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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 21, 2005
Riot Squad Ready for UDA Violence
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News about Ireland and the Irish
SL 11/20/05 Riot Squad Ready For UDA Prison Violence
SL 11/20/05 Town Vow For Mums' Anti-Drugs Campaign
BB 11/20/05 Dalai Lama To Visit Peace Centre
ST 11/20/05 Hain Announces Shake-Up Of Schools And Councils
BB 11/18/05 DUP And Ahern Talks 'Forthright'
BB 11/18/05 DUP Calls For Hain's Resignation
IE 11/18/05 Echo Editorial: Hain's View
SL 11/20/05 Unionists Vow To Bring Down Education Plans
DI 11/20/05 Paisley: MPs In Dáil Is Aggression
DI 11/20/05 Calls For Honest Account Of 1980s History
SL 11/20/05 Murder Victim's Family In US Move
DI 11/20/05 Calls To Resign From Policing Partnership
SB 11/20/05 SF Faces Campaign-Finance Questions
SB 11/20/05 McDowell: Strong On The Law But Not On Order
SL 11/20/05 Mad Dog's Agent Has Violent Past
DI 11/20/05 Opin: How Times Have Changed
SL 11/20/05 A Night To Remember Mo
SL 11/20/05 Memorial Moves
SL 11/20/05 Felons Toast Licence Green Light
BB 11/20/05 George Best Condition 'Dangerous'
IO 11/20/05 Documentary: de Valera's 'Cuban Links'
(Poster’s Note: Catching up with some news from yesterday
and before. Jay)
Riot Squad Ready For UDA Prison Violence
By Alan Murray
20 November 2005
A SPECIAL prison riot squad is on standby at Maghaberry
Prison over fears that violence will erupt between UDA
Governors are concerned that tensions between Andre
Shoukri's north Belfast brigade and brigades from the east
and south of the city could spill over into jail violence.
Sources connected to the UDA insist there is "no major
But it is understood that remarks by south Belfast UDA boss
Jackie McDonald on last week's UTV Insight programme
angered Shoukri's supporters.
In the 'Slow Surrender' programme, McDonald was asked how
the UDA would deal with other 'Jim Grays' in the
organisation - a reference to the murdered east Belfast
'bling brigadier', who ran a money-spinning criminal
He replied that it was for the Chief Constable to deal with
UDA elements in north Belfast interpreted this as a direct
reference to Shoukri, currently on remand on blackmail and
money laundering charges.
"It was certainly commented upon during brigade meetings,
but there is no major problem at the moment between us and
south Belfast," said a north Belfast UDA source.
McDonald and Shoukri denied they were at loggerheads in an
exclusive Sunday Life interview earlier this year.
But within weeks, the pair and their supporters were
involved in a stand-off in the Sandy Row area of the city.
Shoukri's prosecution on a string of charges has caused
resentment among his supporters.
The 28-year-old is being held on remand with former Irish
League footballer John 'Bonzer' Borland, believed by police
to be his second in command.
A Prison Service spokesman said yesterday that the prison
situation was constantly monitored and there had been no
"incidents" involving loyalists.
But prison officers say two internal response units are on
stand-by to deal with any violent incident that might
develop between north and south Belfast UDA prisoners.
Town Vow For Mums' Anti-Drugs Campaign
By Stephen Breen
20 November 2005
A MYSTERY group of mothers who have been battling against
LVF drug dealers in Lisburn last night vowed to take their
campaign to other towns across Ulster.
The pledge was made by the Families Against Drugs (FAD)
group after they posted the name of an alleged drug dealer
in the Garden Village area of Muckamore last week.
The group, who are set to update their dossier of suspected
drug pushers over the coming weeks, claims the man is a
well-known drug dealer who has now left Lisburn.
Sunday Life knows the identity of the man, but cannot
publish it for legal reasons.
They erected the posters in a bid to warn parents that he
was now peddling drugs in Antrim.
The protesters claim to have photographic evidence of the
man selling drugs to young people.
A spokeswoman for the group defended its decision to erect
posters in Antrim.
Said the spokeswoman: "The list was put out in Antrim the
other week because we received information that this man
was now selling drugs in the area.
"He may have left Lisburn but that doesn't mean we can't
warn parents in other towns what the drug-dealer is up to.
"The man was quite active in the city until he moved and
there's no doubt that he will be up to his old tricks
"We have been conducting research for a year on these
people and we are satisfied that everyone we have
identified is a drug dealer.
"We even have a solicitor who makes sure that everything we
do is above board."
Sunday Life spoke to one man, who did not want to be
identified, but whose name has appeared on the dossier. He
denied he was a drug dealer.
Said the man: "I'm now living in fear of my life because of
"I'm afraid to leave the house.
"They are messing with people's lives because once the
names get posted the paramilitaries step in and issue
"Just because I may know people who take drugs doesn't mean
that I am a dealer."
Although the LVF has announced its intention to disband,
FAD believes some of its members will continue to sell
The women, who have accused the police of failing to
address the problem of drugs, say their "name-and-shame"
campaign is the only way of combating drugs.
Dalai Lama To Visit Peace Centre
The Dalai Lama, the exiled leader of Tibetan Buddhists, is
to visit a Northern Ireland reconciliation centre on
He is to spend three days meeting a number of people and
groups in the province under the theme of The Spiritual
Dimension of Peace.
His Holiness will visit the Corrymeela Centre in
Ballycastle, which marks its fortieth anniversary this
The Dalai Lama, 70, last visited Northern Ireland in 2000.
He is arriving in the province after two-days of
engagements in Scotland.
The Dalai Lama has lived in India since he fled from
Chinese troops in 1959 and was awarded the Nobel Peace
Prize in 1989 for his non-violent struggle for Tibet.
On Monday, the Dalai Lama will officially open the
headquarters of Mediation Northern Ireland in south
On Tuesday, Belfast Cathedral will host the last event of
the Dalai Lama's visit, the 2005 Way of Peace celebration.
He will be welcomed by Dean Houston McKelvey, and meet
privately with clergy of the various Christian
denominations and other world faiths in the Chapel of
Dean McKelvey said he would be "delighted" to be hosting
the Dalai Lama.
Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/11/20 09:26:39 GMT
© BBC MMV
Hain Announces Shake-Up Of Schools And Councils
A RADICAL shake-up in the administration of Northern
Ireland is to be announced by Peter Hain, the secretary of
state, on Tuesday.
The review of public administration is designed to produce
savings totalling up to £230m a year which, ministers say,
will be diverted into front-line public services.
The changes will include:
reducing the number of local councils from 26 to seven;
abolition of the province's five education and library
boards and the creation of a single education authority;
reducing to an advisory body the Catholic Council of
Maintained Schools (CCMS), which controls Catholic-ethos
schools and employs teachers;
the replacement of four health boards and 18 health trusts
with seven agencies to correspond with new council areas;
the transfer of planning powers, control of libraries and
other functions to the new, larger councils.
The present system of local government was set up in 1973
by Sir Patrick Macrory who removed many functions from
councils because of accusations of discrimination, and
envisaged a local assembly to oversee these functions.
The absence of such an assembly, referred to as "the
Macrory gap", led to a complex structure of boards and
quangos whose members were appointed by central government
rather than elected. This era will end with Tuesday's
Belfast council will remain unchanged and in the rest of
the province six super-councils, of roughly equivalent
population to Belfast will be created.
In the east, there will be councils for Greater Down and
Greater Antrim, and a third covering an outer ring around
Belfast from Carrickfergus to Antrim and possibly Lisburn.
All these councils will have natural unionist majorities.
In the west the sparser population means that the new
council will cover larger geographic areas. A Greater Derry
council will stretch south and west along the Donegal
border taking in Strabane and Limavady; a Western council
will stretch from Fermanagh to Cookstown; and a Southern
council will take in Newry and Craigavon. These western
councils will have an inbuilt nationalist majority.
All these new local authorities are due to be in place for
elections scheduled for May 2009. Although the broad
outlines are clear, a boundary commission will be set up to
work out the details.
Of the major parties only Sinn Fein supported the seven-
council proposal with the others preferring either 15 or
Peter Weir, a DUP councillor who is president of the
Northern Ireland Local Government Association (Nilga),
argues that the super-councils will be too remote to
respond adequately to local needs and describes the new
arrangement as "a sectarian carve up".
In order to allay fears of permanent nationalist or
unionist majorities on the new councils, Northern Ireland
ministers are expected to introduce measures to encourage
power-sharing in all local government areas.
The other main area of contention is expected to be
education. The CCMS and the Catholic hierarchy are already
attempting a rearguard action to protect their right to
employ teachers. However, the church authorities have not
so far been supported by any of the political parties or
the Irish National Teachers' Organisation, which represents
most of the 8,500 teachers in Catholic-ethos schools.
DUP And Ahern Talks 'Forthright'
The DUP has held a "forthright meeting" with Irish Prime
Minister Bertie Ahern in Dublin.
Party leader Ian Paisley said he warned the Irish
government of the implications of allowing NI MPs to speak
in the Dublin parliament.
He also raised concerns about the presence of the three
Irishmen accused of training guerillas in Colombia.
Earlier the DUP said the NI secretary should resign after
saying the economy was "not sustainable in the long term".
The DUP delegation held more than an hour of talks with the
taoiseach and Irish Foreign Minister Dermot Ahern.
Speaking afterwards, Mr Paisley said: "If it transpires
that Northern Ireland MPs are to be treated on an equal
basis with those who are members of the southern (Irish)
parliament, then we would consider that a quasi-
constitutional claim on Northern Ireland.
"Such an unfriendly act of aggression against Northern
Ireland's sovereignty would not be tolerated by us as
He added: "In addition to the North-South aspect of our
meeting we have again restated our view that as far as the
DUP is concerned there can be no fudging of the line
between democracy and terror.
"We agree with the sentiments of the taoiseach and the
Irish Minister for Justice that the IRA must be gone and
out of business for good."
Dermot Ahern said he would hold further talks with NI
parties at Hillsborough Castle before Christmas.
"We are under no illusion that while we don't want a vacuum
to be created, at the same time we will try and tic-tac
with the parties between now and January," he said.
"Then, depending what happens in January, the IMC report
will be issued and that will be key.
"Depending on what they say, we would expect progress to
"If it is the case that the IMC, in some way are not able
to give in effect a clear indication that there is an end
to paramilitary activity and criminality then we obviously
have to wait and see what happens thereafter."
Speaking about the Dublin meeting, Sinn Fein's Martin
McGuinness said "the DUP need to come to terms with the
current political realities and engage with" his party.
"The unionist community needs confident and positive
leadership. They need politicians who can deliver for
them," he said.
"There is no way to do this other than through the
institutions of the Good Friday Agreement, which means
entering into government with Sinn Fein."
Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/11/18 16:15:00 GMT
© BBC MMV
DUP Calls For Hain's Resignation
The DUP has called on Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain
to resign after he said the economy was "not sustainable in
the long term".
Mr Hain told the New York weekly newspaper the Irish Echo,
that "the island of Ireland should in future be marketed as
a single entity".
DUP assembly member George Dawson said Mr Hain should
The row came as the DUP met Irish Prime Minister Bertie
Ahern in Dublin on Friday.
Mr Dawson, who described Mr Hain's comments as "disgraceful
and insulting, inaccurate and unjustifiable," added that
his role was to build confidence in the Northern Ireland
"Speaking in America, the secretary of state has done
inestimable damage to the Northern Ireland economy," Mr
"And rather than the Northern Ireland economy being
unsustainable, I rather think it is the secretary of
state's position which is unsustainable at the moment."
A DUP delegation led by party leader Ian Paisley held talks
with Bertie Ahern and Foreign Minister Dermot Ahern.
Speaking after the hour-long meeting, Mr Paisley described
the talks as "forthright".
He said he warned the Irish government of the implications
of allowing MPs from Northern Ireland to speak in Leinster
The DUP leader added that he had also raised his concerns
about the continued presence of the three Irish men accused
of training FARC guerillas in Colombia in the Republic.
The DUP refused to take part in talks with the Irish and
British governments on Monday, jointly hosted by Dermot
Ahern and Mr Hain.
The party said it was not taking part as the talks seemed
to be nothing more than stock-taking.
Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/11/18 14:52:36 GMT
© BBC MMV
Echo Editorial: Hain's View
The remarks in today's edition of this newspaper by Peter
Hain, Britain's Secretary of State for Northern Ireland,
are for the most part very positive, and will be greeted
with enthusiasm by Irish America.
Hain admitted frankly that Northern Ireland is, in economic
terms, "not sustainable in the long term," predicting that
it would become "increasingly difficult to look at the
economy of North and South except as a sort of 'island of
Ireland' economy." He foresaw "increasing synergy" between
the economies of the two parts of the country, and in terms
By any objective standards, Hain was being kind to the
North. The stark reality is that six northeastern counties
of Ireland are now close to being an economic basket case.
The latest data exposes the massive dominance of the
British exchequer in the North's economy, a life-support
machine without which the patient would have died many
decades ago. Public expenditure in the North is running at
a whopping 70 percent of GDP.
Local and central government jobs in health and education
alone account for as much as 30 percent of the economy.
Most of the North's private sector is heavily reliant on
Investment by multinationals is rare, and has tended to
come at the low-value, manufacturing end of the industrial
The North's old Industrial Development Board, had an at-
best patchy record, marred by accusations that down through
the years it channeled most new employers into unionist
areas. The new agency, Invest Northern Ireland, is making
progress, but often finds its hands tied by conditions
outside of its control.
For example, as if to add a further disincentive to
entrepreneurial spirit, public-sector wages are
significantly higher than their equivalent in private
enterprise, and the benefits and pensions are usually far
The North's performance looks all the more tragic compared
with the rest of the country. The Republic is now a global
investment powerhouse, with most vibrant economy in the
European Union. Its low-tax regime and status as an
English-speaking country within the euro zone has
encouraged hundreds of U.S. multinationals to base their
European operations there.
The South has moved away from low-value assembly and
service operations, and its industrial strategy is focused
on world-class innovation, research and development.
The North badly needs to join with the rest of Ireland on
this upward curve. Hain is planning a major investment
conference in the United States next year.
Irish America, with all its financial weight, stands ready
and willing to help. But the British government needs to
make investment make sense for Irish-American
For example, Britain's 30 percent tax on business profits
should no longer be applied in the North. Instead, the
British exchequer should offer investors the same
corporation tax rate as in the Republic, 12.5 percent.
Britain could permit businesses in the North to choose to
operate in euros, and pay their taxes and their staff in
euros, eliminating exchange-rate risk for those with
operations elsewhere in Ireland or in the rest of the euro
It would be helpful, too, if the North's infrastructure
were designed to operate for an all-Ireland economy. The
poor decision not to upgrade the Northern part of the
Belfast-Dublin highway to full motorway standard should be
And the industrial strategy specialists on both sides of
the Border, IDA Ireland and Invest NI, should fuse their
efforts, offering investors the best the entire island has
With intelligent planning, the future for the North could
be very bright indeed. Irish America has long dreamed of a
united, peaceful, modern, prosperous Ireland, and the
transformation of the North's economy represents an
essential first step.
Unionists Vow To Bring Down Education Plans
20 November 2005
ANGELA Smith appears to hold the future of Northern
Ireland's grammar schools in her hands.
Critics say the direct rule minister's plans will put
famous grammar schools like Methodist College, St Malachy's
College and RBAI - acknowledged centres of excellence - on
the road to becoming neighbourhood comprehensives.
Ms Smith has already made clear she will end academic
selection as the method used by over-subscribed, popular
schools to decide who gets a coveted place.
Sinn Fein and the SDLP both support the plan. But the DUP
and Ulster Unionists say the plan is educational vandalism
and they have vowed to undo Ms Smith's work if devolved
government is restored.
"No hesitation. It will be undone," said Sammy Wilson, the
DUP's education spokesman and a former economics teacher at
Grosvenor High School in east Belfast.
David McNarry, his Ulster Unionist counterpart, agrees it
would be priority to reverse a plan he says has not been
costed and would lead to chaos in post-primary education.
Dominic Bradley, the SDLP's education spokesman, says he
favours doing away with academic selection in favour of
informed parental choice. He's backing 'pupil profiles' as
a way of helping parents decide which school is right for
their son or daughter.
Primary schools would assess each pupil, but the receiving
secondary level schools would NOT have access to the
But unionist politicians fear pupil profiles will bring
parents and teachers into conflict.
"It could even end up with parents taking legal action,"
said Mr Wilson.
He also argues that pupil profiles would work against
children from lower income backgrounds.
"Parents who can afford to pay for the likes of music,
drama and elocution lessons and other private tuition will
pay for extra-curricular activities that they believe will
give their children an advantage."
But the bottom line is that parents will be able to ignore
advice they don't want to hear.
Ultimately, parental choice will mean that entrance to the
most popular schools will come down to selection by post-
code - and the DUP and UUP agree that this would be a
disaster for post-primary education in Northern Ireland.
Supporters of academic selection say our existing system
has not only outperformed the rest of the UK in GCSE and A-
levels results, but has the best record for sending
children from low income backgrounds to university - 41.3pc
compared to the UK average of 28.4pc.
Mr Wilson forecast that current grammar schools will be
overwhelmed with applications and will inevitably expand to
Paisley: MPs In Dáil Is Aggression
'I am not here to negotiate my country away. Everyone knows
that. Even the Pope knows that.'
by David Lynch
Democratic Unionist Party leader Ian Paisley told the Irish
government in Dublin yesterday not to allow Northern
political representatives any speaking rights in the Dáil.
He said such a move would be an "act of aggression" against
Repeating a call made by Ulster Unionist leader Reg Empey
in Dublin earlier this month, Mr Paisley warned the
government of "long-term consequences" if speaking rights
were granted. Mr Paisley and a DUP delegation held a 90-
minute meeting with Taoiseach Bertie Ahern in Government
"The Irish government should not jeopardise the prospect
for a proper constructive relationship between our two
countries," Mr Paisley told waiting journalists.
"Disturbing the present constitutional balance would be a
short-sighted step with far-reaching and long-term
The DUP leader clearly stated that he did not believe that
the Independent Monitoring Commission would be uncritical
of Sinn Féin.
"The IMC has told us that in no way will they be able to
say in January that they can give a clean bill of health to
IRA/Sinn Féin," he said.
Mr Paisley effectively ruled out power-sharing talks in
January. He said the IRA had to "go out of business".
Sinn Féin chief negotiator Martin McGuinness told Daily
Ireland last night that the DUP must deal with the
political reality of entering government with republicans.
"They now meet with An Taoiseach. They accept the
architecture of the Good Friday Agreement.
"They need to act on the logic of this and engage with Sinn
Féin. The unionist community needs confident and positive
leadership. They need politicians who can deliver for them.
"There is no way to do this other than through the
institutions of the Good Friday Agreement, which means
entering into government with Sinn Féin. That is the
political reality that the DUP cannot escape from," Mr
The DUP leader made clear his opinion on another internal
political matter for the Southern state when he called for
the Colombia Three to be deported.
"We conveyed in the strongest possible terms that allowing
these fugitives of justice to live freely within the Irish
Republic is unacceptable," the DUP leader said.
"As far as the DUP is concerned, there can be no fudging of
the line between democracy and terror."
Mr Paisley defined the meeting with Bertie Ahern as
"I am not here to negotiate my country away. Everyone knows
that. Even the Pope knows that," added Mr Paisley.
The DUP delegation included Peter Robinson and Arlene
Foster. The Taoiseach was accompanied by foreign minister
Dermot Ahern and justice minister Michael McDowell.
After the meeting, Dermot Ahern said the encounter had been
"very good" .
"They [Democratic Unionists] are obviously going to be
cautious but there was nothing in their remarks to us that
they were not going to go back into devolved government,"
he said. Yesterday's encounter was the first formal meeting
between the Irish government and the DUP since the IRA
announced an end to its armed struggle in July.
Calls For Honest Account Of 1980s History
By Jarlath Kearney
Relatives of people killed by state-sponsored violence in
the North have called for an "honest" appraisal of the
Anglo-Irish Agreement's position in modern history.
This week marked 20 years since the Irish and British
governments signed the agreement.
Mark Thompson of the Belfast-based group Relatives for
Justice said any analysis of the 1985 agreement must
include an examination of the way that British government
agencies had managed loyalist violence.
He pointed out that, in 1985, just five people were killed
by loyalists. Most of the victims were members of the
However, within months of the agreement being signed,
British government intelligence agencies began the process
of reorganising and rearming loyalist paramilitaries
through the work of Ulster Defence Association agent Brian
"It was never any coincidence that, whenever there was a
political initiative designed to alienate mainstream
republican opinion, loyalist violence was in a sharp
decline," Mr Thompson said.
"In 1985, Thatcher and FitzGerald were looking at how to
address the increasing force of republican politics after
the hunger strikes.
"The agreement was clearly designed to separate the
nationalist community and break it up, elevating one
political philosophy linked with the SDLP above another
linked with Sinn Féin.
"But for that to work politically, then the conditions had
to be right and what happened was that loyalist violence
was effectively switched off for the entire year of 1985.
There were just a small number of loyalist killings," Mr
Recalling the aggressive and sustained nature of unionist
protests at the time, Mr Thompson said the natural outcome
ought to have been "a high body count of nationalists"
caused by increased loyalist paramilitary attacks.
"In fact, quite the opposite happened. Taken together with
the post-Anglo-Irish Agreement period during which Brian
Nelson was recruited, this demonstrates that the British
government controlled the project of switching loyalist
activity on and off in tandem with specific political
"In 1987, when it became clear that the political project
of trying to isolate republicans and stop the rise of Sinn
Féin had failed, Brian Nelson was brought back in by the
Force Research Unit, and then the major arms shipment came
in from South Africa to rearm the death squads.
"There is a direct correlation
between the political and military tactics. Hundreds of
nationalists died as a result of that, including the
provision of information from Special Branch and the
clearance of assassination routes through heavily
militarised nationalist communities," Mr Thompson said.
Describing the upsurge in collusion around the mid-1980s as
"the real, untold story", Mr Thompson called for an
"honest" account of the period's history.
"This week has seen some sterile, academic historical
reflections on the Anglo-Irish Agreement. But we would call
on academics, the media and the wider community to reflect
on the obvious ability of the British government to switch
on and off loyalist violence. It is notable that this
element of history has been disregarded," Mr Thompson said.
Murder Victim's Family In US Move
Exclusive by Stephen Breen
20 November 2005
THE determined family of an innocent loyalist feud victim
have taken their campaign for justice to the United States.
Sunday Life can reveal that relatives of Craig McCausland
have written to more than 20 senators in Washington, in a
bid to raise awareness about the 20-year-old's brutal
Craig's cousin, Nichola McIlvenny, say the family have been
forced to contact the US politicians after Secretary of
State Peter Hain refused to meet with them.
The senators include leading Irish American Ted Kennedy and
other others who have been involved in the peace process.
The family also confirmed they were set to meet with the
DUP's Euro MP, Jim Allister, and Ulster Unionist MEP, Jim
They have also written to Sinn Fein Euro MP, Bairbre de
Said Nichola: "We had to write to the US politicians
because they have a great interest in Northern Ireland's
"The refusal of the Secretary of State to meet with us
prompted us to do this, and we are hopeful that people in
Washington will listen to us.
"We are angry with Peter Hain and we don't see why he can't
meet us. All we want is justice for an innocent man.
"Peter Hain claims he doesn't want to meet with us because
of the ongoing investigation into Craig's killing, but we
won't accept this.
"By raising the issue of Craig's murder in the US and
Europe, we hope it may help to keep it in the public domain
The family also revealed they have had to remove e-mails
from their website – http://www.justiceforcraig.com -
because the site has been unable to cope with the messages
This comes after we revealed earlier this year how a
mystery user issued a sinister death threat to Craig's two-
year-old son Dean.
Added Nichola: "We haven't had any sinister messages since
the threat to Dean, and we are delighted with the messages
of support we have received.
"We have had to remove some of the messages, because we are
just getting so many on a daily basis.
"It's good to know that people are still horrified by what
happened to Craig, and we are determined to continue with
our campaign for justice."
Information on Craig's alleged killers posted on the
website has now been passed on to police.
Mills Faces Calls To Resign From Policing Partnership
BY Ciarán Barnes
A Democratic Unionist Party politician who claimed natural
disasters are God's way of punishing non-Christians and
gays could be thrown off his local district policing
Veteran Ballymena borough councillor Maurice Mills has been
an active member of the policing body since 2003.
Aid organisations and equality campaigners condemned his
recent comments, which have led to calls for him to be
expelled from the policing body.
In May 2004, Newtownabbey DUP councillor Arthur Templeton
was forced to leave his local policing body after harassing
a gay colleague.
He was also suspended from his party and fined £250 (€365)
at Belfast Magistrates' Court.
Now the public-sector trade union Unison is demanding that
Mr Mills follow suit and withdraw from both the DPP and
Delegates from around Ireland and Britain yesterday
attended a conference in Belfast of the union's lesbian,
gay, bisexual and transgender section. Group co-chairman
Seán Morrin called on Mr Mills to resign.
"It is ironic that Mr Mills made his outrageous comments
the day before union officials gathered to discuss ways of
fighting homophobia in the workplace," said Mr Morrin.
"His comments dominated our meeting and, as a union, we are
calling on him to do the decent thing and resign from the
DPP and Ballymena council.
"A man who airs these homophobic and bigoted views has no
place in public life, especially in a role that requires
him to work so closely with the police."
Speaking to Daily Ireland on Thursday, Mr Mills said
Hurricane Katrina, which killed around 1,300 people, had
been sent by God to prevent a gay pride festival taking
place in Florida.
He also said Asia had borne the brunt of the December 26
tsunami, which left 250,000 dead, because it was "not a
Mr Mills dismissed the criticism and said God would judge
people God for their sins.
"What an executor Christ will be on that awesome day.
"Christ alone died for my sins on Calvary's cross, and by
personal faith exercised in his finished work upon that
cross and by the cleansing of his precious blood, I have
the assurance of sins forgiven and peace with God," he
Mr Mills' outburst over natural disasters was not the first
time his comments had courted controversy.
In 1999, he was in a public spat with Ballymena-born
Hollywood actor Liam Neeson over the actor's criticism of
Orange marches. An outraged Mr Mills vowed never to watch
Mr Neeson in the new Star Wars film.
The DUP man continued the row when he and fellow party
members blocked attempts to award the freedom of the
borough to Mr Neeson.
The accolade was instead given to DUP leader and North
Antrim MP Ian Paisley.
Last year, Mr Mills again caused controversy when he
claimed that the PSNI and British army had been involved in
a secret plot to smuggle drugs into Ballymena.
SF Faces Campaign-Finance Questions
20 November 2005 By Pat Leahy
Inconsistencies between the size of Sinn Féin's 2004 local
election campaign and its statutory spending declarations
have led to calls for an investigation by the Standards in
Public Office Commission (SPOC).
An academic study of the local election campaign has found
that Sinn Féin candidates had bigger, busier and more
effective campaigns than other parties.
However, statutory spending declarations show that Sinn
Féin candidates claimed to have spent less than other
parties, while the party nationally claimed to have spent
The contrast has led to calls from Fine Gael and the
Progressive Democrats for a full investigation by SPOC into
Sinn Féin's spending on elections. Senior figures in Labour
and Fianna Fáil also expressed concern, citing widespread
disbelief at Sinn Féin's spending returns.
Sinn Féin ascribed the discrepancy to the high level of
volunteerism in the party, and efficiencies achieved in
"I would call for the Standards in Public Office Commission
to investigate Sinn Féin's spending declarations," said
Fine Gael general secretary Tom Curran. "What they have
done in their campaigns for what they said they spent - we
couldn't do it. No way. I just don't believe it."
His call was echoed by Progressive Democrat general
secretary John Higgins.
"We would call for a full and rigorous investigation of
what's been spent. Our attitude is that everyone should be
judged by the same criteria," he said.
Fianna Fáil general secretary Sean Dorgan said: "Our
candidates have been saying to us for a long time that they
don't have the resources to match Sinn Féin, who open
offices and staff them all over the country."
The study was conducted by Liam Weeks, a lecturer in
politics in Trinity College.
He found that Sinn Féin candidates put up more posters,
distributed more leaflets, took more voters to polling
stations, and were generally more active than their rivals.
Electoral law requires parties and candidates to disclose
how much they spend during an election campaign and where
they spend it.
Sinn Féin's rivals have accused it for years of violating
campaign finance laws, but have never found any evidence.
Today's revelations show that the party has questions to
McDowell: Strong On The Law But Not Delivering On Order
20 November 2005 By Alison O'Connor
After a week when it could have been argued that Michael
McDowell wasn't doing his job very well, a lesser man would
have spent the weekend keeping a low profile.
But not McDowell.
Chances are the Minister for Justice will have squeezed in
a few radio chat shows before lunchtime today and already
agreed to at least one television slot.
When in doubt, keep talking, and strongly dismiss all
criticism. That's the PD president's mantra. But McDowell
rarely feels any kind of doubt.
The former Gonzaga boy is lucky enough to have apparently
bypassed that quintessentially Irish characteristic – low
Regardless of his magnificent self-belief, it has been a
bruising week for McDowell, one in which Dublin was
compared to Chicago in the 1930s.
The criticisms followed Tuesday night's shooting dead of
Noel Roche in Clontarf and the shooting of Gavin Byrne and
Darren Geoghegan two nights earlier in Firhouse in the same
The violence, now spilling over into middle-class areas of
Dublin, is causing understandable fear and has Dubliners
asking what the government is doing to stop it.
Any other politician serving as minister for justice would
be recovering from a week of being blasted in the media and
lying low while attempting to devise a strategy to get out
of the crisis.
But not McDowell - although opposition politicians did
notice that the minister appeared to shy away from a
"cosy'' chat with Pat Kenny, one of his favourite radio
presenters, avoiding any kind of in-depth discussion on the
crisis and possible listener reaction.
The facts on serious gun crime, as read out by Labour
leader Pat Rabbitte in the Dáil last Tuesday, are fairly
The two shootings in Firhouse last Sunday night occurred in
what Rabbitte described as a "very quiet part'' of his
Those murders, added to the three gangland murders the
previous weekend, bring to 18 the total number of gang-
related murders so far this year. There was to be another
fatal gun attack in Clontarf on the day Rabbitte made his
comments in the Dáil.
In 1998, there were four gun murders; this increased to 20
Rabbitte also highlighted the lack of Garda success in
dealing with these cases. He pointed out that 75 murders
where guns were used occurred between 1998 and 2004, but
proceedings were taken in only 26 cases - just 35 per cent.
Convictions were secured in only 12 cases, 16 per cent of
Last Wednesday, a new 50-strong garda unit was announced to
combat the gangland feuding in the capital.
McDowell said its purpose was to "prevent any further
His department received a 17 per cent increase in last
Thursday's estimates, bringing its budget to
€445million,with €146 million to be spent on a nationwide
So what is it about McDowell that gives him - much to the
annoyance of the opposition parties – this Teflon coating?
In fairness, even they would acknowledge his talent and
impressive intellect, as well as capacity for hard work.
But they look with envy at what they perceive as his
special treatment by many sections of the media, and also
admire at how he is able to use the skills honed as a
senior counsel in interview situations.
"He is a master manipulator of the media and a media
darling. It would seem as if the media is frightened of him
in some way," said Fine Gael's jus t i c e spokesman Jim
"He is somebody who has quite a powerful intellect and a
strong voice, and someone who was very experienced at the
Bar where he could argue one side of a case with certainty
one week and a totally contrary side the next, because that
was the job.
"In many ways, he blows people away. But media headlines
don't solve crime. What the public wants is results."
The Cork South West TD said McDowell was the "king of
legislation'', introducing rafts of it in the Dáil since he
was first appointed in 2002, but "while we have a lot of
law, the last few days have shown starkly that there is no
order, and that is what he will be remembered for''.
O'Keeffe, a solicitor, said McDowell was an able adversary
"but I will judge him on the basis of 'by their fruits ye
shall know them'. Let's wait and see the results."
His Labour counterpart, Joe Costello, said McDowell had a
"Walter Mitty quality to his personality. He believes that
if he talks long enough about dealing with problems, the
problems will be dealt with."
Costello acknowledged that McDowell "does have his
strengths'' and his articulacy makes him well liked in the
media. "He's good for a soundbyte and he goes bald-headed
on issues, so journalists like that.
"He loves the uncritical cosy comfy chat shows where he can
use his undoubted debating skills, presenting a picture
that nobody will contradict him on. Of course nobody wants
to be hard on a minister who is prepared to come on and
chat," said Costello.
On specific issues apart from the gangland murders,
O'Keeffe and Costello point to a number of issues including
the unfulfilled promise to increase the garda numbers to
14,000, the antiquated communications technology used by
the force and properly tackling underage drinking which
fuels anti-social behaviour.
The garda numbers are expected to be boosted thanks to the
increase allocated in the estimates.
McDowell has a huge fan base within the ranks of the PDs
and outside it, from those who like to hear a minister for
justice sounding tough and telling it like it is.
He has an interesting role within the party. The PDs 20th
anniversary celebrations last weekend highlighted this. The
three speakers on the night were former leader Des
O'Malley, current leader Mary Harney and party president
Somewhat unusually, McDowell spoke last (a number of those
present saying this gave the impression that he was party
leader) and at some length, finishing at around 11.30pm.
Harney's speech was delivered as expected and with lots of
self-congratulation for the party.
It included warm praise for McDowell saying he had spent
three years reforming the Department of Justice at an
incredible pace with Garda reform, prison reform, stamping
out compo culture, criminal law reform and, "most of all,
standing rock solid against the paramilitaries and
In turn, McDowell was warm about the Tánaiste, but he used
the occasion to launch yet another full-scale attack on
Sinn Féin. He also told the assembly that the party could
win up to 20 seats at the next election.
His parliamentary party colleagues look on McDowell with a
mix of awe and trepidation, never knowing what he is going
to come out with next.
They are also wary of his intellect if they want to
disagree on a point of policy. They realise, however, that
he is largely an electoral asset.
Bertie Ahern is said to get on well with McDowell, despite
the minister's deriding of the Taoiseach's pet project,
Campus and Stadium Ireland, during the last general
election, as a "Ceaucescu-era Olympic project''.
One senior Fianna Fáil source said McDowell appeared to be
able to escape public blame on escalating serious crime
rates because people "know he is doing his best and trying
to address the situation.
"The ordinary punters know if someone is genuine.
"In the recent Sinn Féin negotiations, Michael would have
been applying the pressure to the nth degree which
absolutely suited the Taoiseach at the time in a 'good cop,
bad cop' kind of way. Maybe once or twice he was too
zealous and could have stood back a bit, which caused
frustration on both sides."
But the source added that the minister "appeared to have a
schizophrenic quality to his personality'' because, while
he can be incredibly talented and committed to his cause,
he can also lose the run of himself, such as in the recent
spat with RTE over the Prime Time programme on the purchase
of the new site for Mountjoy Prison in north county Dublin.
"He just went way over the top on that and it wasn't the
way to deal with it," said the source. "He can be very
bullish and belligerent. On the positive side, he is one of
the most dynamic ministers I think there has ever been,
certainly in recent years.
"He is committed to change and believes in what he is
doing. Of course he waited a long time to be made minister
for justice. He'd hate this to be said, but he shares a lot
with Dick Roche.
"Both are very bright and think they are brighter than
everyone else. They waited a long time to get into
government and now they are doing a huge amount. But they
both have the ability to rub people up the wrong way."
Mad Dog's Agent Has Violent Past
Troon pal convicted of woman-beating, theft and fraud
Exclusive by Stephen Breen
20 November 2005
THE Scottish agent who claims to be negotiating a film deal
for ousted terror chief Johnny 'Mad Dog' Adair is a
convicted woman-beater, thief and fraudster, Sunday Life
Wannabe gangster Mark Morrison, who has been living with
Adair in Troon, has a string of convictions dating back to
Morrison, who is also a close pal of gay UDA thug Sam
'Skelly' McCrory, last appeared in court in September.
The 35-year-old former market trader was jailed for six
months - reduced to three on appeal - for punching a woman
in the face, kicking her in the head and causing injuries
to her body.
The incident happened outside the woman's house in Troon
Jailing the thug, Sheriff Montgomery said that due to his
previous record and the nature of the offence he had no
option but to send him to prison.
Morrison, who has formed a close bond with Jonathan 'Mad
Pup' Adair, has more than 40 convictions.
He has 12 for fraud, nine for Trade Descriptions Act
offences, four for breaches of the peace, three for
shoplifting, one for forgery and one for assault. His other
convictions are for minor offences.
Morrison was first held in a young offenders' institution
in 1990, and has been in and out of prison ever since.
The crook refused to comment on his background when Sunday
Life contacted him.
Said Morrison: "I'm not going to tell you anything about
me, because I don't know you.
"I can confirm, however, that I am Johnny Adair's agent -
he is a good friend of mine. I'm not going to tell you
where we are or what we are doing."
And the thug boasted: "I am a shrewd man and also smart.
"Why should I tell a reporter anything about my past?
"I'm not going to tell you if I have been involved in
representing other people or acted as an agent in the past
- that's my business.
"I have no problem representing Johnny Adair, but I would
have problems representing someone like Michael Stone, who
is nothing but a liar."
A security source said: "Morrison has always been in love
with the idea of being a big-time gangster, but the problem
for him is that nobody ever took him seriously."
Adair refused to comment on his new agent's background.
Opin: How Times Have Changed
The Rev Ian Paisley travels to Dublin to berate the
Taoiseach when just a few short years ago, his sidekicks
were denouncing as Lundies any unionist bold enough to
bring a Southern
Let there be no surprise at the DUP claim that there was a
"forthright" exchange of views at the summit and that the
Taoiseach was given a flea in his ear over the suggestion
that Northern MPs speak in the Dáil.
The reality is that the medium is the message: Ian Paisley
now acknowledges that the Irish Government has a key role
to play in the future of the North. Gone are the days when
Paisley could boast to tens of thousands outside City Hall
in Belfast that "Ulster says No".
The simplicities on which the DUP leader has built his
sectarian following no longer cut the mustard in 2005.
The Good Friday Agreement with its equally powerful First
and Deputy First Ministers and its carefully balanced
powersharing structures are here to stay. The cross-Border
bodies have continued to function despite the political
crisis and their role is certain to extend when powers are
devolved again from Westminster.
The purpose of the visit to Dublin, therefore, wasn't to
howl at the winds of change. The purpose was to make common
cause with government politicians who sing from the same
hymn sheet as the Rev Ian when it comes to Sinn Féin.
Taoiseach Bertie Ahern says he won't go into government
with Sinn Féin as long as there's rain in Ireland. Ian
Paisley says "Amen" to that. The new-look DUP may appear at
times to be frozen in another time — most probably around
1690 — but in reality it is led by willy negotiators and
strategists who realise their strongest allies in the
battle to neuter Sinn Féin lie in the South.
Despite the blow and bluster of Sinn Féin, the SDLP never
gave in to unionist demands that they gang up on
republicans and exclude them from the political
institutions set up under the Belfast Agreement.
Mark Durkan appears as committed to inclusion and as
resolute on the need for equal respect for all political
parties as the peace process trundles into 2006. No one can
say that of Pat Rabbitte of Labour, Enda Kenny of Fine Gael
or Michael McDowell of the PDs. It is no exaggeration to
say that trio would find much common ground with the DUP on
their attitude to Sinn Féin.
Which leaves us with the Taoiseach holding the fort for the
Good Friday Agreement and the insistence that the DUP have
only one way to power: through partnership with Sinn Féin.
That's an awesome responsibility for Bertie Ahern as he
ponders the next election in his own backyard with Mary Lou
McDonald carrying the Dublin Central banner for Sinn Féin.
No doubt the party leader is tempted to take the low road
of electoral advantage. The Taoiseach, however, must stay
to the high road of the peace process.
A Night To Remember Mo
By John McGurk
20 November 2005
THE LIFE and lasting legacy of former Northern Ireland
Secretary of State, Mo Mowlam will be marked by lots of
laughter and music - at a special show in London's West End
Ulster funny man, Patrick Kielty is among the stars set to
turn out to fondly remember the remarkable career of the
woman - labelled 'the people's politician' - at the Theatre
Royal, Drury Lane.
The charity fund-raising show, An Evening For Mo And
Friends, will feature live appearances from top
showbusiness names, including Lulu, Dawn French, Paul
Merton and ex-EastEnders' star, Michelle Collins.
All will share their reminiscences of Mo, who died last
August, at the age of 55.
20 November 2005
A MONUMENT commemorating the IRA ambush of three soldiers
in south Armagh 30 years ago has been moved to the Army's
Bessbrook Mill base.
The memorial cairn had stood inside the perimeter of the
Army's fortified Drumuckavall observation post just a few
yards from the border with the Republic until last month.
Known as 'Golf 20', Drumuckavall is close to the spot where
three members of the 3rd Battalion, Royal Regiment of
Fusiliers were shot dead by IRA gunmen on November 22,
Fusiliers James Duncan (19), Peter McDonald (19) and
Michael Sampson (20) were part of a four-man covert
observation post located just a few metres inside the
Armagh/Louth border. Unaware that their position had been
compromised, the soldiers had been manning the position for
more than 30 hours before it came under sustained attack.
Up to 10 gunmen opened fire from two positions inside the
Republic - killing the three fusiliers and badly wounding
The survivor, a lance-corporal, managed to crawl to a
nearby road where he was found by reinforcements who had
arrived by helicopter.
One of the weapons used in the Drumuckavall attack was
later used to murder 10 Protestant workers near Kingsmills
in January 1976.
Senior south Armagh Provo Seamus Harvey - suspected by the
security forces of having been heavily involved in the
Drumuckavall attack - was later shot dead by the SAS.
The memorial stone has stood at Drumuckavall since the
controversial observation post was built in the mid 1980s.
Every November, soldiers manning the base laid a poppy
wreath to mark the anniversary of the IRA attack.
However, the Government's decision to demolish a number of
south Armagh observation towers meant the Drumuckavall
memorial had to be relocated.
As Bessbrook is not one of the Army's 14 core sites to be
retained after August 2007, it is likely the memorial's
final resting place will be inside the Northern Ireland
Memorial Garden at Palace Barracks, Holywood.
Felons Toast Licence Green Light
By Joe Oliver
20 November 2005
A WEST Belfast club that counts Gerry Adams among its
members has been given a clean bill of health - by the
And residents on the Falls Road have also withdrawn
objections to the renewal of a seven-day entertainments
licence for the Irish Republican Felons club.
The club - membership is strictly reserved for serving or
former republican prisoners - had agreed to a three-month
monitoring period when the first application was made
earlier this year.
It was carried out by officers from Belfast City Council.
During the period they found no evidence of drunkenness,
lewd behaviour, excessive littering or fights outside the
Sinn Fein councillor Paul Maskey also confirmed in writing
that residents no longer had any objections, and police
confirmed they had received no complaints.
Last month, former club chairman Liam Shannon was awarded
£4,000 after suing the Government in the European Court for
breach of his human rights in relation to an RUC raid in
George Best Condition 'Dangerous'
Football legend George Best remains in a critical and
"dangerous" condition, the doctor treating him has said.
Dr Akeel Alisa said the star had a stable night but there
was no "dramatic improvement" in his condition.
The 59-year-old former Manchester United and Northern
Ireland footballer is on a life support machine in London's
His father, brothers, sisters and son have been at his
bedside as he remains unconscious in intensive care.
Dr Alisa, assistant to Professor Roger Williams, who has
been treating Best, said: "I would say that he's had a
stable night. He remains very critical and in a dangerous
condition so far.
"We haven't seen any dramatic improvement in his condition
Phil Hughes, Best's agent, said the family were taking
strength from the support offered by the public.
"They are bearing up," he said. "They would like to say
thank you to all the well-wishers. It's a very hard time
for all of us."
Professor Williams, who oversaw Best's liver transplant
three years ago, is expected to give more details on Best's
condition later on Sunday.
I would like to thank all the well-wishers, it really
means a lot to me and the family
Best's son, Calum, said after seeing his father: "I want to
say that my dad is very ill at the moment but he is stable.
"I would like to thank all the well-wishers, it really
means a lot to me and the family. He is stable so hopefully
he is going to get better."
Best has allowed the News of the World to print a photo of
him in hospital, as a warning about the dangers of alcohol.
He had asked for the picture to be taken before being
transferred into intensive care, the paper says.
In it, Best looks gaunt with a yellow pallor due to his
malfunctioning liver, with tubes attached to his bruised
Mr Hughes said: "George could never beat his drink problem,
but he told me 'I hope my plight can act as a warning to
others'." Another picture of Best in hospital appears in
the Mail on Sunday.
Best had previously shown signs of recovery after weeks of
He was admitted to the hospital on 1 October suffering from
flu-like infections and his health deteriorated rapidly at
the beginning of November when he developed a kidney
But his condition was thought to be improving until Friday
when Professor Williams announced he had suffered a "big
setback" and had developed a severe lung infection.
Belfast-born Best was arguably the most naturally gifted
British footballer of his generation.
He made his professional debut for Manchester United in
1963, aged 17, and helped the club become the first English
side to lift the European Cup in 1968.
Best was voted both English League and European Footballer
of the Year that season and also won 37 international caps
for Northern Ireland.
Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/11/20 12:39:50 GMT
© BBC MMV
Controversial Documentary: de Valera's 'Cuban Links'
20/11/2005 - 12:23:14
A documentary about Eamon de Valera's early life that was
too controversial for RTE to screen is now in production
with a US television station.
WGBH in Boston has begun work on the project which claims
that the former Irish Taoiseach and president was half-
De Valera was the most influential politician in the first
50 years of the Irish state, yet his origins have remained
shrouded in mystery.
Born in New York, he later returned to Ireland with his
Irish-born mother but his father's identity has never been
proven unequivocally. The history books claim that de
Valera's father, Juan de Valera, was a wealthy Spanish
businessman who settled in New York.
But an academic at Columbia University in New York believes
he has documentary evidence that links de Valera's early
years to a rural province in Cuba.
Professor of Film, Brendan Ward, who has Irish parents, has
tracked down church records in Mantanza which contain de
Valera's baptismal, First Communion and Confirmation
"I have spent two years getting permission from the Cuban
authorities to access them and now I finally have it," he
Mr Ward originally approached RTE executives with the idea
in 2003 but they were not interested.
"We had a lot of talks, but I think it was too much of a
hot potato for them, politically," he said.
Mr Ward will travel to Cuba with a WGBH crew next year to
begin filming on the project.
"His American citizenship actually saved him from certain
execution after the Easter 1916 Rebellion so the course of
20th Century Irish history could have been radically
"De Valera wanted this whole part of his life repressed
because illegitimacy was such a taboo subject at the time
and would have caused an enormous controversy while he was
in such high public office."
De Valera's volumes of private papers, which may shed some
light on the subject, and have never been published and
remain in the family's hands.
"I've been to the Mantanza province where this Valera name
is common and I've met members of the Valera family. They
look remarkably like Eamon de Valera. They are tall and
slim with oval-shaped faces," said Mr Ward.
If he proves the connection it would be the second major
Cuban/Irish link. Revolutionary Ernesto "Che" Guevara's
mother was Anne Lynch from Co. Galway.
De Valera seriously contemplated entering the religious
life in his youth, but his biographer Tim Pat Coogan has
speculated that the questions surrounding his legitimacy
may have been a deciding factor.
He went on instead to fight in the Easter Rising and played
a key role in the War of Independence and the Civil War. He
founded Fianna Fáil in 1927 and served as Taoiseach from
1932 to 1948 and again in two further Fianna Fáil
Governments. He was also elected president for two terms.
He died in 1975 at the age of 92.
The De Valera family do not comment publicly on the former
Taoiseach's background and origins.
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