News about the Irish & Irish American culture, music, news, sports. This is hosted by the Irish Aires radio show on KPFT-FM 90.1 in Houston, Texas (a Pacifica community radio station)

September 30, 2005

LVF Rejects Talk of Dumping Arms

To Index of Monthly Archives
To September 2005 Index
To receive this news via email, click HERE.
No Message is necessary.

News about Ireland and the Irish

BT 09/30/05 LVF Rejects Talk Of Dumping Arms
BB 09/30/05 Adams Urges Devolution Progress
BT 09/30/05 Sinn Fein To Appeal Fundraising Ban In US
BT 09/30/05 Judge Urged To Halt Lawyer's Shutdown Order
WN 09/30/05 Sinn Fein To Hold Conference On Irish Unity
BT 09/30/05 DUP Voices Concerns Over Two Clergymen
UH 09/30/05 Sinn Fein Scores As DUP Fumbles
IA 09/30/05 General Achieves Mission Impossible
DJ 09/30/05 We Must Practise What We Preach - Colr. Durkan
IO 09/30/05 McDowell Not Convinced About IRA's Intentions
BT 09/30/05 Claim That IRA Did Not Kill Mountbatten
BT 09/30/05 Media 'Giving Ballymoney A Bad Name'
BB 09/30/05 Politicians Back Warm Homes Fight
BT 09/30/05 Net Boost For Genealogists


LVF Rejects Talk Of Dumping Arms After Provo Move

By David Gordon

30 September 2005

WELL-PLACED loyalist sources were today pouring cold water
on speculation of a decommissioning move by the LVF in
response to the disposal of Provo arms.

It was reported that the terror group founded by murdered
terror chief Billy Wright could resurrect plans to dump
arms following Monday's announcement on IRA

But a source close to the LVF today said he had heard
nothing about such talk, and firmly rejected the report.

He also indicated that the LVF is adopting a cautious
approach to recent developments.

Portadown-based Pastor Kenny McClinton, who acts as
interlocutor for the LVF with the International Independent
Commission on Decommissioning, said:

"If the Government had really wanted loyalists to be
encouraged to decommission their arms, they wouldn't have
made such a nonsense and a joke of the LVF decommissioning
that occurred in 1998."

However, Mr McClinton also said: "If anything was going on
at present, it would be too sensitive for me to talk

The LVF has been embroiled in a feud with the UVF this

Four people were murdered by the UVF in July and August.

Although the situation appears significantly calmer at
present, there has been no indication of any move towards a
truce between the two factions.


Adams Urges Devolution Progress

The British and Irish governments must move quickly towards
re-establishing devolution in Northern Ireland, Sinn Fein
President Gerry Adams has said.

Mr Adams said it would take time for unionists to absorb
the "completeness" of the IRA's decommissioning.

However, he said it was now up to both governments to press

On Monday, General John de Chastelain, head of the arms
decommissioning body, said the IRA had put all of its
weapons beyond use.

"The two governments need to move speedily to fulfilling
their commitments and injecting momentum into the political
process," Mr Adams said.

"The goal should be the re-establishment of the Executive
as quickly as possible and before British direct rule
ministers take more decisions on health and education and
transport and investment which will adversely affect the
people of the north."

Loyalist arms

Earlier, Irish Foreign Minister Dermot Ahern said he was
committed to helping loyalists decommission their arms.

Mr Ahern said people in Northern Ireland were "sick" of
conflict and scenes of sectarianism.

He said that he was prepared "to run any risk" that will
end the threat from loyalist paramilitaries.

"We have opened fairly significant lines with leading
figures in the loyalist community and are ready, willing
and able to assist," he said.

Mr Ahern said that in the wake of IRA decommissioning the
"pendulum would swing" in the direction of unionist
politicians if the International Monitoring Commission
gives the IRA a clean bill of health in its January report.

The DUP have said time and time again... they were
prepared to share power in partnership with nationalists -
now we are looking for the DUP to put those words into

Dermot Ahern

Irish Foreign Minister Most computers will open PDF
documents automatically, but you may need to download Adobe
Acrobat Reader.

The IMC reports on the activity of paramilitary groups and
can recommend sanctions against political parties linked to
such groups if it judges them to be engaging in illegal

"The DUP have said time and time again... they were
prepared to share power in partnership with nationalists,"
Mr Ahern said.

"Now we are looking for the DUP to put those words into

He said that it was accepted they had to assist the process
in an even handed way.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/09/30 12:22:15 GMT


Sinn Fein To Appeal Fundraising Ban In US

By Noel McAdam, Political Correspondent
30 September 2005

A BAN on Sinn Fein fundraising in the US remains in place
despite the IRA's 'final' decommissioning, it emerged

The bar was imposed in March by the US State Department
following the killing of Robert McCartney, and special
envoy Mitchel Reiss is understood to have told Martin
McGuinness this week that it remains in force.

Sinn Fein has made clear, however, that Mr McGuinness's
visit this week was focused on dealing primarily with
meetings following the IRA's actions rather than

Now, however, Sinn Fein is expected to formally apply again
for permission to raise funds ahead of a scheduled $$500-a-
plate fund-raiser in New York next month organised by the
Friends of Sinn Fein group.

It is unclear, however, whether the American authorities
will feel minded to lift the ban before the next report of
the Independent Monitoring Commission, due next month,
which is expected to confirm IRA activity has ceased.

There could be a huge row if the State Department decides
to wait for the second next Commission report, expected in
January. The Manhattan dinner annually raises up to
£400,000 for the party.

While the US remains a fundraising 'no-go' area, however,
cash can still be raised in Canada. Mr McGuinness is to
speak at a $$100-a-head dinner in Calgary, also organised
by Friends of Sinn Fein, on Monday night. Today he was
travelling to Seattle before heading on to San Francisco,
San Diego and Phoenix over the weekend.


Judge Urged To Halt Lawyer's Shutdown Order

By Deborah McAleese
30 September 2005

THE Lord Chief Justice is to be asked to overturn a
decision by law chiefs to shut down a leading human rights
law firm in Belfast.

Solicitor Padraigin Drinan has been barred from a legal
practice on her own after an inquiry by the Law Society
found administrative shortcomings.

Ms Drinan's clients have included nationalist residents'
groups, ethnic minority bodies and the Rape Crisis Centre.

An agent has been put in place to handle the affairs of Ms
Drinan's former clients.

Campaigners, from human rights and welfare organisations,
plan to call on Lord Chief Justice Sir Brian Kerr and
Angela Smith, the Minister for Victims, to use their
influence to have the decision reversed immediately.

Director of the Rape Crisis Centre Eileen Calder said the
Law Society had closed down the only person to deal locally
with asylum seeker and refugee cases.

She said: "This woman has worked tirelessly over the years
and not for her own benefit. I do not know where people who
come to us are going to go now.

"This is a betrayal of the victims of racist and sexual
abuse. It is going to affect so many people. This woman has
done things above and beyond the call of duty for years."

A spokesperson for the Law Society said that Ms Drinan will
be able to practice again once she gets a partner of more
than seven years' standing.

He said: "The position between Ms Drinan and the
independent disciplinary tribunal was set out on March 4,
2005, when they gave her until September 2, 2005 to find a
partner of more than seven years standing.

"As she has not done so, the Law Society is required to
ensure compliance with the order of the tribunal.
Accordingly, it is no longer possible for Ms Drinan to
continue in practice."

In January the Law Society's Northern Ireland office was
picketed by protesters campaigning against an attempt to
shut Ms Drinan's practice down.


Sinn Fein To Hold Conference On Irish Unity

OVER 250 organisations from Waterford city and county have
been invited to participate in a conference on Irish Unity.
which will take place in the Granville Hotel at 11am on
Monday next, October 3rd. All are welcome.

The invitation was issued by Sinn Féin city councillor
David Cullinane, who said "All major political parties in
the 26 counties proclaim their ambition of achieving a re-
united Ireland, but no Irish government has ever produced a
Green Paper on Irish unity.

"No Irish government has ever set out a strategy, produced
an economic analysis, or set out the actions necessary to
bring about a re-united Ireland.

"Sinn Féin is calling on the Irish government to produce a
Green Paper and to begin the practical planning for Irish
unity now. We also believe this should happen as part of a
widespread consultation about the future of this island and
the kind of society we want.

"There are economic, political and demographic forces at
work bringing the prospect of a re-united Ireland closer
than ever before. However, the key question remains what
kind of Ireland it will be.

"As a nation we need to address the social and economic
problems that beset us on both sides of the border. Re-
unification will give us an unprecedented opportunity to
transform our society and create an Ireland of equals.

"Sinn Féin wants to open a debate on what a united Ireland
might be like, and to examine the practical problems and
solutions by drawing on the rich experience, expertise and
imagination within our society. We want to hear the voices
of people outside the political and economic elite - their
priorities, their concerns, their vision of the future.

"To this end we are holding similar consultative
conferences throughout the island of Ireland, inviting
people from community groups, trades unions and employers
organisations, from town and country, from all walks of
life, from the young to the old. "We believe this debate
can be the first step towards building a shared and
inclusive Ireland that can deliver justice, peace and
prosperity for all its people."


DUP Voices Concerns Over Two Clergymen

By Noel McAdam, Political Correspondent
30 September 2005

THE DUP has said concerns remain following its face-to-face
meeting with the two clergymen who witnessed IRA

But Ulster Unionists said it was time to "move on" from a
sole focus on the decommissioning issue after a similar
meeting with the independent witnesses, the Rev Harold Good
and Fr Alec Reid.

The UUP also said it had emerged that the two witnesses
began their role last November, shortly before the collapse
of the political negotiations between Sinn Fein and the DUP
in the so-called 'Comprehensive Agreement'.

UUP deputy leader Danny Kennedy said there was a danger of
unionists getting themselves into a corner.

Former UUP leader David Trimble said today it would be
"foolish" to disbelieve the evidence given by the former
Methodist President and Redemptorist priest and unionists
should not "get stuck in a self-defeating argument" over

In an article for the News Letter, Mr Trimble said it would
be a good idea if the inventory of IRA weaponry taken by
the International Independent Commissioning on
Decommissioning (IICD) was published, saying there was no
legal requirement for it to remain confidential.

Unionists should, however, focus on the issues of tomorrow
such as whether paramilitary activity and racketeering has
ended; if Sinn Fein is unequivocally committed to
supporting policing and if the integrity of the police and
criminal justice system is being maintained.

DUP MP David Simpson, who ousted Mr Trimble from his Upper
Bann seat at the last General Election, said his party was
not questioning the integrity of the witnesses but
questions remained.

Mr Simpson, who attended the meeting at Parliament
buildings, said if they had not been appointed by the
Government or the Decommissioning body, they must have been
appointed by the IRA - a claim the two clerics have
explicitly rejected.

Mr Kennedy said the UUP was amazed the witnesses were in
place ahead of the failed deal of 2004.

"It questions the political influence of those who were
negotiating fair deals and comprehensive agreements. Are we
to believe that Dr Paisley and the political leadership of
the DUP were so far out of the loop that they were unaware
of the choreography of these events?" he asked.


Sinn Fein Scores As DUP Fumbles

by Adrian Mullan

The DUP has been caught napping over the complete
decommissioning of IRA arms and explosives and now faces
being sidelined, West Tyrone MP Pat Doherty has been told
by British ministers in Brighton this week.

Whereas Dr Ian Paisley denounced the final IRA
decommissioning as 'a cover-up,' British ministers say they
regard it as the removal of the last roadblock to full
implementation of the Good Friday Agreement, the Sinn Féin
MP was told.

The DUP's opportunity for a PR victory in claiming that it
had 'disarmed the IRA' has passed and, while panic spreads
through unionists ranks as to how to respond, Sinn Féin has
been harvesting the positive political feedback in Britain,
the US and in the wider international community.

General John de Chastelain and two other international
commissioners announced that they had seen and handled
every weapon and had made a detailed inventory. However,
that inventory cannot be produced until the entire
decommissioning process has ended and that means when UVF,
UFF, LVF, UDA and other loyalist guns are verifiably put
beyond use. However, because most of the loyalist groups
are not planning to decommission, the De Chastelain
inventory may never be publicised.

Meanwhile, the DUP not only rejects the commission's report
but has cast aspersions on the integrity of the independent
observers and commissioners.

Mr Doherty, who attended the Labour Party conference in
Brighton for separate meetings with Health Minister Shaun
Woodward and Secretary of State Peter Hain, said that the
disarmament move had been very positively received by the
British government.

'The way things have worked out, me being here and seeing
it from here, and then these engagements with the British
ministers, I can see at first hand that everybody, British
ministers and Irish government officials, are very positive
about it.

'The DUP left the conference en masse,' the Sinn Féin MP
reported. 'There were a number of fringe events at which
they were to have spoken - for example the Ulster Fry,
which is hosted by Alf Dubbs and Baroness May Blood. There
were speaking rights for Sinn Féin, the UUP and the DUP.
Nigel Dodds didn't turn up and we heard that they pulled
out of everything that was going on.

'I don't know whether they are trying to regroup and try to
find a way forward. Clearly their response was very naive
and not realistic.'

Mr Doherty said British government ministers told him that
the IRA move now 'liberates everything' and that there can
be no more barriers or obstacles to moving forward.

Touching on the impact of the move for the republican
grassroots, Mr Doherty said, 'Obviously this is a huge
thing for Irish republicans in terms of their whole history
and there are the memories in recent times of the pogroms
of the late 1960s and early 1970s.

'We have made it very clear to the British government that
situations like that cannot ever be allowed to arise again
and that they have a huge responsibility right across the

'I believe we are living in a difficult political era and
we are mindful of what the loyalists were at last week and
the week before and we are aware of how quickly they can
turn those guns on nationalists,' said the Sinn Féin MP.
'An element of what happened might have been spontaneous
but there was also an element trying to suck in


General Achieves Mission Impossible

By Niall O' Dowd

Belfast — The peace process in Ireland has thrown up some
remarkable non-Irish men and women.

These range from Senator George Mitchell, who spent the
best part of four years encamped in a Belfast hotel in
efforts to bring the sides together, to the late British
Northern Secretary Mo Mowlam, whose lack of decorum and
can-do attitude permeated the process at a key point.

Of the outside forces, however, General John de Chastelain
may be the most remarkable man of all. As he strode into
the ballroom of the five star Culloden Hotel, eight miles
outside Belfast on Monday afternoon, the eyes of the world
media were squarely on him.

A South Korean television crew shouldered me out of the way
as de Chastelain, flanked by his two fellow commissioners,
American Andy Sens and Norwegian Brigadier General Tauno
Nieminen, made their way to the podium to begin their
critical press conference. It was to be de Chastelain's

The North's media had also gathered in their droves. They
are a particularly cynical bunch, even by the standards of
the media these days.

They have seen it all, from murders to mayhem to a peace
process many privately oppose. It would be a tough crowd
for the general and his men.

De Chastelain was dressed in his usual tweed suit and had a
nodding acquaintance at least with most journalists in the
room. Today, even as the tension mounted, he was good
humoured and at ease. This was a man who was confident that
his mission had been accomplished.

Outside a heavy mist and intermittent rain obscured the
tranquil countryside and the nearby beach. It was not an
auspicious day to announce one of the greatest
breakthroughs in Northern Ireland's history, but de
Chastelain was about to do just that.

He had come a long way and waited a long time for this day.
The general was completing eight years in the thankless job
of chairman of the Inter-national Commission on

For many of those years, even supporters feared he was on a
fool's errand, the paramilitary groups seemingly engaged in
an endless game of cat and mouse with the prize of complete
decommissioning always out of reach somewhere on the far

There were rumours on several occasions that the general
had grown tired of the utter uncertainty and was going to
head back home to kith and kin in Canada. At least once it
was "reliably reported" that he had left for good.

The Canadian general, however, would have none of the
defeatist talk, even when his mission looked doomed. He was
determined to soldier on to the end.

He had been appointed by the British government over the
strong objections of the Irish government and Sinn Fein.
After all, he was a Canadian of Scottish ancestry and both
of his parents had worked for British intelligence during
the second World War.

It was not too difficult to imagine that the British were
slipping their own man firmly into a key slot in the peace
process jigsaw. The Nationalist reaction was outrage.

There was one dissenting voice on the Nationalist side.
Former Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Albert Reynolds had
checked out de Chastelain's bona fides with then Canadian
Premier Jean Chretien and came away reassured that he was
first and foremost an honest decent man who would play no

Indeed, de Chastelain soon proved he was nobody's man. With
a military man's love for precision, directness and
accountability de Chastelain often fitted awkwardly into
the North's scheme of things.

Terms like "creative ambiguity" were much in use as a
method of moving things forward, but the general, it
appeared, had no time for such diversions from the truth of
what he saw and gave witness to.

That was what scuppered the near deal in October 2003 when
the Unionist leader, David Trimble, backed out of a deal at
the last moment when de Chastelain refused to divulge or
fudge information on IRA armaments which he had seen
destroyed, as it would have compromised his standing with
that organization.

On this occasion, however, de Chastelain had no need for
prevarication or fudge.

The Irish Times headlined his role thus — "Shining
Performance from the General after Dark Days of Muck and
Mockery." It was vindication for a man who had shipped an
unfair portion of blame for the failed 2003 initiative and
who had been subject to unwarranted abuse and condemnation
from opponents of the peace process.

His language was straightforward. "Very large quantities of
arms which we believe include all the arms in the IRA's
possessions have been put beyond use . . . the commission
has determined that the IRA has met its commitment to put
all arms beyond use."

No if, ands or buts there. The Reverend Harold Goode,
former head of the Methodist Church in Northern Ireland and
one of two clergy who witnessed the decommissioning was, if
anything, even more definitive. "Beyond the shadow of a
doubt...the arms of the IRA have now been decommissioned,"
he said.

Goode, like De Chastelain gave a remarkable performance. As
a leading Unionist clergyman, one with an OBE from the
Queen, his testimony was particularly vital.

No doubt the hate mail will flood in from partisans on his
own side accusing him of traitorous behaviour towards
Ulster. The bespectacled and mild-mannered clergyman did
not seem in the least afraid.

The performance of both men was extraordinary. In the
subsequent question and answer session the media probed and
probed again, trying to elicit some weakness in the
general's position.

In answer to the key question, "Why should anyone believe
you and your colleagues," de Chastelain answered simply,
"Because we are telling the truth. Why would we lie?"

Why indeed.


'We Must Practise What We Preach' - Colr. Durkan

Friday 30th September 2005

A young Derry SDLP councillor has called on local
politicians to "practise what they preach" after Sinn Fein
and the DUP clashed during a debate on sectarianism.

Mark H Durkan said elected representatives in the city must
set a good example if religious hatred is to be eradicated
once and for all in the North.

Colr. Durkan was speaking after this week's monthly meeting
of Derry City Council at which Sinn Fein and the DUP
clashed during a motion calling on the British Government
to do more to make sectarianism history.

The motion - put forward by Colr. Durkan - called for a
detailed strategy to defeat religious bigotry and other
hate crimes which plague communities in Northern Ireland.

The SDLP councillor says any new initiative must deal with
the issue of flags, intimidation and hate speech.

He also called for stiffer sentences for those convicted of
their role in the North's most common hate crime.

Colr. Durkan's motion - his first since he was elected to
Derry City Council earlier this year - comes after a summer
which saw worrying levels of sectarian strife on the
streets of the city.

He said government departments, political parties and
voluntary and statutory bodies must embark on a drive to
eliminate sectarianism and promote sharing in society.

Speaking on Tuesday, Colr. Durkan said people must
challenge the blatant sectarian actions and attitudes that
have plagued society for too long.

He referred to recent disturbances among opposing factions
in Derry's city centre at the weekend and ongoing clashes
at the Bishop Street/Fountain interface.

The councillor also said those responsible for the murder
of black Liverpool teenager, Anthony Walker, in a racist
attack earlier this year "share the same motive" as those
who stabbed Belfast teenager, Thomas Devlin, to death - "a
hatred of what is different".

He added: "It is not enough to share power, we need to
share our streets.

"We need to recognise that segregation is a loss to our
society and a threat to our stability. We must find better
ways to work together and to live together."

During the debate, the DUP's Gregory Campbell clashed with
Sinn Fein's Peter Anderson and Paul Fleming over the issue.

While seconding the motion, Colr. Anderson accused the DUP
of using the language of hate.

Mr. Campbell retorted by accusing the council of helping to
promote sectarianism "because of its attitude".

But despite the verbal exchanges, which lasted more than 10
minutes, the motion received unanimous support.

Speaking afterwards, Colr. Durkan said he was disappointed
that the issue had been reduced to a "mudslinging match"
between Sinn FÈin and the DUP.

"This strategy must start somewhere and politicians like us
must set a good example. It's important that we practise
what we preach," he said.


McDowell Still Not Convinced About IRA's Intentions

30/09/2005 - 13:21:53

Justice Minister Michael McDowell has said he is awaiting a
report from the Independent Monitoring Commission before
making up his mind on the IRA's future intentions.

The republican paramilitary group promised earlier this
year that it would only engage in purely peaceful
activities and would destroy all of its arms.

On Monday, the decommissioning body confirmed that it had
overseen the destruction of the IRA's known arsenal.

Mr McDowell said afterwards said that he would accept this
had taken place until somebody proved otherwise.

However, speaking in Dublin today, he said he was awaiting
a report from the IMC next month to see if the IRA had also
ended its criminal and paramilitary activities.


Fury Over Claim That IRA Did Not Kill Mountbatten

By Staff Reporter
30 September 2005

A CONTROVERSIAL new book which claims that the IRA did not
murder Lord Mountbatten has been dismissed as "nonsense".

The book, Terminate with Extreme Prejudice, by author
Richard Belfield, claims that Lord Mountbatten, was killed
by another terror group - the INLA.

The book also claims that since the early 1970s there was
an agreement in place between the leadership of the IRA and
the top brass of the Army in London that the Royal Family
was 'off limits'.

But the book was dismissed as "nonsense" today by North
Antrim Assembly member Ian Paisley jnr.

Cousin to the Queen, Lord Louis Mountbatten (79), was
murdered on August 27, 1979, when a bomb exploded on his
fishing boat near his holiday home at Mullaghmore, Sligo.

He was murdered on the same day that 18 soldiers were
killed in a bomb attack near Warrenpoint in Co Down.

Terminate With Extreme Prejudice is published by Constable
& Robinson and sets out to 'expose the assassination game,
its killers and their paymasters'.

Author Richard Belfield is a London-based journalist and
film maker.

He argues that throughout the Troubles there was continual
dialogue between the Government and republican and loyalist
paramilitaries - through back-channels and face-to-face

In the book he says: "In a round-table meeting British Army
commanders warned their IRA counterparts that the Royal
Family was off limits."

According to Belfield the IRA kept to this arrangement and
were not responsible for the bomb which killed Mountbatten
and three other people.

According to the author the Army's own internal
investigation concluded that the bomb was identical in its
key elements to those used by the INLA.

Belfield argues that because the attack at Warrenpoint
happened on the same day that Lord Mountbatten was murdered
it was unlikely that the IRA carried out both incidents.

He said the purpose of the Warrenpoint attack was to
achieve a 'propaganda coup' but instead the IRA lost the
'PR war' as it was blamed on the 'cowardly assassination of
a pensioner'.

He continued: "The internal British Army view was that they
(the IRA) did not carry out two major operations on the
same day and furthermore did not have enough skilled
bombers to do both.

"However, at the time it suited their propaganda purposes
to blame the IRA."

Rejecting the book's claims Mr Paisley said: "This is just
an attempt to rewrite history. No student of history will
buy into this nonsense."


Media 'Giving Ballymoney A Bad Name'

30 September 2005

THE Ballymoney area is getting a "bad name" because
sectarian attacks in the Mosside area are being wrongly
attributed to the district in the media, a DUP councillor
has claimed .

Councillor John Finlay told a meeting of Ballymoney
District Policing Partnership that Mosside is actually in
the adjacent Moyle District Council area but he said the
Press reports were giving Ballymoney a "stigma".

Meanwhile, North Antrim DUP Assemblyman Mervyn Storey said
the police were sometimes too quick to label attacks as

After hearing that so- called 'hate' crimes in the area,
which include sectarian, racist and homophobic incidents,
amounted to 14 since April, Mr Storey asked: "How do we be
absolutely sure that what sometimes is deemed as being
sectarian is actually that?"

He emphasised that what ever label is put on an incident it
is still a crime and he was not trying to excuse it, "but
we have had cases in the past after what was very quickly
deemed to be a sectarian attack turned out to be a fall-out
or from the same religion.

"Should more thought not be given to the circumstances of
these incidents before putting them in a box?"

Inspector David Anderson said that if an incident is
perceived to be a hate crime by the victim, police or a by-
stander it is treated as such and the police are following
Home Office guidelines.


Politicians Back Warm Homes Fight

The leaders of five political parties in Northern Ireland
have come together to back the fight against fuel poverty.

They agreed to appear in a specially commissioned film to
highlight what the government is doing to help those who
cannot afford to heat their homes.

Figures show that more than 2,000 people died in Northern
Ireland last year from cold related illnesses.

About a third cannot afford to heat their homes. A report
is also due to be launched into fuel poverty.

DUP leader Ian Paisley said fuel poverty was a "terrible
blight" on society.

"I want to see the Warm Homes Scheme further advanced and
improved. It is vitally important that right across this
province, we remain fully committed to the elimination of
fuel poverty."

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams said: "People can die from
the cold and people are certainly deprived because of the
cold. I think the people have a right to a warm home."

Heating or eating

SDLP leader Mark Durkan said: "The Eaga Partnership has
done a very, very good job because it doesn't just raise a
very important problem, it actually brings forward
practical solutions. "

Ulster Unionist leader Sir Reg Empey said: "I think it's a
damning indictment of our society that in the 21st century
a lot of people, as we move into the winter months, are
having to make a choice between heating or eating."

David Ford, the Alliance Party leader, said because of fuel
prices, people in Northern Ireland suffered more than the
rest of the UK.

"Its one of the issues that's not taken account of in the
benefit system," he said.

The party leaders appeared in a film commissioned by the
Eaga Partnership which was screened in Belfast on Thursday

It celebrated the 10th anniversary of the partnership which
manages the government's fuel poverty programme across the
UK, most significantly the Warm Homes Scheme.

Funding for the scheme has, since 2001, increased from over
just over £3m to almost £15m, according to government

The government's winter fuel payment also means that
pensioners receive an annual payment of £200 or £300.

Meanwhile, a report looking at the National Energy
Association's Warming-Up project will be launched at a
Belfast hotel on Friday.

It looks at an action plan to deal with fuel poverty
amongst older people in the South and East Belfast Trust

Pat Austin of NEA said: "Over 700 people received energy
efficiency advice and information and 85 homes received
measures to make them more energy efficient including
switching to more convenient, more efficient and less
costly heating systems.

"We also assisted many clients to increase their income
through benefits health checks and cut fuel bills through
provision of energy advice."

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/09/30 05:42:31 GMT


Net Boost For Genealogists

By Senan Molony
30 September 2005

FAMILY history researchers across the island of Ireland
will soon have a field day through the provision of 1901
and 1911 census returns on the web.

A project to digitise the records of the Republic's
National Archives is under way, and access will be provided
through the internet.

Last year, millions of web hits caused the British 1901
census website to crash after unprecedented interest in the
uploaded records.

It is understood that the provision of Irish census
information on the web is still some way off, but its
provision will prove a boon to those of Irish extraction

Civil records of births, marriages and deaths have recently
been digitised at the General Register Office in the south,
but are not yet available through the internet.

Making millions of census returns available online would be
revolutionary for those researching their family trees and
take huge pressure off the National Archives in Dublin,
where the records can currently be viewed on microfilm.

Britain has a 100-year secrecy rule on census returns, but
in Ireland they are deemed to be in the public domain after
75 years.

Census returns in Ireland before 1901 were largely
destroyed through the burning of the Custom House in the
War of Independence.

To receive this news via email, click HERE.
No Message is necessary.
To September 2005 Index
To Index of Monthly Archives
Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?