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May 26, 2005

W Belfast Tops Poverty Poll

News about Ireland & the Irish

UT 05/26/05 West Belfast Tops Poverty Poll
BT 05/26/05 Sinn Fein Hits Out At 'Cowardly' Laird
BT 05/26/05 DUP And Sinn Fein In Angry Claims
IT 05/27/05 NI Prisons Rebuked Over Treatment Of Women
BT 05/26/05 US Congressional Hearing Told Of Criminal Culture
BB 05/26/05 Adams' Home 'Targeted In Attack'
IT 05/27/05 McAleese Says IRA 'Really In The Way' Of Peace
BB 05/26/05 DUP Take Top Civic Position
EX 05/26/05 Kerry Has To Get Ready For Annual Traveller Influx
IO 05/56/05 Government Paves Way For EU Constitution Referendum
UT 05/26/05 Amnesty Demands Probe Into Lusk Shooting
IT 05/27/05 Five Of The Injured Are Still In Hospital
IT 05/27/05 Unveiling Of Bryan MacMahon Statue Delayed In Listowel


West Belfast Tops Poverty Poll

West Belfast has the highest proportion of people living in
deprivation of all Northern Ireland's 18 Westminster constituencies,
official Government figures revealed today.

By:Press Association

According to statistics based on new Government deprivation measures
released by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency,
Belfast accounted for all of the top 10 deprived neighbourhoods in the

The study undertaken by a team led by Oxford University professor
Michael Nobel found around 79% of people living in West Belfast lived
in areas of social need.

North Belfast had the second highest level on 60%, followed by Foyle
on 46% and West Tyrone on 31%.

North Down had the lowest proportion on two per cent, with Strangford,
Lagan Valley and South Antrim on 4%.

However when the results were broken down by local council areas,
Strabane had the highest percentage of people living in deprived areas
with 54%.

Belfast accounted for 48%, Derry had 46%, Newry and Mourne 25% and
Craigavon 23%.

By way of contrast, Banbridge recorded zero.

Ballymoney and Magherafelt had one per cent of their population in
deprivation with North Down council and Ards on 3%.

The statistics also revealed the Whiterock, Shankill, Falls and
Crumlin wards in Belfast were among the most deprived small areas in
Northern Ireland.

Areas like the Creggan, Brandywell and Shantallow in Derry council
area, Drumgask in Craigavon, Colin Glen in Lisburn featured in the top
50 and rural areas like Crossmaglen and Castlederg were in the top

The research was based on a total of 43 deprivation indicators in
seven overall areas covering income, employment, health and
disability, education skills and training, proximity to services,
living environment and crime and disorder.

The deprivation measures will be used to target British government
resources at areas suffering the most deprivation.

An NIRSA spokesperson said: "The new measures present a comprehensive
picture of deprivation across small areas in Northern Ireland.

"People have a good understanding of the level of deprivation in their
own areas. This report will help place area levels of deprivation
within the Northern Ireland context.

"These measures will help to inform government in Northern Ireland in
the development of key programmes."

Percentage of population living in most deprived areas in Northern
Ireland ranked by Westminster constituency: 1. West Belfast 79%; 2.
North Belfast 60%; 3. Foyle 46%; 4. West Tyrone 31%; 5. East Belfast
23%; 6. Newry and Armagh 23%; 7. South Belfast 19%; 8. Upper Bann 18%;
9. East Londonderry 13%; 10. East Antrim 8%; 11. Fermanagh and South
Tyrone 8%; 12. North Antrim 8%; 13. Mid Ulster 7%; 14. South Down 6%;
15. South Antrim 4%; 16. Lagan Valley 4%; 17. Strangford 4%; 18. North
Down 2%.

Percentage of population living in most deprived areas in Northern
Ireland ranked by local government district: 1. Strabane 54%; 2.
Belfast 48%; 3. Derry 46%; 4. Newry and Mourne 25%; 5. Craigavon 23%;
6. Limavady 17%; 7. Lisburn 16%; 8. Newtownabbey 13%; 9. Omagh 13%;
10. Moyle 13%; 11. Cookstown 11%; 12. Coleraine 10%; 13. Ballymena
10%; 14. Dungannon 9%; 15. Fermanagh 9%; 16. Larne 8%; 17.
Carrickfergus 8%; 18. Armagh 7%; 19. Antrim 6%; 20. Down 6%; 21.
Castlereagh 5%; 22. Ards 3%; 23. North Down 3%; 24. Magherafelt 1%;
25. Ballymoney 1%; 26. Banbridge 0%.

Sinn Fein human rights spokesperson Caitríona Ruane said the new
multiple deprivation statistics showed little had changed and poverty
was deepening.

The South Down Assembly member said: "This report shows that despite
statutory commitments contained in the Good Friday Agreement to tackle
social, economic and cultural deprivation and poverty that little has
changed in terms of where the concentration of multiple disadvantage
remain in the north.

"West and North Belfast, Derry City, Craigavon and West of the Bann
continue to be the most deprived parts of the Six Counties (Northern
Ireland). It is no surprise that these areas are by and large
nationalist areas.

"These figures clearly demonstrate the serious divergence that exists
between policy and achieving equality.

"Legal commitments are failing to be implemented and are having little
or no impact. In North and West Belfast, Foyle and West Tyrone a huge
percentage of the population are living in the most deprived areas in
the Six Counties."

Ms Ruane said her party would continue to press for resources to be
targeted towards areas on the basis of need, with significant levels
of financial resourcing.

She continued: "Sinn Fein will be challenging direct rule ministers to
address the failure to effectively implement policy to target and
eradicate disadvantage, discrimination and poverty."


Sinn Fein Hits Out At 'Cowardly' Laird

By Chris Thornton
26 May 2005

Sinn Fein have accused Ulster Unionist peer Lord Laird of "cowardly"
behaviour for using parliamentary privilege to raise concerns about
the IRA links of Irish government advisor and businessman Phil Flynn.

Lord Laird told Parliament on Tuesday that Mr Flynn had associated
with two members of the IRA's ruling Army Council while working as
chairman of the Bank of Scotland's Irish branch and an advisor to the
Dublin government.

One of those IRA leaders, Brian Keenan, stayed with Mr Flynn while
receiving cancer treatment. Mr Flynn reportedly paid for the IRA
chief's treatment.

Earlier this year Mr Flynn resigned his government and some of his
private posts after a company in which he was an investor was raided
as part of an IRA money laundering investigation.

Mr Flynn, a former vice president of Sinn Fein, was accused of IRA
membership in the Seventies but cleared by a Dublin court.

Lord Laird told peers that Garda officers at the time believed Mr
Flynn was a finance office for the IRA.

He also criticised Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and British authorities for
not questioning Mr Flynn's close associations with Sinn Fein. He
recently worked as a consultant for the party.

Sinn Fein Assembly member Alex Maskey accused Lord Laird of being
"cowardly" for using parliamentary privilege, which means he cannot be
sued for libel.

"Not for the first time unionists have hidden behind the farce of
British parliamentary privilege to make scurrilous and unfounded
allegations against Irish citizens safe in the knowledge that this
archaic law prevents individuals from seeking legal redress."


DUP And Sinn Fein In Angry Claims

By Brendan McDaid
26 May 2005

The DUP and Sinn Fein in Londonderry today locked horns while accusing
each other of wrecking the peace process.

DUP MP Gregory Campbell said the most recent report from the
Independent Monitoring Commission demonstrated that the IRA was still
an active force.

He also called for the alleged cultural and employment advantageous
position of nationalists locally to be curtailed.

Sinn Fein's chief negotiator Martin McGuinness, however, warned that
the days of "Unionist domination" and alleged "DUP bigotry" would
never return.

Speaking ahead of a two-day visit to Washington and New York, Mr
McGuinness claimed the DUP was attempting to wreck the peace process.

Calling for the full implementation of the Good Friday Agreement, he
added: "In their discussions with the DUP, the British and Irish
governments must make clear that there will be no dilution of the

"There is a particular responsibility on the Irish government to adopt
a more assertive and active role in this process."

He also claimed: "The DUP's increased mandate must bring with it a
more responsible approach to politics.

"They can join in the process of making peace and despite their record
of bigotry and intolerance, we will work with them.

"But there will be no return to the failed policies of the past. The
days of unionist domination are gone forever.

"The DUP cannot be allowed to block progress or to destroy a process
which has achieved so much over the past decade."

Mr Campbell hit back however: "His comments must be taken in the
context of the new IMC report which shows what virtually everyone
knew: that the paramilitary organisation associated with Mr
McGuinness' political party, the Provisional IRA, are still actively
recruiting people, still training and still active as a paramilitary

"This is the biggest impediment to progress in Northern Ireland."

He added: "Assuming we were able to ensure that impediment was removed
- not a temporary removal but a permanent one, what we would need to
do beyond that is ensure the Northern Ireland of 2005 was not one
where Martin McGuinness's community continues to get the advantage in
jobs, in cultural domination.

"It is these reasons that led to the DUP being the dominant force in
Unionism and that is why we are taking the stand we are."


NI Prisons Rebuked Over Treatment Of Women

Gerry Moriarty, Northern Editor

The Northern Ireland Prison Service has been severely criticised for
how it deals with women prisoners, some of whom are acknowledged as
disturbed and vulnerable and liable to self-harm or even suicide.

A new report, which followed on the suicides of two women prisoners
and allegations of inappropriate relations between women prisoners and
male prison officers, complains the women's prison in Belfast does not
meet inmates' requirements.

This latest report, produced jointly by the British chief inspector of
prisons, Anne Owers, and the chief inspector of criminal justice, Kit
Chivers, proposes a separate prison for women in the North.

The report follows on a critical report by the Prisons Inspectorate in
2002 into conditions and treatment of women prisoners held at Mourne
House at Maghaberry Prison near Lisburn.

Annie Kelly (19) and Roseanne Irvine (34) took their own lives at
Mourne House in 2002 and in March last year. Around this period there
were also allegations of improper relations between women prisoners
and male prison officers there.

Thereafter women prisoners were transferred to Ash House, on the
grounds of Hydebank young offender centre in Belfast, which in
separate buildings houses 250 young males.

Notwithstanding the closure of Mourne House as a women's prison, the
new report, which was triggered by an unannounced inspection of Ash
House in November 2004, found the inspectorate's 2002 report was not
acted upon.

Ms Owers and Mr Chivers complained Ash House lacked integral
sanitation and said staff were insufficiently trained to receive women
prisoners. There was too little for women prisoners to do and they had
lost open access to fresh air and to the grounds of Hydebank, causing
depression among prisoners.

"In particular staff lacked the support and knowledge to manage some
extremely damaged young women at risk of suicide or self-harm," the
inspectors added.

Among their many other complaints were:

finding two young women, one a juvenile, being held in "anti-suicide
suits" in cold and unfurnished cells;

documents revealing an imperfect understanding of the motives and
management of self-harming women in the prison;

and disciplinary measures used to punish self-harming behaviour.

The inspectors said the Prison Service responded positively to their
findings, accepting almost all their recommendations. This included
the proposal to create a separate women's prison and to appoint more
women prison officers to work in Ash House.

However, Ash House, which will be renovated, will remain as the
women's prison pending a long-term project to find more suitable
alternative accommodation for women prisoners.


US Congressional Hearing Told Of Criminal Culture

By Sean O'Driscoll in Washington
26 May 2005

There is a "culture of criminality" that some political leaders have
allowed to develop in some republican areas of Northern Ireland, the
US envoy, Mitchell Reiss has warned a Congressional hearing.

He said this culture had led to threats against the McCartney sisters
while they were fighting for justice for their murdered brother,

Reiss recalled the McCartney sisters telling him that they were
threatened and told they would be burnt out of their homes.

Reiss made his comments after New York Congressman, Peter King, said
that the IRA did not sanction the murder but its members may have been
involved in a cover-up afterwards.

King, a close ally of Gerry Adams, added that the killing was a pub
dispute that could have happened in any city in America.

He also welcomed signs that the IRA is about to disband but expressed
concern about possible unionist provocation if such a statement was

Reiss also told the International Relations Committee that the
Director General of MI5, Ms Eliza Manningham-Butler, personally
assured him that all relevant MI5 information would be passed on to
the upcoming tribunal into the murder of Pat Finucane.

She said he could reveal this information before the committee but had
expressed concern that the identity of agents or sources should not be


Adams' Home 'Targeted In Attack'

The west Belfast home of Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams has been
attacked, the party has said.

The party said the homes of two other Sinn Fein members, Fra McCann
and Chrissie McAuley, were also targeted in ball bearing attacks on

The party's general secretary, Mitchel McLaughlin, said they believed
the attacks were linked. No-one was hurt.

Police have said anyone with information about recent vandalism in the
area should contact them.

"This wave of attacks replicates similar incidents last year when
dozens of republicans' homes were targeted in Belfast," Mr McLaughlin

"It is clear that all of the attacks last night were linked and those
responsible were operating with accurate information regarding the
addresses of republicans. One source of this information could
obviously be the PSNI.

"Thankfully nobody was physically injured and I would urge republicans
to be vigilant in the coming period."

A Police Service of Northern Ireland spokesman denied any suggestion
that information assisting the attackers came from the police.

"We totally refute this unfounded allegation.

"Our job is to make west Belfast safer for everyone and we abhor
incidents such as this where property belonging to anyone is damaged,"
he said.

He said anyone with information about recent vandalism in west Belfast
should contact the police, and added that officers could offer crime
prevention advice to anyone who had property damaged.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/05/26 16:19:40 GMT


McAleese Says IRA 'Really In The Way' Of Peace

Conor O'Clery in Seattle

Peace will come to Northern Ireland as soon as the Irish Republican
Army disbands and changes into something resembling "an old soldiers'
club", President Mary McAleese said during a visit to Seattle,

Mrs McAleese made the comment at a meeting with the editorial board of
the Seattle Times where she was asked about the prospects for peace in
the North.

"The IRA, they are now really, really in the way," Mrs McAleese said,
according to the Seattle Times.

Mrs McAleese has generally avoided commenting on the situation in the
North during her three-day visit as the head of a high-tech trade
mission to Seattle, focusing instead on the economic progress of the
Republic and the need for new immigrants to sustain growth.

In response to a student at Washington University, she said the lesson
of the North was that violence was not the answer. "The peace process
is slow and tedious," she said, "but you don't carry as many coffins
at the end of it."

Mrs McAleese left Seattle yesterday for a two-day visit to Vancouver
in Canada.

The last day of the trade mission focused on the aerospace sector with
Michael Ahern, Minister of State for Enterprise, Trade and Employment,
leading a delegation representing Irish aerospace and related
companies to Boeing headquarters at Renton.

They were given a tour of the giant manufacturing hangar where Boeing
produces 737 passenger planes. Boeing has an order from Ryanair, one
of its biggest customers, for 140 of the firm's new 737-800 aircraft.

At a business lunch attended by US aerospace executives, Mrs McAleese
said the development of a world-class aviation and aerospace services
industry in Ireland had the fullest support of the Government as a key
industrial development objective. The sector includes 160 Irish-owned
and multinational companies based at Shannon and Dublin and employing
more than 5,500 skilled personnel. "The industry is committed to
making Ireland a European centre of excellence for aerospace
companies," she said.

Introducing Mrs McAleese, the president of the Greater Seattle Trade
Alliance, Bill Stafford, teased her for trying to entice high-tech
workers to leave Seattle - set in spectacular scenery and known as the
"emerald city" for its luxuriant vegetation - and return to Ireland.

"Why would anyone leave the emerald city for the emerald isle?" he
asked, indicating the blue skies outside, "and live in a place like
Sandyford? Better to go to Boston in January when it is 10 below and
the wind is blowing and you will get people to come home."

Mrs McAleese responded that Mr Stafford had not taken into account
"this mysterious thing called the 'craic'," which was hard to
translate but was a unique Irish attraction.

Later, the President hosted a reception in Seattle for the Irish
community in the northwest United States, including from as far away
as Idaho and Montana.

© The Irish Times


DUP Take Top Civic Position

The DUP's Wallace Browne has been elected Lord Mayor of Belfast, with
the support of the UUP, Alliance Party and the SDLP.

He saw off the challenge of the only other candidate, Sinn Fein's
Caral Ni Chuilin, by 37 votes to 14.

The SDLP's Pat Convery, a councillor for north Belfast, was elected as
deputy lord mayor.

The new first citizen, who is regarded as a moderate, has not ruled
out engagements in republican areas.

"I see myself as a party politician, a party man that abides by the
rules," he said.

"But at the same time I think we have to move forward, and I believe
that the DUP now that it's the largest party in Northern Ireland has
got certain responsibilities.

"I believe that we can proceed with programmes that can benefit all
the people of Northern Ireland."

Paul Maskey, leader of the Sinn Fein group, said his party had been
"blocked" from top council posts.

Poll topper

"Sinn Fein remains the largest party in Belfast in terms of votes
secured at the last election. This must be reflected in the allocation
of senior positions at City Hall," he said.

"Sinn Fein will strenuously oppose any squalid cross party arrangement
geared toward denying democratic rights to our party and electors."

The party's Alex Maskey became the city's first republican lord mayor
in 2002 and the party's Joe O'Donnell was the city's last deputy

Mr Browne, a retired teacher, has been on the council since 1985, and
topped the poll in the Victoria ward in the election.

The leader of the Alliance Party group, Naomi Long, said they
discussed Mr Browne's vision of his year in office with him before
supporting him.

"As a group we would have preferred to have agreement as to a way
forward for the next four years, in order to deliver continuity from
one mayoral term to the next and to maximise the impact which
successive Lord Mayors can have on promoting and enhancing the image
of the city," she said.

"However, given the difficult political context in which these
discussions are taking place, this has not been possible, and so we
have been working hard to bring about maximum consensus for this

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/05/26 19:44:23 GMT


Kerry Has To Get Ready For Annual Traveller Influx

By Donal Hickey

AS Kerry awaits the annual summer influx of Travellers, there was a
warning yesterday that some towns and villages will have serious
difficulties if temporary halting sites are not provided for those
attending festivals in the county.

The warning came from Fianna Fáil councillor Michael Cahill, who
referred in particular to age-old Puck Fair, in Killorglin, which is
patronised by large numbers of Travellers.

He said neighbouring villages, including Milltown and Glenbeigh, would
have major problems if something was not done to accommodate
Travellers at Puck Fair.

However, new draft Kerry County Council bylaws stipulated that the
organisers of festivals, such as Puck, the Rose of Tralee and Listowel
Races, would in future be responsible for providing accommodation for

FF councillor Paul O'Donoghue said it was unfair to put the onus for
providing accommodation on local committees.

The council agreed to adopt the bylaws, but removed the stipulation
about local committee's accommodation responsibilities.

Sinn Féin councillor Toireasa Ferris urged councillors to show some
restraint in their condemnation of Travellers and called for the
appointment of a liaison officer to meet Travellers and discuss their
accommodation needs with them.

"The lack of accommodation facilities is a something that needs to be
addressed urgently," she said.

Mayor Ned O'Sullivan said he had concerns about putting the onus on
local committees and added that all local councils in Kerry had very
good records in regard to accommodating Travellers down the last


Government Paves Way For EU Constitution Referendum
2005-05-26 19:00:04+01

The Government today published a revised Bill paving the way for the
upcoming referendum on the proposed EU Constitution.

Launching the document, Foreign Affairs Minister Dermot Ahern said the
Cabinet would be moving quickly to establish a Referendum Commission
with a budget of €5m to publicise the issues involved.

Announcing the publication, Dermot Ahern said that Fine Gael and the
Labour Party were consulted and gave their approval in the drafting of
the wording.

The Government rewrote its proposed wording for the EU treaty
referendum excluding a controversial clause that would have allowed
the state to sign up to a range of EU policy changes without a

Mr Ahern said: "These consultations have been very useful and the
Government looks forward to working with them to secure the
ratification of the European Constitution. We hope that other parties
will also decide to support it."

Mr Ahern also said the Government was confident that the Irish people
will endorse the European Constitution.

European Affairs Minister Noel Treacy said he looked forward to a full
and honest debate on the issues.

"Despite the good work which has been done already, in particular by
the National Forum on Europe, we are conscious of the need to ensure
that citizens are well informed about the European Constitution and
what it means for Ireland.

"Publication of the Bill now makes it possible to move to establish
the Referendum Commission, which has the dual function of informing
the public and encouraging voter turnout."

The Government will soon be publishing a White Paper discussion
document on the Constitution and sending an information booklet to
every household.

Endorsing the Bill, Fine Gael said it was in Ireland's interests to
ratify the Treaty as it will bring greater transparency, democracy and
efficiency to the enlarged 25-member EU.

Foreign Affairs spokesman Bernard Allen called for the Referendum
Commission to be set up immediately and the Government should not
announce a date for the referendum until results in Holland and France
are known.

He added: "I look forward to the Dáil debate on this legislation and
to a detailed analysis of these proposals."

Welcoming the Bill, The Labour Party said it wanted to ensure that
future changes to fundamental aspects of the EU Constitution must go
before the Irish people in referenda.

Party leader Pat Rabbitte added: "While the complex wording now
published will of course require careful study and consideration, we
will be asking the Party to agree to a motion at our National
Conference this weekend to support the campaign to adopt the EU
Constitution in the forthcoming referendum."

The Green Party said it was disappointed the 'triple lock' mechanism
was not sufficiently protected in the wording of the Bill.

Sinn Féin MEP Mary Lou McDonald called for a date to be set for the
referendum, preferably in the autumn.

"It is important there is an honest and open debate on this issue,"
she added.

Sinn Féin is due to hold a two-day information conference on the
proposed EU Constitution in Dublin this weekend.


Amnesty Demands Probe Into Lusk Shooting

Amnesty International tonight called for an independent inquiry into
the killing of two armed robbers in a quiet Irish village as the
country's premier, Bertie Ahern, backed the police officers involved.

By:Press Association

The human rights campaign group said it needed to be established that
gardai had done everything possible to avoid shooting the men during
an attempted robbery at a post office in Lusk, Co Dublin.

Colm Griffin, 33, from Canon Lillis Avenue and Eric Hopkins, 24, from
Lower Rutland Street, both in Dublin, were shot dead when gardai
opened fire after confronting a gang of four men inside the premises
this morning.

According to witnesses, some officers emerged from a camper van parked
close to the post office, while others pulled up in cars before
storming the building. It is understood the gang was under

A garda spokesman said officers challenged four raiders after they
entered the premises shortly after 8am.

"Shots were fired by Gardai," he said.

"A loaded firearm (side arm) carried by one of the raiders was
recovered at the scene. It is currently undergoing forensic
examination to definitively establish as to whether or not it was

"Two raiders received gun shot wounds and were transferred to Beaumont
Hospital, where they were subsequently pronounced dead. No other
persons were injured.

"Four persons - three males and one female - have been arrested in
connection with the incident and are currently being detained under
Section 30, Offence Against the State Act."

Chief Superintendent Kevin Ludlow of the Cork City Division was
immediately appointed to investigate the circumstances surrounding the

But Amnesty claimed an internal garda investigation was not sufficient
and called for the establishment of an independent Garda Ombudsman.

A spokeswoman said: "In cases where lethal force has been used by
members of an Garda Siochana an independent investigation needs to be
held, both in the interests of the gardai themselves and in the
interests of public confidence and accountability."

Mr Ahern said the public had been calling for stronger law enforcement
and should not go weak-kneed when it is delivered.

"I have every confidence in the gardai, I have every confidence in the
job they do," he said.

"Day in, day out people are raising the issue of crime with me, the
issue that we`re too soft on crime, that we need to be tougher on
crime, that we need more resources and more effort.

"When the gardai respond I hope people don`t get weak-kneed."

Mr Ahern said he believed the garda operation was planned and said he
was satisfied the force would carry out a full and proper inquiry into
all aspects of the incident.

"There will be a garda report," he said.

"The gardai are out there doing a very difficult job against people
who are firing shots and shooting people day in, day out in various
locations and the gardai have to respond.

"We have more gardai now than we`ve ever had, we have more detectives,
we have more special units, they have more resources for dealing with
the crime situation and the gardai are doing a good job."

Construction worker Paul Harmon, who was on his way to work, arrived
at the post office as the gardai swooped.

"As soon as we pulled up, a police car pulled up in front of us and
did a handbrake turn to block our way," he said.

"As soon as that happened all the police got out of their cars, there
were a lot of guns involved.

"Next of all we just heard `go, go, go, there`s somebody on the roof`
and then the police officers were running, some of them were running

"We had to reverse because a police car was going through past us with
a police officer hanging out the window with a gun."

Irish Labour Party justice spokesman Joe Costello said the incident
was yet further evidence of the growing problem of gun crime in

"The gardai are entitled to take appropriate measures to defend
themselves from criminals who carry weapons and who use them during
the course of armed crimes," he said.

However, Mr Costello said there should be an independent inquiry into
any incident in which police open fire.

"Any loss of life is regrettable and where people die as a result of
garda action, there must be proper procedures for an independent
investigation into such incidents - as there is, for instance, in
Northern Ireland," he said.

"I welcome the speedy announcement of an internal Garda inquiry, but
this may not be sufficient to deal with legitimate matters of public
concern that may arise.

"In this regard it is particularly regrettable that almost four years
after the original announcement, we still do not have a Garda
Ombudsman`s Office, which would be the appropriate institution to
carry out such an investigation."


Five Of The Injured Are Still In Hospital

Five of those injured in Monday's bus crash were still being treated
in hospital last night. Eithne Donnellan, Health Correspondent,

Four of the five are second- level students who were travelling home
from schools in Navan when the accident occurred.

The fifth is the driver of one of the two cars involved in the

Three of those still in hospital are being treated at Our Lady's
Hospital in Navan, and two are being treated at Our Lady of Lourdes
Hospital in Drogheda.

All those hospitalised are in a stable condition.

Twenty-six casualties were brought to the Drogheda hospital and 27 to
the Navan hospital after the school bus crash which claimed the lives
of five teenagers.

A number of those recuperating in hospital have been visited by
Minister for Health Mary Harney.

She travelled to both hospitals to meet the injured and those looking
after them.

© The Irish Times


Unveiling Of Bryan MacMahon Statue Delayed In Listowel

Anne Lucey

The official unveiling of a statue to the late Bryan MacMahon at
Listowel Castle will not take place as planned next week because of a
planning difficulty.

The €27,000 bronze life-size statue by sculptor Hugh Hanratty was to
have been unveiled alongside the newly-restored Anglo-Norman castle
and adjoining Seanchaí Literary Centre on Sunday, June 5th.

The unveiling by Senator Maurice Hayes was to have been part of
Listowel Writers' Week.

The opening of the castle had also been in doubt over a planning
difficulty raised by Fianna Fáil town councillors. However, it was
confirmed yesterday that the opening by Minister of State Tom Parlon
would go ahead .

Fine Gael TD Jimmy Deenihan, chairman of the North Kerry Literary
Trust, which is behind the proposal to erect the statue said planning
had been delayed because councillors and planners had looked for
additional information on the proposal.

The statue had now received permission, but had to wait the statutory
four weeks in case of appeal to An Bord Pleanála. The statue will be
unveiled during the summer.

Listowel produced two of the most prominent writers of the 20th
century in Bryan MacMahon and John B Keane. Both did more than anyone
has ever done to honour Listowel and both were totally unselfish in
their commitment to the town, Mr Deenihan said yesterday.

Two years ago, also on the eve of writers' week, controversy
surrounded an attempt to rename the town square after MacMahon and to
erect a bust to Keane. A public row erupted between councillors after
Fianna Fáil members insisted on a plebiscite on the square's name
change. The Keane and MacMahon families issued a joint statement
condemning the "unseemly politically inspired debate" and asked for
dignity to be restored.

Last month the official opening of the castle was in doubt after
councillors insisted a raised performance area in front needed
planning permission.

© The Irish Times
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