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October 27, 2005

Dail Participation Move Is Progress - SF

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News about Ireland & the Irish

SF 10/27/05 Move On Dáil Participation Is Progress
BT 10/27/05 Northern Bank - No Arrests After 10 Months
UT 10/27/05 Policewoman Attacked In Belfast
BT 10/27/05 Youths Knife Man In Stomach
UT 10/27/05 Blair To Meet Omagh Relatives
BT 10/27/05 The Redemptorist And The Jews
BT 10/27/05 No Ireland Coach Role For O'Neill


Taoiseach's Move On Dáil Participation Is "Welcome
Progress" - Ó Caoláin

Published: 27 October, 2005

Sinn Féin Dáil leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin has welcomed the
decision of Taoiseach Bertie Ahern to invite MPs from the
Six Counties to participate in the Dáil through "a
Committee of the whole House" beginning in early 2006.

Deputy Ó Caoláin said, "The Taoiseach has informed me,
together with other party leaders, by letter this morning
that he is to invite MPs from the Six Counties to
participate in the Dáil through 'a Committee of the whole
House' which will discuss matters relating to the Good
Friday Agreement and the North of Ireland. It would meet at
least every six months.

"This is a very important development and represents
welcome progress. Throughout the peace process Sinn Féin
has been campaigning for Dáil representation for people in
the Six Counties. While this proposal does not involve full
representation it is clearly a step forward. Full
representation and full participation remains Sinn Féin's

"It is now for the parties in the Oireachtas to agree the
format of this special committee of the whole Dáil and I
urge them to do so as soon as possible so that the first
meeting can go ahead on the resumption of the Dáil after
the Christmas recess. I look forward to welcoming
representatives from the Six Counties to Leinster House in
2006." ENDS


Northern Bank - No Arrests After 10 Months

By David Gordon
27 October 2005

Detectives probing the £26.5m Northern Bank robbery have
yet to arrest and question a single suspect, MPs have been

But Security Minister Shaun Woodward has insisted that
police remain "confident" that the gang responsible will be
brought to justice.

The robbery, just before Christmas last year, was the
world's biggest bank cash heist.

It plunged the Northern Ireland peace process into crisis,
with PSNI Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde publicly blaming
the Provisional IRA - a claim which has been denounced by
Sinn Fein.

Mr Woodward has now told the Commons: "To date no-one has
been arrested or detained and subsequently interviewed by
the Police Service of Northern Ireland in relation to the

Mr Woodward, who was replying to written questions from DUP
deputy leader Peter Robinson, also stated: "PSNI are fully
committed to bringing the perpetrators to justice and are
confident of a successful outcome to the investigation."

The minister pointed to cash discovered by gardai in Cork
as part of a money-laundering investi- gation.

He said the Garda believed over £2.4m of the seized haul
came from the Northern Bank robbery.

Mr Woodward said the dedicated team of PSNI detectives
investigating the robbery is working closely with
counterparts in the Republic.

The PSNI stated in June that over 3,600 actions had been
carried out as part of its investigation.

This newspaper revealed two months later that the team
probing the heist was being significantly reduced.


Policewoman Attacked In Belfast

A woman police officer suffered a suspected fractured skull
after being hit with a brick as she attended the scene of a
road accident in north Belfast.

By:Press Association

She was attacked by a crowd at about 8.45pm last night who
threw the brick from behind the wall of a youth club in the
Ligoniel area.

With two colleagues she had been responding to a road
accident near Ligoniel church in which a pedestrian had
been knocked down.

PSNI Inspector Gavin Kirkpatrick from Antrim Road police
station condemned the attack.

"It is disgraceful that police officers should be attacked
while carrying out their duties in providing assistance to
members of the public," he said.

"This female officer could have been seriously injured and
I would appeal to those involved to stop and for parents
and members of the community to use their influence to
ensure such an attack does not happen again."

It is understood the person knocked down did not sustain
life threatening injuries.

Police urged anyone with information about the attack on
their colleague or the accident to come forward with

The attack on the police officer was described as barbaric
by the cross community Alliance Party`s North Belfast
representative Marjorie Hawkins.

"My immediate thoughts are with the officer concerned," she

"It is disgusting that an officer cannot do her job,
helping a pedestrian after a car accident, without being
subject to a mindless attack like this.

"Such attacks raise very serious questions about the nature
of community leadership in these areas. Lawlessness must
not be allowed to prevail in any part of Belfast."

Belfast Deputy Lord Mayor Pat Convery said there could be
no excuse given for the attack on the policewoman.

"This was a disgraceful attack on a member of the emergency
services who was dealing with a very real emergency," the
SDLP councillor said.


Youths Knife Man In Stomach

By Claire Regan
27 October 2005

Police appealed for information today after a man was
stabbed in the stomach in a suspected sectarian attack in
the centre of Belfast.

The victim was in the Peter's Hill area close to the
Shankill Road when he was set upon by a group of four young
men, possibly teenagers, at around 11pm yesterday.

The victim was taken to hospital suffering from stab wounds
to his stomach.

His condition was not known this morning, but his injuries
are not thought to be life-threatening.

It is understood a sectarian motive is one line of enquiry
being investigated by police.

Officers said it is thought the gang fled in the direction
of either Millfield, the Shankill Road, Carrick Hill or
North Street.

They have appealed for any information on the incident to
be reported to them on 9065 0222.


Blair To Meet Omagh Relatives

Prime Minister Tony Blair is to have talks next month with
relatives of victims of the Omagh bomb atrocity, it was
revealed today.

By:Press Association

It will be the first time he has met them since the August
1998 attack which claimed the lives of 29 people, including
a woman pregnant with twins.

Michael Gallagher, whose son Aiden was among the dead, will
head a delegation to Downing Street on November 29.

He said: "Hopefully we will achieve something positive out
of this meeting, because there hasn`t been much positive in
our lives over the last seven years."

They will be pressing Mr Blair for a promise that he will
agree to a full public inquiry into the bombing, once
outstanding criminal and civil proceedings connected to
Omagh are dealt with.

Colm Murphy, 52, the only person to be convicted in
connection with the bombing, is due to face a re-trial in
Dublin in January, and Sean Hoey, 36, another South Armagh
man who has been accused of the 29 murders, is not expected
to stand trial in Belfast until well into next year.

At the same time, some of the families are pressing ahead
with a #14 million High Court compensation claim against
the five men they claim were responsible for the atrocity.

Irish Foreign Minister Dermot Ahern has already ruled out a
cross-border inquiry until those cases are out of the way,
but Mr Blair will be urged to give the families a pledge
that he will agree to one being held eventually.

Mr Gallagher said: "It`s important, not just for Omagh. The
reason for an inquiry such as this is to establish the
circumstances of what happened, to determine what mistakes
were made, and to see what lessons can be learned.

"He can give the families a commitment that any tribunal
will be open and transparent. What is there to hide?."

A number of the families have already spoken of their
dismay at the lack of political action, particularly in
Northern Ireland, to establish the full truth of Omagh,
including the work of police Special Branch on both sides
of the Irish border at the time the Real IRA bombed the
town without warning.

Mr Gallagher said: "Let us at least examine the
circumstances around Omagh, and if there are lessons to be
learned, then let`s apply them - not just to Omagh, but
right across the country.

"We are looking to achieve something positive from this
meeting and to give the families something positive to hold
on to."


The Redemptorist And The Jews

The recent controversy over comments made by
decommissioning witness Fr Alec Reid raised memories of a
shameful episode in Ireland's history as LIAM KENNEDY,
Professor of Economic and Social History at Queen's
University recalls.

27 October 2005

When the Redemptorist priest Fr Alec Reid, linked the fate
of northern nationalists with that of Jews under the Nazis
he disturbed some historical ghosts of a peculiarly
Redemptorist kind.

The centenary of the Limerick boycott of Jews - some
historians term it a pogrom - passed quietly last year. On
the January 11, 1904, Fr John Creagh, a Redemptorist priest
and director of the 6,000 strong Arch-Confraternity of lay
Catholics in the city, ascended the pulpit to instruct his
listeners: "Twenty years ago and less Jews were known only
by name and evil repute in Limerick. They were sucking the
blood of other nations, but those nations rose up and
turned them out and they came to our land to fasten
themselves on us like leeches...".

There followed a litany of time-worn anti-Semitic imagery.

The Jews (not the Romans apparently) had crucified Jesus.
In days gone by Jews had kidnapped and slain Christian
children - a reference to the oft-recited blood libel,
originating in medieval Christendom. Now, through their
usurious business methods, Jews were perpetrating an "even
more cruel martyrdom by taking the clothes off their back
and the bit out of their mouths".

The solution, according to Fr Creagh was to have nothing to
do with the Jews, a piece of advice the huge congregation
interpreted as a call to boycott the few dozen Jewish
households in Limerick. Some, on leaving the Redemptorist
church, attacked Jewish premises nearby. Only the timely
arrival of the Royal Irish Constabulary prevented uglier
scenes that night.

This was the beginning of the ordeal of the Limerick Jews -
recently arrived, fleeing persecution in czarist Russia and
eastern Europe, impoverished in the main, and few in

Members of this little community were "insulted, assaulted,
and abused with menacing language".. The local nationalist
paper, the Limerick Leader, backed the boycott but not the
intimidation. True to its ultra-nationalist credentials,
Arthur Griffith's paper, United Ireland, entered the fray
with articles lambasting the "strange" and "alien" Jews.
Griffith went on to found Sinn Fein in the following year.

A week later, Fr Creagh continued the offensive. While
warning against doing bodily harm to the Jews, Fr Creagh
reached new heights of inflammatory rhetoric: "I appeal to
you not to prove false to Ireland, false to your country,
and false to your religion, by continuing to deal with the
Jews." Otherwise the Irish would be condemned to forms of
slavery worse even than those experienced in Cromwellian
times. He was loudly applauded.

To their credit, some parochial clergy and the great labour
and nationalist advocate Michael Davitt sought to counter
the populist anti-Semitism of the Redemptorist preacher.
There was even talk of the police prosecuting Fr Creagh.
But demagogy had its way, chiming with a deeper tradition
of institutionalised anti-Semitism within the Catholic
church and indeed some other Christian churches as well.

In a scene reminiscent of the early days of Jew-baiting
under the Nazis, one newspaper correspondent witnessed
cries of "Death to the Jews" and a Jew running for his
life, being chased by one crowd of people and then hemmed
in by another.

In Limerick, unlike Germany a few decades later, the RIC
intervened to save the victim. But over the months the
boycott and the accompanying intimidation proved effective.
The tiny Jewish community, in its latest phase of exile,
departed the city of the militant Arch-Confraternity, never
to return.

When I visited the Redemptorist House in Limerick more than
70 years later, a priest-historian assured me that Fr
Creagh had been much misunderstood, and that he had done
well by the poor Catholics of the city. The trauma endured
by the Jews of Limerick and their ultimate expulsion didn't
feature much in his apologetics, as I recall. Little
empathy, it seemed, had been distilled from a troubled
past. Perhaps it is not so surprising then, as we enter
another new century in another part of the island, that
signs of ethnic autism are still evident, and not just on
one side of the communal divide.


No Ireland Coach Role For O'Neill

Ex-Celtic boss foregos chance of top Republic job to be
with his wife

By Ashleigh Wallace
27 October 2005

Former Celtic manager Martin O'Neill has publicly ruled
himself out of the running for the position of manager of
the Republic of Ireland's football team

O'Neill said he wants to be with his wife Geraldine, who is
battling against cancer.

Speculation had been mounting that the ex-Northern Ireland
international might have taken up the job after Brian
Kerr's contract was not renewed.

However, at a press conference held in Dublin yesterday,
O'Neill said he left his position as manager of Celtic at
the start of June for personal reasons, which he said have
not changed.

The Kilrea man, who guided Celtic to seven trophies in five
seasons, stepped down from his managerial position with the
Scottish side to support his wife Geraldine.

He told yesterday's press conference: "I left Celtic way
back from months ago, obviously for personal reasons, and
for a sabbatical out of football for a while.

"Now these circumstances haven't changed one jot and at the
moment I can't see them changing in the foreseeable

He also insisted he had not been approached by the Football
Association of Ireland about the post recently vacated by
Brian Kerr following the Republic's unsuccessful bid to
qualify for the 2006 World Cup.

Revealing his disappointment at Ireland's failure to
qualify, he said he had "no idea" how his name became
associated with the manager's position.

When he left Celtic at the end of last season to be by
Geraldine's side, he said: "She has stood with me for quite
some time and this is the right thing."

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