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August 16, 2005

Catholic House in Sectarian Paint Bomb Attack

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News about Ireland & the Irish

4N 08/16/05 Catholic House In Sectarian Paint Bomb Attack
BB 08/16/05 Couple Leaving Home After Attack
NH 08/16/05 Loyalists Threaten To Burn Catholics
BT 08/16/05 Nazi Posters Spread Fear In A Quiet Village
BT 08/16/05 Review Call Over UVF 'Ceasefire'
BT 08/16/05 Daylight Killing Shocks Passers-By
UT 08/16/05 SDLP Leader Demands Action Over Violence
BT 08/16/05 Overall Policing Bill Soars Close To £1.5m
BT 08/16/05 1,300 People A Year Forced From Homes
UT 08/16/05 IRA Urged To Probe Brutal Murder
UN 08/16/05 Cheap Stunts Merely Highlight IRA's Defeat
BT 08/16/05 The Sound Of Silence
BT 08/16/05 Residents' Fury At DPP Meeting
BT 08/16/05 Water Tanker Bid To Ease Algae Problem
BB 08/16/05 Experts Examine MRSA Pets 'Link'
VI 08/16/05 Festival Honors The Emerald Isle


House Targeted In Sectarian Paint Bomb Attack

Police believe a paint bomb attack on a Catholic home in Co Antrim on Monday was sectarian.

Bottles filled with paint were thrown at the property in Tudor Vale, Ahoghill, at about 11.30pm, causing extensive damage to the front of the property. No one was injured in the attack which has been blamed on loyalists.

Last night’s incident is the latest attack on Catholics in the area, in what Sinn Fein have described as the “ethnic cleansing” of the nationalist population in the area.

Sinn Fein Assembly member for North Antrim Philip McGuigan said: “Over recent weeks and months the small catholic population in Ahoghill has come under a sustained and violent unionist paramilitary campaign.

“It is motivated by a desire to ethnically cleanse Catholics and nationalists from the village. It also comes against a backdrop in North Antrim generally and the Ballymena area in particular of DUP politicians creating an atmosphere where Catholics and nationalists are seen as second class.”

Last week, Catholic residents in the village were supplied with fire-resistant blankets and smoke alarms amid fears of fresh attacks. Police say they have stepped up patrol’s in the area as a result of the upsurge in attacks.

Elsewhere, a pipe bomb device has been found outside a house in Carrickfergus.

The device was discovered on the doorstep of a home in the Windslow area of the town shortly before 1am on Tuesday.

The device was eventually made safe by Army bomb experts and no one was in the premises at the time.


Couple Leaving Home After Attack

A couple are to leave their County Antrim home after an overnight attack.

Bottles filled with paint were thrown at the house in Tudor Vale in Ahoghill, at 2330 BST on Monday.

Police have said they are treating the attack on the Catholic couple as sectarian. A primary school and Catholic church were also targeted.

Pat McGaughey, who has lived there for eight years, said they feared for their lives. "We are not willing to take a chance on our safety," she said.

"We are going to move, we are going to leave, we'll have to sell our house and go.

But Mrs McGaughey said she felt "nothing has been said" by the church leaders or the politicians to help to end such attacks.

On Tuesday morning, the parish priest of St Mary's Church on the Ballynafie Road in the village discovered that paint had been thrown on the driveway.

Patrols increased

There was a similar attack at St Joseph's School in the village.

Police said the paint was similar to that used in the attack at Tudor Vale.

SDLP councillor Declan O'Loan condemned the attacks saying they were the "latest in a long line of shameful sectarian attacks in Ahoghill and the surrounding area".

"It is clear that there are people in our society hell bent on intimidating Catholic residents".

Sinn Fein assembly member Philip McGuigan said the attacks were part of a campaign to force out Catholics.

He said: "Over recent weeks and months the small Catholic population in Ahoghill has come under a sustained and violent unionist paramilitary campaign."

Last week, Catholic residents in the village were supplied with fire-resistant blankets and smoke alarms amid fears of fresh attacks.

Security patrols in the village were also stepped up following a series of attacks by loyalists.

A PSNI spokesman said the decision to give out the blankets was "unprecedented".

However, he said it was taken after fresh intelligence suggested more attacks on Catholics were imminent.

Police also visited a number of homes in Brookfield Gardens and Laurel Park estates to warn Catholic families that they were under threat.

The warnings followed several incidents of intimidation in the village.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/08/16 11:54:47 GMT


Loyalists Threaten To Burn Catholics

(Ciaran Barnes,

Catholic families living in a new mixed housing estate in Dunmurry have been warned they face being burnt out of their homes unless they leave the area.

Threats, believed to have come from the Ulster Defence Association (UDA), were written on walls throughout the Redwood estate in Dunmurry on Wednesday evening. Developers are in the process of building 200 properties in the area, around 50 of which are currently occupied.

Local Sinn Féin councillor Paul Butler believes the UDA in the loyalist Seymour Hill estate, which is next to Redwood, is trying to drive Catholics out of the area.

He said, "When the first stage of development was completed at Redwood last year, the UDA sprayed graffiti around the estate warning Catholics not to buy houses.

"I have no doubt the UDA is behind these latest threats. For years Catholics in this part of Dunmurry have been victimised by paramilitaries determined to turn the areas next to Seymour Hill into loyalist ghettoes."

Last week a home in Redwood was petrol bombed in what locals believe was a sectarian attack. In the summer of 2004, a number of Catholic children were assaulted outside a garden centre in the area, and in 2003 loyalists from Seymour Hill crucified a Catholic car thief on a wooden fence after catching him breaking into vehicles in the area.

Seymour Hill is controlled by South Belfast UDA chief Jackie McDonald. Colin Halliday, a close friend of Mr McDonald and spokesman for the UDA's political wing, the Ulster Political Research Group, said the UDA did not sanction the Redwood estate threats.

He said, "It is nonsense to say the UDA is behind this graffiti campaign or that it is trying to drive Catholics out of the area.

"Catholic families have lived in Seymour Hill for years and they have never been the subject of intimidation. If the UDA wanted to force Catholics out of the area there are much more effective ways of doing this.

"I condemn any intimidation or threats, and I would assure Catholics living in Redwood they have nothing to fear from the UDA."

August 16, 2005


Nazi Posters Spread Fear In A Quiet Village

Garvagh targeted by fascist group

By Linda McKee
16 August 2005

A sinister right-wing group is targeting homes and property in a Co Londonderry village with a poster campaign, it was last night warned.

SDLP Assembly member John Dallat said residents of Garvagh had complained that notices announcing the return of the ultra-right wing Combat 18 had been pasted around the village.

The East Londonderry MLA said Combat 18 was linked to loyalist elements in the Coleraine and Bushmills areas.

"Catholic homes and businesses have been specifically targeted, but these sinister stickers have also appeared on traffic islands and are similar to others which were erected in areas of Coleraine last year where black people are known to work," he said.

"Recently, a nurse from the Philippines fled the village of Garvagh after her flat was broken into and money stolen."

Mr Dallat said he had alerted the PSNI to what was a sinister form of racism and intimidation.

"While I don't regard those involved as having any support among the intelligent population I do believe the Hate Crime laws should be applied and those involved prosecuted," he said.

"We need to be very mindful that there is a sizeable population of people from many parts of the world now living and working in this area.

"While there isn't a pattern of racist attacks it is important that no opportunities are afforded to anyone who would want to reintroduce Combat 18 or any other corrupt elements bent on causing division and distrust."

A Police spokesman said they took such incidents extremely seriously, and added: "The PSNI would appeal to anyone who is aware of such hate literature or knows of anyone distributing such literature to contact their local police station immediately."


Review Call Over UVF 'Ceasefire'

Feud killing prompts moves

By Claire Regan
16 August 2005

The Government today came under increasing pressure to review the UVF ceasefire as moves to bring the loyalist feud to an end showed no sign of succeeding.

Unionist politicians urged Secretary of State Peter Hain to urgently address the situation following the killing of 42-year-old Michael Green yesterday.

The father-of-three was the fourth man to die at the hands of the UVF since its tensions with the LVF erupted into violence last month.

South Belfast Assemblyman Michael McGimpsey said the Government's perception that the UVF is observing a ceasefire is a "crackpot situation".

"It is almost like we are living in a pretend fantasy world where everything is hunky dory so long as we pretend to keep a lid on things. It is a rigid and determined approach," said the Ulster Unionist.

"It makes you wonder what exactly the UVF have to do before it is deemed that they are no longer on ceasefire.

"The tragic reality is that people are losing their lives and that the UVF presents a huge threat to the protection of life and property.

"My contention is that the police have handled this badly from day one. These paramilitary groups are more or less allowed to do what they want."

Mr McGimpsey also called on both terror groups to agree to enter into mediation in a bid to bring the violence to an end.

DUP politician Jimmy Spratt said he believed the Loyalist Commission had been in daily contact with both the LVF and UVF but, he said, "they did not want to negotiate".

The Castlereagh councillor called on the Government to review the UVF ceasefire.

"What ceasefire is there when people are being murdered on a regular basis?," he asked.

The former chairman of the Police Federation also questioned the PSNI's handling of the loyalist feud.

"There are a whole range of areas within policing that needs to be looked at. There's a perception that the police aren't out there doing their job," he added.

The calls for a review of a ceasefire came as fears were rising today of further bloodshed in the loyalist feud, with both sides warning that they are not prepared to back down.

Loyalist sources in the rival LVF and UVF groups warned that there will be further murders.

A loyalist figure warned that it is "only a matter of time" before the LVF strikes back.

"People in the loyalist community are now asking when the LVF is going to strike back. It is only a matter of time before they retaliate and I can understand why.

"It has now become a matter of getting them before they get you. You have to live in the real world."

Meanwhile, a house in Ahoghill was badly damaged in a sectarian attack after paint bombs were thrown at the property.

Police were called to the house at Tudor Vale shortly after 11.30pm yesterday.Several bottles of paint had been thrown. Nobody was injured in the attack.


Daylight Killing Shocks Passers-By

By Debra Douglas
16 August 2005

The sound of shots being fired rang out across the loyalist heartland of Sandy Row yesterday morning as Michael 'Mick the German' Green was gunned down in broad daylight.

Pumped full of bullets, his body lay slumped on the ground outside Gilpins where he had been opening up the premises for what should have been another busy day in the well-known furniture shop.

Shocked passers-by rushed to his aid but it was too late.

A short time later police were on the scene and a murder inquiry was launched.

Police cordons were soon erected as forensic experts began their painstaking investigation into the circumstances of Mr Green's murder.

A crowd of spectators gathered to watch. Many shook their heads in disbelief. Some expressed horror at the sight of the blood-splattered cloth covering the body.

One said: "People are saying this is part of the loyalist feud - the whole thing is getting out of control."

Close by, a friend of the victim spoke in panicked tones on his mobile phone.

Fighting back tears, he said: "I heard about the shooting on the news and as soon as they mentioned Gilpins and a motorbike, a shiver ran down my spine and I panicked, I just knew it was Mick.

"I ran straight out of work and came down here to see what was going on, I just can't believe it. Mick had a few death threats in the past, but he was a good guy."

For a few hours, Mr Green's body lay beneath a white sheet under the red, white and blue flags of Sandy Row before a tent was erected over it. His body was due to be removed from the scene once initial investigations were completed.

As the day progressed, residents went back to their routine, pushing to the back off their minds the murder scene on their doorstep.


SDLP Leader Demands Action Over Violence

Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain and Democratic Unionist leader the Rev Ian Paisley today faced demands to act against recent loyalist paramilitary violence.

By:Press Association

In a hard-hitting attack, nationalist SDLP leader Mark Durkan said he had yet to hear from the British government on his call last month for a review of the Ulster Volunteer Force ceasefire after the murder of Craig McCausland in north Belfast.

There have been two murders since believed to have been carried out by the UVF as part of their feud with the Loyalist Volunteer Force, the most recent yesterday with the shooting dead of Michael Green in the Sandy Row area of south Belfast.

The Foyle MP also called on Mr Paisley to publicly condemn petrol and paint bomb attacks against Catholic families and property in his North Antrim constituency which have been blamed on the Ulster Defence Association.

The most recent attacks occurred in the village of Ahoghill in Co Antrim last night, with paint bombs thrown at a Catholic house, a church and school.

Mr Durkan said: "Despite the bloodshed, the British Government has been silent about the UVF ceasefire. They prefer to pretend that it still exists.

"Despite the intimidation of his own constituents, Ian Paisley is silent about UDA violence.

"He prefers to pretend that it is not happening. This is extraordinary hypocrisy from the man who never hesitates to point the finger whenever others use violence.

"It is time the British Government and Ian Paisley took their heads out of the sand and had a look at what is going on about them."


Overall Policing Bill Soars Close To £1.5m

By Claire Regan
16 August 2005

Concerns about the draining effect of the loyalist feud on police resources were raised last night as the overall cost of the long-running PSNI operation soared close to the £1.5m mark.

Police estimate that its efforts to combat the LVF-UVF blood-letting is costing it over £30,000 every day since trouble first broke out on July 1 when the first of four victims, Jameson Lockhart (25), was killed by the UVF at the wheel of his lorry in east Belfast.

After 47 days of an intensive police operation, the estimated total last night stood at £1,410,000.

And it is thought that these costs do not include periods of intensive policing such as murder investigations, searches and maintaining a presence when UVF members took over a housing estate in east Belfast where a number of LVF-associated figures had been living.

Officers who have been deployed to deal with the feud have also been taken away from other policing duties.

SDLP representative Alasdair McDonnell said that money should not be an issue when it comes to tackling the "murder and mayhem on our streets", but did voice concerns about the high costs of policing the feud.

The South Belfast MP said: "The issue of how much this is costing is not as big an issue as the loss of life and the impact on the community this feud is having.

"It is long past the time that the Secretary of State (Peter Hain), the Chief Constable (Sir Hugh Orde) and others should have clamped down ruthlessly on the so-called loyalist feud.

"That aside, however, this is money that could certainly be put to better use in despondent areas of the city," said Mr McDonnell.

"A lot of those same people that have associations with the paramilitary groups involved in this feud are the first to scream when it comes to a lack of money going into their disadvantaged areas."


1,300 People A Year Forced From Homes

By Deborah McAleese
16 August 2005

Gangs of thugs are terrorising more than 1,300 people from their homes each year.

And in the 10 years since the paramilitary ceasefires, nearly 14,000 people have been forced to flee their houses to find alternative accommodation due to intimidation.

The shock figures have emerged at a time when concern is mounting over the "mob rule" culture on the province's streets.

Politicians are now demanding that the PSNI adopts a tougher stance to "regain control".

The figures were revealed in a report on sectarianism for the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister in Northern Ireland.

Carried out by the Institute for Conflict Research the report - No Longer a Problem? Sectarian Violence in Northern Ireland - shows that the number of people intimidated from their homes in Belfast far outstrips the amount of accommodation available for rehousing.

According to Northern Ireland Housing Executive (NIHE) statistics, Belfast contains 25% of its housing stock, but accounts for 55% of the province's cases of intimidation.

In March there was a public outcry after the mother of a 13-year-old boy appealed to a Belfast court to find somewhere safe for her son after he was warned by the police that he was on an IRA hit-list.

The teenager's mother was forced to appeal to Belfast Juvenile Court for assistance in finding somewhere safe for her son to be housed, even if it was in a juvenile justice centre.

His mother told the court that he has been under threat from the age of 12 and as a result she is afraid to bring him home.

UUP MLA for Upper Bann Samuel Gardiner said mobs were controlling the streets and the PSNI's first priority must be to regain control.

He said: "Regaining control of our streets must become a first priority for the PSNI. The evening news is beginning to sound as though it comes from Dodge City. It is crammed with violent incidents, hooliganism and lawlessness.

"Politicians on all sides, of all parties, must back the police unequivocally in dealing with disorderly or violent behaviour on the streets from whatever source and fuelled by whatever motive."


IRA Urged To Probe Brutal Murder

The IRA and Sinn Fein was today urged to investigate the murder of a man who was savagely beaten to death in Derry as he walked home from a night out.

By:Press Association

The family of Mark Robinson, 22, whose heart was given to his dying uncle, issued the appeal after an inquest ruled he suffered massive head injuries after being struck repeatedly with a blunt object.

Mr Robinson died three days after he was attacked in the Moss Park area of the city in April 2001.

His heart was used to save the life of his uncle, Lawrence McMonagle, who underwent a transplant Freeman Hospital in Newcastle upon Tyne the day after Mark`s death.

The detective who led the inquiry told Belfast Coroner`s Court he believed paramilitaries were responsible but confirmed no-one had been charged with the murder.

After the hearing, Mark`s aunt, Sheila Holden, called for the killers to be brought to justice.

Ms Holden said: "We knew from day one it was a paramilitary murder.

"We want the Provisional IRA and Sinn Fein to do their investigations.

"We have asked this on numerous occasions and we are still asking the same questions.

"They have denied any involvement but we know in our hearts that Provisional IRA members were involved in Mark`s murder."


Cheap Stunts Merely Highlight IRA's Defeat

ARAB television reported last week that an unknown number of Irishmen have joined al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and have even taken part in the killing of 16 US troops aboard a downed helicopter.

The Wolfe Tones are probably writing a song about them as we speak. The Men Behind The Wire have had their day. Gerry Adams is toast, and stale toast at that. Now it's the turn of another bearded prophet's followers to bomb their way into the headlines.

Or maybe, like the Colombia Three, the al-Qaeda Gaels will magically reappear soon on Irish soil and tell Charlie Bird that they were actually in Afghanistan on a bird-watching holiday.

Or to observe the peace process. Or whatever the latest story is.

The Irish Government is clear about one thing. The return of the Colombia Three was not part of any negotiations with Sinn Fein in the run up to the recent Army Council order to the boyos to stand down and dump weapons.

Would this be the negotiations which we were all told at the time weren't happening? Yeah, that makes sense. Just one question: if negotiations that officially didn't exist turn out within weeks to have existed all along, then is anyone really going to be surprised if things which it is now claimed were not part of those negotiations subsequently turn out to have been central to them after all?

Of course, even if it is true that the legal status of the Colombia Three was not part of the negotiations between the IRA and the Government, something must have been, otherwise there wouldn't have been negotiations to begin with.

So is there any chance of us ever finding out what they were about? It would be awfully nice if the Taoiseach could see his way to letting us in on that part, this being a . . . what's the word again? . . . a democracy, that's it.

Stop sniggering at the back.

The return of the Colombia Three fits a pattern that has been established smoothly since the IRA issued its allegedly historic statement a few short weeks ago.

First, they make some sort of vague commitment that gets maximum publicity, then send General John de Chastelain back to Canada empty handed. Soon they're standing around with placards watching the watchtowers come down in west Belfast and south Armagh. Next they claim that speaking rights in the Dail for Sinn Fein's Westminster MPs are somehow in the offing.

Finally they produce the proverbial rabbit out of the hat with the Colombia Three.

Sinn Fein are, not to put too fine a point on it, taking the mickey, and the reaction from their opponents has been understandably affronted. Some Unionists seem to regard the pulling down of a few watchtowers as tantamount to a British withdrawal; those concerned with the erosion of democracy in the Republic followed RTE's Colombia Three scoop by running round like headless chickens desperately looking for a way to act tough.

There was talk of finding the men and rearresting them; of extraditing them back to South America; of making them serve their sentences in an Irish jail - though that wouldn't be much of a punishment if the holiday camp where Jerry McCabe's killers are being wined and dined at taxpayers' expense is anything to go by.

The furore was a mistake. An understandable one, but a mistake all the same. It was obvious pretty early on that there was little the Government could do about the Colombia Three, so making it appear as if it was a matter of urgency for the authorities to do something only made the eventual admission that they could do nothing all the more humiliating.

It turned a rather tawdry PR victory for Sinn Fein/IRA into a political coup.

It would be better to see all this for what it really is. The return of the Colombia Three; playing games with the decommissioning body; the manufactured controversy over speaking rights in the Dail - all these are just diversionary tactics to reassure the republican faithful that things are going their way, that it's still full steam ahead on the great struggle for Irish freedom.

They are morale-boosting stunts to a movement which knows at heart that the game is up. The IRA statement may have been less historic or definitive than it was portrayed by the media, but the IRA still ate dirt that day, hedged about as it may have been with rhetorical provisos and fancy language extolling the struggle.

By 4pm that day, the glorious 'volunteers' were instructed to do the political thing, which is what what they're now doing, more or less. They are showing the boys in south Armagh that, hey, politics can be fun too.

It's all rather pathetic. The people who once bombed Dowing Street and issued defiant threats about bringing the British to their knees are now reduced to playing hide and seek with the media over the whereabouts of a trio of low-rent fugitives, or else being calculatedly discourteous to a retired Canadian soldier like Gen de Chastelain to show him who's de man.

Well, we should let them have their fun while it lasts. If that's how they're going to get their kicks in future, good luck to them. The Colombia Three will certainly never have to buy a drink again as they tour the illegal drinking dens of Ireland. But they can't keep pulling little rabbits out of the hat to keep gullible Provos amused for ever.

They may sing rebel songs as the odd watchtower comes down, but sooner or later they'll realise that a handful of fallen watchtowers or a few troop reductions does not amount to a British withdrawal by any stretch of the imagination.

The IRA didn't even battle it out honourably for a score draw. They lost, which is why they're still subjects of 'The people who once bombed Dowing Street are reduced to playing hide and seek with the media over the whereabouts of a trio of low- rent fugitives'

Her Majesty the Queen - the ending of which status was the single objective with which they started out - and destined to remain that way for decades and decades, under constant probation, with every descent into criminality only extending their UK residency.

And the only way the republican movement can possibly salvage anything from the sordid and ugly saga that was their existence is if we stop reminding them of the fact of their defeat.

You don't play childish games like Sinn Fein have been doing recently when you're winning. You don't need to.

Eilis O'Hanlon


The Sound Of Silence

Peter Robinson MP, DUP claims the UUP hid the truth about the controversial issue of speaking rights in the Dail from the public for seven years

16 August 2005

The unionist community is more than fed up with the bickering of the UUP against the DUP. Unionists have noted the extent to which the UUP have preferred to attack the DUP than republicans. The unionist electorate have considered all their claims at recent elections and rejected both the UUP's claims and the UUP itself. However, while they continue to launch their buck-passing attacks on the DUP, we will continue to reply with the facts.

Despite being given the opportunity to admit the UUP's failure in relation to the issue of speaking rights in the Dail, Reg Empey can only point to a recent letter, sent seven years late, in his own defence. However, today I can reveal that this issue was discussed by pro-Agreement parties during the period of negotiations for the Belfast Agreement, and the necessary steps to deal with the matter commenced the very next day.

I previously pointed out that the UUP were silent on the issue, when it came to public attention in 2002 but, in fact, the UUP were aware of it as long ago as 1998 and stayed deliberately silent on the issue.

It is now apparent that while the unionist community as a whole were kept in the dark in 1998, the Ulster Unionist leadership were put on notice of what was being considered at the time and even asked to comment on it by the Dail Committee on the Constitution. The Committee's report specifically states that all the pro-Agreement parties were asked in writing to comment on the proposal. While we would not have expected the UUP to respond to the Irish Parliament, they should have blown the whistle on the proposals back in 1998 when the process got underway, rather than remaining silent at this crucial time. Their silence signalled consent.

David Trimble and Reg Empey chose to remain silent about the matter as it would have ensured the loss of their referendum campaign back in May of 1998. They hid these facts from the unionist community and now, when the plan is out in the open, they despicably try to suggest it has just emerged from talks last December in which the DUP were involved. This issue was never raised during any discussion on the Comprehensive Agreement. This issue has its roots firmly established in Reg Empey's back yard and has consciously, calculatingly, and intentionally, been hidden by the UUP from the public for seven years.

The Seventh progress report of the All Party Oireachtas Committee on the Constitution makes it clear that the Ulster Unionist Party was written to about the matter as far back as May 15, 1998.

Indeed, the entire process was initiated only one day after the Belfast Agreement was signed.

On Saturday April 11, 1998, Bertie Ahern wrote to the Chairman of the relevant committee asking him to act on the matter.

I have received information that the initiative to dispatch this issue to the committee arose from a side deal reached on the day of the Belfast Agreement. A commitment was given to Gerry Adams by Bertie Ahern.

The UUP may have been asleep at the wheel, or maybe did not care enough, but afterwards they engaged in a cover-up to make sure unionists would not learn about this matter.

Several versions of what the government of the Irish Republic propose to do have been aired. Every parliament can - and most do - set up committees which can meet with people outside its jurisdiction. In these circumstances, the people who meet the committee are its guests, giving their views or witnesses giving evidence. At the other end of the range is the proposal that those outside the state have an open invitation or right to attend, speak and, in some circumstances, vote in the parliament.

The Dublin Government should be put on notice of the consequences of going down the road that Sinn Fein is suggesting.

In the Irish Times (Thursday, August 4) Mr Adams is quoted as claiming: "The Taoiseach has given a commitment that MPs elected in the Six Counties will be able to speak in the Dail."

Mr Adams made it clear how he viewed this alleged commitment. He said: "As MP for West Belfast, I should have the same right to speak on the Rossport Five in Co Mayo, or homelessness in Dublin, or drug problems in Limerick as Michael McDowell or Dermot Ahern have to speak on issues in Belfast or Derry (sic)."

The legislature of a state can only be composed of the representatives of those who live in that state. To extend such a right in the Dail, as Mr Adams suggests, to representatives from Northern Ireland is tantamount to claiming at least de facto jurisdiction over Northern Ireland.

Disturbing the present constitutional balance with this proposal would be a short-sighted step with far-reaching and long-term consequences. The Government of the Irish Republic should be under no illusions about the consequences of proceeding with any plans to set up an all-Ireland parliamentary structure. Such a proposal will be seen as the Republic seeking to exercise control over Northern Ireland.

The territorial claim previously embodied in Articles 2 and 3 of the Irish constitution made a textual claim to Northern Ireland. Placing Northern Ireland representatives in the Dail would be a physical expansion of such a claim and, consequently, materially more divisive.

The Republic's constitutional claim frustrated co-operation with Northern Ireland for decades; this proposal would have a much greater impact. Forming the silhouette of an all-Ireland Parliament is simply not acceptable to the unionist community in Northern Ireland and makes a mockery of the Republic's own constitutional arrangements.

This proposal, as envisaged by Mr Adams, is contrary to the principle of consent. No agreement could be built around it.

Self-evidently, no unionist would have anything to do with such arrangements but, more significantly, it would jeopardise every other aspect of North/South co-operation.


Residents' Fury At DPP Meeting

Earlier start causes anger in east Belfast

By Jonathan McCambridge
16 August 2005

East Belfast residents have sounded their anger after it emerged that many will be deprived of the opportunity to quiz police chiefs at a public meeting.

The next meeting of the east Belfast sub-group of the District Policing Partnership (DPP) will take place next Wednesday - but locals have complained that the meeting will not take place in the evening as usual.

Previous meetings of the DPP have been heated, with police chiefs coming under fire for a series of strategic decisions in the area.

Senior officers have endured angry public sessions where they have been challenged by large crowds over their handling of parades in the east of the city as well as the riot at the Oval football ground earlier this year.

Next week the meetings of the west, south and north Belfast DPPs are all taking place at 7pm.

But the public meeting of the east Belfast DPP will take place for the first time in the morning at 10.30am in the Stormont Hotel.

Organisers of the meeting today insisted the decision to have the meeting in the morning was to give an opportunity to allow people to attend who may not be able to make it at night.

But Rev Mervyn Gibson said scores of people who wanted to discuss policing issues would now not be able to attend because of work commitments.

He said: "At previous meetings there have been large crowds turning up and the meetings have been fiery. Now, for some reason, they have decided to have the meeting in the morning.

"There will be a lot of people who can go to the meeting at night but who will not be able to go in the morning - it stands to reason that people will have work commitments.

"We keep being told that the police want more people to attend these meetings, but now it seems that it is being made more difficult for people to come along.

"People want to ask probing questions and this does not seem to send out the right message to me."

Jim Rodgers, chair of the east Belfast DPP, said he had been contacted by a number of angry residents, but said the decision to hold the meeting in the morning had been agreed by all the members of the partnership.

"We all talked about this and decided we would hold one meeting in the morning. No matter what time you have the meeting there will always be people it does not suit," he said.

"We are trying to accommodate everybody. I can understand people's frustrations but would ask them to be patient.

"It is important to stress that the police were not involved in the decision to have the meeting in the morning."


Water Tanker Bid To Ease Algae Problem

By Ashleigh Wallace
16 August 2005

Around 12,000 gallons of drinking water has been sent to south Armagh to alleviate problems with the water quality in hundreds of households.

Local residents complained to the Department of Regional Development's Water Service that their water, from the local reservoir, was contaminated with foul-smelling algae - forcing them to buy bottled water to drink and cook with.

However, Water Service staff spent yesterday delivering four 3,000 gallon tankers to south Armagh, and chief executive Katharine Bryan apologised to the residents affected.

She said: "The water is safe to drink but the taste and odours are as a result of excessive growth of algae in Lough Ross, which occurs with extended warm temperatures."

Ms Bryan said the Water Service has "stepped up" operational activities at the Carran Hill treatment works in a bid to reduce the effects of algae in raw water.

The measures include the constant scraping of sand filters and the installation of carbon filters, which Ms Bryan said should "significantly reduce the odour and taste problems within five days".

She added: "Indications are that the water leaving Carran Hill water treatment works is improving in terms of taste and odour. However, as a temporary measure, we will supply water in tankers to key sites."

The chief executive also advised residents to boil the water from the tankers before they use or drink it.

Welcoming the temporary measures, local MLA Danny Kennedy spoke of the "very serious problems" created by the outbreak of algae.

Mr Kennedy said: "The Water Service have confirmed to me that they are to provide water carriers for the distribution of water in Crossmaglen, Forkhill and Mullaghbawn but are still stressing that water should be boiled before consumption.

"The provision of clean water to the residents of south Armagh and the restoration of public confidence in the water system must be the Water Service's priority over the coming days."

Anyone with concerns is asked to call the Waterline on 08457 440088.


Experts Examine MRSA Pets 'Link'

Scientists are investigating possible links between the hospital superbug MRSA in pets and humans.

Experts said it was possible people were infecting pets, and vice-versa, after reports of cases in recent years.

The Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has set up a committee to look at MRSA in pets and livestock.

Dogs, cats, a rabbit and a horse have all known to have had MRSA in the UK, while livestock in the US, Ireland and Canada have developed the superbug.

The first reports of MRSA (methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureas) in animals came to light in 1972, but since 1999 there have been more frequent reports of animals having the superbug.

There is no reason why it cannot be passed from pet to pet and pet to human

Dr Donald Morrison, MRSA expert

So far, all animals in the UK which have had it have had the strain of MRSA which is seen in hospitals, rather than the strain seen in the community.

The British Veterinary Association estimates between 10 and 20 pets are found to carry the bug each year, but has warned the number was increasing.

It advises vets to take similar precautions as are carried out in hospitals, such as using sterile gloves, scrub suits and masks during operations.

A government committee of health experts was set up in January to look into the issue.


But Defra said: "The overall significance of the detection of MRSA in animals in relation to public health is not known."

MRSA has been linked to up to 1,000 human deaths a year, but there has been a recent downward trend in the number of infections seen.

Dr Donald Morrison, of the Scottish MRSA Reference Laboratory, said his centre had received reports of pets developing MRSA and was helping the government research the issue.

"So far it seems to be a case of the patient passing it on to the pet, but there is no reason why it cannot be passed from pet to pet, and pet to human.

"However, it is too early to draw any firm conclusions, we need to look into this further.

"What is interesting that all the cases seem to be the hospital strain, which is very good at surviving and spreading.

"As for livestock, again it is possible."

However, he said it was very unlikely MRSA would be passed on to humans from drinking cows' milk or eating meat.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/08/15 10:21:22 GMT


Festival Honors The Emerald Isle

The festival promotes Irish culture and heritage, an organizer said.

By Sean Barron
Vindicator Staff Writer

YOUNGSTOWN — Three-year-old Sarah Dollman had fun spending part of Sunday afternoon eating cotton candy, tossing a football, receiving an Irish tattoo and having a rainbow painted on her right cheek.

Complementing her attire was a shiny green necklace that contained letters forming the words "Kiss me. I'm Irish."

"We're having a blast here; it's really nice," Sarah's mother, Ann Dollman, said of the ninth annual The Gathering of the Irish Clans.

Sarah and her mother came from their Toledo home to attend the festival set up behind the Maronite Center, 1555 S. Meridian Road on Youngstown's West Side. The two-day event featured food, games, apparel, activities and entertainment and was designed to promote Irish culture and heritage in the Mahoning Valley.

Overcast skies, occasional light rain and the threat of thunderstorms did little to keep between 2,000 and 3,000 people from the tents and pavilions filled with Irish merchandise, food and music.

Varying hues of green were evident as people gathered to listen, clap and raise their hands to the piano and voice of Cahal Dunne, also known as "Ireland's Happy Man." Others seemed content to sit back, eat and just talk.

Among the items for sale were numerous T-shirts and sweat shirts, framed photographs of Ireland, a bleak (Irish teapot), paperweights, drums, coins and glass shamrocks.

Also on display were an Irish cultural suitcase and a showcase containing artifacts that people take into schools to educate pupils about Irish culture.

Food and games

Many people took advantage of a menu that included a corned beef platter, Irish stew, limerick potatoes, a banger sandwich (sausage and peppers) and a variety of desserts.

The festival also was set up with youngsters in mind, many of whom could be found in the Land of the Leprechauns area. There, kids chose activities that included crafts, face painting, an obstacle course, tossing plastic horseshoes, and a competition in which children tossed a football through a tire or kicked it between plastic goal posts.

Many kids broke into teams of two to six to take part in a scavenger hunt. The winning team received a gift basket, and about 100 bags with various treats were given to the participants.

Joyce Kale-Pesta, vice president of the 22-member Clans committee, said the festival's main purpose is to promote Irish culture and to allow children to know and better understand their ancestry. The festival, which used to last one day, expanded to two because of increased attendance and popularity, she added.

Kale-Pesta said many Irish people with little or no money came to the United States through Canada during the Irish famine of 1840 and that many were indentured servants. Many Irish "built themselves up" during the Industrial Revolution beginning in the early 1850s.

"We've come a long way from our ancestors," she said. "When we first came over, we weren't welcome in the U.S."

Irish organizations

Also at the festival were several members of the Mahoning County chapter of the Junior Hibernians, including Ashley Kale of Liberty. The group is made up of children age 6 to 18 who, among other things, perform fund-raisers and host parties to raise money for Holy Cross School in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

The group also sends Christmas cards to Holy Cross, and the Junior Hibernians correspond with pen pals, explained Ashley, 11. The school is trying to promote peace between Ireland's Protestants and Catholics.

Ann Dollman, who's also state president of the Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians, said her organization's functions include raising money for charities and supporting those who decide to become Catholic priests or nuns.

The Ladies AOH also hosts baby showers for single mothers and donates gifts every Christmas to the Sojourner House Domestic Violence Program.

"We want to give back to the community and have a little fun along the way," Dollman said.

Other committee members who helped organize The Gathering of the Irish Clans festival were Martin and Sally Pallante, Mary Jane Vennitti, Terry and Vickie Vickers, Robb Kale, Bessie Spangel, John Sheridan, Jim Dunn and Leo Jay.

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