News about the Irish & Irish American culture, music, news, sports. This is hosted by the Irish Aires radio show on KPFT-FM 90.1 in Houston, Texas (a Pacifica community radio station)

May 11, 2005

Loyalists Accused of Brutal Murder

News About Ireland & The Irish

BT 05/11/05 Family Accuses Loyalists Of Brutal Murder
BT 05/11/05 Opin: Gentle Loner Who Fell Victim To UDA Thugs
BT 05/11/05 'DUP Can Boost Hope For Deal'
UT 05/11/05 Ó Caoláin Suspended From Dáil
BT 05/11/05 New SF Arrival Puts Out Mayor
DI 05/10/05 Lower Falls Sweep- SF Still Belfast’s Biggest
BT 05/11/05 Opin: Clear Water Between SF And The SDLP
BT 05/11/05 Alliance Holding Power Once Again
BT 05/11/05 Ulster's New Councils: The Full List
DI 05/10/05 Hain Goes Walkabout
BT 05/11/05 Sinn Fein Slammed By MEPs Over Killing
IO 05/11/05 SF Defend Decision Not To Back McCartney Motion
BB 05/11/05 New MPs Being Sworn In At Commons
GU 05/11/05 Northern Ireland: The Other Election
BT 05/11/05 Opin: Politics Of Compromise Have Been Betrayed
BT 05/11/05 Opin: Well, Where Do We Go From Here?
BT 05/11/05 DUP Juggernaut Rolls Out Victory
BT 05/11/05 Bias Fears In Border Area
BB 05/11/05 Classical Solution To Anti-Social Behaviour
HS 05/10/05 GAA: Rule 42
AJ 05/08/05 Opin: The Specter Of Violence In America
AF 05/10/05 Irish Fisherman Hooks Mind-Blowing Catch

QA 05/09/05 Questions & Answers –VO

Questions And Answers - 09 May 2005
Presented by John Bowman
You can watch the entire show, or watch individual reports
using the menu below.

The Panel:
Susan McKay of the Irish Times & Irish News
Dermot Nesbitt, Ulster Unionist MLA
Dr Alasdair McDonnell, SDLP MLA, MP
Willie O'Dea, Defence Minister
Conor Murphy, Sinn Féin MLA, MP

Question 1: Do you think history will be kind to David

Question 2: Following the British General Election and Tony
Blair's cabinet reshuffle, does the panel consider Peter
Hain, the newly appointed Northern Ireland Secretary, a
safe pair of hands?

Question 3: Does the panel expect the McCartney sisters to
ever get justice?

Question 4: Does the panel think there should be
competition for the second terminal at Dublin Airport?

Question 5: Did the British electorate give Tony Blair a
'bloody nose' following Labour's reduced majority election


Brother 'beaten and left for dead'

Family Accuses Loyalists Of Brutal Murder

By Mary Fitzgerald
11 May 2005

The family of a former Downtown Radio producer who died
following a brutal nightclub beating spoke for the first
time today about their grief and horror at his murder.

Stephen Nelson (55), died in hospital in March, six months
after he was attacked by a gang of men who forced their way
into the foyer of the Chimney Corner Hotel nightclub near

It is believed individuals linked to the UDA carried out
the attack.

Mr Nelson, who had organised discos at the club after
leaving Downtown Radio four years ago, suffered serious
head injuries and never regained consciousness.

Five people were arrested at the time, but later released
without charge.

Speaking for the first time about the attack, Mr Nelson's
brother Peter told the Belfast Telegraph he believed the
gang intended to leave his brother for dead after he
challenged loyalist paramilitaries over drug dealing.

"They just concentrated on his head. There were very few
marks on his body," said Peter.

"Because of that I think it is very possible they intended
to kill him. Thinking about it still really upsets me.

"I know that one of the theories being examined is that
Stephen had worked very hard to keeps drugs out of the
Chimney Corner and probably upset some people along the way
as a result.

"I believe police think the people responsible are UDA

Detective Inspector Ian Gilchrist told the Belfast
Telegraph the police investigation was ongoing and appealed
for anyone with information to come forward.

Peter Nelson admitted he has little hope his brother's
killers will ever be caught.

"I would like to see these people brought to justice but I
think it's going to be difficult to bring a prosecution
against anyone because of lack of evidence.

"There were no actual witnesses to the attack and there
doesn't appear to be any forensic evidence, so I'm not very

Mr Nelson was well known in the Ulster music scene and
bands across the province were shocked to hear of his

He was affectionately known as Rastus to all the bands he
recorded at Downtown Radio, where he had worked almost
since the beginning of the radio station as a studio
producer and engineer.

On one occasion he recorded the Undertones hit Teenage
Kicks and had also worked with hit bands like Stiff Little

In the late 90s he left Downtown to work at the Chimney
Corner where he was in charge of entertainment. He took the
job after running many shows there for Downtown.


Gentle Loner Who Fell Victim To UDA Thugs

11 May 2005

Disco organiser Stephen Nelson was brutally beaten and left
for dead as he finished work at the Chimney Corner Hotel in
Newtownabbey last September. Sustaining serious head
injuries, he died six months later in hospital. Speaking
for the first time about the horrific attack, Stephen
Nelson's brother, Peter, talks to Mary Fitzgerald

It was a journey Peter Nelson never imagined he would have
to make. Even now, almost eight months later, he finds it
difficult to recall the phonecall that turned his world
upside down last autumn. The caller, a PSNI officer, told
him his brother Stephen was lying unconscious in the
intensive care unit at Belfast's Royal Victoria Hospital,
his face beaten and bloodied beyond recognition. The 55-
year-old's injuries were so severe that already police were
talking about a murder inquiry.

"They told me they had started a murder inquiry
straightaway after he had been admitted to casualty because
they thought his chances of survival were virtually nil,"
explains Peter.

"It was a bolt out of the blue. I found it so difficult to
take in."

Peter, who left Northern Ireland to work in London 25 years
ago, took the first flight available to Belfast. Arriving
at his brother's bedside, he knew Stephen was beyond

"He never came close to regaining consciousness. The
diagnosis was made fairly quickly that he was in a
persistent vegetative state as a result of extensive brain
injuries. There was no meaningful communication from him
before he died," Peter says.

"He was virtually unrecognisable for the first week or two,
he was so swollen up. It was very upsetting. I said goodbye
to him quite a few times during that time because I really
didn't think he would last any length of time at all."

In the end, Stephen Nelson clung on for six months before
passing away in March - the victim, many believe, of
loyalist paramilitaries who crossed his path one Saturday
night last September.

That night, Stephen was working, as usual, in the nightclub
attached to the Chimney Corner Hotel on the Antrim Road,
near Glengormley.

HE had organised discos at the hotel for more than four
years after leaving Downtown Radio, where he had worked as
a studio engineer and producer. About an hour after the
final revellers at the over-25s night had straggled out of
the club, a man banged on the door. It is understood he
demanded to be let in, saying he had forgotten his coat.
Within minutes, a gang of about 10 men had forced their way
into the club's foyer. They went straight for Stephen,
kicking and punching him. It is understood they also used a
heavy ashtray to bludgeon him about the head.

"They just concentrated on his head. There were very few
marks on his body," says Peter. "Because of that, I think
it is very possible they intended to kill him. Thinking
about it still really upsets me. What they did to him was
just so horrible, I try not to think about it too much."

Detective Superintendent Alan Mains, who had been leading
the investigation into the attack, said at the time that
the savagery of the assault almost defied belief. He said
he suspected the gang had attended the club earlier that
evening and had fled the scene in taxis, but said he was
unable to determine a motive for the attack.

At first, Stephen's friends and family were puzzled as to
why anyone would want to go after such an unlikely target.
Everyone who knew the softly-spoken disco organiser
describes him as a quiet, unassuming man who never married
and lived on his own in a flat in the Cherry Walk area of
east Belfast. Known affectionately as 'Rastus' or 'Ras' -
though no one seems to remember why - tall, gangly Stephen
was well-known in local music and radio circles because of
his work at Downtown, where he helped record bands such as
the Undertones, Stiff Little Fingers and the Outcasts in
the 1970s.

"He was intensely private," said one former colleague.

"A real gentle sort," said another.

"He was a perfectly peaceful sort of person," says Peter,
who shared a flat with him while they both attended Queen's
University in the 1960s.

"There was no aggression in him at all. He was actually
quite a soft person and not at all involved in any kind of
political stuff. He couldn't stand that sort of thing.

"I know that one of the theories being examined is that
Stephen had worked very hard to keeps drugs out of the
Chimney Corner and probably upset some people along the way
as a result. I believe the police think the people
responsible are UDA members.

"There's no firm motive as to why he was attacked but it
could have been that they wanted him out of the way or
perhaps he had just upset somebody because of his anti-
drugs stance and they came back to teach him a lesson."

ACCORDING to Stephen's friends, there had been a
confrontation of sorts at the club the previous weekend
after Stephen challenged a man he believed was attempting
to sell drugs on the premises. Sources say this man was
linked to the UDA in Rathcoole and that the attack on
Stephen the following Saturday was brutal revenge.

"He was just a guy doing his job but he crossed the wrong
person and he paid for it," said a close friend who did not
want to be named.

Five men, all from the greater Belfast area and aged in
their late 20s or early 30s, were arrested last September
in connection with the attack but were later released
without charge.

Detective Inspector Ian Gilchrist told the Belfast
Telegraph the Police investigation was on-going and
appealed for anyone with information on the attack to come

Peter Nelson, however, admits he has very little hope that
his brother's killers will ever be caught.

"I would like to see these people brought to justice but I
think it's going to be very difficult to bring a
prosecution against anyone simply because of the lack of

"There were no actual witnesses to the attack and there
doesn't appear to be any forensic evidence so I'm not very

"I'm not seething with anger for some reason. I don't know
why. I'm more depressed about the whole thing," he says,
adding that, for him, Stephen's death serves as a permanent
reminder of the grim paramilitary stranglehold that still
remains over some communities in Northern Ireland.

"The lives of too many people here are blighted by the
paramilitary organisations that control certain areas, and
businesses in those areas often have to struggle to try to
deal with these groups.

"I've been away from here for 25 years now and I've had an
idea that this sort of thing was going on from watching the
news but it makes it all so terribly real when it happens
to a member of your family.

"You tend to think that it's something that happens to
other people. Not in a million years do you imagine that
it's going to happen to your own."


'DUP Can Boost Hope For Deal'

By Noel McAdam
11 May 2005

The DUP's first moves in local government could boost the
chances of a power-sharing devolution deal, it was claimed
last night.

As two days of council vote counting came to an end, the
SDLP argued the DUP now has an opportunity to prove its
commitment to power-sharing arrangements through a rotation
and share-out of posts at council level.

After its local government elections triumph, the DUP is in
overall control of four councils - Ards, Castlereagh,
Ballymena and Ballymoney - and became the largest party on
Belfast City Council, where Alliance will still hold the
balance of power.

Former SDLP Executive Minister Sean Farren said his party
would be monitoring the performance of the DUP in the
coming days.

"The challenge for the DUP now is to demonstrate their
commitment to power-sharing. If they fail to grasp this
opportunity to work in partnership, it will show the words
they agreed to (in the Comprehensive Package document
released last December) on power-sharing mean nothing," Mr
Farren said.

"In the same way that the DUP wants action from the IRA in
relation to decommission, we will we seeking action from
the DUP."


Ó Caoláin Suspended From Dáil

Sinn Fein's Caoimhín O Caoláin has been suspended from the

The Cavan-Monaghan TD accused the Taoiseach of giving more
priority to the concerns of those in the horse-racing and
greyhound industry, than to those in the disability sector.

He was ordered out of the chamber after refusing to give
Bertie Ahern proper speaking time.


New SF Arrival Puts Out Mayor

By Paddy McGuffin
11 May 2005

Sinn Fein put on a brave face yesterday after their bid to
win an extra seat in Derry City Council backfired with the
election of new girl Elisha McLaughlin coming at the
expense of high-profile mayor, Gearoid O'hEara.

While party members were keen to point out that Sinn Fein's
share of the vote had gone up in Foyle, the mayor himself
admitted there was some embarrassment that he had fallen
victim to a vote management plan that had proved risky.

Mr O'hEara, who has been on the council for 16 years,
failed to secure his Shantallow seat after the party pushed
for the election of new mum, Ms McLaughlin.

It is understood, however, that the mayor will continue
with his official duties until the conclusion of his term
of office next month.

As declarations for the Shantallow Ward were made at
Derry's Guildhall on Monday, poll-topper Mary Bradley of
the SDLP extended her sympathies to Mr O'hEara.

Speaking afterwards, Mr O'hEara said he was delighted for
his young colleague.

But when asked whether he felt any embarrassment at the
loss, he said: "It may be slightly embarrassing but the
Sinn Fein electoral vote is up in Foyle and we haven't lost

"I am delighted Elisha has come to take my place.

"We took some risks but we have a new team now."

He said that the defeat had not come as a total surprise,
adding: "When the votes were turned out, we had an idea
which way it would go and which way the transfers would go.

"I don't take it too personally, I am a republican activist
and will continue to be so."

Party colleague and friend Maeve McLaughlin said she was
disappointed on a personal level "given the huge personal
contribution Gerry has made to the party".

"Unfortunately this is one of the risks you take when you
enter into PR," she said.


Lower Falls Clean Sweep Ensures SF Still Belfast’s Biggest

Sinn Féin is on course to remain the biggest party in
Belfast City Hall following the party’s stunning clean
sweep of the Lower Falls ward yesterday.

All five Sinn Féin candidates standing in the ward were
elected, with the SDLP’s Margaret Walsh losing out.

However, the party did lose its precious council seat in
the Pottinger ward in east Belfast.

The fallout from the Robert McCartney murder and the effect
it had on the republican vote in the Short Strand district
of Pottinger ensured that a valiant effort by Deborah
Devenny to hold onto the seat was in vain.

Counting was completed last night in five of Belfast City
Council’s nine wards – Lower Falls and Upper Falls in west
Belfast, Pottinger and Victoria in east Belfast, and
Oldpark in the north of the city.

The Democratic Unionist Party made gains in Pottinger and
Victoria at the expense of the Ulster Unionists and the
Alliance Party.

However, it was not all doom and gloom for those two
parties. Former Ulster Unionist mayor Fred Cobain won back
his old Oldpark seat and the Alliance Party’s Marie Hendron
was successful in Pottinger.

Mr Cobain’s success resulted in the eight-year City Hall
tenure of the Progressive Unionist Party’s Billy Hutchinson
coming to an end.

Counting in the Balmoral, Castle, Court and Laganbank wards
is due to be completed today.

Sinn Féin is eyeing gains in Castle, while the DUP is
confident of taking seats in Balmoral, Court and Laganbank.

Reflecting on Sinn Féin’s stunning success in the Lower
Falls, Tom Hartley, the party’s leader on the council,
said: “Sinn Féin has been returned to the City Hall with an
increased mandate.

“We have reaffirmed our position as the biggest party on
the council.

“Local politics are extremely important and we’ll be
working hard to represent everyone in the city.”

SDLP politician Margaret Walsh expressed disappointment
that her time on the council was now at an end.

She said: “I’ll be back to win this seat in four years’

“When it came down to first preferences, Sinn Féin was only
20 votes ahead of me.

“There is an SDLP seat in the Lower Falls despite what
tonight’s results tell us.

“I had a good eight years in the City Hall and I look
forward to returning.”

There are 51 seats on Belfast City Council.

Elections for the position of lord mayor, which will
probably go to a candidate from the largest party, are to
take place at the beginning of June.


Clear Water Between SF And The SDLP

11 May 2005

Malachi O'Doherty looks at why Sinn Fein failed to take
Derry in recent elections and what lies beyond

Last week's elections have corrected the trajectory of Sinn
Fein. The party has failed to take Derry. This is not a
small matter. Derry was the birthplace of the Troubles. If
Sinn Fein cannot overtake the SDLP there, either for the
Westminster seat or for the Council, then that says there
is something fundamentally wrong with the Sinn Fein project
and its appeal to the people it purports to represent.

It also shows that Belfast and Derry are very different
cities. Belfast is the real spiritual home of Sinn Fein.
Belfast is a dark city with an industrial past,
horrifically divided. Belfast's sectarianism is more
blatant. Catholics in Derry feel no threat to their sense
of being Irish.

When Northern Ireland was closest to civil war in 1972, it
was Belfast which took the brunt of it. It is only Belfast
which is still haunted by the fear of a future sectarian
civil war.

But there are other reasons why Sinn Fein failed to take

The Westminster candidate, Mitchel McLaughlin is older than
Mark Durkan. The people of Derry do not see talent behind
McLaughlin. He appears to be all that Sinn Fein has to
offer to oppose a candidate who is young and brilliant and
who actually plans to take his seat.

When you think of it, it is disheartening that so many did
vote for Mitchel McLaughlin; it would have been an act of
self- abasement on the part of the city if the majority had
preferred him.

And now the question arises: why did Martin McGuinness not
stand in Derry?

There had been speculation that he would swap campaigns
with McLaughlin and throw his weight against Durkan.

Today, he is either wishing he had done that or he is
relieved that the SDLP's survival in Derry was not at the
expense of the more senior Republican.

One of the common arguments against the SDLP was that it
did not have a clear policy distinguishing it from Sinn
Fein. It had been fighting Sinn Fein by mimicking Sinn
Fein. And it is determined not to go back into the
executive unless accompanied by Sinn Fein.

That means two things.

By one reading, it means that there is little point in
voting for the SDLP if Sinn Fein is the real thing.

By another, it means that Sinn Fein stands to gain long-
term advantage from any vote given to the SDLP.

The nationalists who want Sinn Fein to do well can help
that party by voting for the SDLP, so long as the SDLP is
committed to keeping the door open for Republicans into the

In their current deadlock, an homogenous nationalist
community behind Sinn Fein would probably just deepen
Unionist fears and make agreement even more difficult.

Sinn Fein, tarnished by the Northern Bank robbery and the
Robert McCartney murder, may still have a better chance of
finding its way back into the executive with the aid of a
mediator, as in the past.

But there is also now clear water between Sinn Fein and the
SDLP. It is now plain that the SDLP stands for something
which Sinn Fein does not. That something is participation
in Westminster and on the policing board.

Had Sinn Fein succeeded in virtually eradicating the SDLP,
it would be equipped to say today that nationalists in
Northern Ireland have rejected the imperial parliament and
rejected the Police Service of Northern Ireland. Its
abstention from both would have been virtually uncontested
within the nationalist political community.

The success of three SDLP candidates and the survival of
the SDLP in Derry, as the majority party on the city
council, denies Sinn Fein that prospect.

Now policing and participation will be at the heart of the
debate about the future of nationalism.

Sinn Fein will seek to have its MPs admitted to the Dail
and given voting rights there. This will be resisted, and
an energetic campaign will follow. But now, Sinn Fein will
have to deal with the SDLP's willingness to participate.

Expect to see them pointing the finger at SDLP MPs and
accusing them of undermining the national project.

But there is another danger for Sinn Fein. So far, it has
led the nationalist community on issues short of the full
claim for Irish sovereignty over Northern Ireland. To move
further now, it must move on to the ground of the
sovereignty question in a much more assertive way. How many
nationalists will follow?

It may be that Sinn Fein has peaked. At the next
Westminster election, it may take South Down but it is very
likely to lose Fermanagh South Tyrone. By then, it will
need to have established a new, more credible, candidate in
Derry, to fight a Mark Durkan who will hopefully have
distinguished himself in parliament by then and won the
point that it is worth going there.

Of course, the SDLP will probably lose South Belfast in

And, much depends on whether the assembly will return. If
it does, the DUP will probably insist on a new election to
it, to finish off the Ulster Unionists' chances of getting
ministerial positions.

Since the return of the Assembly executive depends on Sinn
Fein establishing its credibility with all other parties,
and particularly with the DUP, the odds are massively
against it.

Political reality will dictate that, for Sinn Fein to grow
further politically, it will have to grow more like the
SDLP, taking its seats in Westminster, taking its seats on
the policing board, acknowledging that Northern MPs have no
seats of right in Dublin, and impressing the electorate
with its competence and sense of responsibility.

The question for the electorate then will be whether to
settle for the real SDLP or to buy more of this new SDLP


Alliance Holding Power Once Again

By Andrea Clements

11 May 2005

The DUP is now the biggest party on Belfast City Council
with 15 seats, followed closely by Sinn Fein with 14.

But the council will be neither unionist or nationalist
controlled this term, as Alliance again holds the balance
of power.

The final tally leaves 25 unionist and 22 nationalist
councillors in the chamber as well as the increased
Alliance grouping, now with four councillors.

Alliance took an extra seat in the Pottinger ward,
incorporating the Short Strand where the family of murdered
man Robert McCartney live, at the expense of Sinn Fein.

Although the total number of unionists remains unchanged,
the continuing trend across Northern Ireland saw the UUP
lose four seats to bring them down to just seven. Long-
serving councillors Chris McGimpsey and Alan Crowe lost
their UUP positions.

The PUP's Billy Hutchinson also failed to be re-elected.
The council chamber will see 15 new faces out of a total of
51. On the ninth count in Balmoral, the last ward in
Northern Ireland to declare its results yesterday, the
DUP's Ruth Patterson was elected.

The closely-watched battle with Sinn Fein's Stiofan Long
for the seat, previously held by the UUP, decided which
party would become the largest in Belfast.

News of who would fill the last seat in Laganbank, also in
South Belfast and previously held by the UUP, was eagerly
awaited, and again it was a DUP candidate - Christopher

Topping the polls were the DUP's Diane Dodds in Court with
a massive 4,176 first preference votes - possibly the
highest ever for a council candidate in Northern Ireland -
and Sinn Fein's Alex Maskey in Laganbank.

In the Court ward, Independent Frank McCoubrey and the
PUP's Hugh Smyth, managed to get re-elected on the fourth
and fifth counts and Lower Falls is now solely represented
by Sinn Fein.


Ulster's New Councils: The Full List
11 May 2005

19 seats

DUP, 6
Clarke, Dunlop, Graham, Lewis, Lucas, Smyth

Brady, Cushinan, Logue

UUP, 5
Cochrane-Watson, Kinahan, Nicholl, Rea, Ritchie

Burns, Keenan, Loughran

Ford, Lawther

23 seats

DUP, 12
Bell, Craig, Drysdale, Elliott, Ennis, Gregory, S Hamilton,
McIlveen, Montgomery, Oswald, Shannon, Williams


UUP, 7
Carson, Ferguson, Fletcher, Gibson, Hamilton, Magill, Smyth


McBriar, K McCarthy, McDowell

22 seats

DUP, 6
Berry, Black, N Donnelly, F Donnelly, Irwin, Wilson

Boylan, Corrigan, Crowley, O'Rawe, Rafferty

UUP, 5
McRoberts, Rollston, J Speers, E Speers, Turner

Brannigan, Bratton, Campbell, Haughey, Mallon, O'Hanlon


24 seats

DUP, 14
Adger, Alexander, Carson, Clarke, Frew, Gaston, Gillespie,
Hanna, Mills, Nelson, T Nicholl, H Nicholl, Stirling, Tweed


UUP, 5
Armstrong, Cherry, Currie, McKernan, McNeilly

Gribben, McAvoy, O'Loan


Henry (independent)

16 seats

DUP, 8
Campbell, Cousley, Finlay, Patterson, Robinson, Stevenson,
Storey, Wilson

Cavlan, McGuigan, McKay

UUP, 2
McKeown, Simpson

Connolly, McCamphill


Kennedy (independent)

17 seats

DUP, 7
Beare, D Herron, S Herron, McCrum, McElroy, McFadden,


UUP, 5
Baird, Burns, Hanna, Howe, Ingram

Doyle, McAleenan, McDermott



51 seats

DUP, 15
W Browne, Campbell, Crozier, N Dodds, D Dodds, Humphrey,
Kirkpatrick, McCausland, McKenzie, McMillen, Newton,
Patterson, Rodway, Stalford, Wilson

Austin, M Browne, Cunningham, Cush, Hartley, Lavery, P
Maskey, A Maskey, McCann, McClenaghan, Mhic Giolla Mhin,
Moore, Ni Chuilin, O'Neil

UUP, 7
Adamson, D Browne, Cobain, Empey, McGimpsey, Rodgers,

Attwood, Convery, Hanna, Kelly, Maginness, McCarthy,
Mullaghan, O'Reily

Ekin, Hendron, Jones, Long

Ervine (PUP), McCoubrey (independent), Smyth (PUP)

17 seats

DUP, 8
Ashe, Beattie, Clements, Hilditch, Marsden, L McClurg, J
McClurg, McKinney


UUP, 4
Beggs, Cosgrove, A Ferguson, D Ferguson


Day, Dickson, Neeson


23 seats

DUP, 13
J Beattie, A Beattie, Bunting, Chambers, Jeffers, Norris,
Ramsey, P Robinson, G Robinson, I Robinson, Spratt, Tosh,


Copeland, Drysdale, Hall, Henderson

Hanvey, Hughes

Cochrane, Duncan, Long, Rice


22 seats

DUP (9)
Bradley, Cole, Creelman, Deans, Fielding, Gilkinson,
McClure, McQuillan, Stewart


UUP, 8
Barbour, Black, Church, Hillis, Johnston, King, McClarty,

Dallat, Hickey, McLaughlin


Alexander (independent)

16 seats

DUP, 3
Lees, McCartney, McCrea

Clarke, McAleer, McIvor, McNamee, Molloy

UUP, 3
Glasgow, Greer, Wilson

Baker, Cassidy, McGarvey, McGlone, Quinn



26 seats

DUP, 9
Anderson, Carson, Dawson, Moutray, M Russell, Simpson, R
Smith, W Smith, Weir

Magill, McKeown, J O'Dowd, M O'Dowd, Small, Tallon

UUP, 6
Crozier, Harkness, Hatch, G Savage, Twyble, Gardiner

Corr, Fox, Kelly, M McAlinden


Jones (Independent)

30 seats

DUP, 5
G Campbell, Devenney, Hay, Miller, Thompson

Anderson, Campbell, L Fleming, P Fleming, Hassan, Logue,
MacLochlainn, M McLaughlin, E McLaughlin, Page

UUP, 1

SDLP, 14
Boyle, Bradley, Carr, Clifford, Conway, Diver, Durkan,
Eastwood, Gallagher, Hume, McKeever, Quigley, Ramsey,



23 seats

DUP, 3
Dick, Walker, Wells

Clarke, Coogan, Johnston, McConvey, McDowell

UUP, 4
Bowles, Burgess, Douglas, Rea

SDLP, 10
Craig, Durran, Doris, Fitzpatrick, McAleenan, McGrath,
O'Neill, O'Boyle, Ritchie, Toman


Corry (Green)

22 seats

DUP, 5
Brush, R Burton, F Burton, Greenaway, Morrow

Donnelly, Gildernew, Gillespie, McGuigan, McLarnon,
McMahon, O'Neill, Molloy, Monteith

UUP, 4
Badger, Cuddy, Hamilton, Mulligan

Cavanagh, Currie, Daly, McGonnell,



23 seats

DUP, 4
Dodds, Bert Johnston, Robinson

Cox, Huggett, R Lynch, McCaffrey, McHugh, McSorley,
O'Reilly, Swift, Ui Cathain

UUP, 5
Andrews, Baird, Elliott, Irvine, Kerr

Britton, Dervan, Gallagher, McQuillan, O'Kane



15 seats

DUP, 5
Fulton, R McKee, J McKee, G McKeen, Rea


UUP, 4
Beggs, B Dunn, M Dunn, A Wilson

O'Connor, G Wilson

Mathews, Mulvenna

Craig (Independent), Mason (Independent)

15 seats

DUP, 3
Cubbit, A Robinson, G Robinson

Brolly, Butcher, Chivers, M Donaghy, Hassan, McElhinney

UUP, 2
Rankin, Stevenson

Carten, Coyle, Crewe

Douglas (United Unionist Coalition)

30 seats

DUP, 13
Beckett, Calvert, Craig, Donaldson, Ewart, Ewing, Givan,
Leathem, Moore, Palmer, Poots, Porter, Tinsley

Butler, Ferguson, Nelson, Willis

UUP, 7
D Archer, Crawford, Davis, Dillon, Gardiner-Watson, McCrea,

Heading, Lewsley, O'Hagan

Campbell, Close, Lunn


16 seats

DUP, 4
Catherwood, Forde, McCrea, McLean

Bateson, Groogan, Hughes, Kerr, McEldowney, McPeake, Milne,

UUP, 2
Crawford, Shiels

Campbell, Lagan



15 seats

DUP, 2
Hartin, McAllister

McKeegan, McMullan, Mc Shane, Newcombe

UUP, 3
Graham, Harding, McIlroy

M Black, O Black, McCambridge


Blaney, McConaghy, McDonnell (all Independent)

Newry and Mourne
30 seats

DUP, 2
W Burns, L Burns

C Burns, Casey, Connolly, Curran, Flynn, Hearty, Lewis,
Mathers, McCreesh, McDonald, McGinn, Murphy, Ruane

UUP, 3
Hanna, Kennedy, Reilly

Carr, Cole, Donnelly, Feehan, Feely, McCardle, McKevitt,
O'Hare, Stokes


Patterson, Williamson (Independent), Mussen (Green)

25 seats

DUP, 12
Ball, Bradley, DeCourcey, M Girvan, P Girvan, Hamilton,
Hill, Hunter, E Mann, J Mann, V Robinson, Walker


UUP, 6
Bingham, Crilly, Gilliland, Hunter, McWilliam, K Robinson,


Campbell, Frazer

Agnew (United Unionist Coalition), Kirkham (Independent),
Webb (Newtownabbey Ratepayers Association)

North Down
25 seats

DUP, 8
Cooling, Dunne, Easton, Graham, Irvine, Leslie, Montgomery,


UUP, 8
R Cree, H Dunlop, R Dunlop, Henry, McKay, McKerrow,
Peacocke, Smith


Alderdice. Farry, Fitzsimons, Hill, Parsley, A Wilson

Chambers, Lennon (Independent), B Wilson (Green)

21 seats

DUP, 3
Buchanan, Chittick, McFarland

Begley, Clarke, Donnelly, Kelly, McAleer, McAnespie,
McColgan, McElduff, O'Brien, Quinn

UUP, 3
Hussey, Rainey, Wilson

Deehan, McQuaid, Sheils


McGowan, McLaughlin (Independent)

16 seats

DUP, 3
Bresland, Donnell, Kerrigan,

Barr, Breslin, Foley, McGill, McGuire, McHugh, McMahon,

UUP, 2
Emery, Hussey

McBride, McMenamin


O'Kane (Independent)


Hain Goes Walkabout

The new British secretary of state for Northern Ireland
yesterday met Sinn Féin and DUP leaders on his first day in

After the meeting, Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams said the
peace process had been paralysed in recent months by the
politics of recrimination and the blame game.

“Now, with elections behind us and the new mandates, we
should all turn our attention to the challenge of
rebuilding the peace process,” he said.

“Key elements of the Good Friday Agreement do not require
co-operation from the DUP. Progress on equality, human
rights, collusion, the Irish language, demilitarisation,
justice and policing are entirely within the gift of the
British government. There is an increased onus on the
British government to face up to the many issues within its

“We told the new British secretary of state that he must
now move this agenda of change forward without further

Peter Hain, also the secretary of state for Wales, said he
would have a direct, hands-on role in trying to bring
devolution back permanently to the North and cement the
peace process.

After a walk around Belfast city centre, Mr Hain insisted
the post had not been downgraded.

He said: “The Prime Minister made it clear that he will
keep a very hands-on approach to the whole process for
securing peace and building the institutions.

“It is very, very important to him and it is important to
the whole of the government.

“‘It’s an absolute priority,’ he told me when he appointed
me on Friday night.

“[The Prime Minister’s chief of staff] Jonathan Powell’s
involvement is also crucial to that but I intend to take
myself a very direct, leading role in this alongside the
Prime Minister and we will work together in partnership.”

Mr Hain met several shoppers in the city centre who wished
him good luck in his new role. He said it was clear from
their reaction that people wanted society to keep moving

“We have had seven years of peace and stability and
increasing prosperity in Northern Ireland as a result of
the events which followed the Good Friday Agreement,” he

“We now intend to take that forward. The people of Northern
Ireland, and we have heard on the streets of Belfast here
today, want peace, want stability, want self-government and
that is something which we are going to take forward.”

He said all criminal and paramilitary activity needed to
end in the North if the region was to continue to make
political progress.

“I think we have a window of opportunity which we must open
and walk through as soon as we can,” he said.

Before visiting Belfast city centre, Mr Hain met DUP leader
Ian Paisley at Stormont.


Sinn Fein Slammed By MEPs Over Killing

11 May 2005

Sinn Fein's European adventure came crashing to a halt in
Brussels yesterday as MEPs voted overwhelmingly to condemn
the party leadership's behaviour following the murder of
Belfast man Robert McCartney.

The party's two MEPs, Bairbre de Brun and Mary Lou
McDonald, were the only Irish representatives not to vote
for a strongly worded statement which described the IRA
offer to shoot McCartney's killers as "outrageous".

Some 555 MEPs backed the declaration slamming the Sinn Fein
leadership for its failure to urge the suspected killers of
Mr McCartney to co-operate with the Police Service of
Northern Ireland.

Just 28 politicians - out of 732 MEPs - voted in favour of
an attempt to strip out the direct attack on Sinn Fein.

DUP MEP Jim Allister said Sinn Fein had tried to water down
the McCartney resolution but had "failed miserably".

"This debate and outcome happily exposes Sinn Fein as being
without friends in Europe," he said.

"Their attachment to criminality and equivocation over
murder has brought them to where they should be - utterly
rejected and despised.

Ulster Unionist MEP Jim Nicholson said the Parliament's
resolution was condemnation of Sinn Fein and the IRA as
much as it was condemnation of Robert McCartney's murder.

MEPs also called on the EU to give money towards the
McCartney family's legal fighting fund if police fail to
bring a prosecution.

Robert's five sisters and partner want to raise at least
£250,000 to take a civil action against the men they
believe are responsible for his murder.

Mr Allister named three men he claimed were involved in the
killing during the parliamentary debate on Monday.

He said Bob Fitzsimmons, Joe Fitzpatrick and Terry Davison
should come forward and "tell what they know of the
horrific events".


SF MEPs Defend Decision Not To Back McCartney Motion
2005-05-11 08:00:13+01

Sinn Féin's two MEPs have defended their decision not to
back moves to get the EU to fund a possible civil action
against the alleged killers of Robert McCartney.

Yesterday, the European Parliament overwhelmingly passed a
motion calling for anti-terrorism funds to be used to fund
any potential civil case.

Sinn Féin's Bairbre de Brun and Mary-Lou McDonald refused
to back the motion, a move that attracted criticism from
their opponents in the other Irish political parties.

However, Ms McDonald said afterwards that her party would
not back the text because it called for co-operation with
the PSNI.

She also said any move to use money put aside for the
victims of terrorism to fund any civil case was an attempt
to politicise the McCartney killing in order to damage Sinn

"The horrific murder of Robert McCartney was not a
political act," she said. "It was a murder pure and simple
and whatever support comes to the McCartney family has to
come from the correct source."


New MPs Being Sworn In At Commons

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

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

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

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

"We have the contacts there and we can lobby on behalf of
the people of Northern Ireland," said Mr Simpson, who
defeated Ulster Unionist leader David Trimble to win the
Upper Bann seat.

"What the people are interested in are bread and butter
issues on the ground and that's what we have concentrated
on for four years."

While Sinn Fein's five MPs do not take their seats at
Westminster, three SDLP MPs will be travelling to the

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

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

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/05/11 06:53:33 GMT


Northern Ireland: The Other Election

Wednesday May 11, 2005
The Guardian

In Great Britain, arguments still rumble on about the true
meaning of the general election. In Northern Ireland, there
is no dispute about the results. There, the 2005 general
election has defined a new chapter in the province's
political affairs. The central event in both the
parliamentary and local elections in Northern Ireland has
been the virtual eclipse of the Ulster Unionist party in
its centenary year by Ian Paisley's Democratic Unionists.
Mr Paisley's rout of his traditional unionist foes was
almost total. The DUP increased its Westminster seats from
five to nine (leaving Mr Paisley the leader of the fourth
largest party in parliament), while the UUP sank from six
seats to one. Even more decisive was the change in the most
important statistic in any Northern Ireland election – the
overall share of the poll. Four years ago, the UUP led the
DUP by 27% to 23%. Last week, roles were not just reversed
but confounded, with the DUP taking 34% to the UUP's dismal
18%. A comparison with 1992 is even more dramatic. Over the
past 13 years – significantly the years of the Northern
Ireland peace process – the relative positions of the UUP
and the DUP have been reversed. Among unionists, the net
effect of the process to date has been to drive the
electorate more firmly than ever into Mr Paisley's
rejectionist arms.

On the other side of the divide, the effect has been nearly
as striking. Thirteen years ago, Sinn Féin had no MPs at
all (in the 1992 election even Gerry Adams was ousted from
his West Belfast seat by the moderate SDLP). Today, Sinn
Féin has consolidated its advantage over its SDLP rivals,
sending five MPs instead of the previous four to
Westminster (where the new parliament faces a tricky
decision about whether to restore their allowances) and
clocking up 24% of the overall vote, compared with the
SDLP's 18%. It may be tempting to see the two sets of
results as mirror-images of one another, with the extremes
squeezing the more moderate parties that were at the heart
of the peace process. In fact, the swing to the extreme was
less pronounced among nationalists than among unionists.
Sinn Féin's share fell back slightly from 2004's European
elections, while the SDLP's advanced. The SDLP still has
three MPs in the new parliament, just as it did in the old
one, and in the bitterly fought contest for John Hume's old
Foyle seat, the SDLP party leader Mark Durkan comfortably
saw off the challenge of Sinn Féin's Mitchel McLaughlin. It
is not hard to put these modest setbacks for Sinn Féin down
to the effect of well-reported republican acts of
lawlessness. This view is confirmed by Sinn Féin's loss of
a seat to the Alliance party in local elections in
Belfast's Short Strand, where the murder of Robert
McCartney took place. Overall, however, Sinn Féin has
survived the last few months almost unscathed.

The big picture, though, is as clear as anyone could wish
for – or fear. Having made the Belfast agreement, and been
rewarded in the Assembly elections of June 1998 as the two
largest parties in Northern Ireland, both the UUP and the
SDLP were then unable to sell it — or gain politically from
selling it — to their respective communities. Whether it
was David Trimble's uncertain advocacy of the agreement or
Gerry Adams' evasions on IRA arms which did more to drive
unionists towards the DUP – and in turn boost Sinn Féin's
standing among nationalists – is an important argument for
historians. But the reality today is that these things have
happened. Direct rule appears to be the shape of things to
come for some time ahead. Unless and until the IRA makes a
fundamental and verifiable existential choice to put itself
out of business, the new Northern Ireland secretary Peter
Hain will find few takers on the unionist side willing to
run the risk of remaking the new status quo.


Politics Of Compromise Have Been Betrayed

Lindy McDowell
11 May 2005

Credit where credit is due - and Gerry Adams and Tony Blair
can both take a bow for the role they have played in
achieving those stunning election results.

Without them the DUP would never have swept the board in
quite the way they did.

Seven years ago, when the referendum on the Agreement was
held, more than half the unionist population voted Yes.

What percentage of those people could have imagined that
seven years on sickened, disillusioned and believing
themselves to have been conned and lied to by, inter alia,
the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, they'd be voting
for the party of Ian Paisley?

It wasn't meant to turn out like this. But it turned out
like this because of Tony Blair's sins of omission - his
failure to stand firm on the decommissioning aspect of the
Agreement. His sins of commission - his weak and endless
toadying to paramilitaries.

And the sins of derision of Gerry Adams who cynically
castigated others as naysayers, anti-peace and obstacles on
the road to Utopia, while he himself maintained close links
in the power structure of a terrorist gang equipped with an
arsenal big enough to stock a Third World army.

What a bloody charade it all has been. And no wonder
unionists watching David Trimble vilified and attacked, not
just by those he had come to expect such attacks from - his
political enemies and his own party so-called faithful -
but by the media, both national and global, decided to opt
for the more extreme option.

They saw David Trimble the moderate who put his own
political career and that of his party on the line for the
sake of compromise, derided as a hardliner.

They saw Gerry Adams representative of a still murdering,
still fully operational gangster "army," refuse to give up
guns, yet be lauded as a man of peace.

No wonder unionists learned a message there. How many
generations before they ever trust in compromise again?

An impressive result that, Mr Blair. How you and your
perma-tanned emissary to these parts, Mr Hain, now propose
to resuscitate the Agreement should be interesting.

But for all of us in Northern Ireland the political
landscape has been changed- and changed long term.

The DUP are unlike any other party in Northern Ireland in
terms of the talent, the experience and, yes, the mandate
they now have at their disposal.

Consider by comparison, if you were to take away the top
layer of the other parties, what you would you be left

Sinn Fein without Adams and McGuinness? That leaves Herr
Flick, Gerry Kelly and Mitchel McLoughlin and Alex Maskey.
Hardly premier division.

The Unionist Party without its top layer? The Unionist
Party hasn't even got a top layer.

The SDLP without Mark Durkan and Alisdair McDonnell is
similarly weak.

But the DUP, even without Paisley and Robinson, still has
Dodds, Campbell, Donaldson and Mrs Robinson. All of them
competent, relatively young and above all experienced.

For it should be remembered that in terms of northern
politics, Sinn Fein for all its great self-generated hype,
has, through a strategy of boycott, relatively little
experience outside of our parochial patch. And in the
foreseeable future the DUP won't be going away you know.

Unionists who wanted to compromise, who wanted the
Agreement to work have been betrayed.

Unionists who refused to compromise have been bolstered.

There is no great mystery then as to why the DUP is now in
the ascendancy.

Why, their day has come.


Well, Where Do We Go From Here?

Brain Walker
11 May 2005

The froth and fury of the campaign, of "unionism rising
from its knees" from the DUP, and Sinn Fein's supposed
onward march towards a united Ireland, is over, thank
goodness. Perhaps now a glimmer of reality will take over.

On the substance of things, not much has changed since
November 2003, aside from the delayed action demise of
David Trimble. There was an anxious moment when his voice
cracked during his brave and dignified concession speech.
But, by next morning on the radio, I was relieved to hear
him restored to his gruff old self, dismissing Ulster
politics as "far too sentimental". As sentimentality is
often the flip side of viciousness, he's probably right.

In Peter Hain we have an energetic new Secretary of State
with profile. There are risks as well as opportunities in
this. If he doesn't know it already, someone should tell
him about the shoals of British ministers who have been
broken on the rocks of Ulster politics for trying too
briskly to sort the natives out. Nevertheless, he should
take on an important role immediately. Downing Street has
made it clear Tony Blair will continue to hold the reins of
the peace process with Bertie Ahern, Labour rebellions
notwithstanding. Nothing much will happen until the IRA
reply, in July possibly, to the clamour for them to go out
of business. Riding shotgun, the best Peter Hain can do now
is to lay down precise terms for a new dispensation. After
the fiascos of October 2003 and last December, it would be
insane to try to choreograph a simultaneous IRA disarmament
and political deal ever again. Bitten at least twice by the
IRA, twice shy.

Trimble's last political message is surely correct; it was
that which finally destroyed him. No way will Paisley fall
into the same trap, after coming close to it last December.
The IRA must move first with words, then with deeds. Only
after that - and a judicious interval to test compliance -
should political talks begin.

By bearing the weight of laying down precise terms
themselves rather than leaving it to the parties to do it,
the two governments would thereby boost the potential deal-
makers in the DUP. In turn, the DUP should be pressed in
advance to give an undertaking - privately at least - to
begin talking directly to Sinn Fein if the IRA were to
comply. If the Republicans refused the terms, so be it. We
can wait on full IRA disarmament for another day. Working
for an amended political deal might then become a better
long-term bet.

In the meantime, do all the parties wait tamely on the IRA
response? Not if they've got any sense. Intriguingly, Peter
Robinson put unionist unity back on the agenda in his
victory speech in East Belfast. He is too astute simply to
write off unionist moderates and abstainers, if only
because the unionist-nationalist voting ratios are too
uncomfortably close for that. A permanent DUP retreat into
never-never land is not an option. If it persisted, they
just might wake up one morning to find the Blair-Ahern
buddy relationship sliding into their nightmare scenario of
some kind of formal British-Irish joint authority.

And what of the SDLP? Their fragile survival at least
creates a pressure point on Sinn Fein. Mark Durkan should
use it. If the IRA fail to deliver, Downing Street is
quietly flagging up the possibility of a new political
departure - in what form, it's too early to say. The DUP's
vision of a voluntary coalition seems several steps too

While conditions may change and manifestos should not be
straitjackets, the DUP can hardly expect the SDLP to tear
up their manifesto any quicker than they would their own.
Yet a Republican veto on all forms of progress is no longer
remotely tolerable after the summer.

Despite the wide gulf between the power blocs, the two
governments seem set on making yet another attempt at a
settlement before the year is out - although what form it
could take, very much remains to be seen.


DUP Juggernaut Rolls Out Victory

Paisley's party takes nearly one third on votes

By Chris Thornton
11 May 2005

The DUP stormed to the top of the league table for Northern
Ireland's councils last night, reflecting the same advances
the party made in last week's General Election.

As counting finished for the 26 local government elections,
the DUP had gained more than 50 councillors, giving them
almost a third of all council seats in Northern Ireland.

Their share of the vote rose by 8.2%. Most of their seats
came at the expense of the UUP, which did not make a single
gain in any council.

Sinn Fein also made significant gains, but did not make a
huge leap in the share of the vote. The SDLP continued to
slump, but without the huge reverses that hit the DUP.


The period since the Good Friday Agreement has been good
for the DUP.

In 1997's council elections, Ian Paisley's party captured
16% of the vote and 91 seats.

Yesterday's results were almost double those figures - more
than 180 seats and almost 30% of the vote.

The extra 50 councillors added to the DUP's tally have
handed them outright control of Ards, Ballymena and
Castlereagh councils.

They have also displaced the UUP as the largest unionist
party in Belfast, Antrim, Armagh, Banbridge, Coleraine,
Dungannon, Lisburn and Newtownabbey.

They even took a seat from the SDLP in Omagh. The party
suffered a single reverse, losing one seat in Moyle,
Northern Ireland's smallest council.


Sinn Fein's march into the political mainstream seems
pretty complete.

Eight years ago, the party had 74 councillors across
Northern Ireland and 17% of the vote.

Now it has more than 125 seats and almost a quarter of the
vote. The party appeared to pick up more PR transfers in
this election, but continued to lag behind in getting the
second or third nod from supporters of other parties.

With 23% of the vote in 2001, the DUP grabbed 154 seats.
With the same share in this election, Sinn Fein only broke

In this election Sinn Fein councillors succeeded in
penetrating the former unionist bastions of Ballymena,
Banbridge and Coleraine.

The only councils that still don't have any Sinn Fein
representatives form an arc along Belfast Lough - Ards,
North Down, Castlereagh, Carrickfergus and Larne.

The party captured two seats from the DUP in Ballymoney,
picked up two seats from the SDLP in Craigavon and made
their biggest single advance in Moyle, capturing three


The Ulster Unionists' General Election disaster extended
into the local government contests. The party lost almost
40 seats.

David Trimble's replacement as UUP leader might take a
crumb of comfort from the retention of 114 seats, but may
have difficulty seeing where the party can build when
reflecting on the sweep of their losses.

The UUP did not make gains in any council, and lost seats
in 18 of the 26 local government districts.

Lisburn was a disaster, with six seats lost, reflecting
almost half of the party's representation on the council.


The SDLP continued to retreat against Sinn Fein's advances,
suffering a serious setback in Omagh, where the party's six
seats on the council were cut in half.

The party dropped 16 seats overall, but held on to seats in
10 councils. They actually gained single seats in Cookstown
and Fermanagh.

By holding their 14 seats on Derry City Council, the SDLP
fought off a concerted Sinn Fein effort to make gains.


Alliance saw its share of the vote drop slightly, but
actually gained two seats to bring their overall total to

The party made an important recovery in Antrim, winning two
seats that had been lost four years ago, and making gains
in North Down and Newtownabbey.

The Greens picked up seats in North Down, Downpatrick and
Newry & Mourne, while the United Unionist Coalition
survived the DUP's mopping up exercise against smaller
unionist parties and won two seats.

Patricia Wallace, who had been the sole remaining elected
representative for the Women's Coalition, lost her seat.


Bias Fears In Border Area

Protestants claim religious discrimination

By Kathy Donaghy
11 May 2005

A significant number of Protestants living in southern
border counties believe they are discriminated against
because of their religious identity, a new report has

Some 23% of respondents to a survey said they had suffered
mainly verbal abuse that had occurred primarily in their
work and within educational establishments.

The survey, carried out as part of a report called Border
Protestant Perspectives, funded by the EU Programme for
Peace and Reconciliation, looked at the perceptions of
Protestants in counties Donegal, Sligo, Leitrim, Cavan,
Monaghan and Louth.

And it found that, while Protestants made up 10.7% of the
total population of the 26 counties in 1902, this had
dropped to 3.7% in 2002.

In relation to employment, while the majority of
respondents to the survey did not believe that their
religious identity negatively influenced their
opportunities in the workplace, between 17% and 26%
believed they did not have equal access to certain
employment sectors.

Over half of survey respondents - some 57% - said they
believed the Protestant community was not fairly and
adequately represented by the current political system.

However, the report says that while the Protestant
community until recently felt marginalised and isolated,
there was a sense that this is changing with survey
respondents describing the Protestant community in the
southern border region as "respected" and "equal".

Meanwhile, a major study into poverty both north and south
has found that 35 years of the Troubles has affected the
weakest and most deprived sections of the community most.

The study, Poverty and Conflict in Ireland: An
International Perspective, found that while the economies
of both the north and south have undergone profound
changes, with a marked reduction in unemployment, there is
evidence that both societies are becoming less inclusive.

"The impact of the conflict has been considerable on the
most deprived sections of the community," the Combat
Poverty Agency report said.

"The number of deaths and injuries has been greatest in
disadvantaged areas, and those who have perpetrated a large
proportion of the violence have originated from these


Classical Solution To Anti-Social Behaviour

The Co-op supermarket is turning up the volume on classical
music at some Northern Ireland stores in a bid to deter
anti-social behaviour.

Loudspeakers have been installed outside two stores to try
to make them them "less cool" and stop groups of
troublemakers from hanging around nearby.

The scheme is taking place at stores on the Groomsport Road
in Bangor and the Shankill Road in Belfast.

It follows a successful pilot at 10 stores in England last
year where the dulcet tones of Vivaldi and Tchaikovsky
drove away the yobs.

John McNeill of the Co-op in Northern Ireland said: "Some
of our stores have problems with youths who gather outside
and they can intimidate shoppers and our staff.

"This is an extra tool we can and will install in locations
where we have such problems."

The taped music by famous composers is controlled by shop
staff who can adjust the volume when youths gather outside.

"Playing the music makes our shops less cool as places for
youngsters to hang out, and can make life much easier for
our customers and our staff," said Mr McNeill.

Andy Pope, a spokesperson for the Co-op, said they had
tried a variety of music but found that classical tones
were the most effective.

Isolated areas

"We played a number of different types of music, some was
classical, some was hiphop and some I wouldn't like to
describe, but the most effective one was classical.

"For us, it is reducing anti-social behaviour and youths
gathering outside our stores.

"It's not really applicable in every store, because we
don't have that type of behaviour in every store but in
isolated areas, it's a useful tool."

He said some of the stores also engaged with the community,
because they did not want to simply drive the problem to
another location.

"Staff are very, very keen on the concept," he said.

"They feel there's a less threatening atmosphere outside
some of our stores and the morale within the store is
better," he said.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2005/05/11 06:30:46 GMT



GAA: Rule 42

The Peter Canavan Column
Tuesday, May 10, 2005
By Peter Canavan

It was with great interest that I followed the intriguing
debate on Rule 42 in the weeks preceding Congress. In many
ways it was similar to the furore surrounding the removal
of Rule 21 (the ban on the RUC playing our game) in that
the final outcome was close with the Ulster counties being
the chief resistors to change.

Just as then, democracy had its way and the decision at
Congress will be accepted by all its members and the
association will continue to flourish.

Whilst accepting the outcome I remain to be convinced that
the right decision has been taken. In the lead up to
congress I was also disappointed by the comments directed
at those members in the ’no’ camp. At times these people
were condemned for being ’out of touch’, ’too staunch and
conservative’. As an avid follower of Irish rugby and
soccer I derive great enjoyment watching these men perform
and I will continue to do so. But first and foremost I am a
member of the GAA and I believe we have much to do to sort
out our own house before we start to look over the fence.

The fact remains that no sooner have we erected a
magnificent stadium (and it is not completely finished)
than we feel obliged to give it to other sports that we are
competing against. Surely we should satisfy the needs of
our own patrons first. Yes, more games should be played in
Croke Park - gaelic games. Last month the All-Ireland Club
Intermediate and Junior finals took place. For some of
those participating this will be the biggest game of their
lives and a once in a lifetime chance to play in Croke
Park. But despite the pleas of the clubs involved the games
were played elsewhere.

There should be other opportunities for our own players to
sample the Croke Park experience- All Ireland U-21 finals,
Railway Cup, school/university competitions. In todays
world with a more vibrant PR approach we can make a great
use of this wonderful stadium. Without a shadow of a doubt
it is the dream of every young girl or boy that can lift a
hurl or kick a football to play one day in Croke Park.
Unfortunately only a few will be privileged. The post
Congress comments made by Gearoid Adams (Antrim wing half
back) struck a particular chord with me,

"Am I jealous? Of Course I am. Jesus, even David Beckham
could possibly play on the sacred turf before me".

I can’t help but think that the GAA have been pressurised
into making this decision on Rule 42 sooner than was
necessary. Yes, it may not have looked good for an
international soccer or rugby team to play their home games
abroad, but why was this factor used as a stick to beat the
GAA with. Surely this dilemma lies at the feet of the
professional organisations that run those sports. The role
of the media, I believe, was crucial in swinging the
decision to delete Rule 42. Many delegates in the ’no’ camp
were ostracised for burying their head in the sand and for
maintaining the perceived ’Ulster says no’ mentality. The
fact of the matter was that these delegates were giving the
genuine opinion of club members especially in the north.
Whilst we aspire to share the one identity on this small
island the fact of the matter is that not everyone has been
brought up to share the same experiences in sport and
indeed society. Hence, opinions may differ especially on
key issues but regardless of upbringing these opinions
should be valued and respected. In the north of this
island, down through the years we have seen rugby and
soccer benefit from government subsidies. They have
received an inordinate amount of media attention and
publicity. Yet the GAA has had to fund itself for decades
but has grown from strength to strength during times of
great adversity. Despite the fact that our association has
suffered from de-facto censorship in some parts of this
island it is heartening to see our membership base expand
and the development of our facilities are now the envy of
many other sporting bodies.

Unfortunately it is not that long ago when it was just not
so cool to wear a gaelic jersey down the street. The fact
is that while it is great to see the GAA blossom in recent
years largely due to the hard work and efficiency of its
own members we should not be put in a position where we
feel we owe other bodies anything. Some of the scathing
criticism was directed at the Ulster Counties for being
anti rugby and soccer. Again I would question this point
and if anything I would suggest the reverse is true. As a
teacher of Physical Education I have observed that in
recent years many traditional gaelic schools have
introduced soccer or rugby as part of the PE curriculum.
Rugby in particular is proving to be very popular and many
of the skills in gaelic will compliment those necessary to
play rugby. Unfortunately this ’Education for Mutual
Understanding’ does not appear to be reciprocated - very
few if any of the traditional rugby schools have their
pupils delving into gaelic football or hurling.

’Parity of esteem’ is a phrase well used in the political
spectrum but I believe that the GAA have still much ground
to catch up on regarding parity with other sports. In
particular I think of the TV coverage our games receive in
comparison to rugby/soccer. Again this may be more relevant
up north but every year in Ulster we have big attendances
for county finals. In Tyrone we see 8 - 10,000 at the
football final but this will receive little or no TV
coverage. Yet if this was happening in rugby or soccer
there would be much publicity and obviously extended
highlights. At a time when there is a healthy rivalry
amongst sporting bodies regarding nurturing the youth to
partake in their sport we in the GAA should not be that
naive to sell ourselves short.

The recent ’big two’ clash in the Irish league (Linfield V
Glentoran) will not have gone unnoticed by many in GAA
circles. I listened to the conclusion of the game on radio
and to the events of its aftermath. The commentators were
shocked and appalled as they described the ’sickening’
scenes of violence after the game when the pitch was
invaded by supporters from both teams. Players were hurried
off the pitch as bottles and bricks rained down. Croke Park
officials beware! Croke Park residents take note!

Congress 2005 will be remembered in the years to come for
the alteration to Rule 42. But this was a very important
Congress on a number of fronts. There was a range of
motions on the Clar that would have had far reaching
implications on the development of gaelic football if they
had succeeded.

The experimental rules as used in the subsidiary
competitions generated as much debate if not amore than
Rule 42. Those who believed that Congress ’05 would mark
the end of the conservatism within the GAA got it wrong.
Very few of the new proposals were accepted. Goalkeepers
having the option to use the tee for kicking out was passed
while the idea of the ’mark’, clean up and the sin bin were
all defeated. I was surprised that the proposal to
introduce an independent time-keeper was not successful as
I’m sure the majority of referees were keen to see it
succeed. A major change in administration was endorsed
resulting in the GAC dividing into twp bodies - fixtures
and discipline. This is an area that is badly in need of
improvement. A disputes resolution code is to be adopted
and hopefully it will avert the growing trend of going to
court to settle disputes arising out of inadequate action
being taken by the GAA. Of course the other big issue
during Congress was the election of the new President.
Congratulations to Nicky Brennan, he will have a tough act
to follow but is more than capable of taking our
association onwards and upwards. I hope to have a wish list
ready for him in my next article!

Finally as we come to terms with the prospect of Brain
O’Driscoll gracing the hallowed turf - it looks like
another great Brian has played his last on Croke Park. The
artistry and class of Brian Whelahan will be missed the
length and breadth of the country.


The Specter Of Violence In America

By Mike Whitney
Al-Jazeerah, May 8, 2005

What is the likelihood of violence breaking out in America?
The 35 year anniversary of the Kent State massacre may seem
like a meaningless footnote in the history of the 1960s for
people under 50, but it was much more. The killing of
citizens by their own government is the ultimate expression
of state-terror. It galvanizes the public against the
government in a way that cannot be described and it causes
a major shifting of political alliances.

Is this where the nation is headed?

The shooting of peaceful demonstrators in Falluja had the
same affect as it did in Northern Ireland on Bloody Sunday.
A single deadly incident served as the catalyst for massive
armed struggle. Kent State had a similar affect; shaping
the consciousness of an entire generation.

The thing I find most striking about people who are under
40 (who didn’t experience the 1960s) is their implicit
trust in government. It’s shocking. As journalist Izzie
Stone said to his students, “If I could only teach you one
thing it would be this; Governments lie!” The 60s
generation was defined by its wariness of government. Our
slogans “Never trust anyone over 30” or “Tune in, turn on,
drop out” articulated the divisions that existed in society
and synthesized the attitudes of a generation; attitudes
that were mistrustful of authority and contemptuous of the
“Establishment”. The men who never fit into that generation
(George Bush “cheerleader”, George Will, Richard Pearl etc)
still harbor a strong resentment that manifests itself in
their anti-progressive agenda and their bitterness towards
that epoch. Quite simply, they were the misfits.

Trust in government for the under-40 crowd is bound to come
under serious strain as the economy begins to bog down and
the war drags on. They’ll see that there’s nothing
supporting either the war or the economy except the
calculated deceptions of government officials. The under-
40s are about to learn first-hand the meaning of Stone’s

The government cannot be trusted…Ever! That’s the lesson of
our generation and of Kent State. When we look back on
those tragic events we should be evaluating the divisions
that exist in society today and asking ourselves; How long
will it be before violence breaks out in America again?
Personally, I’ve believed for the last 2 years that America
is inexorably marching towards violence on the home-front.
How could it be otherwise? The fraudulent 2004 (Ohio)
presidential elections only reinforced my belief that the
political options have been foreclosed.

The prospect of the smooth transition of executive power
from one leader to the next seems more and more
implausible. The dubious presidential election of 2004 has
created a feeling of uneasiness among the people who
followed the details; and for good reason. Everyone from
Gore Vidal to Christopher Hitchens has dismissed the
balloting as just another big scam. There’s simply no way
to account for the statistical anomalies that exist between
the final vote count and the exit polls. The election was
clearly rigged (with the help of the Republican-owned
voting machinery) and the media papered it over with some
nonsense about Christian zealots coming down from the
mountains to vote in their first election. (a myth that was
disproved months later) It’s just another victory for Karl
Rove and the public relations firms that run the country.

So, the democratic process has been rescinded again. The
men at the top rungs of government have seized power
through a (nearly) invisible coup and there’s very little
chance that they plan to leave office according to the
normal protocols. (considering the litany of crimes they
have already committed) This puts the American people in
the unenviable position of trying to depose the current
regime without resorting to violence. It looks like an
uphill struggle all the way.

It’s clear that the Bush administration is preparing for
violence within the country. Why else would they put so
much effort into drawing up repressive legislation if they
weren’t expecting massive political upheaval or civil
disorder? Is this the prelude to an economic meltdown or a
re-enactment of the draft? And, why has Washington DC
deteriorated into a military fortress; protecting the icons
of the republic from the people they are supposed to
represent? The Bush team is getting ready to rumble and all
of the pieces are being put in place.

Most of the repressive laws that have been passed by Bush’s
rubber-stamp Congress are still unknown to the American
people; they’ve been successfully hidden from view by the
collaborative media and the incredible length of the
documents themselves. The Patriot Act for example is over
300 pages long and the National Intelligence Reform Bill is
over 600 pages; a virtual “wish-list” for the many quasi-
fascist organizations that operate in full-view of the
American public. Similarly, the Dept of Defense, under the
direction of Donald Rumsfeld has written the term “unlawful
combatant” into military code; a term that dismisses 800
years of civil liberties with one stroke of the pen.
American citizens and foreign nationals can now be legally
incarcerated as long as the state sees fit without charges
and without restriction. Constitutionally guaranteed
protections are gone; the citizen stands defenseless before
the all-powerful state.

The architects of this new “social order” are impervious to
reason or public opinion. This creates an even more
volatile situation then existed in the 60s. Sometime in the
next 2 years I expect we’ll see a tragic display of the
administration’s over-reliance on force. The most likely
scenario would be a street protest that triggers a violent
reaction from the regime. If such an event occurs, we can
be sure that the consciousness of this generation will be
as deeply as affected as those who remember Kent State.
When the state succumbs to the use of force against its own
people it is conceding that it has lost its popular mandate
and its ability to win the “consent of the governed”.
Simply put, it is the end of the government’s moral
legitimacy (its right to rule) and the termination of the
“social contract”. The citizen is free to behave as he
chooses, unencumbered by the rules and restrictions of the

President Bush has often repeated his view that, “You’re
either with us or against us”. Violence against the public
feeds this narrow logic and splits the nation into
polarized encampments. Where reason ends, the violence of
partisanship is bound to begin.


Irish Fisherman Hooks Mind-Blowing Catch

Tue May 10, 8:41 AM ET

DUBLIN (AFP) - An Irish fisherman hooked more than he
bargained for when a suspiciously heavy catch turned out to
be a large package of cannabis, part of a submerged haul
worth 400,000 euros (513,000 dollars).

Police said Tuesday they were investigating the origin of
the drugs haul, discovered as the unnamed man fished during
the weekend on the River Liffey near Manor Kilbride in
County Wicklow, just south of Dublin.

His hook got snared on a mysterious item, and when he
succeeded in reeling in the catch it turned out to be
cannabis resin wrapped in plastic.

The man informed the police, and divers found 12 more
packages in the Liffey, with a total estimated street value
of about 400,000 euros.

"It has been sent off for analysis," the spokesman a police
spokesman said, adding: "It was some day's fishing."
Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?