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August 09, 2005

PSNI: Braced For More Loyalist Sectarian Attacks

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News about Ireland & the Irish

IO 08/09/05 PSNI Braced For More Loyalist Sectarian Attacks
DI 08/09/05 Family Wants Answers Re: PSNI Role In Feud
BB 08/09/05 Loyalists Protest At Town Parade
UT 08/09/05 Bombs Thrown At PSNI During Disturbances
SM 08/09/05 Trio Warned They Face Serving Time In Ireland
UT 08/09/05 No Request For Extradition Of Colombia Three
BT 08/09/05 Colombia Three: US Pressure Now Mounts
DJ 08/09/05 Colombia 3 Damage Peace Process- SDLP Ramsey
IT 08/10/05 SF's Crime Records Demand Criticised
DJ 08/09/05 Convicted Bombmaker Tells Of Priesthood Plans
ND 08/09/05 Greenore To Greencastle Ferry
IT 08/10/05 Radical Overhaul Of Tourism Promotion Ordered
IT 08/10/05 Ferry Company Fails To Have Rival Jailed
IT 08/10/05 Kenmare Hit By Smell From Sewage Plant
IT 08/10/05 Grandson: Neglect Of Connolly House 'Shameful'


Police Braced For More Sectarian Attacks
2005-08-09 17:10:07+01

Catholic families were handed fire blankets today in an
unprecedented move by police attempting to thwart sectarian
attacks by loyalist paramilitaries in Northern Ireland

The were distributed in the village of Ahoghill, near
Ballymena, Co Antrim, where several Catholic houses,
churches and pubs have been hit with pipe, petrol and paint

It is the first time police have take such action, but it
confirmed fears that the violence involving elements within
the Ulster Defence Association (UDA) could get worse.

Much of it has been linked to loyalist opposition to a
republican parade due to be held in Ballymena tonight.

But the scale of the anti-Catholic intimidation,
particularly in the predominantly Protestant north Antrim
area, is causing increasing concerns among police chiefs.

One Catholic woman who has lived in Ahoghill for more than
50 years was forced to leave last month after windows were
broken and her home smeared with paint.

The decision to hand out fire blankets was based on
intelligence there could be more attacks, police admitted.

But a spokesman also insisted: "It is purely a precaution
and we hope they never have to be used. The fact they have
been given out to some people does not mean they will be

Details of the new police action emerged just hours after a
Sinn Féin councillor accused loyalists of attempting to
kill him and his family after their home was petrol-bombed.

Dessie Ward was with his mother and young brother when the
house in Banbridge, Co Down, was attacked.

Nobody was hurt, but it signalled a widening of the
campaign of intimidation by paramilitaries.

Mr Ward, a member of Banbridge District Council, said he
had no doubt there had been an attempt to kill him and his
family and he urged Democratic Unionist Party leader Ian
Paisley to intervene in a bid to end the violence.

Mr Paisley is also MP for North Antrim, whose constituency
includes Ballymena.

Mr Ward said: "The DUP can no longer hide behind anti-
republican rhetoric as a tactic in avoiding their
responsibilities in ending this campaign of violence and


Family Wants Answers

by Ciarán Barnes
Published 09/08/2005

The PSNI's role in preventing attacks connected to the
ongoing loyalist feud has been called into question by the
relative of a man murdered by the Ulster Volunteer Force.

Nichola McIlvenny, whose cousin Craig McCausland was shot
dead on July 10, said that recent feud-related incidents
prove paramilitaries are acting with "impunity".

Ms McIlvenny wants to know why the UVF gang who killed her
cousin were able to carry out an attempted murder in the
same area 45 minutes later despite a considerable police

Questions have also been asked of the PSNI's role during a
UVF shooting on Sunday morning that has left a senior
loyalist fighting for his life in hospital.

Convicted drug dealer Lawrence 'Duffer' Kincaid was shot in
the chest at Glenside Park in north Belfast following a
confrontation between rival loyalists. Within seconds of
the shots being fired the PSNI arrived on the scene and
arrested four men.

Loyalist sources told Daily Ireland they believe the police
had prior knowledge of the confrontation.

The PSNI's failure to take any action against masked UVF
men, who over a 48-hour period forced six families out of
the Garnerville estate in east Belfast, has also been

As has detectives' failure to make any arrests in
connection with an attempted murder on Mr Kincaid two weeks
ago, despite forensic scientists finding DNA in his would-
be killers' getaway car.

Speaking yesterday to Daily Ireland, Ms McIlvenny said
incidents like these diminish the public's confidence in
the PSNI.

She said: "There is a reoccurring pattern here. The UVF are
acting with impunity, they seem to be able to do anything
they want.

"The PSNI doesn't seem to want to take any action against
the organisation. Too many questions are being left

Ms McIlvenny also revealed that despite promises the PSNI
has failed to put up posters around north Belfast appealing
for information on her cousin's murder.

According to loyalist sources, the PSNI's main reason for
not taking on the UVF is because the organisation is
riddled with police informers.

Respected human rights organisation, British Irish Rights
Watch, names the UVF's overall commander as a long time
informer in a report it has recently drafted on the 1997
UVF murder of Raymond McCord Jnr.

Progressive Unionist Party leader David Ervine, who gives
political advice to the UVF, makes the same claim about the
rival Loyalist Volunteer Force.

The east Belfast Assemblyman believes the LVF was created
by the British government to destabilise loyalism and that
many of its members are paid informers.

The latest feud between the UVF and LVF has resulted in the
deaths of Jameson Lockhart, Craig McCausland and Stephen
Paul. All three men were murdered by the UVF.

The LVF seriously wounded David Hanley in a gun attack as
he walked his dogs through north Belfast three weeks ago.

The 22-year-old, who is now blind, has no paramilitary

There has also been numerous gun, blast and petrol bomb
attacks on homes throughout Belfast.

Serious rioting occurred in the greater Shankill area of
the city over the weekend following the arrests of six men
in connection with the feud.

The PSNI fired 11 plastic bullets at rioters who hijacked
and burned vehicles.

Seven people have been charged with offences connected to
the feud. There have been 24 arrests and 87 property

The PSNI estimate it has spent more than £1 million (€1.4
million) policing the feud since it began on July 1.

Responding to criticism a spokesperson for the PSNI said it
was doing everything possible to bring the feud to an end.

North Belfast District Commander, Chief Superintendent Mike
Little also said: "Police are actively working to disrupt
the activities of those it is believed could be intent on
increasing fear and intimidation among local communities."


Loyalists Protest At Town Parade

Several hundred loyalists have staged a protest in
Ballymena over the first republican parade in the town.

Loyalists played Lambeg drums for several minutes in a
symbolic protest at the march which commemorates the
introduction of internment in 1971.

There was a stand off with police in riot gear before
protesters dispersed peacefully.

The Parades Commission had restricted the march to the
nationalist Fisherwick estate in the County Antrim Town.

Some stones were later thrown at the junction of Suffolk
and Sommerfield Streets in the town, but no-one was

Earlier, the local police chief said feelings were running
high over the parade.

Superintendent Terry Shevlin said: "There has been
considerable tensions in respect of this parade.

"The Parades Commission did make a determination
restricting the parade to Fisherwick Gardens. That
alleviated some of the tensions in the community.

"However, feelings are still running high about this very
first republican parade in the town."

Recent loyalist attacks on pubs and Catholic churches in
the area have been linked by police to the parade.

The SDLP had called for the parade to be called off, saying
both sides of the community are opposed to it.

Sinn Fein said it did not organise the parade and had also
urged those behind it to "choose the moral high ground" and
call it off.

Police increased patrols in and around Ballymena following
a number of attacks by loyalist paramilitaries in the area
last month.

Arsonists targeted a bar in Martinstown and the remains of
petrol bombs were found at a pub in Rasharkin.

Crebilly Catholic church on the outskirts of Ballymena and
All Saints Church on the Broughshane Road were daubed with
paint in the attacks.

The remains of a petrol bomb were found at the Glens Way
Tavern on the Glenravel Road in Martinstown.

Internment was a policy introduced by the British

On 9 August 1971, security forces attempted to arrest more
than 400 republicans in a dawn raid.

Three days of serious violence following the raids led to
23 deaths, but internment stayed in place until 1975.

The Parades Commission was set up in 1997 to make decisions
on whether or not restrictions should be imposed on
controversial parades during Northern Ireland's marching

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/08/09 21:17:41 GMT


Bombs Thrown At PSNI During Disturbances

Police say there have been serious disturbances in the
Meadowbrook estate in Craigavon, County Armagh today.

Petrol bombs were thrown after the trouble started as the
police escorted a family out of the estate.

Local people claim the PSNI were heavy-handed.


'Colombia Three' Warned They Face Serving Time In Ireland


THE Irish government is considering using domestic
legislation to allow the "Colombia Three" to serve their
prison sentences in Ireland.

The alleged IRA members unexpectedly appeared in Ireland
last week after eight months on the run from 17-year jail
terms handed down by Colombian courts for training rebels.

The Irish deputy premier, Mary Harney, last night warned
Niall Connolly, James Monaghan and Martin McCauley that
they "should not underestimate the government's
determination to explore all the options open to it to
ensure that Ireland continues to play its full part in the
fight against international terrorism".

She added that the three were "no friends of the [Northern
Ireland] peace process" and insisted that no deal had been
done with Sinn Fein on their return to Ireland before the
IRA's 28 July statement ending its armed campaign.

She said the Transfer of Execution of Sentences Bill, going
through the Dail, deals with situations where a person has
fled the state where they were convicted and has returned
to their state of nationality.

"It provides, in effect, for a person to serve here the
sentence imposed in the state from which that person has
fled," explained Ms Harney. It earlier emerged that Bogota
police had contacted Irish gardai about the men, but no
extradition has been sought yet.

The Irish premier, Bertie Ahern, has dispatched an
ambassador to meet the Colombian government "to set out the
Irish legal and political context" of the affair.

Last December, an appeal court in Colombia reversed an
original acquittal and sentenced the men to 17 years in
prison for training FARC guerrillas in urban terrorist

The trio were arrested at Bogota's El Dorado Airport in
August 2001 as they boarded a flight out of the country.


CIA World Factbook - Colombia

Colombian Army



No Request For Extradition Of Colombia Three

Bogota police have contacted Irish Garda on the Colombia
Three issue but no extradition has been sought yet, it
emerged today.

By:Press Association

Ireland`s Minister of State at the Justice Department,
Brian Lenihan said the Garda in the Republic of Ireland
must first decide if Niall Connolly, Martin McCauley and
James Monaghan had broken any Irish laws by entering the

The Taoiseach Bertie Ahern yesterday dispatched his Mexico-
based Ambassador to Colombia to meet the Colombian
government `to set out the Irish legal and political
context` of the affair.

Government sources today revealed that the Garda have been
in contact with Colombian police this morning to discuss
the matter.

Mr Lenihan said: "I understand an element of contact has
been made but there has been no request to date for an

"I think it`s important to appreciate that the Garda are
examining the position under Irish law because (if) any
question of extradition arises, the whole question of
whether any offence has been committed under Irish law has
to be considered in the first instance.

"And that`s an independent matter for the Garda and the
Director of Public Prosecutions."

Earlier, Irish government backbencher Noel Grealish said
the alleged IRA trio should serve out the 17-year prison
terms imposed by Colombian courts last December, in Irish

Last Friday the men plunged the Northern Ireland peace
process into difficulties and soured Irish relations with
Britain, Colombia and the US after they resurfaced in
Ireland following eight months on the run.

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams welcomed the return of the men
- just a week after the IRA`s statement ending its armed
campaign - and said they should now be `left in peace` with
their families.

Unionist politicians and Colombian authorities insist that
the trio should be immediately extradited to Bogota from
Ireland, but no such legal agreement exists between the

Last December an appeal court in Colombia reversed an
original acquittal and sentenced the men to 17 years in
prison for training FARC guerillas in urban terrorist

The trio were arrested at Bogota`s El Dorado Airport in
August 2001 as they boarded a flight out of the country.

Mr Grealish said today: "The three men are convicted of
criminal activity or wrongdoing in Colombia, and I think
they should serve their term in prison here in the Irish

"I don`t think they should return to Colombia. They have
broken the law and travelled on false passports," he added.

Mr Grealish`s Progressive Democrats party is the junior
partner of the Fianna Fail-led Coalition government.

Irish Justice Minister Michael McDowell, also a Progressive
Democrats member, is the harshest critic of Sinn Fein and
the IRA in the government.

Mr Grealish said that the re-emergence of the Colombia
Three was carefully orchestrated by Sinn Fein.

Jim Monaghan told RTE that the men had arrived "in the last
few days" and that he was happy to talk to the Garda.

Mr Grealish said: "I think this was all cleverly staged by
Sinn Fein and the Colombia Three.

"The timing was perfect because all government TDs, all
backbenchers, all Opposition TDs are on their summer
recess," he added.

Mr Lenihan added: "The Colombian authorities have not made
any formal extradition request yet so we have to await
that, and that matter can be dealt with by the courts.

"We have substantial legal powers to deal with terrorist
offences, and if they are required to be exercised, they
will be exercised."

The minister also criticised Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams
for welcoming home the Colombia Three even though their
appearance caused difficulties for the Northern Ireland
peace process.

"Mr Adams welcomed home these three individuals from
Colombia and of course their arrival at this point in the
peace process is deeply unhelpful.

"While he may have to welcome them home to a particular
constituency, he has the wider constituency of all of the
Irish people who are interested in seeing progress in the
peace process.

"The last time these gentlemen appeared in Colombia and
came to public notice, they caused a major disruption in
the peace process.

"Clearly the complex legal issues that have arisen as a
result of their arrival here will have to be examined as

"The gardai are now doing an examination of the issues
involved," he told RTE Radio.

Mr Lenihan reiterated that he was "absolutely certain" that
the release of the Colombia Three was not part of any
discussions between the Irish Government and Sinn Fein in
the lead up to the IRA`s July 28 statement ending its 36-
year armed campaign.


Colombia Three: US Pressure Now Mounts

By Gene McKenna
09 August 2005

The international fall-out from the Colombia Three
controversy was building today as Taoiseach Bertie Ahern
moved to shore up the Republic's relations with the UK and

Mr Ahern ordered a series of top-level meetings to ensure
that the Dublin government's position on the growing
controversy was fully understood.

Mr Ahern broke off his Kerry holiday and spent the day at
his desk in Government Buildings, where he met senior
officials to review developments.

He then instructed his officials to meet US Ambassador
James Kenny to spell out the legal and political context of
the position regarding the three men - James Monaghan,
Martin McCauley and Niall Connolly.

Earlier, Social Affairs Minister Seamus Brennan admitted
the affair had soured relations with the US.

"It doesn't do any good for our relationship with the
United States. We have major investment programmes here
with the US.

"We are not harbouring terrorists. We have a common law
system. It is entirely different," Mr Brennan said.

Following the officials' meeting with Mr Kenny, they also
had talks with the British charge d'affaires Ted Hallett,
while Mr Ahern also directed that the Irish ambassador to
Colombia - Mexico-based Art Agnew - should travel to Bogota
for discussions with the Colombian government within the
next few days.

Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny said: "It is very worrying, at
a time when the threat of international terrorism is a very
real one, that the government appears to have an ambivalent
attitude to the reappearance of three convicted terrorists
in our country.

"This sends out the wrong signals to the international
community at a critical time. We need to know the
instructions given by the government to the Irish
ambassador travelling to Bogota."

He warned that if Mr Ahern did not pursue "all possible
means" of ensuring justice was done, Ireland's
international reputation would be damaged and "the
suspicions of those who fear that the return of these
terrorists was part of a secret deal between the government
and Sinn Fein or the IRA will be heightened".


Return Of 'Colombia 3' Has Damaged Peace Process Says
SDLP's Pat Ramsey

Tuesday 9th August 2005

SDLP Assembly member for Foyle Pat Ramsey has said that the
return of the 'Colombia Three' has caused 'huge damage' to
the peace process.

Niall Connolly, Martin McCauley and James Monaghan were
sentenced to 17 years in jail for training rebels but
vanished in December while on bail.

The men, who had been accused of being IRA members, were
arrested in Bogota in August 2001. They were found guilty
of travelling on false passports, in June 2004, but were
acquitted of training Revolutionary Armed Forces of
Colombia (Farc) guerrillas.

The three have now returned to the Irish Republic and
Colombia wants them to be extradited.

"It is clear as day that these men were up to no good and
were in a place they should not have been. Sinn Fein's
refusal to come clean only damages the peace process and
further damages trust" Mr. Ramsey said.

"Whatever happens these men will not be celebrated by
democratic nationalists on the island. They were clearly up
to no good and not for the first time their reckless
actions and Sinn Fein's cover up have damaged the peace
process and made it harder to get the Good Friday Agreement
up and running again. In fact it makes you wonder if Sinn
Fein are serious about getting devolution back at all."

Jim Monaghan, interviewed by RTE at a secret location,
denied that any deal had been done with the British or
Irish governments following the IRA's statement last week
in which it said it was ending its campaign of violence.

He said he did not consider himself to be "on the run" and
would not be hiding from Irish police.

Monaghan would not say how the three men got back to the
Republic of Ireland, but that they had got "a lot of help
from a lot of people" and that he would not endanger them.

He said he hoped the Irish government would not place any
obstacles in the way of the three men staying in the
country, adding it would be "very remiss to send anyone
back to Colombia".

In a statement released on Friday a Northern Ireland Office
spokesperson said: "We have only just become aware of the
presence of these men in the Republic of Ireland. That is a
matter for the Irish authorities. If they enter the United
Kingdom, any extradition request will be dealt with without

However, Sinn Fein's Gerry Adams has said the three
republicans should not be extradited.

Mr. Adams said their return had not damaged the political
process and the men should be allowed to stay.

Colombia's vice-president said Irish authorities had a
"legal and moral obligation" to return the republicans and
the Colombian police are believed to be preparing an
extradition warrant for the trio.

Currently, the two countries do not have an extradition


SF's Crime Records Demand Criticised

Frank Millar, London Editor

The SDLP has warned that Sinn Féin demands for the
criminal records of IRA members to be erased would open the
door for loyalist and republican paramilitaries to join the
Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI).

The Irish Times has also learned that in negotiations with
the British government, the SDLP is strongly resisting what
it says is a Sinn Féin demand for the funding of
"restorative justice schemes" which the SDLP fears are
intended to operate independently of the PSNI and outside
Northern Ireland's criminal justice system.

SDLP sources have told British officials and Taoiseach
Bertie Ahern that they believe the proposal is intended to
increase the IRA's control of republican and nationalist
areas in the North.

The issue is now expected to top the agenda in talks
between party leader Mark Durkan and British prime minister
Tony Blair, scheduled for next month.

SDLP justice spokesman Alban Maginnis yesterday criticised
Sinn Féin's demands to erase paramilitary records of IRA
men as reckless, dangerous and self-serving.

"Sinn Féin in negotiations is pressing again for the
criminal records of IRA men to be erased so they can join
the PSNI," he said.

"This is something Sinn Féin have been seeking for years
now. It is a reckless, dangerous and self-serving stance.
The SDLP has consistently argued that people who have been
involved in serious crime should not be allowed in the
PSNI. Patten agreed.

"Sinn Féin's stance - which goes against Patten - would
open the doors for loyalist and republican paramilitaries
to join the police."

Mr Maginnis said the SDLP had negotiated that the police
ombudsman could investigate past wrongdoing by police
officers. "That has been vital to weed out human rights
abuse," he said. "But how could it continue if at the same
time, loyalist and republican paramilitaries involved in
murder were let into the police?

"This is not what nationalists want. Nationalists have
argued for the rule of law, not for rule by police killers
or paramilitary killers."

Mr Maginnis concluded: "Yet again, Sinn Féin are putting
their own wants ahead of the needs of the nationalist
community. That's nothing new. It happened in the McCartney
killing. It happened with the campaign to release the
killers of Garda McCabe. It happened over the Colombia 3.
It is happening now."

© The Irish Times


Convicted Bombmaker Tells Of Priesthood Plans

Tuesday 9th August 2005

Convicted IRA bombmaker Shane Paul O'Doherty has been
speaking about his decision to train for the priesthood at
a Dublin seminary.

The Derry man received 30 life sentences in the 1970s for
his part in an IRA letter-bombing campaign in Northern
Ireland and Britain.

He turned his back on terrorism after being released in
1989, and he is now studying theology at St. Patrick's
College in Maynooth.

Indeed, if all goes well, he could be ordained within six

The 50-year-old, in an interview with the "Boston Globe"
newspaper, says becoming a priest, with five to seven years
of intense study and soul-searching, is to him the
"logical, spiritual conclusion of his odyssey". It is
something he refers to as "my journey through the largely
unknown, praying for the three gifts I have never had:
humility, patience, and gentleness."

The "Boston Globe" article reveals that one of O'Doherty's
IRA bombs injured Reginald Maudling, the British Cabinet
member in charge of security on Bloody Sunday.

He also sent a bomb to Bishop Gerard Tickle, the Roman
Catholic chaplain to the British Army, after reading a
newspaper story quoting Tickle as saying British soldiers
did nothing wrong on Bloody Sunday. The bomb, stuffed into
a hollowed-out Bible, failed to detonate.

Other bombs sent by him exploded at the London Stock
Exchange, the Bank of England, and at a government

The newspaper article points to the bomb sent to Bishop
Tickle as something that could stymie his hopes of becoming
a priest.

The feature quotes Thomas Groome, an Irish-born theologian
at Boston College, who explains that canon law forbids
anyone who has killed or tried to kill an ordained cleric
in the Catholic Church from becoming a priest.

Such a sacrilege requires dispensation at the highest
levels of the Church. "Technically, only the Pope can
forgive this," says Groome, a former priest.

The "Globe" article reports that with the support of both
retired Bishop of Derry, Dr. Edward Daly, and Diarmuid
Martin, the Archbishop of Dublin, O'Doherty was accepted
into St. Patrick's College.

The story also also quotes Rev. Kevin Doran, who recruits
candidates for the priesthood for the Dublin Archdiocese,
who says the Derry man was accepted last year with the
understanding that neither he nor anyone in the Church
would publicly discuss his story during his study for the


Greenore To Greencastle Ferry

THE proposed ferry from Greencastle to Greenore looks set
to be anything but smooth sailing.

Residents from the idyllic small town of Greencastle have
vowed to fight the ferry every step of the way.

The ferry has been hailed in some quarters as the salvation
of the local tourism industry, but that's not what the
local residents are saying.

They say that the ferry will cause untold damage to the
local environment, the traffic infrastructure and is
nothing more than a "white elephant."

The residents are so incensed by the prospect of the ferry
being made a reality that they have vowed to fight it every
step of the way.

The Democrat spoke to Eoin Lawless of Greencastle Area
Residents Group who explained why the ferry would have
"catastrophic consequences for the area."

He said that similar proposals crop up every couple of
years; the last time was in 1999 when it was "repelled by
the residents."

He lashed out at Newry Dundalk Joint Chamber Forum, the
driving force behind the project, who in a report had said
the resident's group only represents a small minority.

"This simply isn't true, we held a survey a few weeks ago
and it was found that over 90 per cent of the local
residents are firmly behind the no campaign. "This is not a
small minority, this is a staunch and strong majority." The
group is not alone in their opposition to the ferry. Both
Catriona Ruane and Martin Connolly of Sinn Fein have
expressed their opposition to the ferry as has the DUP's
Jim Wells. "We also know that the people of Greenore feel
the same." The Group are also displeased with the
consultation process. "We've had the Mourne Heritage Trust
come out and say that the consultation process is being
rushed through." A public meeting was held in the
Carrickdale Hotel on June 28, which saw those opposed to
the ferry making their voices heard. "We were told at that
meeting that we had three days to let our opinions be

"This was totally unacceptable but they did agree to extend
that to a month." Mr Lawless said that one of the main
problems is that the traffic infrastructure just isn't in
place to cope with the ferry. "It's a very narrow road,
it's impassable as it is when you have a lorry and a car on
either side."

He predicted that the ferry would result in utter chaos on
the local roads, and would change the way of life for the
people of Greencastle. He said the extra volume of traffic
would play havoc with the rural tranquillity of the area.
"We have farmers here with dairy herds of over 100 sheep, I
know it doesn't sound much but if heavy traffic met them
then there could traffic queues of up to 20 minutes long."
Another bone of contention was the construction work that
would be required.

"They will need to build a slip-way to the water, a
servicing area and a car park for at least 40 cars maybe
more in peak season. "This would be catastrophic for such a
lovely, picturesque area." He said there is a real danger
that the project will flop and that the people of
Greencastle will be left with a "white elephant sitting on
their doorstep."

The stance of the residents is a stark contrast to those
who feel the project will give a much-needed shot in the
arm to the cross-border economy. Councillor Jackie
Patterson, a former Chairman of the East Border Region
Committee, said his only concern was that the mooted ferry
service wouldn't usurp plans for a bridge from Narrow Water
to Omeath. He added that if the ferry service did go ahead
there was no reason why it couldn't boost the local economy
in Greencastle. You just have to look at what happened in
County Clare with the ferry there. "The residents didn't
want it, but once it was up and running they couldn't do
without it. "It boosted the tourism industry and they
profited with the likes of bed and breakfasts. "The same
thing could be applied here." He did specify though that if
it came down to a choice between a bridge or a ferry
service he would opt for the bridge option.

"The Omeath Road is not fit for heavy vehicles, you just
have to look at the damage that has been caused to the
infrastructure of the canal banks. "It's essential for the
future of the area that trade between the North and South
is able to flow freely."

A source close to the project said that everything is ready
to proceed and the only stumbling block is the resident's

"On economic and infrastructural grounds everything is

"The Shannon Ferry Group, who provide the service in Clare,
is prepared to offer the service."


Radical Overhaul Of Tourism Promotion Ordered

The Government has responded to a steep decline in
tourism outside Dublin by ordering a major revamp of the
way it promotes Ireland to foreign visitors, writes Paul

The plan will see regional tourism bodies stripped of their
administrative and marketing functions, which will
henceforth be carried out centrally by Fáilte Ireland,
formerly Bord Fáilte.

Some of the 68 tourist information offices around the State
may be scaled down or even closed, under the changes
approved recently by Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism
John O'Donoghue.

The Minister has instructed Fáilte Ireland to implement the
changes recommended in a PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC)
report on regional tourism structures, The Irish Times has

As part of a major cost-cutting exercise, outlets and
offices run by regional tourism bodies will be subsumed
into Fáilte Ireland's operations. The regional bodies will
retain a "strategic" role in the design of new tourism

With tourism revenue stagnant and Ireland facing increasing
competition from other holiday destinations, Mr O'Donoghue
has accepted his consultants' proposals for radical
restructuring of the industry.

Fáilte Ireland has begun putting in place an expert group
to implement the proposals over the next year. "The
proposed new arrangements will enhance the delivery of
tourism policy and will better service both visitor
requirements and the needs of the industry," a spokesman
for Mr O'Donoghue said yesterday.

The decision was made in the teeth of strong opposition
from some regional tourism bodies who were opposed to any
removal of their functions. In May head of Dublin Tourism
Frank Magee told a Dáil committee the changes were
"nonsensical" and claimed the PWC report was "riddled with

Mr O'Donoghue insisted yesterday he had taken into account
the views of tourism agencies, both national and regional,
and of the industry generally.

This year is expected to be another testing one for
tourism, with industry sources reporting static visitor
numbers in the early part of the year. The overall figures
mask a dramatic decline in traditional tourist
destinations, particularly along the western seaboard.

The Irish Tourist Industry Confederation says demand from
tourists for accommodation outside the capital fell 14 per
cent between 1999 and 2003. Bed nights fell 22 per cent in
the west and 39 per cent in the Shannon region. This fall
was almost offset by an increase in bed nights in Dublin,
but tourism sources say the decline in the west has
continued this year.

The PWC report questioned whether existing structures were
meeting the needs of modern tourists. It criticised tourist
information offices for confining their role to the
provision of information with "little consideration" given
to their future or to changing visitor requirements.

The offices failed to operate in a cohesive and integrated
network and their location was dictated by "local political
considerations" rather than visitor patterns or needs. Only
10 of the 68 offices make a profit. The report also
criticised a lack of marketing focus from the regional
tourism authorities. It said this has led to "significant
fragmentation" of effort with marketing expenditure spread
very thinly across a large number of promotional

"Successful reversal of the declining visitor numbers to
the regions will only be achieved when the enterprise base
is sufficiently strong and mature [ to] provide world-
class, competitive products and services and market them
appropriately," the report advised.

The €3.5 million a year spent by regional tourism
authorities will henceforth be amalgamated with Fáilte
Ireland's €10 million annual spend on marketing of home
holidays and other tourism products.

Although the number of trips made to Ireland in the first
three months of the year was up 6 per cent, the number of
North American visitors was down. Visitors tend to come for
shorter trips and more money is spent on attracting them
than before.

© The Irish Times


Ferry Company Fails To Have Rival Jailed Over Competing

Gordon Deegan

A director of a Doolin, Co Clare, ferry company has
successfully fought off attempts by a rival firm to have
him jailed.

In the feud between ferry rivals, Judge Carroll Moran ruled
that Kevin O'Brien of Doolin Aran Ferries breached a court
order aimed at ending the continuing standoff at Doolin,
which acts as the Co Clare gateway to the Aran Islands.

However, Judge Moran said the breach of the order was not
to the extent that it warranted finding Mr O'Brien in
contempt that would result in imprisonment.

After hearing 7½ hours of evidence in Ennis Circuit Court,
the exasperated judge asked the parties: "When is all this
going to stop? This is the third time that the case has
come before me, and I don't want to see this coming before
me again."

Judge Moran criticised the "perpetual litigation and the
perpetual surveillance being used by parties in the dispute
in anticipation of future litigation.

"Then there is the amount of time and money wasted in this
and the stress on both sides in hoping to get the advantage
on the other."

Judge Moran - who visited Doolin harbour during the
proceedings - said: "There is no black and white in this.
There is a large amount of grey and there is a lot of fault
on both sides."

The case was being heard in response to proceedings brought
by Aran Islands Fast Ferries, claiming that Mr O'Brien had
once more breached the order.

Judge Moran said he was fairly happy that Kevin O'Brien was
in breach of the order, including Mr O'Brien taking photos
of bicycles being loaded on to a boat operated by rival

Last year Mr O'Brien and Bill O'Brien were jailed for one
night by Judge Moran after being found in contempt of the
court order, which restrains the two from threatening or
assaulting AIFF staff, while it also put in place an
exclusion zone around the offices of both companies, which
are only 18 metres apart.

In his ruling, however, Judge Moran accepted the evidence
of Bill O'Brien about an incident at the pier earlier this
year, finding that ticket sales manager with AIFF, John
Lawless, had been triumphalist in front of passengers over
the jailing of the two O'Briens last year.

Concluding, Judge Moran said: "The last thing I want out of
this is any party to feel that they are a winner.

"The one good bit to come of this is evidence from gardaí
that there is far less disquiet at the pier than in
previous years, and the gravity of the allegations is less
serious than last year's."

© The Irish Times


Kenmare Hit By Smell From Sewage Plant

Anne Lucey

Kerry County Council yesterday apologised to the people
of Kenmare for the overpowering smell from the sewage
treatment plant which has engulfed the heritage town at
regular intervals over the past few weeks.

The town is a former winner of the Tidiest Town
competition. It boasts a number of top hotels and award-
winning restaurants, including the five-star Kenmare Park
and the Sheen Falls Hotel, the only hotel in the State to
make it into the top 100 in Travel and Leisure magazine
"world's best hotels".

But in recent weeks, an overpowering stench of raw sewage
has sent tourists out of town. The smell has also hit the
lucrative Kenmare property market.

One of the town's gateway websites aimed directly at
retirees, highlights "no crime, no pollution, clean air and

Hundreds of houses have been built and sold to retirees and
the town now enjoys the largest population of over-65s in
the country. Thousands more houses are planned.

Auctioneer Mark Daly said he was showing a property in the
Market Street area, when he and his client were suddenly
overpowered by the smell. It was making it difficult to
sell houses.

Senior official with the council's water services
department, Ger McNamara, said both aerators in the town's
10-year-old sewage treatment plant had ceased working
suddenly. The machines agitated the sewage to allow air
into it enabling the "bugs" to do their work, eating up the
sewage and its smells, he said.

The council was now trying to get the equipment repaired
and were hoping to have an alternative aerator by today.
"We apologise to the people of Kenmare," Mr McNamara said.

© The Irish Times


Grandson Terms Neglect Of Connolly House 'Shameful'

Ruadhán Mac Eoin

The grandson of James Connolly has expressed concern at
the condition of No 16 Moore Street, the final headquarters
of the provisional government during the Easter Rising in

John Connolly yesterday described the neglect of the house
as "shameful" and said that, despite commitments to
preserve the building, it was falling apart before his very

Mr Connolly, who lives in Bray, Co Wicklow, and who owns a
welding and engineering company, said he has observed that
the building is missing a substantial number of roof
slates, which he fears is leaving the interior exposed to
the elements.

During Easter Week 1916 the house was where the wounded
James Connolly, Pádraig Pearse and others, including Seán
MacDermott, Thomas Clarke and Joseph Plunkett, made the
decision to surrender on Easter Saturday.

Two years ago a high-profile campaign was started by the
National Graves Association, the Academy for Heritage,
historian Tim Pat Coogan and others including lord mayor
Dermot Lacey, to save the building after it was earmarked
for demolition.

Shortly after Dublin City Council agreed that the building
be "retained and incorporated into the planned
regeneration" of the area and be developed as a public
information and education centre.

The present Dublin City Development Plan proposes that No
16 Moore Street be converted into a museum, which would be
owned, run and administered by Dublin City Council.

"It is an objective of Dublin City Council to preserve No
16 Moore Street as a commemorative centre marking the
events of 1916", according to the plan.

The building is in the middle of the site originally
earmarked for redevelopment by the Carlton Group as part of
the O'Connell Street area regeneration programme.

However, the plan to develop the former Carlton Cinema
through to Moore Street failed to materialise, and the
scheme and the sites are locked in legal wrangles.

In December 2001, Dublin City Council initiated compulsory
purchase proceedings, but a judgment by the High Court in
favour of the council is now being appealed to the Supreme
Court by one of the former partners of the Carlton Group.

Last May in a Dáil reply, Minister for the Environment Dick
Roche said that, despite the provisions made by Dublin City
Council, No 16 Moore Street "is not currently included in
Dublin City Council's record of protected structures".

Chairman of the antiquities and national monuments
committee of An Taisce Dr Mark Clinton said yesterday that
the situation was "simply not good enough".

"It does not matter that a local authority may have good
intentions if they are incapable for whatever local
reason," he said. "If a building is of such national
significance then surely it must be a priority for a
national heritage protection agency to step in."

A spokesperson for Dublin City Council said yesterday
although the building is not listed to be protected for its
architecutre, it is listed to be preserved arising from its
historical significance.

A public meeting on the future of the building has been
convened by An Taisce for 3pm next Sunday at Tailors Hall,
close to Christ Church.

© The Irish Times

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