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September 17, 2005

Adams Urges US To Remain Engaged

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News about Ireland & the Irish

SF 09/16/05 Gerry Adams Urges US To Remain Engaged
IT 09/17/05 Ahern, Clinton Discuss NI Developments
IT 09/17/05 Parties Condemn Unionist Boycott Of Police Body
BB 09/16/05 Investors 'Avoid Rioting Belfast'
BB 09/16/05 Priest Postpones Cemetery Sunday
IT 09/17/05 No Place In Ireland For Sectarianism - Ahern
UN 09/16/05 IRA To Give Up Arms By Next Week
IT 09/17/05 16-Year Jail Term For Sectarian Murder Attempt
BT 09/16/05 Peter Hain: Peace Is The Answer
TC 09/16/05 Robert D. Novak: Santorum Defense League
IT 09/17/05 Son Who Can't Come Home: Mother’s Long Absence


Gerry Adams Urges US To Remain Engaged As Efforts Intensify
To Advance The Peace Process

Published: 16 September, 2005

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams MP who is on a four day
trip to the United States has briefed members of Congress
including Senator Hillary Clinton in Washington DC. He also
met with the State Department. In his briefings in
Washington, Mr. Adams outlined the background to the IRA's
recent historic decision to end its armed campaign and
expressed his confidence that the IRA leadership will
honour its commitments, including that of engaging with the
IICD and putting its weapons beyond use.

The Sinn Féin President commended the White House
Administration and all those US politicians who have
contributed to recent developments through their support
for the peace process. And he urged the US to "remain
engaged in the time ahead as efforts intensify to advance
the process." Mr. Adams also spoke at length about the
current crisis within Unionism, the intensification over
the summer months of sectarian attacks on Catholics and the
street disturbances involving the Orange Order and unionist
paramilitaries. He called on all those with influence to
intervene to ensure that sectarian attacks are ended.

Mr Adams is travelling to New York where he will be a guest
speaker at the inaugural meeting of the Clinton Global
Initiative which coincides with and complements the
Millennium Summit of the UN General Assembly.

Mr. Adams said:

"The Six Counties was built on injustice, inequality and
discrimination against Catholics and Nationalists. This is
recognised in the Good Friday Agreement and the formidable
agenda for fundamental change which it contains. And it is
both a fear of change and desire to dominate which lies at
the heart of the crisis within unionism. The outworking of
this crisis can be seen in the hundreds of attacks on
Catholics, their homes, churches, schools and property.

"Unionist political leaders have contributed to this by
their refusal to accept the rights and entitlement of
nationalists and the democratic mandate of Sinn Féin and in
the bad leadership which they have provided.

"This is not entirely surprising. People, including
politicians, respond to the political conditions in which
they live. In the north of Ireland, these conditions have
been shaped by the policies pursued by successive British
governments, which have reinforced unionists intransigence
time and time again. While Irish Republicans will do all we
can to assuage genuine unionist fears and open a dialogue
with unionist leaders this cannot be a one way street.
Unionist leaders need to reciprocate. The British and Irish
Governments also need to play their part. They need to stop
pandering to unionism and to move forward speedily and
fulfil their commitment to implement all aspects of the
Good Friday Agreement.

"For my part as the process moves ahead I look forward to
the engagement between Sinn Fein and unionism, including
the DUP. Sinn Féin is ready for these discussions and up
for the challenges they will involve. I hope the DUP and
Ian Paisley are similarly prepared." ENDS


Ahern, Clinton Discuss NI Developments

Seán O'Driscoll, in New York

Taoiseach Bertie Ahern discussed loyalist violence and
development issues with former US president Bill Clinton in
New York yesterday.

The men met at the Clinton Global Initiative, Mr Clinton's
conference designed to bring world leaders together to
discuss Aids, global warming and other international

Later, Mr Clinton was due to have a separate meeting with
Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams.

At a meeting before the Taoiseach flew to Newfoundland to
meet Irish cultural groups, Mr Clinton asked about the
recent loyalist violence in Northern Ireland as well as
decommissioning and the IRA's July statement that it would
pursue exclusively peaceful means.

Mr Clinton expressed his gratitude for the Government's
announcement this week that it would increase foreign aid
to 0.7 per cent of GNP by 2012, and for Ireland's
contribution to Mr Clinton's own African Aids programme.

Mr Adams and former Clinton secretary of state Madeleine
Albright were later the chief speakers at a session at the
conference on the role of religion in global conflict.

The conference is designed to highlight issues raised at
the UN General Assembly summit also taking place in New
York this week. Mr Clinton wants each participant at his
conference to make a pledge to do one effective action to
help the world.

Others who have attended the Clinton conference include US
secretary of state Condoleezza Rice; British prime minister
Tony Blair; UN secretary general Kofi Annan; King Abdullah
II of Jordan; and billionaire financier George Soros.

Participants are paying $15,000 each, but the fee is waived
for key figures who were invited by President Clinton.

Yesterday the conference also discussed Islam's
relationship with the West, with a talk from Elizabeth
Cheney, daughter of Vice-President Dick Cheney. Ms Cheney
works on Middle Eastern policy in the US government.

Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria and Viktor
Yushchenko of Ukraine were also expected to attend, along
with World Bank chief Paul Wolfowitz.

© The Irish Times


Parties Condemn Unionist Boycott Of Police Body

Dan Keenan, Northern News Editor

The most senior PSNI officer in Belfast, the SDLP and
Alliance have all criticised unionists for their boycott of
the city's policing consultation body.

The unionists quit the District Policing Partnership, which
gives local representatives an input into local policing
decisions, amid fury over the PSNI's handling of loyalist
street violence this week.

Cllrs Robin Newton, Elaine McMillan and Ruth Patterson of
the DUP; Ulster Unionists David Brown and Jim Rodgers;
Independent Unionist Frank McCoubrey; and Hugh Smyth of the
Progressive Unionist Party all took the action.

Sectarian tension grew as standoffs and roadblocks
continued for a fifth day yesterday following last
weekend's rerouted Orange parade in the city which prompted
widespread violence.

Sir Reg Empey, the Ulster Unionist leader, called for an
end to the protests which, he said, were counterproductive.

"I'm appealing for an end to this," he said. "Allow the
politicians to pursue the agenda of getting improvements to
these areas, getting peace to these areas. Government is
not going to focus on that while this disorder continues."

Assistant Chief Constable Duncan McCausland responded to
the boycott, by saying: "There is some evidence of others
working hard to help end it. However, all we are hearing
from some quarters is abdication of responsibility and
accusations of blame.

"I am disappointed that some feel they must disengage from
District Policing Partnership. I can give my commitment to
local communities that my officers will continue to engage
with these forums to help make communities safer."

SDLP leader Mark Durkan also denounced the unionists' move.

"Clearly the UUP and DUP prefer to work with gunmen than
the police," the Foyle MP said. "They prefer to work with
people who shoot at the police than with the men and women
whose job it is to enforce the law."

Minister for Foreign Affairs Dermot Ahern pressed Sinn Féin
to back the PSNI which, he said, had protected the Catholic
community during a week of violence.

"Sinn Féin now have a duty to join with the SDLP in making
the PSNI accountable to nationalist communities through the
Policing Board and to press for the full implementation of
the Patten Report," he said. "I would also strongly urge
unionist leaders to maintain their full support for the
structures of policing."

Loyalists are to stage a rally to Belfast City Hall next
month in protest at British plans to axe the Royal Irish
Regiment and other moves following the IRA's declaration in
July that its campaign was over.

© The Irish Times


Investors 'Avoid Rioting Belfast'

Two potential overseas investors have postponed trips to
Belfast this week because of the recent violence, the BBC
has learned.

The disclosure came as the tourist industry warned of
widespread cancellations in hotels.

Conference organisers have expressed concern about coming
to NI.

Hotels' Federation's Janice Gault said: "We have a big
conference in town which has expressed difficulties in both
delegates and with their speakers."

She added: "We have also people saying that dinners this
weekend have been reduced by up to a third - which is a
significant amount of the clientele who would be attending.

"Longer term, hoteliers have expressed real concern about
October - which already was quite a soft month.

"Also the following year - people already have begun to put
conferences in difficulty and saying that maybe Belfast
isn't the best location to come to."

The business community is worried that the two potential
investors who have decided against visiting the city this
week could not come back.

Deirdre Stewart of the Confederation of British Industry
said: "At the end of the day, we need all of the jobs we
can get.

"This isn't helping... we need more private sector
investment - everyone can't work in the public sector and
this is making it more difficult to get the jobs that we

Of more concern to the business community is the ripple
effect that this week's trouble could have and the longer
it goes on, the greater the ripple.

At St George's Market in Belfast on Friday it looked to be
business as usual - but some stall holders said trade was a
little down.

For those with permanent premises in Belfast it has been a
quiet week.

David Moore of Aunt Sandra's Candy Factory said: "Our trade
is down and there are less people visiting the shop.

"Girl guides were due to visit our factory, but they have
cancelled and want to re-book in a few weeks' time when
things have settled down."

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/09/16 18:09:45 GMT


Priest Postpones Cemetery Sunday

A Catholic blessing ceremony due to take place at a
Newtownabbey cemetery this Sunday has been postponed.

The annual event at Carnmoney graveyard has been the focus
of loyalist paramilitary threats in the past.

Father Dan Whyte of Saint Bernard's church said he hoped to
hold the event next month.

"Quite frankly, in view of the current unrest I am
unwilling to invite large numbers of people to come out
into a public place," he said.

He added: "I am taking advice from people whose judgement I
would value.

"This decision is one that has been taken absolutely
freely... as opposed to previous years when we had to put
up with a series of threats and intimidation over Cemetery
Sunday at Carnmoney."

Fr Whyte said the parish was "under no threat, either
veiled or otherwise".

"This free decision is based on our commitment to community
forgiveness, reconciliation and peace.

"We hope this gesture to postpone will be seen and
interpreted in the spirit in which it was made."

The graveyard has been attacked on several oocasions and
headstones smashed.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/09/16 19:49:49 GMT


No Place In Ireland For Sectarianism, Says Ahern

Deaglán de Bréadún, Foreign Affairs Correspondent, in New

There could be no place for sectarianism in Ireland in
the 21st century, Minister for Foreign Affairs Dermot Ahern
told the National Committee on American Foreign Policy in
New York yesterday.

Condemning loyalist violence, he said: "In Antrim Catholic
families living in small communities have been attacked and
intimidated for no other reason than that they are

Calling on Sinn Féin to join the Policing Boards, he said
the Police Service of Northern Ireland stood squarely
between nationalist communities and loyalist attacks last

He added: "Sinn Féin now have a duty to join with the SDLP
in making the PSNI accountable to nationalist communities
through the Policing Boards and to press for the full
implementation of Patten .

"In recent weeks our streets have been revisited by scenes
of violence and intimidation that we hoped we had put
behind us. For more than three decades working-class
communities have borne the brunt of violence, their young
manipulated by paramilitary elites, sent on to the streets
to be brutalised and radicalised. And it is clear now that
this is still happening.

"Many of you will have seen the scenes in Belfast last
weekend - cars and streets set alight, police attacked with
bullets and petrol bombs, whole districts given over to
anarchy and lawlessness.

"Last week, in advance of the parade, I visited some of the
affected areas and spoke to community leaders. At the
weekend, during the riots I was in contact with people on
the ground - on Isadore Street, on the Springfield Road and

"Next week I hope to return and meet some of those who
suffered most. Because it is important that we stand with
these people.

"A key remaining step to complete the policing project is
for Sinn Féin to support the new policing arrangements.
This must include participation in the new policing
structures. It must also include a willingness to encourage
their supporters to join the police service."

He added: "I would also strongly urge unionist leaders to
maintain their full support for the structures of

Stressing the urgency of dealing with loyalist
paramilitarism, the Minister said: "In addition to all
necessary and appropriate actions by the PSNI, all
political and community leaders, particularly those from
within the unionist community, must use their influence to
bring an end to this paramilitary and criminal activity.

"We are waiting to see delivery of the commitments in the
IRA statement of July 28th. The process of demonstrating
that the IRA commitments have been delivered requires
verification, and we accept that it will take a certain
amount of time.

"Once this is in place we would expect the unionist parties
- and in particular the DUP as the largest unionist party -
to engage constructively on the restoration of inclusive
institutions in Northern Ireland and the full operation of
the North-South Ministerial Council."

© The Irish Times


IRA To Give Up Arms By Next Week

THE IRA is to complete the decommissioning of its terror
arsenal within the next week.

This emerged last night as Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams
paved the way for the historic move with a series of
meetings with key figures in the United States.

On the last day of his US trip yesterday, Taoiseach Bertie
Ahern held a morning meeting with former president Bill

The two discussed the prospects of an early IRA statement
completing the decommissioning process and reviewed the
likely impact of last weekend's upsurge in loyalist
violence on the Provisionals' plans.

Several times during the past few days Mr Ahern has spoken
of his "real concern" at the escalation in the loyalist
street violence.

But he believes a final act of decommissioning by the IRA
in the near future will be a major factor in helping to
ease tensions on the ground.

He says that if the threat of violence from both sides of
the community is removed, the opportunity to accelerate the
process of reconciliation has to be seized with both hands.

"We need to build the trust and mutual respect that are the
bedrock of a shared future for both traditions on the
island of Ireland," Mr Ahern said.

The Taoiseach told Irish-Americans that while he was
worried by the street confrontations in the North, it was
still only a small minority who were engaged in such acts
of public disorder.

He reassured his audiences that the vast majority of people
in both communities were totally committed to peace.

The IRA promised to complete decommissioning in its
statement calling a permanent halt to its campaign of
terror at the end of July.

Preparations for decommissioning had been almost finalised
before the collapse of the peace talks in Belfast last
December, and the IRA will now conclude the final moves
with two clergymen, from the Protestant and Catholic
churches, as independent witnesses to provide verification.

The two members of the Independent International Commission
on Decommissioning, General John de Chastelain and Andrew
Sens, have been on stand-by.

According to security sources, the arsenal is believed to
have been contained in two or three dumps, all located on
the northern half of the island, with some of them probably
sited inside the Republic.

Mr Adams has already briefed members of the US congress,
including Senator Hillary Clinton, during his trip to

He also met with officials from the State Department.

Gene McKenna
and Tom Brady


16-Year Jail Term For Sectarian Murder Attempt

A man who wanted to kill and cut up his battered Catholic
victim was jailed for 16 years yesterday. Neil White (30)
was part of a gang which strangled and stabbed Michael Reid
during an attack in Ballymena, Co Antrim.

At one stage Mr Reid (31) pretended to be dead in an
attempt to survive the relentless assault on October 11th,

The victim, who has since gone into hiding, was visiting a
friend in Ballymena's Harryville district when White and
two other men came to the house. Mr Reid, an imposing 6ft
4in tall, was beaten with a blunt object, stabbed and
throttled with cable after they discovered his religion.

Sentencing White at Belfast Crown Court, Mr Justice Coghlin
told him: "You were assigned to guard the victim while
others left the premises with the chilling words: 'We are
going to have to get a saw to cut him up. Look at the size
of him'."

White, of Wakehurst Road, Ballymena, pleaded guilty last
week to charges of attempted murder.

Two other men have gone on the run since his arrest. All
three had attacked Mr Reid after discovering he was a
Catholic because of where he lived. While the other two
went to get another weapon, the victim made a dash for the
door but was caught and stabbed again by White.

After a struggle he managed to escape, running about 150
yards before collapsing on the road where a police patrol
found him.

Doctors said he was lucky to be alive because he had lost
so much blood. Miraculously the knife had missed his vital

Since the attack Mr Reid has left the town and claimed it
was unsafe for Catholics to walk the streets in certain

White showed no emotion in the dock as judgment was passed.

But the judge recognised his guilty plea, along with his
heavy drinking on the night of the attack and the fact that
a close relative with a greater intellect had influenced
his actions.

Mr Justice Coghlin, who said he was appalled that Mr Reid
was still waiting to see a psychiatrist two years after the
knifing from which he had physically recovered, also
delivered a withering indictment of Northern sectarianism.
"Mr Reid was a Catholic in Harryville, the wrong person in
the wrong place at the wrong time. There can be no
compromise with sectarianism," he said.

- (PA)
© The Irish Times


Peter Hain: Peace Is The Answer

New Labour's smoothie is talking bluntly. Secretary of
State Peter Hain tells Political Correspondent Chris
Thornton that unionists are in denial and need to get a
grip on the future

By Chris Thornton
16 September 2005

IF he had a honeymoon in the four months he's been in the
job, it's now a distant memory. This week Peter Hain came
up abruptly against the problem that eventually clung to
each of his recent predecessors as Secretary of State: the
way unionism has been shifting from scepticism about the
peace process towards outright hostility.

Whatever its origins, the violence that exploded in Belfast
last weekend quickly became an echo chamber for unionist
grievances - the Parades Commission, concessions to
republicans, the sense that the PSNI is no longer their

John Reid, a previous occupant of Hillsborough Castle,
articulated the sense of unionist disengagement when he
warned about Northern Ireland becoming a "cold house". Mr
Hain, who came to Belfast with a reputation as a New Labour
smoothie, now seems prepared to be blunt about how that
problem can be corrected: smashing the windows and throwing
radiators at police is no way to instil some warmth.

It's not going to make his meetings with Ian Paisley any
smoother, but Mr Hain says unionists are in denial about
what the peace process has accomplished. Instead of railing
against what has gone before, he says they need to "get
real", recognise the Union is secure, and develop an agenda
for the future.

"I recognise there's a wide swathe of distrust and
scepticism and suspicion and downright antagonism,
including anger, running right the way through unionism,"
he says, "and in particular at the moment with the

"But I do think that there is a sense of denial about has
been achieved. However paramilitarism and criminality has
infected local communities - and that problem needs to be
tackled and will be - the truth is that Northern Ireland is
light years away from where it was five, ten years ago, let
alone 20 or 30 years ago.

"As I travel around Northern Ireland - I've been all over
and I'll be doing more of it this weekend and in the coming
weeks - I see a Northern Ireland where actually it's as if
normal life and society is almost out of synch with
politics. There's more prosperity than there's ever been.
There are more jobs than ever in history. There are two
cars in lots of drives.

"So the external image of Northern Ireland is as night
follows day compared with what it used to be. I just think
there ought to be a recognition of that.

"People say what have Protestants and unionists gained from
the last seven years? - peace is the answer. Not perfect,
but a million miles better than what it was. And what
unionism and Protestants have also gained is that the Union
is now cemented in by a popular vote and is not subject to
the uncertainty of bombing and bullets. That is a major

"I'm just saying on the one hand let's just get real about
what the benefits of the past seven years have been for
unionists and Protestants.

"I'm also saying that Protestants like everybody else have
gained peace on an unparalleled scale and they've gained
the fact that their future will be decided by peaceful
means not by brute force.

"But what they want to know is that peace is permanent,
that it's not being bought at the expense of unacceptable
concessions to republicans. Not just that there will be no
more Northern Bank robberies, but that republicans will be
in line with the rule of law along with everyone else; that
the IRA really has stopped, that decommissioning - which
I'm confident will start quite soon - really has taken the
arms away. They're entitled to insist that the Government
sticks to that and we will, absolutely."

The extreme loyalist violence that hit the streets brought
"too many equivocal statements by too many people over the
weekend" - an ambivalence that he says would not have come
from unionists if republicans had been behind the violence.

The Secretary of State says he was shocked to see video
footage of Orangemen taking off their sashes to pick up
bricks last weekend. "You're either with the police or
you're not. You're either with the rule of law or you're
not," he said.

"To be fair, that has been a time-worn position of unionism
- of being respectful of the law and a legimitate
complaint, certainly about republicans and even some
nationalists of a disregard and even a flagrant abuse of
the rule of law.

"So I think there are some questions there. There has been
too much fellow-travelling with thuggery and gangsterism.
Which I know has appalled the great majority in the Orange
Order. I know that for a fact."

Mr Hain says there is "a mixture of genuine grievance" in
some of what unionists have been saying and says he accepts
that he contributed to that by releasing Shankill bomber
Sean Kelly. "But that cannot be a reason either to justify,
as some seemed to be suggesting over the weekend, what
happened or to opt out of a forward agenda."

This "forward agenda" has become the Secretary of State's
theme. "What I want from unionism and am discussing with
them is a forward agenda. We all know about the past agenda
and the criticism of that. But we are where we are. And
we're in a much better place than we used to be and that is
the honest blunt truth.

"What we saw over the weekend, the ugliness and depth of
the violence was really, really quite shocking. When you go
to look at one of those Land Rovers as I did and you see 50
bullet holes in it, and a concentrated attempt to burst
through the glass armour-plating by repeated firing.

"Eventually if you do that in the same place it does
splinter and you kill the people inside. Pre-meditated,
pre-planned and you can't do anything other than condemn it
openly. I think it's important that we draw a line in the
sand on that."

"Actually what people have got to do is lift their eyes
above all of that and just look at where we're going to be
in the future. Now we're in a great position. We've got a
stronger economy, I think largely due to our Labour
government, than we've had in our history probably, but
certainly in generations.

"But global competition is a very hungry element and it can
devour you up if you don't change - if you don't prepare
for it, if you don't get competitive, if you don't upgrade
or upskill. And the underlying economic performance is just
too weak.

"I say that because people have got to get real about what
the future of Northern Ireland is. Yes, we can have an
argument about whether there have been too many concessions
to Sinn Fein, we can have an argument about whether the
Parades Commission had a proper dialogue before the
Whiterock determination and there are a lot of issues in
all those things.

"But actually we've got to look at the big picture. And
there's a whole section of unionist opinion that's opted
out. There's now an obligation on middle class unionism to
opt back in, to shoulder its own responsibilities for the
future of Northern Ireland."

Mr Hain said unionists "have to ask themselves some very
hard questions about how on earth they got into the
position where they seem to be against the police, they
seem to be against the state.

"There's a historic irony about this situation which I know
is not lost on many of the most thoughtful unionists, but
for many others it is.

"The opposition to the institutions of the state was all
from nationalists and republicans. And actually the state
is more secure, the police are more respected and they have
bodies like the parades commission whatever lessons need to
be learned which are genuinely independent. So that needs
to be acknowledged."

The Secretary of State admits he is concerned that the
completion of IRA decommissioning - which he is "confident
will start quite soon" - could be diminished by last
weekend's violence and the response to it.

"Talking leading members of the DUP, one said to me that
people have almost written it off in advance.

"In a way the IRA statement had almost been written off in
advance, though actually I think the clarity of it, the
lack of conditionality did take a lot of unionists by
surprise. You can't keep writing off events that are of
momentous significance. You've got to have an honest
acknowledgement that that's what they are."

Mr Hain says he will address unionist and nationalist
concerns about deprivation, but says people should be
reminded that "there's millions of pounds being poured into
these communities.

"If you go down the Shankill Road, there's lots of
government-funded community bodies, absolutely loads of
them. In the end what we have to do is provide a route into
skills and a job. It's not just a question of pouring money

"We've also got to send a message out that if you knock
down all the street lamps in your road, as a JCB did driven
by one of the paramilitaries as I understand it, then
resurrecting those street lights is at the expense of other
public investment. This is not cost free."


Santorum Defense League

September 17, 2005 12:01 AM EST

by Robert D. Novak

WASHINGTON -- Sen. Elizabeth Dole, the Senate Republican
campaign chairman, has assigned fellow Republicans to
defend Sen. Rick Santorum from increasingly harsh
Democratic attacks on the floor as he faces a tough re-
election in Pennsylvania.

Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid and Sen. Edward M.
Kennedy have led political attacks on Santorum that
formerly would not have been possible in a less combative
Senate. Sen. Hillary Clinton has sniped at Santorum's new
book, "It Takes a Family."

Although Santorum is third ranking in the party's Senate
hierarchy as Republican Conference chairman, his colleagues
have not risen to support him. Under Dole's plan, a
designated Republican senator will take the floor in
Santorum's defense whenever needed.


Prominent Democratic strategists in Illinois believe
Republicans can open the Democratic-controlled state to
serious competition in 2008 if former Republican Gov. Jim
Edgar makes a comeback against Democratic Gov. Rod
Blagojevich's re-election.

Although Blagojevich's poll ratings are down, the moderate
Edgar is seen in Democratic circles as the only Republican
who could win for governor. Beyond the governorship,
Democrats see Edgar reviving Republicans for 2008 in the
Chicago suburbs. Democratic suburban growth has paced the
party's current domination of Illinois.

Edgar as governor, according to this theory, would not only
put Illinois in play for the presidential election but also
endanger 2008 re-election prospects for Democratic Sen.
Dick Durbin.


Rep. Peter King of New York, named by Republican leaders to
become the House Homeland Security Committee's chairman,
was not pressed to explain two decades of support for the
terrorist Irish Republican Army (IRA) and association with
the left-wing Sinn Fein, the IRA's political arm.

King is the only member of Congress in at least five years
to travel at Sinn Fein's expense, taking such trips to
Ireland in 2000 and 2001. King's pro-IRA posture goes back
to 1986. President Reagan declared that Irish-Americans
condemn the IRA, and King responded: "When Reagan went to
Ireland, he might have spoken for some Irish-Americans. But
he didn't speak for me." The 2005 State Department report
lists the IRA among terrorist organizations.

"There is no comparison between the IRA and al Qaeda," King
told this column in defending his suitability for the
Homeland Security chairmanship. He contended the IRA
"didn't target civilians, although civilians were killed in
attacks." He also said he dealt with Sinn Fein, not the
IRA, and that he had called for the IRA to disband.


Ex-Bush campaign manager Joe Allbaugh launched a vigorous
campaign to get his college chum Mike Brown named as his
replacement heading the Federal Emergency Management Agency
(FEMA) after he was denied nomination as the first
secretary of Homeland Security and started his own company,
dependent on government contracts.

The replacement of Brown at FEMA last week by R. David
Paulison, a career emergency response worker, raised the
question of why such a professional was not named to
replace Allbaugh in 2003. The answer was that Allbaugh
insisted on Brown, a lawyer without emergency experience.

A footnote: In President Bush's 2000 campaign, Allbaugh was
the nuts-and-bolts manager while Karl Rove handled broad
strategy. According to administration sources, Allbaugh
pressed in 2002 to be Homeland Security secretary but was
vetoed by Rove.


According to Senate sources, Democratic Leader Harry Reid
has informed Majority Leader Bill Frist that Federal
Appeals Court Judge Priscilla Owen will be filibustered if
President Bush names her to replace Justice Sandra Day
O'Connor on the Supreme Court.

Republican senators are divided on whether former Texas
Supreme Court Justice Owen is vulnerable because she
underwent a filibuster for the appellate seat and was
confirmed under the compromise agreement. Frist is known to
believe Owen can be confirmed in the face of a filibuster.

Republican Senate strategists believe Attorney General
Alberto Gonzales is the only possible Bush nominee to
replace O'Connor who would not face a filibuster.

To find out more about Robert D. Novak and read his past
columns, visit the Creators Syndicate web page at



Son Who Can't Come Home: Mother Tells Of Long Absence

Una's son left for the US on a holiday 10 years ago and
hasn't been back to Co Mayo since.

"He went on a return ticket and never came home, because he
can't come home. He loves America and the American way of
life and he doesn't want to lose it," says Una, who asked
that her surname not be used in case her son was

"He can't come home to his father, or even his nephews and
nieces. Now my husband and I find ourselves asking what
will happen if we die or fall seriously ill." Una says he
broached the subject last time they talked on the phone. "I
told him not to come home. It's not worth it. I told him to
say a prayer and remember us how we are."

She says her son and other Irish "undocu-

mented" should be judged "on merit, not by some category [
as an illegal]. He works hard and pays his taxes.

He contributes to his new home and is a good citizen. That
should count for something." She travels over yearly to see
him in the US but her husband hasn't, because he doesn't
like to fly.

Danny Toma, chief consul at the US embassy in Dublin, said
he was often asked why his country couldn't "turn a blind
eye" to people in Una's son's position. However, legally,
they couldn't. Anyone found to have been in the US
illegally after 1997 faced a ban on re-entry varying
between three and 10 years, according to immigration rules.

However, the situation wasn't "100 per cent bleak," he

Those who had been in the US illegally before this time and
who were now in Ireland could qualify for a visa "provided
they are upfront with us".

Mr Toma said he couldn't see a lot of hope for new
proposals to grant an amnesty to Irish illegals.

© The Irish Times

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