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May 20, 2005

SF Rep Denied Permission To Visit US

News About Ireland & The Irish

IT 05/21/05 SF Representative Denied Permission To Visit US
RT 05/20/05 US Congressmen Object To SF Visa Denial
IT 05/21/05 Belfast Accord Not For Renegotiation
IT 05/21/05 British-Irish Body Supports NI Devolution
BB 05/20/05 Loyalist Jailed Over Press Event
BB 05/20/05 Cleared Policeman Earns Retrial
IT 05/21/05 EU Treaty Poll Likely 'Within Next Year'
BB 05/20/05 Seeking Refuge From The Troubles
IT 05/21/05 Police Warn Family Of New Threat
DJ 05/20/05 Time To Deliver For North West – McCartney
IO 05/20/05 McDowell Launches Vitriolic Attack On Labour
SF 05/20/05 SF Opposes Aer Lingus Privatisation
SF 05/20/05 SDLP Sharing Power With SF Welcomed
IT 05/21/05 Increasing Suicides Prompts Calls For Action
SF 05/20/05 Kelly Demands Action On Suicide
IT 05/21/05 Engine Failure Forces Flights Return To Shannon
IT 05/21/05 Heritage Group Seeks To Buy Pearse Document
IT 05/21/05 Irish Arbitration History Lauded At US Meeting
IT 05/21/05 Film By Irish Film-Maker Wins Him US Award
IT 05/21/05 Bruce College In Limerick To Close Down
IT 05/21/05 Pollution Killing Bird & Plant Species


SF Representative Denied Permission To Visit US

Sinn Féin's representative to Washington, Rita O'Hare, has been
denied permission by the State Department to visit the United States
next week. Conor O'Clery reports from New York

However, a State Department spokesman in Washington said this did not
represent a change in policy towards Sinn Féin.

It is also understood from official sources that the ban is temporary.

Sinn Féin MP Martin McGuinness has been given permission to travel to
New York and Washington next week and he is expected to meet State
Department officials in the US capital.

Ms O'Hare, a frequent visitor to the US, planned to accompany Mr
McGuinness, but was refused permission, apparently as "punishment" for
deviating from her agreed itinerary on a recent visit to the US.

Like many Sinn Féin figures, Ms O'Hare is ineligible for a US visa
because of her past association with the IRA and must apply for a
waiver for each visit. A waiver has been granted regularly in the last
six years, allowing Ms O'Hare to make frequent visits to the US as
Sinn Féin's Washington representative.

One of the rules of the waiver is that the person applying must
provide a detailed itinerary, giving details of what places are to be
visited in the US.

It is understood that on a recent visit with Sinn Féin negotiator
Gerry Kelly, Ms O'Hare notified the State Department of her intention
to visit New York, where she had arranged to meet Bill Flynn, chairman
of Mutual of America and a major supporter of the peace process.

However, Mr Flynn was in Florida and the Sinn Féin representative flew
to see him there, though it was not on her official itinerary.

The action of the State Department is being interpreted by some Irish-
Americans as a shot across the bows for Sinn Féin, while Washington
awaits the IRA's response to Gerry Adams's call to the IRA to engage
in purely political and democratic activity.

The State Department said its position is unchanged in that it
attaches importance to the peace process, and continued dialogue with
Sinn Féin is part of that.

"There is no change of policy," a State Department spokesman said,
while declining to discuss an individual visa application.

It has been the policy of the US administration to grant waivers to
Sinn Féin representatives to visit the US to facilitate the dialogue.

© The Irish Times


US Congressmen Object To SF Visa Denial

20 May 2005 22:56

RTÉ News has learned that several US Congressman have made
representations on behalf of Sinn Féin's Rita O'Hare who has been
denied a visa to enter the country.

Ms O'Hare was to accompany Martin McGuiness to the US next week. It is
understood that a visa was denied.

The US State Department would not confirm or deny if this was the
case, citing confidentiality.

The US Special Representative to Northern Ireland, Mitchell Reiss,
took a ten minute call from one senior Irish American Congressman who
expressed his disagreement with the decision.

Dr Reiss was in Dublin today for talks with the Taoiseach and met Sinn
Féin President, Gerry Adams, earlier in the week.

Martin McGuiness is expected to meet US Congressmen in Washington
next Thursday.


Belfast Accord Not For Renegotiation

Gerry Moriarty, Northern Editor

Unionism will be expected to share power with Sinn Féin and the SDLP
if the IRA decommissioned and ceased all activity, Taoiseach Bertie
Ahern said yesterday. Altering the Belfast Agreement was not an

Mr Ahern rejected a comment made by DUP leader the Rev Ian Paisley
after his meeting with British prime minister Tony Blair on Thursday,
that the Good Friday accord was dead and a new political beginning was
required. Dr Paisley said also he saw little prospect of his party
sharing power with Sinn Féin.

The Taoiseach, at the seventh British-Irish Council (BIC) summit held
yesterday in the Isle of Man, insisted the Belfast Agreement had
already been reviewed and was not going to be renegotiated.

"The review of the Good Friday agreement was politically accepted by
everyone, including the DUP on December 8th," he told reporters.
"We've had the review and the review is finished. We respect the good
relationships we have built up with unionism, but the basis for moving
forward is with the Good Friday agreement." Mr Ahern said the issue
was discussed briefly at yesterday's summit and all British-Irish
Council representatives, including deputy prime minister John
Prescott, agreed with his view.

He indicated that, if the IRA unambiguously met Sinn Féin president
Gerry Adams's requirement to fully embrace peace and democracy, he
expected the DUP and the Ulster Unionist Party to share power with the
two nationalist parties.

"We must still deal with all the outstanding issues like criminality,
paramilitarism and decommissioning. If that happens, then we will
expect unionism to participate in the power-sharing executive which is
the basis of the Good Friday agreement. There is no other basis."

The BIC comprises the Republic and Northern Ireland, England,
Scotland, Wales, Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man. Its communiqué
reaffirmed its commitment to the agreement: "The council recognised
the ongoing commitment of the two governments to the full
implementation of the Good Friday agreement." It looked forward to the
restoration of the devolved institutions.

Meanwhile, the Independent Monitoring Commission's latest report on
paramilitary activity is expected to be published on Tuesday. Sources
say it will confirm statements recently made by the Taoiseach and PSNI
chief constable Hugh Orde that, while the IRA is observing its
"military" ceasefire, it is still carrying out "punishment" attacks,
targeting and surveillance.

SDLP leader Mark Durkan will lead a party delegation to meet the
Taoiseach at Government Buildings in Dublin on Monday. He will be
accompanied by the new MP for South Belfast Dr Alasdair McDonnell and
Assembly members Alex Attwood, Dominic Bradley, and Dolores Kelly.

Ulster Unionist Lord Kilclooney has said the party's sole MP, Lady
Hermon, should be UUP leader at Westminster. There was no need to
delay making this appointment as Ulster Unionists prepared to elect a
new leader on June 23rd.

Lord Kilclooney - the former Strangford MP John Taylor - said Lady
Hermon, who is not seeking the UUP leadership, should be in charge of
the party's eight peers. "I am writing to our only MP, Lady Sylvia
Hermon, to ask her to reconstitute our parliamentary party so that we
may resume our weekly meetings."

Lady Hermon said it was "most thoughtful" of Lord Kilclooney to make
the offer. "That said, I do think John's offer is rather premature as
structures at Westminster will be for the new party leader to resolve
in due course," she added.

© The Irish Times


British-Irish Body Restates Support For NI Devolution

Liam Reid, Political Reporter

The British-Irish Council has reiterated its support for devolved
government in Northern Ireland following a meeting in the Isle of Man

In a communique following the meeting which was attended by Taoiseach
Bertie Ahern and Tánaiste Mary Harney, the council said it "recognised
the ongoing commitment of the two governments to the full
implementation of the Good Friday agreement and noted the re-
engagement with the political parties in Northern Ireland with a view
to moving the peace process decisively forward.

"The council looked forward to the restoration of the devolved
institutions, established under the agreement, as soon as possible,"
the communique said.

The meeting which was also attended by British deputy prime minister
John Prescott mainly focused on telemedicine.

Telemedicine involves using information and communications technology
to allow doctors and consultants to communicate remotely with patients
in rural areas.

Members of the council are to co-operate in examining various issues
such as how patient records can be stored and transmitted safely in
electronic format, and how medical services via the internet can be
quality assured.

The council also discussed Sellafield and agreed it was an area of

© The Irish Times


Loyalist Jailed Over Press Event

A member of a loyalist political group who admitted fronting a
paramilitary press conference has been jailed for two-and-a-half

Denis Cunningham, 52, from Agnes Street in west Belfast, pleaded
guilty to professing to be a member of the outlawed Ulster Freedom

Cunningham, a member of the Ulster Political Research Group, wore a
mask during the January 2002 conference.

A Belfast Crown Court judge said he had been part of a "grotesque

The court heard that Cunningham chaired the conference on 15 January
2002, wearing his glasses over a balaclava.

He said he was a member of the UFF and called on the loyalist Red Hand
Defenders to "stand down" after the murder of Catholic postal worker,
Daniel McColgan.

The Red Hand Defenders had previously been used as a cover name by the


Prosecution QC Paul Ramsey told the court the police investigation
began after the BBC's Panorama programme alleged that Cunningham was
the man behind the mask.

His voice was subsequently forensically linked to recordings taken of
him speaking on behalf of the Ulster Political Research Group.

Mr Justice Gillen said the conference had been a "grotesque spectacle
of masked and armed men surrounded by you arrogantly bestriding our TV
screens... disfiguring our whole society".

Independent councillor Frank McCoubrey, Father Gary Donegan from Holy
Cross Parish Church and Shankill Presbyterian minister Rev Mervyn
Gibson told the court Cunningham had been "instrumental in advancing
cross-community relations".

The judge said the sentence would have been longer if it had not been
for this evidence.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/05/20 16:27:17 GMT


Cleared Policeman Earns Retrial

A policeman convicted of dangerous driving during a protest against a
controversial Orange march has been cleared on appeal.

However, Constable Alan Leckey, 38, who had been fined and suspended
from driving, must stand trial again.

Mr Leckey was alleged to have driven towards protesters on the
Springfield Road in West Belfast on 29 June.

Appeal Court judges quashed the conviction but directed that a re-
trial be held before another judge.

Mr Leckey was convicted at Belfast Magistrates Court after an
investigation by the Police Ombudsman who had been given a video
recording made by an American parades observer.

The constable defended his action in mounting the footpath by claiming
that he intended to deter the crowd from attacking his Land Rover, the
last in a convoy of 10, at which missiles were being thrown.

A previous appeal in June 2004 was dismissed by Judge Tom Burgess.

Lord Justice Nicholson, sitting with Lord Justice Campbell and Mr
Justice Weatherup, said: "We cannot be sure that the judge was
satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that the driving manoeuvre was

"The result is that the conviction must be quashed."

"We consider it unfair to ask him (Judge Burgess) to adjudicate
afresh, having regard to our judgement," they said.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/05/20 11:56:29 GMT


EU Treaty Poll Likely 'Within Next Year'

Lorna Siggins, Western Correspondent

Ireland will hold a referendum on the European constitution even if
France does not ratify it, Minister of State for European Affairs Noel
Treacy said.

However, it may be "within the next year" rather than the autumn, Mr
Treacy indicated in Galway yesterday.

Speaking at a press conference hosted by European affairs ministers
from 10 accession states, along with ministers from Bulgaria and
Romania, Mr Treacy said the debate in France showed a "certain

Yet he was "very optimistic" that the French will vote Yes on May 29th
and "give a lead" to European member states.

France was "very much at the heart of Europe" and would "realise that
Europe looked to them to give leadership again", Mr Treacy said.

Nine member states have ratified the document, but all 25 must approve
the constitution for it to become effective.

The Government has not yet set a date for the referendum here, and
final wording was still being negotiated, Mr Treacy said.

"Ireland is a sovereign state and will take its own decision," he
emphasised, and would "most certainly" hold a plebiscite anyway.

He was confident Irish voters would endorse the "most democratic
document which had ever been put together in this part of the world".

Polish European affairs minister Jaroslaw Pietras admitted that in
Poland politicians were more sceptical of the constitution than the
public. It was a "paradox" that while the public was very positive
about the EU, much more so than a year ago, politicians had their own

"Many ordinary people don't understand what has been written in the
document, but they do understand that it is about the future of the
EU," he said.

© The Irish Times


Seeking Refuge From The Troubles

By Mary Campbell
BBC Northern Ireland

We think of refugees as people who flee from famine, war or
persecution in far-flung corners of the world.

But some people who left Northern Ireland during the height of the
Troubles share similar feelings of displacement and isolation.

A new report examines the fate of people displaced during the years
1969-1994 - when violence and unrest in the province were at their

It details the experiences of 32 people, who left Northern Ireland to
live in the Republic of Ireland or abroad for different reasons.

Some feared prison and arrest or internment.

Some were on the run from the authorities, some fled because they
feared they would be assassinated and some left because they could not
cope with spiralling and often random violence.

The report was commissioned by Area Development Management and the
Combat Poverty Agency within the European Union peace programme.

The fear which forced people to leave is still very real - many were
even reluctant to give radio interviews because they were worried
about being identified.

I made my bed, I have to lie on it - but I was always a political
activist and had no military involvement

Brian McKeown

One man who was prepared to talk was Brian McKeown, who fled from
County Tyrone to Cavan in the early 1980s.

He had just come out of prison where he had served seven years for
firearms offences.

He had plans to get married and work in his brother's engineering

But he feared being implicated by an informer and he was warned by the
authorities that details about him were in the hands of loyalist

Twenty five years on, he is well settled in his adopted town of Cavan
where he is now in his second term as a local Sinn Fein councillor and
runs a very successful boxing club.

But it has been hard for him to find full-time work.

Once employers found out about his past, they were reluctant to keep
him on because they feared they too might suffer repercussions.

"I made my bed, I have to lie on it," he says, but maintains he has
always been a political activist and had no military involvement.

Scale of displacement

Social policy analyst Pauline Conroy of Ralaheen Limited in Dublin
said there were common experiences among all interviewees.

Many talked of family occasions such as christenings and funerals
which they missed.

Many felt guilty because they believed they abandoned ageing parents
or left a farm on which they loved to work.

One interviewee said he used to meet his brother every Sunday across
the border in the Republic of Ireland to tell him what to do on the

The study could locate few statistical sources which would permit
making a strong estimate of the scale of displacement.

Displacement is defined as an involuntary movement, when people feel
they have no choice but to move.

However, it makes a conservative estimate that of the 22,000 people
born in Northern Ireland and living in border counties during the
Troubles, approximately 11,000 are displaced persons.

The researchers believe many northern Protestants fled to Britain and
particularly to Canada.

They talk of a Northern Ireland diaspora which now exists because of
the Troubles.

Pauline Conroy recommends that similar studies should be carried out
with these people.

The Fine Gael TD for the constituency of Cavan- Monaghan, Seymour
Crawford, who contributed to the report, recalls meeting a woman on
Prince Edward Island in Canada.

He knew by her accent that she was from Northern Ireland and as they
chatted she told him she and her husband left because members of their
family were in the security forces and they feared for their lives.

Sadly, her husband died from cancer a short time after they moved to

Mr Crawford cautions against creating a "victimisation culture", but
accepts that if exercises like the report help the hurt to heal, then
they are worthwhile.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/05/20 15:26:04 GMT


Police Warn Family Of New Threat

Fiona Gartland

The family of the late Robert McCartney received another threat from
republican elements, his sister said yesterday.

Speaking ahead of a civic reception for her family hosted by the Lord
Mayor of Dublin in the Mansion House last night, Paula McCartney said
she was informed by police intelligence in the North that there had
been another threat on their lives.

"Police intelligence told me by phone this evening that they had
received information that republicans had threatened us again," she

"We were told, they said, that if we continue to discredit the
republican movement we will be harmed."

Ms McCartney said that though she was concerned for her children, she
was not frightened by the threats. "You couldn't give in to thugs. It
is unfortunate that some people are of the view that this is a
campaign to discredit republicanism. It is not, it is solely an issue
of justice and human rights."

She said that police in the North appeared to be more confident about
the investigation now "in their language and tone" and the family were
feeling more confident about it.

Minister for Justice Michael McDowell, who attended the reception,
said he admired the women immensely.

"As long as they are there, they are a standing monument to the
brutality of the Provisional movement," he said.

The reception was hosted by the Lord Mayor, Cllr Michael Conaghan, and
was attended by Dublin city councillors, city manager John Fitzgerald
and other council officials.

The lord mayor said that the bravery, courage and dignity of the
McCartney family and Robert McCartney's fiancée, Bridgeen, in their
quest for justice for their brother's death has been an inspiration.

"I know that you are serving as an inspiration to all of us and to all
families who have lost loved ones throughout our history," he said.

He offered the family the support of Dublin City Council in their
search for justice.

The family was presented with illuminated scrolls by the lord mayor
and with a sculpture, Soul Boat, designed by Clodagh Reddin.

Gemma McCartney thanked the council and said they appreciated the
moral support they were receiving.

© The Irish Times


Time To Deliver For North West - McCartney

Friday 20th May 2005

Sinn Fein Regional Development Spokesperson and Foyle Assembly Member,
Raymond McCartney has said that the 'huge regional disparity' in the
North must be addressed by the new direct rule ministers.

Mr. McCartney said he was calling on the incoming British Direct
Minister responsible for Regional Development, Shaun Woodward to take
a serious look at the huge regional disparity, which has existed for
more than three decades vis-a-vis transport and key infrastructure

Speaking in response to the new NIO reshuffle, Mr. McCartney said he
was not optimistic with the prospect of a British MP heading up such a
key Department.

He said: "The legacy of British Direct Rule has suffocated the growth
of this region in terms of delivering on key infrastructure projects.
It is not enough that the policy context as highlighted by the
Regional Development Strategy (RDS) and the National Spatial Strategy
(NSS), pinpoints the North West region as a key strategic location,
gateway and hub.

"The Strategic Investment Board in its first attempt to draft a
strategy to deliver on the decades of neglect, are unable to define
the regional inequities which have resulted as the Belfast centric
investment policy continues.

"Hopefully, the SIB will subject its own strategy to EQIA provisions
vis-a-vis the post Good Friday Agreement policy context setting. Key
to the socio-economic regeneration of the Greater North West region is
the crucial All Ireland dimension. I will be meeting with the Minister
as soon as possible in order that he may look beyond the Belfast
Metropolitan Area, when it comes to affording the same type of
economic development Mr. Woodward's own constituents of St. Helen's
have enjoyed over the last number of years."

Mr. McCartney said that Sinn Fein are to insist that devolution and
the restoration of the political institutions must be the only way
forward to providing fully accountable governance to the people of the
North, and to provide the policy context for SIB to deal with the All
Ireland dimension to solving the region's infrastructure deficit.

He said: "Expansion of Strand Two commitments, to include Areas of Co-
operation to support a policy context to deal in a wideranging manner
the state of key roads, rail, air and sea ports, establishment of a
North West IT Corridor, health, education and rural regeneration

"I hope that Mr. Woodward will be the last British Minister
responsible for any portfolio here in the Six Counties. It is time not
for talking but for the two Governments, and all the political parties
to deliver the agreed future as outlined in the Good Friday Agreement.

"The Dublin Government's National Development Plan stops at the
Border, the Regional Development Strategy does not provide the over
arching strategy necessary to redress the problems which people in the
North West Border region have been faced with and continue to deal
with on a daily basis."

Mr. McCartney concluded that the time for talking about the regional
significance of the North West must be reciprocated with the political
and fiscal resources to implement key infrastructure undertakings
denied this region for too long.


McDowell Launches Vitriolic Attack On Labour Party

20/05/2005 - 11:34:47

Justice Minister Michael McDowell has launched a blistering attack on
the Labour Party following its comments about the Progressive
Democrats' role in drafting aviation policy.

Labour had said the decision to build a second publicly-owned terminal
at Dublin Airport showed that the PDs had been put in their place by
Fianna Fáil.

The PDs had wanted a private consortium to build the facility and
operate it in competition with the existing terminal.

Asked about Labour's criticism this morning, Mr McDowell launched a
vitriolic attack on the party.

"The Labour Party is a party of economic failure which brings slump
whenever it gets into office, which doubled the national debt in five
years and had this country in 1987 on the front page of the Economist
as an example of all that was worst in Europe," he said.

"Now, on the Economist last year, Ireland was an example of all that
is best in Europe and the difference is Labour is out and the
Progressive Democrats are in."


Sinn Féin To Use Dáil Time To Oppose Aer Lingus Privatisation

Published: 20 May, 2005

Sinn Féin Transport spokesperson, Seán Crowe TD has said that Sinn
Féin will use its Private Members Business time next week to call on
the Government to retain the national airline, Aer Lingus, in State
ownership. Deputy Crowe said "The sale of State's majority share
represents a sell-out of the Irish taxpayer and of the workforce."

Speaking from his Dublin South West constituency today he said, "Next
week Sinn Féin will use its Private Members‚ Business time to call on
the Government to retain Aer Lingus in State ownership as the national

"Aer Lingus is a very profitable airline. The claim that there is a
need for privatisation to finance the development of the airline is a
false one. It is being used as an excuse to advance the privatisation
agenda of this Government - both Fianna Fáil and the PDs. Driven by
their ideological privatisation agenda this Government is preparing to
abandon a strategic national asset.

"The sale of State's majority share represents a sell-out of the Irish
taxpayer and of the workfroce. The only beneficiaries from this will
be multinational capital interests who are poised to exploit the

"You only need to look at the privatisation of Eircom which proved to
be disastrous, benefiting only a handful of wealthy individuals, to
see that the privatisation agenda only favours the speculative
vultures who are only too ready to pounce on attractive state assets,
which were built up over the years by the taxpayer and the workforce.

"Sinn Féin will oppose the privatisation of Aer Lingus and the
privatisation agenda of this Government at every opportunity."ENDS


SDLP Decision To Share Power With Sinn Fein On Down District Council

Published: 20 May, 2005

Sinn Fein Down District Council Group Leader Cllr Éamonn Mac Con Midhe
has welcomed the u-turn by the SDLP who this week finally decided to
share the key positions of Chair and Vice Chair with Down District
with Republican elected representatives.

Cllr Mac Con Midhe said:

"After a meeting with SDLP Councillors to discuss who will be elected
to the two most important positions on the council it was agreed that
the D'Hondt mechanism should be operated in a fair and equitable
manner. This will mean that during the four year term of the Council,
Sinn Féin will for the first time hold the positions of Chair and Vice

"In what is a victory for common sense I am relieved that the mandate
secured by Sinn Fein on May 5th, which now makes us the second largest
party sitting on the Council, is finally to be recognised.

"On Thursday night's edition of Hearts and Minds the SDLP's party
chairperson, Patricia Lewsley, when discussing the discrimination
shown to nationalists on Lisburn City Council, agreed that Down
District Council had failed to share power equally and was why her
party had reassessed the situation.

"Sinn Féin have consistently argued that large swathes of the
nationalist electorate were being discriminated in South Down because
of the SDLP's determination to exclude Sinn Féin from holding the most
important positions within the Council. Indeed as late as last week
SDLP Cllr Eamonn O'Neill stated their policy of rotating the positions
of Chair and Vice Chair with the OUP would continue so I welcome their
decision to revise this policy which has been every bit as
discriminatory as that operated by Unionist dominated Councils such as
Castlereagh and Lisburn.

"It is vital nationalists cooperate and work together at both local
and national level as we now face the prospect of having to deal with
the DUP who look set to dominate Unionism for the foreseeable future.


Increasing Suicide Rate Prompts Calls For Urgent Action

Gerry Moriarty, Northern Editor

A north Belfast priest and a Sinn Féin Assembly member have called
for urgent action to tackle the growing incidence of suicide in north
Belfast after a 32-year-old local man, whose brother also died by
suicide, took his life.

The funeral Mass took place at St Vincent de Paul Church in north
Belfast yesterday of Declan McCluskey, a father of two from Ligoniel,
who died by suicide on Wednesday. Nine years ago his brother Frank
also took his life.

Their father Francis was murdered in a sectarian gun attack by the UDA
in August 1982. He was shot dead as he walked to work.

A large crowd of mourners attended yesterday's Mass which was
concelebrated by the parish priest of Ligoniel, Fr Paul Alexander, and
Fr Aidan Troy.

Fr Troy said he knew the McCluskey family well. He described Declan,
father of Cliodhna (7) and Erin (5), as a lovely, lively man whose
death caused heartbreak for his family and friends.

His family was baffled as to why he took his life as he was an
outgoing man who often spoke out against suicide and tried to assist
young people who were thinking along such lines.

Suicide is a major problem in north Belfast. Fr Troy recalled how in a
three-month period between Christmas Eve 2003 and St Valentine's Day
2004, 13 people took their lives. There have been several more
suicides in north Belfast since then, he added.

Fr Troy said a taskforce had been established to try to tackle the
problem in an all-embracing manner.

"But something more is needed urgently, particularly at times such as
this when people can feel very distressed and very vulnerable," he

Fr Troy said the emergency services should develop a system so that
people in such circumstances could be immediately offered support,
pending more detailed psychiatric or counselling assistance.

Sinn Féin MLA Gerry Kelly said suicide was currently causing more
fatalities than road traffic accidents.

"This is a national scandal. Areas like north and west Belfast are
being disproportionately affected by suicide. The communities in these
areas are angry at the apparent indifference to the cycle of deaths
within our community," he said.

"We urgently need a plan to tackle this issue. That must be a

"The time for encouraging words and promises is over. The health
departments in Belfast and Dublin must begin to realise that the
public want urgent, strategic action on suicide prevention," added Mr

© The Irish Times


Kelly Demands Action On Suicide After Latest Death

Published: 20 May, 2005

North Belfast Sinn Féin Assembly member Gerry Kelly today called for
urgent action to tackle the growing suicide crisis. Mr Kelly's call
came after he attended the funeral of Declan McCluskey, a North
Belfast man, who took his own life earlier this week.

Mr Kelly said:

" This morning I attended the funeral of Declan McCluskey who
tragically took his own life earlier this week. This was the second
time that suicide had affected the McCluskey family, with Declan's
brother taking his own life nine years earlier.

" Suicide is currently causing more fatalities than road traffic
accidents. This is a national scandal. Areas like North and West
Belfast are being disproportionately affected by suicide. The
communities in these areas are angry at the apparent indifference to
the cycle of deaths within our community.

" We urgently need a plan to tackle this issue. That must be a
priority. The time for encouraging words and promises is over. The
Health Departments in Belfast and Dublin must begin to realise that
the public want urgent, strategic action on suicide prevention.

" The British government have conceded in recent meetings with our
party that there remains a £2million deficit in funding for mental
health services in this city. Despite this they have no plan to bridge
this gap. The budget for mental health services currently only makes
up 2% of the entire health budget. This sort of approach is simply not
good enough and must change if we are ever to put together an
effective programme to tackle this issue." ENDS


Engine Failure Forces Continental Flight To Return To Shannon

Pat Flynn

A transatlantic jet with more than 160 passengers on board was
forced to declare an emergency and return to Shannon airport yesterday
after the pilot reported a problem with one of the jet's engines only
minutes after take-off.

The Continental Airlines flight from Shannon to Newark, New Jersey,
was only 20 minutes into its journey and still climbing to its
cruising altitude when the engine problem triggered an alarm in the

One of the Boeing 757-200's two engines was shut down as the crew
initiated emergency procedures ahead of its return to Shannon. Crash
crews at the airport were also alerted while local authority emergency
services were scrambled.

Six units of the fire brigade from Ennis and Shannon town were
mobilised to the airport shortly before midday along with ambulances
from Ennis and Limerick city.

The massive fleet of emergency vehicles stood by at the airport fire
station as the jet limped back to Shannon on its one remaining engine.

The crew was also forced to dump thousands of litres of aviation fuel
before landing, a common procedure in such emergencies aimed at
reducing the risk of fire during an emergency landing.

Flight CO25 touched down safely at around 12.05pm as crash crews
chased the jet to the end of the three-kilometre runway and surrounded

The aircraft remained on the main runway blocking it for 30 minutes
before it was towed to the terminal building.

A spokesman for the Shannon Airport Authority confirmed the damaged
engine would have to be replaced and passengers would have to spend
last night in local hotels.

"It is hoped that the engine can be replaced overnight and that the
passengers can continue their journey on Saturday morning," the
spokesman added.

© The Irish Times


Heritage Group Seeks To Buy Pearse Document

Christine Newman

A heritage conservation group is attempting to raise funds to buy a
handwritten surrender document by Pádraig Pearse to keep it in the

The document is being auctioned next Wednesday with an estimated price
of between €60,000-€80,000. It is dated April 30th, 1916, the day
after the surrender.

The State has so far shown no interest in purchasing it.The National
Museum has stated that as it has two similar documents handwritten by
Pearse it will not be bidding.

The National Heritage Conservation Group which has some TDs as members
is calling for the State to purchase it, but is attempting to raise
funds to prevent it being sold abroad or to a private purchaser.

Labour TD Joe Costello said they were approaching certain people to
see if something could be put together to purchase it.

"Obviously if the State was to buy it then we would step back, but
they haven't seemed much interested. It would be a shame for it to
leave the country. We're certainly interested in putting a bid

Green TD Ciaran Cuffe said: "We are trying to get private support to
purchase the document as back-up to keep it in the State, but we hope
that won't happen and that the State will take an interest."

Founder of the group, heritage campaigner Damien Cassidy said they had
approached four people, one of whom so far has said they would support

Keeper of arts and industrial division of the National Museum, Michael
Kenny said they were unlikely to be interested in making a bid as they
had two surrender documents already.

There were thought to be four or five of these handwritten documents
by Pádraig Pearse which he sent out to garrisons at Bolands Mills,
Jacobs Factory and Church Street.

The National Museum had a copy of one dated April 29th, 1916 and the
other dated April 30th. The National Library had an early draft
document written on cardboard, he said.

Mr Kenny said the official type-written surrender document was in the
Imperial War Museum in London. That was unique as it was typed by the
British and signed by Pearse and James Connolly.

The one to be auctioned is dated Sunday April 30th, 1916, a day after
the surrender.

James O'Halloran, managing director of auctioneers James Adam said
there were a number of typed versions by the British signed by Pearse
and, in one case, Connolly.

"We're not saying it's the only handwritten one, but it is unique as
they are all slightly different. There is also one down in Enniscorthy
which was written for the volunteers there," he said. The auction will
be on Wednesday at 6.30pm in the sales rooms on St Stephen's Green,

© The Irish Times


Irish Arbitration History Lauded At US Meeting

Carol Coulter, Legal Affairs Correspondent

Arbitration is typically a more versatile and efficient way of
resolving commercial disputes than litigation, according to the
Attorney General.

Rory Brady SC was introducing the guest speaker, Prof Gabrielle
Kaufman Kohler, at the 80th meeting of the American Arbitration
Association yesterday. This is the first time that its annual meeting
has been held outside the US.

Mr Brady said that arbitration had a long history in Ireland, going
back to the Brehon laws. He pointed out that under those laws the
arbitrator's fee was one-twelfth of the value of the subject matter of
the dispute, but added that he was required to pledge five ounces of
silver in support of the award, and had to pay a fine of eight ounces
if he failed to decide the matter.

Under British law the first Arbitration Act was passed in 1698, and
arbitration continued to be an established feature of trade and
commerce in Ireland.

In the 18th and 19th centuries much arbitration was carried out by the
Ouzel Galley Society, which had its origins in the arbitration of a
dispute over the ownership of pirates' loot captured on a ship called
the Ouzel Galley.

The experience of this society, and its eventual decline in the 19th
century, illustrated the connection between commercial activity and
the demand for arbitration, Mr Brady said. He said that the increase
in international commercial activity has forced us to fashion our
legal system to meet the needs of a modern and dynamic economy.

Prof Kaufman Kohler said globalisation had weakened the fundamental
functions that state law traditionally fulfilled, among them the
operation of an adequate dispute resolution system.

"These functions need to be rebuilt in a global sphere," she said.
"Because countries are entangled in their national boundaries, these
functions are overtaken by what can be termed 'private actors'. These
private actors include the international legal profession, mainly
large Anglo-American law firms; academia; and arbitral institutions.

"Countries are losing the race to globalisation as the global
communities of private actors are much faster in producing new legal
norms and institutions."

She said that legislation is likely to remain the only means for a
state to express its own interests and those of the stakeholders who
have no say on the transnational level.

© The Irish Times


Short Film By Irish Film-Maker Wins Him Major Award In US

Fiona Gartland

A young Irish film-maker has won an international film award for a
short film.

John Corcoran (28) was awarded Best Director of a Short Film in the
International category of the New York International Independent Film
and Video Festival.

Virtues of a Sinner was the only Irish short selected for the festival
and it competed against films and animation from all over the world.

It was written by Corcoran, and was produced by Jim Colgan, Gráinne
Bennett and Rebecca Flavin.

The comedy drama centres on how God's angel and Satan's angel might
decide the fate of deceased souls. It features three Irish actors, Ned
Dennehy, Karl Shiels and Pat McGrath and was produced as part of a
training programme run by Screen Training Ireland for an editing

Corcoran wrote the film on a Friday, cast it on Saturday and Sunday,
crewed and designed it on Monday and shot it on 35mm the following
Wednesday in the space of nine hours.

His first short film, Poultry in Motion, was the Audience Award Winner
at the Corto Imola Film Festival in 2002.

The New York festival showcases over 300 films from around the world,
including features, shorts, documentaries and animations.

Previous festivals have included the work of Abel Ferrara, Meryl
Streep, Chad Allen and Christopher Walken.

© The Irish Times


Bruce College In Limerick To Close Down

The oldest privately run secondary school in Limerick is to close
its doors at the end of this academic year. Management at Bruce
College in Limerick announced yesterday that the school would not
reopen in September.

Difficulties in recruiting and maintaining skilled teaching staff have
led to the closure.

Bruce College, which is located in a protected Georgian building at 65
O'Connell Street, opened to students in 1984.

The school catered for Leaving Cert, repeat Leaving Cert and Junior
Cert students and offered revision courses and supervised study

The director of Bruce College, Liam O'Hora, said yesterday that
difficulties in maintaining a settled staff prompted the closure.

It is understood that some of the 15 full-time teaching staff will
secure jobs with another private school in Limerick and at Bruce
College in Cork which remains unaffected.

Bruce's fifth-year students will complete their Leaving Cert education
next year at another private school in the city.

Return to nursing open day

A return to nursing open day will take place in Waterford Regional
Hospital's centre for nurse education, on May 30th.

The Health Service Executive South Eastern Area is to hold a major
initiative in the region in the coming weeks aimed at encouraging
registered nurses, who have not practised for some years, to return to
the profession.

The open day will take place from 10 am-3pm.

Interested parties, who must be registered nurses out of practice for
at least five years, can get application forms and more information
from Breda Adamson on 051-848000 (ext 2839).

Apartments on Shannon sell fast

Hundreds of property- hunters were disappointed when eager buyers
snapped up €15 million worth of houses and apartments on the banks of
the river Shannon - in just 90 minutes.

Forty-three units of a new development in Athlone were sold off the
plans, and buyers wrote the deposit cheques on the spot.

More than 300 people turned up at the launch of the Jolly Mariner
Marina Village, but the majority were sent away as the level of
interest exceeded expectations.

Ollie Moore of agents Sherry FitzGerald O'Meara said: "You often hear
of this sort of thing going on in Dublin or Galway but here people
were queuing for four hours before we started selling." Prices ranged
from €210,000 to €560,000. Another phase is expected to come on stream
in the coming months.

Famine ship should 'return to Kerry'

North Kerry TD Martin Ferris (SF) says the Jeanie Johnston could be
bought outright by the State and kept in Kerry which would demonstrate
a real commit- ment to decentralisation.

The Dublin Docklands Development Authority is negotiating to buy the
replica famine ship for €2.7 million. Mr Ferris called on Tourism
Minister John O'Donoghue to take a "brave initiative" that would not
only keep the ship, which was built in Kerry, in the county, but it
could provide a focal point of a national Famine and immigration
interpretive centre.

"It would be an absolute shame if the people of Kerry were to lose
something that they put so much into, in both monetary and emotional
terms. At €2.7 million, this would be a give-away for the State."

Mr Ferris added that this was a "perfect opportunity" for the
Government to show its commitment to decentralisation. "If Kerry wants
to continue as the capital of tourism then the Minister must ensure
that one of our prime tourist assets is not shipped off to Dublin."

© The Irish Times


Pollution Killing Bird And Plant Species - Council

Tim O'Brien

Some 95 bird species, including the barn owl, are in serious decline
in Ireland and many, such as the corn bunting, have already become
extinct, the Heritage Council has warned.

The council, which is preparing to celebrate World Biodiversity Day
tomorrow, said that in addition to the birds at least 120 plant
species were endangered and a "major national effort" was urgently
required to halt the decline.

The decline in biodiversity - the natural range of animal and plant
life required for a healthy environment - is a result of pressure on
the environment from a wide range of factors including farming,
industry and even household chemicals.

While there are tens of thousands of barn owls in the country,
unsympathetic restoration of old buildings is depriving them of
nesting places, while a decline has been noted in the rural rat
population, with rat poison affecting their food.

The barn owl population has declined by about 25 per cent in the last
two decades and this pace is accelerating, according to the council.

In 2002 the Government published the National Biodiversity Plan to
sustain plant and animal life but the Heritage Council said not enough
money was available to carry out the measures outlined in the plan.

The council said many more plant species would now be already extinct
but for cultivation and breeding programmes in the National Botanic

"A serious national effort is urgently required and the Government,
local authorities, industry, farmers and the general public will all
need to make rapid changes to halt the decline," it said.

Pollution, the use of pesticides, chemicals, and intensive farming can
all lead to loss of natural habitats such as hedgerows, grasslands and
wetlands and so lead to loss of biodiversity, it pointed out.

A prime example of the decline is the pearl mussel, which is protected
under the EU Habitats Directive but which is under serious threat.

A study carried out in 2004 in the southeast shows that it is now
facing extinction due to water contamination and loss of habitat.

"Reductions in biodiversity in Ireland have serious health and socio-
economic implications," said Dr Liam Lysaght, ecologist with the
Heritage Council.

"Everything in nature is linked into an intricate web and when a
species goes into decline, it has a knock-on effect on other species
and also on people."

The number of salmon caught in Irish waters has been declining rapidly
since 1975.

Yet, if managed effectively, the salmon angling resource in the
country could be worth €100 million to the economy, and much of this
to the less economically vibrant parts of the country, Dr Lysaght

"The contribution a healthy and diverse countryside makes to the
quality of life and tourism resources in incalculable."

Dr Lysaght said additional money was needed for:

education and awareness-raising campaigns;

an annual fund of €1 million to promote active management of
biodiversity at local level;

specially developed agri-environment schemes;

local biodiversity action plans; funding for research and surveys to
monitor endangered species and habitats.

© The Irish Times
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