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September 06, 2005

Loyalist Recruit Children To Riot By Text

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News about Ireland & the Irish

IO 09/06/05 Loyalist Rioters Recruit Children By Text
IT 09/07/05 UVF Is Cited For Killings By Monitoring Body
DI 09/06/05 PSNI Fails To Confront Loyalists Who Rioted
IT 09/07/05 Inquest Told Of Statements Admitting Killing
DI 09/06/05 Republicans Protest @ FF Meeting In Cavan.
DI 09/06/05 DUP Woman Met UVF
DI 09/06/05 Opin: Shame Sectarianism Into Silence
IT 09/07/05 Murder Suspect Was Once In IRA Say Gardaí
IT 09/07/05 Rising Costs A Threat To Irish Economy- Report
GW 09/06/05 Opin: Response To Irish Voice Deport C3
GW 09/06/05 Opin: Bertie Ahern & Paul Flynn
SF 09/06/05 Adams Gives Welcome To Combating Suicide
IT 09/07/05 Sligo Road Provides Little Relief As Predicted


Loyalist Rioters Recruit Children By Text
2005-09-06 17:20:02+01

School children are being recruited by text message to riot
on the streets of Belfast, security chiefs said tonight.

One as young as five has already been warned by police as
loyalists petrol bombed and stoned police.

Youngsters have been urged to leave their classrooms by
paramilitary thugs orchestrating the violence in the north
of the city, senior officers believe.

Details emerged as the British and Irish Governments were
handed a new dossier by a ceasefire watchdog on a loyalist
terrorist feud involving the Ulster Volunteer Force - the
organisation bringing new chaos and violence to badly
scarred neighbourhoods.

Ulster Unionist leader Sir Reg Empey has urged the
authorities to undertake a radical policy review in
loyalist areas before the heightening trouble causes a
total collapse in confidence.

Police have already arrested eight people over rioting that
erupted twice yesterday, and the city's top officer has
drawn up plans to bring in at least 250 of his men and
women and soldiers amidst growing fears of fresh outbreaks.

Assistant Chief Constable Duncan McCausland said: "There
are text messages being sent around schools telling people
there's going to be trouble tonight and telling them to
come out. It's been clearly orchestrated."

Police chiefs strenuously defended their tactics for
controlling the mayhem which erupted in the Woodvale
district yesterday as officers raided homes following a UVF
show of strength.

A machine gun and clothing believed to have been used by
the paramilitaries as they flaunted their presence were
seized, while another four men were arrested on suspicion
of serious terrorist offences.

Police believe the recovery of a treasured weapon enraged
loyalists into an onslaught of violence that involved
hijacking seven vans and lorries and setting them alight.

Even though order was later restored, rioting erupted again
overnight and Mr McCausland disclosed just how young some
of those involved were.

"We approached a five-year-old on the Crumlin Road," he

"His so-called friends were running too quick and that's
how we caught him. He had been throwing stones.

"He was taken home to his parents and handed over with a
strong telling off."


UVF Is Cited For Killings By Monitoring Body

Gerry Moriarty, Northern Editor

The Independent Monitoring Commission in a special report
has blamed the UVF for recent killings, according to well-
placed sources.

This will put pressure on the British government to rule
that the paramilitary group is in breach of its ceasefire.

The IMC presented the British and Irish governments with
its report on the UVF-Loyalist Volunteer Force feud
yesterday as violence and serious tensions around loyalist
paramilitary activity continues to increase.

In the long-running UVF-LVF feud, the UVF is held
responsible for four murders since July 1st and numerous
other attacks.

It is also accused by police and politicians of
orchestrating serious rioting in north Belfast that was
triggered by the arrest of one man and the seizure of a UVF
machine gun on Monday.

The weapon, said to be of a Sten-gun type, and other UVF
material were seized following a "show of strength" by the
UVF in north Belfast on Saturday.

The trouble flared as tensions mount about this Saturday's
postponed Orange Order Whiterock parade in west Belfast. It
was due to be held in late June but Orangemen held a
protest march along the Shankill instead after they were
banned from parading onto the nationalist Springfield Road
through Workman Avenue.

The Parades Commission ruled that the Orangemen could
parade on to the Springfield Road through the old Mackies
site, but they said this was unacceptable. The commission
has held to this decision for Saturday, which has raised
concern that loyalist paramilitaries could try to exploit
the parade by further rioting or even attempting to trigger
interface violence.

Northern Secretary Peter Hain is today meeting SDLP leader
Mark Durkan to discuss the state of the UVF ceasefire and
other issues. Mr Durkan in recent weeks accused Mr Hain of
appearing to be "indifferent" to recent UVF killings and

He has called for Mr Hain to adjudicate on whether the UVF
ceasefire has been broken. Such calls from nationalist
politicians, together with the IMC report - which one
source said "points out what the dogs in the streets know
about what the UVF is doing" - will reinforce pressure on
the Northern Secretary to concede the organisation is off

The IMC cannot specifically instruct Mr Hain to "specify"
the UVF, ie rule its ceasefire is no longer intact. "But it
will be perfectly clear from the IMC report that it blames
the UVF for the recent killings," said one senior source
last night.

"There will be nothing surprising in the report," the
source added, following another night of loyalist violence
in north Belfast on Monday night and yesterday morning,
involving scores of youths, some as young as five.

Police, who generally kept themselves in their Land Rovers,
came under sustained petrol and paint bomb attack. The PSNI
deployed a water cannon against the troublemakers. Eight
people were arrested for riotous behaviour and police said
other arrests would follow.

© The Irish Times


Double trouble: PSNI Fails To Confront Loyalists Who Rioted
For Four Hours

Connla Young

Two PSNI officers involved in a weekend confrontation with
nationalists in a Co Antrim town are already under
investigation by the Police Ombudsman's office.

The two officers were reported to Nuala O'Loan's office in
December 2003 after a north Antrim man complained he had
been the victim of a campaign of intimidation involving the
two officers.

Cushendall man Donald O'Reilly claimed he had been the
subject of PSNI harassment on almost a dozen occasions in
the last three years.

Last night Mr O'Reilly said the two officers under
investigation had been involved when PSNI members baton-
charged a number of local people and doused them with CS

Mr O'Reilly said the Police Ombudsman's Office should be
called in to probe the conduct of both PSNI men already
under investigation as well as other PSNI members involved
in the confrontation.

"I was there when this incident took place and I couldn't
believe it when I saw these two officers in the middle of
it all," he said.

"These men shouldn't be on duty in this town when they are
the subject of an investigation here. I took an audio
recording of the incident during which the two officers
were identified. The tape is currently with my solicitor.

"When I wouldn't hand the tape over to the PSNI, I was
attacked with a baton and had CS gas sprayed on me.

"Now I find myself in a position that I have to lodge a
second complaint against these PSNI men with the Police
Ombudsman's Office before the first investigation is even

Residents have complained of an unusually high number of
PSNI patrols in the Cushendall area on Saturday. The
trouble is understood to have begun after several PSNI men,
including the two under investigation, became involved in a
verbal confrontation with a group of local people over
attacks on Catholics in Ahoghill.

Moyle District Council chairman Oliver McMullan complained
of being struck during the incident after he tried to
protect a local man being beaten by three PSNI officers as
the man lay on the ground.

The Sinn Féin man confirmed that he too was in the process
of preparing a complaint to be lodged with the Police
Ombudsman's Office.

A PSNI spokesperson said three officers had been injured
during the weekend disturbance. The spokesperson added: "If
anyone has a genuine cause for complaint concerning the
actions of any officer, they should contact the Police


Inquest Told Of Statements Admitting Part In Killing

Elaine Keogh

An inquest into the death of a forestry worker from
Dundalk, allegedly murdered by loyalist paramilitaries
nearly 30 years ago, returned a verdict of unlawful killing

The verdict came on the second day of the inquest into the
death of Seamus Ludlow (47), of Culfore, Mountpleasant,
Dundalk, Co Louth, who was shot dead allegedly in the back
of a car after four members of the Ulster Defence
Association (UDA) picked him up as he walked home north of
Dundalk on May 1st, 1976.

Dundalk Coroner's Court also heard that despite two of the
four suspects being arrested by the RUC in 1998 and making
statements of admission, the DPP in the North decided not
to prosecute them. No one has been brought before the

It also emerged that just one of the three bullets
recovered by the then State pathologist John Harbison could
be found by gardaí despite searches of four Garda stations
as part of a review of the original murder investigation.

Former Garda chief superintendent Ted Murphy said in 1996
the then Garda commissioner Patrick Culligan directed him
to review the original investigation, partly as a result of
a request by the Ludlow family.

The family had not been at the original inquest in 1976
because they had not been told it was on.

Mr Murphy agreed it was unusual for an inquest to be
concluded in a murder case where the Garda investigation
was continuing. The original verdict found Mr Ludlow died
from shock and haemorrhage.

Mr Murphy confirmed the evidence of former detective Garda
inspector John Courtney, who on Monday told Dundalk
Coroner's Court that the RUC gave him the names and
addresses of four members of the UDA who were the suspects
for the murder in 1979. He passed this information to the
Garda anti-terrorist section in Dublin, but it was never
acted on.

Yesterday Mr Murphy said the investigation by Mr Courtney
was thorough and he followed procedure.

In 1998, as part of his review of the original
investigation, he liaised with the RUC and they arrested
two of the four individuals identified to Mr Courtney back
in 1979. It was subsequently decided by the DPP in the
North not to prosecute anybody despite two suspects making
statements of admission of their alleged involvement in the

The jury found Mr Ludlow died near his home on May 2nd,
1976, and that the cause of death was shock and haemorrhage
due to gunshot wounds. The verdict was unlawful killing.
However it made a written recommendation to be added to the
verdict, which coroner Ronan Maguire said could not under
law be appended to the verdict.

The Ludlow family said afterwards they now believed more
than ever that a full public inquiry was needed. A nephew,
Michael Donegan, said it appeared the investigation had
been "blocked".

© The Irish Times


Republicans Last Night Protested Outside An Important
Fianna Fáil Meeting In Co Cavan.

Protesters gathered at the Slieve Russell hotel where the
Fianna Fáil parliamentary party has been holding a two-day
meeting, to demand the release of 16 IRA prisoners being
held in jails across the South.

Campaigners say the IRA statement issued in July and moves
towards large-scale decommissioning expected later this
month have cleared the way for the remaining prisoners to
be released.

Cavan Sinn Féin councillor Pauline McCauley, whose husband
Pearse is detained at Castlerea Prison in Co Roscommon,
attended last night's protest.

"The IRA statement at the end of July said their campaign
was over and they gave an order to dump arms so it doesn't
make sense for prisoners to continue to be incarcerated.

"When similar orders were given in 1923, 1948 and 1962,
prisoners were released soon after.

"This time around, things have gone further and weapons are
being decommissioned. A large number of people believe it
is time for these 16 prisoners in the South, the two in the
North and the one in Germany to be released," she said.

The Fianna Fáil meeting in Cavan was organised to discuss
how to improve public services and social policies.

Up to 110 TDs and Senators heard from invited speakers like
US sociologist Robert Puttnam in Ballyconnell ahead of the
start of the new Dáil session on September 28.

Finance Minister Brian Cowen said of the two-day event: "It
gives an opportunity for the parliamentary party to hear
from others about various policy options and the impact of
our economic policies going forward.

"We will also discuss how we can achieve our social
objectives on the basis of Budget sustainability."

The Tullamore TD signalled that rising oil prices could
hamper Irish economic growth, which was currently the best
in the EU.

"We need to see continued improvement on public services on
the basis of being able to continue to afford them.

"We need to keep the economy forging ahead to pay for those
increased improvements."

Issues like the cost of childcare, the perceived rip-off of
consumers, traffic congestion and a dwindling sense of
community spirit were also expected to be discussed at the

Invited speakers include National Economic and Social Forum
chairperson Maureen Gaffney, an economist, a tax specialist
and an expert on children's rights.

Last year, the annual parliamentary party meeting in
Inchydoney, Co Cork, focused on the plight of the
marginalised and measures were subsequently introduced in
the Budget.

Speaking at the Cavan event, Taoiseach Bertie Ahern said he
wanted to build a "brave society", where community was the
thread that holds people together, and where prosperity is
used to provide not just better jobs, but a better life.

In an apparent reference to Sinn Féin, Mr Ahern said unity
by consent was Fianna Fáil's mission, the basis of its
being and a guiding star, and that no issue mattered more
to him, because he was an Irish republican.

He told his party his vision of the future was one of
unity, prosperity and community.


DUP Woman Met UVF

Ciarán Barnes

A Democratic Unionist Party councillor who described
political parties with paramilitary links as "scum" held a
secret meeting with the Ulster Volunteer Force last year.

Daily Ireland has learned that Ruth Patterson met the UVF
leader in south Belfast in August 2004 after a Protestant
family had been forced out of the loyalist Donegall Pass

She helped the family find alternative accommodation before
arranging a meeting with the UVF boss so she could ask for
the family to be left alone.

The UVF leader to whom Ms Patterson spoke is well known as
a paramilitary.

He has a conviction for rioting, spent time on remand in
the loyalist wings of Maghaberry prison for his alleged
involvement in an extortion racket, and is currently out on
bail facing a number of serious criminal charges.

Although Ms Patterson spoke to the media about her efforts
to help the family, she never mentioned her meeting with
the UVF boss.

Last Friday during a television interview with the BBC, Ms
Patterson claimed Sinn Féin members were "scum".

After further questioning from a reporter, she hesitantly
said she would describe the Progressive Unionist Party,
which is associated with the UVF, in the same way.

Ms Patterson's admission that she has met the
paramilitaries of whom she has been so critical has led
others to brand her a "hypocrite".

PUP leader David Ervine said the DUP councillor's
willingness to condemn the PUP and paramilitaries yet meet
the UVF to settle disputes highlighted her hypocrisy.

Referring to Ms Patterson's television interview, he said:
"It was one of the most interesting pieces of political
television I have seen in a long time.

"The hypocrisy was there to be seen. There was no guessing.
It required no imagination. The hypocrisy was there in
living colour."

Speaking to Daily Ireland yesterday about her work with the
intimidated family, Ms Patterson was asked whether,
following recent UVF violence, she could be sure the family
would not be targeted again.

She was then asked if, during her meeting with
paramilitaries, assurances had been given that the family
would not be targeted.

Ms Patterson replied: "I wouldn't have said they [the UVF]
gave me an overall assurance but they certainly said they
[the family] wouldn't be harmed in any way."

The DUP councillor then refused to answer a question on
whether she believed this assurance. She said: "I need to
think of an answer for that one. I am not going to allow
you to do a Martina Purdy on me."

Martina Purdy was the BBC reporter who interviewed Ms
Patterson last Friday.

Ms Patterson said she would meet loyalist paramilitaries if
she thought it could benefit people she believed were in
trouble. She said she would never meet republican

She added: "If, in the case of the family from Donegall
Pass, the police could not do anything, I would be prepared
to meet with paramilitaries to help.

"Paramilitaries are a fact of life in Northern Ireland.
They are my constituents as well.

"People have a right to their thoughts but, when the safety
of a family is concerned and I could make their position
easier, I would meet with loyalist paramilitaries."



Shame Sectarianism Into Silence

Anne Cadwallader

It's not often I agree with a bishop. But what Dr Patrick
Walsh had to say this week about the continuing sectarian
campaign in north Antrim was spot on.

It was vital, he said, that politicians stand, shoulder-to-
shoulder, publicly, in the streets, against sectarianism –
making it absolutely clear they oppose it root and branch.

No equivocation, no "ifs" or "buts" or sneaking
justification based on the perceived wrongs of the past. So
far, however, the response to his appeal has been a
deafening silence.

One can fairly assume, I think, that Mark Durkan and Gerry
Adams would be up for it, but so far no definitive
answering call from either Sir Reg Empey or Ian Paisley.

We have, maybe, to give them the benefit of the doubt and
assume they are seriously considering Dr Walsh's proposal.
Because something should be done, and done soon. One
thousand families this year have had to leave their homes.

In an unusually trenchant statement (for him) the SDLP's
Sean Farren was also right in saying that the "poison of
sectarianism is so endemic, and its threat to community
relations so serious, that all leaders must demonstrate a
clear common commitment to tackling it and showing
solidarity with its victims".

If all our politicians could temporarily put aside their
many differences and make common cause against
sectarianism, it would without doubt amount to a massive
step forward.

Sectarianism is often seen as similar to racism. In some
ways it is. White racists in Britain attack people they
unconsciously perceive as a threat, while at the same time
bellowing their superiority.

People tend also to be suspicious of others who don't look
like them, or worship the same god, or eat the same food,
or listen to the same music, or share the same culture.

In our own predicament there are historic and tribal
reasons to explain why people attack their neighbours.

There's also a distinct political agenda to loyalist
sectarianism. One which assumes that nationalists will
lower their political agenda if they are cowed into
submission. If, as now, unionism is even slightly on the
defensive, they strike.

I first came up against racism in the late 1970s when I was
working in Bradford where about a third of the population
was Asian. It was around the time that the Anti-Nazi League
became active.

It had significant successes in combating racism,
particularly in sport. It was quite regular at the time for
football fans to taunt black players by throwing bananas
onto the pitch or making whooping ape-like noises whenever
they had possession of the ball.

The Anti-Nazi League worked because – by dint of using
icons of popular culture, by attracting support from
sporting and cultural heroes, and by not patronising or
talking down to people – they made racism "un-cool".

People sported their badges, not necessarily for hard
political reasons, but because they became a fashion
accessory. The campaign might not have defeated racism, but
it made the public expression of racism unfashionable.

Much credit for that must go to the Socialist Workers'
Party which, if I remember rightly, was the driving force
behind the campaign's creation. It linked, however, most of
the British left at the time, from Trotskyists to Leninists
to middle-of-the-road Labour people, trade unionists and
even people without much politics at all.

It's difficult to imagine here such cross-party support for
a single-issue campaign. People are still too divided and
too immersed in their own party political agendas.

But imagine, if you can, that Van Morrison, Gerry Adams,
Snow Patrol, Darren Clarke, Ian Paisley, George Best, Ash,
Mark Durkan, The Corrs, Laurie Sanchez, Sir Reg Empey and
Peter Canavan all came together in an imaginative campaign
against sectarianism.

Posters, ads in ALL the newspapers, badges, a TV campaign,
concerts and rallies.

Would that kill it stone dead in its tracks? Would it make
any difference if our four main political parties joined
together, physically and publicly, in a statement against
sectarian attacks?

I have often wondered if the Holy Cross school blockade
could have lasted so long if the leaders of the four main
churches here, alongside the four main political leaders,
had walked up the road to demonstrate their condemnation.

The short answer is that we will never know. But if I had
to bet on it, I would say the blockade wouldn't have lasted
for long. Surely, it would have died of shame.

And shame is what is needed. There is no way any public
statement is going to cure our bigots of their
sectarianism. That will take at least a generation.

What we can do here and now, however, is attempt to prevent
public expressions of sectarianism, whether they be
throwing petrol bombs at Catholic schools, paint bombs at
babies in their prams or stones and bottles at the
Protestant Fountain estate in Derry.

It would be a first step to make the bigots on all sides
realise their behaviour is unacceptable and something only
to be indulged privately, shamefully, at their own
firesides, not expressed in violent attacks on their

But can you imagine Ian Paisley agreeing to that? He
appears to believe that the "terrorist" Gerry Adams is, if
anything, more culpable than the small-town bigots that
throw petrol bombs at Catholic schools.

That explains – at least in part – why sectarianism
flourishes here. If the leader of the largest party regards
the leader (and members) of the second largest party as no
better than terrorists (and a member of Ian Paisley's party
recently compared Sinn Féin to Al Qaida), an environment
exists in which people can treat other people as sub-human.

Change that, and you're motoring.

Anne Cadwallader is a freelance journalist, broadcaster and
author of Holy Cross: The Untold Story.


Murder Suspect Was Once In IRA Say Gardaí

Conor Lally

Senior Garda sources have confirmed to The Irish Times
that a man suspected of murdering a 29-year-old Dubliner in
the city in April was once a member of the IRA and still
has strong links to the organisation.

This is despite claims by Sinn Féin members of Dublin City
Council that the suspected man is not a member of the
"republican movement".

Family members of the dead man, Joseph Rafferty, said they
hoped to meet the Taoiseach this month to highlight the
case. They are also planning a meeting with the sisters of
Robert McCartney, who was murdered by members of the IRA
outside a Belfast bar in January.

They have formally launched a Justice For Joe public
campaign along the lines of that undertaken by the
McCartney sisters.

"We are determined to keep the campaign going until we get
justice for Joe," said Mr Rafferty's sister Esther Uzell.

The dead man's brother-in-law, Bart Little, said Sinn Féin
and the IRA were inextricably linked, and that the party's
representatives should do all they can to help bring Mr
Rafferty's killer to justice.

The family believes Sinn Féin's representatives on Dublin
City Council are in a position to put pressure on the chief
suspect to make a statement to gardaí.

They also say Sinn Féin representatives are in a position
to bring to an end a campaign of intimidation against them
which is being perpetrated by those allegedly behind the
murder. This involves on-street mocking and harassment.

Sinn Féin councillors supported a motion at a meeting of
Dublin City Council on Monday, proposed by Garry Keegan
(FF), calling for an end to the intimidation of Mr
Rafferty's family.

However, the leader of Sinn Féin's council representatives,
Christy Burke, has insisted the murder suspect is not a
member of the IRA or Sinn Féin. He and colleague Daithi
Doolan had pledged to resign their seats if the killer
proved to be an active member of Sinn Féin.

Mr Burke said after the council meeting on Monday night he
went to his contacts to check if those suspected of
involvement in the killing were members of Sinn Féin or the

"I am more than happy that they are not," he said
yesterday. "In the real world Sinn Féin do not have any
influence over anybody to hand themselves in."

When asked if he had checked with his contacts if the
murder suspect had ever been in the IRA, Mr Burke said: "I
can't answer that. When I went to inquire I didn't go down
the road of inquiring was he ever [a member of the IRA].
The IRA are not in the habit of telling people who was or
wasn't a member.

"It [the murder] certainly wasn't done with the blessing of
the Republican movement. You can't legislate for solo

Mr Rafferty, a father of one, was gunned down last April in
the Ongar housing estate in west Dublin where he lived. He
was originally from the south inner city. In the months
leading up to his murder he had become embroiled in a
dispute with a family from the south inner city.

The dispute had its roots in a fight at a party in the
south inner city last October at which three brothers from
the area assaulted two young members of Mr Rafferty's

Mr Rafferty, a keep-fit fanatic who worked as a courier,
challenged one of the brothers on the street the next day.
There followed a number of incidents involving attacks on
property owned by the Rafferty family.

Mr Rafferty was told a number of times by members of the
family he had clashed with that he would be "got" by the

The woman whose sons he had become embroiled with is in a
relationship with a former member of the IRA. He is the
only suspect in the murder.

Ms Uzell reported the threats against her brother's life to
Mr Doolan of Sinn Féin late last year and early this year.

She said Mr Doolan assured her on a number of occasions
that the people involved had been spoken to and that the
matter had been resolved. However, on April 12th Mr
Rafferty was shot dead.

Mr Doolan last night said at no time was any threat on Mr
Rafferty's life reported to him. Sinn Féin was "not a
police force" and any threats should have been reported to

He had been asked to check if the three brothers who had
threatened Mr Rafferty were in the IRA as they had claimed.
He had checked this, and had told Ms Uzell the men were not
in the IRA. He stood over this.

Ten people have been arrested in the case. However to date
there have been no charges.

© The Irish Times


Rising Costs A Threat To Irish Economy, Says Report

John McManus

A review of the competitiveness of the Irish economy, to
be published this morning, will strongly criticise
Government policy.

The Annual Competitiveness Report (ACR) of the National
Competitiveness Council (NCC) will warn that Ireland's
performance is "relatively weak" in a number of policy
areas, including investment in research and development,
competition policy and use of information and
communications technology.

The focus of Government policy should be in these areas,
argues the chairman of the NCC, Dr Don Thornhill, in the
preface to the report.

"In the long run, in a small regional economy like Ireland
economic prosperity ultimately depends on our ability to
sell goods and services abroad, and therefore on the
productivity of our economy.

"The NCC believes that the crucial challenge for Ireland is
to put the policies in place now that will develop the
conditions necessary to drive productivity growth in the
coming decades," says Dr Thornhill.

Productivity is the value of the goods and services
produced by the economy measured relative to the number of
hours worked.

It is an indicator of the general competitiveness of a
country, and the ability of companies based there to sell
their goods in international markets.

If rises in wages are not matched by increased
productivity, the competitiveness of the economy is

"Enhanced productivity can enable both domestically and
internationally-trading firms to sustain their
competitiveness in a relatively high-cost environment by
using inputs more efficiently," according to the report.

"In the long term, it [ productivity] is the key source of
competitiveness. High and increasing levels of productivity
support long-term economic growth and a higher standard of
living for all," says the report.

While Ireland's overall productivity performance is strong,
the ACR indicates significant divergences in performance
across sectors.

A range of Irish economic sectors, including agriculture,
retail and wholesale trade, utilities such as the ESB,
construction and general services, have recorded a much
weaker performance than their EU and US peers, says the

The competitiveness council was established by the
Government in May 1997 as part of the Partnership 2000

It is required to report to the Taoiseach each year on key
competitiveness issues for the economy, together with
recommendations on policy actions required to enhance
Ireland's competitive position.

This year - for the first time - it has separated its
assessment of the competitive position of the economy -
which will be published today - and its policy
recommendations, which will be made later this year in a
report called the Competitiveness Challenge.

The NCC concludes that Ireland is falling behind its peers
in continental Europe and North America in terms of prices
and costs competitiveness.

It says that while Irish prices and costs are no longer
increasing at a rate faster than elsewhere in the EU, they
have stabilised at a much higher level.

"The ACR highlights particularly high relative costs in the
energy and waste-management sectors, and also notes the
moderation of insurance costs," says the report.

It says the moderation of insurance costs "shows the
benefits of sustained implementation of well thought out

"National policies in areas such as energy, waste and other
externally-imposed costs can have significant impacts on
competitive performance at firm level.

"This is particularly true of small countries like Ireland
that are highly open to international trade."

© The Irish Times


Response To Deport Colombia Three,
Letter In Aug. 31 Issue Of Irish Voice


In America, the prosecution is not allowed to appeal an
acquittal, a legal premise that understands the immense
power that a government has at its disposal when it seeks
to accuse someone of criminal wrongdoing and that
understands also the immense potential for abuse of that
power. In America, also, appeals courts are extremely
reluctant to overturn the trial court's findings of fact,
generally doing so only when it is clearly shown that no
rational juror could have reached such a finding as was
reached at the trial under review. The reason is that the
trial judge and the jury were there when the evidence was
given, could see it and feel it and could see the witnesses
and actually hear their voice inflections as they
testified, while the appeals court has only cold paper to
look at. Another basic premise in America is that a
criminal trial is limited to determining whether the
accused actually did that which the prosecution claims was
done, rather than some other bad thing at some other place
at some other time.

While I will cannot argue that our's is the best
conceivable system, I do believe that these aspects of our
criminal justice system are good ideas and favorable to a
free and democratic society. Occasionally, I encounter
other Americans who disagree. More often than not, such
individuals are ill-informed or woefully mistaken about the
facts and have little understanding of the law and the
underlying premises. It is equally common that such
individuals are not amenable to rational argument.
Hopefully, letter-writer Patrick McVeigh ("Deport Colombia
Three", Aug. 31 issue) is a member of this group.

There are others, of course, less frequently met, who
understand quite well what they say and what they are
doing. They would allow prosecutorial appeals and complete
review of the facts. They would repeal the prohibition
against double jeopardy prosecutions, would eliminate the
presumption of innocence and cut short the due process of
law. They would allow convictions for being a bad person
rather than for having done a specific bad thing. Let us
hope that Mr. McVeigh is not among this group and is,
instead, simply benighted.

Mr. McVeigh is convinced that Jim Monaghan, Martin McAuley
and Niall Connolly were IRA Volunteers sent to train FARC
guerillas. The only evidence he cites is his claim that,
shortly after their visit, the FARC began using gas
cylinder mortars, which he claims the IRA used.
Unfortunately for Mr. McVeigh's thesis, one of Britain's
foremost experts on the subject disagrees. Dr. Keith
Borer, a forensic scientist who has testified frequently as
a prosecution witness in trials against Irish Republicans,
testified in the Colombian proceedings. He said that "the
weaponry used by the IRA and FARC are vastly different,
having to do with the diameter of the mortars, the
different types of propellants used and different types of
detonating devices." He concluded that FARC weaponry was
much more sophisticated than what the IRA used.

Mr. McVeigh is also hugely offended by the fact that Niall
Connolly was in Cuba once. While he is entitled to his
political beliefs about Cuba, he fails to recognize that
Mr. Connolly's presence there was part of the proof that he
did not do what he was accused of having done. The
prosecution's star witness, a FARC deserter, testified that
he saw Mr. Connolly training FARC guerillas at a time when
he was irrefutably proven to be in Havana.

Ultimately, the judge who presided over the trial and who
heard every witness testify and saw every piece of evidence
that was offered found that the Colombian government's
claims were not credible. One of the three judges
considering the case on appeal agreed with the trial judge,
not limiting himself to platitudes about legal principles
but instead writing a stinging, point-by-point rebuke of
the government's case and the two other judges.

Ultimately, Mr. McVeigh argues that those American citizens
who support Sinn Féin and who oppose sending the three men
back to Colombia are traitors. Mr. McVeigh, I am not a
traitor. I believe very strongly in the legal principles
at the foundation of our American law. Perhaps you do not.
Perhaps you would do well to examine yourself, sir.

Graydon Wilson
Post Office Box 3084
Burlington, Vermont 05401-3084


Bertie Ahern & Paul Flynn


Referring to his friend, Paul Flynn, who's suspected of
money-laundering in connection with the Northern Bank
robbery, Bertie Ahern says that we should allow the law to
run its course, lamenting that he "would feel disappointed
if it was ultimately proven, or if there was evidence that
Phil Flynn was up to the operations he was accused of."
("Colombia Three Fugitive Tracked Down", Sept. 5). It is
refreshing to hear that the Taoiseach has at last become a
devotee of the law.

As Taoiseach, I expect that Mr. Ahern was briefed by both
the Garda Síoachána and the Police Service of Northern
Ireland as regards Mr. Flynn, just as he said he was
briefed by both agencies as regards the supposed identity
of those who actually committed the robbery itself. But
when he spoke about the culprits themselves, Mr. Ahern was
not so reticent. He pointed the finger loudly and clearly
at the IRA, seemingly short-circuiting the legal process.

It's now been nearly nine months after the robbery. Not a
single person has been arrested and no proof whatsoever has
been produced in support of Mr. Ahern's accusations.
Indeed, though some £26.5 million was said to have been
lifted, the only money thus far recovered that has been
affirmatively proven to be part of the stolen loot was the
£50,000 found in a locker at a gym frequented by police

I don't believe that Mr. Flynn is guilty of the offenses
for which he's been investigated. Like the Taoiseach, I'm
content to allow the law to run its course. Presumably,
Mr. Ahern is now equally content to allow the law to run
its course as respects the robbers, whomever they might be.
Presumably, the Taoiseach now believes that everyone is
entitled to the full benefit of the law, and not just his

Graydon Wilson
Post Office Box 3084
Burlington, Vermont 05401-3084


Gerry Adams Gives Cautious Welcome To Announcement On
Combating Suicide

Published: 6 September, 2005

Sinn Féin West Belfast MP Gerry Adams has given a cautious
and very qualified welcome to the imminent announcement by
the Health Service Executive that it intends establishing
an office to tackle the growing problem of suicide. The
announcement is part of a 10 year strategy by the Irish
government on suicide prevention which will be published
later this week.

Mr. Adams said: "These developments will be judged on their
merits, the resources to be made available, and whether
they have the necessary all-Ireland approach which is
essential to making best use of the human and financial
resources available."

"In June Sinn Féin launched a campaign to persuade the
British and Irish governments to develop an all-island,
all-Ireland approach to this issue. Specifically we called
for suicide prevention to be made a priority Area for Co-
operation between the Health Departments in Belfast and
Dublin under the auspices of the North South Ministerial
Council. I asked Mary Harney, the Tanaiste and Minister of
Health in Dublin for a meeting to discuss this matter.
Regrettably this has not yet taken place.

Following a meeting in June with the British Minister for
Health we received a commitment to the creation of a
suicide prevention strategy in the north. And we also
stressed the importance of constructing a strategy which
encompasses the whole island and makes best use of the
available resources.

The strategy for "Action on Suicide Prevention" which will
be published in Dublin on Thursday will be judged by
survivors, relatives of victims and campaigners on its
merits and particularly on its ability to deal in a
holistic way with this issue. In particular we will examine
closely whether the necessary resources are made available
and how this strategy is likely to impact on suicide
prevention across the entire island." ENDS


Sligo Road Provides Little Relief As Predicted

Sligo's newly opened 'inner relief road' has turned out
to be every bit as bad as its opponents feared, writes
Frank McDonald, Environment Editor.

Sligo county and town manager Hubert Kearns has said its
new inner relief road "will greatly enhance the urban
environment for people to reside, work in or visit" Sligo
town. Officially opened last Friday, it cost €74 million to

The 4.5km dual carrigeway from Carrowroe roundabout on the
N4 to Hughes Bridge had been bitterly opposed by many local
people because of the damage it would do to Sligo's urban
fabric. More than 50 houses had to be demolished to make
way for it.

Cutting through a mesh of older streets, the road is
fronted along much of its length by concrete walls faced in
sandstone panels and limestone-clad pillars. The walls are
generally two metres high, but in some places reach five.

Although the current Sligo and Environs Development Plan
describes the route as an "urban street", not a single
building actually addresses it; one apartment scheme under
construction is being built right behind the wall, with no
frontage to the road.

Along much of its length, there simply is not room for new
buildings to provide proper street frontages. Surviving
terraces of houses facing on to the highway or backing on
to it are all fronted by the walls that line it, as if
penned in to protect them from the traffic.

Footpaths vary considerably in width, from three metres on
the east side of the dual carriageway to barely more than a
metre in places on the west side. Junctions with John
Street and Adelaide Street would be very difficult to
negotiate with a wheelchair.

Jagged edges of buildings and boundary walls, as well as a
projecting ESB substation and random poles and trees, make
the road particularly hazardous for blind people, even
though the latest technology has been installed at
pedestrian crossings.

Just like the West Link in Belfast, surviving parts of the
urban fabric on either side of it visibly testify to the
damage it has caused.

Sinn Féin's constituency office, which was once a mid-
terrace building, now stands at the edge of the road with
only a corner shop beside it.

"Bringing a road like this through here was insane", said
shopkeeper Michael Langan. "With all of these busy streets
crossing it, there are backlogs of traffic, so how does
that make sense? It's really all about the bigger picture,
the land being bought up out the road."

A 14-storey hotel adjoining the Carrowroe roundabout
already has planning permission, while a 12-acre "prime
landmark development site" adjoining the Summerhill
roundabout was recently acquired for €16 million by Dublin-
based developer, Treasury Holdings.

Out-of-town shopping centres, retail warehouses, office
blocks and even a bowling alley are among the proposals
floated by other developers for sites opened up by the dual
carriageway. Landfilling is also taking place on the old N4
for other schemes.

Most of the leftover sites along the road through the town
centre are triangular, due to its alignment. Hard surfaces
are everywhere, with only one small space for grass. The
lime trees planted along the central median of the dual
carriageway are withering.

There is no sign of the promised "civic plaza" at the
railway station, which is located just west of the new
road. At Summerhill College, a paved area for dropping off
and collecting students has been provided; temporary
fencing protects them from the traffic.

Local people say the main shopping area, O'Connell Street,
has been quieter since the road opened last Friday,
although it has yet to be pedestrianised as planned.
Certainly, most of the juggernaut trucks seem to be using
the new route.

The scheme was approved by Noel Dempsey, then minister for
the environment, in 2000 when it was estimated to cost €23
million, less than a third of the final bill. Few believe
it alone will "solve" the town's traffic problems.

© The Irish Times

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