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July 03, 2005

Hain Praises Adams & McGuinness As 'Courageous'

News about Ireland & the Irish

TE 07/03/05 Hain Praises Adams & McGuinness As 'Courageous'
SB 07/03/05 IRA Man's Re-Arrest Blamed On Attacks
TO 07/02/05 Paisley Asked OO Chief Not To Halt Parade Talks
TO 07/02/05 Opin: Shame Morrison Didn't Get Ideals Earlier
DJ 07/01/05 Drunks And Thugs Damaging City Image
DJ 07/01/05 Derry Protestants Not Being Victimised - PSNI
DJ 07/01/05 McCartney Planning To Sue Hain
GU 07/03/05 Ireland Comment: A Blight At The Opera


Hain Praises Adams And McGuinness As 'Courageous'

By Philip Sherwell in Washington
(Filed: 03/07/2005)

Peter Hain, the Northern Ireland Secretary, praised Sinn
Fein's leaders Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness as
"courageous" and "visionary" during meetings with prominent
Irish-American politicians in America last week, The Sunday
Telegraph has learned.

The remarks, made during his first trip to America since
taking up the post, pleased Sinn Fein supporters in
Washington and New York, but Unionist political leaders
were infuriated when informed of his comments.

Mr Hain, who has been trying to play down the anti-Unionist
and "troops out" views he espoused as a student activist in
the 1970s, spoke enthusiastically about the former IRA

He spoke of the "courageous" role that Mr Adams and Mr
McGuinness had played in the peace process over the past 10
years when he met Irish-American Congressmen and women on
Capitol Hill. He singled out Mr Adams's call in April for
the IRA to abandon its armed struggle for particular

In New York, Mr Hain struck a similar tone. In an interview
with the Irish Voice newspaper, he said that Mr Adams had
"shown vision and determination" and "a lot of political
guts" for his "momentous statement".

Mr Hain, who cut his political teeth in Britain as an anti-
apartheid campaigner, also compared the situation in
Northern Ireland to South Africa, his birthplace, under

Mr Hain's controversial remarks were made as the tense
marching season begins in Northern Ireland, the Assembly
remains suspended and political life appears even more
polarised after the successes in last month's general
election for Sinn Fein and the Democratic Unionist Party
led by Ian Paisley.

Peter Robinson, the deputy leader of the DUP, was scathing
about Mr Hain's comments. "They bring into sharp focus the
background of the Secretary of State and his predisposition
to the republican movement," he said. "He might consider he
knows a lot about South Africa but he's demonstrating very
vividly how little he knows about Northern Ireland."

A Northern Ireland Office spokeswoman said: "The Secretary
of State's meetings in Washington were private.

"But he has in the past referred to the journey that Sinn
Fein has taken the republican movement over the last 10
years to engage in the democratic process and which he has
rightly described as courageous."

She said that the comparison to South Africa referred to
the hope that two polarised parties could reach a deal.


IRA Man's Re-Arrest Blamed On Punishment Attacks

03 July 2005 By Paul T Colgan

The British government has privately justified its re-
arrest of IRA man Sean Kelly by alleging that he was
involved in recent punishment attacks, a claim which has
been denied by republicans.

Informed sources said Tony Blair's government had attempted
to link Kelly to recent attacks in Belfast in order to
explain his return to prison.

The issue was discussed at a meeting between the British
and Irish governments last week in Downing Street.

Kelly was given nine life sentences for bombing a Shankill
Road fish shop in 1993, but was released under the terms of
the Good Friday Agreement. He was returned to prison two
weeks ago.

The move angered Sinn Féin, which claimed that Kelly
continued to play a vital role in maintaining peace at
Belfast interfaces.

The Police Ser vice of Northern Ireland claimed it had
arrested Kelly as he had re-engaged in what it called
"terrorist activities''.

Taoiseach Bertie Ahern called for an immediate explanation
from the British government as to why Kelly was imprisoned
again, saying it was either a mistake or based on sound
information. Senators Maurice Hayes and Martin Mansergh
have also called for a full explanation.

Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams described Kelly's arrest as
"unjust'' and "reprehensible''. Republicans have claimed
that he was arrested as a sop to unionists.

Adams said the decision by Northern Secretary Peter Hain to
sanction the arrest was "stupid''.

A republican source dismissed the suggestion that Kelly had
been involved in punishment attacks.

"There is something very fishy about the line. If you look
at the level of punishment attacks in nationalist areas
recently, even by the PSNI's own exaggerated standards,
they are practically non-existent," said the source.

"Sean Kelly has been one of the good guys in North Belfast;
he has been totally in support of the peace process and
Gerry Kelly's attempts to maintain peace and calm at the

He said Sean Kelly was one of the republicans who "held the
line'' during rioting in the Ardoyne last summer and helped
prevent "someone getting killed'' when British paratroopers
were sent in to support an Orange march through the area.

It had been claimed that Kelly was involved in recent
rioting in North Belfast. He was photographed at a clash
between nationalists and loyalists in May.

However, Belfast Ulster Unionist Assembly member Michael
Copeland received a letter from the PSNI stating that Kelly
had not been involved in violence.

Recent reports, which claimed that Kelly was arrested as he
had been "freelancing'' for dissident republicans, have
also been dismissed by informed sources.

Kelly was seriously injured in the Shankill Road bombing
that killed ten people, including IRA man Thomas Begley.


Paisley Asked Orange Order Chief Not To Halt Parade Talks

Garbhan Downey

IAN PAISLEY, the DUP leader, tried to stop the head of the
Orange Order issuing a statement ruling out round- table
talks with residents' groups in nationalist areas.

The order's grand lodge is deeply divided by comments made
by Robert Saulters, its grand master, in which he called
for an end to dialogue with "Sinn Fein/IRA-backed
residents' groups". The statement was published on Friday
without the prior approval of several senior members of its
ruling body. Several unionist politicians, including
Paisley, attempted to get it stopped.

Talks involving the order and nationalist residents,
chaired by the Londonderry Chamber of Commerce, led to a
breakthrough that will allow the order to march on the west
bank of the city for the first time since 1992. There were
also talks in west Belfast involving William Mawhinney, the
order's district master, and Sean Murray, a prominent
republican from Springfield Road.

Order members who took part in the talks insist they did
not breach grand lodge policy and that the officer board
was aware of the negotiations.

Several senior Orangemen said talks should continue this
week, where appropriate. "We appreciate that Bobby Saulters
was under serious pressure from certain quarters to condemn
the discussions, but we won't allow him to scupper our
chances of holding marches," said one Orangeman.

Meanwhile, a Presbyterian minister who took part in the
Derry discussions said yesterday he was appalled at
Saulters's comments. Dr Joseph Fell told BBC Radio Foyle
that local Orangemen had been "responsible, realistic and

The controversial talks with Springfield Residents, first
revealed on Thursday, are said to have the solid support of
the Grand Orange Lodge of Belfast. It had been hoped that
the Derry model, chaired by the businessman Garvan
O'Doherty, could work for other contentious parades.

The Parades Commission is due to rule tomorrow on a series
of contentious parades in Belfast and Portadown.
Determinations are expected on parades planned for the
Springfield Road and the Ardoyne march in Belfast on July
12. A ruling is also due on the proposed Orange march at
Drumcree next Sunday.

Meanwhile, a compromise on the Ardoyne parade proposed by
residents, which would have allowed the outward morning
march to go ahead, in return for cancelling the evening
return leg, was yesterday dismissed by the area's MP, Nigel

Two weeks ago nationalist youths stoned an approved Tour of
the North parade as it was passing the Ardoyne. Dodds said
that the Orange Order should not be further "punished" by
having their Twelfth parades curtailed.

"I've seen the CCTV footage and it is clear the marchers
weren't involved in any clashes. The commission can't now
punish loyalists for their good behaviour," he said.

Sinn Fein in Ardoyne said that the residents' compromise
could prevent drink-fuelled incidents on the evening of the
Twelfth. "It's a sensible suggestion," said Gerry Kelly,
the North Belfast assemblyman.

The Parades Commission and the PSNI are particularly keen
to ensure that the breakthrough in Derry is not tarnished
by events elsewhere. There are continuing, behind-the-
scenes efforts to strike deals in both Belfast and
Portadown. O'Doherty, who chaired the Derry talks, said
other areas could learn from the model there.

Both sides in Derry made substantial concessions. The
Bogside Residents dropped all objections and threatened
protests to the parade, while in turn the Orange Order
reduced the proposed numbers coming into the west bank from
15,000 to 3,000. The parade will also begin at midday and
return to the Waterside by 2pm — considerably earlier than
had originally been proposed.


Comment: Liam Fay: Shame Morrison Didn't Get Hippie Ideals

Danny Morrison has been embracing his inner flower child.
The former Sinn Fein strategist was waxing psychedelic in
Daily Ireland last week about his trip to the Glastonbury
festival, a musical pilgrimage that he and his brother
Ciaran have made every year since their release from prison
where they served sentences for involvement in IRA

In 1994, Ciaran Morrison was jailed for 25 years for a
multiplicity of offences, including possession of two bombs
intended for use to blow up Belfast city airport. He was
released in 2000 under the Good Friday agreement. Danny,
meanwhile, served five years for the abduction of an
alleged IRA informer.

In his column, however, Morrison glossed over the squalid
reasons for their incarceration, preferring to depict
himself and his brother as prisoners of conscience counting
the days until they were free to commune again with their
rock'n'roll brethren in the quest for peace, love and

Music, you see, is their first love, the backbeat to their
politics. As a 19-year-old internee in Long Kesh in 1973,
Morrison recalled, he would watch Top of the Pops on a
black-and-white TV, ignoring the disproval of older
republicans who frowned on his devotion to the British

He never missed a trick when it came to aligning himself
with the idealism promoted at events like Glastonbury. The
festival's politics — anti-globalisation, anti-war, pro-
fair trade and so on — are, he insisted, part of the
"radical and progressive" tradition to which he belongs.
"We were all speaking the same language," he wrote.

This should come as a surprise to festival-goers, because
the language favoured by Morrison and his ilk is double-
speak — a liberal smokescreen for a fascist and murderous

Back in 1973, while Danny boy was grooving to T-Rex and
Slade on Top of the Pops, his IRA comrades were striking a
blow for Irish freedom by killing a 14-year-old. Last week,
the IRA issued an apology to the family of Kathleen Feeney,
a schoolgirl shot in the head by gunmen while playing on a
Londonderry street.

Kathleen was, no doubt, a Top of the Pops fan too and may
have grown up to be a Glastonbury regular. Thanks to the
radicals and progressives in the republican movement,
however, she was denied the opportunity.

Ben Dunne suffered yet another "mental blackout" at the
Moriarty tribunal last week, as he claimed to have
forgotten details of a meeting with a Revenue bigwig
concerning the reduction of a €39m tax bill. Perhaps it's
time that he and his business ventures were treated to a
media blackout.

For years, the former managing director of Dunnes Stores
has been cravenly feted by the broadcast media in
particular, where he's treated as a cuddly raconteur, a big
softie with feet of clay but a heart of gold.

In turn, he has used his chat-show appearances to promote
new enterprises, such as his chain of health clubs, and to
whitewash the more unsightly aspects of his past, not least
his financial patronage of dodgy politicians such as
Charles Haughey.

If anything, however, Dunne's television profile seems set
to heighten with news that he's been approached to front
several planned programmes. While he denies that one of the
proposed shows is an Irish version of The Apprentice, the
mentoring series hosted in America by Donald Trump, he says
he would like to pass on to budding entrepreneurs some of
the business lessons he's learnt. Now if only he could
remember what they were.

Bishops dance with the devil

Senior members of the Catholic hierarchy have been dancing
with the devil in recent days. Diarmuid Martin, Archbishop
of Dublin, attended U2's Croker gig last Monday and was
prominent among the numerous clerics present at the Make
Poverty History rally and concert in Dublin's city centre
on Thursday, where he was joined by, among others, Dr John
Kirby, Bishop of Clonfert.

In the eyes of Pope Benedict XVI this means both prelates
are flirting with heresy. In 1986, the then Cardinal
Ratzinger loudly declared his belief that rock music is a
satanic evil. He described rock as a "vehicle of anti-
religion" that invites the listener to "liberate himself
from the burden of consciousness".

Some of the performers he singled out (such as Pink Floyd
and Paul McCartney) were among the headliners at
yesterday's Live 8 concerts.

If Ireland's bishop trendies continue to defy Vatican
thinking on this issue, they could precipitate the first
Catholic schism to be caused by musical differences.

Sinn Fein, always first to hijack a cause

Skilled in the manipulation of prisoners' causes for their
own ends, Sinn Fein leaders have been quick to install
themselves as champions of the Rossport Five, the plucky
Erris men jailed for their protests against the Shell gas
drilling operation in north Mayo.

"Decent, honest people are being criminalised by
multinationals," declared Martin Ferris, the Kerry North
Sinn Fein TD, as he and his colleagues gleefully leapt
aboard the bandwagon, thereby ensuring that decent, honest
people are also being exploited by unreconstructed

Predictably, government ministers and other opposition
deputies are outraged by what they rightly view as Sinn
Fein's parasitical attempts to make political capital from
the plight of the imprisoned protesters. But if government
and opposition deputies were more efficient at responding
to constituents' concerns over issues like the Shell
pipeline, they would avert crises such as the imprisoning
of the protesters, which can so easily be hijacked by
ruthless opportunists.

Mary O'Rourke once lashed out at "useless twitterings" in
the media about the late Sean Doherty. Increasingly,
however, the Seanad leader herself is coming across as one
of the country's leading twitterers.

Senate sittings now rarely pass without her becoming
volubly incensed about some trivia. Last week, the bee in
her bonnet was how Bertie Ahern had been booed during one
of U2's Croke Park concerts. "It is very bad manners for
any section of an audience to boo a person in authority,"
she wailed.

The senate, we are told, is a forum for reflective debate
on key issues. Hooray for the senate.


Drunks And Thugs Damaging City Image

By Joe Doran
Friday 1st July 2005

Street drinkers and anti-social teenagers have replaced
paramilitary violence and contentious parades to give Derry
a bad reputation, according to local tour operators.

The warning comes as the Derry Visitor and Convention
Bureau (DVCB) this week announced yet another increase in
visitors to the city.

But the annual report --published on Wednesday - was
overshadowed by the concerns of tour guides in the city.

One operator said street drinkers in the city centre and
unruly teens on the City Walls are leaving tourists with a
bad impression of Derry.

Earlier this week, one street drinker was seen openly
urinating at Guildhall Square as a party of tourists passed

And, in a separate incident, ,a group of Dutch tourists
were verbally abused by a gang of youths gathered on the
City Walls.

[br] The issue is being taken so seriously that it
dominated the Bureau's board meeting prior to its AGM at
which the annual report was published.

Catherine O'Connor, of the DVCB, says her organisation is
working hard with various agencies in a bid to deal with
the problem.

"We are aware of it,' she told the 'Journal'. "The tourists
themselves have not brought it to our attention but the
local providers have raised it," she said.

"We are working hard with the various agencies to see how
we can try and combat the problem.

"It is not something that can be sorted out overnight but
there is contact behind the scenes with ourselves and the
CCI, local police, Derry City Council and the other
relevant agencies to try and reach a solution."

Mrs. O'Connor said despite the problem last year proved yet
another bumper season for tourism in Derry.

The DVCB's annual report shows the visitor sector
contributed a cool £23million to the local economy while
there was significant increases in the numbers of people
travelling to the city.

People from north America still make up the largest
overseas group who visit Derry, however, visitor numbers
from European countries are up by 17 per cent.

At 5 per cent, the Germans are leading the list of
individual EU nations whose citizens come to holiday in the
North West.

Mrs. O'Connor said the bureau --which promoted the city and
region at 19 tourism exhibitions in the Republic, Britain,
America and Canada last year - is confident new flights to
America and Europe from the North will help the tourist
trade here.

"All in all, the annual report is good news for the tourist
sector in Derry," she said.

"Based on last year and based on what's happening in the
sector at the moment things are looking very good.

"The new flights to Europe, America and Canada have only
just come on stream but we are confident they will boost
visitor numbers to this part of the world. "Provided there
is no major events on a world-wide scale and, on a local
level, there has been a resolution to the parades issue,
the bureau expects to announce another major boost to the
local tourism sector this time next year."


Derry Protestants Not Being Victimised - PSNI

Friday 1st July 2005

The PSNI produced figures yesterday in a bid to prove it
does not pick on Protestants in Derry.

The move comes after the force was accused of acting
differently when dealing with incidents involving people
from either side of the community.

Local Policing Board member, Brian Dougherty, told a
meeting of the board earlier this month that young
Protestants feel they are more likely to be arrested or
victimised than their Catholic counterparts.

Mr. Dougherty - a Waterside community worker - raised the
issue at the last meeting of the Policing Board in Derry
following the arrest of a Protestant in Violet Street which
is now the subject of a Police Ombudsman investigation.

Police officers were caught on video appearing to use force
during the arrest of a man in the area in the early hours
of April 30.

One officer has been confined to desk duties pending the
outcome of two separate investigations into the case.

But the PSNI yesterday produced figures in a bid to dispel
the perception it picks on Protestants in the city.

Assistant Chief Constable, Peter Sheridan, revealed 266
people were arrested for disorderly behaviour in Derry
between January and June 21, 2005.

Speaking at yesterday's Policing Board meeting, the top
officer said 188 people were detained on the cityside while
78 arrests were made in the Waterside.

While the figures are not broken down into a person's
perceived religious background, Mr. Dougherty said they did
little to reassure young Protestants in the city.

He said while the statistics are open to interpretation,
they still show a high proportion of Protestants arrested
during the period.

Mr. Dougherty said the perception among young Protestants
has also been fuelled by the arrest incident on Violet

He claimed a number of people have approached him claiming
they have been the victims of similar police behaviour but
are afraid to speak out for fear of reprisal.

"I am speaking from experience when I say the police are
more discreet when dealing with issues in the cityside.

"In some cases officers feel their intervention will only
serve to aggravate the situation.

"But they are much more active and visible in the
Waterside. The police are generally accepted by young
people in the Protestant community and they won't speak

"But the channels are now in place for victims to do that
and I would urge young people to raise their fears and
concerns with their local DPP or member of the Policing

"The mechanism are now in place to hold people to account
and I would urge people to use it."


McCartney Planning To Sue Hain

Friday 1st July 2005

Derry republican Andrew McCartney has said that he is
planning to take legal action against the Secretary of
State over the discovery of an electronic listening device
in his home on Wednesday.

The listening device, comprising of a microphone, two
antennae and six battery packs, was found by workmen who
were carrying out renovations to his home in the Branch
area of Derry. The bug was discovered in the ceiling above
Mr McCartney's kitchen and below his daughter's bedroom.

Speaking at a press conference in a Sinn FÈin office in the
city yesterday where the elaborate device was displayed to
the press, Mr McCartney described the placing of the bug as
"violation" of his human rights.

Mr McCartney was joined at the press conference by his
wife, Paula, and his brother Raymond, who is a Sinn Fein
MLA., the leader of the Sinn Fein group on Derry City
Council, Maeve McLaughlin, and former councillor, Gearoid

Announcing his intention to take legal action, Mr McCartney
said: "At this stage I have instructed my solicitor to take
legal action against those who have placed this device in
my home and violated the privacy of my family and myself. I
also asked him to make a complaint to the office of the
Police Ombudsman. I have instructed him to see whether I
can take a case against the Chief Constable of the PSNI,
Hugh Orde, the Secretary of State, Peter Hain, and the
British Prime Minister, Tony Blair.

"I regard this as a criminal offence and I want to take
legal action against those who broke into my family home
and placed this device. I also want to take a case against
the people who instructed whoever placed this device to
break into my home. No-one likes the thought of their home
being violated in any way but to have a bug like this in
the house listening to the private and sensitive
conversations of my family is very distressing. It is a
violation of my human rights.

"I was promised a new beginning to policing but it is clear
that has not happened. I think that the silence of the
people who supported this socalled new beginning is
significant. None of the supporters of policing spoken to
me or made any public statements condemning this find," he

Paula McCartney said that the entire family have been
"traumatised" by the discovery. "We have five children aged
from 17 months to 19 years-old and they are understandably
very distressed by this. Three of the children are
teenagers and they would have their friends in the house
and they are traumatised by the fact that someone has been
listening to their private conversations. We have lived in
the house for 12 years so this device would have had to
have been placed since the beginning of the peace process,"
she said.

Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney said that Sinn Fein intend to
raise the issue with the two governments. "Mitchel
McLaughlin is in Belfast and he will be talking to Gerry
Adams and other senior party members and we will be asking
them to raise this situation at the highest levels in
London and Dublin," he said.

Sinn Fein's Gearoid O'hEara described the incident as a
"breach of the principles of the Good Friday Agreement" and
called for "full disclosure" of the security forces'
surveillance activities in the North. "This is the latest
in a long line of incidents where republicans have found
bugs in their homes or property. I want the British
government to supply a list of all the houses, cars and
offices that they are bugging across the North. We have the
International Monitoring Commission who are supposed to be
monitoring affairs here but what I want to know is who is
monitoring the British?" he asked.


Ireland Comment: A Blight At The Opera

The quality of the Shinners' politicking is little less
than musical farce

Henry McDonald
Sunday July 3, 2005
The Observer

What do The Jerry Springer Show, the Smiths and
Palestinians hijacking the Achille Lauro cruise liner have
in common? The answer is that out of all of these disparate
subjects modern operas have been staged. Following last
Thursday night's Opera in the Gardens at Botanic Avenue in
South Belfast, it is surely time for yet another
postmodernist opera, this time entitled Sinn Fein: the

Normally affable Sinn Fein councillor Paul Maskey called
for a boycott of the event after it emerged that the Royal
Marines band would be playing at the free outdoor event
last Thursday. Councillor Maskey's outburst appeared to
backfire, though, with even Sinn Fein voters ringing into
local radio talk shows in the north complaining about
republican political correctness.

On one level, such pettiness reveals a genetic necessity or
desire for Shinners' everywhere to be offended by any
display of Britishness, even if it's at an opera. Junior
Sinn Fein fell out with Westlife a few years ago after the
band helped launch the annual poppy appeal in Britain. Yet
this latest row about a night at the opera also shows that
SF, having lost the struggle for a unitary socialist
republic, has to manufacture other grievances in order to
keep its base seething with ethnic rage and unfocussed on
the unsolved 'national question'.

None the less, in the interest of parity of esteem and to
assuage the Shinners' hurt, perhaps it is time for the
British and Irish governments to stage an alternative Opera
in the Falls Park for republicans. There are a whole range
of possible operas the two governments could put on, such
as the PIRA of Penzance, La Boemb, The Butcher of Moville
and Carbine, along with some of these shows using
soundtracks from classical symphonies.

The only legitimate Oglaigh na hEireann in existence - the
Irish Defence Forces - held its 11th annual International
Military Observer course in the Glen of Imaal, Co Wicklow,
last week. Given Ireland's 50 years of involvement in the
United Nations, the Defence Forces 'sell' their
peacekeeping expertise to other armies around the planet
involved in UN missions. Among the invited guests this year
were officers from the greatest misnomer in military
history, the Chinese 'Peoples' Liberation Army, which has,
in fact, spent nearly half a century, first under Mao and
then, since 1976, a cabal of other geriatric tyrants
oppressing its own people as well as those of Tibet. On its
own, the presence of a dictatorship's army being trained by
the Defence Forces is disturbing enough.

We can only hope though that the PLA doesn't offer to
reciprocate and invite Irish officers to Beijing, where the
Chinese military can offer courses on crowd control and how
live rounds are just the thing to disperse pesky students
demanding such unreasonable things as democracy, an open
society and a free press.

What should be clear is that if Ireland ever elects an
alternative government to the present Fianna
Fail/Progressive Democrats' administration, the Labour and
Green party elements to any Rainbow coalition should inject
some ethics into Irish foreign policy.

They could start by insisting that the Defence Forces,
which has a well-earned positive image around the world,
does not train the armies of dictatorships whether they
prop up regimes either of the left or the right.

· When the North of Ireland's gay community came under fire
from Ian Paisley and his Save Ulster From Sodomy campaign
in the early 1980s, they responded with true wit and
wisdom. Their counter-campaign depicted the Big Man on a
poster dressed like an Iranian mullah, including the
ubiquitous beard and the warning beneath: 'The Ayatollah is
watching you - gays now, you next.'

Northern Ireland's gays and lesbians in the 21st century
have kept up that tradition of ridiculing the
fundamentalists and homophobes.

As a group of born-again Christians attempted to block last
year's Gay Pride parade through central Belfast, one young
gay man ran out in front of the fanatics' protest and waved
a placard in their faces. In a cheeky reference to the
annual marching dispute, his placard read: 'You won't re-
route this fruit.' This year, the alliance of
fundamentalist gay-haters has lodged a protest with the
Parades Commission seeking to have Gay Pride rerouted away
from churches in the city centre, namely St Anne's
Cathedral. It has also promised to stage a much larger
counter-demonstration in late July/early August.

What is at stake here is not only the freedom of assembly
and the right to march, rights often abused by the likes of
the Orange Order, but also the image of Belfast as a
welcoming city to the gay and lesbian community throughout
the world. There is, of course, 'no fun' in fundamentalism
and, as the slogan goes, it really will be gays now and
then the rest of us next. That is why as many people as
possible - gay, bi, straight, sexually retired - should get
out on to the streets of Belfast to support Pride on 30
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