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November 03, 2005

Man Charged Over Bank Robbery

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News about Ireland & the Irish

IO 11/03/05 Man Charged Over Northern Bank Robbery
DI 11/03/05 SDLP: The Raids -'It's A Joke'
IT 11/04/05 Ludlow Report Criticises Garda Investigation
IT 11/04/05 SF Criticises Failure To Tell Family Of Report
IT 11/04/05 Ludlow: A Quiet Man Known For His Charity
IT 11/04/05 Ahern Predicts Deal To Devolve Power
IO 11/03/05 SF Incapable Of Telling The Truth - McDowell
IT 11/04/05 SF Challenged Over Web Sale Of Jewellery
AU 11/04/05 McCartney Sisters Snub Thatcher
IT 11/04/05 O'Dea Defends 1916 Rising Announcement
UT 11/03/05 NI Women Still Earning Less Than Men
IT 11/04/05 Failed Vocations Forces Sale Of Hospital
IT 11/04/05 Irish Pirate Queen's Story To Be A Musical
IH 11/04/05 Support Fr Reid: Unmasking William Frazer


Man Charged Over Northern Bank Robbery

03/11/2005 - 18:08:23

A man was tonight charged with the £26.5m (€39.2m) Northern
Bank robbery in Belfast.

The 23-year-old man was also accused of taking a husband
and wife hostage and possession of a gun or imitation
firearm during the heist last December.

He was one of men arrested by police in Northern Ireland as
part of their probe into the biggest cash robbery in
British history.

The man is due to appear at Belfast Magistrates Court
tomorrow morning.

The man charged is building contractor Dominic McEvoy, of
Kilcoo, Co Down.

Police held him at his Mullandra Park home on Tuesday as
part of a planned operation that has led to five arrests so

He is accused of the false imprisonment of Kevin McMullan,
a supervisor at the Northern, and his wife Karen.

Gang members took over their hom at Loughinisland, Co Down
during the robbery just before Christmas.

While Mr McMullan and a colleague, Chris Ward, were ordered
to go into work, both their families were held hostage.

Mrs McMullan was taken from her house and later released
near Drumkeeragh Forest Park, between Castlewellan and
Ballynahinch, Co Down.

A Police Service of Northern Ireland spokeswoman said
tonight: "A 23-year-old man has been charged with the false
imprisonment of Karen McMullan and the false imprisonment
of Kevin McMullan.

"He has also been charged with possession of a firearm or
imitation firearm with intent to commit an indictable
offence, and the robbery of £26.5m from the Northern Bank
in Belfast on December 20, 2004."

Earlier today a top republican was held during another
series of raids on homes in Co Tyrone.

Brian Arthurs, 40, was arrested in Dungannon while a 43-
year-old suspect was detained in Coalisland.

Arthurs, whose brother Declan was among an eight-man IRA
unit wiped out in an SAS ambush 18 years ago, is understood
to be a member of Sinn Fein.

Officers seized a car and dozens of bags containing cash,
cheque books, clothes and computer equipment from his

Police on both sides of the Irish border have blamed the
IRA for clearing the vaults at the Northern's Belfast city
centre HQ last December.

After a 10-month probe into the robbery, all five arrests
came in a 36-hour operation.

Along with McEvoy, another suspect, aged 24 was brought in
from Kilcoo on Tuesday night while a 30-year-old man was
held in Belfast yesterday.

Republicans and Arthurs' wife Paula were incensed that the
father-of-three was suspected of involvement.

"This is all a political exercise, this is to humiliate
republicans again," Mrs Arthurs said.

But Northern Ireland Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde insisted
the arrests were a deeply significant part of the
investigation and expressed his hope that more would

"This is not over yet," he said. "Just because people have
been arrested today does not mean the investigation is
closing down.

"We will continue to deliver as best we can in what is a
very complicated major crime investigation

"The action we have taken is proportionate and has been the
right thing to do.

"I have absolute confidence my detectives are looking in
the right direction."

Police believe up to 30 men planned the robbery just before
Christmas, which involved taking two bank employees'
families hostage.

Cash seized in Co Cork last February was linked to the
raid, but virtually all of the missing millions is

A month later the Northern was forced to replace all its
£10, £20, £50 and £100 notes with new notes carrying a
different logo.

Although the Provisionals have always denied carrying out
the raid, detectives believe senior IRA men in Belfast were

Only a lack of evidence has thwarted their attempts to
charge them.

But Mrs Arthurs hit out at the police decision to arrest
her husband, telling BBC Radio Ulster: "The Northern Bank
robbery is the biggest joke.

"Maybe if they looked a bit closer to themselves they might
find out who did it."

Arthurs' brother was gunned down by soldiers along with
other IRA men as they prepared to bomb Loughgall police
station in 1987.

The Sinn Féin MP for Fermanagh and South Tyrone, Michelle
Gidernew, claimed support for the reformed police service
would evaporate because of the arrests.

"These are not the actions of an accountable and acceptable
policing service," she said.

"The operation in Tyrone will further undermine the
confidence of the nationalist community in the ability of
the PSNI to deliver impartial, accountable policing."


'It's A Joke'

"These raids are the most ridiculous thing I have ever
seen. They should be regarded for what they are — a joke."
SDLP official

Ciarán Barnes

'Don't join PSNI' says SDLP man

A senior SDLP official has called on Catholics not to join
the PSNI following raids in Co Down yesterday allegedly
connected to last December's £26 million (€38.2 million)
Northern Bank robbery.

Two men, aged 23 and 24, were arrested during the operation
in Kilcoo. A 30-year-old man was later arrested in Belfast,
also allegedly in connection with the bank robbery.

All three men were last night being questioned at Antrim
police station.

The SDLP politician, who does not want to be named, said
the raids had caused "immense damage" to the PSNI.

He also branded them an attempt to discredit Chief
Constable Hugh Orde.

The SDLP official said he would make a full statement on
the matter next week once "things have become clearer".

The stepfather of one of the men arrested in Kilcoo said
his stepson had just come home from work when the PSNI
arrived. He said his stepson laughed when detectives told
him he was being arrested in connection with the Northern
Bank robbery.

The house was searched and it is understood documents,
mobile phones, a passport and computer equipment were taken

The arrests have caused considerable anger among both
nationalists and republicans in the tightly-knit Kilcoo

The SDLP official who spoke to Daily Ireland knows both the
Kilcoo men arrested.

He said he was certain they played no part in the Northern
Bank raid and said their arrests "stink of a set-up".

"These arrests do immense damage to the PSNI," he said.

"I would go so far as to say that at this moment no
Catholic worth their salt should join the PSNI.

"I believe there are elements within the PSNI out to
embarrass and set up the Chief Constable and bring about
his downfall.

"These raids are the most ridiculous thing I have ever
seen. They should be regarded for what they are – a joke."

Sinn Féin assembly member for South Down, Willie Clarke,
said the two men arrested are not members of his party.

"Local people are angry at the conduct of the searches, the
arrest of the two men and the attempts to smear their
character in the media through the usual 'security source'
briefings," said Mr Clarke.

"These are the actions of a political police force. They
are not the actions of an accountable policing service.

"Today's events will of course raise important and
difficult questions for the SDLP locally in the time ahead,
given their acceptance and endorsement of this sort of

Both the PSNI and Garda have claimed the IRA carried out
the Northern Bank robbery. The IRA has denied this.

The robbery happened at the bank's headquarters in Donegall
Square West in Belfast city centre in December 2004.

Nobody has been charged in connection with the raid.

Some money seized in Cork last February was linked to the
robbery as were notes found in a PSNI sports club in
Belfast but most of the cash is still missing.

Last March, the Northern Bank replaced all of its £10, £20,
£50 and £100 notes with new notes carrying a different


Ludlow Report Criticises Garda Investigation

Mark Hennessy, Political Correspondent

An Oireachtas sub-committee will begin a public inquiry
in January into the 1976 murder of Co Louth man Seamus

The RUC told the Garda in 1979 that it believed four named
loyalists were involved in his killing, but this
information was not pursued by the Garda at the time.

A report by Mr Justice Henry Barron released last night
sharply criticised the Garda investigation into Mr Ludlow's

No one has ever been charged with the murder of Mr Ludlow
(47) who lived at Thistle Cross near Dundalk. He was shot
dead early on May 2nd, 1976, as he went home from a night
out. He had no connections with any subversive
organisation, according to the Barron report.

TDs involved in next year's sub-committee investigation
warned last night that senior Garda officers of that time
and today would face "very tough questions".

Garda Commissioner Noel Conroy last night accepted that
there "were issues" in the original investigation. "In
recent years, An Garda Síochána has taken whatever actions
were available to right the situation and in this regard
co-operated fully with the Barron and other inquiries and
will continue to do so," he said.

The RUC told the Garda in 1979 that it believed that Paul
Hosking, William Long, Seamus Carroll, and a then UDR
corporal, James Reid Fitzsimmons, were involved in the
murder. However, they were never questioned in Northern
Ireland by the Garda. The Barron inquiry concluded that
senior Garda officers feared they would have to allow the
RUC the right to interview suspects in the Republic in

Mr Justice Barron said it was "most probable" that then
deputy Garda commissioner Laurence Wren made the decision
not to pursue the RUC's information. This has provoked a
furious response from Mr Wren, who has threatened
"corrective action to clear my name". Mr Wren, who retired
in 1987, said: "I have no intention of accepting the
conclusions reached by the inquiry in reference to my
supposed activities."

The Barron inquiry carries full Dáil privilege because it
was published last night by the Oireachtas Committee on
Justice, Equality, Defence and Women's Rights, chaired by
Fianna Fáil TD Seán Ardagh.

A sub-committee will now hold public hearings into the
report, interviewing as many key witnesses as possible - as
it did following Mr Justice Barron's report into the
Dublin-Monaghan bombings. It will not be able to compel
witnesses to attend.

The 100-page report, which found that some Garda files had
gone missing while other information was never stored at
all, was sent 14 months ago by the judge to the Department
of Justice. However, it was not released until yesterday,
the Minister for Justice earlier told the Dáil, because of
the decision to name the four suspected killers.

© The Irish Times


SF Criticises Failure To Tell Family Of Death Report

Marie O'Halloran

A failure to inform the family of Seamus Ludlow that the
inquiry report into his murder by loyalists was to be
published yesterday was criticised as "grossly insensitive"
by Sinn Féin.

Sinn Féin's Dáil leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin said it was
"most disturbing" that the family only heard about the
publication from a member of the media on Wednesday night.

Opposition parties also criticised the delay of more than a
year in the publication of the report of the independent
commission of inquiry led by Mr Justice Henry Barron.

Minister for Justice Michael McDowell said it was
"regrettable" that the family of the Dundalk forestry
worker, who was murdered in 1976, "has not been included in
the process as openly as one would have wished".

He added, however, that he had made arrangements for a copy
of the report to be sent to them immediately.

The chairman of the justice committee, SeaArdagh, "will put
the family in the centre of the committee's concerns and
will deal with the matter in a way that is fully cognisant
of their interest in the matter".

Mr Ludlow's family claims there was collusion by the
security forces in the North in the murder, for which
nobody was prosecuted.

The Minister also said the report was delayed for "complex
reasons" including the "identification of certain parties
and factual information relating to those parties".

The Government "considered that one individual had to be
given an opportunity to respond to the matters raised in
the report. This was done but took some time", he said.

The issue was first raised by Fine Gael deputy leader
Richard Bruton who asked whether there was a "valid legal
reason" for not contacting Mr Ludlow's family or giving
them access to any of the information the report contained,
before it was laid before the justice committee.

"Can the Minister give assurances that there are sound
legal reasons for this and that there is no intention to
keep the family out of the loop?" he asked.

Labour Party leader Pat Rabbitte said the Taoiseach had
promised in March that the report would be published within

Now that it was being published, "it seems regrettable that
the family was not advised of the implications of this and
invited to be present for the report's release through the

The report "equally appears to raise more questions than it
answers", according to Green Party leader Trevor Sargent,
who called for a debate on the report.

"The Garda must have the incident fully investigated if we
are to ensure confidence in the security forces on both
sides of the Border."

© The Irish Times


Ludlow: A Quiet Man Known For His Charity

Seamus Ludlow was a 47-year-old single man who lived with
his sister, Annie Sharkey, her husband, their 10 children
and his mother in a house in Thistle Cross, Dundalk, Co

According to Mr Justice Barron's report, he was described
by family, friends and colleagues as "a quiet, unassuming
man whose life revolved around work and home".

He was also known for charitable work, and had acted as
Santa Claus for children in a Dundalk housing estate for
many years.

He had worked as a labourer for various employers. At the
time of his death he was employed in a small local sawmill
at Ravensdale Wood, Dundalk.

His social life consisted of regular visits to various pubs
in Dundalk and occasionally to the Border Inn,
Carrickcarnan. He preferred to drink alone, but was quite
comfortable in company.

Other than a preference for the Fine Gael party, he had no
known political affiliations, and nothing whatsoever to
connect him to any subversive organisation, according to
the Barron report.

On Saturdays, when he finished work at lunchtime, he
usually went to the Border Inn, usually arriving home
between 6pm and 9pm. Otherwise, he went into Dundalk.

He was drinking in Dundalk on the evening of his death,
which was a Saturday. A number of witnesses saw him
thumbing a lift home that night.

The report states that it seems reasonable to suppose he
was picked up around Newry bridge, outside Dundalk, some
time between midnight and 12.30am on May 2nd, 1976.

His body was found the next day close to his home. He had
been shot a number of times.

Carol Coulter

© The Irish Times


Ahern Predicts Deal To Devolve Power

Gerry Moriarty, Northern Editor

It will be possible to restore devolution to Northern
Ireland by next year if the IRA continues to demonstrate
that it has ended activity, Taoiseach Bertie Ahern said
yesterday during a visit to Belfast and Newtownards.

Mr Ahern, during what was viewed as a bridge-building visit
to Northern Ireland, said the Irish "constitutional
question is settled" and that there was no workable
political alternative to the Belfast Agreement.

The Taoiseach also paid a symbolic visit to the Somme
Heritage Centre in Newtownards where he acknowledged that
Irish people had for years not properly commemorated Irish
soldiers who died fighting in the British army during the
first World War.

Political opinion appears divided over whether the Northern
Executive and Assembly could be restored by next year if
the IRA honours its commitments or whether DUP
procrastination and caution would delay any such possible
progress until sometime in 2007.

Mr Ahern, in his main address to the Institute of Directors
(IOD) at the Culloden Hotel near Belfast and in a question
and answer session with reporters at the same venue, said a
deal should be possible by next year.

"If indeed it is the case that all IRA paramilitary and
criminal activities have been brought to an end, then I
believe that re-establishment of devolved government is
achievable," he added.

"It is time for everyone to begin to face forward and try
and move on. I hope that we are approaching the point when
real and lasting progress can be made. There should be no
undue delay. I have made no secret of my wish to see the
devolved institutions restored as soon as practicable in
2006. Political paralysis is not an option in a fast-moving
world," the Taoiseach said.

He welcomed the LVF standing-down statement and hoped other
loyalist groups would follow suit. He told reporters that
sufficient progress was being made in relation to politics
and ending paramilitarism to enable the restoration of
devolution by next year.

"That's my view based on all that has happened this year,
based on the successes we have had," he said. "Obviously
there is going to be some delay but I can't see when we get
into springtime, and things are still moving right, why we
have any further difficulties," the Taoiseach added.

In comments perceived as seeking to encourage unionist
support for the political process Mr Ahern told the IOD:
"The constitutional question is now settled. The use of
violence to achieve a united Ireland is a thing of the
past. Many people, including myself, aspire to a united
Ireland. But it will not happen without the consent of the
people of Northern Ireland.

"The agreement is a unique and enabling instrument. Despite
all the ups and downs it has brought us a long way," he

© The Irish Times


SF Incapable Of Telling The Truth, Says McDowell

03/11/2005 - 18:11:42

The republican movement is devoid of statesmen and
incapable of telling the truth, Justice Minister Michael
McDowell told the Dáil today.

Speaking on a Sinn Féin motion calling for Irish unity, Mr
McDowell also called on the party to create trust and build
bridges with the unionist community.

Sinn Féin's private members' motion was defeated after a
Government amendment was today voted through in the Dáil by
a majority of TDs.

Mr McDowell told the debate that telling the truth about
issues like the IRA's alleged involvement in the Northern
Bank robbery and the killing of Detective Garda Jerry
McCabe was essential if trust was to be built between the

"They posture as statesmen, write books about their views
about the future of Ireland," the minister said.

"I was interested to see that some of them were
distinguished guests here yesterday but they are
distinguished by one thing – an absolute and radical
inability to tell the truth or acknowledge the truth."

He said he found it strange that the provisional movement
came to the Irish Government to ask it to help them engage
with unionists in Northern Ireland.

"Bringing together the orange and green traditions of this
island to create a genuine republic on this island, not a
sectarian society, requires statesmanship of a kind that
the republican movement has shown it is entirely incapable
of to this point."

However, he said he was encouraged by signs that Sinn Féin
was opposed to violence and wanted to promote democracy.

Sinn Féin's Dáil leader Caoimhghin Ó Caoláin tried to
interject to "roundly reject" Mr McDowell's comments, but
was ruled out of order by Ceann Comhairle Rory O'Hanlon.

Mr McDowell went on to say that he believed Northern
Ireland had more in common with the Republic than the UK.

But he said the repulican movement needed to have the trust
of all inhabitants on the island.

"Trust in that context means … that you tell the truth. If
you are a member of the IRA, you say so.

"If your movement killed Det Garda Jerry McCabe, you say

"If your movement raided the Northern Bank, you say so.

"But denying things which are known as obvious truths
totally undermines the credibility of those who engage in
that kind of mendacity."

The Dublin TD said that trust would create the building
blocks for engagement with the unionist community.

"The first thing they have to do is tell the truth. Unless
they face up to that, they're going nowhere."

Mr McDowell also accused Sinn Féin of polarising Northern
Ireland society by destroying the middle ground.

Responding, Sinn Féin TD Arthur Morgan challenged the grass
roots of Fianna Fáil to ask themselves whether their party
any longer represented their aspirations for a united

He claimed that their new found republicanism rang hollow.

Mr Morgan said Sinn Fein's motion had been put down in an
attempt to secure consensus, but that Fianna Fáil in
particular was running away from a constructive debate on

He told Taoiseach Bertie Ahern: "Live up to the ideals of
Padraic Pearse whose portrait adorns the wall of your


SF Challenged Over Web Sale Of Jewellery

Michael O'Regan

Sinn Féin has been asked to decommission its jewellery by
Minister for Defence Willie O'Dea.

The Minister was replying to Charlie O'Connor (FF, Dublin
South West) who said a Sinn Féin website was selling
jewellery and other material bearing the title Óglaigh na

Mr O'Dea said it was a matter for the Garda authorities, in
consultation with the law offices of the State, to
determine if the use of the title in such circumstances was

"However, as no permission for the use of the name Óglaigh
na hÉireann has been given, I would invite the leadership
of the political party, whose name appears on this website,
to ensure that this material is removed for sale on the
site," he said.

The Defence Act provided that "it shall be lawful for the
Government to raise, train, equip, arm and maintain Defence
Forces to be called and known as Óglaigh na hÉireann, or in
English, the Defence Forces". Accordingly, only the Defence
Forces properly established were entitled to use the
nomenclature Óglaigh na hÉireann.

No permission for use of the title on the items featured on
the website had been sought from the Department of Defence,
nor could such permission be given, he added.

© The Irish Times


McCartney Sisters Snub Thatcher

From: Reuters From correspondents in London
November 04, 2005

FORMER British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher has been
snubbed by five sisters of a Belfast murder victim who
refused to share a stage with her because of her policies
in Northern Ireland.

The McCartney sisters, who made world headlines earlier
this year by standing up to the Irish Republican Army
(IRA), were due to collect a Women of the Year award in
London but declined when they found Baroness Thatcher would
be there.

"Our campaign is one of justice and as an Irish republican
family we feel we cannot share the same platform with a
former prime minister who inflicted injustices on our
community," two of the sisters said in a statement.

The sisters' brother Robert, a 33-year-old forklift driver,
was stabbed to death in January by a gang that included
known IRA members.

The sisters criticised the IRA and its political ally Sinn
Fein - almost unheard of in their working-class Catholic
neighbourhood in Belfast - and accused local IRA men of
intimidating witnesses to stop them going to the police.

Their campaign struck a chord in Belfast, Britain and
beyond, putting the IRA under pressure and earning the
sisters an invitation to the US White House on St Patrick's

While the sisters have criticised IRA violence, they have
remained loyal to their republican roots, and said that was
why they could not share a stage with Baroness Thatcher.

The former British Prime Minister is hated by many Northern
Irish republicans for her uncompromising policies in the
province during her 11 years in office between 1979 and


O'Dea Defends 1916 Rising Announcement

Michael O'Regan

Minister for Defence Willie O'Dea dismissed a claim that
the Fianna Fáil Ardfheis was an inappropriate forum in
which to announce the Government's planned Easter Rising

Mr O'Dea said it was as good a platform as any to make the

"Frankly, I was surprised at the publicity generated by the
fact that it was announced at the ardfheis because this
matter has been under discussion since last July," he

"I remember specifically speaking to the chief of staff and
various people in the Department of Defence to get the
matter under way.

"Obviously, there is quite a number of Army officers who
knew or heard about it prior to the Taoiseach's official
announcement and I am amazed that it did not leak out into
the public domain," Mr O'Dea said.

"I thought I had seen it mentioned on some publication or
other. Maybe I am mistaken."

The Minister was replying to Fine Gael spokesman Billy
Timmins who said concerns had been expressed in some
quarters that the Taoiseach, in making the announcement at
the ardfheis, might not have chosen the most appropriate
place to announce it.

"Perhaps he should have undertaken all-party discussions on
it," said Mr Timmins. "Perhaps it is not the type of issue
that should be publicised."

Mr Timmins said he would be supportive of the concept of
recognising what the 1916 people did and he would welcome
the re-establishment of a military parade.

Mr O'Dea said that no final decision had been taken on
whether there would be one parade or a number around the

It was more than likely that there would be more than one

Planning was at an early stage and the Government would
welcome ideas from all sources.

The Minister said that the theme of the restored
traditional military parade would be "a celebration of
Óglaigh na hÉireann, successors to the volunteers serving a
democratic State engaged, through the UN, in the search for
global peace".

He said the Defence Forces had staged a highly successful
parade through Dublin city in 2001 to mark the return of
the last Irish contingent to serve Lebanon and the
experiences from that parade would serve as a basis for the
organisation of the Easter parade.

"The involvement of organisations representing former
members of the Defence Forces is also being considered," Mr
O'Dea added.

Asked by Mr Timmins if there were proposals to erect some
sort of monument outside the GPO, Mr O'Dea said he was not
aware of them.

© The Irish Times


NI Women Still Earning Less Than Men

Women in Northern Ireland are still earning less than men,
a Government survey confirmed today.

By:Press Association

However the gender gap is narrowing.

According to a report published by the Department for
Social Development the average income for women during
2003/04 was £162 a week compared to the average male income
of £251.

This was a decrease of £5 on the gap between the genders in
average incomes the previous year.

The report also revealed that while separated women
received the highest female incomes at £213 per week, co-
habiting men received the highest male income at £312 per

The number of people recorded as having no income fell from
52,000 to 28,000.

More women are recorded as receiving no income than men.

The report also revealed:

:: 11,000 men and 17,000 women were recorded as having no
income. This amounted to 2% of males and 3% of females.

:: Among women, 63% of income was sourced from earnings
(employment and self-employment); 26% from benefits; 5%
from non-state pensions.

:: Among men, 78% of income was sourced from earnings
(employment and self-employment); 11% from benefits; 7%
from non-state pensions.

:: Across all income bands, coupled women`s income
contributed between 31% and 36% to total family income.

:: For families with incomes under £300 per week, three-
fifths of total family income came from men.

:: The highest total individual incomes came from those in
full-time employment; £296 per week for women and £341 per
week for men.

:: Almost half, 49% of women`s incomes fell into the bottom
two quintiles of the income distribution, compared to only
31% of men.

Sinn Fein`s women and older people spokesperson, Pat O`Rawe
said the findings were an indictment of the failure of
policy and the political will to deliver pay equality.

"It is an indictment that in the 21st century women`s
income is only 65% of men`s," the Newry and Armagh MLA

"The situation has not improved because of a failure of
policy and political will to deliver pay equality.

"The only growth in jobs has been in the part-time, low
wage female service sector. This means that pay
inequalities may get worse unless there is a concerted
political effort to take action to address the issue.

"This will require a totally new approach to equality and
pay inequality."

Ms O`Rawe said policymakers needed to ask if pay inequality
was wrong and does it make the risk of poverty greater.

"The answer to both these questions is yes," she continued.

"What we now need to do is analyse why this pay
differential exists and bring forward a strategic plan of
action to address and eliminate the differential.

"It is also clear that income levels in the north for both
men and women are very low in comparison with the rest of
Ireland and Britain.

"The cost of living is also high here, as are energy costs,
yet British direct rule ministers are determined to force
through water charges and huge rates increases that will
only increase the threat of poverty."


Fall-Off In Vocations Forces Sisters To Put Hospital Up For

Eithne Donnellan, Health Correspondent

Mount Carmel Hospital in Dublin, which has been the
birthplace of thousands of children over the years, is to
be sold by the religious order which owns and runs it, it
has emerged.

The Sisters of the Little Company of Mary have decided to
sell the hospital as a fall-off in vocations to the order
means they no longer have sufficient members to take an
active interest in it.

However, the sisters said yesterday they wanted to see the
institution, on Dublin's south side, continue as a
hospital. They have engaged Prospectus Consultants to find
a suitable buyer.

A spokesman for the sisters said the quality of the buyer
would be more important to the religious order than the
amount offered for it.

Staff at the hospital were informed of the plan yesterday.

A statement issued on behalf of the sisters said: "The
decision to dispose of their interest in Mount Carmel
Hospital has been reached following a strategic review and
assessment of the options available.

"In the light of the age profile of the sisters and the
lack of vocations in recent years, the congregation has
concluded, with regret, that it no longer has the
capability to continue to play an active role in the
operation of such a major healthcare facility."

The statement added that they had decided "the hospital
should continue as a going concern for general medicine and
maternity services under a new hospital operator".

The hospital spokesman would not give details of the
hospital's annual turnover or the amount expected for the
property, which will be worth millions.

The hospital was established in 1949 and employs the
equivalent of 350 full-time staff and has 150 beds. Some
€15 million was recently spent on upgrading its facilities,
including the commissioning of a new daycare centre.

Last year 15,866 patients were admitted to the hospital.

The hospital spokesman said the Sisters of the Little
Company of Mary were confident that Mount Carmel, under new
ownership, "will continue to play an important role in
meeting the healthcare needs of the community and will
provide uninterrupted quality medical and nursing care to
its current and future patients".

The sisters will now focus on their other activities. In
particular, they now wish to concentrate on continuing to
provide care for older people, care in the community and
their hospice and homecare services.

© The Irish Times


Irish Pirate Queen's Story To Be A Musical

Denis Staunton, Washington Correspondent

Grace O'Malley, the 16th century Irish pirate, is to be
the subject of a big-budget Broadway musical from the
producers of Riverdance and the creative team behind Les
Misérables and Miss Saigon.

The Pirate Queen, which will feature a cast of 40, will
open in Chicago in October next year before moving to
Broadway a few months later.

Produced by Moya Doherty and John McColgan, the musical
will tell the story of the pirate, also known as Gráinne
Uaile, who led a band of pirates from Galway and became
chieftain of the O'Malley clan.

"Grace O'Malley has been, more or less, written out of
history, but she has lived on in song and story to become
an Irish heroine and icon, a symbol of resistance down the
ages. We are proud to reintroduce Grace to the world," Mr
McColgan said yesterday at a press conference in Chicago.

Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schoenberg, whose Les
Misérables will soon be the longest-running musical in
British theatre history, said they were proud to celebrate
the life of the Irish pirate queen.

"This unsung Irish heroine is truly a modern woman in
period costume, a born political leader with a passionate
love life. Bringing her story to the stage has been for us
an emotional journey of discovery and a fascinating new
challenge," they said.

The show's promoters were coy yesterday about the size of
the production's budget but Ms Doherty and Mr McColgan have
already hired Frank Galati, a Tony award-winning Broadway
director and choreographer Mark Dendy.

"We are very proud to have assembled this truly
international team, who are all the best in their fields,
to tell this remarkable story," Ms Doherty said.

The show's promoters are not holding back in their claims
about the life of Grace O'Malley as "pirate, chieftain,
lover and mother" who personifies the universal spirit of
independence and rebellion against oppression:

"At the heart of The Pirate Queen is the story of a
compelling, inspirational woman, a heroine for her time and
for all time. This is an Irish story with a universal

"History has forgotten Grace O'Malley. The Pirate Queen
will remedy that."

© The Irish Times


Unmasking William Frazer

For Immediate Release:

The Irish Heritage E-mail Group urges support for Father
Alec Reid.

William Frazer's appalling pretense of outrage over Father
Alec Reid having used the words Nazi and unionism in the
same breath, is just too hypocritical to ignore. Frazer,
most unfortunately, has gotten a good deal of mileage from
this encounter with Fr Reid. But rarely reported is the
indisputable fact that Father Reid was heckled, harassed,
and insulted before losing his temper. Almost immediately
following the incident, Fr Reid expressed his regret, and
publicly apologized.

Frazer, Director and spokesman for FAIR (Families Acting
for Innocent Relatives) has filed an "incitement to hatred"
complaint against Father Reid with the PSNI. Media reports
indicate PSNI are pursuing an investigation into this

The audacity of William Frazer, member, activist, agitator,
for FAIR, to file such a complaint nearly renders one
speechless. For those not familiar with Willie's
organization, FAIR doesn't hesitate to associate
Republicans with Nazi's, in fact the Irish Republic as
well. They devote quite a bit of space on their site to
doing just that.

Contents of this site can be attributed to Families Acting
for Innocent Relatives

The verbal attack on Father Reid was not Frazer's first
dramatic outburst. He is well known for his disruptive,
obnoxious, behavior, and has been arrested on several
occasions. Most recently was his September, 2004 arrest at
Leeds Castle, during the negotiations. Frazer was arrested
by the Kent Constabulary to prevent a breach of the peace
after refusing to leave the media Centrex at the Ramada
Hotel, about a mile from Leeds Castle.

If Frazer's goal was to obtain publicity for himself and/or
FAIR, he was successful. If he ever had any real intention
of helping the victims of violence get some closure, he was
a woeful failure. It was nothing more than a cheap, but
well orchestrated media stunt.

Regardless of what the likes of William Frazer do, Father
Reid will survive this tribulation. His faith, strength of
character, along with cards and notes from well wishers,
will carry him through. The Irish Heritage E-mail Group is
requesting that, anyone interested in sending him a message
of support can do so at:

Father Alec Reid
Clonard Monastery
Clonard Gardens
Belfast, BT132RL
N Ireland

Contact: George Trainor
Secretary Irish Heritage E-mail Group
Tel: 209-603-1239

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