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July 24, 2005

IRA Statement Expected This Week

News about Ireland & the Irish

IT 07/25/05 IRA Now Expected To Issue Statement This Week
IE 07/24/05 No Lessons Learned From IRA Campaign
IT 07/25/05 O'Connell Street Locked In Legal Wrangles
IT 07/25/05 Galway Gears Up For Its Racing Festival
IT 07/25/05 Over Month's Rainfall For Rosslare In 24 Hours


IRA Now Expected To Issue Statement This Week

Dan Keenan, Northern News Editor and Liam Reid, Political

Expectations in Belfast have been rising steadily that
the IRA will issue a definitive statement on its future
later this week.

Northern Secretary Peter Hain said yesterday he wants an
IRA statement soon which confirms "the only future for them
is a peaceful one".

"I don't know when it will be," he said. "It has been
promised now for quite a while. What is important, whenever
it comes, is that it is a credible statement that makes it
crystal clear that the only future for republicanism and
indeed for the IRA is a peaceful and a democratic future,"
he told the BBC.

Meanwhile, Minister for Justice Michael McDowell has been
told by senior security officials that Sinn Féin
politicians Gerry Adams, Martin McGuinness and Martin
Ferris are no longer members of the IRA army council.

He was told the three had resigned in a major reshuffle of
the IRA's ruling body, and had been replaced by military
figures from within the provisional movement.

The IRA has been debating a call made by Sinn Féin
president Gerry Adams on April 6th for it to abandon armed
struggle. A definitive response is expected later this

To that end Gen John de Chastelain and Andrew Sens of the
Independent International Commission on Decommissioning
have remained in Ireland to facilitate any move by the IRA
to put weapons "beyond use".

One reliable source also indicated to The Irish Times that
Sinn Féin's chief negotiator Martin McGuinness is to travel
to the US this week. The visit is timed to coincide with
the anticipated IRA statement. However, Sinn Féin was
unable to confirm or deny this last night.

Mr Hain will be in Belfast during the week should a
statement be published. However, the Northern Ireland
Office is insisting, both publicly and privately, it does
not know precisely when the IRA will respond despite its
calls for it to do so "sooner rather than later".

Mr Hain's public comments suggest a British government
belief that the IRA does have a non-paramilitary future and
will not go away.

It is understood there have been contacts between
republicans and the British government in addition to the
confirmed meetings between Mr Adams and Taoiseach Bertie
Ahern throughout the IRA's consultation process.

Both governments are keen for the IRA to respond soon for
fear of a loss of any sense of political momentum.

Unionists have been insisting that the IRA statement is
irrelevant and that any new IRA mode will be judged by a
verifiable abandonment of paramilitary activity.

SDLP sources are concerned that while the anticipated IRA
statement may well break new ground, it will not go far
enough in terms of a rejection of criminal activity. Some
in the party harbour private fears that the two governments
will talk up the significance of any statement, while
fudging the question of IRA criminal activity.

The Democratic Unionists last night poured scorn on a
report that Gerry Adams, Martin McGuinness and Kerry North
TD Martin Ferris had prepared the ground for a statement by
stepping down from the army council of the IRA. The DUP's
Ian Paisley junior said it was little more than a "stunt".

Up until the Westminster elections in May, Mr McDowell
consistently maintained that Mr Adams, Mr McGuinness and Mr
Ferris were members of the IRA's ruling body. This has been
vehemently denied by all three.

A spokesman for Sinn Féin said yesterday it would not be
commenting on the latest media reports about the make-up of
the IRA's army council.

Mr McDowell has not spoken publicly about recent security
briefings, but said last month he believed the army council
was in the process of being changed. He also said he
believed IRA activity would cease after a major IRA

© The Irish Times


Shoot-To-Kill Policy - No Lessons Learned From IRA Campaign

NOT surprisingly, Britain's Muslim community is fearful of
the shoot-to-kill policy that resulted in the death of an
innocent Brazilian not linked to the London terror attacks.

As predicted by this newspaper, that tragic turn of events,
which could and should have been avoided, will inevitably
set back relations between Muslims and the force.

At a stroke, it will close off vital sources of cooperation
and deny police the intelligence they desperately need to
combat Islamic fundamentalists.

The implications of a shoot-to-kill policy, which police
chief Sir Ian Blair believes could result in more people
being shot, will heighten in a city already in fear.

That Jean Charles de Menezes was shot in the head five
times as he lay face-down on the floor of a tube train at
Stockwell bore the tell-tale signs of police out of
control. Perhaps this explains the persistent claim that
the dead man was linked to the bomb attacks, even when they
knew he was innocent.

Unsurprisingly, Britain's Foreign Secretary Jack Straw has
been asked by his Brazilian counterpart Celso Amorim to
explain why the victim, who lived in London for three
years, was killed after being overpowered. A full public
account of what went wrong must now be issued.

Comparisons between the present treatment of Muslims and
that of Irish people in Britain during the IRA bombing
campaigns are valid. As the Birmingham Six, Guildford Four
and other victims of British justice will testify, the
British police are a blunt instrument where counter-
terrorism is concerned.

Doubtless, the authorities will argue that armed officers
face a "split second" decision when confronted by a
suspected suicide bomber and that getting it wrong could
result in dozens of deaths.

But as already seen, it can also result in the death of
innocent suspects. Even if the 27-year-old Brazilian looked
Asian, and though he failed to stop, that did not justify
killing him. Seemingly, the police are now pursuing the
kind of logic which put people behind bars because they
were Irish. Apparently, the authorities have learned no
lessons from the IRA campaign.

Not alone will a strategy of shooting first and asking
questions later alienate moderate Muslims, it will play
into the hands of Islamic fundamentalists and pave the way
for recruiting more homegrown terrorists from the
disaffected and socially deprived community.

The tragic events at Sharm El Sheikh, and the rash of
suicide bombings on the streets of Baghdad or Jerusalem,
show it is virtually impossible to stop suicide bombers
hell-bent on killing innocent victims in order to promote
their mindless cause.

For many years, Egypt has been torn apart by a bloody
struggle between violent Islamic fundamentalists and
secular rulers. By striking at the tourism resort where
scores of holidaymakers and local people died in a triple
bomb attack, the terrorists have dealt a body blow to a
major plank of the Egyptian economy.

Coming four years after the September 11 atrocity in the
US, the latest attacks on London show that America and
Britain are incapable of winning the so-called war on

There can no longer be any doubt that the London bombings
are an indirect result of the bloody situation in Iraq
where society is being decimated by terrorism. The
perplexing question is why, despite the attacks in Turkey,
Egypt and London, Britain's Prime Minister Tony Blair
remains in denial about the Iraq connection?


O'Connell Street Locked In Legal Wrangles

Olivia Kelly

Completion of the O'Connell Street regeneration project
has been delayed to "an extraordinary degree" by the
ongoing legal proceedings over the former Carlton cinema
site, Dublin city manager John Fitzgerald has said.

The disused cinema and an adjacent derelict lot have been
described by Mr Fitzgerald as "the most important site in
the entire city", yet it remains undeveloped because of
legal wrangling between the owners and the council, and
involving the owners themselves.

The council made a compulsory purchase order of the site in
December 2001, after determining that the Carlton Group of
landowners, who had secured planning for the site in 1999,
had neither the finance nor expertise to advance the

A challenge to the CPO brought by Paul Clinton, an
architect and member of the Carlton Group, was heard in the
High Court in March 2004. The president, Mr Justice Joseph
Finnegan, decided in favour of the council last March.
However, Mr Clinton has now appealed the case to the
Supreme Court and a date for the hearings has yet to be

There is also an ongoing High Court action between Mr
Clinton and another owner of the site, and former member of
the Carlton Group, amusement arcade owner Richard Quirke.

Mr Quirke, who owns Dr Quirkey's Goodtime Emporium, an
arcade next door to the cinema and owns or part owns a
number of properties on the Carlton site, principally on
the derelict site, was originally involved in the challenge
to the council's CPO, but later withdrew.

There were lands on the CPO site held by Mr Clinton alone,
others owned jointly by Mr Clinton and Mr Quirke, and
others by companies in which Mr Clinton held interests.

Mr Clinton sued companies owned or part owned by Mr Quirke.
Mr Clinton has alleged he was in partnership with Mr Quirke
but Mr Quirke, in other proceedings, denied that claim and
challenged claims by Mr Clinton to title regarding a number
of properties.

The council has decided to press ahead with the
redevelopment of the north end of O'Connell Street and the
regeneration of Parnell Square. However, the Carlton site
will remain untouched until the outcome of the court

"It is disappointing that the most critical site in town
has become mired in litigation to the extent that the legal
process has sterilised what is a critical project," Mr
Fitzgerald said.

Although the legal process has crippled the development of
O'Connell Street, it has come late in the day in the saga
of the Carlton site. The site has been vacant since 1979
and the cinema closed since 1994. It had a brief life as a
bag shop before being earmarked for a national conference
centre and then the new site for the Abbey Theatre.

The impasse has an impact beyond its frontage on to
O'Connell Street. The council's plans included a pedestrian
walkway from the Carlton site back to Moore Street and
envisaged hotels, street bar cafés and restaurants.

© The Irish Times


Galway Gears Up For Its Racing Festival

Lorna Siggins

Helicopters, horses, punters and politicians will descend
on Galway this week for the annual summer race festival
which opens in Ballybrit this evening.

Light northerly winds and temperatures of up to 22 degrees
are forecast today, but increasing cloud is anticipated for
Tuesday and Wednesday - when, coincidentally, members of
the Cabinet arrive for Fianna Fáil's jamboree.

Rain is forecast for Thursday, Ladies' Day, when clothes
horses, rather than those of the equine kind, tend to be
the focus of much attention.

Overall prize-money this year is quoted at €1.7 million
during the 51-race programme, but the city itself hopes to
raise multiples of that during the seven-day spend.

However, publicans have been alerted to the prospect of
inspectors from the Office of Consumer Affairs, who may be
checking the price of drink to ensure racegoers are not
being taken advantage of.

Fianna Fáil has played down reports that bookings for its
tent this year were somewhat slower than usual, and has
dismissed as "rubbish" claims that headquarters was not
happy with a new fundraising event planned for tomorrow
night by the Galway West constituency. The constituency
night in the Radisson Hotel costs €15 a head. The Radisson
ballroom can accommodate 1,200 people. Tickets for the tent
mid-week cost €3,900.

It is understood ticket sales for the new event had been
slack earlier this week, due to uncertainty over attendance
by Cabinet and senior party members. However, sales had
"improved significantly" in the last couple of days for the

Bus Éireann will be putting on extra public transport
during the week, while the Garda Síochána will have traffic
restrictions in place on the approaches to the racecourse
to avoid congestion. Most city businesses will be tailoring
working hours to suit the festival, and Galway County
Council's offices will be closed to the public from 11am on
Wednesday and Thursday.

However, the local authority has advertised arrangements
for postbox delivery of material relating to its statutory
functions, including planning applications. This follows
criticism of it in a recent Ombudsman's report, where it
was found an objector to a planning application missed the
closing date for submissions because of the restricted
office opening times during race week in 2003.

© The Irish Times


Over Month's Rainfall For Rosslare In 24 Hours

Tim O'Brien

Ireland's traditional weather pattern was overturned
yesterday as the "sunny southeast" was hit by torrential
rainstorms. More than a month's rain fell in a 24-hour
period between Rosslare, Co Wexford, and Roches Point in

Meanwhile, the west and northwest basked in temperatures in
excess of 22 degrees.

In what was described by Met Éireann forecaster Michael
McAuliffe as the "first decent rain" this month, winds blew
from the northeast while the rain moved in from the
southwest, confining the rain to the southern part of the

As families holidaying in the southeast ran for cover or
stared glumly out of the windows of mobile homes, the west
and north of the country basked in sunshine.

Boaters in Lough Key, Co Roscommon, enjoyed Mediterranean
conditions while Donegal enjoyed some of the warmest
weather this year at 22 to 23 degrees. Temperatures in Mayo
and Galway hit the early to mid-20s by mid-afternoon.

In Dublin conditions were grey and misty with a distinctly
cold feeling as temperatures struggled to rise to 15
degrees by mid-afternoon.

According to Mr McAuliffe the rainfall in the southeast
"must be close to a record for one day" with 73ml falling
at Cork airport in a 24-hour period from Saturday evening.
The figure is more than twice that recorded so far for the
month of July.

Similar levels were recorded at Roches Point where the
rainfall was 63ml. Some 59ml was recorded at Rosslare
before rain stopped last night. There was also heavy rain
in Wicklow.

The midlands were quite dry with Kilkenny having only 17 to
20ml of rainfall, while Valentia in Co Kerry recorded
"only" 13ml of rainfall in the 24-hour period.

"That's 'only' in inverted commas," cautioned Mr McAuliffe,
who added that while the situation was "quite unusual" it
should not be put down to global warming.

The wet weather had, he said, manifested itself in a clear
line from Co Clare to Co Louth, but it was unlikely to be a
result of climate change.

Today will see drier with more sunny weather over the whole
country. But "unsettled" conditions will remain with the
likelihood of more rain later in the week towards the

© The Irish Times
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