News about the Irish & Irish American culture, music, news, sports. This is hosted by the Irish Aires radio show on KPFT-FM 90.1 in Houston, Texas (a Pacifica community radio station)

November 25, 2005

Irish Activist Against US/UK Treaty & Best Dies

To Index of Monthly Archives
To November 2005 Index
To receive this news via email, click HERE.
No Message is necessary.

News about Ireland and the Irish

IN 11/25/05 Opin: Activists Create Stink Over Treaty
IN 11/25/05 Finucane To Complain
DU 11/25/05 Picket Marks Murder Of Pearse Jordan By Police
DJ 11/25/05 Become 'Persuaders' For United Ireland
DU 11/25/05 Opposes United IRL Motion At Cambridge Union
DU 11/25/05 Dodds Urges Government Action In Loyalist Areas
UN 11/25/05 Daily Ireland Sues McDowell Over Nazi Slur
BT 11/25/05 UDA Begins Discussions On Its Future
IN 11/25/05 UDA Not Developing New Pipe Bomb Claims Duddy
BT 11/25/05 Gray's £200k Assets Frozen
BT 11/25/05 DUP Fury At Security Force Link With OTRs
IN 11/25/05 Durkan Claims SF 'Knew Of OTR Deal'
BB 11/25/05 Alliance Anger At Latest Talks
IN 11/25/05 Exiles Still 'Too Wary' Of The IRA
DI 11/25/05 Seminar Explores Belfast Fenians' History
IN 11/25/05 Dunphy's Verbal Attack Riles Viewers & Pundits
BB 11/25/05 Football Legend George Best Dies
BB 11/25/05 Obituary: George Best


Opin: Activists Ready To Create Stink Over Revised Treaty

By Ray O'Hanlon

Buried deep in the New York Times last week was a brief
story about extradition. It concerned the order by British
home secretary Charles Clarke for the extradition of Babar
Ahmad to the US where, according to the paper, he is
accused of running websites to raise money for terrorism in
Afghanistan and Chechnya.

"He would be sent under new laws that remove the
requirement that some countries, including the United
States, provide evidence," the report stated.

The paper's readers were doubtless assured. The United
States required evidence before putting someone on a plane
against their will.

The story, however, was referring to a revised version of
the US/UK extradition treaty which, critics contend, would
whittle down existing legal curbs on extradition. The
treaty was signed on March 31 2003 by the US attorney
general at the time John Ashcroft and then home secretary
David Blunkett.

The revised treaty required ratification by parliament on
the one side of the Atlantic and the United States Senate
on the other.

Parliament did its job in early 2004. But the Americans did
not immediately respond. They finally did last week. Sort

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee convened to discuss
the revised treaty but immediately postponed a vote until
next year. This was not out of any particular concern for
Mr Ahmad. The senators long-fingered their deliberations in
large part because they were confronted with significant
and vocal objections from civil liberties and Irish-
American groups.

"The committee is aware that particular interest has been
expressed about the treaty with the UK," committee
chairman, Senator Richard Lugar of Indiana, told those in
the hearing room about five minutes before the session was
due to start. The committee will carefully consider this
treaty and expects to hold an additional hearing next year
to hear from witnesses outside our government. Today, we
want to establish a record of the administration's views on
the treaty to which the committee and all interested
parties can refer as we continue our deliberations," Mr
Lugar said.

And so it did. It listened to testimony from lawyers
representing the US departments of state and justice."

And that was it.

When he delivered his remarks at the treaty's signing
ceremony back in 2003, John Ashcroft made no specific
reference to any conflict, group or country. However,
Irish-American activists say they see Northern Ireland
written clearly between the treaty's lines.

Under usual practice a unanimous vote by the foreign
relations panel is required before the treaty goes to the
full 100-member senate for a decision. However, the
Republican leader of the senate, Bill Frist, could, if he
so decided, pull the treaty out of committee and into the
senate for a vote.

So far there is no sign of that happening.

The revised treaty riles the likes of Ancient Order of
Hibernians national president Ned McGinley not least
because of what he describes as its "patriot act-type of
language" intended "to frighten people".

The US and UK have no problem extraditing people under the
existing treaty, McGinley argues.

Among concerns voiced by the Hibernians and others are that
the revised treaty eliminates an existing political offence
exception, transfers powers from the courts to the
executive branch and allows for retroactive prosecution for
listed offences allegedly committed even before

"No Irish-American activist is safe if this treaty passes,"
the Hibernians said.

The fears voiced by the Hibernians might be wide of the
mark. But they are now going to be heard nevertheless.

The foreign relations panel had several other treaties and
agreements on its agenda during its Capitol Hill meeting.
Now it intends to devote a separate session to the US/UK
treaty during which oral testimony will be taken from the
likes of the Hibernians and the American Civil Liberties
Union. The committee's members are certain to listen

One-third of the senate is up for re-election next year and
Irish-American activists are readying themselves to create
a stink over the revised treaty in states where they feel
they can make a difference.

The Hibernians still point to a 1991 US senate vote in
Pennsylvania when former Pennsylvania governor and US
attorney general Richard Thornburgh lost to Democrat Harris

The Hibernians actively campaigned against Thornburgh over
his prosecution of the Joe Doherty deportation case. To
this day they claim that their efforts were a key factor in
sending Thornburgh into an earlier-than-planned political


Finucane To Complain

By Staff Reporter

A BROTHER of murdered solicitor Pat Finucane is to lodge a
complaint with Police Ombudsman Nuala O'Loan, claiming that
the PSNI failed to tell him loyalists had his details.

Seamus Finucane's personal details went missing from
Castlereagh police station in east Belfast 18 months ago.

Mr Finucane (48), who served 10 years in jail for
possession of firearms, said police had only called at an
old address "even though they are quite aware of where I
actually live".

Police said complaints about their procedures should be
made to the ombudsman.


Picket To Mark Murder Of IRA Man By Police

Ciarán Barnes

A white line picket will be held in Belfast today to mark
the 12th anniversary of the murder of a local republican.

Pearse Jordan, a 21-year-old IRA man, was shot dead by the
RUC on November 25, 1992.

He was hit three times in the back while attempting to run
away after a car he was driving was rammed by an RUC

Shortly after the murder the RUC falsely claimed Mr Jordan
was armed and that a bomb, gloves and mask were discovered
in the car.

The Jordan family believe their relative was a victim of a
state sponsored 'shoot-to-kill' policy.

They refused to support the investigation into his death
and challenged the coroner's ruling against identifying the
RUC officer who fired the fatal shots.

It was later confirmed that Mr Jordan had been photographed
by the security services in the days before his death.

This prompted a group of Catholic clergy to call for a full
independent investigation into the circumstances
surrounding the killing.

An Fhírinne, an organisation which works with families
whose loved ones have been murdered by state-sponsored
groups, called on the public to support the Jordan family
in their efforts to discover the truth about Pearse's

The event will take place at the junction of Belfast's
Falls and Whiterock roads at 11am.


Become 'Persuaders' For United Ireland

Friday 25th November 2005

Sinn Fein's Mitchel McLaughlin says there is 'no logical
reason' why the Irish and British governments cannot become
'persuaders' for a united Ireland.

Writing in today's 'Journal', the Foyle MLA insists the
time is now right for the start of a "constitutional
debate" on what shape this "new Ireland' will take.

Mr. McLaughlin, Sinn Fein's general secretary, argues that
both governments and all of the political parties in
Ireland have already accepted - albeit, in some cases,
reluctantly --the "inevitability of Irish unity."

The Derry Assemblyman's views coincide with a major
conference at which the party's all-Ireland strategy will
be planned and developed.

Hundreds of republicans from across the country will gather
in Co. Monaghan tomorrow as part of Sinn Fein's "Cead
Bliain" centenary celebrations.

Mr. McLaughlin, writing in today's paper, says that, if the
Irish Government is serious about Irish unity, then it
should produce a Green Paper - a public consultation
document seeking views on a particular subject - on the
necessary measures to deliver this objective.

"The pursuit of this democratic objective in a peaceful and
democratic manner requires strategies to educate, persuade
and reassure," he asserts. "So, why not a Green Paper that
deals with the process."

The Foyle MLA says that, following the publication of the
Green Paper, the Irish Government must move to "persuade"
the British Government to hold an immediate referendum on
the issue of a united Ireland.

"This would give nonunionists the opportunity to sell the
benefits of the Green Paper and Irish unity to those who
belong to the unionist tradition and others that need
convinced," he says.

"It would also present unionists with an equal opportunity
to attempt to persuade republicans of what they believe are
the benefits of continue British rule in the North. And it
would allow republicans to get a better understanding of
the fears and concerns that unionists have about living in
an Ireland independent of Westminster influence."

This debate, he says, will create the "perfect forum" for
republicans and unionists to "finally talk to each other on
the basis of equality about the positive aspects of our
respective aspirations."

He adds: "Such a dialogue, conducted between equals, is
also the only peaceful and democratic way to resolve the
mutually incompatible constitutional aspirations of the
nationalist and unionist traditions in Ireland."

Mr. McLaughlin acknowledges that it is "probable" the
result of a border referendum in the immediate future would
return a majority in favour of retaining the
"constitutional status quo".

"But it would afford all the citizens of this island the
opportunity of an open and honest debate on the opposing
views around the issue of sovereignty."

The kick-starting of such a process, he says, will herald -
in practical and political terms - a "mutual commitment"
between representatives of the nationalist and unionist
traditions across the island to the democratic process and
to "persuasion by entirely democratic and peaceful means."

The result of a border referendum, he says, would act as a
"barometer" of the strength of each position and indicate
what change, if any, would be predictable from subsequent
referenda which, he says, would have to occur "every seven
years thenceforth."


Allister Opposes United Ireland Motion At Cambridge Union

Speaking in opposition to the motion, "This house believes
the ultimate outcome for Northern Ireland is a united
Ireland" at the Cambridge Union this evening, DUP MEP Jim
Allister said,

"Can I comment straightaway that I note Sinn Fein, having
agreed to take part in this debate, in the end have run
away. So instead of "Brits Out" we have "Sinn Fein Out".

For years, the attempt to attain a United Ireland came
through the barrel of a gun. Now, it's through the
politics of stealth. The slight of hand that is the
Belfast Agreement, is now the favoured weapon. Through
creeping harmonisation the same unacceptable goal of
subverting Northern Ireland's position within the United
Kingdom is advanced. Little wonder the majority in
Northern Ireland, who see their future, as is their
democratic right, within a United Kingdom, not a United
Ireland, reject the Belfast Agreement because of these

It is clear to me that this motion has been drafted in such
a way as to ease its passage. Hence the focus on Irish
unity as an "ultimate solution". It seems to be accepted
that it is presently not a viable option. That in itself
points to its irrelevance. Maybe because being
aspirational about a united Ireland is not enough for Sinn
Fein, is the reason why they pulled out and ran away from
this debate.

The constitutional affiliation of any region can only be
determined by the will of its people. Anything else is
undemocratic, repressive and contrary to international law.
So not even the erudite of Cambridge can make the choice
for the people of Northern Ireland. And, for that reason
alone you should not support a motion which prescribes the
future of my part of the United Kingdom.

It indisputably is the settled will of the greater number
in Northern Ireland that it should and must remain an
integral part of the UK. In making that free choice we are
not under the compulsion of any British Government or other
agency, but we make our democratic choice informed by our
history, culture, affinity and economic well-being.

No, the only compulsion at work on the constitutional issue
in Northern Ireland has been the shameful compulsion of the
bombs and bullets of the IRA, as they tried and failed to
coerce us into an all-Ireland Republic.

Make no mistake the cause of Irish unity, the cause that
the proponents of this motion want you to espouse, is a
cause besmirched by gruesome terrorism. Sanitise it as you
will, rationalise a distinction between ends and means as
you might, but the cause that you are being asked to
promote is one indelibly stained with the blood of the

Hundreds and hundreds of innocent people, men, women and
children, died at the hands of the IRA in pursuit of their
bloodthirsty lust for a united Ireland. This hall could be
filled several times over with the innocent victims of the
IRA. Why did they have to die? Because Sinn Fein's
Fascist military wing determined that a united Ireland must
be achieved, whatever the cost and whatever the wishes of
those who lived in Northern Ireland.

Who were these innocent victims? Ordinary people, just
like you. People like Jillian Johnston, who lived with her
family on the Fermanagh Border, near Belleek, as part of a
tiny Protestant community in that locality. She was not a
soldier, or a policewoman or anyway associated with the
security forces. No, she was a shop assistant, making few
demands of life other than to live in peace and settle down
and marry the man of her dreams, to whom she had just
recently become engaged. On 18 March 1988 they went out to
buy fish and chips. Her fiance then drove her back to her
isolated home and as he turned the car in the yard 3 IRA
HEROES, FREEDOM FIGHTERS, cowering in the bushes opened
fire with automatic rifles. 20 high velocity bullets
ripped through the body of Jillian Johnston and snuffed out
her young life. She was 21, like many of you. Jillian's
mother was on her own in the house, waiting as she always
did, for her beloved daughter to return. She heard it all
and more. The local paper has this poignant
record....."Inside the house, Jillian's mother was on her
own, and she remembers hearing the car arriving in the yard
and then hearing some bangs which she said seemed to go on
and on. Petrified, she sat in shock and, while she
adjusted to the terror of what she had just experienced,
she heard the killers walk past the window of the room
where she was sitting. She could clearly hear the laughter
as they talked of what they had just done..."

Cold blooded killers laughing and rejoicing in what they'd
done, in the cause of a united Ireland - the same cause
that you are asked to vote for tonight.

I'm sure that if those of us here tonight could have
witnessed that grisly scene, in that blood-stained farmyard
that night, we would all - maybe with a few hardened
exceptions - have been on the side of Jillian Johnston.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I'm still on Jillian's side. Are
you? Or tonight will you back the cause of her laughing
killers? I invite you to join us in rejecting this


Dodds Urges Government Action In Loyalist Areas

The North Belfast MP, Nigel Dodds, has raised with the
Social Development Minister, David Hanson, in the House of
Commons, the regeneration of loyalist areas. Speaking from
Westminster Mr Dodds said,

"At Northern Ireland Question Time I urged the government
to accept that the main issues, amongst others, are better
housing, sustainable employment and a focus on education
from the earliest age right through to adulthood. All of
this must be tackled as part of a strategic plan in these
areas. It must also be properly resourced and funded.
That is the challenge for the government. The minister is
aware that, as the elected representative of these areas,
the DUP is totally committed and will continue to work for
social and economic betterment of the people living there."

In reply, David Hanson MP, Minister for Social Development,
said that he agreed with Mr Dodds and that the government
is trying hard to consider how best to improve educational
opportunities, housing and employment, particularly in
loyalist areas.


Daily Ireland Sues McDowell Over Nazi Propaganda Slur

10:35 Friday November 25th 2005

The Belfast High Court has begun hearing a lawsuit taken by
the Daily Ireland newspaper against Justice Minister
Michael McDowell.

The paper is suing Mr McDowell for comparing its contents
to Nazi propaganda in January of this year.

The minister made the comparison in an official Department
of Justice statement the month before Daily Ireland was

During a sustained criticism of Sinn Fein and the IRA, he
suggested the newspaper would be to Irish democracy what a
Nazi news sheet was to pre-World War II Germany.

Daily Ireland editor Martin O Muilleoir accused Mr McDowell
at the time of putting journalists in danger from
loyalists, while the NUJ also slammed his comments, saying
a free press was essential in any democracy.

The Belfast High Court heard today that the minister was
basing his defence on an argument of "sovereign immunity".


UDA Begins Discussions On Its Future

Police and NIO involved, says UPRG

By Chris Thornton
25 November 2005

UDA representatives have started the "full process of
engagement" they wanted to determine the group's future, a
senior loyalist political representative said today.

Newtownabbey councillor Tommy Kirkham said the Ulster
Political Research Group has opened contacts with the NIO,
senior police, ceasefire monitors and the Republic's
Government on the UDA's behalf.

On Remembrance Sunday, Mr Kirkham read a statement from the
UDA leadership saying the group has "a clear understanding
on the future".

"We are open-minded and waiting on contact," the statement

"That contact has come," Mr Kirkham said. "At this minute
in time, it's a full process of engagement. We're moving on
all fronts."

The UPRG is scheduled to have separate meetings with
Secretary of State Peter Hain and Political Development
Minister David Hanson next month.

Mr Kirkham said the UPRG met Assistant Chief Constable
Duncan McCausland and other senior police officers last
week and also "agreed a way forward" with the Independent
Monitoring Commission.

"There is other progress," he said. "They have renewed
contacts in southern Ireland as well." The UDA has also
returned to discussions with General John de Chastelain's
Decommissioning Commission.

Mr Kirkham said an internal consultation process conducted
by the UDA had indicated it is possible to "come to some
arrangement about the future of the UDA".

The Rev Mervyn Gibson, a member of the Loyalist Commission,
a group that brokers contact between the main paramilitary
groups, said he believes both the UVF and UDA are "facing
in the right direction".

But he warned that the process of winding up those
organisations would not be taken simply in response to the
IRA ending their armed campaign.

"I think there could be significant momentum over the next
12 months," he said.

He said an internal discussion document circulated within
the Loyalist Commission had identified a resolution of the
parades dispute as a central issue.


UDA Not Developing New Pipe Bomb Claims Duddy

By Allison Morris

Speculation that the UDA is developing a new pipe- bomb has
been dismissed as unlikely by Sammy Duddy of the Ulster
Political Research Group.

The spokesman for the UPRG, which is closely aligned with
the paramilitary organisation, said the UDA was not behind
a blast in

Newtownabbey that was thought to be a trial run for the new

"I don't know enough about this incident to make a proper
assessment of just what happened," Mr Duddy said.

"It does seem a bit odd, the blast didn't appear to have
been targeting person or property.

"I wouldn't like to speculate on what the reason for it
was, other than to say that it is unlikely to be linked to
the UDA."

No-one was injured and no damage was caused by the blast at
the junction of Reahill Road and the Cullyburn Road in

People reported hearing a loud bang and a car speeding from
the scene, at around 8.15pm on Wednesday.

Fragments of copper piping were found strewn on the road at
the rural location on the outskirts of Mossley.

Police closed the road to traffic while an forensic
investigation was carried out and several items have been
removed from the scene for further examination.

SDLP councillor for the area Noreen McClelland said it was
a "worrying development".

"I will be meeting with the police to discuss this
development but I am very concerned at what this means for
the future," Ms McClelland said.

"Obviously you don't test a device unless you intend to use
it in the future.

"Pipe-bombs have been used in the past to cause devastation
and even kill.

"We are supposed to be pursuing a peace process and these
groups need to know that people are sick of this type of


Gray's £200k Assets Frozen

By Deborah McAleese
25 November 2005

The assets of murdered loyalist boss Jim Gray have been
frozen by the Assets Recovery Agency.

Belfast High Court yesterday granted the order to freeze
assets worth around £200,000, belonging to the former UDA

They include an interest in a house at Knockwood Park in
the Clarawood estate in east Belfast where Gray was shot
dead at the start of last month.

Proceeds from a Northern Bank draft for €10,000, a BMW M5,
£3000 cash, money held in several bank accounts, pensions,
insurance policies and an 18-carat gold bracelet have also
been frozen.

Gray's sister Elizabeth Gray has also been named in the
order for holding £23,000, believed to have been given to
her by Gray, in a bank account in her name. She has not
been accused of any wrongdoing.

During the High Court hearing, the Assets Recovery Agency
(ARA) successfully argued that Gray's expenditure was
substantially higher than his declared income and that he
derived his assets from a wide range of criminal activity
including terrorism, drugs and money laundering.

ARA assistant director Alan McQuillan said this is only the
first step in the investigation.

"We will now carry out further enquiries into the origins
of the frozen assets and into the existence of any
unidentified assets, with the intention of applying for a
recovery order in due course," he said.

Gray was shot outside his father's house on Tuesday October
4 while he was on bail for money laundering charges.

Gray's finances were among the first five cases handed to
the Assets Recovery boss Alan McQuillan in 2003.


DUP Fury At Security Force Link With OTRs

By Noel McAdam
25 November 2005

Security forces personnel placed alongside terrorist
paramilitaries in the Government's On The Runs scheme was
last night branded "outrageous" by the DUP.

As it outlined plans to challenge the controversial plan in
Parliament, the party insisted security force members must
be dealt with by a separate section of the legislation.

Amendments tabled by the party in the House of Commons
include further distancing the security force provisions
from the terrorist provisions - and that the scheme should
not apply to people supporting organisations which still
exile people from Northern Ireland.

Party secretary Nigel Dodds said there was "deep anger"
that members of the Army and the police were on an
equivalent basis with terrorists.

"That is absolutely outrageous," said the North Belfast MP
who referred to the scheme during the uneasy House of
Commons debate which saw the legislation reach its second
stage as a "get-out-of-jail-free card".

Deputy leader Peter Robinson, and MPs Jeffrey Donaldson and
Sammy Wilson have tabled a total of 55 amendments so far
for the report stage of the so-called Northern Ireland
(Offences) bill including:

Unless an applicant has demonstrated remorse they should
not benefit from the scheme.

Those who benefit from the scheme should serve at least one
third or five years of their sentence rather than no time
at all.

All enquiries into security force activities during the
Troubles should cease.

Applicants should be required to attend the Special
Tribunal, and

Evidence obtained should be able to be used in civil
proceedings against the accused.

Mr Robinson said: "We will use every Parliamentary
opportunity to do all we can to block the passage of this
legislation and the Government will be given a rough ride
at every stage of legislation.

"The matters we have tabled will give Members of Parliament
the opportunity to fully examine every aspect of this
legislation and highlight the outrageous nature of the
Government proposals."

Secretary of State Peter Hain has also confirmed that if
any soldiers are charged with a serious offence - even
murder - arising from the Saville inquiry into Bloody
Sunday "they could plead not guilty and choose to go
through the special process".


Durkan Claims SF 'Knew Of OTR Deal'

By Staff Reporter

SDLP leader Mark Durkan last night claimed that Sinn Fein
had previously known that the on the runs legislation would
extend to killers within the security forces.

At Hillsborough Castle, following talks with secretary of
state Peter Hain and the Republic's foreign affairs
minister Dermot Ahern, Mr Durkan again raised the issue of
this controversial legislation which is being debated in

Mr Durkan said his hope was that the legislation would not
survive in its current form.

He alleged that the legislation was the result of a squalid
sordid deal by people who have interests about covering up
the past.

"This legislation doesn't just deny victims justice ... it
will deny victims and all of us truth," Mr Durkan said.

"Gerry Adams claims Sinn Fein didn't know this legislation
was going to extend to killers and other criminals who were
inside crown forces," Mr Durkan said.

"Sinn Fein did know. They did a calculated trade off. They
sold out the relatives that they claimed to be


Alliance Anger At Latest Talks

One of Northern Ireland's political parties has described
its talks with the British and Irish governments as
"extremely angry".

Alliance leader David Ford said neither NI Secretary Peter
Hain nor Irish Foreign Minister Dermot Ahern gave them
answers about how they would proceed.

Later, UUP leader Sir Reg Empey emerged from the talks and
said the public were "fed up" with the suspended assembly.

He said his party would not be going to "any country
estates for more talks".

Sir Reg also claimed the Democratic Unionists had not only
failed to stop concessions to Sinn Fein but suggested they
were getting more, citing the on-the-runs issue and the
review of public administration.

After his round of talks, Mr Ford said Mr Hain could not
say why the DUP was the only party consulted on the
victims' commissioner.


Mr Ford said the ministers would also not say why they were
not looking for "a balanced legal way" of dealing with the
on-the-runs and why the public administration review was "a
sectarian carve-up of Northern Ireland".

"I suspect that the only value of the meeting will be if it
causes ministers to wonder why their recent behaviour has
so annoyed a cross-community political party like Alliance,
which is committed to moving this society forward in
partnership," he said.

An SDLP delegation also met the two ministers at
Hillsborough Castle.

Speaking afterwards, party leader Mark Durkan claimed that
Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams knew that on-the-run
legislation would also apply to members of the security
forces accused of crimes.

Mr Durkan accused Sinn Fein of making "a calculated trade-

"They sold out the relatives that they claimed to be
championing so that they could deliver the greater
advantage, as they saw it, to republicans who were on-the-
run," he said.

He said that if Mr Adams really had objections to the
legislation, he could join with all the other Northern
Ireland parties in opposing it.

Mr Hain refused to be drawn on the claims but he said that
the government would "listen very carefully to any
constructive amendments" that were brought before the bill
becomes law.

'Stock taking'

The two ministers began talks on political development with
some parties earlier this month.

However, the DUP declined to take part, saying the
governments already knew its position.

Issues tabled for discussion include parades, policing and
restorative justice.

It is understood the talks are about "stock taking and
ground clearing".

The ministers wish to establish the parties' positions
before further discussions in the new year.

Sinn Fein, the PUP and UKUP parties attended the first
round of meetings on 11 November.

The DUP held a "forthright meeting" with Irish Prime
Minister Bertie Ahern in Dublin last week.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/11/24 18:44:11 GMT


Exiles Still 'Too Wary' Of The IRA

By Catherine Morrison and Seamus McKinney

A VICTIMS group last night said people exiled by the IRA
did not trust them enough to come home, despite assurances
given by Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams.

Mr Adams said those banished abroad by the IRA were free to
return home but first should "contact their communities".

The Sinn Fein leader did not specify how this could be

Hundreds of people have been exiled by the IRA for reasons,
in-cluding alleged anti-social behaviour and claims of

Speaking in Dublin yesterday, Mr Adams said that the
organisation no longer posed any threat to those
republicans too fearful to return home.

"Take the recent IRA statement, as I do, in which it said
it would cease all activity. The IRA is a threat to
nobody," he said.

"Would I encourage people to come back? Let those who were
committing offences within their communities contact their
communities about that."

His comments came a day after legislation granting an
amnesty to on-the-run fugitives was given its second
reading. Under the controversial law, those wanted by
police for offences committed before the Good Friday
Agreement was signed in 1998 will be free to return home
without any court charges.

Victims group Wave said it welcomed Mr Adams's remarks but
said many exiles would still be fearful of returning.

In the past the group has helped families whose relatives
have been banished abroad by republican and loyalist

A spokesman said: "That is great of Gerry Adams to say
that, but there is a big trust issue there for people.
Given the events of Robert McCartney's murder last
Christmas, there are still things happening and I don't
know if people will just take the IRA's word for it.

"Trust needs to be built up be-fore people feel confident
about coming back to this country."

A former IRA chief turned informer, Sean O'Callaghan, who
went into voluntary exile in 1985, said he believes Gerry
Adams's pledge was dependent on any returning victims
talking directly to the paramilitary organisation.

Mr O'Callaghan (51) said last night that no matter what Mr
Adams promised, he believed he would be murdered if he
returned to Ireland.

The former IRA leader said: "If you're in the nicer end of
Andersonstown what is your local community? What he really
means is that you should talk to 'the boys'.

"For instance could you go back and talk to Alex Maskey or
Alex Attwood; would that be talking to your local

SDLP assembly member Alex Attwood said key questions had to
be answered: "As it was the IRA who beat up, knee-capped
and exiled people, does the IRA now have to give consent
for people to return?

"As with recent UDA statements, people will rightly be


Seminar Explores Belfast Fenians' History

Those with an interest in Irish history are being urged to
attend a special seminar today exploring the development of
the Fenian movement in Belfast.

Entitled William Harbinson, Belfast Fenians and the State,
the talk, which will be given by noted academic Brendan
MacSuibhne of Notre Dame University, will delve into the
dark side of the movement's growth in Belfast and its
relationship with the British state.

Events manager at Culturlánn in Belfast, which will host
the event, Aodhán Ó Conghaile, says the session will lift
the mask on the development of a movement that laid
foundations down across the globe.

"This will be a warts-and-all look at Harbinson and the
Fenian movement and their connections with the state and
what sort of underhand dealings were going on."

The talk will take place 7pm and admission is free.


Dunphy's Verbal Attack Riles Viewers And Fellow Pundits

By Keith Bourke

RTE has received almost 100 complaints after broadcaster
Eamon Dunphy attacked former Irish international Niall
Quinn and his fellow pundits in an emotional verbal volley.

Ninety three viewers contacted the station after Dunphy let
rip during a heated debate about Roy Keane's departure from
Manchester United.

Dunphy, Bill O'Herlihy, John Giles and Liam Brady had been
discussing the Keane situation on the station's Champions
League programme when Dunphy took exception to comments

by Brady.

He blasted Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson,
describing his handling of Keane as "brutal".

He said Sir Alex would regret the day that he let the Cork
man walk away from Manchester United.

Dunphy also turned on Liam Brady and John Giles, saying
they never had the conviction or courage of Keane in an
Ireland shirt.

And while it started out as a healthy discussion of the now
famous departure, it ended up with Dunphy taking a pot shot
at Niall Quinn when O'Herlihy mentioned a column on Keane
written by the former international striker.

He told viewers that if they really know wanted to know
what the former Manchester United captain was like they
should go and see the stage play I Keano.

Dunphy also made little of the fact that Quinn donated £1
million of the money he got from his testimonial to

A visibly shocked Bill O'Herlihy tried to call order as a
clearly annoyed Dunphy pulled the microphone from his lapel
in a move reminiscent of his famous pencil-throwing
incident live on air during Italia '90.

The televised clashes ended when RTE screen video footage
of Manchester United's scoreless draw with Villarreal on
Tuesday night.

At half-time in RTE's coverage of the Liverpool/Real Betis
game, O'Herlihy said there had been a huge volume of calls
to the station in support of Quinn.

A spokeswoman from RTE said yesterday.


Football Legend George Best Dies

Football legend George Best has died in hospital at the age
of 59.

Best died in intensive care on Friday afternoon following
"a long and very valiant fight", said a statement from west
London's Cromwell Hospital.

The ex-Manchester United and Northern Ireland star had
multiple organ failure after developing a lung infection
last week that led to internal bleeding.

He had been in hospital since entering with flu-like
symptoms on 1 October, later suffering a kidney infection.

The statement continued: "The thoughts of all staff at
Cromwell Hospital are with Mr Best's family at this time."

Best, a recovering alcoholic, needed drugs after a 2002
liver transplant that made him susceptible to infection.

The Belfast-born former footballer and television pundit
had been prescribed medication to suppress the immune
system and prevent his body rejecting the new liver.


March 2000: Severe liver damage diagnosed
February 2001: Treated for pneumonia
April 2001: Anti-alcohol pellets implanted into his stomach
July 2002: Undergoes liver transplant
November 2004: Routine operation to check on liver
October 2005: Treated for kidney infection in intensive
November 2005: Lung infection sees condition worsen

At the time of his hospital admission in October, Best's
agent Phil Hughes said his client had been "off the drink"
before being admitted to the hospital.

Best is widely regarded as one of the greatest players to
have graced the British and world game.

His heyday occurred during the 1960s, and he brought a pop
star image to the game for the first time.

But the accompanying champagne and playboy lifestyle
degenerated into alcoholism, bankruptcy, a prison sentence
for drink-driving and, eventually, his controversial liver

He helped Manchester United win the First Division title in
1965 and 1967 and the European Cup in 1968. His role in the
team's success was recognised by his becoming the European
Footballer of the Year in 1968.

Best made 466 appearances for the Old Trafford club,
scoring a total of 178 goals.

He also won 37 caps - scoring nine goals - for Northern

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/11/25 13:29:51 GMT


Obituary: George Best

Manchester United football legend George Best will be
remembered for his dazzling skill on the pitch, and for his
champagne lifestyle away from it.

Best was a footballing genius. He had speed, superb
dribbling skills, the ability to accelerate past players
and was adept with both feet.

He is widely regarded as one of the greatest players to
have graced the British game.

George Best factfile

1965: Helps Man Utd win League Championship
1968: Scores in United's victory in European Cup
1974: Walks out on United aged 28
1984: Jailed for drink-driving offence

Together with Denis Law and Bobby Charlton, Best formed a
triumvirate that inspired Manchester United to League
Championships in 1965 and 1967 and the European Cup in

In that year, he picked up the English and European
footballer of the year awards.

His heyday occurred during the "swinging sixties", and,
with his good looks, he brought a pop star image to the
game for the first time.

But the accompanying champagne and playboy lifestyle
degenerated into alcoholism, bankruptcy, a prison sentence
and, eventually, a liver transplant.

Stunning debut

George Best was born in Protestant Belfast, the son of a
shipyard worker. He was spotted by a Manchester United
scout while still at school.

At 15, he was taken to Manchester by Matt Busby, with a job
as an office boy near United's ground, and signed as a
professional at 17.

He burst on to the international scene with a stunning
display against Benfica in 1966 in which he scored two
goals in the first 10 minutes of a 5-1 demolition in

At 18, he won the first of 37 international caps for
Northern Ireland and was being hailed as the new Stanley

A slight figure, 5ft 8in tall and weighing 10 stone, he
dazzled the crowds with his skill.

Hedonistic lifestyle

But soon the shy, unworldly boy from Belfast was caught up
in the trappings of fame. He acquired an agent and a
secretary and went into business, opening two boutiques.

Although he rarely missed a game in his early career, he
started causing problems at Old Trafford, and in 1971 was
suspended for a fortnight for failing to catch a train for
a game at Chelsea.

A year later, he was dropped from the team again for
failing to attend training, and was ordered to leave the
house he had built in Cheshire and move into lodgings near
Old Trafford.

By now his lifestyle was a constant source of newspaper
gossip, with countless stories of girls and heavy drinking.

Tommy Docherty's arrival at the club inevitably led to a
showdown and Best finally parted company with Manchester
United in January 1974.

Christmas in jail

In the following years he played, briefly, for 11 different
clubs, including Fulham, Hibernian and three American

His personal life became increasingly more difficult, with
bouts of alcoholism, bankruptcy and the failure of his
first marriage.

Then, in 1984, he was convicted of drink-driving and
assaulting a policeman, and was jailed for 12 weeks. An
appeal failed, and Best spent Christmas in Pentonville

He claimed that the experience made him turn over a new
leaf, but in 1990 millions watched his infamous drunken
performance on the Wogan television chat show.

Eight months later he was bound over for assaulting a man
in a London pub.

In 1998 he agreed, under pain of eviction, to leave the
Chelsea flat he had lived in for the previous 13 years. He
was £70,000 in mortgage arrears.

Plagued by alcoholism

Though he had married again in 1985 and had gained regular
employment on television and as an after-dinner speaker,
his alcoholism continued to plague his mind and body.

In March 2000 he spent several weeks in hospital with a
liver problem, almost certainly a result of his drinking.

His liver was said to be functioning at only 20%. Two years
later, he entered hospital again for a liver transplant.
His second marriage faltered shortly after, when he
admitted to being back on the booze.

George Best will be most fondly remembered for his sublime
footballing skills, his balletic grace and his sinewy

But he wrote his own epitaph when he once said: "I was the
one who took football off the back pages and put it on to
page one."

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/11/25 13:18:06 GMT

To receive this news via email, click HERE.
No Message is necessary.
To November 2005 Index
To Index of Monthly Archives
Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?