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July 07, 2005

PSNI Strong-Arm Tactics in Derry

News about Ireland & the Irish

BT 07/07/05 Police Accused Of Strong-Arm Tactics In Derry
UH 07/07/05 Commission Rules Against Route For Pomeroy Twelfth
IO 07/07/05 Taoiseach Offers Condolences To Victims Of Blasts
BT 07/07/05 Chapel Attack Thugs 'Are The Lowest Of Low'
IO 07/07/05 SF Urges Orangemen To Open Talks With Residents
BT 07/07/05 Omagh Bombing Probe 'Not Appropriate'
BT 07/07/05 Empey: Working For A Province United
BT 07/07/05 Beauty Spot Hit As Tearaways Burn 'Rally' Cars
BB 07/07/05 Ahern To Brief Pope On NI Process
BT 07/06/05 Northern Ireland Sport To Benefit From London Winv
IO 07/07/05 Leas Cross Nursing Home To Close Next Month
DN 07/07/05 Gaelic Guitars


Police Accused Of Strong-Arm Tactics In Derry

By Brendan McDaid
07 July 2005

Police in Londonderry were last night under pressure from both
loyalist and republican representatives over alleged misconduct.

Members of the Ulster Political Research Group (UPRG) met with
Foyle District Commander Richard Russell just hours after a
public protest by Sinn Fein yesterday.

Both the protest and meeting took place at the PSNI's Waterside
headquarters in Lisnagelvin.

Mr Russell has said that all claims would be fully investigated
and any officers found guilty of misconduct would be "brought
fully to account".

While the UPRG said it welcomed all politicans taking a stance
against alleged attacks, it accused Sinn Fein of "jumping on the

UPRG spokesman David Nichol claimed that two people from unionist
areas had now complained to the Ombudsman over alleged heavy-
handedness by the PSNI in recent weeks.

Mr Nichol said that the complaints were made after the UPRG
dropped 50 leaflets in unionist areas urging anyone "attacked" by
the PSNI to lodge a complaint with the Police Ombudsman.

He said: "This is not anti-police, it's about making the police
accountable and transparent."

Waterside Sinn Fein councillor Paul Fleming said:

"As exposed on last week's Insight programme, police continue
assaulting young people across this city and across the North
without fear of being held to account."

But Mr Russell hit back last night, saying: "Any allegations of
police misuse of force will be fully and thoroughly investigated
by both the Ombudsman office and our own investigation team.

"The public can be in no doubt if an officer acted outside the
law or guidelines, he or she will be brought fully to account for
their actions."


Parades Commission Rules Against Route For Pomeroy Twelfth

By Katrina Taggart

The Parades Commission has ruled that this year's Twelfth Orange
parade should not go through the village of Pomeroy.

Organisers of next Tuesday's parade, the first Twelfth to take
place in Pomeroy since 1998, were informed late on Monday night
that their route through the village was not acceptable in the
interests of 'community relations and human rights'.

Local Sinn Féin Cllr Oliver Molloy said, 'I am in agreement with
this decision, as this is a mainly nationalist area and Orangemen
should be prevented from marching through it.'

However, a spokesperson for the hosts, Pomeroy District Lodge No.
5, said they were disappointed by the ruling as they felt as much
a part of the village as nationalists.

'This does not come as a great surprise. We have always agreed to
address any concerned residents on a one-to-one basis, but we
have a feeling that those who have objected to the parade are not
residents but are from outside the village.'

It is understood members of the Pomeroy Concerned Residents'
Group had lodged an application to hold a sit-down protest in the
centre of the Pomeroy on July 12 from 10am to 6pm.

When the Twelfth was held in the village seven years ago, a
similar ban was imposed on the host District by the Parades

Cllr Molloy said, 'I am not expecting there to be any problems on
the day of the parades and we hope that it all goes without any

'However, every year at the time of the parade, there are
underlying tensions in the area. As a local councillor, I would
call for all local people to deal with the situation calmly.'

The route proposed by District Lodge No. 5 was to parade up the
Main Street and around the Diamond before returning back down
Main Street to the demonstration field. Instead, the parade will
now go down the Tandragee Road and Station Road, cutting out the
centre of the village.

Around 8,000 Orangemen are expected to converge on Pomeroy for
the regional Twelfth demonstration this year.


Taoiseach Offers Condolences To Victims Of London Blasts

07/07/2005 - 11:52:21

The Taoiseach Bertie Ahern has offered his condolences to people
caught up in this morning's explosions in London.

British police are investigating at least six blasts.

They have refused to speculate on the cause, but the explosions
bore all the hallmarks of a co-ordinated attack by Islamic

Speaking this morning in Rome, where he is due to meet Pope
Benedict XVI, the Taoiseach said his thoughts and prayers were
with all those affected by the blasts.


Chapel Attack Thugs 'Are The Lowest Of Low'

By Nevin Farrell
07 July 2005

Thieves who attacked a Catholic chapel in the Glens of Antrim
have been accused of "desecration" by a council boss.

And a priest has spoken of disappointment in his parish that
thieves stooped so low to steal money from an important
centrepiece in the chapel.

Similar to many Catholic churches parishioners can light a candle
for their special intentions and leave a donation if they so wish
in a special slot attached to a candelabra.

And the thieves obviously were aware of this practice and that
there could be money in place.

And on Sunday afternoon the candelabra was ripped from its place
in St Patrick's Church in Glendun near Cushendun and as the
irreverent thief or thieves fled the scene the sacred candles
left a trail in the graveyard.

The candelabra was dumped in the church grounds and money taken
from it.

Moyle District Council chairman Oliver McMullan (Sinn Fein) said:
"Anybody who touches churches or chapels is the lowest of the
low. This is desecration and these people never know when they
might need the services of a clergyman themselves."

Cushendun priest, Fr Ciaran Dallat, said: "Unfortunately they
removed the brass candelabra to get at the money. There wasn't
very much money in it as it had been emptied on Friday but we
don't know if we will be able to use it again.

"It is hurtful for parishioners to have something in their church


SF Urges Orangemen To Open Talks With Ardoyne Residents
2005-07-07 08:20:02+01

Sinn Féin has appealed to the Orange Order to open dialogue with
nationalist residents opposed to the organisation's parade in
north Belfast next Tuesday.

The Parades Commission has allowed the march to proceed through
the nationalist Ardoyne area and Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams
has warned of a real potential for violence.

In the past, republican activists have prevented nationalist
youths from attacking the parade and its supporters.

However, Mr Adams has indicated that these activists are no
longer prepared to act as stewards following the arrest of
Shankill bomber Sean Kelly after violence at a march earlier this

The Sinn Féin leader has said lives could be at risk Tuesday and
he has called on the Orange Order to learn from the experience in
Derry, where loyalist marches have passed off peacefully as a
result of agreements reached with local nationalist residents.


Omagh Bombing Probe 'Not Appropriate'

Inquiry into Omagh case is ruled out

By Michael McHugh
07 July 2005

The Government last night ruled out establishing a public inquiry
into controversy surrounding the Omagh bomb case.

The response comes in the face of rising public demands for a
tribunal to establish the facts surrounding the organisation of
the 1998 Real IRA bombing which killed 29 people.

Earlier this week, Omagh District Council backed calls for a
cross-border inquiry into the atrocity and the subsequent police
investigations and the campaign has received backing from
religious leaders and senior members of the DUP and SDLP.

Sean Gerard Hoey (34) from Molly Road in Jonesborough is charged
with the murder of 29 people and officials from the Northern
Ireland Office said any inquiry could affect criminal

"Someone is currently in custody charged with the murder of 29
people in the Omagh bombing and any public inquiry would
prejudice these proceedings," a spokesman said.

"The Government's view is that it would not be appropriate to set
up a public inquiry to look into this issue at this time."

Omagh Victims' Self-Help group chairman Michael Gallagher said
the Government should make a commitment to deal with the matter
after criminal proceedings are complete.

"Our position is no different from that surrounding Patrick
Finucane, where the Government agreed to set up an inquiry at the
end of criminal proceedings," he said.

"We are aware there is a man in custody, but we are saying there
is no reason why the Government could not agree to hold a public
inquiry at the end of that process.

"It was reassuring to hear on Tuesday night support from across
the board, with all political opinion supporting us, which is
quite unusual."

Mr Gallagher said he sympathised with the Finucane family in
their demands that the inquiry be fully independent without
Government interference and warned his group would be making the
same conditions.

Tuesday night's debate in Omagh heard councillors unanimously
endorse DUP representative Tom Buchanan's motion for an inquiry.

A number of questions surrounding the conduct of the security
forces at the time remain unanswered.

Garda Special Branch agent handler John White has told how he
warned his superiors about the likelihood of a "spectacular" in
Northern Ireland in the days leading up to the bloodiest single
incident of the troubles, yet the warning was allegedly not
passed on to the RUC.

The PSNI have been unable to interview the mole behind the tip
off, Paddy Dixon, despite the fact that he was a Garda agent and
is living in England.

Other issues which would be raised include delays in receiving
forensic evidence and the Irish government's refusal to publish a
report into Dixon's allegations.


Working For A Province United

Writing exclusively for the Belfast Telegraph, the new leader of
the Ulster Unionist Party, Sir Reg Empey, outlines his vision for
the future

07 July 2005

Following my election as leader of the Ulster Unionist party on
June 24, many people have asked me why I am taking on such a
seemingly difficult task? Well, I believe strongly in the Union
as the best solution for all the people of Northern Ireland and I
am convinced that if unionism was to become permanently dominated
by Ian Paisley's party, the chance of uniting Northern Ireland
would rapidly recede. This in turn would place the stability of
our province under threat and ultimately weaken the Union.

My party was taught a tough lesson by the electorate on May 5. I
am determined that we learn that lesson and rapidly resume our
role as the party of the Union, playing a major part in securing
a peaceful future for Northern Ireland within that Union.

As leader of the Ulster Unionist Party, I intend to end the
divisions within my party. But I also want to end the political
and social divisions in Northern Ireland. At the outset, I have
always believed that it is not in anyone's interests to see this
country carved up between Gerry Adams and Ian Paisley.

My fear is that people here could fall into the trap of
supporting the separate development of 'the two communities.' In
the absence of political progress, it is a short term temptation
for some to say that Sinn Fein can look after Catholic interests
and the DUP can look after the Prods. But if the experience of
the last 10 or so years has taught us anything, it's that when
both parts of our community work together, they achieve far more
than working separately.

The development of a totally tribal Northern Ireland is a
frightening prospect which all right-thinking people must resist.
It goes against the grain of the Union itself which, as a
pluralist framework within which all must be able to live with
freedom and justice, attracts people from all over the world. If
this was not so, why did so many people move from the Irish
Republic to live in Great Britain?

I know from personal experience that we will achieve more as
partners than as adversaries. That is not to say that a
forthright expression of views and identity is wrong or harmful.
Quite the reverse. This is a sign of a healthy dispensation and,
in my view, the Union is the right choice to provide this
framework. But avoiding the difficult decisions that co-operation
can bring is no way to secure our future. Recent examples of the
benefit of working together reinforce my view.

In Belfast, Ulster Unionists and SDLP worked together and
delivered the Waterfront Hall. Despite DUP and Sinn Fein
opposition, it now stands as a Belfast landmark and has pioneered
a number of other worthwhile developments, such as the Gasworks,
and re-generated a part of the city bringing in people, jobs,
visitors and further investment.

During my time as Minister of Enterprise, unionists and
nationalists worked together on the North-South gas pipeline. We
achieved significant progress on energy provision and gave people
and industry a lower energy cost solution.

These are just two examples but you get the point - when our
community works together, it's more effective than when each
'tribe' does its own thing.

While some voters take short-term comfort in the bosom of their
'tribe', the reality is that the long-term sustainability of the
Union depends on unionism broadening its appeal. Separate
development does not suit unionism in the long term.

In recent weeks, some commentators have speculated that there is
no real difference between my party and the DUP. In essence, the
ultimate difference between us and the DUP is that we support and
actively encourage a pluralist Union, open to all, where
everybody should be able to express themselves and their
identity, as opposed to an exclusive, one-dimensional club for
only one section of the community, as favoured by the DUP. It's
quite a contrast really.

A large section of the community feels good when Northern Ireland
plc pulls together. When they see Northern Ireland going down the
road of South African-style separate development, it turns them
off, which is why so many have stopped voting.

During my time as leader, I want to achieve a number of things.
The party itself faces an uphill challenge internally that I
intend to get to grips with and tackle, once and for all. We need
to re-group, re-focus, re-engage with, and listen to, the

What marks us out and sets us apart is that, with our pluralist
vision and track record of working with others to achieve
positive change, the Ulster Unionist Party can and will unite
Northern Ireland.

Others will only divide it.


Beauty Spot Hit As Tearaways Burn 'Rally' Cars

By Nevin Farrell
07 July 2005

A council chairman has slammed thugs who are destroying the
beauty of one of Ulster's most unspoilt areas at the height of
the tourist season.

The Sinn Fein chairman of Moyle District Council hit out as
"runaround cars" continue to be torched in the tranquil Orra area
high up on the Antrim Plateau.

It is believed young tearaways are using the normally quiet
mountain valley roads of the Glens as racetracks with the cars
set on fire afterwards.

Cllr Oliver McMullan said: "This sort of thing has been going on
for some time all over north Antrim. We have raised it at council
before and I would ask the young people to arrange with the
council to lift the vehicles instead of burning them.

"I don't know who is doing it but they should stop it because
they are causing an eyesore and could cause an accident by
leaving these wrecks on the road."

Police believe a Laguna car found at Orra Bridge on Sunday may
have been used by youths to "rally about in".

Earlier in the week after police received reports of another car
doing handbrake turns near Ballycastle, the same vehicle was then
found on fire in the Orra area.

Police say they will clampdown on those driving "runaround"
vehicles or those selling them to under-age drivers.


Ahern To Brief Pope On NI Process

Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern is set to brief the Pope on the
Northern Ireland political process.

The taoiseach will meet Pope Benedict XVI at a private audience
in the Vatican.

Speaking ahead of the meeting, Mr Ahern said he was honoured to
be one of the first European heads of government to visit the
Pope since his installation.

Pope Benedict invited Mr Ahern to Rome almost three months ago,
just after his appointment in April.

The taoiseach said the Pontiff showed a keen interest in the
political affairs of Northern Ireland during discussions with
Irish government officials in the Vatican over several years.

He said he hoped to be in a position to outline how the political
process could be moved forward.

Last month, Mr Ahern said the British and Irish governments were
hoping for a statement from the IRA before August.

However, he told the Irish parliament there was no definitive

The IRA is expected to respond to Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams'
call for it to pursue its aims through purely political and
democratic activity.

Mr Ahern will also visit the tomb of Pope John Paul II during his
visit on Thursday.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/07/07 07:34:46 GMT


Northern Ireland Sport To Benefit From London Win

By Steven Beacom

06 July 2005

Northern Ireland sport received a monumental boost today when
London was awarded the 2012 Olympic Games.

The decision to award London the Games will be warmly welcomed in
the province because it effectively means the Games are coming to

It is understood part of the Olympic football tournament
featuring the world's best under-23 players will take place here.

The matches will be played in a new national stadium for Northern

The vote today which went in London's favour ahead of Paris,
Madrid, Moscow and New York will ensure that the stadium, which
has evoked so much debate in recent years, will now be built.

And government officials along with the Sports Council for
Northern Ireland will order that work starts, on the £80 million,
30,000 all- seater arena at the site of the old Maze prison, as
soon as possible.

With a new stadium being built the landscape of Northern Ireland
sport will change.

For instance the Northern Ireland football team will surely play
international matches there.

That would mean an end to the Irish FA's long standing
arrangement with Linfield in relation to Windsor Park, which is
the current home of internationals.

Ravenhill, the home of Ulster rugby, is in line for radical
improvements and upgrading but an ultra-modern 30,000 stadium
would also prove an attractive venue to play big Heineken Cup

And then there is GAA.

Will we see Ulster finals played in a new stadium in the future?

The Games coming to London is also an incredible incentive for
young local athletes to work on their sport and become a hero on
their own doorstep seven years from now.

Double Olympic champion Sebastian Coe, who led London's 2012 bid,
was absolutely delighted with the outcome in Singapore.

Right until the end of the campaign, it was thought that London
would miss out to favourites Paris.

But Tower Bridge beat the Eiffel Tower and in keeping with Coe's
ability as an athlete, his kick off the final bend brought home
the glory.

London, of course, is the big winner in all of this but the UK
will benefit as a whole.

Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales will be celebrating tonight.

For instance eight football matches are due to be staged at the
Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.

The venue's chief executive Paul Sergeant said: "After watching
London's incredible presentation this morning, I was in no doubt
that London would pull it off.

"It was a fantastic presentation delivered brilliantly by Lord
Coe and his team and showed a huge amount of heart and passion
which is what the Olympics are all about.

"We at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff and Wales are thrilled
that we will play a part in the staging of the Olympics and I am
sure everyone is Wales will echo that. We backed the bid and now
we will back its total success."

The work to ensure the Games are a success starts now.


Leas Cross Nursing Home To Close Next Month

07/07/2005 - 10:38:01

The owner if the Leas Cross nursing home in Swords, Co Dublin has
announced plans to close the facility at the start of next month.

John Aherne blamed the Health Service Executive for the closure,
saying its actions had made it impossible for the home to
continue operating.

The HSE took over Leas Cross earlier this year after a television
documentary showed poorly trained staff mistreating residents.

Mr Aherne said today that the home had attempted to implement new
structures and procedures in conjunction with the HSE.

However, he said the Executive "effectively decided to close Leas
Cross" by removing public patients from the home, by advising
private residents to leave and by preventing future admissions.


Gaelic Guitars

Festival celebrates Irish pride with eclectic music, food

By Nick Anderman
July 07, 2005

Our festival is very different from a St. Paddy's Day party --
fewer foam hats and no green beer, but more family-oriented
events and authentic Irish culture," said Bob McNamara, organizer
of the Irish-American Heritage Festival.

This year's festival takes place July 8-10 at the Irish-American
Heritage Center, 4626 N. Knox Ave., in Chicago. But no green beer
or foam hats? Why would anyone go to an Irish festival without
foam hats?

There are several reasons, McNamara said.

"Irish culture is one of the most vibrant in the world," he said.
"The festival features all kinds of different food and drink, not
to mention live performances from the Hothouse Flowers, Michael
McDermott and many other great Irish or Irish-American bands."

McNamara promised that there will be beer, but it probably won't
be green.

Both the Irish-American Heritage Center and the annual festival
were established in 1976 to bring together Chicago's large Irish
American community.

"Originally the festival was called 'Irish Family Days,'"
McNamara says. "It was held at Navy Pier until 1986, when we
moved into our current property on Knox Avenue. The intent has
always been to bring some of the best Irish music, nationally and
internationally, to Chicago for the weekend as well as to
showcase local dancers, performers, etc."

The Hothouse Flowers and Michael McDermott certainly qualify as
world-class performers. In 1990, Rolling Stone named the Hothouse
Flowers the best unsigned band in Europe. Three albums later, in
1994, the group took a three-year hiatus, meeting only
occasionally to play and record for fun.

"We soon realized that we still wanted to play together as the
Hothouse Flowers," said lead guitarist Fiachna O'Braonain. "For
us, playing music and performing live is what it is all about.
Spending time in a studio, your songs become microscopic and you
forget what a privilege it is to play in front of an audience."

Chicago native Michael McDermott has been compared to Bob Dylan
and Bruce Springsteen, due mostly to his personal lyrics and
gritty folk-rock sound. His most recent album, "Ashes," has
gotten substantial play time on WXRT Chicago and radio stations
nationwide. At the festival, McDermott promises an upbeat concert
with tunes from "Ashes," but also traditional Irish music.

If the Hothouse Flowers and Michael McDermott aren't quite your
style, the festival also promises sets from Celtic rockers The
Fenians and old Irish standards sung by Derek Warfield of the
Wolfe Tones and The Makem Brothers.

"Irish music is very much the underpinnings of lots of other
kinds of music, from country to rock 'n' roll, so I think there
will be something here for everyone," McNamara said. "I mean,
this is just like any other music festival, except the music is

And there are plenty of non-music events as well. Three Chicago
area Irish dance troupes will perform in the main, 600-seat
auditorium at the Heritage Center, alternating performances with
the in-house theater group The Shapeshifters. And one highlight
of the festival is a mashed-potato eating contest.

"We have a reigning champion, Sully, who will be back to defend
his title and lots of other people looking to take his fame
away," said IAHC spokeswoman Kathleen O'Neill. "It's a light,
albeit messy way to have a little friendly competition among

The festival also offers an Irish American Idol Contest for
children 12 and younger and Celtic dance lessons all weekend. And
of course, the Fifth Province Pub, attached to the center, will
serve cold beverages.

"We decided a long time ago that the festival is a good idea for
a fund raiser," McNamara said. "It expands our audience and makes
the community aware of what we do more than any other event here
all year. And of course, all proceeds go to the center, to be
used in our year-round educational and cultural programming."

Reach Nick Anderman at
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