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July 13, 2005

UVF Gun Show @ Bonfire

News about Ireland & the Irish

BB 07/13/05 'UVF Gun Show' Threatens Funding
BB 07/13/05 Dissidents 'Tried To Kill Police'
IT 07/14/05 Riots Ugly, Raw & Bitter As Possible To Imagine
IT 07/14/05 Riots In The Ardoyne: How Events Unfolded
IO 07/13/05 Executed Man 'Not Linked To The LVF'
BB 07/13/05 Bomb Is Discovered Inside Vehicle
IT 07/14/05 Tories Expect 'Fudge' In IRA's Statement
IT 07/14/05 State Watches About 24 Islamic Suspects
EX 07/14/05 State Got Rotten Deal On Gas Field
IT 07/14/05 Review Of Gas Pipeline Plan To End Jail Impasse
IT 07/14/05 Lawyers For Men Say Safety Review 'Significant'
IT 07/14/05 Boy (6) Killed In Accident On Holiday From US
IT 07/14/05 One Third Of Births In State Outside Marriage
IT 07/14/05 Number Of Suicides Continues To Increase
IT 07/14/05 Ministers & Top Officials To Get 7.5% Pay Rise
IT 07/14/05 Locals Cry 'Bingo' As Bridge Opens


'UVF Gun Show' Threatens Funding

A paramilitary show of strength at a bonfire in east
Belfast could put a pilot funding scheme in jeopardy, a
Belfast councillor has said.

Five UVF gunmen appeared on stage at Monday night's bonfire
at Pitt Park in the lower Newtownards Road area and fired a
volley of shots.

The Pitt Park bonfire was one of nine bonfires which are
part of a £50,000 council pilot scheme.

It aimed to bring such events under proper control.

Naomi Long of the Alliance Party said Pitt Park had been
chosen because of its controversial nature.

"What we wanted to do was try and tackle some of the very
serious problems we have had with some of the major bonfire
sites," she said.

"The intention was that this scheme wouldn't be some
tokenistic approach by the council, but would actually try
to get to the root cause of some of the problems we have
been having."

Ms Long was one of the councillors who originally approved
the scheme.

It aims to address issues such as paramilitary flags being
flown, tyres being burned, preventing illegal dumping and
keeping the site tidy.

The incident of UVF gunmen turning up and firing shots was
a serious knock back to the scheme, which will now be under
review, she said.

"A total of £50,000 was allocated to the entire scheme -
over half of which went to Groundwork - the organisation
which facilitated a lot of the facilitation on this scheme.

"As to the individual bonfires, a maximum of £2,500 was
allowed to be spent on each individual site.

"But that was to be spent on a mixture of things. Some of
it was signage for the site, some of it was fencing for the
site, which would already have been incurred by the

Other money would be given to fund "community-based
celebrations", said the councillor.

"That is the portion - which I think in the case of Pitt
Park - needs to be looked at again by the council before
that finance is released."

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/07/13 21:36:00 GMT


Dissidents 'Tried To Kill Police'

Dissident republicans were behind a deliberate attempt to
kill police officers during rioting in north Belfast, the
PSNI has said.

Nine devices were thrown in total - six of them exploding.

Defending their operation, the police said 22 of the new
type baton rounds were fired only after they came under
bomb attack.

About 100 police officers were injured, but only two
required hospital treatment.

The trouble began when nationalists attacked police after
an Orange Order parade passed the Ardoyne shops area.

Police fired the new baton rounds known as attenuated
energy projectiles (AEP), which were introduced last month.

Petrol bombs and three blast bombs, as well as bottles and
bricks, were thrown at the police during disturbances on

Assistant Chief Constable Duncan McCausland said the
trouble was clearly orchestrated but added that Sinn Fein
President Gerry Adams and MLA Gerry Kelly did make efforts
to calm the situation.

It is understood dissident republicans linked to the
Continuity IRA were responsible for the most serious
attacks. Several arrests were made.

The new style baton rounds are intended to present a
reduced risk of causing serious or fatal injuries.

Baton rounds were last used in Northern Ireland in
September 2002.

SDLP policing spokesman Alex Attwood said: "The SDLP has
consistently and strongly opposed the use of any plastic
bullets and the purchase of the AEP.

"Even though no plastic bullets had been fired for nearly
three years, the SDLP repeats that their use last night or
any other time is not acceptable to the party or to the
nationalist community."

'A lethal threat'

One police officer was seriously injured and has been
undergoing surgery in hospital. The extent of his injuries
are not clear, but his condition is not believed to be life

The most serious violence against the police was in the
Brompton Park area. A car was hi-jacked and burned and
police used a water cannon on rioters.

Earlier on Tuesday, in agreement with police, 15 protesters
were allowed to stand on a wall overlooking the route as
the Orangemen passed holding aloft a banner saying 'make
sectarianism history'.

Superintendent Gary White, who was in charge of the police
operation, said the violence had clearly been premeditated.

"We've used water cannon and various other tactics, and we
retain the right to use whatever tactics are necessary when
we're faced with a lethal threat," he added.

Speaking on Wednesday, Security Minister Shaun Woodward
said the trouble which erupted at the Ardoyne shops area
was "disappointing", but warned that it should be seen
within a bigger picture.

"Let's be careful that 150 yards of north Belfast are not
used to completely distort the picture of what was, by and
large yesterday, a very successful parading day," he said.

"The reason for that is that people were involved in talks
and dialogue."

Mr Woodward commended the work of the police.

He also paid tribute to nationalist and unionist
politicians who got involved in dialogue. He said that
everyone should be prepared to talk.

Sinn Fein North Belfast assembly member Gerry Kelly said
lives could have been lost in the disturbances and that
dialogue was "fundamental".

Speaking after Tuesday's rioting, the DUP's North Belfast
MP Nigel Dodds said republicans either had no control of
the situation or no desire to exert that control.

Ulster Unionist leader Sir Reg Empey said an overall
solution needed to be found on the parades issue and called
on the secretary of state to begin talks in the autumn.

Meanwhile in Londonderry, seven police officers were
injured as 52 petrol bombs were thrown during rioting early
on Wednesday.

Eleven people were arrested by police, who are trying to
identify those involved in the trouble in both the Cityside
and Waterside areas.

The Twelfth of July Orange Order parades mark the victory
of the Protestant Prince William of Orange over the
Catholic King James II at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/07/13 18:16:34 GMT


Riots Were As Ugly, Raw And Bitter As It Is Possible To

Republican leaders were not able to control a deeply
disaffected crowd, writes Gerry Moriarty

We were in the middle of the small roundabout on the
Crumlin Road. To our left were the Ardoyne shops, to the
front, down the Crumlin Road, hundreds of nationalists were
bombarding police lines with all manner of missiles: petrol
bombs, bricks, masonry, paint bombs and golf balls fired
from catapults.

My colleague Dan Keenan was standing on top of a wall
beside the roundabout trying to count the number of
rioters. I was below him on the path. A few seconds earlier
there was an explosion that sounded like a blast bomb,
although some colleagues thought it was just a loud fire

Then there was another ear-splitting blast close to the
island at the centre of the roundabout. I saw SDLP
representative Margaret Walsh being knocked to the ground
by its force, but happily being helped to her feet by
police in riot gear.

A journalist was lying on the ground close by in great
pain. The shrapnel and/or casing from the blast bomb had
ripped through the back of his leg, exposing bone. How
could the rioters manage to throw the bombs, which are
designed to kill, such a distance from the Crumlin Road?
Then to our immediate left, from the corner of the eye
almost, we noticed objects landing beside us from the roofs
of the Ardoyne shops: two or three blast bombs.

The police in their Darth Vader outfits were screaming at
us to get back. I ran towards the nearby loyalist Twaddell
Avenue and, as I avoided a blast bomb on the ground, oddly
had time to assess how perfectly cylindrical the steel
object was, how some careful engineering went into its
creation. Then there was a lightning flash and another
blast, but fortunately for me no sense of any impact.

Whether it was that or another blast bomb which exploded I
am not sure, as at least one of the devices failed to

A few minutes later as police were assisting the badly
injured journalist - whose injuries thankfully are not
life-threatening - another blast bomb exploded within yards
of them. I saw one police officer crumble to the ground.
Ambulances came up Twaddell Avenue to ferry the injured
away. The ambulance crews wore helmets. Police were taking
hit after hit after hit. They maintained their discipline
and restraint.

That all happened between 7.48pm and 8.30pm, the bulk of
the violence erupting after the Orange feeder parade had
returned past the Ardoyne shops. It was when the British
army and police were trying to leave the scene that the
worst of the trouble flared further down the Crumlin Road.
Gerry Adams and Gerry Kelly, who were trying to calm the
troublemakers, were drenched by police water cannon.

Adams and Kelly said the police were too precipitate in
reacting, adding that their dousing only served to provoke
the crowd. From where we stood, as the rioters showered the
police lines for almost three sustained hours, this crowd,
some of them shockingly young, didn't need any such

The majority of people in Ardoyne did not want this
trouble, but the most senior of republicans couldn't stop
it. People talk of recreational rioting but, as observed
before, there was something almost pathological here.

The IRA statement will come when it will, before the end of
the month, or sometime in August, or maybe September. We
don't know for certain, and maybe the violence on Tuesday
will affect the timing and content of that announcement.

What's in that statement is hugely important politically,
of course. But what happened up at Ardoyne goes beyond
that. It's about people employing potentially creative
energy towards hating each other, and that won't be healed
in the short term, or by a reformed Assembly - although a
political deal would have some impact on the streets.

What happened at Ardoyne was as bitter, ugly and raw as you
can imagine. We are told the IRA statement won't involve a
commitment to policing; that is for another long, draining
period of negotiation. But who then will police difficult
nationalist areas if, as was evident on Tuesday night in
Ardoyne, head honcho republicans couldn't control a deeply
disaffected, nihilistic group of young people?

As we watched the rioting I couldn't avoid resurrecting
that phrase of Churchill's, almost hackneyed now, about
those dreary steeples of Fermanagh and Tyrone always being
with us, no matter the tumultuous conflicts elsewhere.
Sure, there is global terror and suicide bombers on our
London doorstep but that must not interfere with our
ancient hatreds.

Ardoyne, with its frightening suicide levels, needs better
than this. Northern Ireland needs better than this. But
where's the solution? For decades such rioting served the
interests of the paramilitaries. But this monster seemed
out of control in Ardoyne: it certainly appeared beyond the
control of Sinn Féin and the local IRA.

So at the end of the Twelfth the Orangemen marched and the
nationalists got their riot. This stuff runs dangerous and
deep and can't be good for the soul and spirit of any
community - and it's working-class society that takes the
brunt of this trouble.

I spoke to unionist, nationalist and republican politicians
up in Ardoyne and at least there was agreement that this
serves nobody's interests, not these days, apart from the
interests of the crazies. Both the Orange Order and
nationalist representatives in the coming days will fight
for the high ground on this issue: Orangemen saying we
marshalled our people well and stuck to the law;
nationalists saying why must you march where you are not

But what good is that if the struggles over parades are
prefigured to continue endlessly, and to twist and inflame
ordinary people endlessly.

© The Irish Times


Riots In The Ardoyne: How events unfolded

19.48: As the parade approaches, some missiles, bricks and
bottles, are thrown by nationalist protesters in Ardoyne at
police lines near the junction of Crumlin Road and Woodvale
Road. Police estimate an "unruly crowd" of about 300.

19.49: The contentious parade arrives at the disputed area
which is being policed by up to 1,200 officers and
soldiers. The stone-throwing increases and many Orange
parade supporters can be seen taking cover from attack.

19.50: According to the PSNI the crowd attacking the
marchers and supporters starts moving alongside the parade
although they are separated by screens, lines of officers
and Land Rovers. The PSNI water cannon is deployed.

Within one minute police officers in riot gear form what
they call a "shield line" and a "dog line" and advance
slowly on the crowd to prevent them from following the

19.57: The water cannon is turned off but the attacks on
police lines begin again.

19.58: Nationalist marshals in distinctive green tops,
together with Gerry Adams and Gerry Kelly, try to calm
tension and halt the attacks.

20.11: A hijacked red car arrives on the scene from
Brompton Park in Ardoyne and petrol bombs are thrown at
police. Some masked people lift the tailgate of the
hijacked car in an apparent effort to provide cover from
the water cannon while petrol bombs are prepared.

20.12: The car, which is now burning, is pushed towards
police lines. There are now about 500-600 people involved
in the protest at Ardoyne shops.

20.30: Police cameras show up to a dozen men acting
suspiciously at the back of the shops. Many are masked and
one is clearly seen wearing surgical gloves. At the same
time senior police claim they were giving nationalist
marshals and Sinn Féin's Gerry Kelly an opportunity to calm
the rioting. They said Kelly was working to ease tensions
since 20.14 and had not been hit by water cannon at this

20.32: Men are seen climbing on to the rooftops of the
shops overlooking the rioting and the police lines. Home-
made blast bombs are prepared. Police believe these men are
dissident republicans.

20.33: The first of nine blast bombs is thrown at police
lines and journalists. Six explode injuring police officers
and two journalists. Some bombs are packed with penny
coins, bolts and nails. At this stage, the most senior PSNI
officer said his officers "had no other option than to use
the new impact round" (plastic bullet). They say 22 such
rounds were fired at "identifiable targets". It is the
first time such modified plastic bullets have been used and
the first use of "baton rounds" in three years.

Rioting continues for nearly another two hours.

© The Irish Times


Executed Man 'Not Linked To The LVF'

13/07/2005 - 22:17:29

A man murdered in Belfast as part of a loyalist feud was
not a member of one of the organisations involved in the
power struggle, it was claimed tonight.

Craig McCausland, 20, died in hospital on Monday, hours
after being shot in his home in the north of the city.

Police said at the time Mr McCausland was killed by the
Ulster Volunteer Force who believed he was a member of the
rival Loyalist Volunteer Force.

But detectives investigating the murder were not convinced
he was a member of the LVF and the organisation said
tonight he was not.

The Press Association was told by an intermediary: "The LVF
want to make it clear he did not belong to that group. He
was not connected or linked and never has been.

"They cannot understand why someone kill him and link him
to them. There were no links, no association, nothing."

Mr McCausland was shot in his Dhu Varren Park home by a hit
squad which drove up to his home, smashed their way in and
shot him and them made off again in the silver Peugeot 405
which was later found burned out.

Police branded the killing a "ruthless execution" which was
believed to have been carried out after a man was shot and
seriously injured while he was out talking his dogs. The
LVF was said to be behind that attack.

Earlier this month loyalist paramilitaries were blamed for
the murder of Jameson Lockhart, also from north Belfast,
who was shot as he drove a lorry in east Belfast. The UVF
was also linked to that killing.

The LVF intermediary claimed the UVF had been behind eight
or nine shootings despite a "no first strike" agreement.

"You can't say this organisation is on ceasefire, it's all
down to them."


Bomb Is Discovered Inside Vehicle

Army technical officers have defused what they described as
a "viable device" in County Armagh.

It was discovered in a vehicle at Monaghan Road between
Millford village and Armagh city. It has been taken away
for forensic examination.

Following a coded bomb warning to a media outlet in
Belfast, searches were carried out in 15 locations in
Northern Ireland.

Security alerts took place in Armagh, Banbridge, Lisburn,
Moira and Dungannon

The police also advised members of the public not to touch
suspicious objects.

The railway line between Scarva and Portadown was also
closed for a time due to a security alert.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/07/13 21:25:18 GMT


Tories Expect 'Fudge' In IRA's Statement

Frank Millar London Editor

The Conservatives have echoed warnings that without
changes to its constitution, the eagerly-awaited IRA
statement could result in what Labour Party leader Pat
Rabbitte has called "a weasel-worded fudge".

Mr Rabbitte expressed his concerns following Monday's
report in The Irish Times that the internal republican
consultation will apparently not involve the holding of a
convention or changes to the IRA constitution and mission

In the House of Commons yesterday the Conservative Northern
Ireland spokesman, David Lidington, said the IRA
constitution held the IRA army council to be the legitimate
source of authority in Ireland. And he urged Secretary of
State Peter Hain that the constitution would have to be
changed in evidence of any statement committing the IRA now
to pursue its objectives by purely peaceful and democratic

Mr Hain sidestepped the question of the IRA constitution,
agreeing that "words do matter" but "actions matter even

He said the government would be unable to proceed in any
political negotiation to restore power-sharing unless it
could put on the table "the definitive end" to all PIRA's
paramilitary and criminal activity.

Conservative Ann Winterton asked Mr Hain if he agreed that
public confidence would not be restored "until the
structures of terrorism are dismantled".

Again Mr Hain avoided a direct reply, saying that getting
rid of all violence was the government's aim.

© The Irish Times


State Watches About 24 Islamic Suspects

Liam Reid, Political Reporter

The National Taskforce on Emergency Planning has been
told that there are in the region of 24 suspected Islamic
activists under constant surveillance in the State in
relation to suspected terrorist activities.

Garda and Army intelligence experts have also launched an
investigation to establish whether there had been any
contact between Irish-based activists and those in the UK
suspected of involvement in last week's bombings in London.

It comes as the Government yesterday approved a research
project for the publication of a booklet advising people
what to do in the event of specific national emergencies,
to be distributed to every household in the country next

There have also been increased security measures at major
Irish airports and bus and train stations in the week
following the London attack, including greater Garda
presence and surveillance.

The Minister for Defence, Willie O'Dea, said a meeting
yesterday of the Government's National Taskforce on
Emergency Planning had been informed by Garda and Army
intelligence experts that the risk of an Islamic terrorist
attack on Ireland was still considered low.

"There are some fears among the security forces naturally
that there might be people living here who could possibly
be using Ireland as a base from which to attack countries
on the European mainland, particularly the United Kingdom
because of our proximity," he said.

He had confidence that the number of Islamic terror
suspects operating in Ireland was a "tiny, tiny minority"
of the 25,000-strong Muslim population, and that the
security forces had "a fair deal of knowledge" about them.
"It's small enough for the security services to keep them
under surveillance."

Yesterday was the first meeting of the taskforce, chaired
by Mr O'Dea, which includes representatives from various
Government departments, health services, Army and Garda.

Mr O'Dea rejected criticisms that Irish authorities did not
have the capacity to deal with a major emergency or
terrorist attack.

He confirmed that security had been stepped up at Dublin
and Shannon airports, and confirmed that new measures were
in place at the latter, following a security breach by
inspectors in May.

The Irish Times understands intelligence officers have not
found any evidence that would link any suspected operatives
in Ireland to the London bomb suspects, but a detailed
trawl of telephone and other records has begun to confirm

Meanwhile, the Cabinet yesterday approved the first stage
in the production of a booklet for every home in the
country on what to do in the event of various types of

Mr O'Dea obtained approval to carry out research to
identify the concerns and questions of the general public
regarding potential emergencies, such as a nuclear accident
at Sellafield, or a major terrorist attack.

© The Irish Times



State Got Rotten Deal On Gas Field

SEVERAL journalists and politicians have referred to Sinn
Féin having "jumped on the bandwagon" in its support for
the five men jailed for protesting over the proposed Corrib
gas pipeline.

I suspect this is as much to damage the widespread campaign
in support of the men as it is an attack on Sinn Féin, but
nonetheless it requires a factual response.

Far from jumping on any bandwagon, I and my party have
raised concerns over the Corrib gas pipeline for several

I have placed dozens of Dáil questions in relation to all
aspects of the project right back to September 2002, when I
was first elected to Leinster House.

Prior to that my colleague Caoimghin Ó Caoláin also raised
the issue.

We specifically requested during the debate on the Flood
tribunal that Ray Burke's role in facilitating the
scandalous giveaway of our natural resources be

Sinn Féin has not been the only party to do so.

In December 2002, Joe Higgins of the Socialist Party,
Eamonn Ryan of the Greens, Independent TD Gerry Cowley, and
I, took part in a press conference to highlight all of the
issues that are currently in the public domain.

It is regrettable that, with a few honourable exceptions,
almost no attention was paid to what many of us have long
regarded as a national scandal.

Sinn Féin is fully supportive of the jailed protesters and
is part of a broad-based campaign that involves the
families of the Rossport Five, the local community there,
environmentalists, anti-globalisation activists,
socialists, anarchists and many people who are simply
outraged at what lies behind the protest.

We have no interest in it other than to highlight what is
taking place and to expose the rotten deal that this state
made with Shell and other exploration companies.

Martin Ferris,TD,
Dáil Eireann
Kildare Street
Dublin 2.


Review Of Gas Pipeline Plan Set For Tender In Bid To End
Jail Impasse

Liam Reid and Lorna Siggins

Minister for the Marine and Natural Resources Noel
Dempsey is commissioning a new safety review of the
controversial Corrib onshore gas pipeline in Co Mayo, in a
bid to end the standoff which has seen five north Mayo
residents in prison for contempt of court over the past

Shell E&P, which plans to build the pipeline, has also
given an undertaking to Mr Dempsey that no work will take
place on the pipeline "for the present". The company
welcomed the Minister's intervention last night, and said
it hoped that it might lead to a situation where the five
men got out of prison. "Only then can reasonable dialogue
begin," a company spokesman said.

The move follows contacts through an intermediary, Raymond
O'Malley, between Mr Dempsey and the five protesters -
which broke down on Monday night after they failed to reach
an agreement on a variety of issues.

There has been no contact since then. The intermediary had
indicated names of potential companies with relevant
expertise to carry out the review, Mr Dempsey said.
"Despite this and despite indicating my willingness to meet
the five men if they purged their contempt, I received no
agreement." The review is to be put to tender today on the
Government's e-tenders website, with a closing date of July
29th, and Mr Dempsey told The Irish Times last night that
he expected to have it completed by September.

A full court hearing of issues relating to the injunction
secured by Shell against the residents last April is listed
for October, but the Minister said his focus was solely on
the safety issues, and not on what happened in court.

The consultants will be asked to carry out a "comprehensive
health and safety review" and examine all documentation
relating to the pipeline "and associated facilities"
including the proposed gas terminal if deemed necessary.

They will be asked to conclude whether the installations
are properly designed and constructed to meet all
appropriate standards and regulations. However, the review
stops short of analysing the case for an offshore terminal,
as called for by the five men shortly after they were sent
to prison two weeks ago.

© The Irish Times


Lawyers For Mayo Men Say Safety Review Is 'Significant'

Lorna Siggins, Marine Correspondent

Legal representatives of the five north Mayo men
imprisoned over their opposition to the Shell onshore gas
pipeline have described as "significant" last night's
announcement of a new safety review by Minister for the
Marine Noel Dempsey.

Mayo TJerry Cowley (Ind) has criticised the move,
however,while welcoming the Minister's direction to Shell
to suspend all work on the pipeline route.

"Unless the Minister bites the bullet and directs that an
offshore terminal be built, the safety concerns in north
Mayo will not be met," Dr Cowley said.

Mr Dempsey responded that there was no application in from
Shell for an offshore terminal.

"If Shell wish to apply for an offshore terminal, that is
their prerogative. I have to deal with reality," he told
The Irish Times.

Páraic Ferry, solicitor for four of the five Mayo men due
to appear again in the High Court this morning, said the
move was "significant", and the men would have to give it
"careful consideration".

The five may argue that Shell's agreement earlier this week
to change the terms of the injunction it secured last April
already alters its situation.

Last Monday Shell's legal representatives told the High
Court that the firm proposed to put in a proviso stating
that pipeline work would only be carried out in accordance
with ministerial consent under the 1976 Gas Act. To date
the Minister has not given consent for installation and
commissioning of the pipeline.

The men's solicitors may argue that on the basis of this
concession by Shell, they have no need to purge contempt
for an order which is incorrect.

Legal representatives have indicated that the men are
prepared to stay in prison, until their pipeline concerns
are met.

The men's families, and Mayo TDs Dr Cowley and Michael Ring
(FG), have repeatedly called on the Minister for the Marine
to direct that the company build an offshore terminal. Dr
Cowley believes an independent safety and environmental
audit of the entire €900 million Corrib gas project,
including both pipeline and terminal, is also necessary.

He is seeking a review of the 1987 and 1992 Finance Act
amendments that benefited oil and gas exploration companies
working in Irish waters.

Representatives of the Shell to Sea campaign were among a
group which handed in a letter of protest to the Norwegian
embassy in Dublin yesterday. The letter is calling on the
Norwegian government to intervene, through its association
with Statoil, and ensure that safety concerns are met.
Statoil is one of the shareholders in the gas project.

© The Irish Times


Boy (6) Killed In Accident Was On Holiday From US

Frank McNally

A six-year-old boy who died in a car accident at a house
in Meath on Tuesday was a US citizen, who is believed to
have been visiting Ireland on holiday.

Seán Farrell, from Boston, was pronounced dead at the scene
after being knocked down by a car driven by his 15-year-old
sister, gardaí confirmed yesterday.

An aunt of the two children was also injured in the
accident and remained seriously ill last night.

The tragedy happened at the aunt's house in Oldcastle, Co
Meath, after the girl tried to move a car in the driveway.

"The teenage girl attempted to move the car and in doing so
hit the boy and also injured another woman, an aunt," a
Garda spokesman said. "It is a tragic accident, absolutely

The spokesman said the boy, who turned six in March, was in
the garden of the house when the accident occurred at
around 6.50pm.

As his sister attempted to move the car, it shot forward,
first knocking him down and then hitting their aunt.

The 36-year-old woman was taken by ambulance to Our Lady of
Lourdes Hospital in Navan, and was transferred later on
Tuesday to Our Lady of Lourdes, Drogheda.

Last night a spokeswoman for the Health Services Executive
- North Eastern Area said the woman's condition was
"serious but stable".

A postmortem was being carried out yesterday on the boy.

(Additional copy PA)

© The Irish Times


One Third Of Births In State Outside Marriage

Carl O'Brien, Social Affairs Correspondent

Almost one third of all births were outside marriage last
year, new Central Statistics Office (CSO) figures show.

The proportion of births outside marriage has increased
from 22 per cent to almost 33 per cent over the last

The highest percentage of births outside marriage last year
was in Limerick City (53.7 per cent), while the lowest was
in Cavan (21.7 per cent).

The figures are contained in the vital statistics on
births, deaths and marriages for 2004, published yesterday
by the CSO.

The rates were higher in urban areas, although parts of
south Dublin, notably in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown, bucked
this trend with a rate of 26.5 per cent.

Sociologists say the increasing trend of births outside
marriage, in recent years in Ireland, follows trends
throughout northern Europe.

Some of the main factors contributing to the rise, they
say, are changing social norms, attitudes towards the
church and socio-economic factors.

The youngest average age for giving birth was also in
Limerick (26.2 years) while the oldest was in Dún
Laoghaire-Rathdown (30.1 years). There were 53 births among
teenage women aged 15 or younger, one of whom already gave
birth before.

There were 61,684 births registered in 2004, an increase of
167 on 2003. The 2004 total is 27 per cent higher than in
1995 when 48,530 babies were registered. This represents an
annual birth rate of 15.3 per 1,000 of the population,
compared to 13.5 in 1995.

While the birth rate has increased, it is not at a level
which would replace the population in the long run.

A fertility rate of 2.1 is generally considered adequate to
replace itself in the long run, discounting migration. The
rate for Ireland last year was 1.95 - below the replacement

The number of infant deaths fell slightly last year with
300 deaths, a decrease of 11. The number of neo-natal
deaths, or deaths of infants under four weeks, fell by 17
to 214.

These reductions are also evident in mortality rates for
infants. In 2004 the infant mortality rate was 4.9 per
1,000 live births, compared to 5.4 in 1995.

The neo-natal mortality rate in 2004 was 3.5, compared to
4.6 in 1995.

In addition, there were substantial regional variations in
infant mortality rates, with Limerick City's rate (12.2 per
1,000 live births) more than twice the national average

The lowest infant mortality rate was recorded in south
Tipperary (0.0) and Meath (2.2).The highest infant
mortality rate, by health board area, was 7.2 per 1,000
live births in the mid-west, while the lowest was in the
northeast (3.7).

Overall, the number of marriages in 2004 was 20,619,
equivalent to an annual marriage rate of 5.1 per 1,000

The figure is the same as last year, but is almost one
third higher than in 1995 when just over 15,500 marriages
were registered. The estimated overall population in April
2004 was just over four million.

© The Irish Times


Number Of Deaths By Suicide Continues To Increase

Carl O'Brien

There were 457 deaths from suicide in 2004, an increase
of 3 per cent compared to the previous year.

The figure is substantially higher than the number of
people who died as a result of traffic accidents (262) or
accidental falls (297).

The number of suicides was highest among young and middle-
aged people aged between 15 and 24 (93 deaths), 25 and 34
(94 deaths) and 35 and 44 (98 deaths). Two suicides were
also recorded among people aged 14 or younger.

While the overall suicide rate is relatively low by
European standards, there is alarm among health
professionals at the increasing level of suicide among
young people.

The number of suicides is still lower than the late 1990s
when more than 500 people died each year as a result of
taking their own life.

In total, there were 28,151 deaths registered in 2004, a
decrease of 672 on the 2003 figure. The 2004 total is 10.6
per cent lower than in 1995 when 31,494 deaths were

This represents an annual death rate of 7 per 1,000
population, 1.7 per 1,000 population lower than in 1995.

The principal causes of death were circulatory diseases (38
per cent), malignant neoplasms (27 per cent), respiratory
diseases (14 per cent) and injuries or poisonings (4 per

The majority of circulatory disease deaths were linked to
heart disease, while most malignant neoplasms were related
to cancer of the colon, rectum and anus and lung.

Among respiratory diseases, the most common deaths were as
a result of pneumonia, bronchitis, emphysema and asthma.

The number of deaths among older people is also falling.
There were 22,074 deaths of persons aged 65 and over
registered in 2004, a decrease of 525 on the previous year.
The 2004 total is 12 per cent lower than in 1995 when
25,162 deaths were registered.

Similarly, death rates for people aged 65 and over have
been falling steadily from over 60 per 1,000 in 1995 to 49
per 1,000 in 2004.

© The Irish Times


Ministers And Top Officials To Get 7.5% Pay Rise

Martin Wall and Liam Reid

The salary of Taoiseach Bertie Ahern is to rise to close
to €250,000, following a decision by the Cabinet yesterday
to approve a pay increase of 7.5 per cent for Ministers,
and senior civil and public servants.

However, the Review Body on Higher Remuneration in the
Public Service, which recommended the increases, has
signalled that in future it will take generous public
service pensions into account in assessing top level pay.

The review body report, to be published later this week,
maintains that "the relevance of superannuation as a
component of overall remuneration has assumed greater
importance" than at the time of its last analysis of pay in
the top level of the public service five years ago.

The Review Body said that it would be investigating this
issue further in its final report due in 2007.

It said that it would consider "the extent the value of
public service superannuation arrangements should be offset
against remuneration packages available in the private

Government sources told The Irish Times last night that the
issue of the value of pensions provided to hundreds of
thousands of workers in the State sector could also be
considered by the benchmarking body in its next analysis of
pay in the wider public service which is also due in 2007.

The new pay rises, which were approved at a meeting of the
Cabinet yesterday, will be paid on a phased basis with half
being implemented now and the remainder in January.

Those who will benefit from the rises are: 40 public office
holders, 1,900 hospital consultants, 500 senior academics
in third level institutions, 315 local authority and health
service managers, 215 senior civil servants, 65 chief
executives of non-commercial semi-State companies and 23
top Garda and Army officers.

Yesterday, the Taoiseach defended the pay increase,
highlighting the fact that the recommendation came from an
independent body for posts not covered by the benchmarking

He also said the pay rises were less than the average pay
awards under benchmarking.

Department of Finance sources last night highlighted that
principal officers in the public services - the grade
linked with TDs - had received increases of over 11 per
cent under benchmarking.

Mr Ahern receives a salary of €237,178 a year at present,
made up of €87,247 TD's salary and the remaining €150,178,
office holder's salary. The TD salary is not covered by the
proposed pay rise.

The latter part of the salary is covered by the new rise,
which will see Mr Ahern's salary rise by just under €12,000
to nearly €250,000. Cabinet Ministers' salaries will rise
from €187,507 to up to €197,000.

Department of Finance sources said the top level pay review
had initially been due to take place in 2004 but that this
had been deferred to 2007. However, last April the
Government asked the review body to carry out an interim
assessment as otherwise it would have been seven years
since the previous review.

The review group was headed by the chairman of the C&C
Group, Tony O'Brien.

The awards are less than the amounts sought by some of the
groups covered by the review. Local authority managers had
sought rises of between 10 and 12 per cent while hospital
consultants looked for more than 20 per cent.

Mr Ahern yesterday said the people covered in the latest
review did not receive benchmarking awards. "This was an
independent process done separately and I've no problem
with that," he said.

The Taoiseach and other elected politicians have enjoyed a
set of pay rises since 1997 which has seen his salary
nearly double since he took office.

© The Irish Times


Locals Cry 'Bingo' As Bridge Opens

Frank McNally

It's already dubbed the "Bingo Bridge" by locals, uniting
as it does the long-running weekly games in Pearse Street
on the southside and Sheriff Street on the north.

But Dublin's newest Liffey crossing was officially named
the Seán O'Casey Bridge yesterday when another famous
northsider - Taoiseach Bertie Ahern - performed its opening

The event would not have been complete without a baptism,
and thanks to the decision to erect temporary fountains on
either side of the new structure for the ceremony, this was
duly achieved.

When Mr Ahern led the inaugural walkover, a sea-borne
breeze ensured it wasn't just the bridge that got a
wetting. The fountains had to be turned down on the up-wind
side before the walk-over could be safely completed. The
Taoiseach was joined for the event by Seán O'Casey's
daughter, Shivaun, and politicians including Minister for
the Environment Dick Roche, Tony Gregory TD, Dublin Lord
Mayor Catherine Byrne, and Labour councillor Aodhan Ó

The bridge was given a suitably theatrical debut, with a
specially commissioned show by the CoisCéim dance company
including a "passionate pas de deux" between long-lost
lovers reunited.

Actor Barry McGovern performed excerpts from O'Casey's play
Red Roses for Me, suggested by the playwright's daughter
for its many references to the Liffey. Single red roses
were handed to the first wave of pedestrians crossing the

Playing down the implications for the Bingo-playing
community, Mr Ahern said the bridge would be a "vital link
between the southside of the city - Merrion Square and St
Stephen's Green - and the vibrant Docklands area."

He also appealed to dockside firms and agencies at the
ceremony to give preference to local people, where
possible, when hiring. There were many skilled people in
the area who were unemployed or underemployed, he said, and
"it doesn't wash with any of us that they can't be

© The Irish Times
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