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May 10, 2005

McCartney Did Not Effect SF Vote

News About Ireland & The Irish

BB 05/10/05 McCartney’s Death 'Did Not Impact SF Vote'
BT 05/10/05 The Winners And Losers (so far)
WS 05/10/05 Northern Ireland Elections
BT 05/10/05 Hain Flies In As Trimble Bows Out
BT 05/10/05 Opin: Hain's New Group Of Priorities
BT 05/10/05 History Kinder To Trimble Than Contemporaries
BT 05/10/05 Opin: It's Time To Unite Unionism
BT 05/10/05 Trimble: Tears And Tributes
BB 05/10/05 Man Will Face Omagh Bomb Charges
UT 05/10/05 MEP's Back McCartney Sisters' Fight For Justice
BT 05/10/05 Roddy Doyle's Gigglers To Get Animated


Murder 'Did Not Impact SF Vote'

Sinn Fein has denied the murder of Belfast man Robert
McCartney was behind the party's failure to secure a
council seat in the area where he lived.

It lost out to the Alliance Party in the Pottinger ward in
south Belfast, where it previously held a seat.

SF candidate Deborah Devenny said "the McCartney issue
didn't affect the solid republican vote in the Short

However, Alliance said there were votes spoiled in protest
over the killing of Mr McCartney in January.

So far, the council election results have more or less
mirrored the pattern of the general election. The DUP are
well in the lead with Sinn Fein lying a strong second.

Deborah Devenny said the UUP and the SDLP voted tactically
to keep Sinn Fein out in Pottinger.

Mr McCartney, 33, was stabbed outside a city centre bar.

His family, who live in the Short Strand, insist members of
the IRA were involved and that witnesses are afraid.

Deborah Devenny said: "The poll altogether in the Short
Strand was 1,129 and out of that, Sinn Fein got 826 votes -
which is around 75% of the Short Strand vote.

"This proves that the McCartney issue didn't affect the
solid republican vote in the Short Strand area, which the
media were focussing on."

'Did very well'

She said former Sinn Fein councillor Joe O'Donnell held the
seat on transfers and "at the end we were beaten by the

"When you consider the amount of media hype surrounding the
whole issue of the McCartney murder, I think we did very

She said the Sinn Fein leadership was still working "to get
the McCartney family justice".

However, successful Alliance councillor Maire Hendron said
the "McCartney factor" had an influence on the Sinn Fein

"Our tally counters ascertained on Friday that Alliance had
got about 7.5% of the vote in the Short Strand.

"There were a lot of spoilt ballots overall in the
Pottinger count. There were a number that were obviously
Short Strand and people who were protesting about the
murder of Robert McCartney."

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/05/10 08:24:01 GMT


The Winners And Losers

How Northern Ireland's 26 district council areas are
shaping up so far

10 May 2005

How Northern Ireland's 26 district council areas are
shaping up so far


The DUP continued its winning streak, taking two extra
seats in the first day of results at Belfast City Council.

But yesterday's count, which saw 29 councillors voted in,
saw the PUP's Billy Hutchinson and long-serving Ulster
Unionist Alan Crowe, fail to be returned.

In the most closely watched ward, Pottinger, Sinn Fein's
Deborah Devenny, who was hoping to represent the people of
the Short Strand, failed to gain enough support to hold
onto the position formerly occupied by her colleague Joe

Pottinger now has an Alliance representative, Maire
Hendron, instead while the DUP took a seat from the UUP


Sitting DUP assemblyman Wilson Clyde lost his seat in
Antrim North West after 24 years, but that was the only
blemish for Ian Paisley's men.

They have taken a seat in Antrim Town from the UUP - and
plan to make further in roads in the south east.

Alliance leader David Ford returned to the Steeple after
four years though SDLP man Donavan McClelland, was shaded
out by Sinn Fein, who increased their tally to three.


Election success for the DUP in Ards now means the party
holds 12 of the 23 seats.

DUP candidates in all four wards toped the polls with the
party gaining three seats.

The UUP now holds seven seats while the casualties of the
DUP's success were Alliance's Linda Clelland and
independent councillor Wilbert McGill.


DUP MLA Paul Berry topped the poll in the Cusher ward of
Armagh City Council with 3,263 votes.

The MLA who is at the centre of allegations concerning his
personal life expressed his delight that people had put
their trust in him once more.

His surplus carried in party colleague Heather Black on the
second count.


Sinn Fein's first ever councillor in the DUP heartland
pledged to campaign for the removal of unionist symbols
from the Council Chamber.

Monica Digney will sit in a council where the DUP have a

The DUP strengthened its grip on by increasing its number
of seats to 14 out of 24.

The party won five out of seven seats in Ballymena South to
seize overall control of the council.


Sinn Fein trebled its representation on Ballymoney Borough
Council after sweeping to victory in two of the three

Sitting councillor Philip McGuigan polled more than 1,000
votes and his surplus brought home his 23-year-old running
mate Daithi McKay.

Sinn Fein also toasted Anita Cavlan in Bushvale where she
took 711 votes.

The DUP held on to its eight seats. The biggest losers were
the UUP who lost all seats in Bann Valley and Bushvale but
held on to two in Ballymoney.


The DUP won two seats from the UUP in Banbridge. The SDLP
kept its three seats while Sinn Fein and Alliance returned
two councillors.


The DUP's electoral whitewash was reflected in
Carrickfergus Borough Council where the party topped the
poll in all three constituencies and look set to increase
its share to eight of the 17 seats.

Although its vote was up, Alliance lost one of its two
seats in Kilroot to the DUP and, at the time of going to
press, seems likely to suffer a similar fate in Knockagh
while the UUP looks certain to hold on to its four seats.


The DUP secured an overall majority in Castlereagh for the
first time.

It was lucky 13 in the DUP stronghold with every candidate
fielded elected.

Deputy leader Peter Robinson was first home in the Central
ward polling 1,431 first preference votes though the figure
was down on 2001.

And there was a second historical coup for the DUP as Mr
Robinson's wife Iris and 26-year-old son Gareth were also

Ulster Unionist councillor Michael Copeland held onto his


Sinn Fein's Billy Leonard became the first Sinn Fein
candidate on the Coleraine Borough Council.

The SDLP retained three seats with a win by newcomer Maura

Independent candidate Christine Alexander topped the poll
in Skerries and the balance of power in unionism tipped in
favour of the DUP who won nine seats to the UUP's six.


In Cookstown the SDLP took a a seat from Sinn Fein in the
Central ward, while the DUP gained one in Drum Manor.

The SDLP now stands alongside Sinn Fein as the majority
party in Cookstown.


Father and son Woolsey and Robert Smith - standing as DUP
candidates in the Central ward - were both elected.

Robert made it on the first count and his transfers
comfortably saw his dad home.

Two Ulster Unionists, three DUP, one Sinn Fein and an SDLP
candidate made up the seven seats.

In Lurgan the DUP's Sydney Cairns made an exit on a late

The honours were shared between the UUP and DUP with three
seats apiece. The only republican was Sinn Fein councillor
Maurice Magill.


The elections in Londonderry gave birth to a new generation
of SDLP councillors yesterday.

In the city's Northern ward Mark H Durkan, nephew of the
SDLP leader, gained 2,369 votes in his debut election. Hot
on his heels was Seana Hume who polled 788 votes.

On the City's waterside ward Gregory Campbell topped the
poll but the DUP's Mildred Garfield fell by the wayside.


The green party has won a seat on Down District Council
through Bill Corry.

For the first time since the formation of the council in
1973 that there will be no unionist representative in

Elsewhere, Sinn Fein gained an extra seat bringing its
total to four in the Newcastle and Downpatrick electoral

The SDLP regained a seat it had lost with the defection of
Ann Trainor.


Lord Maginnis failed to win back for the UUP a seat on
Dungannon Council which was snatched by Sinn Fein at the
last local elections. The veteran politician said last
night he wasn't surprised that they didn't take the extra
seat in Clogher Valley.

Sinn Fein MP Michelle Gildernew welcomed party colleague
Michelle O'Neill in the Torrent ward at the expense of
long-standing Independent Jim Canning

Ex-UUP councillor Samuel John Brush took a seat from his
former party for the DUP in the Blackwater ward.


Arlene Foster of the DUP topped the poll in the Enniskillen
ward while the party won a second seat at the expense of
UUP veteran Raymond Ferguson.

The DUP won their first seat in Erne East for Paul

SDLP newcomer Patricia Rogers won the party's second seat
in Enniskillen.


The DUP celebrated a hat-trick in Larne, topping the poll
in all three electoral areas.

The balance of power remains the same with five DUP
councillors, four UUP, two Alliance, two SDLP and two

However, long-standing Ulster Unionist councillor Joan
Drummond lost her seat in the Coast Road area.


Sinn Fein and the DUP increased their representation at the
expense of the SDLP and UUP.

Sinn Fein became the most powerful party on the council
while the SDLP lost one seat.

The DUP leap-frogged the UUP, exchanging one seat to be the
biggest unionist party.

Anne Brolly's election to a Limavady Town seat is a
historic first and swings the council toward a nationalist


The DUP made an almost clean sweep with 13 of its 14
candidates gaining seats. The party have more than doubled
its number of seats.

The UUP are anticipating six seats. This would more than
halve the party's council seats.

Both Alliance and Sinn Fein are pleased with their
performance and the SDLP looked set to return at least two


The major shock in the Magherafelt Council poll was the
defeat of its only independent, Bertie Montgomery.

The Tobermore man was a popular figure and had held many


The battle for nationalism across Moyle was won by Sinn
Fein who took four seats.

Sinn Fein took two seats in the Ballycastle ward at the
expense of the SDLP including Michael Malloy's.

In the Glens Ward Sinn Fein councillor Oliver McMullan has
been joined by his party colleague Marie McKeegan.

In the Giants Causeway ward, the UUP and DUP tied with two
seats each.

However, in Moyle, which has a strong history of
independent members, Seamus Blaney was returned in
Ballycastle and in the Giant's Causeway Price McConaghy was

Newry and Mourne

Sinn Fein and the SDLP were last night battling for control
of Newry and Mourne.

Late last night both parties had secured four seats with
more than half to be decided.


All six DUP candidates got elected in the University and
Antrim Line wards.

Veteran republican Martin Meehan of Sinn Fein stood down
from Antrim to stand in Newtownabbey's alongside his wife

But while Briege retained her seat, the split Sinn Fein
vote meant Martin missed out.

Long-serving UUP councillor Ivan Hunter lost his seat as
did SDLP's Tommy McKeague.

Both polls were topped by DUP candidates - Nigel Hamilton
(Antrim Line) and William Ball (University).

Alliance doubled their seats with Tom Campbell elected and
Lynn Frazer returned.

DUP councillor Arthur Templeton lost his seat, only gaining
64 first preference votes.

North Down

The DUP surged to eight seats from five. The UUP had a
weaker vote, but looked like retaining eight seats.

Alliance looked set to increase its council contingent by
one seat bringing it to six.

The big losers are the UKIP, loosing both council seats.
North Down has returned its first Green Party member, Brian


In Omagh Sinn Fein gained two seats while the SDLP lost
three . Sinn Fein now has 10 councillors. DUP and the UUP
both got three seats each.


The election of an Independent compounded a bad day for the
SDLP in Strabane.

James O'Kane, who lost his Mourne seat in 2001, was re-
instated at the expense of SDLP councillor Anne Bell.
Earlier in the day Sinn Fein's Gerard Foley ousted
Bernadette McNamee in the Derg district.

In the Glenelly district all five councillors were


Local Government Results

Counting across the North continues this morning in the
Local Government elections. At 12 noon Sinn Féin had 120
seats, up 18 seats on 2001. Results will be listed below as
they happen.

Latest Local Government Results 2005 (11.07am Tuesday)

Antrim Borough Council

Henry Cushinan - North West

Anthony Brady - North West

Armagh District Council

Catherine Rafferty - Armagh City

Noel Sheridan - Armagh City

Cathal Boylan - Crossmore

Paul Corrigan - The Orchard

Pat O'Rawe - Crossmore

Ballymena Council

Monica Digney - Bannside

Banbridge Council

Dessie Ward - Knockveigh

Belfast City Council

Upper Falls

Michael Browne

Paul Maskey

Gerard O'Neill

Chrissie MacGiolla Mhín

Lower Falls

Janice Austin

Tom Hartley

Fra McCann

Marie Cush

Marie Moore


Danny Lavery

Margaret McClenaghan

Caral Ni Chuilin

Lagan Bank

Alex Maskey

Ballymoney Council

Philip McGuigan - Bann Valley

Daithí McKay - Bann Valley

Anita Cavlan - Bushvale

Cookstown District Council

John McNamee - Cookstown Central

Pearse McAleer - Ballinderry

Michael McIvor - Ballinderry

Oliver Molloy - Drum Manor

Sean Clarke - Drum Manor

Coleraine Borough Council

Billy Leonard - Bann

Craigavon Council

John O'Dowd - Craigavon Central

Maurice Magill - Lurgan

Michael Tallon - Loughside

Mairead O'Dowd - Loughside

Lea Small - Loughside

Derry City Council

Lynn Fleming - Waterside

Gerry MacLochlainn - Northlands

Billy Page - Northlands

Maeve McLauhglin - Northlands

Peter Anderson - Cityside

Kevin Campbell - Cityside

Patricia Logue - Cityside

Paul Fleming - Rural

Down District Council

Willie Clarke - Newcastle

Hugh McDowell - Newcastle

Eamon McConvey - Downpatrick

Liam Johnston - Downpatrick

Dungannon District Council

Francie Molloy - Torrent

Michael Gillespie - Torrent

Michelle O'Neill - Torrent

Dessie Donnelly - Torrent

Sean McGuigan - Clogher Valley

Colla McMahon - Clogher Valley

Phelim Gildernew - Blackwater

Michael McLarnon - Dungannon Town

Barry Monteith - Dungannon Town

Fermanagh District Council

Thomas O'Reilly - Erne East

Ruth Lynch - Erne East

Brian McCaffery - Erne East

Gerry McHugh - Enniskillen

Pat Cox - Enniskillen

Stephen Huggett - Erne West

Bernice Swift - Erne West

Poilin Ui Cathain - Erne West

Breege McSorley - Erne North

Limavady Borough Council

Anne Brolly - Limavady Town

John McElhiney - Bellarena

Gerard Butcher - Bellarena

Cathal Hasson - Benbradagh

Brenda Chivers - Benbradagh

Marion Donaghy - Benbradagh

Lisburn Council

Paul Butler - Dunmurray Cross

Michael Ferguson - Dunmurray Cross

Veronicia Willis - Dunmurray Cross

Angela Nelson - Dunmurray Cross

Magherafelt District Council

Peter Bateson - Magherafelt Town

James O Neill - Magherafelt Town

Patsy Groogan - Sperrin

Kathleen McEldowney - Sperrin

Sean Kerr - Sperrin

Hugh Mullan - Sperrin

Oliver Hughes - Moyola

Ian Milne - Moyola

Moyle District Council

Cara McShane - Ballycastle Town

Cathal Newcombe - Ballycastle

Oliver McMullan - Glens

Marie McKeegan - Glens

Newry and Mourne District Council

Charlie Casey - Newry Town

Colman Burns - Slieve Gullion

Terry Hearty - Slieve Gullion

Packy McDonald - Slieve Gullion

Anthony Flynn - Slieve Gullion

Brendan Curran - Newry Town

Marian Matters - Newry Town

Mick Murphy - Crotlieve

Michael Ruane - Crotlieve

Jimmy McCreesh - The Fews

Patrick McGinn - The Fews

Newtownabbey Council

Breige Meehan - Antrim Line

Omagh District Council

Sean Begley - Omagh Town

Martin McColgan - Omagh Town

Ann Quinn - West Tyrone

Barry McElduff - West Tyrone

Peter Kelly - West Tyrone

Frankie Donnelly - West Tyrone

Sean Clarke - Mid Tyrone

Michael McAnespie - Mid Tyrone

Declan McAleer - Mid Tyrone

Sharon O Brien - Mid Tyrone

Strabane District Council

Charlie McHugh - Derg

Claire McGill - Glenelly

Gerard Foley - Derg

Kieran McGuire - Derg

Jarlath McNulty - Mourne

Brian McMahon - Mourne

Ivan Barr - Mourne

Danny Breslin – Mourne


Northern Ireland Elections: deepening polarisation and the
collapse of the Ulster Unionist Party

By Steve James
10 May 2005

Britain’s May 5 general election included polls for 18
Westminster seats in British-ruled Northern Ireland. The
results exposed deepening sectarian polarisation between
nationalist and unionist voters. They also confirmed the
virtual collapse of the traditional party of the Northern
Irish bourgeoisie, the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), and
triggered the resignation of the UUP’s leader, David

The election was prefaced by a media and government
campaign waged against Sinn Fein, focussing on the IRA’s
alleged role in both the Northern Bank robbery in Belfast
late last year and the murder of the Catholic nationalist
Robert McCartney by Sinn Fein members earlier this year.
With negotiations between Sinn Fein and the DUP to revive
the Northern Ireland Assembly at Stormont stalled, the
Irish, British and United States governments launched a
concerted effort to force Sinn Fein to accept that the IRA
must be disbanded, not merely disarmed.

Pressure on Sinn Fein reached a high point with US
President George Bush’s decision to meet with members of
the McCartney family in the White House on St. Patrick’s
Day. The US special envoy to Northern Ireland, Mitchell
Reiss, announced that it was time for the IRA to “go out of

On April 6, Adams pledged himself to such an eventuality in
an open appeal to the leadership of the IRA to permanently
abandon the strategy of armed struggle and to “fully
embrace and accept” parliamentary means.

“For over 30 years, the IRA showed that the British
government could not rule Ireland on its own terms,” Adams
declared. “You asserted the legitimacy of the right of the
people of this island to freedom and independence.

“Many of your comrades made the ultimate sacrifice. Your
determination, selflessness and courage have brought that
freedom struggle forward towards its attainment.

“That struggle can now be taken forward by other means. I
say this with the authority of my office as president of
Sinn Fein.”

In the past, Adams continued, he had defended the right of
the IRA to engage in armed struggle.

“I did so because there was no alternative for those who
would not bend the knee or turn a blind eye to oppression
or for those who wanted a national republic.

“Now there is an alternative. I have clearly set out my
view of what that alternative is. The way forward is by
building political support for republican and democratic
objectives across Ireland and by winning support for these
goals internationally.”

In the aftermath of Adams’ statement, media interest in the
McCartney family largely evaporated. Both the murder and
the Belfast bank raid were seen only as leverage to force
Sinn Fein to comply with the demands placed on it. Adams
and his ally Martin McGuinness are still viewed as favoured
instruments for ensuring Republican acceptance of the
devolved executive at Stormont based on “power-sharing”
with the pro-British Unionist parties.

The campaign against Sinn Fein in fact served to strengthen
its political authority amongst Catholics. May 5 confirmed
the ongoing decline in support for the Social Democratic
and Labour Party (SDLP) and its eclipse as the main
nationalist party by Sinn Fein. The SDLP had expected to
benefit from Sinn Fein’s difficulties, with members of the
McCartney family suggesting that they might stand as SDLP
candidates to take advantage of disgust at the IRA’s brutal
role in Catholic communities. Instead the campaign
strengthened the belief that Sinn Fein is the force capable
of acting as a defender of Catholics against the Unionist
forces and of negotiating political concessions in
Westminster and Stormont, when it reconvenes.

A parallel development has taken place within Unionism. The
media campaign over the robbery and murder served to
further undermine the Ulster Unionist Party, and strengthen
the hardline Democratic Unionist Party of Ian Paisley. The
DUP still adopts a position of opposing power-sharing with
Sinn Fein, which it denounces as a front for the IRA and
hence a criminal organisation. In reality, this posture of
opposing the terms of the Good Friday Agreement of 1998 is
used as a device through which to extract further political
concessions from London. Paisley is involved in ongoing
negotiations aimed at re-establishing the Stormont

The election campaign was dominated by jousting between the
Republican and Unionist parties aimed at consolidating
their sectarian grip over their respective “communities”.

The DUP fought the election by accusing the UUP and its
leader David Trimble of having “betrayed” Ulster by signing
the Good Friday Agreement and bringing the “terrorists and
criminals” of Sinn Fein and the IRA into the state
apparatus. The UUP’s response was entirely defensive,
arguing that it had first forced Sinn Fein onto a
constitutional path and then forced it out of power
sharing. Both parties draped themselves in the Union Jack
and trumpeted their efforts on behalf of Ulster’s farming,
tourist and quarrying industries.

Amongst nationalists, Sinn Fein and the Social Democratic
and Labour Party (SDLP) proposed essentially identical
perspectives to push forward the political and economic
integration of Northern Ireland with the Irish republic. By
drawing together health, energy, infrastructure decision
making and planning on both sides of the border, both
parties hope to gradually erase Ireland’s partition while
defending capitalist rule. Both demand the full
implementation of the Good Friday Agreement. Both support
the adoption of the euro, which is the currency in the

But the SDLP is seen by many Catholic workers as a
politically compromised force due to its long record of
working loyally within Northern Ireland’s political
structures. And Sinn Fein continues to benefit from its
association with a militant struggle against British rule,
Unionist violence and anti-Catholic discrimination.

The main winner in the election was the DUP, which
increased its tally from 5 to 9 seats. All DUP gains were
taken from the UUP, which also lost a seat to the SDLP
because of a split in the unionist vote.

Emblematic of the UUP’s decline was the fate of party
leader and former First Minister of the Northern Ireland
Assembly, David Trimble. Trimble lost his previously safe
Upper Bann seat to David Simpson of the DUP by a margin of
over 5,000.

Simpson is typical of the DUP hierarchy, a businessman,
member of the Orange Order and the Northern Ireland
Assembly and a gospel singer. Amongst his political
achievements to date has been the negotiation of local tax
relief for Orange halls.

Another leading UUP figure to lose his seat was former
British Airways executive David Burnside. Such is the
extent of the UUP’s decay that Burnside welcomed his own
party’s defeat as proof that a more hardline stance was
needed. “I am pleased with the message that has been sent
out in Ulster,” he declared. Burnside was replaced by
another gospel-singing Orange Order member, the Reverend
William McCrea, a minister in DUP-leader Ian Paisley’s Free
Presbyterian Church.

Trimble promptly resigned as UUP leader. In the 10 years
since he was elected to the UUP leadership as a unionist
hardliner, the party has lost nine of the Westminster seats
it held in 1995. The UUP, the party of Ulster’s founder
Edward Carson and the dominant unionist party since the
partition of Ireland in 1921/2, now retains only one seat.

Over the same period, the Protestant bourgeoisie has been
forced to acknowledge that its British patrons are no
longer willing to subsidise their unchallenged rule over
the Northern Irish state and that it must seek a modus
vivendi with Sinn Fein. Underlying the UUP’s loss of
political influence is the drastic undermining of the
north’s economy.

The Good Friday Agreement was an attempt to end the
substantial costs associated with maintaining a British
military presence in the north, to bring the political
stability necessary to encourage international investment
and thereby both emulate the successes of the Irish
Republic in the south and encourage cross-border economic

For all the DUP’s success and its rejection of power-
sharing with Sinn Fein, it faces exactly the same problems
as the UUP and the same demands from London and Washington
that it must do what is necessary to make the north
economically and politically viable. Paisley and his
cohorts will thus have to make their way to Dublin and seek
new relations with Sinn Fein, while seeking the best terms
for the Protestant business interests they represent by
whipping up religious tensions backed up with anti-IRA

In nationalist-dominated seats, Sinn Fein advanced at the
expense of the SDLP, winning the Newry and Armagh seat with
an 11 percent swing. SDLP leader Mark Durkan was able to
hold off a challenge from Sinn Fein’s Mitchel McGlaughlin
in the Foyle seat in Derry, likely as a result of tactical
voting by unionists. In the end, Sinn Fein won five seats
against the SDLP’s three.

In the coming months, new negotiations between Sinn Fein,
the DUP, and the other signatories to the Good Friday
Agreement will be sought. British Prime Minister Tony Blair
has appointed Peter Hain as Northern Ireland Secretary to
oversee the process.


Hain Flies In As Trimble Bows Out, Warning British
Government Of 'Failure'

By David McKittrick
10 May 2005

Efforts to inject fresh momentum into the Northern Ireland
peace process have begun with a wave of political contacts
which included a phone call between Tony Blair and the
Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern.

The new Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain, who arrived
in Belfast yesterday, promised to work ''flat out'' to get
politics moving again. The election results have confirmed
the Democratic Unionists and Sinn Fein as the primary
voices of Northern Ireland's Unionists and nationalists.

The two parties continued to do well yesterday in the early
results of elections to Northern Ireland's 26 local
councils. Many MPs are also involved in councils and were
re-elected. In Castlereagh, east Belfast, the DUP husband-
and-wife MPs Peter and Iris Robinson were joined on the
council by their son Gareth.

David Trimble, who is stepping down as Ulster Unionist
leader after a disastrous result which left his once-
dominant party with just one Westminster seat, bade an
emotional political farewell. He struck a pessimistic note
for the future by doubting that the Rev Ian Paisley's DUP,
now with nine Commons seats, had the capacity to finalise
an acceptable deal.

He warned Mr Hain that a continuation of the present
government policy would mean that "he will be a failure" as
Northern Ireland Secretary.

Of his decade at the head of the UUP, he added: "There is
no security of tenure in politics. You are at the mercy of
the electorate all the time and you're also at the mercy of
events. Actually, 10 years is a pretty good innings."

He said he was proud of his record and while the process
was not complete "there were huge gains for the people of
Northern Ireland", adding: "If I think back to Northern
Ireland 10 years ago and look at Northern Ireland today, I
could say there is a darned good balance-sheet there."

He said he had no regrets about the strategy which led to
the 1998 Good Friday Agreement. "I'm quite sure that the
future development of Northern Ireland will be based on
that Agreement, give or take a little bit here or there."

No front-runner has emerged as a successor. The UUP's sole
MP, Lady Sylvia Hermon, has indicated she may be
interested, and others mentioned include former MPs David
Burnside and Lord Kilclooney, formerly John Taylor.


Viewpoint: Hain's New Group Of Priorities

Busy agenda: SoS must try to persuade IRA to leave stage

10 May 2005

If Peter Hain, the new Secretary of State, carries on as he
has started Labour's third term, he will have his hands
full. Not only does he have the task of reviving the
political process here, and implementing several
controversial policies, but he continues as Welsh Secretary
and yesterday was acting as defender of Tony Blair against
his party critics.

During the election, Labour activists got a taste of how
unpopular their leader was, and how much he owed to the
support of his likely successor, Gordon Brown. Mr Blair's
opponents sense that they must move quickly, in the wake of
a difficult Cabinet reshuffle, to warn the Prime Minister
to take his reduced parliamentary majority more seriously.

Mr Hain may have been the only Blair loyalist available to
counter the threat of the rebels, but in future he will
find himself fully occupied with his Northern Ireland
brief. While Paul Murphy was a conciliatory figure, wary of
knocking heads together, his successor must be more pro-
active, keeping up pressure on the recalcitrant politicians
and confronting them with the consequences of their

His main priority, echoing that of Tony Blair, will be to
get the one party with paramilitary links - Sinn Fein - to
complete what has been, at least, a seven-year transition
to democracy. Gerry Adams has made his appeal to the IRA,
reaping a considerable electoral dividend, and now it is up
to him, goaded on by the British and Irish governments, to
reach the desired conclusion.

Until that decision is reached - and there is nothing to
suggest it will come soon - politics remains at a
standstill. Sinn Fein may pretend that they are ready to
talk, but they know there is no prospect of DUP
politicians, elected by a landslide, going back on their

Like it or not, Mr Hain and his Irish counterpart, Foreign
Minister Dermot Ahern, have to accept the significance of
the Westminster vote - and the council elections, too. The
centre ground is almost deserted, thanks to years of
equivocation and spin, and Sinn Fein and the DUP are left
in charge, with last December's near-deal in ruins.

If Mr Hain needs inspiration, he could do no better than
re-read out Mr Blair's Belfast speech from October 2002,
when he warned republicans that their little-by-little
approach was finished. The fork in the road had finally
come, he said, and they could not carry on with the IRA
half in, half out of the process. That "fundamental choice"
has still to be made, two and a half years on.


History Will Be Kinder To David Trimble Than To His

By Maurice Hayes
10 May 2005

It is not surprising that David Trimble should have been
the first to fall on his sword following the electoral
collapse of the Ulster Unionist Party.

There is not much mileage left in a leader who has just
lost five seats out of six (including his own), has seen
his party reduced from being the largest in Northern
Ireland to fourth place - with not much more than half the
votes won by the party that has supplanted his in the
affection of the unionist community.

The political scene will be the poorer for the loss of a
considerable political intelligence and Trimble's great
personal courage.

Over recent years he has been a great survivor and he has
secured the support of a difficult party against all the
odds, so that some believed he could have done it again.

But it would have been an empty triumph had he held his
seat, the big battalions having deserted him long since.

Trimble joined the line of unionist leaders since Terence
O'Neill (apart from Jim Molyneaux, whose policy was not to
have a policy) who, elected in the belief that they would
take a hard line, attempted to lead the party from the
front into the acceptance of new political realities and
more open relationships.

Each lost the support of the party and perished in the
attempt. They were replaced by harder-line people, who were
then forced in their turn by political circumstance to move
toward the middle.

Each of them, however, moved things on a stage and Trimble
will be seen to have created a new momentum in northern
politics, from which some who now excoriate him will
ultimately profit.

History will be kinder to him than to his immediate

Trimble's great failure was not to restructure the party,
modernise it and break the institutional link with the
Orange Order.

The other was his failure to trumpet the gains he had won
through the Belfast Agreement in enshrining the principle
of consent. Instead, he apologised for it as a compromise.

He was let down in the end by two groups. One was the
unionist middle and professional class who came out to vote
for the Agreement in the referendum, then retired to their
leafy suburbs, denying him the support he needed to build a
strong pro-Agreement assembly party.

The other group was the republicans, who denied him the
prize of decommissioning, to which he thought they had
committed themselves in the Agreement, and which would have
enabled him to quieten the sceptics in his own party.

SINN Fein will find that the price has been raised
considerably by Trimble's successors, and a weakened Tony
Blair may have less time and appetite for the affairs of
Northern Ireland.

The figures, however, speak for themselves. Five seats
lost, four to the DUP, and one, more significantly, to the
SDLP, who themselves lost one to Sinn Fein.

The DUP secured a remarkable 11.2% increase in their share
of the votes, while the UUP dropped 9.1% - a swing designed
to blow the fuses on almost any swingometer.

Sinn Fein will be satisfied to have secured a 2.6% increase
in their vote, while the SDLP, fearing a haemorrhage, will
be relieved to have staunched the flow at a loss of 3.5%.
This however, represents reprieve rather than rejuvenation
at this stage.

The DUP now take two out of three unionist votes and have
created a momentum that can only bring further gains.

The respective strengths and prospects of the parties will
become clearer when the results of the district council
elections have been finally declared.

The Northern Ireland Electoral Office seems to be committed
not only to making it harder for people to vote but to
robbing elections of every possible sense of drama.

Not for the north the all-night counts that kept the rest
of the UK out of bed and which contribute so much to voter

The count did not begin until yesterday morning and, being
PR, takes much longer.

If the parliamentary results were to be replicated, there
would not be an UUP-controlled council outside Antrim,
North Down, North Armagh and East Derry.

The results are likely to be more patchy, although it will
be interesting to see whether the trend towards the
greening of Belfast, caused mainly by population movement
out across the city boundary, will increase to the extent
that the city council is controlled by a combination of
Sinn Fein and SDLP, who now hold two of the four
parliamentary seats in the city.

To lose Belfast as well as Derry, as unionist icons, would
be a serious blow to pride and self-assurance.


It's Time To Unite Unionism

By Robert McCartney QC MLA

10 May 2005

If a week is a long time in politics, then seven years must
seem an eternity. On 22nd May, 1998, when the referendum
endorsed the Belfast Agreement, the position of anti-
Agreement Unionists appeared hopeless. The truth, however,
was that, while David Trimble and co had won a battle in
the war for the hearts and minds of the Unionist people,
the final outcome had yet to be determined. Last week's
General Election results decisively gave the ultimate
victory to those who had opposed it.

The Agreement was the product of constructive ambiguity,
massive propaganda and the cynical manipulation of the
hopes and fears of decent people, desperate to believe that
it represented an end to violence in Northern Ireland. But
the only violence it was designed to end was that being
perpetrated on the British mainland by the IRA.

As in the Britain of 1938, a policy of terrorist
appeasement was supported by the great and the good, both
lay and clerical, aided by a largely uncritical media. All
played their part in selling what was, in truth, a false
prospectus of the future.

People are reluctant to admit they have been deceived but,
gradually, as the ambiguities were resolved, the Unionist
people realised the true nature of what had been agreed on
their behalf. As a result, they have now overwhelmingly
rejected the Agreement as offering any basis for a future
power-sharing devolved government. The principle that
democracy cannot co-exist with terrorism should have been
recognised as essential from day one. Instead, the D'Hondt
principle guaranteed Sinn Fein/IRA places in executive
government while they remained armed and inextricably
linked to violence and criminality. It enabled Sinn Fein to
claim a mandate regardless of its terrorist and anti-
democratic associations.

The virtual extinction of the Ulster Unionist Party at
Westminster and the success of the DUP is due to the belief
of the pro-Union electorate that the latter will never
enter into an enforced coalition with Sinn Fein to form a
devolved executive.

The DUP manifesto has unequivocally stated that a mandatory
or enforced coalition with Sinn Fein under D'Hondt, or any
similar arrangement, is out of the question. To resile from
such a commitment would be to court the fate of the Ulster
Unionist Party. On the other hand, neither the SDLP nor
Sinn Fein will accept anything less.

THE prospect, therefore, of any devolved government in the
foreseeable future seems remote. The SDLP has ruled out a
voluntary coalition which excludes Sinn Fein, while the
expectation of Sinn Fein becoming democrats by accepting
full public decommissioning, a total end to all forms of
criminality, and the complete disbandment of the IRA seems
the stuff of unrealistic dreams.

In the face of the clearest rejection of the Agreement by
the Unionist electorate and the widespread criminality of
the IRA, both Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern continue to
assert that the terms of the Agreement must be fully

This assertion demonstrates either total ignorance of the
political realities in Northern Ireland or a determination
to disregard the democratically expressed wishes of the
Unionist people.

To compound such disregard, Mr Blair has appointed Peter
Hain as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.

Mr Hain's record is one totally out of sympathy with
Unionism. One gains the impression that he equates
Unionists with the pro-apartheid policies of his youth in
South Africa and his pro-nationalist sympathies have been
much in evidence in the past. Most recently, he was closely
associated with pro-Spanish policies calculated to transfer
the sovereignty of Gibraltar to Spain. His current eulogies
of David Trimble belie present political reality.

Against the determination of the two governments and Mr
Hain to pursue the implementation of a policy designed to
move Northern Ireland out of the UK, Unionist unity must
become an absolute requirement.

Prior to the General Election, David Trimble had announced
that his party would not enter an executive with Sinn Fein
and would no longer be bound by the D'Hondt provisions of
the Agreement. There, therefore, appears to be a unity of
policy with that of the DUP manifesto. In another sense,
the Westminster elections have, to a large degree,
established Unionist unity already. Nine DUP members to one
UUP member makes clear what is the real wish of the
Unionist people.

Moreover, it is not just the number of DUP Members of
Parliament but the substantial number of votes by which
they were elected. Most significant of all was the crushing
defeat of David Trimble, the party leader, and author of
the pro-Agreement policies which accepted a litany of
concessions to republican terrorists. In pursuit of these
policies, David Trimble not only split Unionism, but tore
apart his own party and brought it to the verge of
parliamentary extinction.

The Democratic Unionist Party, in the interests of a united
Unionism, can now afford to show generosity in victory.
Peter Robinson adopted the right tone in his acceptance
speech. An all-out attempt to heal the divisions must be
made so that energy and resources wasted in pursuing
internecine struggles can now be directed against the real
political opponents of the Union. As Abraham Lincoln once
put it: "We most successfully reduce our enemies when we
make of them our friends."

Now is the time to offer a hand of friendship to the senior
figures in the Ulster Unionist Party who have supported the
position on the Agreement which is now the basis of the
DUP's policy.

The member for North Down now represents the residue of
what was once the Ulster Unionist Parliamentary Party.

As the sole survivor, Lady Hermon has no-one to lead in
Parliament. Should she become leader of the party, she will
find that role a grave responsibility and something very
different from that of a backbencher. A great deal more
than an alert ear for the division bell and an assiduous
voting record will be needed. Such attributes are somewhat
unfairly denigrated by ministers in private as those of
lobby fodder. Her voting pattern is mercurial, voting with
Labour 250 times, including 52 occasions when it was
against the Ulster Unionist Party.

ON the other hand, the role of leader requires judgment and
political acumen, both tactical and strategic. These only
come with long experience and the advice of competent
colleagues. Deprived of these assets in Parliament, Lady
Hermon would prove wise to establish an early and mutually
beneficial relationship with her DUP colleagues.

With nine seats, the DUP will be the fourth largest party
in Parliament. Mr Blair's majority is now much reduced and
10 Unionist votes could prove critical on occasions and, in
the absence of devolution, of immense value to Northern
Ireland. The DUP's voice would be all the stronger if it
spoke for all Unionists. A number of Unionists will, quite
understandably, continue to entertain reservations about
some of the DUP's policies and political baggage, but then
the party about whom the voter has no reservations does not
exist. If the DUP is to fully re-unite Unionism, it must
become a broader church, for it was the loss of this
necessary range of opinion under Mr Trimble that brought
about the UUP's catastrophic decline. The DUP now
represents the overwhelming majority of the Unionist people
and it would be in all their interests if it provides
policies that can attract a united support.

Mr Trimble's valedictory act of gross political folly was
his refusal to reach agreement with the DUP on who would
contest the South Belfast and Fermanagh seats. As a result,
Unionism as a whole suffered the loss of both seats.

It is as true today as it was in the time of Carson and
Craig: "United we stand, divided we fall".

Now is the time for a new and generous Unionist unity that
will preserve the Union and confound its political
opponents. That is the true way ahead.

The writer's pamphlet 'Flawed Democrats - a Chronicle of
the Peace Process' is available at UKUP, 10 Central Avenue,
Bangor BT20 3AF at the price of £2.70 including postage and


Trimble: Tears And Tributes

By Noel McAdam
10 May 2005

David Trimble fought back a tear yesterday as warm tributes
to his political abilities and contribution to Northern
Ireland were made.

"Maybe I should do this more often," he quipped at a press
conference faced with a massed media.

The former Ulster Unionist leader, who has had an uneasy,
tense and at times abysmal relationship with journalists,
found the foyer in party headquarters thronged for his
farewell remarks.

This is someone who does not easily show emotion.
Nevertheless, it was a quite emotional moment for the man
who had told us himself just minutes earlier: "That poses a
problem for me. Am I to concede that I have emotions?"

He fought back tears, however, as party president Lord
Rogan paid a glowing tribute to Mr Trimble's "enormous
political and moral courage".

"His efforts to try and secure a normal society here,
whilst fraught with difficulties, have made a lasting
impact on the political, economic and social fabric of
Northern Ireland.

"Unionism as a whole has been brought out of the political
wilderness. Ulster Unionism, in particular, is no longer
viewed as parochial. It is respected and listened to and
understood by key opinion formers throughout these islands
and throughout the world," he said.

"The efforts of this party under David's courageous
leadership have fundamentally changed Northern Ireland
society for the better."

Paying tribute, Shadow Ulster Secretary David Lidington
said: "David Trimble is a man of courage, decency and
principle. Though unswerving in his passionate commitment
to the Union, David also understood the sense of alienation
felt by nationalists. He will be missed on all sides of the
House of Commons."

Alliance leader David Ford said: "After the moribund years
of the 80s and early 90s, David Trimble had the vision and
the political courage to lead his party, and a large
section of this community, to reaching the Good Friday

"That was truly historic.

"It is a tribute to Mr Trimble's work that even the DUP has
now accepted the Agreement in all but name. In time, I
believe that David Trimble's contribution to Northern
Ireland will be widely recognised."

Mr Trimble himself appeared sanguine about his departure.

"There is no security of tenure in politics. You are at the
mercy of the electorate all the time and you're also at the
mercy of events," he said.


Man Will Face Omagh Bomb Charges

A man is to be charged later this month with murdering the
29 people killed in the 1998 Omagh bombing, it has been
confirmed in Belfast High Court.

Sean Gerard Hoey, 35, from Molly Road, Jonesborough, has
been in custody for a year on charges relating to attacks
in Armagh, Banbridge, Lisburn and Newry.

His application for bail was adjourned at the High Court.

More than 300 people were injured in the no warning car
bomb, the worst single atrocity in Northern Ireland.

One of the 29 fatalities was a woman pregnant with twins.

Mr Hoey's lawyer had been due to apply for bail on Tuesday,
an application which his lawyer Martin O'Rourke said had
been lodged on 22 April.

'Media reports'

"Since then, there have been extensive media reports that
the applicant is to be charged with the Omagh bombing and
the 29 murders relating to that incident," he said.

He said the accused was already facing a total of 20
charges relating to the possession of explosive devices and
associated offences.

Mr O'Rourke said a Crown lawyer told him that preliminary
enquiry (PE) papers to be served on 19 May would contain
some additional forensic reports relating to the evidence
against the defendant.

"In the light of the developments in the case and the fact
that preliminary enquiry papers are due to be received
within nine days, it is my application to adjourn in order
that we can see the full extent of the evidence against the
defendant," said Mr O'Rourke.

"At the moment we have been given limited access to some of
the forensic reports, but obviously the picture will be
complete when the full PE papers are made available."

His request for a further adjournment to allow the legal
team to study the documents was granted by the judge, Mr
Justice Higgins.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/05/10 10:04:43 GMT


Euro-MP's Back McCartney Sisters' Fight For Justice

Euro-MPs today overwhelmingly backed the McCartney sisters'
fight for justice over the murder of their brother Robert.

A resolution in Strasbourg called for the unprecedented use
of EU anti-terrorism funds to finance a civil legal action
if Northern Ireland police fail to bring a criminal

Father-of-two Mr McCartney, 33, was allegedly stabbed and
beaten to death after a row with IRA members in a Belfast
bar on January 30 .

Today`s resolution claimed Mr McCartney "was brutally
murdered by members of the self-styled `Irish Republican
Army` who attempted to cover-up the crime and ordered all
witnesses to be silent about the involvement of IRA

It accused Sinn Fein of failing to call on those
responsible or who witnessed the attack to to cooperate
fully and directly with a Northern Ireland Police Service

And it expressed support for the McCartney family`s fight
for justice, praising the sisters and Mr McCartney`s
partner for refusing to accept the "code of silence" and
for "bravely and persistently" challenging the IRA by
demanding justice.

The two Sinn Fein MEPs, Bairbre de Brun and Mary Lou
McDonald, refused to back the resolution, endorsing instead
a separate motion less critical of the party and the IRA,
but fully backing the McCartney family`s determination to
see those responsible for Mr McCartney`s death face trial.

In a passionate debate in Strasbourg last night Democratic
Unionist MEP Jim Allister said: "Never in the history of
this Parliament has there been such a unanimous chorus of
condemnation of Sinn Fein/IRA and, in particular, its
failure to give up the killers of Robert McCartney."

Today Bairbre de Brun said Sinn Fein supported the
McCartney family`s demand for those responsible for the
murder to face trial

"We will continue to do all that we can to help them," she

She went on: "Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams has called on
those responsible to come forward and admit their
responsibility for this horrendous murder.

"They have refused.

"He also called on everyone who was in the vicinity to
provide full and frank statements."

Ms de Brun said 12 Sinn Fein members had already been
suspended without prejudice to establish if they had given
full and frank statements.

Two of them had been expelled for refusal to do so, and
four others had resigned. The remaining six were awaiting a
report to the Sinn Fein National Executive.

She added: "As a Sinn Fein MEP and as an individual I could
not campaign for the victims of British or unionist
paramilitary thuggery, if I was not as clear and as
committed to justice for the McCartney family.

"Those responsible for the brutal killing of Robert
McCartney should admit to what they did in a court of law.

"That is the only decent thing for them. Others with any
information should come forward."

But she criticised the Northern Ireland police
investigation: "It is our belief that the Police Service of
Northern Ireland could and should have acted by now.

"They have not carried out a thorough investigation."

Three McCartney sisters, Gemma, Paula and Catherine, were
in the Strasbourg chamber to see the main resolution voted
through, holding out the promise of possible cash help if
the criminal investigation does not lead to a trial, and
the sisters decide to launch a civil action.

Catherine McCartney said last night she hoped that would
not be necessary, and EU Commissioner Stavros Dimas
indicated it might not be possible to use EU funds for
victims of terrorism in such a way: "The Commission cannot
intervene in investigative procedures of member states.

The only thing we can do is express admiration for the very
brave stance of the McCartney sisters in seeking justice,
not revenge."

He added: "The Commission is certain that after completion
of investigations in Northern Ireland, truth will come to
the fore."

The resolution was backed by 555-4 with 48 abstentions.

The Sinn Fein backed alternative, which was voted down,
acknowledged that "members of the Irish Republican Army are
alleged to be among those responsible for the murder".

It said: "Sinn Fein has repeatedly called for justice, and
has called for those responsible for the murder to
cooperate fully and directly with those who will be in a
position to assist in the prosecution of Robert McCartney`s
killers in a court of law."

It deplored and condemned the killing of Mr McCartney and
expressed condolences to his family.

But it did not call for EU funds to fight a civil court
action if necessary.

After the vote Ulster Unionist MEP Jim Nicolson accused
Sinn Fein of using "weasel words".

Mr Nicholson said: "Everyone knows that Sinn Fin and the
IRA are inextricably linked. They have simply stonewalled
all appeals to bring those responsible for this evil deed
to justice.

"The document`s meticulous and crafty wording sought to
enable Sinn Fein to wriggle out of its embarrassment over
the outrage provoked by the murder. But the Parliament`s
resolution is condemnation of Sinn Fein and the IRA as much
as it is condemnation of Robert McCartney`s murder."


Roddy Doyle's Gigglers To Get Animated

10 May 2005

Irish author Roddy Doyle is to see his 'Gigglers' receive
the Wallis and Gromit treatment in a new children's

The award-winning Dublin writer is adapting his own
children's book, 'The Giggler Treatment', for Wallace and
Gromit creators, Aardman Animations.

The author has already started work on the screenplay for
the TV programme, in which the Gigglers ensure that all
adults who are mean to children - whether by lying to them,
sending them to bed or making them wear clothes they hate -
receive their comeuppance by stepping in dog poo.

The book was the first children's novel from the author who
was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 1991 with 'The Van'
and won the prize in 1993 for 'Paddy Clarke Ha, Ha, Ha'. It
has sold more than 600,000 copies worldwide.

Aardman is working with the Treasure Entertainment
production company to turn the book into a half-hour
animation which it hopes will be broadcast at Christmas

No broadcaster has yet bought the project but there should
be no shortage of interest; Aardman have become as much a
part of recent Christmases as Raymond Briggs' 'The
Snowman', 'Mary Poppins' and 'The Sound of Music'.

Although Wallace and Gromit were not originally created for
Christmas, 'The Wrong Trousers' was first shown on British
television for the festive season in 1994 and 'A Close
Shave', its successor, two years later. Both have been
shown repeatedly.

There are now high hopes for 'The Giggler Treatment' which
contains exactly the kind of essentially genial, if
slightly naughty, humour that family viewing at Christmas

Miles Bullough, Aardman's head of broadcast and
development, said: "As soon as we found the book we knew we
wanted to work with Roddy and Treasure Entertainment to
bring this to the screen.

"The book has the perfect balance of kid appeal, wry adult
humour and scatological anarchy."

It was a very special book, Rob Walpole, of Treasure
Entertainment, added. "It's packed with the kind of gags
kids find hysterical and which adults might not approve

The film is a new departure for Aardman's animators, who
have never adapted a book before, and for Roddy Doyle, who
said he was very excited to be working with the Oscar-
winning Bristol-based animators. "I'm looking forward to
seeing my words made flesh, Aardman-style," he said.

However, fans of the animation company will get a chance to
see new work before Christmas 2007. This October sees the
release of the first full-length Wallace and Gromit movie,
called 'The Curse of the Were-Rabbit'. The film, which is
being backed by Steven Spielberg's DreamWorks company, is
in the final stages of production though a sneak preview is
to be unveiled at the Cannes Film Festival this week.

And the company is also producing a new work in the
Creature Comforts series.

These much loved clay zoo animals and their wry take on the
world won animator Nick Park his first Oscar in 1990.
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