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November 17, 2005

Finucanes Meet PUP Leader

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News about Ireland & the Irish

IN 11/17/05
Finucanes Meet PUP Leader
BT 11/17/05 Orde: IRA Has Stopped Punishment Attacks
BT 11/17/05 Dossiers Theft 'A Cover-Up'
SF 11/17/05 Meetings Sought More Informed Of Death Threats
IN 11/17/05 Calls For Probe Into Loyalist Threat List
IN 11/17/05 Probes Follow Security Breach
IN 11/17/05 'Reveal Loyalist Group' Demand
BT 11/17/05 40,000 Risk Losing Their Right To Vote
II 11/17/05 SF Will Take Up Office With Any Party - Adams
IN 11/17/05 'No SF In Government As Long As IRA Exists'
II 11/17/05 Sinn Fein's Equality Sweets . . . Want One?
IO 11/17/05 North's Human Rights Body Given New Powers
IN 11/17/05 Nothing New In Changes To Commission Says SDLP
DI 11/17/05 Ex-CIRA Man Hits Out At 'Lies'
IN 11/17/05 Removal Of Victim's Picture Cultural Aggression
BT 11/17/05 Row After SF Fails To Attend Poppy Day Service
IN 11/17/05 Opin: Event Brings SF Into Satellite Age
IN 11/17/05 Opin: Revelations Are Deeply Alarming
IN 11/17/05 Opin: Hard Political Truth Is Tough To Swallow
DI 11/17/05 Opin: Partition Scourge Raises Its Ugly Head
BT 11/17/05 Parades Body Halts Children In Need Walk
IN 11/17/05 Police Move To End Shankill Tension
BB 11/17/05 Five Now Held Over Conlon Murder
BB 11/17/05 Schools Body Could Be Downgraded
IO 11/17/05 Ahern Defends Remarks Role Of Catholic Church
IN 11/17/05 Garda & PSNI Clash.In A Historic Football Match


Finucanes Meet PUP Leader

By Catherine Morrison

THE family of Pat Finucane met with Progressive Unionist
leader David Ervine yesterday to discuss issues surrounding
the inquiry into the solicitor's murder.

Mr Finucane's widow Geraldine and son John met with Mr
Ervine in Belfast City Hall as part of a series of meetings
with politicians to update them on the family's position in
relation to the inquiry.

John Finucane described the discussion as "positive" and
outlined his family's problems with the terms of the

"Our main problem with the Inquiries Act is very simple: it
removes the power of any inquiry from the tribunal and puts
it in the hands of a government minister. This is
unacceptable," he said.

Mr Ervine said he was concerned the inquiry could open the
floodgates for dozens of other similar probes.

"In real terms, I would not wish to stand in the way of any
family searching for justice but how many families would
there be? And how long would this go on for?," he said.

The Finucanes have also requested meetings with the UUP and


Orde: IRA Has Stopped Punishment Attacks

By Michael McHugh
17 November 2005

The IRA's punishment attacks have stopped ahead of next
year's crucial Independent Monitoring Commission report,
the Chief Constable has confirmed.

Sir Hugh Orde told a meeting of Westminster MPs that IRA
punishment beatings and shootings had stopped.

He said this may be because it wants a clean bill of health
ahead of January's IMC dossier, seen as crucial to bring
about power-sharing.

Sir Hugh said the "encouraging" cessation of low-level
violence was an indication of the power of the IRA high
command over its members.

But he warned the select committee to be "realistic" about
the likelihood of IRA criminality.

The IRA's decommissioning of arms last summer has been
welcomed in many quarters but some unionists have expressed
scepticism and demanded an end to all criminality before
going back into government with Sinn Fein.

Sir Hugh added: "I think the word encouraging is probably
right at the moment. One needs to be realistic about this.
It is an illegal organisation.

"There are limits on how it can lawfully fund-raise,
obviously, and we are keeping a very close eye on criminal
activity and we will report fully and frankly to the IMC on
everything we find in relation to all paramilitary groups
in our next report."

The LVF's ceasefire, declared earlier this month, is being
monitored by police and the Chief Constable said it was too
early to assess the group's integrity.

"In terms of the LVF, it is too early to say, quite

"I said at the time we would wait and see, and I am still
waiting to see what happens next.

"We have got no indications that disarmament of loyalist
groups is imminent, so we have to wait and see."

Sir Hugh said dissident republicans were continuing to
target economic targets and added that he expected more
activity in the run up to Christmas.

He revealed that he was at Down Royal when the racing event
had to be cancelled because of bomb hoaxes.

Sir Hugh said police officers north and south of the border
were continuing to disrupt dissidents' operations.


Dossiers Theft 'A Cover-Up'

SF claim in wake of minister's assurance

By Chris Thornton
17 November 2005

Fears over security documents stolen from Castlereagh were
dismissed over a year ago by the NIO's Security Minister -
fuelling Sinn Fein claims that the Government had tried to
cover up the seriousness of the theft.

The then minister, Ian Pearson, gave a public assurance
that the documents - which turned up in loyalist hands this
month - had not been passed to paramilitaries.

He said he was relying on information from "senior police".

Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams was among at least 50
people who were warned this week that their details were in
the hands of loyalists as a result of the theft.

Sinn Fein today accused the Government of covering up the

The theft from Castlereagh police station was first exposed
by the Belfast Telegraph in July 2004.

After the security force document disappeared, the Army
transferred 28 RIR soldiers to other duties.

But at the time, the Government dismissed suggestions that
the material had been handed over to loyalists.

In July last year Mr Pearson said: "I have confirmed with
senior officers in the PSNI that there are no indications
that material has fallen into the hands of paramilitaries."

At the time he refused to spell out how he could be sure or
where police thought the document is, saying he did not
want to prejudice the investigation.

Mr Adams and more than 50 republicans in east Belfast were
informed by police this week that their details were in the
hands of loyalists.

Sinn Fein chief negotiator Martin McGuinness claims details
on as many as 400 people were in the dossier.

"The British Government, the British Army and the PSNI have
consciously allowed over 400 people and their families to
live under threat without informing them of this risk for
over 16 months in order to sustain the cover-up," he said.

"The people contacted last night are angry both at the
withholding of warnings for 16 months and the refusal to
give them the information needed to employ proper measures
to protect themselves and their families," Mr McGuinness

A PSNI spokeswoman refused to disclose the identity of any
of those warned.


Urgent Meetings Sought As More Republicans Informed Of Death Threats

Published: 17 November, 2005

Sinn Féin Assembly member Gerry Kelly today confirmed that
more republicans, this time living in the Lower Ormeau and
North Belfast areas, were informed overnight that their
details were contained in the Castlereagh collusion

Mr Kelly said:

" Overnight a number of republicans in the Lower Ormeau
area and in North Belfast were visited and informed that
their lives were in danger from loyalist paramilitaries who
had obtained their personal details. We assume that this
information comes from the Castlereagh collusion file
passed to unionist paramilitaries by the RIR and covered up
by British Ministers, the PSNI and British Army over the
past 16 months.

" I have requested urgent meetings with both the British
and Irish governments to discuss this matter. I met both
governments in July 2004 when this scandal first broke. It
was in the course of these meetings that the British
government Security Minster of the time Ian Pearson stated
clearly that the missing file was not in the hands of

" This has proven not to be the case and the effect of
these denials and the subsequent cover up has been 400
people and their families have been living under threat
without being informed and therefore unable to take
measures to protect themselves. This situation is a scandal
and as the British government through the NIO are complicit
in the cover up a separate inquiry is required to get to
the truth." ENDS


Calls For Probe Into Loyalist Threat List

By Maeve Connolly

A PUBLIC inquiry was called for last night into how
loyalists obtained a British army intelligence file
allegedly containing information on up to 400 people.

Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams was yesterday the latest to
be told he was under threat from loyalist paramilitaries.

Last night questions were raised as to why it had taken 16
months for police to warn those listed on a file which
vanished from army offices at Castlereagh police complex in
east Belfast in July 2004.

A Royal Irish Regiment (RIR) investigation was launched in
the aftermath of the internal breach of security. However,
last night an army spokesman revealed the probe had been

Confirmation by police that the document was in the hands
of loyalists came after initial denials by the British
government of any such link.

More than 50 people, mainly from east Belfast's Short
Strand area, are so far known to have been visited by

It has been suggested the details of hundreds more are
contained in the document.

One Short Strand resident who was identified in the
document has called on police to reveal which group had the

It is not the first time this man's details have been found
in loyalist paramilitary records.

In 2003 the ex-prisoner, who does not wish to be named, was
told they had been found on a UDA computer disk seized
during the search of a house in Carrickfergus, Co Antrim.

But last night the PSNI refused to disclose which
paramilitary group held the information, where and when
police found it, how many people were listed and if they
have all been contacted.

Earlier yesterday Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness said: "The
British government, the British Army and the PSNI have
consciously allowed over 400 people and their families to
live under threat without informing them of this risk for
over 16 months in order to sustain the cover-up."

In the aftermath of the security breach, then NIO minister
with responsibility for security Ian Pearson said there was
"no indications that material has fallen into the hands of

Mr Pearson declined to comment yesterday.

The Republic's justice minister Michael McDowell described
the breach – which came just two years after the IRA was
accused of breaking into the highly fortified complex in a
separate incident – as "the subject of some considerable
controversy", adding that he did not "want to be drawn into
that controversy now".

SDLP policing spokesman Alex Attwood said: "This is a
serious matter which the Policing Board will get to the
bottom of."


Probes Follow Security Breach

By Staff Reporter

TWO years after republicans were blamed for a break-in at
Castlereagh police complex, an intelligence document
vanished during an "internal security breach" of army

In the aftermath of the July 2004 incident:

:: up to 28 Royal Irish Regiment (RIR) soldiers were
transferred to alternative duties while an internal army
investigation took place

:: police also mounted a probe

:: one soldier was questioned by police and released
without charge on July 12 last year

:: then NIO security minister Ian Pearson said he had
confirmed with senior police officers that there were no
indication the material had fallen into the hands of

:: it was reported up to 400 names were contained in the

:: UDA figures claimed the document was in their possession
in a Sunday newspaper

:: Earlier this week more than 50 people were told by
police that their details were in the hands of loyalist
paramilitaries and the discovery is believed to be
connected to the Castlereagh security breach.


'Reveal Loyalist Group' Demand

By Maeve Connolly

ONE Short Strand resident whose details were in the
possession of loyalist paramilitaries has said police must
reveal which group had the information.

The ex-prisoner, who does not wish to be named, was visited
by police at around 6pm on Tuesday.

He is one of approximately 50 people from Short Strand
whose details were in the hands of paramilitaries, others
who were named include pensioners, single parents and
people living alone.

"A constable came to my door and asked for me by name and
produced his document with my name, address and date of
birth," the man said.

"He wouldn't tell me anything other than what was on the
form in front of him – that the details had come from a
loyalist source.

"He didn't say who or what group or when it happened, not
even an approximate time like this year or the year
before," he added.

"It is not the first time this man's details have been
found in loyalist paramilitary records.

"In 2003 he was told they had been found on a UDA computer
disk seized during the search of a house in Carrickfergus,
Co Antrim.

"All that information was on the form the police brought to
my house – hair colour and height and my second name,
things like that," he said.

"This most recent one looked like a more official, printed

"I was surprised to see my date of birth.

"No-one outside my family would know it."

Describing himself as "a republican with a small r" the man
said he was taking the threat very seriously.

"When loyalists are going on and off ceasefire we've seen
in the past that they have used shooting Catholics to rally
their troops so to speak.

"I asked the officer how many people he was visiting and he
said there were 53 for the Short Strand alone.

"I think there are more people who will be warned."

Meanwhile, a number of residents held a protest at
Mountpottinger police station yesterday.

Ex-Sinn Fein councillor Joe O'Donnell was also told he was
on the list.

"Fifty people alone in this area are living under a level
of threat," he said.

"What is this level? Is it murder, an attack on their

"Many have young families and they are concerned about
their safety as well as their own lives," he said.

"It's not good enough to go to someone's door and tell them
their details are in the hands of loyalists and nothing

"It's not good enough for single parents or elderly
pensioners or people whose house is listed but the occupant
named has moved on."

Mr O'Donnell said people in the area were "working on the
assumption that loyalists are not on ceasefire and are
working on the assumption that people on the list are under
a serious threat".

"Quite a lot of these people are on benefits and

"Even those who are working might not necessarily have the
money to provide this security," he said.

"What financial help will they be given to install


40,000 Risk Losing Their Right To Vote

By Chris Thornton
17 November 2005

At least 40,000 people appear to be in danger of falling
off Northern Ireland's electoral register when it closes

People who have not filled out forms for two successive
voter trawls will be left off the register, prompting Sinn
Fein to accuse the Government of applying "different
standards" to the electoral process in Northern Ireland.

A new list of voters is due to be published on December 1.

Earlier this year, the Government pushed through emergency
legislation to allow about 70,000 voters who hadn't re-
registered to stay on the list for May's general and local
government elections.

The move was taken amid long-standing concerns about
reductions in the size of Northern Ireland's voter pool.

The introduction of anti-fraud measures three years ago -
including a requirement that every voter has to register
him or herself - saw the electoral register fall.

This year ministers opted to temporarily return to a
measure known as the "carry forward", which kept voters on
the register even if they had failed to fill out a form.

The change allowed about 70,000 people to stay on the
register in time for the election.

Electoral officials estimate around 25,000 to 30,000 of
those voters have signed up during the current trawl.

That leaves about 40,000 to 45,000 who have not filled in
registration forms twice in a row.

Sinn Fein vice president Pat Doherty has accused the
Government of deliberately trying to remove voters from the

"In the last few years there has been a huge decline in
numbers of people registered to vote," he said. "This has
arisen as a result of the introduction of new and
restrictive procedures for registration.

"Just eight months ago, in response to this decline in the
electoral register, the British Government announced that
to maximise the numbers entitled to vote in the May
elections 70,000 people who were earlier removed from the
register would be placed back on it.

"It is therefore incomprehensible that the British
Government are again intent on removing these same people
from the election register, and effectively denying them
their right to vote in the next election."

Mr Doherty said he has asked for an urgent meeting with
Political Development Minister David Hanson.


Sinn Fein Will Take Up Office With Any Party, Says Adams

SINN Fein will go into government with any party, provided
it can agree on its core policies of advancing equality and
Irish unity, Gerry Adams said yesterday.

"Sinn Fein wants to be in government," the party president
said, adding: "We are only interested in being in a
government that advances an equality agenda."

However, the party was not going to set out any of its tax
plans to voters before the next general election, he said.

Refusing to rule out personal, corporate or capital tax
increases, Mr Adams said he wanted to see reform of the tax
system and the removal of loopholes.

Until the party had full information on the amount of money
in the system and the proper costs of implementing
policies, it could not say whether tax would have to
increase or not, Sinn Fein Dail leader Caoimhghin O Caolain

If further taxes were necessary to deliver on commitments,
the party would be prepared to take that step, he said.

"We are not going to go into government stating that we
will raise to X, Y or Z any of the codes of tax. We are not
specifying because it is impossible to do so," he said.

Mr O Caolain said Sinn Fein were, relatively speaking, the
new kids on the block, but "Sinn Fein are not intent on
playing a permanent role in opposition."

The statements by party leaders that they would not go into
government with Sinn Fein showed that the other parties
believed Sinn Fein would have a mandate and more seats, Mr
Adams said.

"I would have to say you have to put your own judgment on
how truthful the assessments are by the other parties.

"If it comes to it, a Taoiseach in waiting needs to cosy up
to Sinn Fein in the Dail chamber or a corridor. Do you want
to put a bet on it that we won't be getting phone calls?

"This coalition came about between a party saying the other
party was dishonest and the PDs needing to go in to keep
Fianna Fail honest," he said.

Sinn Fein hoped to contest all 43 constituencies in the
country in the election, he said.

Although he did not want to specify figures on the party's
target for gains, Mr Adams said the intention was to win as
many seats as possible.

Fionnan Sheahan
Political Correspondent


'No SF In Government As Long As IRA Exists'

By William Scholes Religious Affairs Correspondent

SINN Fein will be ineligible to take part in government in
the Rep-ublic while the IRA re-mains in existence, justice
minister Michael McDowell said in Belfast yesterday.

In a robust attack on Sinn Fein, Mr McDowell was strongly
critical of how the party plays the "shamrock and
leprechaun" act when courting wealthy American donors,
while also presenting itself as "the Che Guevaras of the
western world".

He also described Community Restorative Justice programmes
as a pretence for IRA "thuggery" against nationalist

Mr McDowell, speaking at the offices of the Probation Board
in Belfast city centre, said he en-dorsed Taoiseach Bertie
Ahern's assertion that he would not share government with
Sinn Fein.

He said his Progressive Demo-crats party rejected a
coalition with Sinn Fein "for a number of reasons".

"Firstly, we reject it on the grounds that that party is
still in alliance with the IRA, which is a secret army and
which is still in existence," he said.

"It is treasonable under the law of the Irish state and it
is dedicated to the overthrow of the Irish state.

"As long as the IRA exists we believe that the Provisional
movement and Sinn Fein, its political arm, are ineligible
to take part in the affairs of government of the Irish

Mr McDowell said there was "only one police force and only
one army" in the Republic.

"The Sinn Fein party are not willing to acknowledge that
fact, so on that radical ground – rejection of our
constitution, being connected to an organisation which is
dedicated to overthrowing our constitution and a refusal to
accept the defence forces and the police service and the
legitimacy of the courts of the Irish state – we are not
willing to share power in a sovereign state with the IRA,
or its political allies Sinn Fein," he said.

Mr McDowell said he agreed with Mr Ahern's verdict on Sinn
Fein's economic policies: "The IRA is fundamentally a far-
left socialist party – it masks that, it lies constantly
about that.

"It goes to America and pretends to be an ally of the
Repub-lican party and the Democrat party to raise funds.

"It sucks up to wealthy Irish-American businessmen to raise
funds for its activities in Ireland while concealing its
Marxist and far left anti-American agenda."

Mr McDowell predicted that "sometime the truth will be out
on that issue".

"It always fascinates me how they can play the shamrock and
the leprechaun act in America to raise money and come back
here and be the Che Guevaras of the western world," he

Mr McDowell said that Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams's
statement that the "war is over" made little difference to
his position.

"The IRA still exists – it is a treasonable organisation
under our state, it has not been repudiated by Sinn Fein,"
he said.

Sinn Fein needed to "face up to policing" in Northern
Ireland, the justice minister said .

"The IRA and Sinn Fein are refusing to endorse
participation in the police force, against the wishes of
the Irish people, who have spoken in two referenda – the
Good Friday Agreement endorses the existence of the PSNI,"
he said.

"The time has come for Sinn Fein to get off the backs of
nationalist communities in Northern Ireland, to stop using
the pretence of restorative justice for their thuggery and
to get into constitutional politics."

Further movement in the political process "must now come
from Sinn Fein", Mr McDowell said.

"We are not there to solve their problems, they are there
to solve their own problems," he said.

"If they really want to get on with the business of
normalising the lives of ordinary people on both sides of
the border on this island they should implement the Good
Friday Agreement 100 per cent."

Sinn Fein dismissed Mr McDowell's comments.

A spokesman said: "Michael McDowell wouldn't know the first
thing about the nationalist community. He is also a member
of a much smaller party than Sinn Fein. It's people who
decide who goes into governments, not Michael McDowell.

"It would probably fit [him] better if he concentrated on
the wave of gangland killings that are gripping our capital
city," the spokesman added.


Sinn Fein's Equality Sweets . . . Want One?

Fancy a Sinn Fein coalition selection? Ah go on. Go on, go
on, go on . . .

Gerry Adams believes that prissy politicians, who refuse to
be tempted today, will suddenly find his new selection of
Shinners too sweet to resist. At a press briefing in Dublin
yesterday, he said as much.

What with all the talk by other parties about their post
election intentions, he felt it only right that he should
outline SF's strategy in this regard. Right enough, in the
last few weeks, the main political parties have been
vaulting over each other with the bargepoles they intend
using to keep their distance from Sinn Fein when the time

If Bertie won't touch Gerry and Co with a bargepole, Enda
won't tickle them with a telegraph pole, Pat won't prod
them with a flagpole, and Mary has Michael McDowell to
prove her crowd and the Shinners are poles apart.

So it seems Sinn Fein continue in their role of political
pariahs, cast out into the wilderness by the established
constitutional parties who doubt their commitment to the
democratic process.


But does Gerry Adams MP care? He does not, because he
doesn't believe the other parties are being entirely
honest. The way he sees it, when the time comes to add up
the numbers, the leaders will talk to anyone.

Yesterday, he said the fact that everybody is so busy
distancing themselves from coalition with Sinn Fein means
they have accepted the idea of SF being in a government,
while also accepting that the party will win enough seats
to be a contender.

With a smug smile, Gerry sits back and confidently asks the
assembled journalists "If you want to put a bet on it, if
it comes to it, and a Taoiseach in waiting needs to cosy up
to Sinn Fein in a Dail chamber or in a corridor, do you
want to put a bet on it that we won't be getting

Never mind the numerous undertakings given by Bertie that
Fianna Fail and Sinn Fein will not be climbing into bed
together. MP Adams clearly doesn't believe him. Then again,
as the undisputed master of saying lots while saying
nothing, he is probably better placed than most to
recognise doublespeak when he hears it.

Short of getting the message tattooed on his forehead,
what's poor Bertie to do? He tells the Shinners he doesn't
want them. And still they're dreaming about what they
should wear when he comes a wooing.

Happily, where policies are concerned, Sinn Fein have one.
It's called "equality". Everything they do is based on
equality. Equality is good.


Their programme for government will have two elements. "The
here and now. That is equality." And the other main plank
concerns "the peace process, the Good Friday agreement and
Irish unity".

Any breakdowns of those policies, particularly where the
economy is concerned? Gerry seems almost hurt at these

"Remember that most of our opponents, for decades, said
Sinn Fein had no policies," he sniffs.

Apparently, it's all about "the media making up its mind as
to whether we do have policies or we don't have policies".
All anyone really needs to know is that Sinn Fein's
ideological direction is based on the principle of

That clears that up, so.

Oh no, here's Caoimhghin O'Caolain, the man who drones for
Clones. Could he be a little more helpful in outlining what
Sinn Fein's taxation policy will be? Does the party want to
raise taxes, and in what areas?

"We are not going to specify in relation to percentage
increases under any of the codes we have identified. What
we have said is that we will inform ourselves about the
real cost factors involved, ensuring the equitable delivery
of services."

That clears that one up too. As Caoimhghin eventually
harrumphed, "somebody needed to grasp the nettle and
grapple with the inequalities".



North's Human Rights Body To Be Given New Powers

17/11/2005 - 08:01:28

The British government has announced plans to give new
powers to the North's Human Rights Commission.

The proposed new powers will give the body the right of
access to prisons and the right to compel witnesses to give

Chief Commissioner Monica McWilliams has welcomed the move,
but said the commission had still not secured all the
powers that it needed.

The Ulster Unionist Party has criticised the development,
accusing the British government of making further
concessions to republicans.


Nothing New In 'Changes' To Commission Says SDLP

By Staff Reporter

PROPOSED additional powers for the Northern Ireland Human
Rights Commission is "an old announcement dressed up as a
new one", it was claimed last night.

The British government yesterday published a consultation
paper on extended powers for the body.

Born out of the Good Friday Agreement the commission has
come under intense scrutiny – its independence and limited
powers facing particular criticism.

The body was also em-broiled in an internal crisis with the
high-public resignation of a number of members over
concerns that proposals for a Bill of Rights for Northern
Ireland could undermine fair employment legislation.

Then chief commissioner Brice Dickson faced widespread
calls for his resignation after it was revealed he had
written to former chief constable Sir Ronnie Flanagan in
late 2001, saying a court action brought by a parent of the
Holy Cross school, which had been backed by the commission,
had no merit.

The letter was written without the knowledge of the parent,
who had sought a judicial review of the policing of the
loyalist protest at the north Belfast school.

Under new proposals published yesterday, the commission
would be given right of entry to prisons and powers to
compel witnesses to give evidence.

NIO minister David Hanson said: "The government believes
strongly in the importance of human rights and is committed
to ensuring that the commission has the right powers to
enable it to carry out its duties effectively."

He said ministers had assessed recommendations put forward
to them by the commission and were satisfied that it
already broadly possessed the right powers to carry out its

However, he said: "In two important areas, the right of
access to places of detention and the power to compel
evidence and witnesses, we agree that it is right to amend
the Northern Ireland Act 1998 to make sure that the
commission can fulfil its existing functions properly."

The consultation will run until early February and Mr
Hanson said he particularly wanted views on how the two new
powers should be implemented and how the government could
ensure the right safeguards were in place.

Getting new powers has been a lengthy business for the
commission – it first sought them in 2001 in
recommendations to the government after its first two years
in operation.

The government outlined an initial response in a
consultation paper in 2002 and the Commission submitted a
request for additional powers in 2004.

The newly-appointed chief commissioner Professor Monica
McWilliams welcomed Mr Hanson's announcement, while
admitting they did not get all they wanted.

"We are delighted that the secretary of state has issued
this consultation paper which, though it does not offer the
commission everything that it sought, includes several
recommendations, which if accepted, will empower us to more
effectively carry out our investigations work," Prof
McWilliams said.

"It is gratifying that, at long last, we may soon be able
to more effectively investigate allegations of human rights

Prof McWilliams said that at the moment, contrary to the
United Nation's Paris Principles on human rights
investigations, commission had no power to compel anyone to
provide evidence during the course of an investigation, nor
did it have access rights to places of detention.

"Hopefully these new powers will enable us to act fully
independently in the conduct of inquiries and
investigations," she added.

However, SDLP assembly member Patricia Lewsley said
yesterday's announcement was "an old one dressed up as a
new one and it is still not clear when it will ever be

"While [yesterday's] announcement sounds good, it looks
like the commission and the human rights of all of us still
aren't being taken as seriously as they should be."


Ex-CIRA Man Hits Out At 'Lies'

Ciarán Barnes

A former Continuity IRA leader has accused the British
security services of waging a whispering campaign against

In August, the PSNI told the ex-paramilitary from Co Tyrone
that the Continuity IRA would try to kill him.

When he approached the Continuity IRA leadership to verify
the threat, he was assured that he was in no danger,
despite his resignation from the group some weeks earlier.

The man and his brother - a well-known Co Armagh republican
- say they have been the victims of a whispering campaign
in recent days.

It was claimed that they had been ordered out of Ireland
after being thrown out of the Continuity IRA along with six
other men for "gangsterism".

However, one of the brothers told Daily Ireland yesterday
that the claims were "Brit lies".

"We resigned from the Continuity IRA in August because we
were not happy with the direction the organisation was
going," he said.

"The cops came to my house a few weeks later to tell me I
was under threat of death from the Continuity IRA.

"I contacted the leadership and they told me this was

"Although my brother and I resigned, we parted on good

He added: "We are not under threat and we haven't been
ordered out of the country."

"These allegations being made about us are Brit lies."

An argument over the funding of prisoners in Portlaoise
jail in Co Laois led to a split in the Continuity IRA in

All of the organisation's inmates in the prison resigned,
as did others throughout Ireland.

It was this development that sparked the brothers'
resignation from the group.

The organisation has been trying to reorganise itself amid
reports of internal battles for control of its political
wing, Republican Sinn Féin.

The Continuity IRA has been responsible for bomb hoaxes at
Belfast's Waterfront Hall and Down Royal racecourse in
recent weeks.

Last week, its members denied involvement in the murder of
former Real IRA prisoner Martin Conlon, who was found dead
on an Armagh roadside.


Removal Of Bomb Victim's Picture 'Cultural Aggression'

By Suzanne McGonagle

AN investigation has been launched after a photograph of an
ambulance man who died in the Enniskillen bombing was
removed from a depot as it was deemed "offensive".

A picture of Kitchener Johnston had been placed in the
ambulance depot in Enniskillen by his former colleagues as
a tribute to him and a reminder of the lives lost on
Remembrance Day 1987.

However, the DUP's Arlene Foster last night claimed that
the photograph had been removed following a complaint by a
member of staff at the depot.

Mr Johnston (71) and his wife Jessie (70) were on their way
to Enniskillen Presbyterian Church when they were killed in
the IRA bombing on November 8 1987.

The bomb exploded during a Remembrance Day service killing
11 people. More than 60 others were injured in the blast –
nine of them seriously. The dead included three married

At the funeral the coffins belonging to Mr Johnston and his
wife were carried from the church by his former colleagues
in the ambulance service.

A spokesman for the Ambulance Service last night confirmed
that they would be investigating the matter.

"The Northern Ireland Ambulance Service has been made aware
of an issue at Enniskillen station," he said.

"An internal investigation is now underway in an effort to
resolve the matter."

Arlene Foster, assembly member for Fermanagh and south
Tyrone, last night said that she was "completely disgusted"
by the decision, which came shortly after the 18th
anniversary of the bombing.

"This photograph was placed in the depot as a tribute to Mr
Johnston and also as a permanent reminder of that fateful
day when so many from the area lost their lives," she said.

"The photograph of the victims, which had no inscription of
any kind on it, was removed by the Ambulance Service after
a complaint was lodged by a member of staff in the depot.

"This individual claimed that the photograph was offensive
and asked that it be removed. The Northern Ireland
Ambulance Service in turn ruled that it should be withdrawn

"This decision shows a complete lack of respect for those
who lost their lives in the IRA bomb.

"I will now be seeking an urgent meeting with the Ambulance
Service to discuss this decision and voice my opposition to

SDLP assembly member Tommy Gallagher said the removal
amounted to "cultural aggression".

"This incident coming at the time of the anniversary will
be hurtful to his family and friends and many others here
in Fermanagh.

"It will also add to the despair of the many victims – and
we have many on both sides – about their needs being taken
seriously," he said.


Row After SF Mayor Fails To Attend Poppy Day Service

SDLP councillor hits out over snub

By Michael McHugh
17 November 2005

A fresh war of words has broken out in Dungannon over the
failure of the borough's Sinn Fein mayor to lay a wreath at
last weekend's Remembrance Sunday ceremony.

Francie Molloy has been accused of snubbing half of his
constituents by bowing out of the symbolic act at the Co
Tyrone town's cenotaph.

The deputy mayor, Norman Badger, from the UUP, laid a
wreath on behalf of the council.

Speaking at a meeting of Dungannon and South Tyrone Borough
Council, the SDLP's Vincent Currie claimed Mr Molloy, who
is also a Mid-Ulster MLA, had shunned many of the voters in
the area.

"Why did you not lay the wreath?" he asked the mayor.

"You are mayor of the total council, unionists and
nationalists and republicans, and you must take everybody's
view in consideration.

"The fact that you didn't lay the wreath was a snub to 48%
of your constituents."

The allegations, which Mr Molloy refutes, follow repeated
wrangling over Sinn Fein's attitude towards services of

Former Belfast Lord Mayor Alex Maskey held his own
remembrance events, including laying a wreath at the
cenotaph before the main service, and visited the Somme
during his year as first citizen in 2002.

Mr Molloy said he enjoyed a positive relationship with
Remembrance Sunday organising body, the Royal British

"Certainly I have on a number of occasions and will do
again have made recognition of the work of the British
Legion, but on this particular occasion (last Sunday) it
was my decision not to lay the wreath," he said.

In March 2004 the party's Ard Fheis voted to ban members'
attendance at Poppy Day ceremonies. The party executive
took a neutral stance on the issue.

Some grassroots republicans see Remembrance Sunday as a
militaristic display by Britain.

Others point out that senior party figures such as Martin
Meehan had relatives killed in the war in 1916 while many
Irish nationalists fought for Britain during the First
World War.


Opin: Fundraising Event Brings Sinn Fein Into Satellite Age

By Ray O'Hanlon

It was like the old days when people used to shell out
shillings for vinyl records. The best possible thing that
could happen to your song was that it was banned by the

At that point it was a straight shoot to the top of the
charts for your salacious single.

Gerry Adams would appreciate the analogy.

He was banned in New York last week – sort of – and his
party had a bumper night at the Sheraton Hotel.

The bean counters in Sinn Fein, if they have any wit,
should be dreaming up new ways for party leaders to be
barred from the Homeland mainland.

It would mean more bucks even as the message is yet
conveyed to Irish-American supporters as flush with green
as they are red faced with fury.

Ah, nothing like being banned indeed.

Still, as exclusions go this one was a bit limp. Though he
was physically absent from New York, Adams was still
everywhere that his supporters expected him to be.

At least in spirit and in word. Godlike in a way.

The fundraising dinner at the Sheraton brought the
centenarian Sinn Fein into the satellite age.

Nobody could answer the question as to who owned the
commercial satellite that beamed Gerry into the packed
dining room.

But chances are it was American.

Adams, to robust cheers from the $500 a plate guests,
thanked 'those' in the Bush administration who had made the
big night an even bigger success.

The 'those' are still a somewhat mysterious bunch, assuming
there is more than one.

There is one who is out there in the public eye of course
and that is Ambassador Mitchell Reiss, the Bush
administration's special envoy to the peace process.

Reiss, not surprisingly, was absent from the Sheraton. But
he was at the dinner two nights earlier hosted by Bill
Flynn and the National Committee on American Foreign

This splendid affair was in the Waldorf-Astoria's Starlight
Room and was supposed to feature Adams as a live
performance recipient of the William J Flynn Initiative for
Peace Award.

Instead, the black-tied and bejewelled diners were witness
to a somewhat unusual affair in which the man deemed most
responsible for the main prize winner's absence filled the
speaking slot of the absentee.

After an acceptance speech from Adams was read to the room,

Reiss spoke, albeit rather briefly. There was a palpable
edginess in the room as he did so. Reiss said he regretted
the fact that Adams had decided not to come to New York and
attend the National Committee dinner, a move which, unlike
the Friends of Sinn Fein dinner at the Sheraton, was not
precluded by the restricted visa on offer to the Sinn Fein

Reiss said that there was important work to do in the
coming months, that the administration would continue to
work with Sinn Fein and that the administration's influence
in the peace process would be "immeasurably greater" with
the help of Irish-America.

This was all too much for one black tie who shouted

Still, Reiss likely felt that it could have been worse.
Nobody threw their bread rolls.

At the end of the week the part of

Irish-America that takes an active interest in Northern
Ireland was left wondering how best its influence could be
brought to bear with their hero confined to a beam from
outer space, or a single person space north of the border –
Adams having made a bodily appearance at a weekend
fundraiser in Toronto.

There were furrowed brows and not a little concern over a
kind of Mexican standoff between the administration and
Sinn Fein that could, in theory, last for years.

The Bush team still has three years and two months to go
before it must hand over to a successor.

In the meantime, there are important mid-term congressional
elections next year.

For Irish-Americans, the precise nature of future Adams
visas could become an electoral football, just as the once
absolute visa ban was a thorny issue pre-Bill Clinton.

Certainly, the fundraising restriction has already aroused
the ire of some members of the House of Representatives and

At the same time, the state department is not likely to be
cowed easily.

The standoff, which swirls around Sinn Fein's position on
policing, looks like it has legs. And St Patrick's Day
isn't too many light years away.

Sinn Fein might want to keep that satellite's number.


Opin: Revelations Are Deeply Alarming

By Staff Reporter

While allegations that both loyalists and republicans are
in possession of classified security files are far from
new, the scale of the latest revelations involving the
Short Strand area of Belfast is deeply alarming.

The fact that more than 50 people in such a small and
vulnerable nationalist neighbourhood have suddenly been
told that their lives are at risk from an unnamed loyalist
paramilitary group could only cause enormous concern.

It emerged yesterday that other republicans, including the
Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams, have also been informed
that they are under threat.

The police investigation relates to the disappearance of a
document from Castlereagh police station in July of last
year which was linked to the British army.

Perhaps the most serious aspect of this growing scandal is
the statement made by a Northern Ireland Office minister,
Ian Pearson, at that time.

Mr Pearson said he had been told by senior police officers
that there were no indications the missing material had
fallen into the hands of a paramilitary group and a similar
assurance was repeated by the British army.

It now appears, to put it mildly, that the NIO minister,
the police and the army had all been misinformed about an
issue of enormous sensitivity.

A wider inquiry is urgently required, in order to establish
the full facts of the matter.

All members of the community, whether or not they have any
political connections, are entitled to live without the
fear that they and their families are being targeted by an
illegal organisation.

Although there are strong indications that paramilitary
groups on both sides of the divide may finally be persuaded
to end all their activities, any evidence of collusion
between loyalists and the forces of the state must be
regarded as completely unacceptable.


Opin: Hard Political Truth Is Tough To Swallow

The Wednesday Column
By Brian Feeney

The events of the weekend are a sure sign that the
Republic's general election campaign has kicked off: the
Fine Gael conference with shiny new policies, the PD's 20th
anniversary jamboree and Bertie Ahern's statement about
Sinn Fein in government brilliantly timed to wipe both PDs
and Fine Gael off Monday's front pages. Next up is Brian
Cowen's budget which will tell us by the size of its
giveaways when the election is, 2006 or 2007.

We've come a long way since October 2004 when the newly-
appointed minister for foreign affairs, Dermot Ahern, told
RTE's Tommie Gorman at Hillsborough that it was "only a
matter of time" before Sinn Fein would be in government in
the Republic. He added that "as long as an armed and active
IRA exists, Sinn Fein will remain in the cold".

That's no longer the case now, so what's the problem? Their
economic policies it would seem, which Dermot Ahern said
last October would "make all of Ireland a social and
economic wasteland". Pretty much what Bertie Ahern said at
the weekend.

However, Bertie told the Irish News last week that the main
block to SF participation in government was the continuing
existence, in any form, of the IRA because any party in
government must support Bunreacht na hEireann which
recognises only one army, that of the state. By the weekend
he had toughened up his position because his priority was
to shoot the PD's fox. Neither Fianna Fail nor Fine Gael
can win an outright majority so there will have to be a
coalition. Fine Gael and Labour are already committed to
one. The obvious alternative, given the current state of
the polls, would be FF/SF.

Bertie knew Michael McDowell was going to start chanting,
'A vote for Fianna Fail is a vote for Sinn Fein'.

Now Bertie has ruled that out saying he will not accept
'any act' from SF which would make him taoiseach,
preferring to go into opposition instead.

It's shrewd. It's ruthless. It's brutal. It's effective.
It's 26-county politics. It ignores the consequences for
the north.

A steer has been given to the media that Bertie was
excluding SF solely on their economic policies because he
didn't want to give the DUP any excuse for following his
line and refuse to contemplate joining SF in an
administration here on the grounds that Dublin was asking
the DUP to do something they wouldn't do themselves. If so,
why did Bertie mention the continuing existence of the IRA
as a reason last week and hand the DUP another excuse?

Two points are clear and connected. First, Bertie Ahern
will do anything to win the next general election and he
believes ruling out any deal with SF is an essential
prerequisite for that.

Secondly, and more ominously, he has read the signs at
Westminster and knows that whatever he says will not affect
the prospects of resurrecting devolution in the north
because it isn't going to happen until Blair goes.

As you read here in June, the DUP are going to use their
nine MPs to the maximum advantage to screw as much out of
the weakened Labour government as they can.

Do you think Blair isn't going to court their votes on
something like ID cards?

If it comes to it on education reform or benefit reform
will Blair make concessions to gain nine votes if he needs

Will Blair care whose nine votes they are? Will the
prospect of infuriating northern nationalists outweigh the
chance of pushing through major changes in the welfare
state written into Labour's May election manifesto? What do
you think?

The hard political truth is that the DUP would be mad to
make a deal with SF before they see how bad the trouble
gets for Blair in Westminster. We've been here before in
1976-79 and 1992-97. Nationalists were paying well into the
1980s for deals done about Belfast housing in 1978-79. We
still don't know all the dirty deals John Major's NIO
ministers did in the mid-90s to buy UUP votes in crucial
divisions on EU matters. We do know they postponed the
peace process by four years. How many years will it be this


Opin: Partition Scourge Raises Its Ugly Head

Editor: Maria McCourt

The scourge that is partition raised its ugly head in
several manifestations yesterday, proving yet again that it
was an ill-thought out and cruel policy that is still
having disastrous effects on the health and economic
wellbeing of the people of this entire island but
particularly those along the Border.

The fact that Tánaiste and health minister Mary Harney
travelled North to meet her direct-rule counterpart Shaun
Woodward to discuss cancer treatment for patients in the
northwest shows that the Border is a hindrance and is
quickly becoming more than ever a complete irrelevance.

The effect of this imaginary line on the Border areas has
been devastating for communities, socially and
economically. This is especially true of Donegal, which,
through the vagaries of geography and the arbitrary drawing
of a sectarian boundary, has been cast adrift for decades,
ignored and neglected by Dublin and cut off from its
natural catchment area of Derry.

This has never been demonstrated more clearly than through
the plight of cancer patients in the region.

Because of health cuts and the running down of Letterkenny
General Hospital, seriously ill people are forced to travel
to Dublin for life-saving treatment, rather than to
Altnagelvin Hospital in Derry, for many just a few
kilometres down the road.

Now a proposal for people from the northwest to travel to
Belfast for treatment is being mooted. A step in the right
direction, one might think, but the devil is in the detail.

Shaun Woodward is proposing that the Republic's health
authorities pay to use cancer facilities in the North at
times when, as he describes it, there is "slack in the

So the people of the northwest would still have to travel
long distances for treatment that their government would
have to arrange and pay for in a commercial transaction
with authorities in the North. It is hard to see why
someone would prefer to make a long journey to Belfast
rather than a long journey to Dublin but easy to see why
they would want to be treated close to their homes.

The answer is not to treat the care of critically ill
people as a kind of business dealing with automatons. It is
to spend the money needed to treat these human beings where
it will do them the most good.

The way to do this is to ignore the Border and establish
not just cancer treatment centres but all health centres in
the regions where they are needed and where people can
access them quickly and with the least amount of stress.

The same is true of an all-Ireland policy to tackle
suicide, along with many other ills facing our society, as
well as the chance to develop economically.

In short, it is time for the partitionist mindset to be
decommissioned and for the Border to join the other weapons
that have been put beyond use


Parades Body Halts Children In Need Walk

Young unionists furious at 'pc-mad' ban

By Claire Regan
17 November 2005

A small sponsored walk to raise money for Children in Need
was called off last night correctafter the Parades
Commission ordered it to apply formally for permission to
go ahead.

The already contentious body was accused of "political
correctness gone mad" after it emerged that the Young
Unionists group will be breaking the law if it holds the
charity walk through east Belfast as planned tomorrow
correctwithout submitting the 11 Bar 1 form required for
all parades and processions.

A Commission spokesman blamed current Government
legislation for the need for organisers of any procession,
no matter how small, to apply to the PSNI and subsequently
the parades body.

He stressed, however, that there is still time for the
group to apply successfully.

It is understood around a dozen party members, who are
generally aged between 16 and 30, intended to walk from the
Albertbridge Road to Stormont, collecting funds from well-
wishers along the way.

Organisers recently told the police at Strandtown and were
advised that an 11 Bar 1 form needed to be submitted to the
Parades Commission.

UUP MLA David McClarty described the situation as
"political correctness gone mad".

"The tentacles of the Parades Commission now seemingly
extend to charity walks. What next? Will primary school
teachers wishing to walk their children to their local
leisure centre be required to fill in an 11 Bar 1 form?" he

East Belfast assemblyman Michael Copeland added: "Most
people will be unaware that they need to fill out 11 Bar 1
forms for such events.

"It seems ludicrous that they should have to in the first
place. It is a great shame that a worthwhile cause such as
Children in Need will now find itself short of money
because of this."

A PSNI spokeswoman confirmed the Young Unionist group would
have been advised by police to apply to the Commission "as
that is the protocol".

A spokesman for the Parades Commission said the only cases
when a form does not have to be submitted apply to the
Salvation Army and funerals.

"Legislation requires all other processions, even if there
is only one person involved, to submit an 11 Bar 1 form,"
he said.

"It will only take five minutes and there is a meeting this
evening at which it could be considered as a late
application in time for the possibility of it going ahead

A spokesman for the Young Unionists said it hoped to re-
schedule the event for a few weeks' time.


Police Move To End Shankill Tension

By Bimpe Fatogun

POLICE have met Shankill Road businesses in an effort to
help officers gain access to the loyalist area of west

Relations between the police and the community are said to
be "at an all-time low" following a summer of strife.

A number of businesses on the road have been refusing to
serve members of the police for the past five months.

Relations worsened further following the disputed Whiterock
parade in September, which drew criticism of the police
handling of an associated loyalist protest.

Senior police officers yesterday visited the Shankill in an
effort to resolve the standoff.

A PSNI spokeswoman confirmed that the talks were taking
place yesterday.

"From early June a number of premises on the Shankill Road
have declined to serve PSNI personnel," she said. "A number
of premises have also declined the offer to display PSNI
documentation, including crime prevention advice.

"Extensive work is currently ongoing to establish contact
between local businesses and the PSNI."

Shankill DUP councillor William Humphrey said the events of
the past few months have "set policing back years in the

"Tension has been prevailing for some time," he said.

"We had a difficult summer in the greater Shankill area and
community relations between the community and police are at
an all-time low.

"A considerable amount of work is needed to be done to
repair that."


Five Now Held Over Conlon Murder

Five people have now been arrested in connection with the
murder of Martin Conlon in County Armagh.

Two men, aged 30 and 36, were arrested in the Armagh area
on Thursday whilst a 35-year-old man was detained in

A 30-year-old woman and a teenage boy who were detained in
the Armagh area on Wednesday are also being questioned.

Mr Conlon, 35, from Railway Street in the city, was found
shot at Farnaloy Road outside Keady on 7 November.

Police said a homophobic motive was one line of inquiry.
They are also looking at whether he was killed by dissident
republicans, with whom he was linked.

Mr Conlon was released recently from prison in the Republic
of Ireland where he had served a four year sentence after
being arrested at a Real IRA training camp.

Detectives returned to the scene of the shooting on Monday
to stage a partial reconstruction in a bid to piece
together the circumstances surrounding the murder and
identify new witnesses.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/11/17 11:09:12 GMT


Schools Body Could Be Downgraded

The body which runs Catholic schools could be broken up as
part of a sweeping review of administration in Northern
Ireland, it has emerged.

The Council for Catholic Maintained Schools (CCMS) is the
employer of 8,500 teachers and looks after 500 schools.

The Review of Public Administration has proposed that the
body should be downgraded to an advisory role.

Widely anticipated changes to the way Northern Ireland is
administered are set to be unveiled next Tuesday.

The review is the largest examination in more than 30 years
of the organisation and delivery of public services in the

It was initiated by the devolved executive before the
assembly was suspended in October 2002.


Many Catholic schools representatives have written to the
government in protest at the proposed downgrading of the

The schools say they are concerned that it is a threat to
the ethos of Catholic education.

Father John McManus who sits on the board of governors of
four schools said they would like to see the role of the
CCMS continued.

"There are many good things in the review of public
administration, but it's just that we feel in the Catholic
Church that at the present time the rights of the trustees
are not catered for within the new system," he said.

However, Frank Bunting of the Irish National Teachers
Organisation said there was no threat to the existence of
Catholic schools.

"The vast majority of teachers and principals in Catholic
schools in Northern Ireland would welcome the
rationalisation of education administrative structures -
the pooling together of the expertise of the five education
and library boards and the CCMS into one entity," he said.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/11/17 08:58:14 GMT


Ahern Defends Remarks On Role Of Catholic Church

17/11/2005 - 10:38:15

The Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, has defended his recent
comments supporting the role of the Catholic Church in
Irish education.

Speaking to reporters in Dublin this morning, Mr Ahern said
he was "intentionally misinterpreted" by those who judged
his remarks to be ill-timed in the light of the Ferns
Report on clerical child sex abuse.

The Taoiseach repeated today that he supports the good work
done by the church and said not everyone could be tarred
with the same brush.

He was speaking ahead of a meeting with One In Four, the
support group for victims of child abuse that criticised
his initial remarks last week.


Garda And PSNI Clash... In A Historic 90-Minute Football Match

By Margaret Canning

SPORTING history was made yesterday when GAA president Sean
Kelly attended a football match in Belfast between the
police forces of the north and south of Ireland.

"It's the first time a [GAA] president has been at a match
of this nature," Mr Kelly said.

"There has been great movement in sporting circles," he

But Mr Kelly emphasised he would be a "totally neutral"

"It would be very foolish to take sides in a game between
two police forces," he joked.

The players were competing for a cup named after George
McCarthy, a member of the Royal Irish Constab-ulary who
attended the first ever meeting of the GAA in Hayes Hotel,
Thurles, in 1884.

Manager of the PSNI team, Gerry Murray said yesterday's
game marked its integration into GAA circles.

However, it was the northern side who went home empty-
handed while the Garda took up the McCarthy Cup in a
decisive win of one goal 17 points to one goal six points.

"Policing is a microcosm of society and all cultures must
be represented," he said.

"All we ask of our players is that they're fit, active and
want to play Gaelic football."

The republic's minister for justice Michael McDowell
watched part of the match during a day of engagements in

He said the presence of Mr Kelly made the day
"significant". But he owned-up to having only a nodding
acquaintance with Gaelic. "I would make fleeting visits to
Croke Park but I'm more of a rugby fan," he said.

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