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November 13, 2005

Adams Praises Canadian Officials

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News about Ireland & the Irish

CT 11/13/05 SF's Adams Praises Canadian Officials
SB 11/13/05 SF Fundraising Drive In US Nets €400k
ST 11/13/05 DUP Will Snub Talks Over Political Stalemate
GU 11/13/05 Brown Would Be Better Than Blair, Says SDLP
SB 11/13/05 Aer Lingus To Launch New US Routes After Deal
SB 11/13/05 Govt Would Not Welcome US Carrying Prisoners
II 11/13/05 Ahern: I Will Never Share Power With Sinn Fein
ST 11/13/05 Harney: Pds Won't Share Power With Sinn Fein
SB 11/13/05 Ahern: Ghettos Could Lead To French-Style Riots
SB 11/13/05 Opin: Ireland Can Learn Lessons France
SB 11/13/05 On-The-Runs Set To Come Home
ST 11/13/05 Opposition Mounts Over OTR Terrorists Policy
ST 11/13/05 Opin: No Peace & Reconciliation Without Truth
IT 11/13/05 Airlines Welcome Phasing Out Of Stopover


Sinn Fein's Adams Praises Canadian Officials

Canadian Press

The world is witnessing a watershed moment in history with
the disarming of the IRA and Canadian officials should be
thanked for their great role in aiding Ireland's peace
process, Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams said Saturday.

Speaking to the media before a speech to the Friends of
Sinn Fein annual dinner in Toronto, Adams said the Irish
Republican Army has made important strides in achieving the
terms of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement.

"The last year has seen ... huge moves, unprecedented,
historical moves to end the armed campaign,'' Adams said.

"I think in the upcoming short term we will see strenuous
efforts made to get the political institutions back in
place, to get the Good Friday Agreement rolled out and from
there, to build stability and harmony.''

He said the importance of the IRA's disarmament still
hasn't resonated around the world and 2005 will be
remembered for the critical breakthrough.

"I think it will take some space for people to absorb fully
the importance of what the IRA has done,'' Adams said.

"When people come back to this point they'll see it as a
watershed in modern Irish republican history, a huge

The 1998 peace accord officially ended the IRA's 27-year
campaign to overthrow British rule in Northern Ireland by
force. But among the conditions was a stipulation that the
IRA fully disarm.

The peace accord calls for restoration of a joint Catholic-
Protestant administration in Northern Ireland, involving,
to the revulsion of many Protestants, Sinn Fein.

Rev. Ian Paisley, the leader of the Democratic Unionist
Party, has accused the IRA of concealing its true
intentions and keeping plenty of weapons in reserve.

Paisley, whose party is the largest in Northern Ireland and
holds a veto over resumed power-sharing, said disarmament
officials had been conned.

The chief disarmament cvommissioner, retired Canadian
general John de Chastelain, declared on Sept. 26 that the
IRA had co-operated with international inspectors and had
disposed of its cache of weapons.

Adams said no less than half a dozen senior and respected
Canadians are to be commended for playing a supportive role
in the peace process.

"There must be up to half a dozen very senior and respected
citizens that have come from here,'' Adams said, "I commend
them for it and the support of the government here.''

He also listed off the names of Canadian judge William
Hoyt, who was among a panel of judges sitting at the Bloody
Sunday inquiry; former Canadian supreme court judge Peter
Cory, who called for an investigation into four killings in
Ireland; and Al Hutchinson, a former RCMP assistant
commissioner looking into Northern Ireland policing

Adams said the three major challenges now facing Sinn Fein,
the IRA's political arm, are finalizing the peace process,
getting the Irish and British governments to stick to their
Good Friday commitments and building long-term harmony
between the people of Ireland.

"The Irish national colours are orange and white and green.
To get harmony and peace between orange (the Protestant
colour) and green (the Sinn Fein colour), that would be a
huge challenge.''


SF Fundraising Drive In US Nets €400k

13 November 2005 By Paul T Colgan and Pat Leahy

Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams addressed Irish-American
supporters by video link in the Sheraton Hotel in New York
last week at a dinner that raised about $400,000 for the

Adams cancelled a planned visit to the US following a State
Department decision prohibiting him from raising funds
during the trip. He had been invited as guest of honour to
an event hosted by businessman William J Flynn on Tuesday.

However, the Sinn Féin leader spoke to more than 1,000
people on Thursday night by satellite link.

Party sources said the $500-a-plate dinner had raised about
$400,000 once the cost of putting together the event had
been taken into account.

It is likely that a number of donations were also made to
the party on the night.

Another $150-a-plate dinner in Toronto last week means that
Sinn Féin is likely to have raised more money last week
than Fianna Fáil collects from its tent at the Galway Races
- the highest-profile and most controversial political
fundraising event of the year. The Galway Races is
estimated to raise about €400,000 for Fianna Fáil.

Adam's trip to the US was organised as part of Sinn Féin's
100th anniversary celebrations. The party claimed that the
US government had denied him permission to raise funds in
order to force Sinn Féin to accept the current policing
arrangements in the North.

A senior republican source said that the party's position
on policing was straightforward. It would not endorse
policing until the British government implemented a deal it
agreed with Sinn Féin in recent negotiations.

"We currently have an agreement with the British on what
should happen with regards to policing," said the source.

"The North has one of the lowest crime rates in western
Europe - ours is a lawful, law-abiding community that wants
to be policed. We want this sorted out.

"The State Department's decision was a disappointing one
and is at odds with our agreement. We want to get policing
right, and I've no doubt that we will get it right''.

Friends of Sinn Féin in the US, Canada and Australia raise
hundreds of thousands - if not millions - of dollars for
the party every year. However, the money can only be used
in the North, as electoral finance laws in the Republic
prohibit the use of foreign-generated money for electoral
purposes, except where that money comes from Irish citizens

The Friends of Sinn Féin website invites contributions to
support the party's task of achieving a united Ireland. "A
lasting peace," says a statement from Adams, "if it is to
be successful, must have international support."


DUP Will Snub Talks Over Ulster Political Stalemate

Liam Clarke

The DUP is set to snub a new round of exploratory talks due
to start tomorrow with the British and Irish governments.
The decision will put increased pressure on the governments
to make concessions to unionists that match the amnesty
being given to on-the-run terrorists.

Dermot Ahern, the Irish foreign minister, and Peter Hain,
the secretary of state for Northern Ireland, will chair the

A Northern Ireland Office source said they are intended as
a stock-taking exercise to identify ways to break the
political log jam over devolution.

Sinn Fein and the Progressive Unionist Party, the political
allies of the UVF, will attend tomorrow's talks with the
DUP and other parties invited to come in a fortnight's

Nigel Dodds, the DUP MP for North Belfast, said: "This
process is really for the optics, so we are not getting
involved. They want journalists and commentators to get all
excited and say it is the start of a process but we will
not go along with that. For any process aimed at securing
power-sharing devolution to start, there has to be an
enabling environment in which unionist concerns are met."

The DUP presented a 64-page shopping list of preconditions
for progress to the British and Irish governments earlier
this year.

It included marching rights for the loyal Orders, funding
for Scots-Irish cultural events, and a redundancy package
for the Royal Irish Regiment.

Dodds said that such issues needed to be resolved in order
"to ensure that unionists have confidence and equality and
their human rights are respected". Discussion on political
progress would have to wait until they are addressed. The
DUP is currently trying to arrange a meeting with Bertie
Ahern, the taoiseach, to raise these concerns, and it is
also willing to meet Hain and Tony Blair to discuss this

Privately DUP leaders believe that their bargaining power
is now near its maximum because the two governments are
eager to engage them in political discussions. One leading
DUP strategist said: "We are coming under pressure and this
will increase into the new year, but it is when you are
under pressure to do something that you can get what you
want in return for moving."

The British and Irish governments are eager to get movement
from unionists and loyalists to match the standing down of
the IRA and to move towards power-sharing devolution. Later
today the UDA, the main loyalist paramilitary group, will
issue a Remembrance Day statement reaffirming its ceasefire
and pledging its commitment to finding a peaceful way

The UDA met the Independent International Commission on
Decommissioning last month but will not make any firm
pledge to decommission in its statement. Instead it will
speak of an internal consultation process aimed at bringing
violence to an end.

The organisation says that it is waiting to see whether the
standing down of the IRA will be effective or whether
republican violence will resume.

Meanwhile Denis Bradley, the vice-chairman of the Northern
Ireland Policing Board, used his platform as guest speaker
at the SDLP's annual conference to attack two central
planks of the party's policy.

He attacked the 50/50 Catholic/Protestant recruiting rules
for the PSNI, and told the SDLP not to put too much
emphasis on its worries over funding for restorative
justice, which the party fears could result in
paramilitaries policing working-class areas.

Bradley said that he was "not terribly fearful that Sinn
Fein or any other republican organisation or loyalist group
will try to control policing within their own areas".


Brown Would Be Better Than Blair For Ulster, Says SDLP

Henry McDonald
Sunday November 13, 2005
The Guardian

Gordon Brown would be better than Tony Blair at preserving
the Good Friday Agreement, the leader of the SDLP said
yesterday. Mark Durkan said Brown as Prime Minister would
be 'less tolerant' of those parties which the SDLP claims
have endangered the 1998 peace accord.

'I believe Gordon Brown would have been better at managing
things after the agreement,' he said, although he added: 'I
don't think we would have got the agreement without Tony

Speaking on BBC Radio Ulster just before his party
conference in Belfast, Durkan said: 'My own belief is that
things would have been managed more strongly and more
clearly if the Brown approach had been followed.' The SDLP
has been increasingly frustrated by what it sees as Blair's
willingness to concoct deals with Sinn Fein and the IRA
behind the backs of the other parties.

Durkan yesterday attacked Blair's promise to allow IRA on-
the-runs to return without having to face trial. Meanwhile,
Blair's bid to secure a power-sharing agreement between
Sinn Fein and the Democratic Unionists suffered another
major blow. As part of a series of concessions to the
republican movement, the government has offered republicans
the prospect that all those convicted of acts of terrorism
having their criminal records eventually erased.

But the Ulster Unionist Lord Laird, who is leading
opposition to the on-the-run legislation in the Lords,
threatened to 'read into Hansard' all the names and
convictions of any paramilitary who has been jailed or is
wanted for terrorist offences in Northern Ireland.


Aer Lingus To Launch New US Routes After Open Skies Deal

13 November 2005 By Laura Noonan

Aer Lingus is considering launching new routes to San
Francisco, Miami and Dallas from November 2006, as a result
of an open skies deal signed by Ireland and the US last

United Airlines is also keen to enter the Irish market, and
Continental Airlines is considering launching routes from
Ireland to eight US destinations, The Sunday Business Post
has learned.

Friday's deal eases Ireland into an Open Skies aviation
agreement with the US, which will eventually see the end of
all trans-Atlantic route restrictions.

The main element to the deal is the phasing out of the
Shannon stopover - which requires many trans-Atlantic
flights going through Ireland to touchdown at Shannon - by
April 2008. The deal also offers Aer Lingus its choice of
three new US routes from November 2006.

Aer Lingus chief executive Dermot Mannion welcomed the deal
as a "major benefit'' for his airline. But a source close
to the company said it would prove a "double-edged sword.
On one hand they will have more opportunities," said the
source, "but on the other hand they will face much more

The deal has also concentrated the airline's mind on future
flotation. In order to run the new routes, Aer Lingus will
need to secure at least one new long-haul aircraft, as its
six-strong long-haul fleet is fully utilised.

Mannion has said the airline can source a number of new
planes without raising additional finance through
privatisation. But in the longer term, to take advantage of
a full Open Skies agreement, the airline will need to raise
a significant amount of capital to buy more planes.

Dublin Airport also stands to benefit from the deal,
because it can now offer direct flights to the US. A
spokesman for the airport said the decision presented "both
challenges and opportunities'' for the airport. While the
deal will bring the airport more customers, it is already
struggling with congestion problems.

The Irish deal will form part of an EU/US Open Skies
agreement, which is expected to be signed next week.

"The commission has always said it understands the
sensitivity of the Shannon stopover in view of an open sky
deal between the EU and the US," said Stefaan de Rynck, the
transport spokesman for the European Commission.

"We can certainly examine the need for transition periods
for a very specific situation, such as Shannon, in the
context of a bilateral EU-US agreement."


Government Would Not Welcome US Planes Carrying Prisoners

13 November 2005 By Paul T Colgan

The government believes the US military's clandestine
abduction of al-Qaeda suspects is unlawful and would block
any attempts by the CIA to land jets carrying prisoners at
Irish airports.

Department of Foreign Affairs officials said the CIA's
secret "rendition'' operation involving the abduction of
suspected Islamic militants from locations across Europe,
fell "well short'' of obligations under international law.

Until now the government has refused to say whether it
would allow suspected Islamic militants to be transported
through Irish airports as part of the CIA's operations.
This is the first time that government sources have said a
request from the US to do so would be immediately rejected.

"The way they are being transported at present does not
meet with the standards required by Ireland under
international law," said a government source. "The US
government is very clear about what our position on this

Scores of private CIA jets have passed through Shannon
since 2001. Some of the jets are known to have flown on
from Shannon to mainly European airports to pick up
suspected al-Qaeda operatives.

It is unclear whether prisoners have been on board during
stopovers at Shannon because the Garda have not boarded any
of the jets to inspect them.

Many of those abducted have claimed to have been tortured
in US-controlled interrogation centres in the Middle East.

A number of the planes, which are privately leased to the
US defence department, have landed at the US military's
Camp X-Ray at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Allegations that prisoners may already have been passing
through Irish airspace have been rejected by the Minister
for Foreign Affairs, Dermot Ahern. The minister told the
Dail last week that this could only be permitted with the
express consent of the Irish government.

Italian prosecutors last week demanded the extradition of
up to 22 CIA operatives who it claimed had been involved in
one such abduction operation on Italian soil. They claimed
that the CIA was behind the kidnapping of Egyptian-born Abu
Omar on January 18, 2003.

Omar was abducted while walking down a street in Milan and
flown from a US airbase in northern Italy to Egypt. Flight
information showed that the plane, then using the call-sign
N379P, refuelled in Shannon on its return trip to
Washington later that same day.

The US senate has meanwhile called for an investigation
into al legations that abductees are being secretly
transported to so-called "black sites'' in eastern Europe -
secret military interrogation centres that do not come
under international law - where they are interrogated by
CIA agents.


I Will Never Share Power With Sinn Fein'

Jody Corcoran

THE Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, in a major policy
announcement, has told the Sunday Independent that he would
lead Fianna Fail into Opposition rather than contemplate
coalition with Sinn Fein or an arrangement for their
support in Government.

In a statement issued exclusively to this newspaper
yesterday, Mr Ahern has gone further than ever beforein
categorically ruling outany form of arrangement between the
party he leads and Sinn Fein.

The initial impact of the statement was to divide his
current coalition partners, the Progressive Democrats.

Senator John Minihan welcomed the Taoiseach's "blunt and
direct comments" which, he said, would come as a "relief"
not only to the Progressive Democrats, but also to the
majority of the Irish people.

But Justice Minister Michael McDowell remained sceptical.

The Taoiseach's statement said: "Even a radical overhaul of
Sinn Fein economic policy would have little real
credibility after 35 years of Marxism.

"I believe Sinn Fein are agents of poverty and
disadvantage. I believe the very notion of Sinn Fein in
Government would lead to a flight of investment, which is
untenable in a small open economy.

"For the good of the country, we cannot accept those
policies in Government. A practical Republican programme
delivering real benefits for ordinary people would be
impossible with Sinn Fein in Government.

"In such circumstances, I would lead my party into
Opposition rather than contemplate coalition with Sinn Fein
or an arrangement for their support in Government.

"Although there are other parties and individuals with whom
Fianna Fail has significant policy differences - Ibelieve
the public concern relating to the potential economic
damage of Sinn Fein's policies in Government justifies this

Although Michael McDowell had been aware of the content of
the statement, he still told the PDs' 20th anniversary
dinner in Dublin last night: "No matter what is said, Sinn
Fein's plan is to get the balance of power and to use it to
control the next government. And if they have the
seats,they will do it. Their ambition is power."

Mr Ahern, however, can now be satisfied that he has removed
a central plank of Mr McDowell's election strategy, in
effect, that a vote forFianna Fail could lead toSinn Fein
achieving power in Government.

Last night, Senator Minihan said there was growing unease
in the country at the prospect of Fianna Fail taking Sinn
Fein into government. A lot of this fear, he said, was as a
result of comment, or lack of comment, from senior members
of Fianna Fail in recent months.

"The Taoiseach has clarified this issue with this welcomed
and reassuring statement. I and others will sleep better
tonight now that this dark cloud hanging over Ireland's
future has been removed," the Senator said.

But at the Burlington Hotel last night, Mr McDowell, who
had earlier in the day been made aware of the Taoiseach's
statement, still told his party faithful: "There are few
racing certainties in Irish politics. One of them is that
neither Fianna Fail nor Fine Gael will win an overall
majority."The second is that no Government will be formed
without one or other of them. The third is that the next
coalition government will depend either on the Progressive
Democrats or on a combination of Labour and the Greens, or
on Sinn Fein to govern. It's that simple," the Justice
Minister said.

He went on: "A rainbow coalition of Fine Gael, Labour, the
Greens and Joe Higgins will bring Ireland to its economic
knees. It would be a slump coalition in which Enda Kenny
would play Stan Laurel to Pat Rabbitte's Oliver Hardy -
'another fine mess' of the type we have had before.

"No matter what is said, Sinn Fein's plan is to get the
balance of power and to use it to control the next
government. And if they have the seats, they will do it.
Their ambition is power. And they would ruthlessly seek out
a partner to that end - even if that involved a radical
change of stance or personnel in that partner."

Mr Ahern began his statement: "Fianna Fail will continue
the implementation of its Republican Programme to deliver
the goal envisaged in our Declaration of Independence -
that Government be 'based upon the people's will, with
equal rights and equal opportunity for every citizen'.

"Practically that means: to attack child poverty; to focus
on social inclusion and educational drop-out; to maintain
low unemployment, as the main driver of inclusion; to
ensure no forced emigration.

"To achieve those objectives requires a strong economy -
delivering the wealth, which we will spread to empower the

"With proposals such as increasing corporation tax to 17
per cent, Sinn Fein fiscal, economic and EU policies would
deprive us of that wealth and surrender Irish workers to
unemployment or emigration."

Mr McDowell also said last night: "Every body that the
Provisionals left on border roads or in shallow graves,
with hands tied behind the back, with bullet wounds to the
head, with marks of extensive torture to the limbs and
trunk, still speaks silently across time of the monstrous
cruelty and evil of that movement. No amnesty will drown
out those words.

"While the members of the Army Council whose sanction for
each such murder was given may now attempt to pose as
statesmen, they will never wash away their personal direct
responsibility for those acts.

"In the bottoms of drawers across Northern Ireland are the
tapes of confessions made by those victims to stop the
torture and sent to their relative to justify their murder.
Those taped voices speak more eloquently about the real
values of Adams and McGuinness and the real nature of the
Provisional movement than all the verbiage that we hear
from the mouths of those gentlemen themselves," he said.


Harney: Pds Won't Share Power With Sinn Fein

Dearbhail McDonald

THE Progressive Democrats will not return to government
with Fianna Fail after the next election if the coalition
is dependent on Sinn Fein support.

Mary Harney, the tanaiste and PD leader, said: "I would not
serve in any government if it were dependent on Sinn Fein
votes and neither would my party.

"I am extremely concerned at the rise of Sinn Fein, and the
possibility that they could enter into government at the
next general election. I think it is clear that the next
government will either be led by Fianna Fail or Fine Gael,
but Sinn Fein could be in either of those governments.

"Their economic policies are daft, they are anti-European.
Their links with criminality, well, the jury is still out
as far as I am concerned. I think that they are a threat to
democracy in their current form. Others will have to answer
about who they are a threat to, but I don't see them
drawing support from the PDs or vice versa."

Bertie Ahern, the taoiseach, has also ruled out going into
government with Sinn Fein. In a series of recent interviews
he has vowed to lead Fianna Fail into opposition rather
than go into coalition with Sinn Fein, or even depend on
their support to stay in government.

The taoiseach's antipathy to Sinn Fein is because of their
Marxist economic policies. He has said that if the hard-
left party was in power, there would be a flight of
investment from the country.

Although the main parties are now mouting a sustained
campaign against them, Sinn Fein is still likely to double
its seats in the Dail from five to 10 at the next election,
due in early 2007. The party has set itself a target of 14
seats and has indicated it is willing to negotiate its way
into coalition with a ruling party.

Caoimhghin O Caolain, the party's Cavan-Monaghan TD, said
the party had demonstrated its "capacity for responsible
government", and will decide if it will enter into a
coalition at a special party conference after the election.

Last night Des O'Malley, the founder of the PDs, told his
party's 20th anniversary party in Dublin that Sinn Fein was
aggressively targeting the Irish electorate.

Sinn Fein's "real longer term ambitions are down here (in
the republic)," O'Malley told about 1,000 delegates at the
Burlington hotel. "A voice in a sovereign government is a
more valuable prize than dominance in a toothless, regional

"The challenge now is to confront and see down that threat
and not allow its evil philosophy to prevail. I think it
unwise to tolerate and indulge a culture of murder,
torture, robbery, intimidation and racketeering.
Criminality hasn't gone away."

Michael McDowell, the justice minister and PD president,
told last night's conference that Sinn Fein wanted to
"control" the next government, and could do so if allowed
to co-govern by Fianna Fail or Fine Gael.

"If they have the seats, they will do it," said McDowell.
"Their ambition is power, and they would ruthlessly seek
out a partner to that end — even if that involved a radical
change of stance or personnel in that partner."


Ahern: Irish Ghettos Could Lead To French-Style Riots

13 November 2005 By Alison O'Connor

The Taoiseach has warned that race riots similar to those
in France could break out in Ireland unless action is taken
to prevent them.

In an interview with The Sunday Business Post, Bertie Ahern
said he was concerned about the "ghettoisation'' of
immigrants in Ireland, and said the problem in France was
that people felt alienated from a society that failed to
engage them.

Ahern told this newspaper it was important that local
authorities did not allow "social dumping'' of immigrants,
similar to what had happened to sections of Irish society
in the past, which contributed to the deterioration of
certain areas.

"Diverse cultural backgrounds will create innovation and
creative thinking," said Ahern. "People have been watching
France in the last few days and jumping up and down about
it. But there are almost 200 nationalities in this country

"This year alone, people from something like 129
nationalities came into the country."

The Taoiseach said he was worried about "unscrupulous
employers hell-bent on making sure their profit margin is
better, regardless of how they do it, and who abuse laws
and regulations''.

But he said that, while politicians had called for better
protection for immigrant workers, this sector was entitled
to the same protection as Irish workers.

"The laws here in this country are that everyone that lives
here legally is treated equally. They have the same
protection that you and I have, and we should remember

The Taoiseach said that, following the incident last
weekend involving 13 eastern European periwinkle pickers,
he had "personally put the heavies'' onto the case because
he was very concerned about it.

The men - most of them believed to be Latvian - were
rescued from the uninhabited Colt Island off the coast at
Skerries eight days ago, after the coastguard responded to
a call from a member of the public.

Ahern said the Irish labour market had been opened up to
immigrant workers because of demand, and that the situation
involving eastern European workers would be vigorously

"We have them on food, hygiene and health and safety laws,
and on labour law, so we have the powers," he said. "There
is a missed point that these people -who are here legally -
are all governed by the same law. I keep seeing politicians
or newspapers saying there should be laws to protect these
people, but there are already. We are all equal."


Ireland Can Learn Lessons From Fires In France

13 November 2005 By David McWilliams

Could it happen here?

Could we have race riots in west Dublin, Parnell Street or

What lessons should we learn from France, and what does the
violence in the French suburbs tell us about Europe,
Ireland and the future?

In the past week, three broad explanations have been
advanced to rationalise the chaos raging in France. The
first is the 'official' line, which borrows heavily from
soft-focus economics and sociology. It can also be
described as the left-liberal analysis, and claims that the
problem is one of social exclusion. The solution therefore,
is fairly straightforward - more jobs, more income and a
greater stake in France. The only debate is how you achieve

The second explanation could be termed the mainstream,
right-wing, 'nationalist' view. It postulates that these
(mostly Muslim or black) teenagers have not been forced out
of French society, but rather have opted out. They are
challenging the authority of the French state in France.

This nationalist analysis has been gaining currency for
some time. For example, in 2002 at a France-Algeria
football match in Paris, many of the 70,000-strong crowd
were young North Africans from the Parisian suburbs who
booed La Marseillaise.

France's star player, Zinedine Zidane, who is of Algerian
descent, is a role model for success in the 'official'
left-liberal way of looking at things, an example of how
poor immigrants can make their way out of the ghetto. Yet,
on the night, instead of being celebrated for his
successes, he was castigated for having "sold out to

Therefore, the nationalist conclusion is that the rioters
are the "enemy within''.

They are threatening the state and, as French citizens,
they have to be brought to heel like anyone else.

Then there is a third idea doing the rounds. Let's call
this the extreme-right or McCarthyite view, which sees al-
Qaeda behind everything. Like McCarthyism in the US of the
1950s,which saw "reds under the bed'', these
cultural/religious commentators see a vast orchestrated
Islamic conspiracy every time a person of Muslim origin
expresses a view on anything.

As far as this view is concerned, the French riots are just
another installment of a "clash of civilisations'', which,
if we are not careful, will culminate in our daughters
going to school in burkas. The solution for the neo-
McCarthyites is to weed out Muslim extremists, and they see
this as part of the ongoing fight on behalf of the
Christian tradition of France and Europe.

All these views have legitimacy in parts.

Yet possibly a more instructive way to examine France and
Europe is through the broad brush of history, seeing events
like the riots as punctuation marks.

Taking a bit of altitude and borrowing from the world view
of the great British historian Alfred Toynbee, historical
movements can be seen as the consequences of the challenges
confronting a society.

The role of the elite is to analyse the challenge and find
appropriate responses.

If the challenge is tackled successfully, the society
progresses and finds a new equilibrium. If the answers are
not the right ones, the challenge returns, until such a
time as the elite can be replaced (revolution) or the
society itself disappears (end of civilisation).This
analysis was extremely relevant to Europe between 1860 and
1960,when the challenges were nationalism and Franco-German
rivalry. After three wars failed to settle the problem, a
new elite (Monnet, Schuman and Adenauer) rose to the fore
and came up with European integration.

This tackled the old problems well, but today the obstacle
is different. Europe's problem is certainly not the old
Franco-German rivalry with Britain arbitraging.

Today's challenge is demographic and sociological. How do
you make an old and rich society co-exist with young, poor
and desperate societies in the same countries?

How do you do this in the knowledge that there can be no
military solution?

How do you do this when you know that the white, ethnically
European population is falling, relative to the non-white,
immigrant numbers? The implosion of social welfare systems,
immigration, internal troubles, deteriorating educational
systems - all of these problems are rooted to some extent
in the demographic collapse of western Europe.

Polishing up the old solutions of further European
integration (as is now happening in Brussels) that worked
for the purpose of keeping Europe at peace, will do little
to solve today's challenge.

The EU constitution is dead, not because it is wrong or
bad, but because it does not ask the right question. It is
irrelevant. So where do we go from here?

In the case of recent French and European history, it is
highly likely that we are seeing a punctuation mark of the
same magnitude as the 1968 student riots. The 68ers - as
they are known on the continent - came to dominate
intellectual, political and economic life in the EU with
their cocktail of multiculturalism, individual liberty and
collective economics. It is a 'United Colours of Benetton'
world, with a big liberal state and high taxes.

This 40-year-old consensus is being challenged by the
riots. The elite's response can be more of the same, or it
can revert to the very Gaullist response that the 68ers
rallied against.

The evidence in France, the Netherlands, Denmark, Austria
and Italy suggests that voters have had enough and want a
traditional nationalist response of the sort General de
Gaulle stood for. This means that, in the same way as the
68ers saw the old elite swept from power, they themselves
will now be swept away and replaced by neo-conservative
leaders like Nicolas Sarkozy in France, who will not
tolerate a challenge to the authority of the state.

This may make the majority of people feel safer on the
streets, but it still does not answer the big question
posed by second-generation French teenagers booing Zidane
for playing for France. How does France get these people to
willingly sing La Marseillaise? You can't make them love,
or even identify, with France or Europe by beating them.

And this is perhaps where we in Ireland can learn
something. We are absorbing immigrants at a breakneck pace,
and most of them will stay here. There is more to a society
than a labour market, so one of the great imponderables is
how will we all get on at a social, emotional,
philosophical and cultural level in 20 years' time.

What will Ireland mean to them, and what will it mean to
us? We can't coerce someone into being Irish, so how do we
ensure that everyone has a stake in it and a shared sense
of a common project?

By far the most important gauge of this will be economic
opportunity. Enough said. But what about adding to this
free-market mix a little bit of state-directed national

One very unfashionable idea that might help is some sort of
national service. Not military service, but social service
undertaken by all of us - not just teenagers. It sounds
outdated, and could be seen in some quarters as an affront
to personal liberty, but the idea is about simply giving
something back to society. For the sons and daughters of
immigrants, it could serve to construct an allegiance to
the country that is not the land of their ancestors.

At the moment, what we are doing with young immigrant kids
is what we did with the Irish language revival movement. We
are putting the entire onus on the education system. The
classroom is now the melting pot. This can be very
effective, but it can also be highly divisive and,
ultimately, primary teachers can't be expected to teach
easy sums and good citizenship at the same time.

Given that the biggest social issue we are facing is the
one that has exploded on the French streets, a little bit
of big thinking now when we have the chance might not go

David McWilliams' book The Pope's Children, published by
Gill and Macmillan, will be in the shops from Thursday,
November 17.


On-The-Runs Set To Come Home

13 November 2005 By Colm Heatley and Paul T Colgan

Michael Toner was 19 when he jumped bail from his trial at
Belfast Crown Court on a charge of murdering a British
soldier in 1980. Although he was eventually acquitted in
1998, for the next 18 years he spent his life on the run
(OTR) moving from town to town in the Republic.

"I'm glad this OTR legislation is coming through. I feel
sorry for anyone on the run from the police in the North
and I'm sure quite a few of them are completely innocent
like myself," he said.

Within a fortnight the British government is due to pass
legislation which will allow IRA fugitives to return to the

The number of people who will benefit is thought to be
about 100, with most offences dating back more than 20

Most OTRs fled the North at a time when juryless Diplock
courts achieved conviction rates of about 90 per cent. The
RUC was condemned by the European Court of Human Rights for
"inhumane and degrading treatment'' of suspects.

Unionists, who oppose the legislation, have been busy
trying to build up cross-party support for a No vote. But
despite last week's defeat of Tony Blair's anti-terror
bill, it is unlikely they will succeed.

Under the legislation, a special tribunal, headed by a
retired judge, will hear evidence against the OTRs before
reaching a verdict.

The OTRs will not have to attend the tribunal but, if found
guilty, they will be required to submit DNA and
fingerprints before receiving a criminal record.

Under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement, none of the
OTRs would face a prison sentence, but their return is
hugely symbolic for republicans.

Sinn Féin MP Conor Murphy called for the issue to be
resolved speedily.

"In any conflict resolution process, there are, from time
to time, issues like this which quite clearly need to be
tackled and addressed in a sensible fashion if we are to
build confidence in the future," he said.

Other republicans have raised concerns about the OTR

"Our negotiations were only about the OTRs – a very small
number of people," said a source. "It was only meant to
deal with people who had been charged and, had they been
convicted, who would have been eligible for release under
the Good Friday Agreement.

"What the British government has done is to introduce a
catch-all to defend its own people, both the agents on the
ground and the political leadership. There is good reason
to believe that a lot of decisions in the 1980s and 1990s,
such as shoot-to-kill, went as far up as prime minister
Margaret Thatcher. This is to stop them from being exposed
in court."


Opposition Mounts Over Policy For On-The-Run Terrorists

Liam Clarke

THE British and Irish governments are facing growing
criticism over their plans to allow on-the-run terrorist
suspects to come home without fear of imprisonment.

Opposition to the proposals is coming from the PSNI, human
rights activists and all the main British and Northern
Ireland political parties with the exception of Sinn Fein.
It may prove the next test for Tony Blair's leadership.

Peter Robinson, the DUP deputy leader, said yesterday that
the party has been speaking to Tories and Liberal Democrats
who are "resolute" in their opposition to the proposal. The
British legislation will get its second reading in the
House of Commons next week.

"We believe we can defeat the government on this issue in
the House of Lords," Robinson said. "There is no way that
it will go through in its present form."

Sir Hugh Orde, the PSNI chief constable, proposed yesterday
that a time limit be included in the legislation. "There is
no incentive at the minute for anyone to come forward," he

Orde had previously championed the idea of a South African-
style truth and reconciliation commission in which
remission of sentences for offenders would be conditional
on them coming forward within a set timeframe, and
confessing their crimes in front of their victims. The
chief constable believes that without such a time limit,
offenders will wait to see if they are caught and only
apply to enter the scheme once they are.

The British government recently allocated £32m (€48m) to
C8, an independently managed police body, to investigate
1,800 unsolved murders and 320 disputed security-force
killings which occurred during the Troubles. The work of
this body, which hopes to utilise new forensic methods such
as DNA profiling to solve some of the crimes, is likely to
be largely undermined by the current British legislation.

The bill proposes that the amnesty provisions remain in
force until C8 has completed its work, probably in five to
six years. In the meantime, anyone suspected of a terrorist
offence during the Troubles, or any member of the security
forces who broke the law, has no incentive to come forward
and make a confession to the C8 review.

Nigel Dodds, the DUP MP for North Belfast and a barrister,
said: "If anyone is caught they can play their 'get out of
jail free' card at that point. They will then be removed
from the normal legal system and placed in a parallel
universe where they need not appear in person to enter a
defence and will face no cross-examination."

Dodds has raised this point with David Hanson, a Northern
Ireland Office minister. "His officials had to admit that
if the defendant did not attend, then a judge was unlikely
to compel witnesses to attend either. This would probably
result in the case collapsing for lack of evidence."

Orde is promising that C8 will investigate cases to the
point of prosecution so as to give as much detail as
possible to victims and their relatives.

"We will be driven by the families' needs and we will do
our best to brief them as fully as we can on what did go
on, what was investigated and how good it was," he said.

Others oppose the legislation because it extends to members
of the security forces who colluded with paramilitaries.
Alban McGuinness, the SDLP security spokesman, described
the proposals as damaging: "This legislation will mean an
effective amnesty for those in the British army and in the
old RUC, who were also guilty of appalling crimes and human
rights violations," he said.

The same criticisms appear to apply to the republic's
proposals, which allow qualifying offenders to be pardoned
or have their sentences remitted by President Mary

Greg O'Neill, a human rights lawyer who represented the
families of the 33 people killed in the Dublin and Monaghan
bombings, has said the proposals are "of doubtful
constitutional legality".

He said: "The presidential pardon was designed to be used
in cases where there is serious doubt over guilt or the
safety of a conviction. It is totally unacceptable that
paramilitaries and members of the British forces who have
been guilty of collusion with them should be able to avail
of a presidential pardon in this state."


Comment: Liam Clarke: There Can Be No Peace And
Reconciliation Without The Truth

It is hard to believe that the Irish and British
governments' proposals to grant an amnesty to "on-the-run"
terrorist suspects are not intended to demean the victims
of terrorism and deny them the truth.

The regulations, if passed in their present form, will mean
the millions spent on the Bloody Sunday tribunal, the
Barron reports into the Dublin and Monaghan bombings, the
murder of Seamus Ludlow, the PSNI's cold-cases review and
the welter of forthcoming public inquiries north and south
will be poured down the drain.

One of their weaknesses is the absence of a time limit for
the amnesty that is being offered. Such a limit, say, six
months or a year, would provide an incentive for offenders
to come forward and confess their crimes. Those who failed
to meet this deadline, if caught, would face the threat of
prosecution, conviction and imprisonment.

This is a system that worked well in South Africa, when it
introduced the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
Offenders who did not come forward to the commission faced
jail. Those who failed to admit all their crimes could be
prosecuted for any others uncovered by the commission.

In the case of the Irish and British proposals, the absence
of an end date provides offenders with an opportunity to
wait and see if they are caught before then playing their
"get out of jail free" card.

The second flaw in both governments' proposals is that
offenders face no questioning and need never meet their
victims. In South Africa, those seeking an amnesty had to
make a full public confession in front of those they had
wronged and answer questions put on behalf of the victims.

It's a toss-up between the two but, if anything, the Irish
government's proposals are more inept, slapping the faces
of victims in an even more studied way than the British
legislation. Fortunately, like many other attempts by the
Irish government to adopt quick-fix solutions, this one is
open to a constitutional court challenge. Human rights
lawyers such as Greg O'Neill, who represents the families
of the Dublin and Monaghan bomb victims, argue that
President Mary McAleese 's power to pardon offenders or
remit a sentence, as proposed by the Irish government, was
never meant to be used in cases where guilt is not in

If the proposals survive a court challenge, we will be left
in a situation where the public is kept in the dark about a
series of crimes committed against Irish citizens.

Naturally, the Irish government will reject such charges.
Indeed, last week it gave the impression that its own
proposals for dealing with on-the-run terrorists were
tougher than those being considered by the British. The
statement announcing details of the scheme highlighted the
fact that anyone involved in the murder of Garda Jerry
McCabe was specifically excluded, an astute piece of spin
designed to mollify public opinion. The story circulated
after the announcement was that only five or six IRA
members, most of them robbers, would benefit.

The reality is different. For instance, the loyalists
suspected of the Dublin and Monaghan bombings in which 33
people died, as well as the loyalist paramilitaries who
killed Seamus Ludlow and Martin Doherty — murdered by the
UVF at the Widow Scallan's pub in Dublin — will be able to
take advantage of the provisions.

Only this month Justice Barron published a report into the
1976 murder of Ludlow near Dundalk and named four men as
his abductors. Under the Irish proposals, the four need
only apply to an eligibility commission to be granted an
automatic presidential pardon that may leave them with no
criminal record. They will certainly never have to answer
questions from the public or their victims.

The same facility will be offered to members of the British
forces suspected of collusion in a number of crimes in the
republic. If any of them fear arrest, they need only apply
to the eligibility body to escape all questioning and all

The legislation proposed by the British government to cover
Northern Ireland is preferable, but only marginally. In
some respects, it will lead to a greater injustice because
it will apply to far more murders and will deny many more
victims the truth that they deserve. While 113 people were
killed in the republic during the course of the Troubles,
the loss of life in Northern Ireland totalled 3,267, with a
further 125 murdered in Britain.

In the north, suspects will apply to an eligibility body
and their cases will be heard by a tribunal with the power
to find them guilty or innocent. If guilty they will
immediately be released on licence, leaving them subject to
recall to serve the sentence if they are suspected of
further crime. Unlike the Irish proposals, this offers some
sanction against future bad behaviour. The rub is that the
person applying to this scheme need never appear in front
of the tribunal. They need only send a letter and if they
want a lawyer to plead their case, they will qualify for
full legal aid.

Offenders who send a letter pleading "not guilty" will have
a legal team to work on their behalf in their absence. They
can subpoena police officers and other witnesses to plead
their case, demand discovery of sensitive documents and
they will be entitled to full disclosure of any evidence
against them, even if it is not made public. They can
question victims and witnesses, but need face no questions

There will be no downside, no cost and no incentive not to
waste the court's time. Even if they are convicted, they
will walk free on licence. As a result, it is almost
inevitable that prosecuting authorities will often seek to
limit the damage of disclosure and the expense of
proceeding by offering no evidence and the result will be
an acquittal.

The same system will apply to members of the security
forces involved in unlawful killings. The smart move for
Freddie Scappaticci, suspected of being the British agent
within the IRA who was codenamed Stakeknife, is to apply to
be considered by the special tribunal, then plead innocent
and refuse to put in an appearance. The same will apply to
the military intelligence officers who controlled him and
the other agents named in the Dail by Pat Rabbitte last

These provisions are a mess and they will need drastic
reform if they are not to do serious damage to the rights
of victims and the integrity of the legal system. The most
basic requirements are a time limit on the scheme and an
open public tribunal at which the suspected offender is
compelled to attend in order to avail of the scheme. A
special right of audience, backed by full legal aid, should
be given to the victims so that the perpetrators can be
cross-examined in detail. Refusal to answer questions
should be treated as contempt of court and should carry an
automatic prison sentence.

The least we should demand is the truth. It's not too much
to ask in return for government-sanctioned forgiveness for
some of the most heinous crimes of the past 35 years.


Airlines Welcome Phasing Out Of Shannon Stopover

Denis Staunton, Washington Correspondent

Transatlantic air fares could fall as new routes open and
passenger numbers grow following a decision to phase out
the Shannon stopover by 2008, airlines and business groups
claimed yesterday.

Dublin Chamber of Commerce predicted that ending the
stopover, which has been a touchstone political issue for
many years, would boost tourism, inward investment and
business from the US.

"It has long been known that the existing quota system for
compulsory landings for transatlantic flights at Shannon
airport has been a significant deterrent to new flights in
and out of Ireland," said the group's chief executive, Gina
Quin .

No flights from the United States to Ireland will be
required to stop at Shannon after April 2008 but Aer Lingus
will be allowed to fly to any US airport under a deal
agreed between Dublin and Washington.

The Shannon stopover will be phased out over 18 months from
November 2006, during which Aer Lingus will be allowed to
fly to eight US airports, three more than at present.

Minister for Transport Martin Cullen, who agreed the deal
with his US counterpart Norman Mineta, said he had made the
transitional arrangement for Shannon a precondition for
Ireland's approval of an agreement on open skies (the
liberalisation of airline routes) between the EU and the US
next week.

"This was a good deal, hard-won, which gives Shannon a good
opportunity to prepare for the arrival of open skies. It
also provides Aer Lingus with an opportunity to fly to
three new destinations in the US from 2006. This will
enable the company to develop its transatlantic route
structure in the run-up to open skies, open new markets for
Irish tourism, offer greater choice to consumers and help
grow jobs in Ireland," Mr Cullen said.

For the next 12 months, every second transatlantic flight
will continue to stop at Shannon but from November 2006 to
April 2008, airlines can provide three flights directly to
or from Dublin for every one flight to or from Shannon.

Irish airlines will be allowed to fly to three new US
destinations of their choice during the transitional
period, after which they can fly to any US airport.

A US department of transportation spokesman told The Irish
Times that Washington welcomed the deal but stressed it
depended on the conclusion of an EU-US open skies agreement
next week.

"Should there be an open skies deal, we feel that would be
of immense benefit to airlines, consumers and commerce,"
the spokesman said.

Open skies talks collapsed last year after European
governments complained that the deal on offer was too
favourable to US airlines. The prospect of agreement next
week moved closer when Washington proposed relaxing rules
on foreign investment in US airlines.

Aer Lingus has promised to maintain its current
transatlantic traffic of about 400,000 passengers a year,
with regular year-round scheduled services between Shannon
and Boston and New York.

"We envisage major benefits resulting from this for both
the airline and the national economy," the airline's chief
executive, Dermot Mannion, said.

Mr Cullen said the Government would draw up an economic and
tourism development plan for Shannon to make sure it
retains transatlantic air services after the compulsory
stopover is abolished.

But Labour's transport spokeswoman, Róisín Shortall, said
the transitional period for Shannon was too short and that
ending the stopover could have "very serious consequences"
for the Shannon region.

"All of the pledges of support from Fianna Fáil TDs for the
stopover have proved worthless and the airport and its
employees must now face a very difficult future," she said.

© The Irish Times

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