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November 28, 2005

Fr Troy Writes About Holy Cross Dispute

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News About Ireland & The Irish

IN 11/28/05 Fr Troy Writes About Holy Cross Dispute
IN 11/28/05 O'Loan: Fugitives Law Is Not Amnesty
IN 11/28/05 Republican Hits Out At SDLP
DI 11/28/05 SF Preparing For Government
DI 11/28/05 Adams Calls For Action On Child Poverty
IN 11/28/05 O'Loan Says Results Speak For Themselves
DI 11/28/05 Father Calls On UVF To Take No Action
IE 11/28/05 Taoiseach Moves To Allay DUP Constitution Fears
IN 11/28/05 Suspended SF Mayor Switches On Christmas Lights
IN 11/28/05 Who Wants ToBe Republican -Parties Vie For Vote
IN 11/28/05 Partition Is An Absurdity In All Terms
IN 11/28/05 Parties Owe A Debt To Forgotten Leader
DI 11/28/05 BBC Need More Irish Language
DI 11/28/05 Oireachtas Na Gaeilge Set For Derry
EX 11/28/05 Ferris Leak Part Of 'Dirty Tricks Campaign'
BT 11/28/05 New Attack On SDLP Man
BT 11/28/05 Opin: Blair Has Got One Over On Republicans
TP 11/28/05 Teddy Kennedy: Triumph & Tragedy
NH 11/28/05 Eileen Paisley:: Ian & I Pray For Gerry Adams
BT 11/28/05 Family's Heartache After Theft Of Donkeys
BB 11/28/05 Stormont Funeral For George Best
DI 11/28/05 Disney World's 1st Irish Pub Pulls The Punters


Fr Troy Writes About Holy Cross Dispute

By Staff Reporter

NORTH Belfast priest Fr Aidan Troy will next month launch a
book on his experiences of the Holy Cross dispute.

The prominent clergyman, insisted that his book, Holy
Cross: A Personal Experience, should not reignite any
tensions over the episode in which Catholic schoolchildren
ran the gauntlet of loyalist hatred during months of
protests in Ardoyne in 2001.

"I was asked by a publisher," he said.

"I thought it may be a good way of trying to express
something of my own feelings at the time. I have never
spoken about that."

But he said: "I didn't want it to become a reopening of all
the issues that could still be harmful and dangerous. I
want it to contribute towards reconciliation."

The book, published by Currach Press, will be launched on
December 8.


O'Loan: Fugitives Law Is Not Amnesty

By Sharon O'Neill Chief Reporter

CONTROVERSIAL 'on-the-run' legislation is not an amnesty,
Police Ombudsman Nuala O'Loan has insisted.

In an interview in The Irish News today she also:

n warns that the entire criminal justice system runs the
risk of "very, very serious compromise" if community
restorative justice schemes operate without independent

n confirms a major investigation of circumstances
surrounding the UVF murder of Protestant Raymond McCord in
1997 is of "very great significance"

n predicts that police misconduct uncovered by the PSNI
during its review of more than 2,000 historic cases will
double her workload

n says she feels "very uneasy" at any suggestion that
convicted former paramilitaries could join the police

n reveals that being a Catholic has hindered her in her

New legislation allowing paramilitaries and security force
personnel who committed crimes before the signing of the
Good Friday Agreement to avoid jail terms continues to
cause outrage.

However, Mrs O'Loan says: "It is not an amnesty because
they have a criminal conviction. An amnesty means you have
no criminal conviction.

"I think the most important thing for most of the victims I
meet is the need to know what happened and why... the on-
the-runs legislation will not prevent that happening."

On the PSNI's re-examination of historical cases, Mrs
O'Loan says: Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde has "a duty to
bring to my attention anything where the conduct of a
police officer may have contributed to a murder".

"There are some very tragic cases where police officers
pulled triggers and there is no conviction for murder," she

"Everything is back in the pot. Every death is back in the

She says she believes her off-ice's case workload could

Mrs O'Loan criticises the proposed slashing of the 26
council-aligned District Policing Partnerships (DPPs), a
key aspect of police reforms.

"I don't think they would be district policing partnerships
then," she says.

She is steadfast in her view that community restorative
justice schemes are held to account.

Mrs O'Loan's comments come amid a debate over whether
projects in republican areas should receive official
backing without a role for police.

"Where we have a history of paramilitary control of areas,
there must be a totally independent and totally accountable
pro-cess dealing with any community restorative justice,"
she says.

"The whole system must be really squeaky clean."


Republican Hits Out At SDLP

By Sharon O'Neill Chief Reporter

A VETERAN republican has hit out at SDLP claims that
legislation governing 'on-the-runs' represents a form of

The fall-out continued yesterday from the controversial
Northern Ireland Offences Bill, which will allow
paramilitaries and security force members who committed
crimes prior to the signing of the Good Friday Agreement to
avoid serving time in jail.

The legislation, which will cover the PSNI's review of
historical cases, is not confined to on-the-runs (OTRs) –
either those convicted or wanted for questioning by police
– but also includes other persons yet to be charged.

Although the cases will be heard before a special tribunal,
defendants do not have to attend.

Victims' families, unionist politicians and the SDLP have
criticised the bill, as has prominent human rights group
British Irish Rights Watch.

Sinn Fein welcomed it but later hit out at its inclusion of
British army and police personnel.

It was reported yesterday that senior officers tasked with
reviewing historic cases predicted that no member of the
security forces will be charged with the 1989 loyalist
murder of Catholic solicitor Pat Finucane.

Former Metropolitan police chief Lord Stevens has already
found that the RUC and British army colluded in the

A number of Stevens' files on security force personnel are
still with the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

Speaking at the unveiling of a republican memorial garden
in Ballymurphy in west Belfast yesterday, Brian Keenan –
who was reputedly the IRA's go-between with the
decommissioning body – was scathing of the SDLP.

"What a disgraceful position the SDLP are taking – that
they try to say that republicans have done some sort of a
deal to have the murderers of the British crown forces and
pro-unionist forces included in the on-the-runs
legislation," he said.

"It ill beholds the SDLP to take that position because you
know that the republican leadership would never be involved
in such an underhand thing.

"We have too much respect both for the people in this area,
the people right across, who sustained this war for so

However, SDLP assembly member Alban Maginness last night
said: "It is quite clear that Sinn Fein are now deeply
embarrassed by the OTR legislation which has given police
and army and escape route from justice for their activities
during the Troubles.

"Sinn Fein would have been aware of the British
government's attitude during the course of their
negotiations and if they weren't then either they were
duped or too stupid to realise what the government was
playing at.

"Once again the selfish interests of the Provisional
movement in getting their people off and home comes before
the interests of justice and truth for the victims of the


SF Preparing For Government

At an all-Ireland strategy conference in Monaghan on
Saturday, Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams said the party
must prepare itself for power in order to make the 1916
Proclamation a reality

Jarlath Kearney

Gerry Adams has declared that Sinn Féin must prepare
itself for government in order to make the 1916
Proclamation a reality.

The party president was addressing more than 400 key Sinn
Féin activists from across the island who gathered in Co
Monaghan on Saturday for an all-Ireland strategy conference
to mark Sinn Féin's centenary.

The event An Ireland of Equals marked the culmination of 12
months of intensive focus by the party on generating
momentum behind the all-Ireland agenda.

Leading human-rights activists, international experts and
prominent republicans engaged in intensive discussions with
Sinn Féin members from all levels of the party.

Central aspects of the conference were the campaign to
popularise Sinn Féin's proposal for a green paper for Irish
unity and the campaign to develop a national charter of
"rights for all".

Other subjects covered included the potential of the
transition towards a united ireland, as well as a series of
workshops on fundamental rights, anti-poverty strategies,
and a constitution for a united Ireland.

Sanna Brolin, a district mayor in Stockholm and member of
the Swedish Left Party, emphasised the need for political
activists to be linked with the people.

Ms Brolin said that, despite the general perception, Sweden
still had significant social and economic problems to

Focusing on participatory democracy as a vehicle for
including the electorate as partners in politics, Ms Brolin
said this approach was fundamental to breaking down right-
wing propaganda about socialist-based proposals.

She explained how she had begun a programme aimed at
recognising the rights of children between five and 13 in
their capacity as citizens. This involved engaging the
young people as equals about the changes they wanted in
their areas.

"We have to listen to what the people say," Ms Brolin said.

"The participatory model comes from South America. The
model was built by people under the United States' control.
That is why the right wing in Sweden hate it because that
is one way to build democracy," Ms Brolin added.

Barrister David Joyce, who has campaigned for the rights of
Travellers in Ireland, called for fundamental change in the
attitudes of local authorities and government bodies to the
rights of Travellers.

He said the "abuse of Travellers' rights continues". Mr
Joyce recalled how one family in Letterkenny, Co Donegal,
had been served with 27 eviction notices in 13 years,
despite never gaining a place on the housing list.

"Many local representatives do not view Travellers as their
constituents," Mr Joyce said.

Specifically, Mr Joyce suggested that Travellers should be
given direct representation in the Seanad.

"To address the symbolic exclusion of Travellers at that
level would be important," he said.

Trade union and human-rights activist Inez McCormack
reminded those present that the current controversy over
Irish Ferries was illustrative of similar practices taking
place in towns and cities across Ireland.

Ms McCormack urged citizens to use the tools that already
exist to generate pressure for equality across society.

She called for the needs-based approach outlined in the
Good Friday Agreement to be reflected in direct engagement
with marginalised groups.

Barry McElduff, Sinn Féin's all-Ireland spokesman and West
Tyrone assembly member, highlighted the fact that there
were already dozens of civil servants employed in all-
Ireland co-operation units as evidence that Irish unity was

He also criticised the fact that Irish citizens in the
North were still prevented from playing an active role in
the life of the nation, for example, by voting in
presidential elections or through Northern representation
in the Oireachtas.

"There is a fair amount of all-Ireland architecture in the
Agreement, but we obviously want to expand on that
further," Mr McElduff said.

"If we are making progress then let's see, for example, the
people of Lifford in Donegal being able to use the out-of-
hours GP service in Strabane in Co Tyrone, which is only
one mile away.

"I remember one civil servant who was talking to me about
investment in Tyrone and Fermanagh and he said: 'Where do
you think the jobs should be located in the southwest?'

"I said: 'If there's jobs coming to the southwest, I
personally commend Tralee, Co Kerry.' The civil servants
would love people in Tyrone and Fermanagh to think that
they live in the southwest of somewhere," Mr McElduff

"I'm quite angry that [Tyrone Gaelic football captain]
Brian Dooher doesn't have voting rights in Irish
presidential elections whenever Mary McAleese, who doesn't
have a vote herself, is walking on the red carpet. We play
football in Croke Park. We want to practise our politics in
Dublin as well.

"It's about the national question but it's also about
addressing poverty, exclusion and injustice," Mr McElduff

Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams called on republicans to
prepare for power in government in order to create the type
of society envisaged by the 1916 Proclamation.

"Throughout the whole 100-years span of Sinn Féin's
existence is a vision and a dream that things can be

"But this isn't 1905. This is 2005 and the Ireland today is
a different place.

"We have to make republicanism relevant to today for it is
modern Ireland which we struggle and live in," Mr Adams

"The mission statement for us and for modern Irish
republicanism is the Proclamation. It directed itself to
Irish men and Irish women at a time when women didn't have
the vote.

"In all that we do, those broad principles in many ways
encapsulate our republican objectives. Now our task is to
make that a reality in the modern Ireland and, in my
opinion, we can achieve it.

"We are not prepared to wait until there is a united
Ireland for these changes. We have argued for changes in
the here and now.

"We have the biggest surplus of budget in the history of
this state and yet we have the highest gap in poverty of
any industrialised state outside of the USA.

"What is the economy for? Is it for the guys who run Irish
Ferries? Is it for the people who are going to benefit from
the privatisation of health services?

"Why is there a two-tier health system? Why do young
couples spend two or three hours in gridlock going back and
forth to Dublin? What sort of Ireland is it all about?

"So there's where we need to be engaging now, so that we
build a political party that can actually come into power
in a united Ireland.

"We need to build a campaigning party which represents
Irish society and which can demand and bring about change.
That's what we're about," Mr Adams said.

The Sinn Féin president highlighted his party's three
priorities in the period ahead in terms of bedding down the
peace process, ensuring the full implementation of the Good
Friday Agreement, and moving into a united Ireland.

He urged Sinn Féin members to recognise that many other
parties in Ireland had republicans in their ranks.

Mr Adams also said republicans needed to proactively engage
with and listen to the genuine concerns of unionists about
the future.

"It is my very, very strong view that the army initiative
in July of this year in which the IRA announced it was
formally ending its armed campaign and then the initiative
on the arms issues, I think that's a very clear signal of
the determination of republicans to change the future," Mr
Adams said.

"But it's also a huge vote confidence by the IRA in the
people of this island. I think it brings with it a very
weighty responsibility and opens up huge opportunities for
progress in the time ahead.

"The IRA initiatives, for republicans in Sinn Féin, have
placed the responsibility on our shoulders to sort all of
this out and to build the type of society which the
Proclamation enshrines.

"We have to do a lot of things in terms of training,
organising, modernising, but we just have to have
confidence in our ability as human beings, as Irish
republicans, to complete this mighty task after 100 years
of struggle by this party," Mr Adams said.


Adams Calls For Action On Child Poverty In South

Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams has called on the Irish
government to deliver on child poverty.

Launching Sinn Féin's prebudget submission, Mr Adams said
the government had to "start delivering" on childcare.

Sinn Féin has called for finance minister Brian Cowen to
prioritise early childhood care and education as well as
income supports for children.

Party chairwoman Mary Lou McDonald said Sinn Féin had
played an early and prominent role in highlighting the
childcare issue as a national priority.

"Over a year ago, Sinn Féin consciously made childcare a
central theme of our political deliberations. We did so
because we understood the importance of this issue for
many, many people," said the Dublin MEP.

"The debate has arisen largely due to the intense pressure
placed on parents and children and family life in an
economy with high demand for labour from employers."

The party's prebudget submission calls for 12 months
maternity leave, six months of which would be paid.

Extending the full medical card to all under-18s is another
central part of the Sinn Féin childcare proposals.


Tenacious O'Loan Tells Critics Results Speak For Themselves

By Sharon O'Neill

Policing is still at the forefront of the news agenda, as
is the watchdog that probes suspected misconduct by

Police Ombudsman Nuala O'Loan talks to
Chief Reporter Sharon O'Neill

HAD Nuala O'Loan wanted to win a popularity contest taking
the job of Police Ombudsman five years ago was certainly
the wrong way to go about it.

With many unionists and police greeting her appointment
with barely-disguised contempt, few would have questioned
her motives had she bowed out before now.

During her tenure there has been a new chief constable and
the RUC has been transformed into the PSNI.

But with police still under scrutiny over their handling of
street riots, loyalist feuding and historical murders, her
workload shows no sign of lightening.

Mrs O'Loan's policing credentials are well-documented, as
was her trauma at losing the child she was carrying in an
IRA bombing in Jordanstown in 1976.

The mother-of-five has also fallen victim to another crime
– robbery. The family home was targeted long before her
appointment as police ombudsman.

Acutely conscious of her family's safety, she refuses to
disclose more about the burglary.

The perpetrator was never caught and the 53-year-old
understands the reality faced by many such victims and is
fully aware of public anger over crime.

"For every victim of a crime, theirs is the only crime that
really matters... so I can understand that they would have
difficulties," she said.

Married to Ballymena SDLP councillor Declan O'Loan, she
continues to face criticism by those who question her

But Mrs O'Loan insists it is for the unionist community
("not me") to say whether she has now proven her impartial
bona fides.

"Everybody has the right to question. All I would say to
them [critics] is look at the record, look at our website,
see what we have done. Nothing I have ever said has been
anything other than evidence-driven.

"Nobody has ever managed to challenge the outcome so I
think the record stands for itself. I am my own person. I
am not an extension of my husband."

Despite being pressed, some topics remain strictly off

For example, she won't talk about her views on the PSNI's
handling of an operation in an east Belfast estate when a
UVF mob drove out rival loyalists in full view of security
forces, or her verdict on how police dealt with a wave of
sectarian attacks over the summer in Co Antrim.

Both are the subject of investigations by her office.

"I never talk generalities. I only ever talk specifics,"
she said.

She is equally reluctant to reveal details about one of her
biggest cases – the circumstances surrounding the UVF
murder of Protestant Raymond McCord in 1997.

The Irish News recently revealed that a number of Special
Branch officers were understood to have been implicated by
the ombudsman in an alleged cover-up of a series of UVF
murders between 1993 and 2000.

How does the dossier compare to her damning findings of the
RUC's handling of the 1998 Omagh bomb probe?

"They are both investigations of very great significance,
that's all I am saying," she said.

She would not comment on when a suspected Special Branch
informer linked to at least eight of the murders was taken
off the police's 'books', and whether the ex-UVF leader was
still being handled for a time under Chief Constable Hugh
Orde's watch.

"My understanding is I have no investigation in which
somebody I think is currently under investigation is [still
an informer]," she said.

"The investigation is effectively finished. The papers are
with the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

"Once the DPP has made his determination, I will then be in
a position to do what I have to do.

"I am talking about the inquiries which emanated from the
complaint which Mr McCord [Raymond snr] made [an allegation
that Special Branch blocked a probe into his son's killing
to protect informers]," she would only say.

Former Chief Constable Sir Ronnie Flanagan famously
declared he would "publicly commit suicide" if all the
criticisms in the ombudsman's Omagh bomb dossier, which
resulted in an overhaul of the force's controversial
Special Branch, were proved justified.

Although her highly-awaited McCord report may prove deeply
unpalatable, Mrs O'Loan believes police response will be

"It depends on what's in the report, doesn't it? I think
police will on occasion recognise when things have gone
wrong and behave in a very appropriate manner.

"It would be my expectation that when this comes out, it
will be a responsible response."

She cites a number of recent high-profile arrests over
paramilitary-related crime as a sign of the force's
enhanced investigation capabilities, following a much-
publicised internal overhaul which included the
establishment of a Crime Operations department.

"We have seen a lot more arrests for serious crime
recently, a lot more activity.

"When we did Omagh we said one of the biggest failings was
the failure to transmit information, which was intelligence
that Special Branch had, to the investigators. And that is
what prevented proper investigation of many crimes.

"Now there are good, robust processes for managing
intelligence and getting intelligence from the unit that
deals with intelligence into investigation and what you are
seeing now, in terms of these arrests, is proper good
standard investigation.

"I think they are getting better it... I think that is why
we are seeing more arrests.

"Special Branch no longer exists as a separate branch... I
remain concerned about some aspects of issues affecting
some matters there, but that is to be expected given the
role that I have.

"I am not going to discuss [those concerns]. We have cases
to come... where Special Branch or whatever you call them
now may have had a role to play."

New legislation governing paramilitary fugitives and
security force personnel implicated in crimes committed
prior to the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, which allows them
to escape jail terms, is currently causing huge debate and
Mrs O'Loan is monitoring developments.

It will have major implications for her office – a dramatic
increase in files in her in-tray.

"My category is the second category [of the proposed new
law], which are people who may be charged in the future
with an offence," she said.

"So long as the historical enquiries [into unsolved
Troubles-related crimes] processes are safeguarded, I think
that those needs that people have to know what happened
will be protected."

But what is the point of the PSNI's Historical Enquiry Team
(HET), which will review more than 3,000 deaths, if killers
avoid jail?

"It is not an amnesty because they have a criminal
conviction," the ombudsman said.

"An amnesty means you have no criminal conviction.

"I think the most important thing for most of the victims I
meet is the need to know what happened and why... the 'on-
the-runs' legislation will not prevent that happening.

"When I did Samuel Devenney's inquiry [a Catholic who was
beaten and fatally injured by police in 1969], one of the
things I discovered was there was an amnesty in 1969 and
that is why nobody was prosecuted regarding offences
against him. Nobody remembered that.

"If there is evidence and the evidence is such that they
will be convicted [at a special tribunal], then the
[victims'] families will have

the benefit of a conviction and they will have the benefit
of knowing

what has been discovered on investigation. I think that is
supremely important.

"Any case which the [PSNI's] historical investigations unit
have, in which the conduct of a police officer may have led
to a death, must be transferred here. That is a very
important thing which people don't understand.

"He [the chief constable] is under a duty to bring to my
attention anything where the conduct of a police officer
may have contributed to a murder.

"In the [police] review process as soon as they meet this
possibility they have to bring us in.

"There are some cases where the police officer pulled the
trigger and there are some very tragic cases where police
officers pulled triggers and there is no conviction for

"Everything is back in the pot, every death is back in the

"I don't know how many there are yet... I think it (the
ombudsman office's historical case workload) could double."

However, Mrs O'Loan is deeply uncomfortable with any
suggestion that convicted former paramilitaries could join
the police.

"I would have difficulties... If I have an investigator
doing work for me and they investigate a crime and the
crime goes to court, they will have to give evidence in a
court and their credibility as a witness will be a critical
factor in the giving of that evidence.

"If they themselves have convictions for serious offences
then they are less credible as a witness. That will
jeopardise the process of any future investigation.

"There are also questions around the relationship between
the police and those who are policed – if some of those who
are policing were from paramilitaries from either side.

"So I would feel uneasy, very uneasy. I don't think it
would be a good idea."

The ombudsman is also adamant that community restorative
justice schemes must be independently scrutinised.

"It is most important that they operate within the criminal
justice system," she said.

"If you are going to have community restorative justice
here, where we have a history of paramilitary control of
areas, there must be a totally independent and totally
accountable process dealing with any community restorative

"The whole system must be really squeaky clean – that is
enormously important.

"If you have a situation where a community restorative
justice project was not properly scrutinised, where it was
receiving the complaints, was supposed to send them to
police and then get them back and then tell the person 'yes
we are dealing with you', you need proper controls to make
sure all those cases were going through the police.

"If something went wrong for the person who was the subject
of a restorative justice process, they must have a right to
complain and they must have a right to complain to a person
completely independent of the restorative justice project,
otherwise I think you run the risk of very, very serious
compromise of the whole criminal justice system."

With the planned slashing of the 26 local councils to seven
as part of the shake-up of public administration in the
north, the number of District Policing Partnerships –
created to boost community input into policing – will also
be cut.

"I do not want to see district policing partnerships
effectively disappearing down to seven," the ombudsman

"I don't think they would be District Policing Partnerships

With just two years left in the post, Mrs O'Loan is anxious
to clear her out-tray.

"There are about 3,000 cases down there [in another office]
and I would like to get them all done before I go," she

"I want the office to continue to be accepted, continue to
be respected... to do the best possible job for the

Asked what has hindered her most in the job – being a
Catholic or being a woman – she responds with her renowned

"Probably being a Catholic. I think that the divisions
between our communities have almost pushed people into
corners and have generated a suspicion of the other where
that suspicion has no base.

"And once they meet me, once I go out and I talk to the
different groups, they very often say to me 'well we never
thought you were like that.'

"It is difficult being a Catholic because of some of the
assumptions that are made about Catholics.

"But I tell them that the fact I am a Catholic means to be
one thing; act justly, love tenderly, walk humbly.

"To be a Christian is to act justly, love tenderly and walk
humbly. There is nothing threatening for anybody if I do
those three things."


Father Calls On UVF To Take No Action

Connla Young

The father of a murdered Co Armagh teenager has called on
the Ulster Volunteer Force to take no action against a
suspected PSNI informer who may have been involved in his
son's death.

David McIlwaine and Andrew Robb, both from Portadown, were
stabbed to death in a frenzied attack near Tandragee in

The two men Steven Brown, from Castle Place in
Castlecaufield, Co Tyrone, and Mark Robert Burcombe, from
Ballynahinch Road in Lisburn, Co Antrim, are currently on
trial for the men's murder.

However, a principal suspect remains at large but Daily
Ireland cannot name him for legal reasons. He is a high-
ranking member of the UVF in Co Armagh and has recently
been the focus of an investigation by that organisation.

David McIlwaine and Andrew Robb were butchered with boning
knives during a feud between the UVF and the Loyalist
Volunteer Force. The feud was sparked when Portadown UVF
commander Richard Jameson was gunned down in January 2000.

David McIlwaine's father Paul last night urged the UVF to
let justice take its natural course.

"We would call on the UVF not to act in any way that would
endanger the life of this individual. We have always asked
for justice to take its natural course without interference
either from the paramilitaries and in particular the state.

"If current reports and rumours are fact, then this person
needs to be held publicly accountable before the courts in
an open and transparent manner.

"We simply want the truth. To do otherwise would be to deny
us that truth. This is also a matter of public interest.
One only has to think of the case of William Stobie in the
Finucane case, and Stephen McCullough, a witness suspect to
the killing of Daniel McColgan, who only hours after coming
forward mysteriously 'jogged' off the cliff of Cavehill to
his death," said Mr McIlwaine.

Despite being seen in the company of key suspects before
and after the double murder, the senior loyalist has never
been questioned by investigating detectives.

It is known that the UVF man received a phone call from a
serving PSNI officer the morning that the two teenagers'
mutilated bodies were discovered dumped in a Co Armagh

The PSNI man has since retired from the force, and the line
of inquiry has never been followed up.

The McIlwaine family have been critical of the PSNI in the
past after it emerged the force may have been tipped off in
advance of the murders by the Special Branch informer.

Legal representatives for PSNI chief constable Hugh Orde
have already indicated that his force may seek a public-
interest immunity certificate to prevent important
information going into the public domain.

There have been consistent reports that not only did the
UVF double agent inform the PSNI that an attack was
imminent but he may have taken part in double murder.

Mr McIlwaine said the PSNI's role required close scrutiny.

"The failure of the PSNI to act on information by their
agent must also be fully examined. That failure led to the
murder of my son, and culpability also rests with those
running agents," he said.


Taoiseach Moves To Allay DUP Constitution Fears

By Ray Ryan

TAOISEACH Bertie Ahern yesterday tried to reassure the
Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) that the constitutional
question has been settled in the Good Friday Agreement.

Mr Ahern was speaking in Kiskeam, Co Cork, yesterday, at
the graveside of Sean Moylan, a War of Independence leader,
who went on to become a minister in Fianna Fáil governments
headed by Eamon de Valera.

"No one on this island is threatened or needs to feel under
threat. I made that very clear in my recent visit to
Belfast. I said that the constitutional question had been
settled in the Good Friday Agreement.

"There are fair and reasonable arrangements through the
agreement to accommodate everybody's sensitivities and
concerns. I welcomed the opportunity last week to re-
iterate this when I met with Dr Paisley and his DUP
colleagues," he said.

The Taoiseach said that as the British and Irish
governments seek to bring closure on all outstanding
issues, they are right to expect that all other parties
will also face up to their responsibilities.

"Thus, while we welcome ongoing progress, we wish to see
loyalist paramilitaries now break conclusively with their
dark past. I have made it clear that we do not wish the
process to leave anyone behind.

"We can hear the voice of loyalism. We know that many among
them wish to move on in a positive way. They will have our
full support in doing so," he said.

The Taoiseach said it was now also time for Sinn Féin to
step forward and bring closure to the policing issue.

"There have been issues to do with policing from the past.
We know all the sensitivities. But there is now no credible
excuse for Sinn Féin not to work with policing and be in
policing in Northern Ireland," he said.

Mr Ahern said recently that the Northern Ireland Police
Oversight Commissioner had reported positively on the pace
of policing reforms in Northern Ireland.

The Patten Commission recommendations are steadily taking
full effect and the promised new beginning to policing is a
self-evident and increasing reality, he said.

The Taoiseach said the British government had promised
framework legislation on the devolution of policing and
justice in the North soon.

He said this, and the enormous progress already made on
policing, would, he hoped, provide a context in which Sinn
Féin commit to policing.

"I want to see Sinn Féin take their place on the Policing
Board. It is not unreasonable to ask them to put themselves
clearly on the side of support for law and order like any
other party.

"At this stage in the process, an early signal of positive
intentions on policing is important and would make a
difference. Full, effective and inclusive policing
throughout Northern Ireland is in everyone's interests," he


Suspended SF Mayor Will Switch On Christmas Lights

By Margaret Canning Tyrone Correspondent

SUSPENDED Sinn Fein politician Francie Molloy is to switch
on Dungannon's Christmas lights in a high-profile ceremony

And the veteran republican last night said he would
continue to carry out his other functions as mayor of
Dungannon and South Tyrone District Council, despite being
suspended from his party.

"There is no change in my position as mayor of Dungannon,
or as delegate to the Northern Ireland Local Government
Association (Nilga)," Mr Molloy said.

Mr Molloy confirmed that his nomination as mayor was made
by the party under the d'Hondt power-sharing system – "but
even if the party withdrew my nomination, the council would
still have to ratify it".

The Mid-Ulster assembly member was suspended by party
chiefs last week for publically departing from its position
on the review of public administration.

He had spoken out in opposition to the British government's
planned seven-council model – instead backing Nilga's
policy of 15.

Although Sinn Fein also initially advocated a cut from 26
councils to 15, it altered its position this year after
internal debate.

Mr Molloy said he had been given no indication of when
talks will held over his future in Sinn Fein.

A councillor for 20 years, Mr Molloy was also director of
elections during hunger striker Bobby Sands' historic
Westminster win in 1981.

His deputy on the council, the UUP's Norman Badger, said he
had "no qualms" about Mr Molloy continuing to wear the
chains of mayoral office.

SDLP Dungannon councillor Jim Cavanagh said he had no
opinion on Mr Molloy's position but claimed the Sinn Fein's
policy change on local government reform reflected badly on

"Sinn Fein seemed to come into support of the seven
councils very late in the day," he said.

"Never have I heard anyone in meetings of Nilga or the
National Association of Councillors to come out in support
of the seven councils.

"But given that Sinn Fein councillors in Dungannon and
South Tyrone all speak with one voice even on the smallest
things, and dissent is frowned upon, it is ironic that Mr
Molloy has been suspended for dissent."


Who Wants To Be A Republican? Parties Vie For Nationalist Vote

By Barry McCaffrey

One hundred years after the founding of Sinn Fein, Barry
McCaffrey hears how a range of parties now claim to be the
true voice of 'republicanism'

On Saturday, Gerry Adams was the main speaker at a
conference in Co Monaghan to mark Sinn Fein's centenary

However, over the last year a number of other nationalist
parties, north and south of the border, have been laying
claim to the title of Ireland's true republican party.

In October Fianna Fail leader Bertie Ahern revealed plans
to reinstate a military parade to commemorate the 1916
Easter Rising and the War of Independence.

In what was seen as a direct attack on Sinn Fein, Mr Ahern
said the Irish people needed to "reclaim the spirit of
1916, which is not the property of those who have abused
and debased the title of republicanism".

In August, Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny also announced that
his party intended to commemorate the founding of Sinn Fein
and the legacy of former IRA leader Michael Collins.

Mr Kenny too claimed there was a huge gulf between the
party's founder Arthur Griffith and Gerry Adams's
leadership of Sinn Fein.

"Today's Sinn Fein merely offers outdated and discredited
policies, and an approach to politics that only serves as a
warning to the present generation of the risks associated
with a flirtation with a party that shares nothing but the
wording of the party founded by Griffith and none of the
true republican idealism of Collins," he said.

SDLP leader and Foyle MP Mark Durkan has also claimed that
his party reflects"true republicanism".

"In the 21st century, Irish republicanism must not be
allowed to be used as a synonym for a narrow nationalism,"
he said.

"Those of us that share in the true republican ideals of
unity among Catholic, Protestant and Dissenter must stand
against those that would denigrate and degrade those ideals
in a rush for domination over other traditions."

Sinn Fein assembly member Gerry Kelly claimed that the
electorate would not be taken in by political rivals'
apparent "new-found interest in republicanism".

"People will not be fooled by what Fianna Fail, Fine Gael
and the SDLP are trying to do," he said.

"They chose to ignore the ideals of republicanism for
decades and are now trying to rebrand themselves for
political gain."

However, despite a political dogfight as to who is the
'real' republican party, Professor Paul Bew of Queen's
University Belfast believes none of the present-day
nationalist parties has any direct connection with the
founders of Sinn Fein.

"The problem for all the parties is that they can all claim
to be the inheritors of Sinn Fein's founders, but the
textures of opinion of modern-day nationalists bear little
or no connection with the likes of de Valera and Collins,"
he said.

"In the 1920s de Valera said that he would rather have an
unfree Ireland if the Irish language was to remain intact.

"If Bertie Ahern or any of the other leaders stood up and
said that today they would be laughed at.

"Every generation of politicians that comes along tries to
reinvent the traditional ideological mantle, but the
reality is that things move on.

"Despite what the various leaders have said about laying
claim to the title of republicanism there is no sense that
anyone has gained any ground.

"The reality is that the status quo has remained the same.

"It remains to be seen who, if anyone, will win out in the


Partition Is An Absurdity In All Terms

By Caitriona Ruane Sinn Fein assembly member

When Sinn Fein gathered in January last in the historic
Mansion House in Dublin at the beginning of our centenary
year, we made it clear that this year was about more than
simply celebrating 100 years of Sinn Fein.

It was to be about education and debate. It was about the
repopularising of republicanism. It was about learning the
lessons of a century of struggle.

It was also about taking pride in what we are about. And
what we have achieved.

But most important of all the year was about Sinn Fein
taking more decisive steps forward toward our goal of a
united, free and independent Ireland; a national
representative democracy where all constituencies in our
society get their say.

Over the past century Sinn Fein has been an idea, a name, a
federation of political societies, a national independence
movement, a republican campaigning organisation.

And, in 2005, Sinn Fein is the only all-Ireland political
party and the fastest-growing party in the country.

The tragic fate of Parnell had shown the limits of a so-
called constitutional nationalism that de-pended on the
good will of British political parties or British
governments to grant as concessions the inalienable rights
of the Irish people.

The most important principle of Sinn Fein was self-
reliance. Only the people of this island can secure our
liberation and mould our society to suit our unique
heritage, our character, our economic needs and our place
in the wider world. And that is still true today.

Following the launch of our campaign earlier this year to
get the Irish government to bring forward a Green Paper on
Irish unity, we have seen the opening up of the debate
right across the island.

The government is reinstating the commemoration for the
Easter Rising, Fine Gael are celebrating the 100th
anniversary of Sinn Fein and last month we had the first
ever debate on Irish unity in the Dail.

The SDLP appear to have dropped the nonsense of post-
nationalism and now say they are for Irish unity.

But Irish unity must be more than an aspiration or an
objective. If we are serious we need to work together
towards Irish unity and we must work to a strategy for its
achievement. To do otherwise is no more than to pay lip
service to the issue.

This means generating a genuine engagement with the
unionist community. Those of us who support Irish unity
need to listen to and address their concerns.

From the beginning in 1905 Sinn Fein extended a hand of
friendship to unionists, while always asserting that the
end of the Union was in the interests of all the people of
this island.

The Sinn Fein policy as outlined by Arthur Griffith at the
first convention in the Rotunda in November 1905 stated:
"For the Orangeman of the North, ceasing to be the blind
instrument of his own as well as his fellow-countrymen's
destruction, we have the greeting of brotherhood as for the
Nationalist of the South, long taught to measure himself by
English standards and save the face of tyranny by sending
Irishmen to sit impotently in a foreign legislature whilst
it forges the instruments of his oppression."

By planning for Irish unity and by demonstrating that
unification can lead to a better society for all the people
of Ireland, nationalists will go far in persuading many
unionists that they can have a secure future in a new,
united Ireland. The Irish and British governments have
spoken of the benefits of an all-Ireland economy – they
need to follow through on this.

Partition is an absurdity in social, political, economic,
cultural and democratic terms. The island of Ireland is a
viable and dynamic economic and political entity. The six-
county state is not.

The all-Ireland aspects of the Good Friday Agreement need
to be strengthened and built upon.

The Irish government needs to bring forward a Green Paper
on Irish unity. They should be initiating and sustaining a
planned programme of all-Ireland social and economic
development which aims to remove the obstacles created by
partition, strengthen the links between the people in all
parts of Ireland and integrate the economy and society.

The Irish government should maximise the participation of
Irish citizens living in the north in the democratic life
of the nation. Sinn Fein has concrete proposals in this
regard relating to having a vote in presidential elections
to participate in debates and representation in the
Oireachtas. We will continue to campaign on these issues.

Sinn Fein is setting out our vision of an inclusive Ireland
– an Ireland where diversity is valued and the greatest
possible participation of the people of the island in the
civil and political life of the country is a primary

Republicanism is about much more than reuniting Ireland. It
is about equality for all the people of Ireland in ever-
growing diversity and utilising the resources of the
country in the interests of all of us who live here.

1905 was a time of renewal and rebirth in Ireland and Sinn
Fein was the political expression of that new confidence.
There was a coming together of republicans, nationalists,
the Labour movement, the Women's Suffrage movement, the
Gaelic League. If Irish unity is to be achieved we need to
see the coming together of all those who want to bring it

As we carry the name of Sinn Fein into the 21st century,
and after a century of struggle, we are preparing for
success. We know as the leading nationalist party in the
north and the largest pro-Agreement party that there are
huge responsibilities on us. We are up to the task. But we
cannot achieve this alone.

So, let us join with those in other parties and none, who
share our vision of a new Ireland. Let us ask them to walk
with us; to work with us; to move forward with us toward
the republican and democratic goals of unity, equality and


Parties Owe A Debt To Forgotten Leader

By Carmel Hanna SDLP assembly member

Irish parties that claim their lineage from Sinn Fein
include Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and the present-day Sinn

However, the name of Arthur Griffith is rarely mentioned by
Bertie Ahern, Enda Kenny or Gerry Adams.

Even the centenary history published recently by Sinn Fein,
Cead Bliain, has only a couple of paragraphs on the man and
no photograph.

For various reasons, the Irish political class from the
1920s onward found it convenient to excise the name of
Griffiths from the public discourse and memory.

Griffith was born in Dublin on March 31 1872 and learned
his trade as a printer.

He contracted tuberculosis and for the good of his health
emigrated to South Africa, where he worked in the gold
mines and reputedly took part in the Boer War.

On his return to Ireland in 1899, he established a
newspaper, the United Irishman. As a journalist and
propagandist Griffith was prolific, with strong opinions
and prejudices, always trenchantly expressed.

He could be bigoted and supported the 1904 pogrom against
the tiny Jewish population of Limerick.

He opposed socialism and pacifism as being 'alien' British
influences on Ireland and praised the totalitarian German
and Russian governments as being superior to British
parliamentary democracy.

He made himself ridiculous by railing against JM Synge's
1907 comic masterpiece The Playboy of the Western World,
now acknowledged the world over as one of the greatest
plays ever written. Griffith felt it demeaned Irish

Though not personally a monarchist, he advocated the idea
of an autonomous Ireland linked to Britain under a dual
monarchy. The King of England would also be crowned King of
Ireland, based on a similar arrangement in the Austro-
Hungarian Empire.

He also introduced the idea that Irish MPs should abstain
from Westminster and establish a separate Irish parliament
in Dublin.

It was not until October 1917, a dozen years after its
foundation, and after the Easter Rising, that Sinn Fein
decided it was indeed a republican party.

That decision, which had elements of farce that Synge could
have made into a wonderful play had he been still alive,
nearly split Sinn Fein asunder.

When public opinion turned in Ireland as a result of the
execution of the 1916 leaders and general disillusion with
the Great War then raging, Sinn Fein quickly became the
beneficiary of a massive change in public opinion and went
on to electoral triumph in the 1918 general election.

During de Valera's 18 months' absence in the US (1919-21),
Griffith was named as acting president of Dail Eireann.

Against his will, Griffith was persuaded to lead the
delegation of plenipotentiaries to London to negotiate the
Anglo-Irish Treaty in late 1921.

The burden of negotiation on the Irish side was carried
almost in its entirety by the 31-year-old Michael Collins,
who displayed great capability in ably negotiating multiple
strands of the treaty against the best brains of the
British Empire.

When the treaty was signed on December 6 1921, Griffith's
was the first Irish signature on the document, before that
of the charismatic Collins. The sad consequences of the
split over the treaty are well known.

Nominated as President of the Irish Republic after de
Valera's resignation, but exhausted and overworked, and
burdened by the strain of vicious quarrels with former
comrades and even Collins, Griffith died from a cerebral
haemorrhage on August 12 1922. Ten days later Collins was

Arthur Griffith's reputation went into decline immediately
after his death and he remained almost forgotten for

For physical-force republicans he was reviled as the first
Irishman to put his name to the hated treaty. His name had
none of the allure of Collins, a man seen by all as someone
who had died far too young with vast unfulfilled potential.

Electorally Sinn Fein practically disappeared from the
political scene as WT Cosgrave went on to establish Cumann
na nGael (later Fine Gael) in 1923 and de Valera Fianna
Fail in 1926.

For years after they entered the Dail, Fianna Fail would
bait Cosgrave's party for its association with Griffith and
his 'King, Lords and Commons of Ireland'.

Even in the 1940s, Liam Cosgrave expressed caution about a
proposed biography of Griffith and, though long out of
office, asked that his name not be associated with

As late as the 1960s the 'Facts About Ireland' publication
from the Department of Foreign Affairs omitted his name,
and that of Collins, from a potted history of Ireland.

It was not until 1968, 46 years after his death, that a
modest plaque was erected on his home in Dublin.

Griffith was a man of the highest personal integrity, who
left public life as poor as he entered it.

The treatment of his widow, Maud, left in great poverty
after his death, was truly shameful. With a young a son and
daughter, and living on into the 1960s, she was forced to
beg for a pension from a native Irish government.

Her words of reproach directed at all the 1916-21
generation still resonate: "He made you all."

Griffith does deserve to be honoured. His ideas of
abstentionism and dual monarchy were his way of recognising
the futility of violence as a way to effect political

Though he had no great personal experience of northerners,
either nationalist or unionist, he tried to think in an
inclusive way and his dual monarchy idea can be seen as a
way of allaying at least some unionist fears.

He also sensed the partiality of a lot of

southern Irish Catholics to monarchical ideas.

His idea of Irish national self-reliance might be seen as
impractical in the modern world, given the small size of
Ireland's population and lack of natural resources.

Whatever his faults, Griffith had a fertile imagination who
seized on ideas, good and bad, from many sources.

Of this I am certain: the name of Arthur Griffith was not
the first, nor will it be the last, to be airbrushed from
Irish history in order to suit the purposes of contemporary
political protagonists.


BBC Need More Irish Language

Connla Young

The BBC has been urged to devote more resources to Irish-
language programmes in the North.

Representatives of Foras na Gaeilge, the cross-Border
Irish-language promotional body, recently held a meeting in
Belfast with members of the House of Lords select committee
on the BBC charter.

The Foras representatives called for the enhanced and
mandatory provision of the Irish language across BBC in the

A spokesman for Foras said: "In keeping with the BBC's aims
and aspirations to stimulate creativity and cultural
excellence, Foras is of the firm view that the BBC has a
key role in promoting the Irish language, which represents
a unique aspect of the cultural and linguistic diversity in
Northern Ireland.

"We also believe that the BBC has a role to play in the
safeguarding of the unique cultural heritage of the
indigenous Celtic languages. As television licence fee-
payers, the Irish-speaking community are entitled to a
service comparable to that provided by the BBC to other
indigenous language communities.

"According to figures from the most recent census 2001-
2002, far more funding is being spent per capita by the BBC
on Welsh in Wales and Gaelic in Scotland than on Irish in
Northern Ireland.

"Irish has played a vital role in the life of Northern
Ireland and is a part of the history of the area through
place names, surnames and the influence of Irish on

"We asserted that the current Irish-language television
service does not meet the needs of the Irish-language
community in Northern Ireland, nor in Britain, where there
is a substantial Irish community.

"Irish speakers and those with a wider interest in Irish
deserve dedicated programming in Irish to meet local needs
and therefore Foras is calling for the ring-fencing of
extra funding for Irish-language programming."

The Foras spokesman said the organisation also used the
meeting to register its concern that the Ofcom
recommendations in relation to the Irish language had been
totally ignored in the BBC's green paper.

"The occasional oblique reference to regional cultural
needs is not sufficient to cover over this unacceptable
situation," he said.

"We are therefore asking that this omission be reconsidered
as a matter of urgency and, in a spirit in keeping with the
new charter, to act in a manner that will reassure the
Irish-speaking community of the BBC's commitment to its


Oireachtas Na Gaeilge Set For Derry

Up to 15,000 people are expected to attend an Irish-
language festival in Derry next year.

Oireachtas na Gaeilge will take place in the city in
November 2006.

The event has been hailed as a huge boost for the city's
Irish-language community.

City mayor Lynn Fleming said preparations were already well
under way.

"Oireachtas is Ireland's largest language festival and, for
many years, Derry people have travelled to all parts of the
country to attend," she said.

"It is a great honour for our city and for its very active
Irish-speaking community to be hosting this great event
next year. My congratulations to the local committee, and I
am confident that they will help to ensure this will be a
truly special occasion for all who come to the city next

"It will be a great opportunity for Irish-speakers in the
community, especially the children attending the
Gaelscoileanna, to attend and participate in the

Ms Fleming urged everyone in the city to get involved in
preparations for the festival. She called on members of the
business community to support the event.

"It is anticipated the event will bring approximately
15,000 people into the city.

"Above all, this is a great opportunity for us to showcase
the city as a place that is special on this island and as a
place with a warm welcome to all who come here," she said.


Ferris Leak Part Of 'Dirty Tricks Campaign'

By Paul O'Brien, Political Reporter

SINN FÉIN claimed the first salvo of a "dirty tricks"
campaign had been fired ahead of the next election after a
confidential garda report linking party TD Martin Ferris to
the beating of a small-time drug courier was leaked

Mr Ferris insisted he had never been charged in relation to
the incident because he was not involved and there was no
evidence to the contrary. He said neither he nor his party
were involved in vigilantism.

The report related to an incident in Castleisland, Co
Kerry, shortly before Christmas 2001, in which a man was
abducted and beaten because his captors believed him to be
active in the drug trade. Mr Ferris was arrested and
questioned at length in March 2002 - three months before
the general election - and a file was sent to the Director
of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

But the DPP decided not to prosecute. Mr Ferris, meanwhile,
claimed he had been assaulted while in custody, but his
complaint to the Garda Complaints Board was rejected. A
similar complaint by Mr Ferris's director of elections,
James Sheehan, was also rejected. No one was ever charged
in relation to the punishment beating.

Yesterday, however, the Ireland on Sunday newspaper
published details of a confidential report which it said
had been drawn up for the Garda Complaints Board. The
report detailed both Mr Ferris's allegations of assault and
the evidence gardaí had gathered against him. According to
Ireland on Sunday, the latter included:

* Five separate eyewitness statements linking Mr Ferris to
the attack.

* Tyre-tracks and mobile-phone records placing him at the
crime scene.

* The discovery of a bat in the boot of his car as well as
a note, allegedly in Mr Ferris's handwriting, with the name
and address of the victim.

The DPP's office did not comment on the nature of the
report, as its policy is not to discuss individual cases.
But a spokesman for Mr Ferris said the Kerry North TD had
never been charged because there was "simply no evidence"
against him.


New Attack On SDLP Man

By Lisa Smyth
28 November 2005

SDLP Foyle MLA Pat Ramsey last night pledged that his
family would not be intimidated into moving house following
the eighth attack on their home.

Mr Ramsey, who lives in the Bogside with his wife and five-
year-old daughter, said the people behind the attack were
"intent on causing fear".

He said the latest incident on Saturday night had only made
his family more determined to remain in their home.

Army technical officers were called to the scene when Mr
Ramsey discovered a suspicious device at the rear of his
Meenan Drive home.

"We had been out to evening Mass and they must have known
we weren't there and took the chance to leave this object
round the back of the house.

"It was six to eight inches long and had wires coming out
of it, so it certainly looked real to me and you can never
take any chances with these things.

"It turned out to be a hoax and on this occasion the
disruption was kept to a minimum but it isn't fair to my
family or neighbours, particularly as some of them are
elderly and unwell."

Mr Ramsey said he has been targeted because of his work
with the District Policing Partnership in Londonderry.

"These attacks started when the DPPs were created and they
are being carried out by people who are not members of
mainstream organisations but are intent on causing fear and
do not want any kind of normalisation in Northern Ireland,"
he said.

"My party colleagues have been singled out because we are
working with the DPPs.

"However, they should realise that they are not just
targeting me but the entire community. Their actions have
no support - they simply highlight these stupid people for
the cowards that they are."

A police spokeswoman said the device was declared a hoax at
about 1am and some items were sent away for forensic

Meanwhile, SDLP leader and Foyle MP Mark Durkan has pledged
his support to all colleagues who are targeted by

"Pat Ramsey and his family do not just deserve great credit
for the courage and determination they continue to show in
the face of these attacks by so-called republicans," said
Mr Durkan.

"This was not just an attack on an individual politician or
his family, it was an attack on the Bogside community, who
have consistently elected Pat Ramsey."


Opin: SF Members Wary Of Forming Links With FF

WITH all the media speculation as to whether Sinn Féin will
be part of a coalition government in the 26 Counties after
the next general election, and Bertie Ahern dismissing us
as not being good enough, it is important to point out a
few realities.

The question is not whether Sinn Féin will be good enough
to enter government with Fianna Fáil, but rather will
Fianna Fáil be able to measure up to Sinn Féin.

Certainly most colleagues I know in Sinn Féin feel that
Fianna Fáil have a very long way to go before we would
touch them with a 40-foot pole.

Unlike the other political parties, it will be the ordinary
members of Sinn Féin who will decide by vote at a specially
convened árd fheis whether or not we will take that step.

While the top brass of Fianna Fáil, et al, make such
decisions without consulting their grassroots, Sinn Féin
president Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness are answerable
to every party member throughout Ireland on this as on all
other policy questions.

From what I'm hearing at the moment, I don't think the
majority of Sinn Féin members would contemplate forming a
government with Fianna Fáil.

Cllr Cionnaith Ó Súilleabháin
Cloich na Coillte
Co Chorcaí


Opin: How Odd If Blair Has Got One Over On Republicans

Pól Ó Muirí
28 November 2005

The reaction of Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams to the on-
the-runs legislation has been one of bemused annoyance.

His comments have given the impression that soldiers and
police officers being included in the legislation has taken
him by surprise; it was something that the Government had
sprung on him.

He is, needless to say, not happy about it and has insisted
that the soldiers and police officers should face the
courts - giving rise to the inevitable calls of hypocrisy
on his part.

Hypocrisy, certainly, with a huge dash of wilful ignorance.

Adams confesses himself to be amazed about the latest moves
by those sneaky Brits but he surely cannot be that
surprised at what has happened.

At the beginning of November, SDLP leader Mark Durkan
issued two statements on the OTR issue in which he didn't
pull his punches.

(Durkan seems to have been eating nothing but raw steak
since he was elected MP and is obviously determined to be a

On August 1, Durkan accused the Government and Sinn Féin of
being "an alliance of sleaze… with each of them helping
cover up for the other."

On September 2, he was even more blunt, stating that Sinn
Féin did a side-deal with the Government and that they and
the Government were colluding to "cover up their dirty
secrets" to the detriment of victims' search for truth and
justice: "They (Sinn Féin) knew when they pushed for OTR
legislation that it would end up covering the State too.
And that is what this legislation does. This legislation
means that nobody in the police nor the British Army who
committed murder or other crimes will ever go to prison."

Adams has belatedly admitted that Durkan was right - though
he is obviously not going to thank him for being
nationalism's class swot.

The republican line has been to attack Durkan for his
analysis and to shrug their shoulders and express annoyance
at what has happened.

Their anger, however, seems false.

One of the most striking aspects of the peace process has
been that what the Republican Movement wants, the
Republican Movement gets.

An endless series of "punishment meetings" (copyright: Mark
Durkan) always ends in the Shinners walking away happy and
virtually every other party crying into their beer.

Yet, in this case, we are asked to believe that after so
many years of negotiations with the Government - and after
coming out on top so often - Tony Blair has finally got one
over on republicans. How very odd.

What will Sinn Féin do next? They are unlikely to lobby Lib
Dem and Tory peers in the House of Lords to challenge
legislation that lets their activists off the hook.

Yet if they do nothing, the Government will succeed in
removing their own agents and their misdeeds during the
Troubles from the political equation.

"An alliance of sleaze" sounds just about right.

The story - or allegation - of the past few days has to be
the leak to a newspaper that suggested that George W. Bush
wanted to bomb the headquarters of the Arab satellite
station, Al-Jareeza.

The station is Arab-owned and has an editorial policy which
reflects Arab interests and not American values.

Their coverage of the American destruction of Falluja
challenged the US military's briefings and Al-Jazeera have
broadcast tapes by Osama bin Laden, much to American anger.

The British Government are doing their best to manage the
leak through an injunction and by invoking the Official
Secrets Act.

The US Government are rubbishing the claim but given the
White House's infamous handling of information, no one will
readily believe the denial.

There are issues of freedom of expression and the role of
the Press to be discussed here and while nothing has been
proven, I had better not say too much - just in case George
orders a Cruise missile strike against me and my computer.

So, we are to get Super-Councils. Does that mean, we will
also have cape-wearing super-councillors who will fight for
truth, justice and the Ulster way? Is it a bird? Is it a
plane? No, it's Super-Councillor lifting the bins.


Teddy Kennedy: Triumph & Tragedy

27 November 2005 By Kevin Cullen

Inside his private Senate respite, a lounge he calls the
Hideaway, on the third floor of the Capitol building, Ted
Kennedy smiles as he regards a chess set he picked up in
the North after he visited there for the first time in

The pieces represent real-life characters from the North.

Some leave for all sorts of interpretations: Ian Paisley
and Gerry Adams are opposing knights; David Ervine is a
rook. Some are a little more straightforward: Cahal Daly is
a bishop and the Queen is, well, a queen. The pawns, more
poignantly, are RUC men and balaclava-clad Provos.

"When my son Teddy lost his leg [to cancer],we played a lot
of chess," the Massachusetts senator says, picking up a
knight carved in the shape of Martin McGuinness. Any
conversation with Kennedy leads inevitably to triumph or

The family's history, replete with both, is literally
written on the walls of the Hideaway. It is striking how
much of it reflects the family's Irish roots and the
senator's lifelong interest in the land of his forebearers.

Among the many family portraits are those of his
grandfather, John "Honey Fitz'' Fitzgerald, the first Irish
Catholic elected to the US House of Representatives from
New England, and his brother, John, the first Irish
Catholic elected president of the United States.

There are also portraits of his other brothers, Robert,
assassinated five years after John, and Joe, who died when
his plane crashed on a World War II combat mission. Like
the black and white road sign above the fireplace in the
Hideaway that indicates Lough Gur is just one-and-a-half
miles away, Ireland is not so far away.

Forty-five years after the poet Robert Frost urged Jack
Kennedy at his inauguration to be more Irish than Harvard,
Ted Kennedy seems to have taken that advice to heart. This
has been a year in which he has wielded the clout on
Ireland he has built up over the last four decades.

Kennedy's positions on Irish issues are informed by his
family's history. He co-sponsored a bill to make things
easier for, among others, undocumented Irish immigrants who
have felt the post-9/11 squeeze. His positions on the
North, meanwhile, reflect his family's familiarity with,
and instinctive opposition to, both discrimination and
politically-motivated violence.

Which is why Kennedy saw no contradiction in being the man
who first got Gerry Adams into the US in 1994, convincing
Bill Clinton to give him avisato promote the peace process,
and the man who snubbed Adams last March when, in the
aftermath of the Northern Bank robbery and the murder of
Robert McCartney, the IRA's continued activity undermined
that very same process.

Speaking for the first time about why he refused to meet
Adams, Kennedy says it wasn't a difficult decision.

"I didn't think much about it, quite frankly," he says. "I
thought about it for 24 hours." Kennedy says he was
frequently moved by the deaths of people in the North but
that the facts surrounding the McCartney killing
particularly moved him, and moved him to act.

"It was an extremely violent, terrible act. Murder is in
any event. But this was so raw. And you had the IRA
cleaning the scene. It looked like a gangster movie."

"There was a cumulative sequence of events. There was a
failure to complete disarmament, a fundamental failure to
disarm. You had vigilante justice, associated with a brutal
murder, the silencing of witnesses. This just had to stop."

Kennedy says he knew Adams would not like what he had to
tell him.

"I told Gerry Adams it was about the importance of
completing the march to progress. You couldn't have a
democratic party and an armed part to it," he says.

"Americans do deplore violence and criminality. These are
important values. It appeared this was a time to take a

Among Irish-American political leaders, Kennedy's actions
stood out. Adams is an enormously popular figure among
Irish American politicians.

Sinn Féin's congressional supporters, including Democrat
Richard E Neal of Massachusetts, did not snub Adams, saying
to exclude him unfairly singled out Sinn Féin when other
parties in Northern Ireland, most notably the DUP, were
equally to blame for the political stalemate.

Neal said he saw no point in embarrassing Adams. Kennedy
felt he had to, to make the point as unambiguously as
possible that the IRA had to go away, you know. And yet, to
Kennedy, it wasn't personal.

He admires Adams, saying he deserves great credit for
steering the republican movement into the mainstream. But,
he adds, that the painstaking, historic voyage was in
danger of sinking, and something dramatic had to be done to
wake up the captain.

In a separate interview, the Minister for Foreign Affairs
Dermot Ahern said Kennedy's snubbing of Adams "focused
minds like no one else could''.

He said Kennedy's actions and words, in which he called the
IRA "an albatross'' around Sinn Féin's neck, convinced the
republican movement that all of the goodwill, not to
mention financial contributions, it received from the
Irish-American mainstream would dry up unless the future of
the IRA and its weapons was addressed. Kennedy enlisted
some high-powered colleagues to stand with him as he gave
the IRA and Sinn Féin an ultimatum: fellow senators Hilary
Clinton, Chris Dodd and John McCain.

But Kennedy was conscious of not, in his view, gratuitously
bashing Sinn Féin. That was left to McCain, the Republican
former POW, whose profile on the North was conspicuously
low before he used the podium at the glitzy American
Ireland Fund dinner in Washington to bash away at Sinn
Féin, as Adams and other senior Sinn Féin figures sat
stonily at a table just a few feet away.

The IRA's announcement in July, saying its armed campaign
was over, and the final act of decommissioning, "wouldn't
have happened without Ted Kennedy'', Ahern said. Kennedy
shrugs when told about the minister's remarks, saying
simply: "I did what I thought was right and necessary at
the time." For that, Kennedy was excoriated by Sinn Féin

His staff were especially annoyed by a piece by Danny
Morrison, who dredged up Chappaquiddick, suggesting Kennedy
wasn't in a position to be moralising. If Kennedy was aware
of the personal attacks - "I read some comments," he says,
declining to elaborate - he doesn't hold grudges. His skin
is thickened by a half-century of battles, both political
and personal. And hindsight has convinced him. "I did the
right thing," he says.

Instead of meeting Adams last March, Kennedy met the
sisters and fiancée of Robert McCartney. He met some of
them again last week at his Senate office.

"They are very courageous wome n. I admi re them greatly,"
he says. The feeling is mutual. Claire McCartney, Robert
McCartney's youngest sister, said that of all the powerful
people they met in Washington, Kennedy stood out. While in
many places they found sympathy, with Kennedy they found
empathy. "He knows what it's like," Claire McCartney said
at the time.

"I felt that way with them, too," Kennedy says, sitting in
the Hideaway, underneath a photograph that shows him, his
sister Jean, the former US ambassador to Ireland, and
President Mary McAleese. "I could understand and appreciate
what they were feeling, the emotion of it. We didn't have
to spell it out. But those women have a great sense of life
and humour. They are obviously people who love life.

"I thought they were easy to understand and read. But what
they stand for, and the way they carry themselves, is very
profound and moving, and that came through powerfully."

Kennedy says he has mended fences with Adams, calling to
congratulate him after international monitors said the IRA
had decommissioned its weapons.

He says Adams was gracious and did not speak of the snub.
"He talked about decommissioning," Kennedy says. "He didn't
talk about criminality. But I did." More significantly,
earlier this month Kennedy publicly called on the Bush
administration to lift its ban against Adams and other Sinn
Féin officials from fundraising in the US, saying Adams and
his party should be rewarded for delivering the formal end
of the IRA campaign.

The White House refused, saying it wants Adams to endorse
the reformed police force in the North before lifting the
fundraising restriction. In response, Adams cancelled a US
tour that had included Sinn Féin's biggest annual
fundraiser in Manhattan.

"We understand Senator Kennedy's position and we respect
it," said Ambassador Mitchell Reiss, President George W
Bush's envoy to Northern Ireland. Privately, Reiss and the
White House appreciate and covet Kennedy's influence on all
matters Irish, and had hoped he would back their attempt to
coax some positive words about policing out of Adams.

Kennedy's hard line last March provided the Bush
administration with considerable cover when President Bush
excluded Adams from the White House last St Patrick'sDay.

Largely overlooked was the sophistication the White House
showed by not inviting any other northern parties - a
position advocated by Kennedy and the Irish government -
depriving Sinn Féin of the opportunity of saying it had
been singled out for punitive action while the unionists
who walked away from the Assembly were not.

Kennedy, taking a position that isn't shared by other
parties who envy, and fear, Sinn Féin's lucrative
fundraising operation in the US, believes Sinn Féin figures
should be allowed to actively fundraise in America, that it
is part of the reward for joining the mainstream.

Kennedy doesn't think the IRA's formal ending of its war
and, especially, decommissioning, has been properly
recognised by the White House, and many others, for its
historical significance. He says those who are dismissing
or minimising the IRA gestures, risk permanently damaging a
process that has gone a long way to ending a conflict that
not so long ago was regarded as one of the world's most

"I don't think I appreciated it at first," he says. "It's
an extremely powerful moment in history. Giving up the
pike, the gun, the bomb." Perhaps surprising to some, he
praises what he sees as a new generation of DUP figures who
demonstrated considerable abilities when the Assembly was
up and running, and whom he believes want to wield, and
share, power.

He speaks sympathetically of poor Protestants, in dreary
estates like Glencairn, and laments that the loyalist
parties, which entered the post-conflict phase so
enthusiastically, have stumbled in recent years. He says
the alienation felt by the poorest unionists has to be

"I like David Ervine a lot. I hope they [loyalist parties]
can regain some of that momentum they had."

Kennedy turns 74 years old in February. His friends and
longtime observers note a renewed bounce in his step, even
if that step has become more pained of late because of
lingering knee and back problems. The Republican control of
the White House and houses of Congress seems to have
energised him.

His opposition to the war in Iraq, once a lonely quest, is
becoming increasingly mainstream. He is determined not to
let Bush push the Supreme Court too far to the right.
Kennedy talks as if he's not going anywhere anytime soon.
Glancing to the framed portrait of Honey Fitz that looms
over the Hideaway, Kennedy notes that his grandfather threw
out the first pitch when Fenway Park, home of the Boston
Red Sox, opened in 1912.

"I've been invited by the Red Sox to throw out the first
pitch in 2012, so I intend to hang around," he says, wryly.
Kennedy says his interest in Ireland is lifelong, and will
continue: "I breathed it as a child," he says. "Collins, de
Valera. Obviously, I'm interested in the historical aspect
of it. I'm convinced that Saint Brendan, the navigator,
discovered Cape Cod."

Kennedy says that while continuing to lobby the White House
to lift the fundraising restrictions against Sinn Féin, he
will press for the party and its constituents to get
involved in policing. Republican endorsement of, and
participation in, policing would "complete the circle,"
according to Kennedy, ending a cycle of violence that began
in large part because policing was so fundamentally flawed
some 35 years ago.

At the same time, he says, gestures by the republican
movement should be matched by unionists. "We're expecting
some corresponding actions by the DUP. There has to be some
political courage by the other side."

Still, as he ticks off his wish list, even the most
influential Irish-American politician acknowledges that his
influence is not unlimited in Ireland. "I'm not so sure,''
Kennedy says, chuckling, picking up a chess piece that
depicts a glowering Ian Paisley, "that Reverend Paisley
will listen to me''.

Kevin Cullen is a reporter for The Boston Globe


Eileen Paisley:: Ian & I Pray For Gerry Adams

(by Suzanne Breen, Sunday Tribune)

Eileen Paisley knows that to women, of a certain age and
outlook, her husband is something of a sex symbol. He'll
ask for 'the kiss of life' during elections and there'll be
no shortage of middle Ulster matrons willing to deliver.

"Oh, I don't mind at all because Ian's no philanderer,"
says Eileen. "But I remember one woman telling me how
wonderful he was and how she would wash his shirts any day,
and I thought 'there's an awful lot more to being Ian
Paisley's wife than washing his shirts.'"

Nobody could dispute that. Five children, nearly 50 years
of marriage – next year is their golden wedding anniversary
– and countless political storms later, the Paisleys remain
genuinely in love. They light up in each other's company.

Eileen's warmth and grace is apparent from the moment she
opens the door of 'The Parsonage', their handsome Victorian
home in East Belfast. The Paisley women have a sense of
humour. A bronze bust of Ian, looking stern, dominates the
hall. "Rhonda will be putting a Santa hat and some holly on
him for Christmas. In the summer, we give him a boater!"
Eileen declares.

Soon, she will have new responsibilities. The British
government is due to announce her appointment to the House
of Lords. It will be Baroness Paisley, probably of St
George's, a working-class part of Belfast's Sandy Row
"which I'd the honour to represent as a councillor many
years ago".

Her husband calls her 'the Boss' (and sometimes
'honeybunch') and describes her as the only person who can
order Ian Paisley about. Others insist she walks in his
shadow. A female journalist recently dismissed her as his

"I laughed at that. I've probably been places and done more
things than those making unkind comments. Just because I
grow my own fruit and make jam doesn't mean I haven't
something worthwhile to say.

"There's nothing wrong with standing by your man, if he's
the right man. I'm Ian's helper, his companion, his friend
and his lover. I'm very proud of my husband. Maybe there
are some things I'd have done differently but we agree most
of the time.

"He runs political matters by me and I tell him what I
think. Ian never wanted an insipid or submissive wife who
sits at home all day. He'd find that boring. He likes women
with spirit."

Eileen Cassells had wanted to be a journalist but her
father thought shorthand typing a better option. She was 17
when she set eyes on Ian Paisley. She'd heard about the
firebrand preacher, six years her senior, and went to see
him. "He was passionate and vibrant," she says.

Paisley's mind wasn't completely on the Lord that night. He
later asked a friend about the pretty young woman in the
pew. He found out where she worked. "I got a call to the
office and this voice said, 'Hello Miss Cassells, will you
come with me somewhere?' And I said, 'Sure, I'll go with
you. Now who are you?' And he said he was Ian Paisley.'"

He asked her to an Orange hall to take down his speech. "He
picked me up in his Austin Seven. It was tiny, and he was
so huge he hardly fitted in. My brother called it Ian's
Noddy car." Afterwards, they had supper in a café: "Ian had
a big mixed grill and I'd a small mixed grill."

On their first proper date – a trip to a Presbyterian
Church service in Bangor, and more supper – Ian proposed.
"I was shocked it came so quickly. I loved my parents, they
were very calm people, but Ian was spontaneous. He was a
fine figure of a man, and very kind. There was a great
spark between us. We bounced off each other. When we
kissed, it was the way it's meant to be."

Years later, driving home from Bangor with her twins, Ian
jnr and Kyle, Eileen said: "'Now boys, do you know what
happened me on this stretch of road? Your daddy asked me to
marry him.' 'Oh is that all?', they replied. 'We thought
you had a crash or something.'"

Ian was an affectionate suitor: "One afternoon, he drove me
to work, holding my hand. We'd stopped at traffic when a
policeman knocked the window and told Ian to keep both
hands firmly on the wheel!"

He was always buying her "wee pieces of jewellery" and
clothes: "If a dress in a window caught his eye, he'd ring
me and take me to the shop. If I liked it, he'd buy it.
Even now when I come home with shopping he'll want me to
try clothes on immediately so he can have a look."

Oddly, for a 1950s wedding, Eileen didn't promise to obey:
"Ian says I twisted the minister's arm to leave that out!"
She was interested in politics before she married: "I'd go
to the hustings, get excited and cheer candidates I liked."

She won a seat on Belfast City Council three years before
Ian became an elected representative, and was later elected
to the Stormont Assembly. When Paisley was jailed, she
addressed protest rallies across the North "to get the
venom out of me".

Once, she rounded on police arresting him, "though I didn't
use any bad language". After another conviction, she asked
the judge "if he would sleep soundly at night while my
husband lay in jail". When Paisley was barred from the US,
Eileen went on a speaking tour, addressing the Press Club
in Washington among others. Ian went to Canada. Their love
letters were couriered across the border, she says.

She doesn't dislike Catholics, she says: "It's Sinn
Féin/IRA who annoy me. Not that if Gerry Adams was standing
in front of me I'd want to be nasty or hit him. And if I
heard something bad had happened to him I wouldn't rejoice.
Death is so final."

Indeed, she prays for Sinn Féin leaders: "Ian and I always
pray for our enemies. I'll ask that God will show Gerry
Adams and Martin McGuinness his way and that they'll ask
for forgiveness. The apostle Paul was once a wicked man. He
did awful things but was saved."

Over the years, she has liked several nationalist
politicians, including John Hume: "I sat beside him on the
plane to Strasbourg and we had great craic. An English lord
who over-heard said: 'I didn't think you people liked each
other.' And I thought, 'typical English, you just don't
understand Northern Ireland'."

She never warmed to David Trimble: "He'd visit the house
and I'd make tea. Then, I'd see him again in public and
he'd not even say hello." She knows her husband is a hated
by some: "It doesn't bother me. People are entitled to
their likes and dislikes."

Even at the height of the Troubles, she tried not to worry
about the assassination risk he faced: "If I was tense, the
children would have been tense. So I left Ian in the Lord's
hands and the Lord looked after him."

It annoys when people prejudge him. "When I'd twin boys, a
woman said 'You're lucky. Mr Paisley wouldn't have
tolerated twin girls.' She didn't know Ian at all. He'd
have been as pleased with 10 girls as 10 boys." At home,
her husband is quiet: "You'd hardly know he was there. He
saves all his shouting for outside!"

Paisley had condemned the Catholic Church as the "whore of
Babylon", yet Eileen recalls visiting the Vatican during a
family holiday. "The Sistine Chapel was lovely. During the
trip, we were spotted by a Northern Ireland couple. I heard
one say, 'Look, it's Ian Paisley!' The other said, 'No it's
not. What would HE be doing in Italy?' Then Ian opened his
mouth and everybody knew it was him!"

Eileen will be interested in women's rights' issues in the
Lords: "I was raging when a survey this week showed many
people think if a woman dresses or behaves a certain way
she deserves to be raped. Even if a woman walks naked down
the street, no-one has a right to rape her."

Eileen (73) is both traditional and progressive. She
detests the "adultery and sodomy storylines" of the soaps –
"it would take a mountain of detergent to clean them".

Yet she stood firm amidst some Free Presbyterian
disapproval of her daughters for wearing trousers, make-up
and jewellery: "No-one has the right to tell women what to
wear. We don't tell men what aftershave to use or whether
to grow a beard." Daughter Rhonda, who is suing the DUP for
sexual discrimination, has her mother's "full support and
love". There are "no splits in this family", says Eileen.

She listens to Handel and traditional Irish music, and has
every Maeve Binchy novel – "my daughter Cherith got her to
sign one for me". Drinking and dancing are deemed "immoral"
in the Paisley household, yet Ian serenades his wife and
reads her poetry. 'Byron', the Paisleys' black cat is
asleep on a leather chair. 'Shelley', his twin, is out on
the prowl.

Paisley never forgets birthdays or anniversaries, and still
buys surprise presents: "He woke me one night and told me
to look under the pillow. He'd left a beautiful watch

Eileen lifts a favourite ornament, Ian's gift on their 30th
wedding anniversary. It's a man and woman making a toast at
dinner. Beside them sits a bucket of ice holding what looks
suspiciously like champagne. The devil's buttermilk under
Paisley's roof? "No! No!" says Eileen unconvincingly.
"That's Shloer!"

The garden, where she grows strawberries, rhubarb, apples,
and gooseberries, is her pride and joy. "I come out in
winter to feed the birds and that wee robin follows me all
over the place!"

The overpowering bond in the house, though, is between
Eileen and Ian: "Wherever he travels, first thing he'll do
on arrival is ring me. He rings me last thing at night, and
plenty of times in between.

"We always have fun. We share the same interests. That's
very important for a husband and wife. If Ian's out late,
I'll sit up to 2am so we can talk. We have great chats. So
many married couples don't. A spark like that, between a
man and woman, is a precious thing. Sometimes when he's
away, I'll tell him I miss him, and he'll say – 'Eileen,
we'll have all of heaven together.'"

November 28, 2005

This article appears in the November 27, 2005 edition of
the Sunday Tribune.


Family's Heartache After Theft Of Donkeys

By Lisa Smyth
28 November 2005

THE heartbroken owner of four donkeys stolen from a field
in Co Armagh last night made a desperate plea for the
thieves to return her pets.

Devastated at the theft of the four female donkeys, who are
all pregnant, Jennifer Clint said she will not rest until
the pets are returned home.

"I just can't bear the thought that they are out in that
weather," she said.

"The whole family is just devastated, particularly my four-
year-old son who calls them his wee friends.

"We rescued Nelly eight years ago and got the other ones to
keep her company and they were part of the family - every
morning I would bring them in and they would be hugged and
kissed and spoken to like children before we groomed them.

"When my husband came in and told me they were gone, I
thought I was going to have a heart attack.

"We have been driving around the whole day just looking for
some clue - I will go anywhere if I thought it would find

Mrs Clint also explained that two of the donkeys, Blaney
and Nelly, are inseparable and she fears that the thieves
may split them up: "If one of them took a step, the other
one would follow. It was comical at times.

"I am worried because even I couldn't get Tessa onto the
trailer so I can't bear to think how these people managed
to load her onto the trailer.

"I don't understand how anyone could do this and I would
beg them to please, please, leave the donkeys somewhere and
I will come and get them, it doesn't matter where, all I
want is my donkeys back."

A police spokeswoman said a province-wide search has been
launched in a bid to reunite the animals with the
heartbroken Clint family.

They were stolen from a locked paddock on the Laurelvale
Road in Tandragee during Saturday night.

Maggie, Nelly, Tessa and Blaney were driven off from their
shed in the steel and blue trailer also owned by the Clint

Police hunting the thieves appealed to anyone offered a
donkey for sale to contact them, particularly if it was in
suspicious circumstances or at an unrealistically low


Stormont Funeral For George Best

Football legend George Best is to be buried in Belfast on
Saturday after a funeral service at Stormont.

It is expected to be one of the biggest funerals ever seen
in Northern Ireland, with thousands of people expected to
line the route to Parliament Buildings.

NI secretary Peter Hain agreed Stormont should be made
available after an approach by the Best family.

Agent Phil Hughes said he would fly to the city with the
former NI international's body on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, NI Sports Minister David Hanson has said he has
not ruled out calling the proposed new Northern Ireland
sports stadium after George Best.

Mr Hanson said it would take time before a final decision
would be made but he said it was important that Best was
remembered in an appropriate way.

The funeral cortege will leave the Best family home in the
Cregagh area of east Belfast at 1000 GMT on Saturday. It
will then go along a three mile route through east Belfast
to Stormont.

Once there, it is thought there will then be a mixture of a
public and private ceremony for the world famous

It is expected to take place in the Great Hall inside
Parliament Buildings and be relayed to those outside by a
public address system.

Many sporting stars, including team mates from Manchester
United's European Cup winning side of 1968, together with
current representatives of the club, are expected to

DUP East Belfast MP Peter Robinson said Stormont was chosen
because the size of the estate would allow the public to
take part in the service.

After the service, the cortege will go to Roselawn Cemetery
where Best will be buried beside his mother.

There will then be a gathering for family and friends of
the famous player at a Belfast hotel.

Prayers were said on Sunday in churches across Northern
Ireland, after Best, who had been ill with a serious lung
infection since October, died on Friday.

Manchester United players and fans were among those paying
tribute to the footballer ahead of their first match since
his death.

There was a minute of applause before their game against
West Ham. His former United team-mate Sir Bobby Charlton
thanked them for showing respect.

On Saturday, a minute's silence was held at Irish League
matches in honour of the east Belfast man.

The Irish rugby team wore black armbands for their match
against Romania in Dublin as a mark of respect.

Hundreds of people also queued to sign a book of condolence
for the former star at Belfast City Hall.

Floral tributes have been left at the Best family home on
the Cregagh estate in the east of the city and flags are
flying at half-mast in the borough of Castlereagh.

Best was made a Freeman of the Borough in 2002.

The CIS Cup Final between Glentoran and Linfield scheduled
for next Saturday has been put back to 10 December because
of the funeral.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/11/28 11:41:50 GMT


Disney World's First Ever Irish Pub Pulls The Punters

Eamonn Houston

The magic of the Irish pub format has been exported to the
Magic Kingdom itself.

A slice of Ireland has arrived at the Walt Disney World
resort in Florida with the opening of the Raglan Road Irish
Pub and Restaurant in the Downtown Disney Pleasure Island.

The pub is the first of its kind in the resort. Owned by an
Irish company, Raglan Road features authentic Irish food,
drink, heritage and live entertainment in the famous theme

Raglan Road opened last month and has already proved a
popular dining and entertainment venue in the Magic

Paul Nolan, the joint owner of Raglan Road, said: "Having
built more than 400 Irish pubs, literally in the four
corners of the world, we believe that this is our best
expression yet.

"We are incredibly proud and excited to have the
opportunity to bring a real slice of Ireland to Downtown

Djuan Rivers, vice-president of Downtown Disney, said: "We
are thrilled to introduce an authentic Irish pub to
Downtown Disney.

"The superior level of quality, authenticity and energy
that this new venue brings is a perfect complement to
Downtown Disney's lineup of world-class retail, dining and

The original Raglan Road pub is on the south side of
Dublin. It was made famous by the renowned Irish poet
Patrick Kavanagh in a love poem entitled The Dawning of the
Day. In the 1960s, the Dublin folk singer Luke Kelly first
put the poem to music.

The song Raglan Road has since become a seminal Irish song
and has been covered by such musicians as Van Morrison,
Sinéad O'Connor and U2.

As a tribute to Patrick Kavanagh, a specially commissioned
bronze sculpture of the poet sits outside the Raglan Road
Irish Pub and Restaurant in Downtown Disney.

The venue is owned and operated by Great Irish Pubs Florida
Inc, the Irish-owned company that previously created Nine
Fine Irishmen at the New York-New York Hotel and Casino in
Las Vegas.

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