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October 30, 2005

Loyalist Feud 'Comes To An End'

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News about Ireland & the Irish

BB 10/30/05 Loyalist Feud 'Comes To An End'
BB 10/30/05 'On The Run' Plan Welcomed By MP
OS 10/30/05 Irish Eyes Are Smiling More
SG 10/30/05 On The Record: John Bruton
GU 10/30/05 Non-Sectarian Strippers Decommission
GU 10/30/05 Angry Fans Are Refused Maze Stadium Facts
IT 10/30/05 McGinley Wins, Monty Secures Order Of Merit


Loyalist Feud 'Comes To An End'

The feud between the rival UVF and LVF which claimed the
lives of four men in the summer is believed to be over,
according to a loyalist umbrella group.

The Loyalist Commission said in a statement: "We now
believe that the feud has permanently ended."

The group, which includes politicians, churchmen and
paramilitaries, said it had been holding mediation talks
"for some time" to resolve the feud.

The end of the feud had been expected, with no fresh
violence since August.

The Independent Monitoring Commission blamed the UVF for
four murders in Belfast during July and August.

I pay tribute to those who have worked so hard to bring
this resolution about

Nigel Dodds

DUP North Belfast MP

A special report by the ceasefire watchdog said the LVF
carried out two murder bids, but their violence was mainly
a response to UVF attacks.

The report on the loyalist paramilitary feud led Northern
Ireland Secretary Peter Hain to declare the UVF ceasefire
had broken down.

BBC Northern Ireland political editor Brian Rowan said a
statement was expected soon from the LVF, "standing down
its so-called military units in response to the recent IRA
move putting its arms beyond use".

He said the "choreography" of this process may also see the
UVF issuing a statement.

"None of this is a surprise - it has been well signalled
and widely reported in recent days," he added.

DUP North Belfast MP Nigel Dodds said he "warmly welcomed"
the end of the loyalist feud.

"Communities have been set on edge and put into turmoil. I
pay tribute to those who have worked so hard to bring this
resolution about," he added.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/10/30 16:47:25 GMT


'On The Run' Plan Welcomed By MP

Plans to allow so-called "on the runs" to return home have
been welcomed by Sinn Fein MP Martin McGuinness.

The government has announced its intention to introduce
laws to deal with people suspected of terrorism who have
not been brought to court.

Speaking on the BBC's Politics Show, Mr McGuinness said the
legislation would only affect a small number of people.

"The British government has clearly flagged up its
intention to do that... and that's a good thing," he said.

Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain said in the Commons
last Wednesday that the legislation was likely to be
brought before parliament early in November.

Responding to questions at the NI Affairs Committee from
the DUP's Gregory Campbell, Mr Hain said: "They (police)
have a number of suspects for crimes - I readily concede
crimes that in some cases were horrific crimes, but it goes
into dozens at any rate."

Real concerns

He said further suspects, who may still be in the province,
could be "unearthed" by new police inquiries into "historic

Mr Hain said sometimes undesirable things had to be done in
the interests of conflict resolution.

He said he understood the real concerns of the people of
Northern Ireland on this issue.

The legislation will deal with people suspected of
terrorism who have not been brought to court and those who
have fled prison.

Sinn Fein has repeatedly pressed for them to be able to
return to Northern Ireland.

Asked when the legislation would be brought forward by the
chair of the committee Sir Patrick Cormack, Mr Hain said he
was not certain of the date but it would be before
Christmas and probably early next month.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/10/30 16:19:38 GMT


Irish Eyes Are Smiling More

Catholic and Protestant teens from Northern Ireland meet in
neutral territory: Orlando.

Sandra Mathers Sentinel Staff Writer

Posted October 30, 2005

Put 10 teens from strife-torn Northern Ireland on a plane
to America -- minus the school uniforms identifying them as
Catholics or Protestants -- and what do you get?

Hopefully, instant friends in neutral territory.

At least, that's the premise behind Friends Forever, a New
Hampshire-based nonprofit that sponsors trips to the United
States for children of both faiths in Northern Ireland, as
well as Arab and Israeli children from Jerusalem.

The object of the trips, which are also sponsored by Rotary
International, is to cultivate peace between "cultures in

The peace premise was definitely working Saturday, as 10
youths, ages 15 and 16, from Carrickfergus, Northern
Ireland, clustered around a picnic table at a resort in the
Disney area to sound off on Florida and the purpose of
their trip.

They had arrived strangers a week ago for a two-week,
multicultural stay that includes trips to Catholic and
Protestant churches, a Hindu temple, a synagogue, an
African-American social agency, Orlando City Hall and, of
course, Epcot, Universal and Wet 'n Wild.

Now they are traveling buddies. The picnic-table
conversation wasn't just interesting, it was eye-opening.

Orlando? "Lovely!"

American culture? "Everything is bigger in America -- the
cars, the roads, the trees," Christine Smith said as the
group nodded in agreement. Even the fast food, added Kevin
Stewart, a new fan of Wendy's restaurants.

"Everything's cheaper here," Pete Johnson said. He was
talking about American clothes and gasoline. Back home, gas
is $7 a gallon. There are almost no sport utility vehicles
back home.

And Northern Ireland?

The country is segregated, with Catholics living here,
Protestants living there, the teens said. Although the
violence between Catholics and Protestants has lessened in
recent years, an undercurrent of animosity and distrust
continues, they said.

"It's absolute nonsense what goes on back home," said Tori
Cleland, who attends a Protestant school.

Christine rides a bus 12 miles to attend a Catholic school
in Belfast. In Carrickfergus, only 4 percent of the 39,000
residents are Catholic. There is only one Catholic church
and no Catholic schools.

"My [school] friends won't visit me in Carrickfergus"
because it's Protestant, she said.

And at Kathryn Howie's Protestant school, many students
refused to apply for the trip to Orlando "if they had to go
with Catholics," she said.

These teens have no memories of the bitter street battles
between Catholics and Protestants, sparked by the infamous
Bloody Sunday on Jan. 30, 1972.

They weren't yet born when Catholics, marching for their
civil rights, were fired upon by British Army soldiers in

Thirteen Catholic civilians were killed that Sunday, giving
rise to the Irish Republican Army, which terrorized
Northern Ireland and Britain in the 1970s and '80s with
bombings and other attacks.

Religious skirmishes, sparked by Protestant Britain's push
to keep Northern Ireland in the Commonwealth and the
Catholic Republic of Ireland's desire to unite their island
homeland, became something you grow up with.

These children are living that legacy.

Christine's uncle was killed by a terrorist bomb in 1983.
Tori's grandmother lost an eye at a dance hall bombing in
the 1970s. Kevin Stewart's father was hospitalized for a
severe beating he suffered as he walked through a
Protestant neighborhood as a boy.

And the violence continues. A month ago, Protestant
Orangemen were prevented from staging a march in Belfast,
so their paramilitary groups closed highways and forced
travelers, Catholics and Protestants alike, from their
cars, which were burned, Tori said.

"People couldn't get home," she said. "We were afraid in
our own homes that night. It [the fighting] lasted three

In America, the teens said, there are no religious

"You couldn't have the discussions at home we're having
here," Tori said. "We can ask each other questions."

That isn't done in Northern Ireland, any more than a
Protestant would patronize a Catholic store there and vice
versa," said Marshall Bradstreet of Boston, the group's
American chaperone.

"People ask me if these tours work," said Bradstreet, who
has led Friends Forever tours for eight years. "It's so
rewarding. All of my groups still get together.

"They attended each other's weddings, and now they're
raising their kids together."

Sandra Mathers can be reached at or 407-420-5507.


European Union

On The Record: John Bruton

Sunday, October 30, 2005

John Bruton, who oversaw a rapid period of growth in
Ireland as its prime minister in the mid-1990s, is now the
European Union's ambassador to the United States. A onetime
political wunderkind who was elected to the Irish
Parliament at age 22, Bruton is the point man for the EU's
25-member nations in Washington. He spoke recently to
Chronicle editors and reporters on a range of issues
including trade subsidies, global warming, the European
social contract, the EU's rapid expansion and the "optimism
gap" between Chinese and Europeans. The following was
edited for space and clarity.

Q: It seems like there is a certain amount of head-butting
going on between the EU and the United States, particularly
on economic and trade issues.

One issue that looms large ahead of the Doha development
round of talks in Hong Kong in December is the issue of
agricultural subsidies. U.S. Trade Representative Rob
Portman has made a proposal on how that might be
restructured from the U.S side. How was that received, and
what sort of counterproposal might the EU make?

A: If you have an economic relationship in trade and
investment that is as vast as the one between the European
Union countries and the United States, it's inevitable that
there will be occasional differences.

As far as agriculture is concerned, both the European Union
and the United States subsidize their farmers in a way that
distorts trade. We in the European Union have been doing
more of this than has been done in the United States, but
in recent times, we have been significantly reducing the
level of distortion of the market that arises from the
subsidies we give.

We're very appreciative of the statements that have been
made by President Bush and U.S. Agriculture Secretary Mike
Johanns about moving on free trade and agriculture. We want
to reciprocate, and we want to make sure the timing is such
that both sides are seen to be as fairly treated.

(Additionally), we believe that if we are to give
confidence to the developing countries -- if we want them
to open their industrial and service markets to us -- we
have to be willing to open our agricultural markets to
them, or at least not to artificially undercut them on
agricultural markets that they want to develop.

This is an area that the U.S. and EU can give a lead to the
world. We are big enough in this area to give a lead and if
we don't give a lead, there won't be a successful round,
and if there isn't substantial movement on agriculture,
there won't be a successful round. This is pretty central
to our mission at this time.

Q: From the standpoint of developing countries that have
been hearing for some time of the importance of open
markets, aren't they entitled to a certain amount of
cynicism and feeling that there is hypocrisy on the part of
the developing world that has done so much to protect their
own farmers?

A: I think that is a point of view that they can
legitimately hold, but it's not a constructive attitude. A
beginning has been made. We in the EU have made a
commitment to eliminate export subsidization. We don't give
direct food aid of a kind that distorts markets. We are in
the process of decoupling our support for farmers from
artificial boosts to production. We're moving in the right

I think also it should be noted that some of the highest
tariffs on poor, developing countries are imposed by those
countries on other poor, developing countries. And very
often, these are tariffs that are imposed on countries that
are in their immediate neighborhood.

Q: Speaking of subsidies, could you comment briefly on the
subsidies provided by individual member governments of the
EU for the development of Airbus? Why do they need to
continue these subsidies for the aircraft manufacturer in
its competition with Boeing?

A: The support that EU countries have given to Airbus is in
the form of refundable launch aid. If the plane is
successfully launched and proves to be successful, the
money is refunded to the government that gave the subsidy.

There is no doubt that it is a distortion of competition,
but it's a distortion of competition that occurs because,
in the view of European countries in the EU and Airbus,
Boeing is receiving equally substantial -- if more indirect
-- subsidization from the United States' government.

That occurs through the foreign states corporation tax,
which is a form of subsidy on exports; through assistance
in research and development from the defense budget; and
through assistance from some local governments. We are of
the view that these subsidies are greater in magnitude than
the refundable launch aid given to Airbus.

The U.S. doesn't agree with us on that, and that's why both
sides have decided to go to arbitration before a panel of
the World Trade Organization. I am hopeful that even though
the work of the panel is proceeding, that it will be
possible to find a negotiated settlement to this.

I think we all would wish to see less subsidization of
aircraft manufacturing. We think that the money to pay for
aircraft manufacturing should come from those who use
aircraft rather than the general taxpayers.

Q: Will we have a world someday where there are no
subsidies and no tariffs, and if so, when?

A: (Chuckling) I think it's most unlikely that we have
reached that wonderful point. It would be almost like
heaven on Earth. I feel we are moving in the right
direction if you consider the pace at which we have
succeeded in dismantling the tariffs on goods apart from a
small number of products.

We reckon that you could add 3 percent to the GDP on both
sides of the Atlantic if you could remove artificial
barriers to trade and investment across the Atlantic. We
reckon that the EU and the U.S. are going to have to make
both of our economies more competitive to face very
effective competition from India, China and other
countries, including Japan, which is on the brink of
growing very quickly again.

We really can't afford some of the wasteful barriers that
we have, such as European investment in American airlines
or European participation in the U.S. reinsurance market.

If these barriers were eliminated, the result would be
lesser airfares and more efficient insurance. There would
be less insurance premiums and also lower rates for the
cost of raising capital by removing some of these barriers.
Our objective is efficiency, and we want gains on both

Q: Are you finding the controversies within the EU --
whether it is France and the Netherlands rejecting the
constitution or the issue of Turkey's membership --
hampering your ability to reach trade agreements?

A: No, not really. Trade has been a competence and function
of the European Commission from the very beginning. The
mandate that we have at that level is unquestioned.

It's something that we can do a lot more work on, and we're
very appreciative, for example, of the efforts by the U.S.
Securities Exchange Commission to move toward mutual
recognition between Europe and the United States of one
another's accounting standards so that companies that want
to raise money here or in Europe don't have to hire two
sets of accounts.

Progress on that sort of thing is going on all the time.
It's not affected by the politics. It has created a
situation, for example, in which 47 percent of all the
foreign investment in California comes from Europe, where
the U.S. is earning three times as much profits for its
corporations and, ultimately, for its people from U.S.
investments in Ireland than it is from U.S. investments in

In turn, the European Union has more investment in Texas
than the United States has in China and Japan combined.

Q: Last week, we had as our guest Stanford Professor
Michael Boskin, chairman of the Council of Economic
Advisors to the first President Bush. Boskin invoked an
image of Europe of high taxes, high spending, overly
generous social welfare networks, high unemployment and
stagnant growth as something the United States must avoid
at all costs. What is the European view of that critique?

A: If you took each of the 50 states in the U.S., you would
find quite different economic performance as between
Mississippi and California or as between Washington state
or West Virginia. There are varieties in Europe, just as
there are varieties here in the United States.

On average, productivity per hour worked is as high in
Europe as it is in the United States, right across the
board. In some countries like Ireland and the Netherlands,
it is higher. However, Europeans work fewer hours. They
work fewer hours per year, per week and per lifetime. They
retire earlier.

Americans work much harder, but the actual productivity
isn't that much higher overall. But within Europe, there
are very, very wide variations. There are some economies in
the European Union that are growing at 5, 6 or 7 percent,
which is a good deal higher than the average in the United
States. There are others that are growing considerably
slower. I don't think you can generalize.

Q: What can or should the European Union do to stimulate
the growth of some of its member states? Is there something
the European Union can or should do to help major
individual members like Germany get itself started again?

A: What the European Union can do is, for example, adopt
the services directive, which would allow for the full
freedom to provide services across the borders.

We established the European Union in 1957 based on the
premise of freedom of movement of goods, people and
services. We have freedom of movement of goods and people,
but not free movement of services. That's something that we
need to do.

That's something that is important, and it will introduce
more competitive pressure on all countries, including
Germany. But I think the bulk of the work that needs to be
done is being done in Germany already.

Germany has introduced considerable reforms. As a result of
those reforms, German exports are exceptionally buoyant.
Germany is a great performer in the export field. Germans
are not spending money, and they are not borrowing. They
have the money, but they're not spending it.

There are a variety of reasons why they are not spending
it. I think there is a certain pessimism in Germany which
isn't really justified, but maybe it's to do with the aging
of the population and the recognition that they will need
more money in the future to pay pensions.

Perhaps it's due to the fact that the German banking system
needs to be reformed. It's rather cautious in its
operations and doesn't have all of the highly developed
financial instruments that you have in the United States
for securitizing mortgages and releasing the equity in
peoples' homes.

Q: U.S. Secretary of Treasury John Snow has suggested that
Europeans and others in the world are not consuming enough,
which slows world growth. There is perhaps the view in
Europe and elsewhere that Americans consume too much.

A: We're very glad that Americans consume as much as they
do. It's what's keeping the world economy going.

Q: You describe Germans as having the money, but not
spending it. Americans have no money but do spend it. Are
there imbalances that both Europeans and Americans need to

A: Undoubtedly, there is imbalance. It isn't as it should
be that the U.S. is carrying so much of a burden of
spending to maintain the dynamism in world economy. It's
probably equally not sustainable that the United States has
such a large deficit and is importing so much money to
sustain its own consumption.

Q: Are there differences in values that we need to address?
The French sometimes speak of the Anglo-Saxon model of an
economy, in which there is more freedom for capital and
labor than they would have, but they say their economy is a
matter of values rather than pure economics.

A: There is a legitimate choice to be made between how many
hours per week or how many hours per year you want to work.
Whether you want your health care to be paid for
collectively or whether you want to pay for it
individually. These are all reasonable choices.

There is no one model to follow, but it is important to
make the case that there are countries like Denmark, Sweden
and Finland (that) have very high levels of social
protection, but also have very active labor markets and
relatively high levels of economic growth. It isn't a
question of choosing between high growth and low social
protection and low growth and high social protection. You
can have both so long as you have the right mix.

For example, you don't allow people, if they are
unemployed, to remain unemployed without making serious
efforts to find work, which is one of the things they do
very well in Denmark. They do have good protection for
people, but they don't let them sit on their laurels.

I'm not sure whether it was the Pew survey, or some other
survey some years ago about optimism. People were asked a
question something like, "Do you think the world is going
to be a better place in five years?"

I think something like 90 percent of the Chinese said they
think the world was going to be a better place in five
years' time. Forty-five percent of the Americans said they
thought the world was going to be a better place in five
years' time. I think it was something like 30 percent for
the British, something like 15 percent of the French and 12
percent of the Germans.

In my opinion, if you are pessimistic about the future, you
will tend to save too much. You will tend not to spend. You
will tend not to take risks. If you are optimistic about
the future, you will spend. What's needed in Europe is a
greater sense of confidence.

Countries that were Communist 15 years ago are now members
of the European Union and moving forward and growing.
Europeans have a tremendous record of success to their name
and they have done all of this entirely voluntarily.

If we could only be a little bit more positive about what
we have achieved and less worried about what we have yet to
achieve, I think we might be more willing to spend and feel
better about things.

Europe has immigrants because Europe is an attractive place
to live. There wouldn't be immigrants coming to Europe if
Europe wasn't strong and wealthy. So rather than dwelling
on these things, perhaps we Europeans should look at how
good things are.

Q: Will the EU ever be completed?

A: I suppose there is a limit. We are only open to European
countries to join. Any country that has territory in Europe
is eligible to join. Part of Turkey is in Europe, so Turkey
is eligible to join.

In practical terms, I suppose, it's going to be a slow
process. It's taken us 50 years to get this far. The last
10 years have probably seen more rapid development than
ever before in our history. We've added far more countries,
we've expanded into new areas, and we've launched the euro.

We've done more in the last 10 years than anyone would have
thought possible. To some extent, there may be a type of
future shock. Europeans have woken up to the fact that an
awful lot has happened, an awful lot has changed, and
they're sort of baffled by how much they have done, and
that's leading to some sort of a pause.

Q: There has been disagreement between European countries
and the United States over climate change and global
warming. Recently, there have been some moves by the Bush
administration to acknowledge the problem. Do you see
movement in the U.S. position, and is it enough to satisfy
your concerns?

A: I think climate change is one of the key priorities of
the British presence in the European Union, and Tony Blair
is personally very interested in promoting this, along with
his commitment to ensure we do more for the extremely bad
conditions in which many Africans live.

As far as Kyoto climate changes are concerned, we don't
believe the (Bush) administration's position will change,
but we do think the administration and the United States as
a whole are conscious of the cost of energy and the need to
find alternative domestic sources of energy rather than
relying on importing energy products.

I think a common approach toward research and development
efforts in the development of alternatives to oil and
energy systems that create global warming will be a major
common work of the European Union and the United States in
the future.

Q: What effect have high oil prices had on the economies of
the EU countries?

A: Interestingly enough, they haven't had as big an effect
as one might have thought. If you look at the experience
back in the 1970s, the effect was much greater. I think our
economy is less oil-dependent than it was.

Q: How are things in Ireland these days?

A: It's growing at 5 percent per annum. It's very
successful. The initial surge of economic growth in Ireland
in the 1990s was due predominantly to foreign investment,
but increasingly now, it's spreading out to the service
sector and to domestically owned software.

We have a large number of people in their 20s and 30s who
have benefited from a good education. We have a
consistently low tax on companies (12 1/2 percent).

Q: How did you get involved in politics at the age of 22?

A: It was a case of redistricting. The government party at
that stage had the power to draw the districts, and they
decided to get rid of the member in my party. Lo and
behold, I saw if I didn't make a move then, someone else
would have filled the gap and gotten elected.

Q: What was your campaign platform?

A: It was: Vote for me. (Laughter.) Q: Which of the jobs
you've had did you enjoy the most?

A: Oh, being prime minister, by a mile. It was a fantastic
job. The economy was going very well. It wasn't an easy
job, but it was a lot easier than you might think.

The most challenging job I had was minister of finance.
Although Ireland was a big success in the 1990s, Ireland
was practically bankrupt in 1981. I became minister of
finance at age 34, and I had to introduce a budget in three
weeks because the country's finances were so bad after the
general election, which we won.

Q: Did you raise taxes and borrow?

A: Oh, we raised taxes. The Wall Street Journal didn't
approve of what we were doing. They felt we didn't
understand the Laffer Curve, but we were looking for quick
results. At the time, Ireland was borrowing extensively

Q: What has it done to the Irish psyche to be regarded as a
tiger along with Singapore, Taiwan and South Korea?

A: I think it has done a lot of good. But I would like to
highlight how being a member of the European Union changed
our relationship with Britain. Once we joined the European
Union, our whole relationship changed. Britain was a fellow
member of the European Union. Sometimes they needed our
support on issues of interest to them, and sometimes we
needed their support on issues of interest to us. The
relationship became much more mature.


"The U.S. is earning three times as much profit from
investments in Ireland than it is from investments in


"We're very glad that Americans consume as much as they do.
It's what's keeping the world economy going."


"Europeans have a tremendous record of success to their
name, and they have done all of this entirely voluntarily."


Name: John Bruton
Organization: European Union
Job: Ambassador to the United States
Age: 58
Education: University College Dublin, bachelor's degree,
1969; qualified as barrister from King's Inn. Honorary
degrees from National University of Ireland and Memorial
University, Newfoundland, Canada.
Affiliations: European Union ambassador since Dec. 1, 2004;
prime minister of Ireland from 1994 to 1997.
Family: Wife Finola; four children.

Beyond the Boardroom

What do you do to relax when you're not working? I play
tennis. Or rather, I did so. I acquired tennis elbow, so
now I don't play. Unfortunately, I've been using it as an

Are you a big reader? I read a lot of history. I do it to
relax but also because reading history is very useful in my
work. I read Sen. Eugene McCarthy's autobiography, which
was published a long time ago. I liked Haynes Johnson's and
David Broder's ''The System,'' which is about the Clinton
administration's dealings with a then-Democratic Congress,
when Clinton was trying to enact health reform. It gave me
good insights into an American political negotiation. If I
like a book, I reread it rather than take a chance on a new
book. I'm up to date on what was published five years ago.

Other than devouring history, what do you do to disconnect?
Back in Ireland, I live on a farm in County Meath, near
Dublin, but I don't farm. I tried my hand at it, but I was
dreadful. In Washington, my wife, Finola, and I have one of
our four children living with us. She's 16, and going to an
American school. She's doing very well. We're lucky to have
her with us.

Participating in this interview were Business Editor Ken
Howe; Assistant Business Editors Sam Zuckerman and David
Tong; Insight Editor James Finefrock; and reporters David
Armstrong, David Baker and Pia Sarkar.


Non-Sectarian Strippers Decommission Their Old Kit

Henry McDonald, Ireland editor
Sunday October 30, 2005
The Observer

Strippers in Northern Ireland are gyrating to a new postwar
rhythm. The agency that once specialised in dancers who
peeled off old Royal Ulster Constabulary uniforms has been
decommissioned. Out has gone the old RUC garb and into the
pubs and clubs of the north comes a new striptease outfit:
the Police Service of Northern Ireland's boiler-suit

Angels, the Glengormley based striptease/kissogram agency,
says it has dumped the RUC's old bottle-green outfits for
PSNI kit in the interests of peace.

'You have to support the peace process, haven't you,' said
Angels owner Jeff Dowey on Friday.

'The RUC uniforms were hugely popular, but we had to move
with the times. We expect the same response from the new
PSNI ones. In fact, they are a lot sexier, so they will go
down a treat.'

Dowey doesn't accept his strippers could be in danger if
the less law-abiding members of the Northern Irish public
mistake his exotic dancers for real PSNI officers.

'It's really funny when they walk into a bar. They think
they are being raided,' he said. Once, however, the fans of
his strippers realise it's not the real PSNI, they relax,
Dowey added. 'In fact, they love it. It doesn't matter what
part of the country we're in. The stauncher the area,
whether it's Catholic or Protestant, the better the
response. We're really popular in Crossmaglen.'

In republican clubs and bars across the north, the old RUC
strip act used to involve 'officers' apparently arresting
former IRA prisoners in front of their friends, handcuffing
them to a chair on the dancefloor and then stripping off
the uniform.

Dowey promises more of the same with the PSNI act. So far
the official PSNI has declined to make any comment. As well
as posing as policemen and women, Angels also dresses its
dancers in the 'uniform' of paramilitaries - complete with
balaclavas and baseball bats.


Angry Fans Are Refused Maze Stadium Facts

Henry McDonald, Ireland editor
Sunday October 30, 2005
The Observer

Economic appraisals, business strategies and environmental
impact assessments relating to the £85 million Maze stadium
project have been withheld from Northern Ireland sports
fans on the grounds of 'public interest'.

The Strategic Investment Board, the agency in charge of the
stadium, is blocking a demand under the Freedom of
Information Act to disclose detailed documents about the
planned sports arena on the sight of the old H-Blocks.

Fans who tried to use the act this month to find out more
about the project said it was 'absolutely incredible' that
the government deemed it to be not in the public interest
to release the documents.

The Observer has obtained the first half of a comprehensive
fans' survey, demonstrating widespread opposition to a new
national stadium at the Maze. Fifty per cent of a survey
completed so far at Windsor Park during the last World Cup
match against Wales has shown that 80 per cent of those
questioned (around 770 fans) oppose the Maze plan.

The Amalgamation of Northern Ireland Supporters Club said
that it expected the final survey to reveal an even higher
level of opposition. Nearly every one of the 40 clubs
affiliated has also reported opposition.

Martin Moore, a member of the Black Dog Northern Ireland
Supporters Club, tried to obtain the Maze documentation
under the act.

'Eighty five million pounds of taxpayers' money is being
spent on a project most football fans don't want. So how is
that not in the public interest?' he asked. 'These papers
are hardly state secrets liable to weaken the defence of
the nation. So why are Strategic Investment Board so
reluctant to release them?'

A spokesman for the Office of the First and Deputy First
Minister, the department at Stormont in overall charge of
the Strategic Investment Board, confirmed that
documentation was withheld from Moore, 36. However, the
official stressed that a final decision on releasing papers
would be made in early November.

He added that exemption from the act was deployed 'where it
might otherwise prejudice or would be likely to prejudice
the effective conduct of public affairs. We have to apply
the public interest test to see whether or not this
information can be released. That meant there was a delay
of 20 days in releasing the material.'

Moore's fellow fan and member of Black Dog, Johnny
McAlpine, said the refusal to release the documents thus
far underlined that there were serious problems with the

'Our main objections are firstly that football could not
fill a 40,000-plus stadium at the Maze. Northern Ireland
would be lucky to bring 20,000 fans to one of the big
international matches. Then there are the transport
problems. There are no rail links, you certainly can't walk
to the ground and there would be so many cars on the M1
motorway fans would be still leaving the area around
midnight after the match.

'If there is going to be a new stadium,it should be in the
heart of Belfast, for all three sports, rugby, football and
gaelic. It should be sited where fans can walk to not out
in the middle of nowhere.'

Inside the First Shankill Northern Ireland's Supporters
Club in Belfast on Thursday night opposition was even more

Roy Martin, who followed Northern Ireland to the 1982 and
1986 World Cups in Spain and Mexico, expressed doubt that
more than 40,000 would come and watch the team.

'You might just get that kind of crowd if Northern Ireland
was playing Brazil, but when is that going to happen?' he
said. 'If they can't or won't upgrade Windsor Park, they
should build the new stadium on the foreshore of Belfast
Lough instead. Think even of the foreign supporters - are
they going to come here and watch their team if they can't
get a drink, have the craic in the city centre and walk up
to the match? It's hardly likely to attract big numbers of
foreign supporters either.'

The government's 'take-itor- leave-it' offer of a stadium
at the Maze for football, rugby and gaelic sports did
receive a boost last week when the GAA formally announced
it would play some county and club finals at the proposed
ground. However, the project can fall if any one of the
three sports' governing bodies says no to the Maze, but
saying no means a withdrawal of funding for the sports.


McGinley Wins, Monty Secures Order Of Merit

30/10/2005: Ireland's Paul McGinley pulled off the biggest
win of his 14-year European Tour career when he came from
four strokes off the lead overnight to win the Volvo
Masters at Valderrama today.

McGinley's flawless closing four-under-par 67 for a 10-
under-par 274 four-round total was two strokes better than
Spain's Sergio Garcia.

"I haven't won an individual tournament as big as this,"
beamed the Dubliner after his round. "I've won the World
Cup with Padraig [Harrington] but this is really special to

"I felt very comfortable out there today. I've made
mistakes on this course before and it has cost me, so I
learned from that and thankfully got the job done."

"Mentally I felt very strong and with this win under my
belt I feel I can play all the shots and compete with the
best in the world," added McGinley

Colin Montgomerie, after leading for three rounds, finished
a further stroke back with fellow-Briton Luke Donald and
Jose Maria Olazabal of Spain.

But Montgomerie comfortably won the European Tour's order
of merit for an unprecedented eighth time. The 42-year-old
Scot finished four strokes ahead of his only rival Michael
Campbell, who he had led on the money-list coming into the
final event of the season.

McGinley, renowned as the man who sank the winning putt to
beat the US in the 2002 Ryder Cup, had under-achieved
before his €666,660 win today, taking only three titles.

A combination of his faultless play, though, and mistakes
over the opening nine holes by third round leaders Garcia
and Montgomerie, ended a four-year wait for a fourth
victory for 39-year-old Dubliner.

With Montgomerie out in three-over 38, including a double-
bogey at the seventh after trouble in the trees, and Garcia
two-over for the first nine, McGinley, two-under for his
front nine, took control and never looked back.

Montgomerie, winner of seven order of merit titles between
1993 and 1999, said: "The others became almost expected in
the end. This one is very, very special."

Padraig Harrington played his way into a top 10 finish with
a fine pair of 67's over the weekend to get to four under.

Graeme McDowell defied the back injury which almost ruled
him out of the tournament. A closing 72 left the Portrush
pro level par overall.

Peter Lawrie shot a final round 70 for a six over aggregate
while Damien McGrane (72) was a shot further back.

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