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July 04, 2005

Finucane Probe Seek Journalists' Notes

News about Ireland & the Irish

SL 07/04/05 Finucane Probe Cops Seek Journalists' Notes
BT 07/04/05 Drumcree D-Day: Appeals For Calm
SL 07/04/05 Fears Of A Renewed Picket At Harryville
IO 07/04/05 Two Held In Loyalist Murder Probe
SL 07/04/05 Stone Quizzed On Kielty Death Plot
SL 07/04/05 UDA 'Paid Witness To Drop Statement'
SL 07/04/05 LVF Plot Revenge
SL 07/04/05 Nazi Flags Given Order Of The Boot
BT 07/04/05 Mayor Vows To Fight Racism After City Attack
SF 07/04/05 Hermon Challenged Over Sinn Féin Assembly Demands
BT 07/04/05 Sinn Fein Bid To Amend Motion Fails
IT 07/04/05 Sinn Féin Pair Pressed Over McCartney Case
IY 07/04/05 Police Seek Help On March Violence
IT 07/04/05 Ahern To Meet Pope In Vatican This Week
TH 06/20/05 Donald Findlay: Has It All Gone Up In Smoke?
DF 07/04/05 Opin: Bigotry In Fife Bigotry In Fife
IT 07/04/05 Wicklow Landowner To Appeal Right-Of-Way
SL 07/04/05 Gaelic Games Struggle In Big Apple
IT 07/04/05 New Map Archive Reveals Lie Of The Land
IT 07/04/05 First Transatlantic Flight Is Re-Enacted
ZA 07/04/05 Irish Firm Aims To Turn Ash To Cash


Finucane Probe Cops Seek Journalists' Notes

04 July 2005

DETECTIVES investigating the murder of Belfast solicitor, Pat
Finucane, will go to court, this week, in a bid to force two
journalists to hand over interview notes with UDA men.

A senior member of the Stevens Inquiry team is seeking a court
order against the authors of a biography of ex-UDA boss, Johnny

Journalists David Lister and Hugh Jordan's 2003 book - Mad Dog:
the Rise and Fall of Johnny Adair and C Company - contained a
confession from a man, identified as 'Davy', to the 1989 murder
of the solicitor.

'Davy' claimed he was one of two UDA gunmen, who shot Pat
Finucane, at his home.

It is understood the Stevens Inquiry team detective is seeking a
court order, under the Terrorism Act 2000, compelling Lister and
Jordan to hand over any notes or recordings of their interview
with 'Davy', and other UDA figures they talked to about the
Finucane murder.

The case is listed for Belfast Recorder's Court this Tuesday, but
it is believed the full hearing will not be heard until the

It is known that Stevens team detectives met with Mr Lister, who
works for The Times, and Mr Jordan, of the Sunday World,
following publication of the book.

Both men refused to reveal the identity of 'Davy' or hand over
any material saying it would be a breach of journalistic ethics.

Back in 1999, the Stevens Inquiry team obtained a County Court
order compelling Belfast journalist, Ed Maloney, to hand over
notes of an interview with William Stobie, an ex-UDA man and
police informer, who was then accused of murdering Pat Finucane.

Ed Maloney vowed to go to jail rather comply, but he was spared
that ordeal, when the order was overturned at the High Court.

The then Lord Chief Justice, Sir Robert Carswell, ruled on that
occasion that the police had not proved there was more than a
possibility there could be material in the notes, which would be
of value to the murder inquiry.


Drumcree D-Day: Appeals For Calm

Parades Commission decision follows a year of little progress

By Michael McHugh
04 July 2005

THERE were appeals for calm last night ahead of today's crucial
Drumcree parade decision.

The Parades Commission is due to rule on the contentious parade
later today after a year in which both sides admit little
progress has been made but they are renewing their calls for a
peaceful standoff.

The last time Orangemen were allowed to return from their service
in Drumcree church in Portadown via the nationalist Garvaghy Road
was 1998 and with this year's county demonstration due to be held
in the town, pressure has been mounting for an end to the

Orangemen have called for mediation from the Commission, which
they say has failed to respond to significant negotiating shifts
in their position.

Nationalists say they are ready to enter talks with an open mind
but the Commission believes it cannot force the two sides
together because the gulf is so wide.

Garvaghy Road Residents' Coalition spokesman, Brendan
MacCionnaith said: "We are willing to go into these talks where
everything is on the table, where it could result in a march
along the Garvaghy Road and likewise for the Orangemen it means
entering into a position where there could be no march along the
Garvaghy Road.

"They are not willing to negotiate on any alternative"

Mr McCionnaith added that he believed residents would simply
ignore the parade.

Portadown District spokesman David Jones said the Commission had
failed to bring the two sides together: "We are determined to
have our return parade, we are the only ones who have been
working to get this resolved and we are concerned that the
Commission has abdicated their legal responsibility to set up a
process of mediation."

"For the last 12 months they have had the opportunity to do that.
They have been told that we are ready and waiting and we are
standing today and there has still not been any mediation. I'd
appeal for a calm and dignified protest."

A Commission spokesman said: "Since the formation of the Parades
Commission and particularly over the last 12 months we have
encouraged both sides involved in the Drumcree dispute to move
towards a process of meaningful engagement. That work is ongoing.

"The Commission is very clear that the difficulties associated
with parades in Drumcree and elsewhere can best be resolved
through meaningful dialogue between all parties. We only become
involved in making determinations on parades where local
accommodation cannot be found."


Fears Of A Renewed Picket At Harryville

By Staff reporter
04 July 2005

LOYALISTS may re-start their controversial picket of a Catholic
church in Ballymena, it was claimed last night.

PUP man Billy McCaughey said he feared the Harryville picket
could resume, if Orange parades are re-routed in the Co Antrim

For the first time, the Parades Commission is to rule on a march
in Ballymena, which it has described as contentious.

Mr McCaughey, a former police officer who was jailed for life for
the murder of a Catholic in the 1970s, was among 50 loyalist
protestors, whose presence led to a District Policing Partnership
meeting being abandonded last week.

Last night, he said: "I have a suspicion that if a parade is
banned in Ballymena that it could lead to the Harryville protest

"But I would hope there would be enough cool heads to say 'no
don't do that'. But it could well happen."

The Church of Our Lady in Harryville is once again, during the
months of July and August, voluntarily cancelling Saturday
evening Masses.

Loyalist protesters mounted a weekly picket outside the church
during Saturday services, between September 1996 and May 1998.

The picket was mounted because of loyalist anger over nationalist
objections to an Orange march through nearby Dunloy.

The protests, which were widely condemned, were called off
shortly after the Good Friday Agreement received 71pc support in
a referendum.


Two Held In Loyalist Murder Probe

04/07/2005 - 10:51:17

Two men were arrested today for questioning about the murder of a
loyalist who was shot dead in Belfast last week.

The men were detained by detectives investigating the murder of
Jameson Lockhart, 25, who was gunned down in East Belfast outside
a bar that was being demolished and which used to belong to
ousted Ulster Defence Association boss Jim Gray.

Lockhart, from Flush Road in the Ballysillan area of North
Belfast, is believed to have had links to the Loyalist Volunteer
Force and the rival Ulster Volunteer Force was suspected by
police of shooting him.

Detectives said after the killing on Friday that a loyalist feud
could not be ruled out.

Lockhart and another man were sitting in a lorry outside the bar
on the Newtownards Road when a gunman approached and opened fire.

The other man managed to jump out and run off and Lockhart got
the lorry moving before crashing into a lamp-post beside a
loyalist mural.

The gunman moved in again and opened fire, killing him.


Stone Quizzed On Kielty Death Plot

By Stephen Breen
04 July 2005

LOYALIST killer Michael Stone has been quizzed by police over
alleged murder plots targeting leading republicans, including
Alex Maskey and Bernadette McAliskey.

Sunday Life can reveal that the Milltown cemetery killer - who
was held by cops for three days last week - was also questioned
about a plan to murder the father of Ulster comedian, Paddy
Kielty (pictured above).

It is understood he was interviewed about a plot to kill Co Down
businessman Jack Kielty that pre-dated his 1988 slaying by UFF

Stone now believes he will be returned to prison, after police
sent a new file on his terrorist exploits in the 1980s to the
Director of Public Prosecutions.

Security sources have claimed Stone only presented himself to
cops last month, after he was told that an informer was going to
reveal new details about his life as a loyalist killer.

Stone went to a police station in London, and was then flown to
Northern Ireland, where he was held for three days before being

Cops would only say that the former UFF hitman had been quizzed
about serious crime.

But Sunday Life can reveal the killer-turned-artist was
questioned about the attempted murder of a nationalist in
Garvagh, Co Down, prior to his attack on mourners in Milltown

He was also interviewed about a series of conspiracy to murder
allegations, conspiracy to cause an explosion, and one allegation
of armed robbery, all dating back to the 1980s.

It is understood the conspiracy to murder charges relate to a
loyalist plot to kill leading Belfast republicans Alex Maskey,
Tom Hartley and Sean McKnight at a Sinn Fein advice centre.

Sources also told us that Stone was quizzed about a plan to
murder outspoken republican Bernadette McAliskey, and Paddy
Kielty's father Jack.

Stone is now back in London, and has refused to comment on his
latest arrest.

But sources close to the graveyard killer believe he is preparing
himself for a return to prison.

Stone was released under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement
but could be returned to jail if he is convicted of different

Said a source: "The talk is that Stone definitely believes that
his past has caught up with him, and he will be going back to

"He decided to jump before he was pushed by going to the police,
because he believes that an informer is going to tell the courts
about all the things he was involved in.

"Stone is not surprised that a file has been sent to the DPP, and
he's now just waiting to see what happens.

"Some of his friends are saying that if he is returned to prison,
it will be the Government trying to even things up because
(Shankill bomber) Sean Kelly has been thrown back in prison."


UDA 'Paid Witness To Drop Statement'

By Ciaran McGuigan
04 July 2005

LOYALIST terror chiefs paid a star witness thousands to withdraw
statements linking senior UDA figures to a brutal murder, it is

An unnamed man was forced to accept £10,000 to keep his mouth
shut about the circumstances surrounding the 2003 murder of Alan
'Bucky' McCullough, according to the authors of a history of the

In a new edition of the book - UDA: Inside The Heart of Loyalist
Terror - it is claimed that UDA heavies leaned on the man, and
persuaded him to withdraw statements he had given police
allegedly linking Ihab Shoukri and William 'Mo' Courtney to the
disappearance of McCullough.

McCullough - who was one of Johnny Adair's 'Bolton Wanderers',
but later turned against the exiled loyalists - was taken from
his mother's north Belfast home, in May, 2003.

He was later shot and his body buried in a shallow grave, on the
outskirts of Belfast.

Both Shoukri and Courtney were arrested and charged with his
murder, although the murder charge against Shoukri was later

Since the murder, McCullough's family and friends have suffered a
campaign of intimidation from loyalist thugs.

Among those who have been targeted, is Presbyterian minister the
Rev Ruth Pettigrew.

The book's authors explained: "The UDA had concluded, wrongly,
that the McCulloughs were refusing to withdraw charges against
two senior loyalists, because of the continued help, welfare and
advice (the Rev Ruth Pettigrew) was offering them.

"They believed, incorrectly, that the Rev Pettigrew was advising
them to hold firm, and stick to the statements to the police,
which claimed that two key UDA members took Alan McCullough from
his home prior to the murder.

"The intimidation had already worked on someone outside of the
McCullough family circle, who was paid £10,000 to withdraw his
statement against the two charged with the murder - Ihab Shoukri
and Mo Courtney."

Mo Courtney was recently granted bail, but remains accused of the
murder of 'Bucky' McCullough.

The charge against Shoukri was dropped, but he remains accused of
membership of the UDA.

? UDA: Inside The Heart of Loyalist Terror, by Henry McDonald and
Jim Cusack is now available in paperback from Penguin Books,


LVF Plot Revenge

By Alan Murray and Stephen Breen
04 July 2005

TOP LVF figures from Mid-Ulster and Belfast met within hours of
the murder of Jameson Lockhart to plan a series of revenge
attacks against their UVF enemies.

Two key figures from the organisation, in Lurgan and Dungannon,
travelled to Belfast, on Friday, to agree a plan of action to
avenge the death of the 25-year-old construction worker.

It's understood they discussed the return from holiday yesterday
of the top UVF man from Belfast's Shankill area, who wields
overall control of the organisation.

Loyalist sources in Belfast and Mid-Ulster, said yesterday, that
the LVF was planning a major campaign of terror against known UVF
figures, and their political allies.

Senior LVF figures say Lockhart was not a member of the
organisation, but was close to two senior members of the group in
north Belfast.

Said one senior north Belfast loyalist: "He lived very close to
one LVF killer and he was a pal of another man, who is regarded
as the most senior member of the organisation.

"After Brian Stewart was gunned down by the UVF in east Belfast,
in May, last year, this man kept the lid on things, and agreed to
an element connected with the LVF in the east being expelled from
the area.

"But, the Lockhart killing has knocked any restraint on the head

The LVF claims to know that Lockhart was killed by a UVF unit,
run by the son of a top figure in the organisation, from the

And they claim the 'hit' was authorised by the man's father, and
another senior UVF figure in the area.

Two weeks ago, a dispute between the two organisations in east
Belfast was settled with the help of intermediaries from
Protestant churches.

It arose after LVF graffiti appeared in UVF-controlled stretches
of the Newtownards and Albertbridge roads.

Earlier bouts of LVF/UVF feuding have left men dead on both

Since January 2000, when UVF 'brigadier' Richard Jameson was shot
dead outside his Mid-Ulster home, the two bitter rivals have
killed each other's members.

In between, the UVF and the UDA became embroiled in a feud
centred mainly in north and west Belfast and, while it isn't
directly involved in the latest dispute, there are fears that all
three organisations could become embroiled.

But, a senior UDA member in west Belfast, said last night:
"Individual UDA members may have sympathies with certain people,
but that's as far as it goes.

"They will simply not be allowed by the organisation's leadership
to get involved in anything between the UVF and LVF.

"The feeling on the ground, in loyalist communities, is that
people don't want to see another feud, in which more Protestant
lives will be lost."


Nazi Flags Given Order Of The Boot

By Stephen Breen
04 July 2005

SICK Nazi flags being openly sold in a loyalist souvenir shop
have been removed - thanks to Sunday Life.

The banners of Hitler's notorious Waffen SS Death's Head
(Totenkopf) division were withdrawn from the Union Jack shop on
the Newtownards Road in east Belfast, last Tuesday, after we
revealed they were being sold for £5.

It is believed they were withdrawn after complaints were made to
the shop by PUP MLA David Ervine and UUP councillor Jim Rodgers.

A number of complaints were also made by local people after our

The flag - banned in some European countries - bears the infamous
SS emblem and a skull motif.

It honours one of the Nazis' most ruthless divisions, which
guarded concentration camps and fought on the frontline against
the Allies during World War Two.

Totenkopf members also oversaw the murder of millions of Jews,
gypsies and other 'undesirables' in the notorious Nazi death

The banner is regularly flown at fascist rallies by neo-Nazis,
including those staged by Combat 18.

The shop prides itself on its British identity, and sells a
variety of pro-Union regalia and memorabilia.

This is also a particularly busy time of the year for the shop,
with the Twelfth looming and VE celebrations occurring next

No one at the business was available for comment.

Our revelation angered many people in the area.

Said one disgusted local pensioner: "There are men from east
Belfast who fought for the crown against Hitler and they were
horrified at this.

"The flag made a mockery of what Ulstermen fought for in Europe,
and everyone is pleased they have been removed from the shelves.

"The shop should never allow these items to be sold again".

Added Mr Rodgers: "I can confirm that the flags have been
removed, and I would like to praise Sunday Life for highlighting
the issue.

"I would also like to thank the shop for removing the flags so
quickly, and hopefully they won't be on sale in the future.

"The move has been welcomed by the vast majority of people in
east Belfast, who were disgusted that Nazi flags were being sold
so close to VE Day celebrations."


Mayor Vows To Fight Racism After City Attack

By Claire Regan
04 July 2005

THE mayor of Lisburn vowed last night to intensify efforts to
tackle the scourge of racism after two Polish brothers were
injured in a suspected racist attack.

DUP mayor Jonathan Craig said he was "very disappointed" to hear
of the incident which happened in the Hill Street area of the
city in the early hours of Saturday.

One brother is thought to have suffered a broken arm while the
other is being treated for head injuries.

Police have said that it is thought the men, both aged in their
20s, were assaulted near a bonfire, but it is not clear exactly
what happened.

A "racial" motive for the assaults has not been ruled out at this
stage, police said.

Mr Craig appealed for any information on the incident to be
reported to police.

"Lisburn has not had a problem in terms of racially-motivated
attacks but we could see what was going on in other areas of
Northern Ireland and took a pro-active approach on the council to
prevent any tension creeping in here.

"Lisburn council has taken a lead role in encouraging the
inclusiveness of the minority communities and trying to teach

"If this attack was racist, and I really hope it wasn't, I would
be very disappointed to hear that. I would call on people for
calm and promise to re-double our efforts to tackle the problem."

The attack in Lisburn came just a day after a petrol bomb attack
on four Lithuanian factory workers which was linked to an attack
on a man in the town last weekend.

A device was thrown at their home in Fairmount Park, Dungannon,
shortly before 3am on Friday and the householders, three men and
a woman, were lucky to escape uninjured.

The weekend before last, Paul Young (32), from Newell Road in the
town, was beaten around the head with iron bars after intervening
in a dispute between a group of Lithuanian nationals and local
women in a pub.

The victim's wife Kathleen joined police to make an emotional
appeal for no retaliation.

Dungannon's District Commander, Superintendent Frances Nolan,
said "It is nonsensical to target a whole race because of the
alleged actions of a few.

"An attack such as this serves no purpose, it simply heightens
tension and spreads fear."


Hermon Challenged Over Sinn Féin Assembly Demands

Published: 4 July, 2005

Sinn Féín MP for Fermanagh & South Tyrone Michelle Gildernew has
hit out at the UUP MP Silvia Hermon after she demanded that the
British government remove the salaries from the 24 elected Sinn
Féin Assembly members.

Ms Gildernew said:

" The British government embarked sometime ago on a deliberate
policy of discriminating against Sinn Féin and the people who
vote for our party. This has taken a variety of forms including
removing financial support for our Westminster operation and
aiding our political opponents through policy and development

" Despite this campaign Sinn Féin have continued to provide an
unrivalled constituency service and continue to expand and grow
our support base. Our Assembly members in line with party policy
take a working wage and contribute the rest of the allocated
salary to party development. They are unlike many other MLAs full
time political activists working day and daily for the people who
elect them.

" This call by the UUP MP Silvia Hermon is obviously the latest
stage in their campaign to try and out do the DUP. However given
the recent public pronouncements of Silvia Hermon this demand is
even more bizarre. It was only a matter of months ago that Silvia
Hermon was demanding that the entire Assembly be wound up. Now
after a slap down from her Assembly colleagues in the UUP she
appears to have adopted the old UUP favourite of a unionist
parliament for a unionist people excluding the representatives of
the largest nationalist party the six counties." ENDS


Sinn Fein Bid To Amend Motion Fails

By Brendan McDaid
04 July 2005

ATTEMPTS by Sinn Fein to attach deprivation in Derry to a council
motion backing the world-wide Make Poverty History movement have
been shot down.

SDLP Councillor Colm Eastwood put forward the motion that Derry
City Council support Bob Geldof's global campaign to force world
leaders at this week's G8 summit to cancel world debt without

The council unanimously backed Mr Eastwood's motion which
included supporting "stopping big business profiting at the
expense of people and the environment" and instigating fairer

A letter will now be forwarded to Prime Minister Tony Blair
registering the council's support for the protests.

However, Sinn Fein Councillor Elisha McLaughlin proposed that
issues around local poverty also be included into the bill.

Commenting on councillor Eastwood's bill, she said: "It is very
important and relevant with the G8 conference happening that this
council should be seen in the ranks of those so many other
thousands saying no to world poverty.

"We once had the reputation of being the emigrants' gateway and
thousands left this city due to starvation.

"When we look at our own situation today, the levels of
deprivation are startling.

"Recent figures make scary reading. Creggan is in the top 10% of
the most deprived areas in the six counties.

"46% of the people of Derry live in the most deprived areas of
the six counties."

Ms McLaughlin called for the council to back an amendment to the
motion, calling for the Offices of the First and Deputy First
Ministers to extend public consultation on its Targeting Social
Need document.

"We believe this consultation is not going to the core, to the
people affected" she said.

"I am asking for the council to back this extension so that the
people affected by poverty are at the fore of the consultation so
they can feed into the action plan."

Rejecting the amendment, Mr Eastwood said that while he agreed
with Ms McLaughlin's sentiments, the proposed addition to his
motion was on a completely different issue.

"I do not want to belittle either issue by lumping them together"
he said.

"They are completely different issues.

"The people of Derry have a very proud and long history of
supporting the people of the developing world.

"Certainly we would be very supportive of this motion."

Cllr McLaughlin hit back: "I think poverty is poverty no matter
where you are."


Sinn Féin Pair Pressed Over McCartney Case

Two members of Sinn Féin are being pressed by the Northern
Ireland Police Ombudsman's office to give detailed accounts of
what they saw on the night Robert McCartney was attacked in a
Belfast bar and killed outside it last January, writes Peter
Murtagh in Belfast

Despite Sinn Féin protestations that party members are co-
operating fully with the McCartney family's quest for justice,
the two individuals have yet to say whether they will give
interviews to investigators from the ombudsman's office.

The investigators are acting as intermediaries on behalf of the
Police Service of Northern Ireland because of a refusal by Sinn
Féin members to deal directly with the police.In the aftermath of
the killing and its cover-up, Sinn Féin came under pressure from
members of Mr McCartney's family.

In early March, Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams said the party had
suspended seven members. Mr Adams said they would remain
"suspended from membership and from any involvement in Sinn Féin
activity pending the outcome of the legal process".

Although the legal process has only begun in relation to two
people who have been charged, and both the PSNI and Police
Ombudsman's office say investigations are continuing, a fortnight
ago Sinn Féin announced that five of the party members who had
been suspended had had their suspensions lifted.

A statement said the five and one other party member whom the
party said had also been suspended "have made statements to the
Police Ombudsman and are continuing to co-operate with her
office". A decision on lifting the sixth person's alleged
suspension would be made in due course, said the statement.

However, inquiries by The Irish Times have established:

The dozen or so statements given to the ombudsman via a Belfast
solicitor used by Sinn Féin are of little or no evidential value.

At least one is unsigned and several others confirm that while
the person making the statement was in the bar, they claim to
have seen nothing.

The PSNI, through the ombudsman, has been trying to get two
members of Sinn Féin to agree to be interviewed by ombudsman
investigators, but so far without success.

To date only one member of Sinn Féin, a woman who was in the bar,
has been interviewed by the ombudsman's office on foot of making
a statement via the solicitor. That interview took place in
March, and was detailed. However, when word spread among Sinn
Féin members about the sort of questions being asked, no one else
came forward for interview.

© The Irish Times


Police Seek Help On March Violence

Dan Keenan, Northern News Editor

Police have renewed an appeal for help in identifying those
involved in violence at the "Tour of the North" Orange march in
north Belfast on June 17th.

Nationalist protesters stoned loyalist marchers and supporters as
they passed a flashpoint at Ardoyne on their way back to

Up to 20 people, including police officers, were hurt as petrol
bombs, stones, bricks, golf balls and bottles were thrown during
about 30 minutes of sporadic violence. Police are seeking the
help of local people in Ardoyne to identify some teenagers who
were involved in the trouble and were caught on CCTV.

The violence flared despite the efforts of many protest marshals
on the nationalist side to stop the stone-throwers.

In another Orange march-related incident in east Belfast at the
weekend, two children were hurt as stone-throwers attacked cars
in the Markets area of the city.

The children were taken to hospital for treatment after the
windows of their car were broken. However, they were not
seriously injured.

Witnesses said a crowd of youths, some armed with hurleys,
attacked several cars.

The driver of the car - who did not want to be identified - said
it had been a frightening experience. He told the BBC: "Stones
bounced off the sides of the car and the windows smashed. My 10-
year-old was sitting at the window that was smashed and my two-
year-old was sitting in the back behind her.

"The glass ended up going into the back as well and the whole car
was covered in glass." The cars were being driven by people
leaving the mini-Twelfth parade in east Belfast.

There was a major security presence for the march, particularly
at the flashpoint area near Short Strand, but it passed off

© The Irish Times


Ahern To Meet Pope In Vatican This Week

The Taoiseach will become one of the first political leaders to
meet Pope Benedict XVI when he has a private audience with him in
the Vatican on Thursday. Mark Brennock, Chief Political
Correspondent, reports

Mr Ahern will also meet the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal
Angelo Sodano, to discuss Northern Ireland, developments in the
European Union and other international issues, according to the

He will travel to Rome on Wednesday evening for his Thursday
morning meeting with the Pope. The encounter will come a week
after the Government decided to approve the initiation of a
"structured dialogue" with the churches and faith communities, a
concept which has been sought at national and EU level by
European churches.

The draft EU constitutional treaty provides for such
communication with the churches. "Recognising their identity and
their specific contribution, the Union shall maintain an open,
transparent and regular dialogue with these churches and
organisations", the constitution says.

In a statement yesterday the Government said it had decided to
proceed with setting up such a dialogue at national level,
"despite the current position on the treaty, in recognition of
the valued role of the churches and faith communities in civil

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin called for such an
arrangement last year.

He emphasised "times have changed" in Ireland and that the
Catholic Church "did not seek a position of privilege". Rather it
sought to have a new form of dialogue with the State.

Meanwhile, the first Irish bishop appointed by Pope Benedict, Dr
Martin Drennan, was installed as Bishop of Galway yesterday at a
ceremony attended by about 2,000 people.

© The Irish Times


(Poster's Note: The joke: Findlay said to an audience of around
140 people: "It's very smoky in here tonight – has another
f***ing pope died?")

Has It All Gone Up In Smoke?

Abigail Wild
June 20 2005

Donald Findlay

The heads of Donald Findlay QC's colleagues are spinning with
deja-vu. There were those who had him down as a chastened man.
Having lost his vice-chairmanship of Rangers Football Club for
singing sectarian songs after the cup win over Celtic in May
1999, he seemed to have gained a sense of caution, and gave the
impression that lessons had been learned. He told The Herald:
"What I failed to take into account is how people perceive you,
and how one allows oneself to be perceived."

His most recent plunge into hot water is, therefore, a huge
disappointment to acquaintances and friends, among whom he can
inspire great loyalty, despite his behaviour. This week he was
forced to resign as chairman of the business wing in the Faculty
of Advocates after telling a joke about the death of Pope John
Paul II at a meeting in a Rangers social club in Northern

In his defence, Findlay said that it wasn't a sectarian tirade
and that he also told jokes about Ian Paisley, but the faculty's
directors could no longer support his chairmanship. His actions,
if not described openly as being bigoted, were considered another
failure on his part to consider how he might be perceived by
others. Even colleagues who know him well find it difficult to
pinpoint how he could allow such a situation to arise again,
especially since his fall from grace six years ago was so
devastating, that he confessed to feeling suicidal.

Findlay is widely regarded as the most talented criminal lawyer
in Scotland. Those who rub shoulders with him have no end of
respect for his professional skills, and can't help but be
charmed by him, which only makes his slip-ups more infuriating.
They want to adore him, but the admiration can never be whole and

They were pleased for him when he got the Rangers vice-
chairmanship that he so cherished and sorry for him when he
became the only St Andrews University rector to miss out on an
honorary doctorate. They were, and still are in many cases,
happy to defend him against accusations of sectarianism, arguing
that the matter of who is and who isn't a bigot is as complex as
Findlay himself.

This time, however, their patience has been pushed to the limits.
"After all he achieves, he presses the self-destruct button,"
says one legal source. "He can't not tell the joke. He's
surrounded by these people who egg him on, and they are the very
ones who will call the press and get him into trouble.

"His intellect and ability are not in question, but his judgment
is. It's particularly baffling since this came so soon after
George Wood (the senior lawyer) was fined for telling racist
jokes. Donald would have known that, yet he tells the joke all
the same. It's a puzzle."

Even his peers at his school, Harris Academy in Dundee, must have
felt torn when dealing with Findlay, the Cowdenbeath-born son of
a church beadle. They couldn't help but be impressed by his
aptitude for debate and quick thinking, but they also felt
alienated by his brilliance, and took his belief in his own brain
for arrogance. He conformed to the stereotype of the high
achiever who, when defeated, can't help but be a very sore loser.

Findlay was admitted to the Faculty of Advocates in 1975, taking
silk in 1988. It seemed to new entrants to the profession that
he made a conscious decision to become known as a character,
every bit as demanding of attention as the sartorially eccentric
Sir Nicholas Fairbairn. Findlay admits to loving the theatre of
the court, and says he was attracted to criminal law as a boy by
the 1950s TV courtroom drama Boyd QC, starring Michael Denison.
His interest in ancient Egypt would further suggest he is
inspired by those who can leave a legacy. "Many thousands of
years on, people are still talking about the pharaohs," he once
gushed. "That must be the nearest thing to immortality that you
can have."

Several lawyers remark that Findlay's dismissal of the furore
that follows his indiscretions is down to a general detachment
demanded by his job. He works 12 hours a day, seven days a week.
In the recent past, his briefs have included the defence of Ian
Sutherland, jailed for the murder of the former history teacher
Alan Wilson in Edinburgh; Stuart Leggate, the paedophile
convicted of the murder of eight-year-old Mark Cummings; and Luke
Mitchell, the schoolboy found guilty of murdering his girlfriend,
Jodi Jones. Among the characters he has represented is Paul
Ferris, whom he successfully defended after the killing of Arthur

"If you do nothing for the rest of your life but rape and murder
cases, you lose grip on reality, because your reality becomes a
peculiar set of circumstances," says one lawyer. "Which is why
it doesn't seem to register with Findlay when people suggest he
is being inappropriate."

The flipside of his constant exposure to the most gruesome
wrongdoings, however, is that Findlay has developed an enormous
compassion for those who fail.

Findlay's personal life appears to have been as eventful as his
career. He left his wife Jenny in the mid-nineties, amid much
media fuss, to live with Paddy Christie, then a BBC TV reporter.
An advocate escaped a fine after making a series of nuisance
calls to Christie, which was cited as one of the reasons, along
with the filmed sectarian sing-song incident, for the
disintegration of Findlay and Christie's relationship.

A Tory since childhood, Findlay intended to stand as a
Conservative candidate in the Cunninghame North seat in 1992, but
stood down, fearing he would find it impossible to combine his
work as a criminal advocate with the time needed in the
constituency in the run-up to a general election. His commitment
to the party is almost as strong as his suspicion of socialism,
socialists and the Labour Party (at least back in Neil Kinnock's
day). "The Labour Party treats people with absolute contempt.
Even as a child I couldn't understand why people were labelled as
working-class, middle-class, or whatever. We didn't look upon
ourselves as working-class, or any kind of class. We were just
us," he once said.

His colleagues only wish that he could be as detached when it
came to football. Such was his rivalry that, before Parkhead's
refurbishment, he would delight in putting his feet up on the
mahogany fascia in the directors' box. Last year, Findlay said
that his days of winding up the opposition like that were over.
His Pope joke tells a different story. "If he is not bigoted,"
says one acquaintance, "he comes into the grey area of people who
are not bigoted but who revel in being provocative about the

This week, some legal experts were speculating that Findlay could
even face suspension from the Faculty of Advocates, and if there
are any who believe he could hold public office in the future,
then they can't be found. Maybe now he doesn't find his Pope
joke quite so funny.


Bigotry In Fife

Recent newspaper articles suggest that Fife's most controversial
QC, Donald Findlay, may relinquish his post as Chairman of
Faculty Services Ltd due to his latest antics in a Rangers
Supporters Club in Larne, Northern Ireland. On the face of it at
least, what Donald Findlay QC and Andy Goram do in Northern
Ireland in their own time is nothing to do with us in Scotland—or
is it?

Goram is well known for his admiration of Loyalist
paramilitaries. He is not a public figure and no longer
represents Scotland, but Findlay to some extent does. Last year
Findlay came top in the earnings tables for QCs and more
importantly, as far as we the public are concerned, top in
receipts from the public purse by way of legal aid, £305,200 in
2003/2004. Sectarian behaviour pays apparently.

Given that we the public are subsidising Findlay's income to such
an extent, are we not entitled to have a view on how he acts as
an ambassador for Scotland when abroad, as well as how he, as a
public figure, acts at home? I say we are, and in my view Findlay
fails miserably in both roles.

Findlay's attempts to stoke up sectarianism in Larne are nothing
new and similar shenanigans by Findlay have been going on in this
country for some time.

My knowledge of this is second hand (what Findlay QC would no
doubt object to as "hearsay") but accurate and telling
nevertheless. I refer to an incident related to me by my late
brother Joe, a lapsed Catholic of Irish ancestry who 40 years ago
had married Faye, a Kelty lass of Scottish Protestant ancestry.
As a couple they typified the diversity of Scottish life.
Ironically, every Sunday morning while Faye attended mass at the
RC church in Kelty, Joe would celebrate his belief in the scheme
of things in a more pragmatic way by going to Kelty ex-
servicemen's club for a drink with the many good friends he had
made in Kelty--a village which Joe liked to boast of as "the best
wee place in the world".

Joe's Sunday routine had gone on without fail for 40 years, until
one Sunday morning last year—when he was told of a sportsmen's
evening the previous evening in the club when Donald Findlay, QC
and Jim Leishman had entertained a ticket-only, capacity crowd
with all sort of anti-Catholic and anti-Irish patter. All
harmless stuff you may think. Not as far as my brother was
concerned. He confided in me that the club he loved and the
community he lived in would never seem the same again. Joe was
appalled to think that even a small minority of his community saw
him and his ilk as figures to be mocked and ridiculed. He was not
angry—he was hurt—and bemused that this was happening in the
twenty first century.

Apologists of Findlay will say that he was attending a private
function and people didn't have to attend etc. etc. I see it
differently. On that Saturday in Kelty last year there had been a
parade by the local Orange Order who had been joined by another
Lodge from Glasgow. Both groups had made arrangements to have
lunch in the ex-servicemen's club followed by the sportsmen's
dinner. Entertainment at this dinner was provided by two
local speakers, Findlay from Cowdenbeath, and Leishman, from
Kelty. Would a passing papist be welcomed with open arms into
Kelty ex-servicemen's club that day? Was such an event designed
to entertain all sections of the community and promote

Of course not, Findlay and company know exactly what they are
doing with their divisive agenda.

Tom Minogue, Address provided.


Wicklow Landowner To Appeal Right-Of-Way

Paul Cullen

A Co Wicklow landowner is appealing a Circuit Court decision
that a traditional right-of- way crosses his land in the Glencree

The High Court is expected to hear the appeal by landowner Neil
Collen against the decision in the autumn. The case is widely
seen as a test of the rights of walkers to access private land on
traditional tracks. Irish law does not automatically recognise
public rights-of-way unless they are specifically included in the
deeds of a property.

In a separate dispute in Co Sligo, the new owners of Lissadell
House are embroiled in a row with locals over public access.

Owners Edward Walsh and Constance Cassidy say they have closed
one of the entrances to the property for the safety of their
children, but local residents say this route is an established

In the Wicklow case, Circuit Court Judge Bryan McMahon last month
granted the chairman of the Enniskerry Walking Association, Niall
Lenoach, and any member of public the right to use a track
crossing Mr Collen's land known as Lambe's Lane, saying there had
been "ample evidence" during an earlier hearing to show the route
was a traditional right of way.

He refused an injunction sought by Mr Collen preventing walkers
entering his land, which lies between Glencree and Enniskerry,
and ordered Mr Collen to pay 70 per cent of Mr Lenoach's costs
for the three-day hearing.

Mr Collen's decision to appeal the case means that an interim
injunction preventing three parties entering his land remains in
force. These parties are Mr Lenoach, Ms Yanni Petters and the
North Wicklow Times.

In his judgment, Judge McMahon described as "irrelevant" evidence
given by witnesses for Mr Collen that the tranquillity of the
area would be disturbed and security issues would arise if the
track were declared a right-of-way.

Mr Collen, a director of Collen Construction, accepts that local
people traditionally used Lambe's Lane, but denies a public
right-of-way existed. Local people gave evidence of seeing hikers
on the route back in the 1950s. The judge also pointed to the
fact that Ordnance Survey maps from 1835 and 1910 showed a
defined track corresponding to the claimed right-of-way.

© The Irish Times


GAA: American dream shattered

Gaelic Games Struggle In Big Apple

By Micheal McGeary

04 July 2005

THE playing of GAA games among Irish expats and the Irish-
American community in New York is facing terminal decline and
inevitable extinction.

The warning comes in the wake of the US government's clampdown on
illegal Irish immigrants since the attacks of 9/11 - September
11, 2001.

Senior officials in New York have told Sunday Life that the sport
out there is now dangerously close to collapse.

Members of the Irish community in the Big Apple maintain the
decline of the GAA in the city runs parallel with the decline in
Irish businesses, all of which have been affected by the exodus
of long-term Irish immigrants.

Irish people living illegally in New York have been badly hit by
a recently imposed security regulation there that requires that
anyone in possession of a state driving licence must present a
social security number to renew their driving permit.

As a result, large numbers of long term Irish illegals have left
the USA entirely or moved to other American cities that have been
less affected by strict post September 11 immigration controls.

Rory Kilfeather, who runs a Heritage Bar in Yonkers, and who has
been a senior executive with the Donegal club in New York since
the 60s, says that he's never seen things so bad.

"There's nobody here any more. The lads that had been living here
have been forced to leave and there's very few players coming
over here from Ireland," he said.

Kilfeather,who has been resident in New York since he first
travelled over as a Galway student in 1967, said that the Irish
community has been decimated by post September 11 events.

"Too much has happened here for things to be saved at this stage.
I hate to say it, but it's all over," he maintained.

There has been a significant drop in the number of inter county
players travelling on weekend passes to play in the New York club

In previous years, some top inter county players travelling to
the US to play with GAA clubs in New York were paid around
$$1,000 in generous travelling expenses or were set up in summer
employment during college breaks.

The performance of top GAA stars was seen as a major attraction
for fans attending games at Gaelic Park.

But a series of decisions since 2002 by GAA Headquarters to
restrict the easy access to play in US championship games has
discouraged many big name players from travelling over.

"Players in Ireland now need to get final permission from their
local club to play over here.

"We badly need them to draw in big crowds and for the promotion
of the sport it has always been a huge bonus to have these
players coming over, but clubs will no longer let them go," said
Dubliner Brendan Tunney, senior executive officer at the Rockdale
Erin's Isle club.

Dublin ace Ciaran Whelan, who played several times over the years
for the Sligo club in Rockland, New York, said that many inter
county players had fond memories of playing in the New York
championship during the heyday of the 90s and up to 2001.

"They were great times for all of us who travelled over. It was a
massive bonus to travel over for a weekend, see the sights and
play a bit of football with lads from top county teams all over
the country.

"The interest it generated among the Irish-American fans was huge
as well," he explained.

Among other reasons cited by senior GAA officers for the decline
in GAA games in New York is the weak value of the dollar against
the euro, and the increasing number of Polish workers being hired
by Irish-owned construction companies in the Big Apple, the
traditonal source of work for Irish student GAA players
travelling during the summer.

"It's something we should have been better prepared for,"
Kilfeather said.

"We possibly made the mistake of putting too much money into
bringing big name county players here to play exhibition-style
football and didn't spend enough resources on developing the game
among the American born kids of Irish descent.

"Now the money is gone and the young Irish Americans just aren't
up to scratch."


New Map Archive Reveals Lie Of The Land

The Ordnance Survey of Ireland has produced a remarkable
digital archive of maps dating back to 1837, writes Frank
McDonald, Environment Editor

It's all in the maps - every historic site, every church, every
school, every gravel pit, every road, every spring, every parish
pump and everything else of note.

From the time they started out way back in 1837, the map-makers
of the Ordnance Survey of Ireland (OSI) didn't miss a thing.

The old six-inch maps (that's six inches to the mile) were etched
in reverse onto copper plate, printed in "grayscale" and then
hand-coloured to highlight different features.

And now they have all been seamlessly joined together by digital
technology in a project of international significance.

This evening, President Mary McAleese will officially open a
major exhibition in Dublin Castle that will give members of the
public their first glimpse of this remarkable digital archive.
Entitled Dublin City and its Villages: 1837-1840, it includes not
just maps, but also illustrations and text on the history of each

Residents of Blanchardstown, for example, will be fascinated to
discover just how small it was in the years before the Great
Famine. Though the village barely had a few dozen houses, it had
a police station, a courthouse, an "RC chapel", a national school
and a smithy - all identified on the OSI six-inch map.

A later map of the Broadstone area, dating from the 1860s, shows
the Royal Canal carried on an aqueduct over Phibsborough Road to
the terminus of the Midland Great Western Railway; it is so
meticulously detailed that even what's in people's back gardens -
whether vegetable plots or formal shrubbery - is illustrated.

The exhibition, in the Erne Room of the State Apartments, has the
north side of Dublin on one wall and the south side on another.
The OSI sees it as "a walk through the past, which will hopefully
bring back memories". There will also be a competition for
children to pick out certain things on the maps and identify

An 1890 map of Galway, not included in this exhibition, shows a
tramway running from the railway station to Salthill, via Eyre
Square, Shop Street and Dominick Street.

Eyre Square, incidentally, was laid out very simply at the time,
with 23 trees around its perimeter and nothing but grass in the
middle of its sloping site.

Malachy McVeigh, the OSI senior operations manager in charge of
the project, sees a very practical use for the new digital
archive. "Anyone buying a site can now trace its history from
1837 to the present day and find out whether it was prone to
flooding, if there was an old quarry there or how close is the
nearest well".

According to Mr McVeigh, this is the first digital archive of its
kind anywhere in Europe and it has attracted "worldwide
interest". It is to be launched in Australia next February and at
a US genealogical congress in Boston in August. All of the
information in the massive seven-terrabyte archive will also be
available via the internet.

Mr McVeigh, who is from Dungannon, Co Tyrone, believes it will
prove invaluable to genealogical researchers. "Say you live in
Australia, and you're third-generation Irish, from next year
you'll be able go into a college or university there, call up a
map of where your grandparents came from, see it and get a
printout of it".

The task of assembling it has taken three years, with Maurice
Kavanagh as team leader. Among his assistants are three recent
geography graduates of NUI Maynooth - Michelle Jordan, from
Lucan, Co Dublin; Annette Myers, from Farranfore, Co Kerry, and
Aisling O'Sullivan, from Cappoquin, Co Waterford.

"There's so much work to do", Ms Jordan says. "The six-inch
series is already seamless and we're now working on the much
larger 25-inch maps. When it's all done, people will be able to
click on a symbol and call up a table of information from the
Census, the National Archives and other sources".

This may not be as simple as it sounds. As in Brian Friel's
Translations, names changed as places were mapped. Anyone
consulting the archive would need to know the old name of a
townland; Allihies, on the Beara Peninsula , for example, appears
as "Allaghee More" or "Allagheee Beg".

The aim of the project was to capture all versions of OSI mapping
from 1837 to 1913. With the six-inch series now completed,
further work should see the 25-inch series - mainly of cities and
towns - finished by the end of this year and other map series all
digitised by the end of 2006.

According to Malachy McVeigh, the OSI's decision to "go back and
look at our history" was made because its modern mapping is
largely finished. The most recent 1:1,000 maps of Dublin, for
example, are just a year old and updated every year with the aid
of aerial photography, our version of the US military's satellite

The exhibition runs until July 29th. Admission is free.


First Transatlantic Flight Is Re-Enacted

Michelle McDonagh

US businessman and aviation record breaker Steve Fossett and
his co-pilot Mark Rebholz successfully re-enacted Alcock and
Brown's first non-stop flight across the Atlantic yesterday.

They landed on Connemara golf course at Ballyconneely in Co
Galway after flying 1,900 miles in an open plane.

Fossett (61) and Rebholz (52) flew from St John's, Newfoundland,
in a replica Vickers Vimy biplane. They left Newfoundland at
10.51pm Irish time on Saturday and arrived at 5pm yesterday, a
flight of just over 18 hours.

The flight was initially due to take place on June 15th to mark
the anniversary of John Alcock and Arthur Whitten Brown's
original flight from Newfoundland to Clifden in 1919 but it was
delayed due to weather and technical difficulties.

Fossett recently completed the world's first solo non-stop
circumnavigation of the world by plane.

Yesterday's successful crossing of the Atlantic completes a
triple crown which also saw the re-enactment of the 1919 Ross and
Smith flight from London to Australia and the 1920 flight from
London to Cape Town by Van Ryneveld and Brand.

The two pilots wore survival suits and were totally exposed to
the elements in the open cockpit of the plane which was
originally designed as a first World War bomber.

Speaking after a perfect landing in Ballyconneely, Fossett said
they went into fog immediately on leaving Newfoundland.

He said that the weather did not clear until they were about
four-fifths of the way through the journey.

His co-pilot Mark Rebholz, who has been part of the team since
the beginning and works as a captain with United Airlines
expressed his disappointment that he had not been able to
navigate solely by the traditional means of using a sextant
because of weather conditions.

Fossett paid tribute to the courage of the original aviators
Alcock and Brown who had far less knowledge about the weather or
the things that could go wrong with the plane.

Fossett holds five official world aviation records and has set
more than 20 official world records as a sailor and 10 more as a
glider pilot.

The day before he started the Atlantic flight he attempted a
world record on a glider in Nevada. He said that he intends to
return there in order to make another attempt.

The trans-atlantic plane, which is made of wood and cotton, is an
exact replica of the original 1919 plane apart from the fact that
modern glue was used.

The aircraft will remain in Connemara for a week before going on
display in the UK.

The original plane which landed in Derryginla Bog hangs in a
London aviation museum.

Taoiseach Bertie Ahern sent a letter of congratulations to the
two pilots last night.

He paid tribute to the enormous courage it had taken to fly the
Vickers Vimy across the Atlantic exposed to all kinds of weather.

The Taoiseach said the re-enactment brought the historical
significance of the original flight into focus.

He added that it would also ensure that the legacy of Alcock and
Brown would burn strongly for a long time to come.

Among the hundreds of people who greeted the aviators yesterday
evening was Michael Coyne, a Cashel man in his late 80s.

As a young child, he saw the original Alcock and Brown biplane
fly over the bog at Clifden.

© The Irish Times


Irish Firm Aims To Turn Ash To Cash

July 04 2005 at 03:52PM

Dublin - An Irish couple have come up with an idea to turn ash to
cash by offering to scatter the cremated remains of foreigners in

Ed and Helen O'Neill set up their firm, Ashes to Ireland, after
an Irish-American friend asked them to scatter her husband's
remains over the Irish Sea.

"When we saw how much it meant to her we realised there was a
niche in the market," Helen O'Neill said on Monday.

O'Neill said the response so far had been largely from the United
States, where about 40 million claim Irish ancestry, and Britain,
where thousands of Irish people sought work during tough economic
times at home in the 1940s and 1950s.

"We're hoping to tap into the Australian market as well," she

The company arranges for transportation of the ashes and provides
the deceased's family with a video of the scattering.

"It can be difficult for older people to travel and since
September 11 many Americans are still nervous of crossing the
Atlantic," O'Neill said, referring to the 2001 attacks in New
York and Washington.

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