and work with the Immigration and Nationality

Public and private sector bodies would be able to check a
person`s identity against the register, with their

The British Government believes the new bill will protect
citizens from identity fraud and theft, clamp down on
illegal working and abuse of the immigration system,
disrupt the use by terrorists and criminals of false and
multiple identities and ensure free public services are
used only by those who qualify.

In Scotland, MSPs have already voted against the idea of ID

Ms Ruane also argued today the costs of the scheme would be
considerable and too much for Stormont`s overstretched
budget to bear.

The Sinn Fein MLA added: "The track record of the British
Government on delivering any similar computerised scheme,
for example such as the Tax Credits system, has already
proven to be deeply flawed.

"I wouldn`t trust the Government to introduce this measure
in a sensible confidential manner. Any system the
Government has introduced involving technology in the past
few years has been shambolic.

"Also within the context of a deeply divided and sectarian
society the opportunity for authorities here to abuse a
database of this nature and the ability of agencies such as
the PSNI to use such information or ID cards to
discriminate against nationalist is huge.

"The argument that this will tackle fraud is bogus. We
heard these arguments when the British Government
introduced new electoral legislation that resulted in
thousands of nationalists and young people being

"People who fall through the system will become truly
excluded and marginalised from society."


SDLP's Mcdonnell Urges Govts To Lift Assembly Suspension
2005-05-17 19:20:02+01

The British and Irish governments should challenge
republicans and unionists in Northern Ireland to advance
politics by lifting the suspension of the Stormont
Assembly, ministers were urged tonight.

As US President George W Bush's special envoy Ambassador
Mitchell Reiss prepares for a round of talks tomorrow with
the North's leaders, nationalist SDLP deputy leader Dr
Alasdair McDonnell insisted London and Dublin had to stick
by the Good Friday Agreement in the coming months.

The South Belfast MP said: "Last December's deal between
Sinn Féin and the DUP wasn't just failed; it was flawed.

"It weakened the protections of the Good Friday Agreement.
It threatened democrats with a new form of automatic
exclusion to be laid down in British legislation.

"It allowed the DUP to take too much and give too little.
They didn't have to agree to even a single North-South body
or area of co-operation. It was a bad deal for nationalists
and all pro-Agreement people.

"We made clear our opposition to it and urged the
Governments to stand by what the Irish people voted for in
1998 - the Good Friday Agreement.

"The way to do that is to restore the institutions
immediately and challenge the other parties to move


Paisley Urges 'Another Road' In Northern Ireland

By Trevor Mason, PA Parliamentary Editor

Democratic Unionist leader the Rev Ian Paisley tonight
urged the Government to follow “another road” in the drive
for peace in Northern Ireland.

In debate on the Queen’s Speech, a jubilant Mr Paisley said
there was no place for terrorists in government of the

“I hope this Parliament will mark the establishment of
democracy throughout Northern Ireland,” he said.

“We want the same democracy that you have ... and we are
entitled to it as members of this great United Kingdom.”

Mr Paisley, who now leads the biggest unionist party in the
province, hailed the General Election results as the “best

Speaking from the seat previously occupied by the now
defeated former Ulster Unionist leader David Trimble, he
said “darkness” was still upon Northern Ireland, with
murders and killings still prevalent.

“It’s all very well for the Government to say that they are
going to deal with terrorism. They need to start by dealing
with terrorism in their backyard, which is Northern

“There’s no use telling our people that they will do their
best to rejuvenate the so-called agreement that has failed
four times ...

“We have to go another road and that road must be that no
terrorist, whether they come from one side or the other,
can be in any government of any part of this United

“There must be, to these men, an ultimatum given by the
Government: the day of terrorism is over. You can’t shoot
your way into government office – you can’t murder and rob
banks and destroy the country and them demand, because
you’ve a mandate, you’re going to get into government.”

Mr Paisley said the people of Northern Ireland had spoken
by electing nine DUP MPs and shown that they did not want
“IRA/Sinn Fein”.

He said of the republican party: “They are locking
themselves out of the talks, not us. They made the choice.
They said: ‘It’s terrorism for us, we’re holding onto our

“We’re saying democracy must and will prevail.”


Hermon Out Of UUP Leadership Race

The Ulster Unionist Party's sole remaining MP has ruled
herself out of the race for the party leadership.

Lady Sylvia Hermon, the MP for North Down, said she had
decided not to go forward in the contest to succeed David

Lady Hermon cited family commitments - her husband, Sir
John, suffers from Alzheimer's disease.

She regretted the disappointment her decision would cause
to many people who had encouraged her to go forward.

In a statement released on Tuesday evening, Lady Hermon
paid tribute to all those who had supported her.

"I greatly regret the disappointment my decision will
cause, not only to colleagues who have been so generous in
their support, but also to the many people throughout
Northern Ireland and beyond who have so enthusiastically
encouraged me to enter the leadership race," she said.

"They will, I trust, come to understand the rightness of my
decision in the present circumstances."

Family commitments

In an earlier interview with the BBC, she had said she
needed to think of her husband, the former chief constable
of the RUC.

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

UUP leader David Trimble announced his decision to stand
down after the party lost four of its MPs in the
Westminster 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: 2005/05/17 18:48:25 GMT


Man Released After Questioning In Omagh Probe

17/05/2005 - 17:32:07

A man questioned today about the Omagh bomb massacre was
later released without charge, police said tonight.

It was the second time the 37-year-old from south Armagh
had been detained for questioning over the August 1998

But after being held for several hours at Antrim he was

Twenty-nine people, including a woman pregnant with twins,
were killed in the no-warning Real IRA car bombing in the
Tyrone town. More than 300 other people were injured.

Sean Gerard Hoey, aged 35, also from South Armagh, is due
to be charged with the 29 murders later this month.

Hoey, of Molly Road, Jonesborough, is expected to appear at
a court in Craigavon, Co Armagh, for a remand hearing on


Publication Of Illegals Bill Offers Hope To Irish In

by Padraig Burns

THE thousands of illegal Irish people living in America
were given renewed hope over the weekend that their status
might soon be regularised when the long-awaited ‘Illegals
Bill’ was published. Last week a delegation of Fine Gael
politicians, led by the Mayo TD, Michael Ring, travelled to
the US to highlight the plight of the un-documented Irish
and as a consequence of their discussions with
Irish/American politicians the Bill was published on Friday
morning last.

However, Deputy Ring has cautioned the families of Irish
people living in the US not to get too excited about the
prospect of a quick solution to the illegal status problem.
"It could take some time yet for it to become law because
it has yet to go through the House of Representatives and
the Senate. But at least what we have now is a start, with
it being published, and I’m delighted that this has
happened. I don’t think we can take total credit for this
happening but I believe that our presence there last week
brought it home to the Irish/American politicians just how
serious an issue it is for the Irish people living there,"
said Deputy Ring.

According to Deputy Ring, thousands of Irish people are
living in a constant state of panic because of their
illegal status. "Everything changed after 9/11 and people
are now living under threat of being deported at any stage.
People can’t live normal lives, they are unable to apply
for as essential a piece of documentation as a driving
licence and they are afraid to return home because of their
fear of not being able to get back into the country," he

It was that fear and the dilemma that Irish people find
themselves in that persuaded the Deputy and his colleagues
to go to the US to find out at first hand just what the
problems facing their fellow country people are. Deputy
Ring was accompanied on the trip by Deputies Simon Coveney
(Cork), Dinny McGinley (Donegal) and Paul Connaughton
(Galway). While they were there they met a number of
Irish/American politicians, representatives of the Church,
the New York Chamber of Commerce and a police
representative association.

"We had to listen to the concerns of the politicians on the
illegal immigrants and take their views on board. It’s a
huge issue in the States at the moment and it’s not just
the Irish community that’s affected but of course our main
concern was the Irish people. We also met a number of
illegal Irish people and their first hand stories were eye-
opening for us all.

"When we travelled to Washington we met up Congressman
James Walsh and Congressman Stephen Lynch, both of whom are
prominent members of the Irish/American community. We made
our case to them and later on we met a woman called Jamie
Hawke, the Judiciary Committee Staff Officer of Senator
Edward Kennedy. She was dealing hands on with the Illegals
Bill which is sponsored by Senator Ted Kennedy and Senator
John McCain.

"As I said I don’t want to give the impression that this
issue will be resolved overnight, that’s not going to
happen. But I do feel that we made some progress last week
with the publication of the Bill last Friday. I think we’ve
made a start and we had to because we owe it to our people
living there to do what we can for them," said Deputy Ring.


Pioneering Irish Surgeon Dies

17/05/2005 - 15:41:16

Pioneering Irish heart surgeon Dr Maurice Hickey, whose
groundbreaking work in heart and lung surgery helped at the
height of the fight against tuberculosis, has died.

Dr Hickey was in his mid-80s, according to the Evening Echo
newspaper today. Dr Hickey who was made a Freeman of the
city of Cork in 1992 for his TB work.

His work in establishing TB sanatoria was to save thousands
of lives and eventually rid the country of the killer


Call For Ancient Dublin Site To Be Saved

Joe Humphreys

Dublin City Council is being urged to acquire the site of
a medieval castle and graveyard in Ballyfermot that is in
danger of being destroyed to make way for an apartment

The privately-owned site, at Raheen Park, has been
described by the city archaeologist, Dr Ruth Johnson, as "a
medieval settlement complex of high status" and "the only
historic monument in the entire area of Ballyfermot".

The owner of the site has had a number of planning
applications turned down.

However, residents believe it is only a matter of time
before a development gets the go-ahead - unless, the local
authority steps in to acquire the site.

Dublin Lord Mayor Michael Conaghan has backed calls for the
creation of a "heritage garden" at the park, otherwise
known as "The Lawns".

Mr Conaghan said the city council was spending more than
€20 million on a leisure and sports complex in a northern
section of the park, adding: "We can't invest that sort of
money and then ignore the heritage value of the area."

The site is home to the remains of Ballyfermot Castle,
which has been loosely dated to the 15th century.

Described as a two- or three-storey crenellated tower
house, with adjoining turret, it functioned as a school for
several decades until its demolition about 150 years ago.

A medieval church, dating from the 13th century and
dedicated to St Laurence, also stood on the site.

Once linked to the Knights Templars in Kilmainham, the
church was still in use a century ago, along with a
neighbouring graveyard.

A visitor in 1912 described how the "road up the steep hill
leads to the old church and graveyard of Ballyfermot, near
which formerly stood a castle . . . Between the house and
road is a curious brick wall, built in a series of curves,
and stated to have at one time formed portion of the
enclosure of an orchard belonging to the castle."

The eerie landscape provided inspiration for the novelist
Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu (1814-73), a resident of nearby
Chapelizod whose horror books influenced fellow Dubliner
Bram Stoker.

Le Fanu, who has a road named after him next to the park,
was said to have used the setting of St Laurence's for The
House by the Churchyard (1863).

While the church subsequently fell into ruin, many of the
gravestones still stood until the late 1970s when they were
either removed or buried by the local authority to protect
them from vandalism.

The last remaining building on the site - a farmhouse
dating from the late 18th century - was recently torn down
amid concerns about drug users congregating in the area.

The ruins of the castle are protected under the National
Monuments Act, 1994, while the area has been designated as
an archaeological zone under the 1999 Dublin City
Development Plan.

Nonetheless, the owner, Mr Derek Kelly, has made a series
of applications to develop the site, most recently
proposing a four-storey apartment complex and car park.

Attempts to contact Mr Kelly for comment proved
unsuccessful. However, his architect, Kim Dreyer, said it
had been acknowledged by the Council that there was "no
heritage value above ground level." An archaeological
consultant hired by the developer also found that no
historical building relating to Ballyfermot Castle fell
within the proposed development site, said Mr Dreyer.

However, Margaret Redmond, Raheen Park, said: "It's a
heritage site. People were buried there and it should be
treated with respect. We still have people coming back
looking for plots of relatives."

Mr Conaghan said he would be putting a motion calling for a
land swap with the developer at next month's meeting of the

© The Irish Times


RTÉ To Screen Haughey 'Biopic'

James Fitzgerald

A new four-part documentary charting the life and times
of Charles Haughey will be broadcast on RTÉ television next
month. Such is the pulling power still retained by the
former taoiseach, the "biopic" looks set to be one of the
highlights of RTÉ's summer schedule, announced yesterday.

According to a spokeswoman for the national broadcaster,
the programme makers enjoyed considerable co-operation from
the Haughey family, being granted "access to the inner
circle" although unfortunately, they did not manage to
interview Mr Haughey himself on camera.

The programme, which is produced by Steve Carson of Mint
Productions, promises interviews with family, friends and
foes "to paint a full colour picture of the most
controversial and magnetic politician in recent Irish
history". It will go to air over four successive weeks
starting in June.

Meanwhile, fans of sweaty ballrooms, swinging microphones
and swivelling hips will be glad to note that Spit on me
Dickie, a documentary on showband star Dickie Rock, will be
broadcast as part of RTÉ's True Lives series on the first
or second Tuesday in June.

During the summer, True Lives will also focus on such
things as private investigators in Limerick, faith healers
in Brazil and the sleazy underbelly of the Costa del Sol.

There will be a six-part, fly-on-the-wall documentary,
presented by Derek Davis, following six local people around
Kinsale for the summer, which sounds similar to Shay
Healy's successful Harbour Nights docu-soap set in
Courtown, Co Wexford in 1999.

On Saturday nights, Miriam O'Callaghan gets the chance to
leave the serious Prime Time studio and show off her
lighter side as she hosts her new 10-part chat show as Ryan
Tubridy takes a summer break.

For sports fans, RTÉ is devoting its usual slots to plenty
of GAA coverage with around 40 hurling and football games
being televised live between now and the All-Ireland finals
in September.

Ireland's three soccer World Cup qualifiers against Israel
(June 4th), Faroe Islands (June 8th) and France (September
7th) will be shown live.

"This summer we have extended and enhanced our schedule
with over 300 hours of home-produced programming which
appeals most to the Irish viewing public," said Noel
Curran, managing director of RTÉ Television.

© The Irish Times


West Belfast Plans Euro-Friendly Currency Area

Dan Keenan, Northern News Editor

West Belfast is planning to transform itself into a dual-
currency zone to enhance the area's business and tourism

A scheme to turn the area into a euro-friendly zone was
unveiled yesterday by Fáilte Feirste Thiar (Welcome to West
Belfast), the West Belfast Partnership's tourism

Some 120 local businesses, including shops, bars, cafés,
the famous west Belfast black taxis and Féile an Phobail -
the west Belfast festival - have signed up to the scheme,
with promises of further participants to come.

Ciara Boyle, tourism development officer for Fáilte Feirste
Thiar said: "The euro zone launch is really only the
beginning of making this area totally euro friendly. West
Belfast is leading the way in attracting new visitors and
providing options for their spending as part of an overall
strategic package aimed at finding gaps in the tourism
market for a unique area."

Laura Leonard, European manager at Belfast City Council,
said: "This quite simply makes it easy to do business here
and helps to give the west of the city a very competitive

Gerry Carson, West Belfast Partnership chairman, said: "As
a lifelong supporter of the European movement, I am very
proud that west Belfast is leading the way, making it
easier for the rest of the city and indeed the rest of the
North to implement euro zones."

With improved North-South connections and new air routes to
Belfast, it is hoped that being euro friendly will help
west Belfast capture a greater slice of the European
tourist trade.

© The Irish Times
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